A Busy Life @lonewolf153
A Night Lost: Sakura in Wonderland

Hey guys! Quick heads up! There are several songs this chapter. I tried to include the song names in the story itself, but that proved to be a little hard. Especially with the last one; to be frank, I couldn't put it in, so the last song described in one of the last parts, if you'd like to listen, it is BEASTARS (Main Theme All Versions). Oh, and as for "Goodnight, Irene" it is specifically the Bioshock Infinite Version.

So, if you'd guys like to know the exact names of the songs I described, or maybe you can't find the song, pm me, and I'll let you know.

Naruto: We should be safe in this bunker. I think. We better hope Sakura-Chan can pull through and got him calm again. How'd she even do that last time?

Well...remember your eyes?


-clasps a hand over Naruto's mouth with pure fear- SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP. BEFORE HE

CRASH! BOOM! -steal door blows up-

Sasuke: -chuckles, smirking evilly- So this is where you've been hiding, Lone Wolf.

O.O H-HOW?! SAKURA! Where is—

Sasuke: -smirks evilly- Hn. I took care of her this time, Lone Wolf. She's sleeping.

Naruto: Oh fuck.

O.O...Well shit. Looks like I die today. Oh, well. It's been a good life yall. Truly. ( T^T )


SAY LESS! -starts running- TO THE CHAP!

Sasuke: -furious- DOBE GET THE HELL OUT OF MY WAY!

Naruto: Geez Teme!

"HeheeeHeeh! This place is pretty nice!" Sakura exclaimed excitedly, sitting on the barstool beside her new best friend for the night, and having just brought down her victory shot from the race they had to chug their bottles in the Backstreets. As he called himself, Uncle Uncle grinned back at her.

Indra actually entered the establishment himself a little while after them and watched from a slight distance, watching the cheap strobe lights dance around and she bounced to the fast paced music they played here.

"Told ya, we'd have a good time! And you won the first shot! Oi! Rock-my boy! Bring us another shot will ya!" A seemingly tired man—the bartender of the place—with a cigarette in his mouth and his dark hair parted to the right side of his forehead, gave a smirk.

"Coming right up." The man dressed in a teal colored tie and short sleeved button down shirt replied. He served the two, and went into the back for something, as Indra witnessed. They took their shot and continued with conversation.

This first bar Sakura and Uncle Uncle had come to visit was calm and quaint, besides the loud music and the lights. A quiet hole in the wall, with not too many patrons; but it was dark, with a few lights and a small area to dance on. Honestly, with the atmosphere, Indra was certain the only reason it was as empty as it was, was due to it being a Wednesday. A weekday for bars wasn't usually packed, unless the place was popular.

Indra was actually surprised he didn't really have to be that far, to be in earshot of her as well as avoid her sight, even with the lack of patrons and the music, especially considering she was drunk. She was significantly less observant. When they were kids, he was certain she would have already known he was following her by now. She would have called him out.

Was she in that much pain? So much so that even those survival instincts of hers dulled to a point where he could be a few feet away, looking towards her face, and she didn't notice him? After all, she didn't notice when she first ran past him when she left that bar. He had been across the street, beneath some scaffolding and watched the blond woman call out for her as she ran. When he went to go towards where he saw her turning, she dashed right passed him, even as he was reaching for her. He supposed the rain was an addition to her visibility. But now, here in a bar, where her visibility was undeterred, she still didn't notice him.

And that worried him. What if she was attacked? What if someone approached her from behind and she was too unaware to stop it? Indra decided it would probably be best to stick nearby her, along with his distance. Now, he felt wasn't the time to show himself, especially after her reaction to him in front of Uchiha Corps. It was best that he continued to follow her at a distance. She sounded like and seemed like she needed the distraction of liquor and company...and right now, him showing his face would only send her back into that same state she was before. Or maybe it still would, no matter what he did.

For now, he'd just keep watch. He'd make sure she didn't get hurt nor was taken advantage of by that fat, old man and whenever he could get her alone a little later, he'd approach her then.

The gimmick of the bar however, was the outlandish karaoke they offered, if a specific karaoke song wasn't requested. It was "open mic night" here and any song that was played by the DJ or wasn't specifically requested by a patron, was up for grabs and could be sung along with a mic in hand to serenade the bar...if the drunkards could. The catch and fun part was the DJ playing remixes of said songs and the drunken patrons doing their best to guess what exactly would be the next part of the song and trying their hardest to follow along with their drunken minds.

Shockingly enough, Sakura hadn't been bad at it at all this last hour she was here. She had only sang one of the remixed songs so far, but he was impressed at just how she kept up.

He couldn't help but watch how her hips swayed the entire time. How her body moved so sensually to the beat. All while she sang rather beautifully, despite her slurred voice, and there were times he was simply staring at her lips being so close to the microphone.

"So, there I was Pinky! Standing on the front lines of the Miike Coal Mine in Kyushu! Our protest was loud and we all stood in solidarity! We were fearless and determined! We were sure we would prevail!" Uncle Uncle was currently telling her a bunch of stories, some of which Indra wasn't sure if they were true or not. But the man told them with such particular, true sounding details he couldn't be sure what was fact or what was fiction. She sat next to him and listened avidly.

As Uncle Uncle had promised, there was no shortage of servitude of liquor, even without money tonight. Just the promise to pay it all back from Uncle Uncle and she basically drank whatever she wanted.

She seemed to have already completely forgotten her previous turmoil. The tears on her face were gone, though, he wasn't truly all that sure until she dried up a bit, with some towels the bartender had provided to the drenched two when they got here. She would laugh and ask questions to the numerous stories the man had told until an hour had past of Indra watching them drink together.

"And now, Ms. Sakura with "I Hate This Part" by The Pussycat Dolls." The DJ suddenly sounded and Sakura brightened. She held up a finger to signal Uncle Uncle to pause his story and ran to grab the mic from the DJ.

And she sang. She sang the song with so much feeling you could tell she was already thinking about whatever had happened between her and the Uchiha. She sang her heart out and the twisted, painfilled expressions she made during certain parts made him know she was singing this and thinking of Sasuke.

"I know,
This is,
The part,
Where the end starts"

"I can't take it any longer,
Thought that we were stronger.
All we do is linger,
Slipping through our fingers;
I don't wanna try now!
All that's left is goodbye,
To find the way that I can tell you,"

Her face itself changed into a tortured expression as she sang this part. He could already tell, she was putting her heart into this. No, not just that. Her heart was feeling the pain of the song and it was being shown.

"I hate this part, right here.
I hate this part, right here.
I just can't, take your tears.
I hate this part, right here!"

She sang so painfully as the song continued on, despite the beauty of her slightly slurred voice. Indra almost had no doubt that she didn't realize the song she chose, because by the last part, she was tearing. She danced, and was barely holding on. He saw her as she continued, and she teared through the upbeat and heartbroken song. She was about to cry and it even showed—sullenly beautifully, through her singing voice.

I know you'll ask me to hold on!
And carry on like nothing's wrong!
But there is no more time for lies,
Cause I see sunset in your eyes!

And through her pain filled voice as she continued, Indra questioned again what exactly it was that he made her go through. As a tear fell down her face and she sang the rest of the song, and her singing voice turned into a pained whisper for the end, he still wondered as he had from watching her run away all evening, what damage he had allowed to her heart this time.

What, even though could he have stopped it, had her like this?

"I hate this part right here…
I hate this part right here…
I just can't take these tears
I hate this part right here..."

And as she sang the final part of the song, he watched the tears fall from her eyes. He watched her give the microphone to the bartender and she sat back down next to Uncle Uncle. Her already crying eyes lowered down to the shot in front of her. Uncle Uncle placed an understanding hand on her shoulder.

"W-Wrong song to sing I guess…" She whimpered audibly to the man and she wiped the tears from her eyes. Indra's eyes lowered and cringed. Uncle Uncle patted her on the back.

"I told you already, Pinky. It's a process. It won't happen overnight. Here. Don't forget, it also takes some liquid courage." The man reminded somberly and with a painfully understanding smile, and gave her a shot from the double he had ordered. She took it and drank. And then she drank the shot in front of her. And then she drank Uncle Uncle's shot. The old man laughed out loud.

"I said some liquid courage, little lady! Not all of it!" He laughed, just as Sakura brought the shot down to the bar. She swallowed and sighed out the burn of alcohol. And then she smiled, even with the tears in her eyes and the ones on her cheeks drying, slowly but surely.

"Heheeee! More shots!" She commanded. And the bartender nodded.

The DJ started playing the next remixed song for any drunkard in the bar to try and single along with. And she perked up almost instantly.

"Hoh, Hoh—starry eyed!
Hip hoh!
Hoh hoh—
St-starry eyed! Oh, Oh!
Hoh hoh—
St-starry eyed!
Hoh, Hoh—starry eyed!
Hip hoh!
Hoh hoh—
St-starry eyed!"

"Neh! I love this song! I'm gonna sing and dance!" Sakura proclaimed loudly, obviously already forgetting her pain with the music and stood off her barstool when the new song began playing. She ran so much more effortlessly than she should have been able to at this point, to snatch the mic from the DJ again and back to Uncle Uncle's side, obviously attempting to get them some drinks through the deal that was to sing the song as much as possible.

The older gentleman simply laughed as she made the open space she had decided to make her dance floor between the seat and the rather empty table sitting area and dance floor—it was at most a tenfoot by twelve foot space she had, and she made herself the center of Indra's attention. The fast paced music of the obviously remixed song played, and her entire body seemed to just flow with it.

"Hit, hit hit hit me with lightning.
Hit, hit hit hit me with lightning.
Hit, hit hit hit me with lightning.
Hit, hit hit hit me with lightning.
Hit, hit hit hit me with lightning.
Hit, hit hit hit me with lightning.
Starry eyed!"

He watched her sing and move her hips and she continued to sing the song and tried to keep up with the remixed version. His eyes filled with slight longing as she moved and swayed. With the mic in her hands, and watching the tv screen in the corner that displayed the lyrics, she didn't even seem to need it as the song went into the repeated first stanza and she sang it without problem. It was almost like she was some kind of effortless pop star.

"Hoh, Hoh starry eyed!
Hip hoh!
Oh oh,
St-starry eyed! Oh, Oh!"

She went into her own dance routine after singing. Her body and head swaying as the background lyrics continued to sing in the remix of the song and his eyes glazed with his stare.

If she could move like that, he lecherously wondered how she moved in bed. Her eyes were closed, and she bounced and moved in a way that was too entrancing for any man to not stop and stare.

"So, we burst,
into colors, colors and carousels.
Fall head first,
Like paper planes in playground games"

Oh, everybody's starry eyed!
And everybody goes, oh!
Everybody's starry eyed.
And my body goes,
Everybody's starry eyed!
And my body goes"

She was continuing to sing, and he heard a yell. A woman with burgundy hair in a ponytail and her bangs framing her face, paired with hazel brown eyes and a cigarette already in her mouth. The woman who had unceremoniously kicked open the front door with her combat boots. The bartender twitched, grumbled something and made a b-line for what Indra assumed was the back of the bar.

"OI! Uncle Uncle! You've got some nerve being here, bastard!" Everyone in the bar heard the yell, despite the music and Sakura's singing. Sakura snapped towards the entrance, her back turned to Indra and she stopped singing over the remixed song. The man gave a sheepish grin to the burgundy haired woman.

"Oh! Heya there Revy! What's the matter?" The amber eyed woman they avoided earlier glared, and without a single ounce of thought or even hesitation, the woman dressed in cut up shorts and a blank tanktop pulled out a gun and pointed it at the old man.

Sakura's eyes widened and Uncle Uncle grew pale. Indra glared, about to reach for his phone. But for some reason, the old man seemed unafraid. He was grinning in the woman's face with his hands up and the reaction seemed to keep Sakura herself at bay. Should he step in? Was it necessary? All of a sudden, with Uncle Uncle's demeanor at the woman named Revy, who was now putting on a bright smile, it seemed like a big joke.

But Indra did note that she was doing at least one survival trait she taught him all those years ago.

"If held at gunpoint, always watch the finger on the trigger. It takes five pounds of pressure to pull a trigger which is only a second of reaction time. So, if it even their finger twitches in the hands of someone steady and unafraid, move. If the person is afraid and shaking, still watch it, but calmly approach and close the distance."

She was watching the woman named Revy's trigger finger. But the woman named Revy was calm and steady. She had held a gun up to a man's face before and shot it mercilessly just from her stance and her smile alone and the fact that she was openly doing this in a bar, proved it further.

"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't pull the trigger after the last time you were here in my bar, shithead! You think you can just skip the Lagoon Company on your tab and get away with your life! Do you not know who the fuck I am?" The woman violently threatened with a devastatingly sweet smile.

"Oh, come on Revy! Don't you remember? I mean, we were pretty drunk, but it's not my fault! It was Rock. He said he'd pay for my tab!" The woman raised her eyebrow.

"Eeeh? Rock said that, huh?"

"Yup!" Uncle Uncle reassured. The burgundy haired woman put her gun away, angrily. Indra's face deadpanned. Guess it was just a joke.

"I'll kill that Jap! Where the hell is he?! ROCK!" She snarled and started walking off to the other end of the bar, angrily telling her bartender to get her a drink. Based off that statement, maybe it wasn't a joke and the old man managed to skate by unscathed. Uncle Uncle suddenly got up and pulled Sakura along. The two left and Indra followed with a distance between them.

And they were so drunk, they didnt realize it.

"Let's get out of here before she figures out I lied." Indra heard Uncle Uncle say and winked to Sakura. Sakura bellowed out laughing as they left the door and walked—swayed—down the block. Sakura's arm locked with Uncle Uncle.

"First bar down and we only left because a gun got put to your face. Certainly, we're off to a good start Uncle Uncle." Sakura laughed loudly. The man grinned.

"I promised you a good time, Pinky. I was getting bored there anyway. So empty. Our next spot will definitely be more fun than this." He vowed. Sakura raised an eyebrow.

"Well, all I need is drinks for fun. What can be more fun than that? Where are we going?" Uncle Uncle gave a big grin at her question.

"It's a little aways from here, so we'll have to jump the train. Say, Pinky...ya ever rode a mechanical bull before?"

"Eh? A mechanical...bull?"

"Yep!" Sakura's eyes grew with wonder.


"WOOOOOOOHOOOHOOHOOHOOOOOO!" Sakura screamed and laughed at the top of her lungs for the nth time tonight, as she road the mechanical bull in the bar she was currently on top of. With one hand gripping the part meant to hold one's self, the other threw itself in the air as she rode the mech. She was still a little wet from the rain, but that did not deter her will to stay on the mechanic for as long as possible. In fact, this was her fourth time on the mechanical ride and she was going to try and beat her previous record; as she had declared loudly to the other drinkers in the bar they were currently in.

The deal was, however many minutes you could last on the bull was however many drinks you could have on the house. Most people could only last a minute apparently. The longest record in the bar, before her arrival, was just shy of two minutes.

And she rode it for as long as she could.

Could you be the devil, could you be an angel?"

Sakura was now officially the record holder, having been on it for three, with no signs of stopping anytime soon. Patrons of the bar cheered and roared, as the pace of the bull picked up more and more and she was all too lost to the fun. She drunkenly laughed and waved her arm in the air without losing balance incredibly, despite her state. Her heels were off, since she wasn't allowed to walk onto the cushioned safety mat that surrounded the bull with them on.

Phissicaly flowing, leaves my body glowing."

And Indra watched from across the way as time seemed to slow. His eyes scanned her raised office skirt—she obviously didn't care about showing her legs off gloriously as she rode. Thankfully, it didn't ride up all the way, allowing for some "coverage", if you could call a few inches shy of being completely revealing coverage. And his eyes couldn't help but stare at the way her body moved as she rode the bull. His imagination started going, it made him feel all that more desperate to get to her. His eyes hazed.


Sakura, most definitely, grew up into a very fine woman...and when she closed her eyes, and her head lulled back, and she gave that moan to match the one that sounded in the remixed song of E.T. by Tiesto, his desire for her grew. That sensual face she made, that he knew was just from her drunkenly feeling the music, and being on top of the bull piled on his imagination. No one could match his want for her.

Save for maybe the Uchiha. He acknowledged the rival in that regard.

And the song lyrics...maybe he was starting to get buzzed from the few drinks he had while watching out for her, because he almost felt like she was singing it to him. Even though he knew she wasn't. It was his own desire for her to sing those words to him.

"Kiss me. K-K-Kiss me!
Infect me with your loving!
Fill me with your poison!
Take me! T-T-Take me!
Wanna be a victim,
Ready for abduction!"

His eyes hazed and he wanted nothing more than to do what the lyrics said already.

"Oi! Oi! A drink, girly!" Uncle Uncle yelled and held out a capped cup of liquor for her. As promised, he provided every drink she needed and called for, and she had no cares in the world. Just as the mechanical bull ride turned, she grabbed the drink appreciatively in her free hand with so much ease, you'd think she had actually done something like this before. She hadn't, of course. She didn't even know this place existed in the uptown part of the city.

But, by the Gods, she was having so much fun. If she remembered any bit of this tomorrow—and at this point, that was a big if —she was going to want to do it again. She drank as the mechanism jerked and thrashed and she stayed on top whilst drinking. And she enjoyed to spinning lights and faces and the bumping music.

Back, forward, left, right, circles; it didn't really matter which way the thing turned or wrenched. She finished taking her gulps and continued to ride. Faster and harder it maneuvered until finally at around five minutes, she fell off and onto the safety mat below. She stayed on her back, magically holding her cup in the air without spilling a single drop.

"Folks, we have a officially have a new record from our new rodeo darling of the night!" The host of the bar yelled into the mic and the people cheered.

"Teeeeheeeheeeeeeeeeee! That was so much fun! Again! I wanna go again!" Sakura giddily said, still giggling as Uncle Uncle came to help her up with her shoes in hand. She pulled back down her office skirt, as she had the other times she got off. She was almost unable to contain her excitement nor her adrenaline. Uncle Uncle gave her a cheeky grin.

"Already got your name on the list again, sweetheart. You've got a few people ahead of ya though. You've inspired them. Their -hic- trying to break your record!" He proclaimed to her and Sakura gave a drunkenly competitive smirk as they headed out of the ring and she put her shoes back on.

"I can do better! I just wasn't prepared for that last turn!" She scoffed pridefully, with a big grin on her face as the two made their way to the bar.

"And with a new record time of five minutes and twenty-three seconds, our new rodeo darling, here at the Black Bull, Sakura!" The host said, bringing the mic to Sakura's face. She chuckled and she received a round of applause and whistles from the bar.

"Thank you! Thank you!" She slurred and grinned with the cheers she received from the crowd. Suddenly, Uncle Uncle's shoulder was grabbed. He was turned and punched, falling to the ground a few feet away. Sakura kneeled to him.

"Uncle Uncle!" She called out worriedly, before she snapped her attention towards the man, who assaulted Uncle Uncle, only to see three other guys approaching. The other patrons of the bar made space, not wanting be caught in the altercation.

"What the hell was that for, asshole!" Sakura yelled angrily, helping Uncle Uncle up.

"O-Oh dear...I didn't think they'd be here." Uncle Uncle exclaimed, rubbing his hurting cheek. Her eyes glared at the bastards. Indra, still across the way, glared, not liking the way this was looking. It looked like she was about to be in danger. Should he step in? But, he didn't want to show himself to her yet. He didn't want her smiles and laughter to stop, even if they came from intoxicated pain and grieving. He watched Uncle Uncle pull Sakura behind him, rather than her current position beside him.

"Eh? Uncle Uncle?" She questioned from behind.

"Don't worry, cherry blossom. This is my business."

"So, here you are? Having fun? You owe us money bastard! Where is it?!" The leader yelled. The men he brought with him started cracking their knuckles and making threatening glares. These men, intruding on her good time, were an eyesore to her. They were causing trouble and it was bothering her.

"I don't have it right now. I thought I still had another month to pay back? What's the deal, fella's?" Uncle Uncle tried to reason, a goodwilling smile on his drunk and long bearded face. The guy got up to his face and pulled out a switchblade.

"Well I want my money now. You have it don't you? Entertaining such a fine woman the way you are. Drinks and all." The man smirked and looked to Sakura. He licked his lips. Indra glared at the statement. He didn't like where this was going at all. If Uncle Uncle had a month to pay them back, then they undoubtedly were bothering him for it now...because of her.

They wanted her.

"Maybe I'll let you slide, if you let me take her as payment." Indra's eyes widened with anger and fury as his thoughts just became confirmed. And it made him tremble with anger.

'How dare he…' His mind started seething. He was about to step forward…until he noticed Sakura, push Uncle Uncle rather gently to the side, so she was exposed to the man who stood feet away with his two goons. She stepped forward. Sakura's head tilted. The man still stared at her lewdly, whilst unbeknownst to him, he just made the biggest mistake of his life.

He said something very, very wrong, that very Drunk Sakura did not like.

"Eeeeeeeeeeehhhh?" She sounded out, before Uncle Uncle could even respond. She pushed the older man aside gently, drunken eyes glaring at the thug. To her, he looked like nothing. He was nothing and neither were his goons behind him, compared to the bastards she faced off with in the slums. Nothing compared to Sasori. A low rate, low ranked shrimp who had no idea who he just insulted the way he did.

The man, ever so naively, smirked down at her; oblivious to what he just got himself into. Then again, why would any man feel threatened by a drunk thin woman, standing at five-foot-six with her heels on.

"What, little lady? I understand if the offer doesn't sound all that appealing to you, but I promise, we'll give you a good time. Hell, we'll provide anything you need all night. We're good gentlemen." The man smugly proclaimed. Sakura stared blankly, her head tilting a bit more as she slowly and drunkenly took in the man's words for her own inebriated comprehension.

"Neh? Really? Is that soooo? You'll give me all the alcohol I want?" She asked, just to be sure she heard him right. Uncle Uncle grabbed her shoulder.

"Pinky, what are you—" She stopped his questioning and worried whispers mid-sentence with a shotty lift of her first finger, gesturing him to shut up. He silenced instantly, just from her aura alone, if it wasn't the lifted digit. The woman was giving off a malicious energy the men weren't picking up on. And what's more is that, when Uncle Uncle took a look at her face, all his drunken gaze could see, was that she was malevolently excited. She was smirking, wildly, and her drunken eyes, though the inexperienced would be unable to tell, were glaring dangerously.

Indra watched with intrigue. It had been years since he last saw her in action. Could she really do this drunk?

"All the alcohol and more, sweetheart. Whatever you want." The man smirked, unknowingly digging his own grave even more. Sakura's head lifted, into a cocky, down looking poise, even though the guys were taller than her. Her maliciously glimmering eyes and the smirk on her face grew into an almost sadistic grin, already seeing them as small. She even gave an overly amused and drunken chuckle, from anticipation and enthusiasm.

'Finally!' She thought, as if she had been waiting for this and despite her intoxication, she had. It was about damn time she had some fun. She was waiting for a moment like this. She needed to cut loose for a moment. She really wanted to let off some steam. She wanted to hit a lot of things. She wanted to hit something so badly. It would make her feel so good right now. At this moment in time, she didn't know why she wanted to hit something so badly, but surely it would make her feel so good. Especially with these assholes. These guys could prove to be a good workout, if their physiques meant anything at all.

This was just what she needed. Along with another drink, which she took a swing of, after taking taking of the cap and drinking it straight from the cup, rather than the straw she was given.

"Welll-heh-hell then…," She scoffed out after she brought the empty cup back down. She handed it to Uncle Uncle to hold. She ran a hand through her hair, sighed in exhilaration and without warning, dashed for them with a speed they obviously weren't ready for. She was in the leader's face, before he even realized it, with a fist ready to punch.

"You've gotta take me first, asshole." She snarled viciously, with her equally vicious smile.

He wasn't ready for the sweep kick she did, having faked that she was going to throw a punch. Once his back hit the floor, and she maneuvered to dive her fist into his face, hard. She certainly felt his nose break and she felt an elate satisfaction from it. Her eyes widened with excitement and her smirk turned into a grin.

Oh yes. That felt so good.

She was right about her own needs, as subconscious as they were. From the way that sent shivers down her spine, that was just what she needed and with that she gave another punch with her next fist, feeling another crack. She felt footsteps approaching her and after dodging an all too predictable swing, she flipped the man into the other also approaching her. They scrambled to get up from on top of each other but Sakura took the liberty of stomping on one of their ankles; which one from which man, she had no clue, but they weren't getting up.

She just grabbed the last one that wasn't screaming, by the collar.

"Heyyy…cutie!" She greeted, smiling sweetly, like Tsunade taught her so many years ago.

"Always show kindness to those you humble, Sakura!" Tsunade once said to her years ago, after beating a man to a pulp with a smile on her face. That was her answer when Sakura—fearfully—questioned why she was smiling as beating the man to a pulp. And she was right. Whether it was the fear brought about from being beat senseless, or the fear instilled in him with the woman smiling as she beat him senseless, he never bothered her again. The man she beat to swollen bruises, never disrespected her again in the slightest. He dared not even looked at her the wrong way. If he passed her by, the man instantly gave his curtsey of respect to Tsunade and never said another word.

And the heavens forbid his friends tried were warned, instantly by him, only to usually meet the same fate when they didn't listen. He'd even apologize to Tsunade for them, explaining warily that he had tried to stop them.

"I hope this teaches you a lesson." She exclaimed, lifting her fist and giving the last man the punch of his life. A single, one punch knockout. She looked around, the stunned bar as they stared at not only their new record holder, but the woman who had just easily taken down three grown men by herself, and stood smirkingly triumphant. The one who was still screaming at his broken ankle, was knocked out in a few seconds with a kick to his face.

Indra was just as stunned as everyone else who watched the spectacle. He supposed his earlier worries of her skills and instincts weren't as dulled as they thought. It seemed, over the years, she had gotten faster and stronger too. Even while drunk.

And then, Sakura started searching their pockets.

"C-Cherry Blossom! W-Wait! Isn't this overboard?!" Uncle Uncle tried to stop her as she took the cash the men had in their pockets and wallets. She at least put their wallets back. Sakura snickered.

"Don't forget the compensation Sakura!" Tsunade drunkenly said once, doing the same thing. As the woman had explained to young Sakura at the time, when she questioned her the way Uncle Uncle was now, they started it. They were assholes, who stole her good time and made her have to do what she did. Tsunade rationalized, it was only fair they paid for it, and not just with a righteous beating.

"They're assholes and now, we can buy even more drinks! He said he'd give me all the alcohol I wanted." She exclaimed, her cheshire-cat grin growing wider, whilst holding the money out for him to see, as if it was an award. Uncle Uncle stared at her, completely baffled, before bellowing out a loud laugh.

"Guess that settles it then! To the bar!" Uncle Uncle pointed in the direction. She stood grinning, with the wads of cash in her hands. She gave it to Uncle Uncle to hold, since she didn't really have pockets.

"Hey! You little bitch! Who do you think you are?!" They heard and Sakura's head whirled. Apparently, these guys weren't alone. A group of six were coming this time. She stood clutching the bills she hadn't handed to Uncle Uncle to her chest. And most notably the one who called out to her was huge. Huge. Was he seven feet tall? And his build, he looked like a body builder. The other guys weren't as impressive and she was sure she could take them. But the huge guy, was rather intimidating.

"Oh shit. He's huge." Sakura mumbled.

"Can't fight these guys, Cherry?"

"Ehh...Maybe?" She grinned guiltily. Uncle Uncle grabbed her wrist giving her a shameless grin.

"Then we're out of here, Pinky!" He yelled, running towards the back exit of the bar with her and the cash in tow. Out into the now light rain they ran.

"GET BACK HERE!" The men gave chase, only to be stopped, by Indra's hand.

"Who the hell do you—"

Indra pulled out money. A lot of money.

"Let it go." He said very simply, dropping the money on the floor and leaving. He looked around, seeing Sakura and Uncle Uncle run through the alley the back exit led to.

And he followed as discreetly as possible, knowing they would be looking back for their already stopped pursuers.

"I think we lost them." Sakura panted out, now standing in another alleyway with Uncle Uncle. The two panted from their run, before the two bursted out in laughter.

"Pinky! You are something else! You are out of this world, I tell's ya! I've never seen a girl fight like you!" He bellowed out.

"Thank you! Here. I think I dropped some bills while we ran but, you still have the rest right?" She asked, still chuckling and giggling with him. He nodded.

"Sure do! We're off on our next adventure!" Uncle Uncle declared and started walking, with Sakura following beside him.

"Where to now?"


"Irene, goodnight
Irene, goodnight
Goodnight, Irene
Goodnight, Irene
I'll see you in my dreams"

Indra watched, not singing along with the song. After having to hear it for the nth time in this place, in just three hours, and their apparent customs to the song, he truly had enough of it.

But she obviously didn't, and neither did the rest of the lively bar.

A large grand smile was plastered on Sakura's drunkenly blushing face as she sang along with the rest of the entire slurred bar. Her shoes were gone and she was on top of the bar counter with Uncle Uncle and a few others of the saloon-like bar in a line. They all swayed in sync, to the rhythm of the song. She had her arms over the shoulders of those next to her sides: on her left, Uncle Uncle and to her right, a woman whose name she forgot already, whilst her right hand was holding a bottle given to her by the bartender. The people next to her laughed with her and she went on to sing with everyone.

The bar located on the midtown westside of Konoha was full, even on a Wednesday night like this and Sakura had long stopped caring about what happened in the world. Tomorrow could be the end of all living things and for all she cared right now, she just wanted to keep singing and dancing. She had no idea what time it was, nor did she care for it. It was nighttime, she knew that much. She was too happy to care.

"Last Saturday night I got married
Me and my wife settle down
Now me and my wife are parted
I'm gonna take another stroll in town"

This had to have been the hundredth time they sang this song in the bar tonight. Some lifted their beers and drinks in praise, others danced, others whistled and yelled out the lyrics. One of the other patrons of the bar, hopped onto the counter with their swaying line. A young drunk and tan man lifted her bridal style and pulled her away from the line, making her laugh and kick her legs lightly in giddiness. He spun around with her in his arms. He jumped over to another table of patrons—customary to the bar's practice during this song and a reason Indra was so aggravated every time it played.

As she sang and held on, her entire world lost to singing and laughter. Shiny lights and merry faces passing her vision, coupled with the beautifully cheery music; Sakura felt nothing but joy.

"Irene, goodnight
Irene, goodnight
Goodnight, Irene
Goodnight, Irene
I'll see you in my dreams"

Her voice was still the most heard. At least to her drunken self. She was only quiet when taking a sip of her whiskey, in which event, she was happy to hear the rest of the bar sing along. She laughed the hardest she ever had in awhile. Too bad she wasn't going to remember a thing. A real shame to not remember such a glorious and fun night.

The man put her down, still holding her at the waist as she wrapped her arms around his neck, still holding the bottle in one hand. They informally waltzed to the beat, on top of the wooden table, both of them still singing as Sakura grinned with blissful joy. Her eye caught someone in the bar dancing funny, not on rhythm at all and she couldn't help but bellow out in laughter, drunkenly putting her head against the shoulder of the man holding her. Even so, the jollies of the bar continued, enabling her to rejoin them in the next verse.

"Sometimes I live in the country
Sometimes I live in town
Sometimes I have a great notion
To jump in the river and drown"

Goal achieved. She didn't remember anything. She didn't even know what day it was. She didn't remember what happened today—if that was even still today—and she was happy for it. Ignorance truly was bliss and Sakura was more than happy to indulge herself in it. What was work? What was life itself if not this joyous, drunken moment? What did she have to sulk and cry over? Why should she, when she was so happy right now?

She and the stranger looked each other in the eyes, both orbs glazed with the influence of alcohol. She stared into dark orbs, the drunken blush on her face darkening after having taken that last swig of hers. The man stared at her, his eyes growing tender and gentle, even through their own drunken haze. It was a portrait of drunken strangers and whether the interpretation of their gazes into each other's eyes was drunken misjudgment or fated love at first sight, would be in the eye of the beholder.

And Indra watched with a glare towards the man.

"Irene, goodnight
Irene, goodnight
Goodnight, Irene
Goodnight, Irene
I'll see you in my dreams"

She didn't want this night to end. She didn't want to leave. This was a night she didn't even want to forget, but she knew she wouldn't remember in the afternoon when she would probably wake up, if it wasn't the evening instead. Or the next day with how much she had been drinking. At the final few lines, she heard the man say something but wasn't sure if she was just imagining it between the music and cheers in the bar.

"Goodnight beauty. Goodnight beauty. I'll see you in my dreams." He caressed her face at the end for emphasis and in drunk disregard about it, she only giggled before singing the next verse to the man with a playful scorn.

"Stop ramblin', and stop gamblin'!
Quit staying out late at night!
Go home to your wife and family!
Stay there by the fireside bright!"

She drank as the man lifted her bridal style again, swinging and cradling her like a baby. Uncle Uncle was passing by, signaling for the bottle she had, and still singing the lyrics with the rest of the bar. Sakura eyed him and tossed the bottle only to laugh at the sour look on the bearded man's face as he realized it was empty and placed it on the table they were on. The people sitting at the table laughed at his misfortune.

The older drunk grinned, making them all laugh again as he pulled out two more bottles of dark alcohol, waiting to be drinked. He appeared to snicker as she reached her hands out excitedly, almost making herself and the man fall as he struggled to keep them both from tumbling over. She only laughed loudly, not a care in the world as she cracked open the bottle and drank, the guy holding her having finally found his balance.

Irene, goodnight
Irene, goodnight
Goodnight, Irene
Goodnight, Irene
I'll see you in my dreams"

Some people cheered while others made their singing voices louder even though it was the end of the song. The bar cheered and roared after the song came to an end. They had to have been the loudest bar on the street and she appreciated it. Sakura was a giggling mess in the arms of the man, swaying drunkenly as he put her down, still holding her at the waist.

The next song began to play. It was a beautiful song; one of loss and finding. A song of a bittersweet world, and a wayward life as told by the accordion and the piano in it. A song that calmed the chattering bar from the previous uproar of "Goodnight, Irene" and it did the same for her. Her soul itself seemed to calm, as she stared into the man's eyes and they swayed. The trumpets came in, bringing on a sense of hope.

"So what's your name beautiful?" The man asked and he gave her a friendly smile. Sakura giggled in flattery.

"My name's Sa-ku-ra. Yours?" She slurred and beamed brightly. The man gave a grin.

"I'm Morio." He said, smiling brightly at her. Sakura smiled cutely, the blush on her face from the alcohol accentuating her cuteness further.

"I appreciated the dance Morio. Let's dance again when the more upbeat music comes back!" She offered excitedly. The man's eyes grew in excitement, a bright smile coming to his face.

"Really?!" He exclaimed with excitement. Sakura nodded, laughing and swaying with him. Uncle Uncle came back, drinking his bottle.

"Oi! Get your hands off my girl, runt!" He yelled, jokingly grinning. Morio laughed too, giving a snarky smirk.

"As if for one second I'd believe such a beautiful girl is yours, Uncle Uncle! Not a chance in hell!" He shouted back, pulling Sakura to him even closer.

"Oh, but she is for tonight! Ain't that right, Pinky?" The bearded man winked and Sakura chuckled again, before getting a snarky look in her eye.

"Hmmmm, I don't knooooow. He is a little more handsome than you, Uncle Uncle." She giggled out playfully, grinning towards the man she was still against and wrapping both arms around the tanned man's neck, while she nudged her head beneath his chin. Morio blushed, giving a big grin and Uncle Uncle gasped, faking a hurt look on his face.

Indra's hands clenched into fists. The two hours they had been in this bar, she was starting to get feely. When that song played, and the men came up to the bar line to lift the women in the swaying line, she had become flirtatious and the man before her wasn't the first to gain her affection, though it never went further than a touch of their chests, or a shuffle of her body against theirs. And he hated having to see it.

It was worse than watching her kiss the Uchiha. At least, then, it was one man who was the receiver of her touch and affections. Not more. Not the other unworthy bastards who undoubtedly wanted her tonight.

If he had known things would start going this far, he would have made contact with her sooner. Screw waiting until she was alone, he didn't want to watch another second of her being in another man's grasps.

"You wound me my love! How could you?!" He cried dramatically. Sakura laughed, pulling away.

"You will always have my heart Uncle Uncle! But now we must part our ways!" Sakura said just as dramatically, throwing an arm across her eyes for more dramatic effect. She leaned back dramatically with a foot in the air, while Morio held her up from falling back in one arm. People watching laughed as Uncle Uncle grabbed a nearby friend, pain in his eyes.

"Oh, Gintoki! She wounds me ever more! Woe is me! Woe is me!" The light blue haired man Uncle Uncle had grabbed laughed boisterously, wrapping an arm around the older man's shoulders and lifted his mug of beer in the other.

"Lady luck's not on your side old man! Let me know when you need another drink for those wounds of yours! You too, pretty lady! Say the word and another bottle's yours!" He addressed her.

"I love this place!" Sakura laughed out, before she looked around with a drunken distraction.

"Where are my shoes?! I'm going for a smoke out back!" Sakura yelled out. Indra's eyes lowered. She had started doing that in this bar. He didn't take her to be a smoker. She saw some guys go for a smoke out back and had asked them for one eagerly, which of course they gave. And she'd smoke in the back. She had asked for them all night and was offered all night as well.

But she hadn't been alone yet.

"Oi!" The bartender yelled, holding the blue pumps in the air from behind the bar. In his other hand, the bartender held out a single cigarette for her.

"I'll get it!" Morio volunteered quickly, letting her go and rushing to get what she wanted and needed. Sakura giggled in place, taking a swig of her alcohol straight from the bottle, swaying from side to side with the music currently playing. Sakura brought down her bottle just in time for Morio to come. He held out her shoe, offering it like she was Cinderella at the shoe fitting. A perfect fit for her size six feet.

When the shoes were on, he lifted her at the hips and brought her down. Sakura stumbled just a bit, laughing and taking the cigarette from where he placed it on the table before getting her off it.

"Thank you!" She beemed brightly, and walked to the back.

Upon being greeted by the back door, she unceremoniously kicked it open, earning a laugh from the patrons who had seen.

And Indra noticed, no one followed this time. Now...Now was the time.

'What a perfect night.' She thought gleefully to herself. Nothing to worry about. Nothing to care about. She could just exist and live; she could be here in the moment. Just like this. No past, no future; just the present. Just the now, was enough for her. And all the fun. All the bubbly and good fun she had tonight, she really did hope she remembered at least a little of it tomorrow, even if that wasn't feasible. Not with how much she had been drinking tonight. Maybe she'd at least get a few flashbacks.

Sakura walked outside, the back door of the bar she had been in leading to a backstreet alleyway. It had stopped raining, she noted. Alone and lighting her cigarette with a lighter she got from somewhere she didn't remember and had stashed into her bra, she took a puff, watching blankly as the smoke left her lips.

She could still hear the music from out here. The song had continued into a somber but overly hopeful violin, so beautifully played she felt the somber hope the song portrayed. Her eyes lowered as she took another puff. She didn't smoke much and she tried not to make habits of it. She found she only did it when angry...or upset and drunk like this.

Returning memories she had kept at bay for however long she had been gone filled her drunken eyes with tears. Probably thanks to the piano, that wretched memory was coming back to haunt her. She started trembling. With a swig of her bottle she kept those damned feelings of sorrow and pain at bay, chugging down the bottle without thought.

That was it. That was what she needed. Just forget it. Forget everything.

'Forget what again?' She mentally asked herself, as she brought down the bottle from her lips. And the liquor had to have been catching up to her officially now, because she suddenly felt nauseous and dizzy. However, against her body's personal protest at digesting more liquor and with only the inebriated thought to get even drunker than she already was, she lifted to drink again.

"Sakura…" She flinched at the familiar voice, so caught by surprise she choked on her liquor and spat it out. She coughed, gasping as her throat burned completely thanks to the substance.

Her next bodily response was to rush to the back alley wall, dropping her bottle and the cigarette to hold it for support and proceed to violently vomit as much stomach content as possible in a matter of seconds; which appeared to be nothing but liquids and stomach bile. Probably all the alcohol she had been drinking for the night.

The man who said her name rushed towards her, holding her hair whilst rubbing her back, as she retched and gagged almost excruciatingly. One of her hands reached and grasped for his shirt to stay up, as if needing him as her lifeline if the wall just so happened to fly away from her somehow. Her hand clenched so tight, he felt her shake. Finally done, she was left panting and coughing heavily, staring down at the liquidity contents that just released themselves from her body.

As soon as she could gather herself and she thought she was okay, she slowly looked over to who was holding her. Upon landing her sight on who it was helping her, she froze in her hunched over place, her eyes cringed at the man before her. His name was a quiet whisper from her lips.


He stayed quiet, staring at the state she was in. At first glance, she looked alright but with everything he witnessed tonight, he was certain she was beyond drunk. Her half lidded eyes were proof of it. He had followed her this whole time from a distance, waiting for a moment to get her alone. But she just kept on. She went to that bar. She had that bottle in the alley. She had been drinking and bar-hopping with the old man ever since then. She didn't even eat anything. Her vomiting nothing but bile proved that further.

His dark eyes stared with concern, and his brown eyebrows furrowed with an equal amount of worry. She drank so much today, nonstop. Not even water in between. Had Karin's plan really affected her this much? His eyes pained with guilt when her eyes began filling with tears, a single one escaping her eye. She looked away and sloppily wiped her mouth.

"I-Indra…w-why...why are you here? W-What are you doing here?" She whimpered as he lifted his hand, reaching to caress a tear away. His other hand to wipe away the stray liquor she spewed from her lips. He had to take care of her. In this state, she couldn't be left alone.

Was no one searching for her? Was the Uchiha not looking for her? Surely, he was, wasn't he? How bad were things between them at the moment?

To be honest, he still didn't know the details, but if she was like this;

"He hurt you that badly…" He said his conclusion quietly, watching as she began to spew more tears. That sentence; that single, factual statement had undone all the binge drinking she had put so much work into.

She broke, again. Her blank face slowly twisted into a tortured expression, teeth gritted and all. She hiccupped and as gently as he could he brought her in for a tight embrace. In his arms, she cried harder, grabbing him tightly. She shook and trembled with her sobs, that turned wailing in full blown hysteria. He hushed her softly, tenderly stroking her hair.

"It's alright. I'm here..." He told her softly, as she continued to cry in grief and turmoil. He lifted her tear ridden face to look at him with the cupping of her chin, staring into her tear stained face and tortured eyes. The sight pained him.

But she didn't tear away from him, like she had before. She was even embracing him back. She was embracing him just as she used to before. Their faces were just inches away. He wished she didn't have the tears on her face or the pain in her heart. He wished it was gone.

Then, that would make this moment everything he ever wanted. Her smiling face and warm eyes would make this moment absolutely perfect.

"I'm here. I promise Sakura...I'm here and I'm here to stay, for as long as you need me to. Whatever you need." He promised tenderly, watching as his words brought more tears to her eyes. She hiccupped again, placing her face into his chest again and sobbed into his black button down shirt. Her body trembled and her grip on him tightened. He embraced her even more tightly. What had Karin done? What had he allowed her to do?

'What did that wench do?!' He couldn't help but angrily question mentally, for the sake of specifics.

"You were right. You were right…" She cried against him, those same words she said earlier. He stayed quiet, listening to her sob and wail. This was his penance. For allowing whatever happened to happen...he deserved to see the fruits of his labor, no matter how rotten they were.

His chest ached. He didn't like this. Sakura was absolutely suffering in his arms and all he could do was watch. This was technically all his fault. If he didn't allow the woman into the building with him, it wouldn't have happened. If he had warned the Uchiha of the plot before leaving, it wouldn't have happened.

Instead, out of envy, desire and desperate hope...he kept his mouth shut. He allowed everything to transpire and this was his reward for it all.

"Come with me. You shouldn't drink any more, for tonight. Did you leave anything inside?" He asked, gently grabbing one of her hands, though he was sure she didn't. He doubted it. She left with nothing back at the other bar when she ran from there. And having watched her all night, he was sure she hadn't obtained any new valuables, unless he missed it among the crowd.

She shook her head, still with her face buried into his chest. She sniffed, pulled away a bit and attempted to wipe her eye of its tear, but Indra beat her to it. And as he wiped it away, he felt even more guilt for allowing her to go through this.

Then, he noted once again, how she wasn't tearing away from his hand. Through her wet tears he was able to touch her soft skin. In their embrace, he felt her slender and curvy frame against him. She was grabbing him with need in return. His eyes pained again, filling with guilt...and then he remembered what Karin said.

"All you have to do, is wait for her to come running to you. She'll be crying and hurt, but she'll be yours..."

That's what the woman said. And whatever she did, it came true. She was crying and hurt...but here she was. She was in his arms.

It must have seemed disgusting. He was trying to obtain her heart again through such vicarious means, and it led to her crying in his arms like this. And yet, like this, he...was finally able to hold her again. He was able to have her in his arms without her telling him to get away. He pulled her in for another embrace, cradling her head like he used to years ago. Like he always wanted to after having to be seperated from her that day.

He didn't know how Karin's end of the plan went. He hadn't contacted the vile woman, and he was most likely never going to, but...her plan did work, for him. She was here. She was in his arms and she wasn't pulling away.

In a way he wasn't at all proud of...she was his.

"It will be alright, Sakura. I promise. Everything will be fine. I'll buy you anything you need. Let's get you home." He said, holding her a bit more tightly. He left his car back near Uchiha Corps, having followed her on foot all night. They would have to take a cab and he'd have one of his servants fetch his car tomorrow.

"I don't want -hic- I don't want to go home. Don't...Don't take me home, please." She hiccuped against him. He nodded at her request.

"I have somewhere else you can stay. Okay?" He said softly, and she nodded with gratitude.

"Oi, oi! Who do you think you are, grabbing my lady like that?! Who're you!?" Indra heard and he glared. He turned his gaze to see the old man she had been with all night. Indra was about to retort angrily, especially for that "my lady" comment, only for Sakura to turn and smile, even with tears falling down her face. Her hands waved in front of her with rebuttal and in defense of Indra. Indra's eyes filled with a painful stare again.

She smiled so beautifully, even while her smile showed so much pain. So bright, even in her own darkness...how was that even possible? How was it possible to show so much beauty whilst in turmoil?

Alcohol must really be magic.

"I-It's okay, -hic- Uncle Uncle! N-No need to worry! I -hic- I know him. H-He's an old friend." She explained away. The man stumbled a little closer, giving a sloppy burp and a raised eyebrow.

"That so, eh? So he's joining us on our crusade?" The man questioned with a plastered grin. Indra said nothing. Technically, he had already joined them for the entirety of their so-called crusade already. And after having watched and held Sakura as she violently vomited all over the wall and the floor, he was certain she was done for the night.

Thankfully, Sakura appeared to believe the same, even in this state.

"A-Actually -hic- he's gonna take me home. I-I'm done. I yakked all over, over there." Her voice slurred, gesturing to the spot where she vomited her liquid guts out; but the happiness it faked was obvious. The tears were still flowing out her eyes and her smile looked so broken it was painful. Indra stared at her, keeping a hold on her. The old man, though drunk himself, gave a serious look.

"You sure, Pinky?" She nodded at his claim. Be it the comradery the man gave her for the night or just that she had so much fun thanks to the older man, she hastily gave him a heartfelt hug. Uncle Uncle gave it back, with a sad smile, bonded to her through the pain he knew she felt and had felt himself.

"Thank you for tonight! Thank you for everything...I hope we meet again!" She said, pulling away with tears still in her eyes and a smile on her face. He gave her a cheeky grin back.

"Well then, until next time, Pinky. I wish you the best. Don't forget about your favorite neighborhood Uncle!" He said and watched Sakura sway back towards Indra. Uncle Uncle ran a hand down his large beard, looking back towards Indra with a glare. He watched the younger, brown haired fellow look down at her with a longing in his eyes and he watched the man caress a tear away from her face. Uncle Uncle's brow furrowed a bit.

The woman that man was touching was heartbroken. She was in pain and he knew what that remorseful and yet adoring look was in Indra's eyes. As he wrapped an arm around her shoulder with a reassuring squeeze, he knew exactly the relation this man had to her and he knew what the man wanted from her.

In fact...that same look had been given to the woman he had loved all those years ago, as she cried to him. It was the same one that had stolen her heart from him. Thirty-five years ago, the woman of his dreams cried to another man over him...and she left him after it.

So Uncle Uncle couldn't help his next grudging statement. If this was the same situation, the other man she was heartbroken over had no idea...he might just lose her tonight.

He might lose her forever.

"Before you go, piece of advice, lad." Uncle Uncle addressed him crudely and Indra glared back dangerously, still holding Sakura close to him.

"A woman's broken heart is not yours to take." Indra glared at the statement, grabbing Sakura's hand and not bothering with a response.

He didn't want to think about that. Sakura's heart may have been broken but he had absolute faith he would be able to fix her again. She was crying now, but soon, she'd be giving him that beautiful and sparkling smile. He'd do anything and everything to make her smile again, whether the man knew it or not. She'd be fine, the moment he made her forget about Sasuke.

And if tonight proved anything with all his time spent watching her, she could forget about him. It took massive amounts of liquor, but she could forget him. If he just gave her time to heal from her current wounds, she could forget she loved the Uchiha...and love him instead. If he replaced himself with the place Sasuke had made in her heart, she wouldn't have to cry anymore ever again.

He'd make her happy. Anything and everything she could ever want, she'd have. Anywhere she wanted to go, anything at all, would be hers if she asked. Whatever she wanted, he'd give.

"Let's go, Sakura." She stumbled beside him, tripping a bit from a pothole and her heels and he caught her before she could fall as she shrieked. He caught her. He swept her into his arms, carrying her bridal style, to relieve her of the struggle that was walking while absolutely plastered. He secured her and gripped her close.

"I've got you." He said tenderly.

"Aah...thank you…I ran and...danced a lot...don't think I can walk anymore." She slurred. He inwardly chuckled in slight disbelief. Was she seriously blaming the fact that she couldn't walk anymore on all the running and dancing she did? Running and dancing was her reason for her immobility. Not the massive amounts of liquor she drank.

'No human should be able to walk after how much she drank.' He regretfully thought as he walked with her in his arms. The guilt racked his mind again, as he remembered the only reason she was in his arms like this was because she was hurt. The only reason he had her now was because she was heartbroken and he was partially to blame.

However...feeling her body in his grasp and her head shift into his neck, erased all feelings of guilt entirely. As she wrapped her arms limply around his neck for her own hold on him and she rested her drowsy eyes, he lost all care for what happened between her and the Uchiha.

It didn't matter, when she was holding him like this. It didn't matter, when he was able to finally hold her like this. It didn't matter, with her face shoving itself into his neck, for comfort. He had always wanted to carry her like this. For all these years.

So, even if it was just for the moment, even if it was wrong, he lost all guilt entirely.

They arrived at his penthouse. He had several properties in Konoha, only opting to stay in his hotel when the press was hot with the lead that his family was in town. Thankfully, they didn't know about this location. He watched her from the open kitchen as she walked around and surveyed the large living room. He wouldn't have been able to believe it if it weren't happening right now. She really was here. She was standing there and, for him, it was a dream.

He watched her sway a bit and came to her with a glass of water.

"Here Sakura." She took it gratefully, and drank, before her eyes darted to the windows.

"So, this is where you stay?" Sakura slurred, a glass of water in hand and walking away from him and towards the large windows. From the height she could see a lot of the downtown city landscape, the lights twinkling like stars across the river.

Indra came up behind her, staring at her rosette strands of hair. The last time he ever got to truly appreciate the beautiful locks, they cascaded down her waist and blew in the wind. He wondered when she cut it. What made her cut those long locks he had admired so fondly when they were younger? What else had he missed in the years of their separation? What else had she been through?

"I don't really stay that much in Konoha anymore...but this is one of my places, should I happen to have to be here. I would have taken you back to my hotel, but I figured this is better for your comfort." He answered. His hand lifted, touching a strand of her hair lightly, and his eyes pained. For so long, he wished she had stood here like this with him. For all these years he loved her and wanted her and now she was finally here.

It probably happened right then and there, when she smiled at him so beautifully and reached out her hand to him, with little Yota at her side after saving him. His love for her probably started right then and there and all these years it never stopped. He never forgot it. She saved him in so many ways that afternoon.

A spoiled, rich and scared child he was and she became a sudden symbol of strength, hope and freedom. Like he told the Uchiha earlier today, she helped him see what it was like to actually live. She revealed to him, and the Uchiha, their birthed and planned lives that they lived, was not actually living and he wished things had been different.

Her life was hard and difficult, but he watched personally for the few months she sheltered him as she faced it all and smiled right after. Always. In this cold and brutal world that gave her nothing, she overcame all obstacles with strength and courage and she survived; something he was sure he would never have been able to do. And not only did she survive, she thrived right after. She was the very personification of Spring; the season that flourished and gave life after the harshness of winter.

"The view's beautiful." She murmured and he agreed. She may have been talking about the view, the city lights of Downtown Konoha. But her hair was just one of the prettiest things about her. He gently lifted his hand, stroking her hair and then trailing his caress down her shoulder and arm, finally, to hold her hand. She turned back around and he gripped her hand a bit more tightly.

"You always have been." He said to her tenderly, stroking her face. He watched her eyes shift downwards. Her brow was lifting and her jade orbs were glistening again with tears. She hiccupped, taking in a shaking inhale as her body started trembling. Her tears fell and he moved, pulling her to sit on the elegant couch beside them. He grabbed the water from her, seeing how she wasn't even thinking about it as she trembled and placed it on the small living table that was before them.

The moment she sat, she threw her face into her hands and cried hysterically.

"That's not…that's not true. It's not—" She whimpered.

"Don't say it isn't true, Sakura." He stopped her, grabbing her hands in his and pulling them gently from her face.

"You are so beautiful." The moment he said those words her eyes widened as if in horror. Indra was the one who said it just now, but it wasn't his voice she heard say it. She heard his voice. Sasuke's. Her mind flashed back to the first time she and Sasuke made love. He said those same exact words, looking at her so lovingly. She had believed him. She believed him so fully.

And yet…she could still see him, holding Karin against the closet wall, panting and disheveled.

"Then...why? If I'm so beautiful...why?!" She yelled, her pained eyes looked into his, and they begged him for answers. His eyes cringed with heartache. After leaving the alleyway with the old man, she had been all smiles. All painful and woeful smiles and laughs. She had danced and she sang, even rode that mechanical bull in that one place she fought three guys in and all night watching her, unless you knew she was in pain, you wouldn't have thought so. Alcohol truly was magical, to be able to suppress such heartbreak and agony and replace it with the merriment and joy she displayed, in a room full of just met and just as jovial strangers.

"Why was he in the closet with her?! Why was he almost undressed?! Why was he holding her?! He said I was beautiful. He said he loved me! He said...he said I was his everything. So why was he..." She questioned hysterically. Indra's eyes widened. Karin had gone that damningly far? He didn't know that would be her intentions.

Or...did he? Karin had said she would come crying and hurt. She said her plan was to drive a wedge between Sasuke and Sakura. She even said Sakura would be running from the Uchiha. How ignorant could he be? What did he think the woman was going to do? Play fair?

Indra grabbed her hands, closing his eyes tight with guilt and sorrow. Damn it, he didn't want this. He didn't want to see her like this. He gently lifted a hand to her face to comfort her and caress her tears away.

She was suffering. Even holding them tight, he could feel her hands shake violently. It could have even been a combination of her state and alcohol, but he couldn't help but wonder what percentage of this shaking was her pain and turmoil versus the alcohol itself. If he really had to guess, he'd say most of it was her pain and turmoil. Eighty percent? Ninety?

"W-Why…How could he do this to me…? D-Did I move too fast? D-Did I do something wrong? Was I not enough? I-Indra...w-what did I...was it me?" She cried out quietly.

"Sakura...I can assure you, it wasn't you. I'm sure it wasn't anything you did. Don't let him—" She stood violently, yanking her hands from his, before he could begin to try and console her. He watched her begin pacing, still crying her eyes out. It was terrible to see her this way.

"Don't let him, what?! Break me? Take my heart, and stomp on it right after I gave all of myself to him!? It's too late for that! I LOVED HIM WITH ALL MY HEART!" She screamed with the tears falling down her face and she stopped and stared at Indra with utter torture. His heart stopped. Gave herself to him? She and the Uchiha...the Uchiha had all of her?

Indra's eyes glared at the floor, lost to his thoughts of this new information. She had said that she loved the Uchiha before. She had told him she loved him and it made him hesitate then.

But she gave herself to him? She loved the Uchiha that much? Seeing her state now, he was truly regretting going through with this. Karin's vague plan to divide them with such a ruse did indeed work...and it worked too well—as well as too late. This set up from Karin...it happened too late. Karin's supposed efforts to "wreck their trust and destroy any hope of intimacy" happened too late. They had already been intimate.

And it led to this.

She sobbed, trembling and shaking, the tears overflowing from her tightly shut eyes and gripping her hands at her aching chest. He stood, staring at her with a sharp pain in his eyes and he slowly approached her.

"I...I loved him, I swear. I did everything that he asked. I...I tried to be good enough. I gave...I gave him all I could. I gave him all of me. I loved him...so much. I love him so much. Even now, I-I still...love him...but he..." She whimpered through her whisper. The stab wound her claim caused to his chest was not something that could be described. Just saying the searing pain and the burning sensation that pained his chest, would not even begin to remotely describe exactly what those words did to him.

"But he...he lied to me…didn't he? Everything he said was a lie, wasn't it? Was it from the start? Was he always lying to me? I never doubted his words. Not once. I never doubted anything he told me and yet, i-it...was like you said before. He just wanted my body…but why...why did he love me so much? Why did he make me love him so much?" She whimpered, and Indra found everything she was saying ironic. Because each time she spouted that the Uchiha loved her, he knew she was right. He knew the truth and he knew the Uchiha loved her the way she was describing. She may have doubted the Uchiha's love for her now, but Indra didn't.

"…I thought he loved me. It seemed like he loved me so much, nothing else mattered. I thought I was the one he wanted...I truly believed he wanted no one else except me. Just from the way he looked at me...He could look at me for just one second and I knew he loved me, Indra. So why? It doesn't…it doesn't make sense. I don't understand. I can't..." She whimpered out. Indra's eyes saddened further, remembering his talk with the Uchiha just earlier.

He didn't want this. He didn't think it would be like this. Sakura was beyond heartbroken...the pain was so immense he was feeling it himself. The more this continued, the more he was pained by it. The Sakura he loved smiled all the time, even through strife. The Sakura he loved was joyous and her eyes brought light to the world.

This...This entire thing destroyed her and he was full of remorse, even though he did nothing.

It was because he had done nothing, that she was like this.

He should have warned the Uchiha...

And he hated that he actually really was thinking like that. He hated that he was already thinking that she was better off with him...after having wanted her for all these years.

He gently squeezed her shoulders. He didn't want to say what he was about to say...but he couldn't take the pain that was in his chest. It was a pain that stemmed from her current state of torment. All these years...and where all he had ever wanted was to love her and take care of her, he was now a partial reason for her suffering.

...All he had to do was tell her the truth. He could say he knew about Karin's plot and that it was all a setup to split them apart. He didn't even have to implicate himself in it, if he chose his words right. He could say he had nothing to do with it, but that the woman had indeed approached him with the plan to separate her and Sasuke so she could have the rival for herself.

If only he wasn't a selfish bastard. If only he didn't want her so badly, after all these years.

"Sakura, maybe...maybe...it wasn't what you thought it was…" He suggested in a hesitant whisper. She stared at him back with a face full of disbelieving agony. It was a single sentence that might be his undoing of Karin's plot. He had her, and yet, he was giving her the thought, that things weren't as they seemed. If she fed into that, she would probably run back to the Uchiha…

If she loved him as much as she said she did, and if she figured out the truth, she'd undoubtedly return to the Uchiha in a heartbeat.

"Are you sure that's what truly happened? Did he not try to tell you otherwise? The Uchiha and people like me are highly desired and sought after, especially males...what you saw, it could have been something out of his control." He continued to implant the suggestion, though he took into consideration that with her current thoughts and her current condition, she probably couldn't wrap her head around such a concept. She saw what she saw and rather than even just a bit of contemplation for it, she shook her head aggressively.

And she said exactly what he thought she was going to say in this upset and drunken state.

"I don't care. I don't care anymore! It won't go away! I can't stop seeing it. I can't…I...it hurts. Just thinking about it, hurts—why won't it just go away?" She whimpered and sobbed bitterly. Indra grimaced.

"I was never going to be enough...was I? He...he would've just used me until he was done. And then he would have left me...just like you did. Because I'm not like you. I'm not from your world. He just would have abandoned me...just like you." She cried into her hands and his heart broke even more than it already was, because he knew what she meant. He knew she was talking about their past and his eyes pained at the memory of a day that wasn't supposed to happen.

"Indra-san! Where's this place you're taking us? I've never been so far up north before!" Little Yota and his scratchy voice questioned excitedly. Sakura was a little tense, but she smiled nonetheless as the two older preteens looked to the younger boy between them, who was happily holding each one of their hands. Indra smiled warmly.

"It's a nice park I thought you guys might have fun in. There's even a forest part and all that for us to run around; and I figured maybe it'd be better to play in for the day rather than in the slums. How does that sound, Yota? We can play an awesome game of hide and seek. Or tag." He suggested with a promising grin and Yota gleamed up at him with a big grin.

"It sounds like fun, Indra-san! Such fun! Such fun!" Yota exclaimed happily, shutting his eyes and starting to skip from his jovial excitement. Sakura gave a still weary smile. She had already told Indra of her wariness of being here, and he assured her it wouldn't be an issue.

She said these parts wouldn't take kindly to slum kids, and he assured her, ignorantly, that everything would be fine. And so far, it had. They passed several people, and did indeed receive looks of disgust and scorn, but they were left alone for the most part. They were just kids, minding their business and on their way to have a day of fun.

'What could possibly go wrong?' He told Sakura.

"Maybe we should save it for another day? It kind of seems like it's going to rain soon." Sakura suggested. Indra gave her a quietly perturbed glance. He wanted to take her to the park in question most avidly. There was a certain spot he wanted to show her.

And there...he'd finally tell her, he liked her. And not just liked her, as a friend or anything like that. He like-liked her. Maybe he was too young a thirteen year old boy to even know but...he loved her. He loved everything about her.

The butterflies in his stomach that she made him feel, just from smiling at him. Her smile was just the absolute best; the very definition of radiance. The feel of her hand in his. She even had this cute way of laughing out his name, so lightheartedly, it seemed like she sang it, and he absolutely adored it. He loved holding her and sleeping with her at night.

He loved it all and even if she didn't really feel the same way about him now, maybe this could be their start. They were young and had all the time in the world to figure things out. Feelings especially.

But he knew for sure, if he didn't really like her, he loved her. That was set in stone.

And his father always said to try to be as romantic as possible. He said the day he found a bride to carry on the Otsutsuki name, he would have to woo her, and spoil her. He may not have his riches and all that right now, not that Sakura knew or cared for it, but he swore to do all he can with what he could.

If he had to "woo her" like his father said, he was certain that scenary of a long pathway lined with the trees she was named after would fill her with awe. She'd be delighted to see such a thing and he already had a slight idea of what to say. The young boy blushed as he thought of what he was going to say.

'Sakura, I care about you and I like you. I really, really like you, and I want to stay with you forever.' That's how he planned to start it. He was super nervous and he wasn't all that sure what Sakura's reaction would be. Did she like him the way he liked her? The way he truly liked her? He wasn't sure if she could actually love him yet, but surely that would come after...if she liked him back.

"Do you think so? I-If that's what you want…" Indra started saying disappointedly only for Yota to release their hands and dash in front of them to walk backwards while facing them both.

"Who cares if it rains, Sakura-Chan! That'll just make it more fun! And a forest! We're going to a forest, Sakura-Chan! I've never seen a forest! Have you?" The younger boy asked with an excited gleam on his face. Little Sakura chuckled with a fist to her lips, and she gave the small boy a powerless and relenting smile with an exasperated sigh. Her eyes closed with delight.

"No, I haven't. I guess you're right, Yota. It'll be fun to be out in a forest in the rain. Do you think they'll have bigger splash puddles than back home?" She asked the boy encouragingly. They entered the alleyway Indra silently gestured to for a twirled back around with a big grin and skipped ahead.

"And all the mud! And maybe, there'll be some trees we can climb, Sakura-Chan! Huge trees! Are there huge trees, Indra-san?" The boy asked, turning back around and skipping backwards to look at Indra, for his answer. Indra's dark onyx eyes warmed and he smiled, unable to stop himself from doing so.

The boy was just a ball of sunshine and rainbows and looking at that face, you just could help but be filled with that same joy he displayed.

How could you ever be upset with a smile like that?

"Yeah, Yota. There are really big trees. Trees so big, me and Sakura are gonna have to help you get up them. And if it does rain, there'll be lots of mud to play in. All the mud you can imagine, I promise." Indra assured, lightheartedly. Yota's grin got even bigger if that was possible and he gave a chuckle of elation. He turned back around with a single, twirling skip to continue on ahead.

"How fun! We're going to have so much fun today!" The young boy excitedly added on. Sakura giggled beside Indra, and he couldn't help it when his eyes moved to stare at her with a hopeful gaze. The wind blew, and he couldn't but watch, as he did every time, her waist length hair flow through the wind, no matter how slightly. In contrast to Yota's wild brown locks, she kept hers well.

And the nights he got to touch it, he found her hair as soft as the expensive silk sheets he had back home. So much so, sleeping on a cold, wood floor didn't let him miss those same silk sheets at home. Her hair was enough of a substitute.

"Fine, fine. But we have to be careful so we don't get hurt. Also, don't forget when we get back home to not make too much of a mess." Sakura conceded and warned warmly. Indra's eyes warmed with elation, honestly thankful to Yota for being able to persuade her.

Indra wasn't sure at thirteen years of age, if it was childish or not to think—but he couldn't help but feel that, at moments like these; he, Sakura and Yota were their own little family.

The thoughts honestly went even deeper than that. Sometimes Indra imagined he and Sakura were older —adults reallyand Yota was still the same age he was. The boy had green eyes like her, and brown hair like him. The boy had her cheery light and Indra was fond of him, even to a protective degree. Whether he was too young to feel this way or not, the boy felt like his son.

At night, Indra would tell him fairytales and stories, since the boy had never heard of them until about two months ago when he brought it up. Sakura didn't know any either. It had now become a slight ritual of theirs to gather together, and he'd tell them all the stories he knew, while they listened and engaged in the stories he told.

When he saw Sakura's eyes light up with awe, and her smile with excitement for the story, he absolutely enjoyed being the first to ever tell her these stories. And when Yota would laugh and make fun sound effects with him during the story, or ask him questions about parts he didn't understand, he felt bonded to the boy and that protective instinct he had grew tenfold.

It felt like their smiles and their laughs had become the most precious thing in this world to him. To be honest, in the months he had spent in their environment it was impossible to protect them fully, but he did his best and they still came back and smiled at him at the end of the day. He didn't care about anything else, so long as these two were smiling at the end of the day, like they always did.

With that childish and ludicrous thinking, and with living with them; Sakura was his wife and Yota was their son and it had been this way for the many months they were together. Just being with them made him happy and Indra often wished he could give both her and the boy more than they had. They deserved so much more than what they had. If he hadn't been mugged his first moment getting to the slums and met them in a different way, he could have provided them more for quite a few months.

His thoughts on that however, dissipated instantly. Sure, if he had his money still and he hadn't been mugged, he would be able to provide for them intensively better food and conditions than they had. He could have bought them clothes and food, and maybe it would have even been possible, despite them being kids, to buy materials to improve their house. Their house.

Yet, whenever he brought up money, even without mentioning that he had a such a status as he had, the two simply stared at him like he was dumb. They truly, despite being kids themselves, didn't need him or his money and they had made it known time and time again.

And with the way he felt when he was with them, he agreed. They didn't need it. They could and would get by, somehow, even if he couldn't provide for them the way he wanted to. Sakura also had help from that Naruto boy...who he had some envy over whenever Sakura had to step out with him and he couldn't blow his cover.

Still, he couldn't help but want to give them more. He wanted to provide for the two people he met and now cared for deeply. They surely needed him...and still didn't pressure him to do so. And it motivated him to give even more.

That's why they were out here today. Just for a day out of the crude slums.

Maybe, one day, in the future, he'd return and claim his inheritance and his birthright. Maybe he'd come into all the millions and billions of dollars in his family's name, and he'd surprise them with a brand new way of living. Again, he wasn't sure if it was childish or not. He wasn't sure if it was warranted, but Indra couldn't help but feel a sense of responsibility to the two. He should be able to give them more and he wanted to.

They did save him after all. They sheltered him and didn't even really ask too many questions. Their reason for that? People ran away to the slums all the time. Kids like him usually and the reasons were never a pleasure to hear.

So they didn't ask and he didn't tell. She just said he was welcomed to stay with them for as long as he wanted. And they agreed to the condition of his staying with them being a secret. He told her at least, people were probably looking for him now, and he didn't want to be found. He left out the part of there possibly being a ransom out for his return, just in case she lost her generosity after that information.

Though, he was sure if they heard his reasons...if they heard he was tired of being a spoiled rich kid, with a strict life of lessons and adulthood, they'd certainly berate and might even despise him.

But, they couldn't understand. They could never possibly understand why he so much preferred their life, compared to his.

They were free. They did pretty much whatever they wanted. Some days, they'd just hang out on the rooftop and watch the clouds. Never mind the world. Life was the laughs they shared and the time they spent together. It was all the sweet memories they had together. Even when times were hard, and they were a bit hungry for the night, or if they were a little beat up from a fight, it was okay. It was always okay, because they still had each other.

Maybe one day, he fix the slums once and for all, and everyone's lives there could be better, not just theirs. He'd break the prejudice against the slums and no one would look down on these poor people he had experienced were in need of help. That's all they needed. All those hard working people in terrible conditions needed help.

They needed jobs and healthcare. They needed some kind of infrastructure that just was not in place and he was honestly appalled that Konoha could even allow for such conditions to one area. No police presence. No nearby or decent schools, not that the kids were even able to go anyway. The only thing that passed as a hospital for the area was a rundown clinic that had the bare minimum to treat and care for the sick or wounded.

And the adults seemed to just have lost hope in such depressing conditions. So much so, some of them abandoned the kids and the kids took care of themselves or each other. Some adults did help, as he had witnessed between Sakura and a man named Kakashi, and also two others, Jiraiya and Tsunade.

But other than that, other than those who went out of their way to try and help the slums themselves, there was no assistance. Not even a governmental presence. The streets and the people governed it themselves, like wild animals confined to a space and now wary of each other even when all they had was each other. It was a jungle with a food chain. Kill or be killed. Survive by any means or die from hunger, the cold, sickness, or whoever was there trying to take your life.

It was like the slums were left to rot on purpose. And the rot was spreading slowly but surely.

If he could do it one day—if he could make a name for himself and enough money to give them the better comforts of life they deserved, he was certain they would be happy, even with just the bare minimum. He probably wouldn't even need millions to make them happy. Afterall, they already were. They had little to nothing at this point. Just each other, and even though things were hard some days, sitting and laughing with her and, sometimes Yota if the boy didn't retire to his own home at the end of the night, was enough.

And he imagined one day, surprising Sakura with a brand new house, in a better part of Konoha. It wouldn't be too big, but it wouldn't be the studio room she had for a house. Calling it a house was actually being kind. It was more like a shack; small, the wooden on it rough and decrepit. There was only one window, a bathroom thankfully, and the kitchen in the same space as the living space.

No, this house would be different. It would have two stories, and they'd have two or three bedrooms. They'd have a lovely kitchen, where either one of them could wake up to each other every morning for breakfast. A living room, spacious enough to have some parties with her friends, but quaint enough that they could be a family if it was just the three of them. They'd have a green front yard and just as green and spacious backyard, where Yota could play...or a kid could play. He imagined she'd be ecstatic, and they'd be happy.

They'd be together.

His dark eyes glanced shyly at her hand waving at her side to the rhythm of her walk. He looked back secretly to Yota who was still skipping ahead and singing with his back turned to them as they walked through. Indra blushed, wondering if he could do what he had been imagining doing this whole entire time.

He and Sakura held hands last night. They held hands while Yota slept in the house, laying down on the rooftop of one of the old and decrepit apartment buildings, staring at the stars, and it felt so nice. She grabbed it to pull him up to the rooftop, and she didn't let it go, even when they sat and laid down. She had taught him constellations, pointing them out with her other hand and he had no idea there was more knowledge to this entire world other than school or business.

He didn't know about the constellations at all. He didn't know how to spot the big dipper. He didn't even know how to spot the North Star. He learned just some of it last night, and he only memorized it because of the way her eyes twinkled from the cloudless, starry lit night and how she was so enthusiastically pointing them out herself. And truth be told, he almost wasn't paying that much attention thanks to the feel of her hand in his...

He wondered, would...she let him hold it again?

With a blush on his cheeks, turning his head away from her and without saying anything, he inched a bit closer to her side. His hand slowly reached for hers. His pinky just caressed hers, and he shyly glanced...only to see her blushing in surprise too. Her eyes were wide and on the ground, and a light pink hue spread from cheek to cheek. Even her nose. He bit his bottom lip, hoping that was a good sign. He glanced away from her again and was about to interlock their pinkies first.

Hers shyly curled over his and he was inwardly jumping for joy. He was so happy. The blush on his face darkened to a tomato red and he gave a timid smile, still staring away from her. This...had to be a good sign, right? This meant she wanted to hold his hand too, right? Did he have permission to hold the rest of her hand. He shyly glanced back, only to see she had her face completely turned away, but there was no missing the blush had traveled to her ears.

His eyes widened a bit with hope. Did all of this mean what he thought he did? If...If he just grabbed the rest of her hand, would it be alright? It wouldn't ruin things between them, would it? He couldn't imagine what it would be like to lose her friendship, just because of his feelings.

But...she was still holding his pinky. Was she feeling shy? Girls could be shy often, weren't they? She could be just as shy as he was about his feelings. Should he just do it? Should he just grab her hand and hold it like he really wanted to? He took a quiet deep breath, and gathered his courage. It was now or never and if he was going to have the courage to confess his feelings for her in a little while, he had to have the courage to at least do this!

He was about to grab the rest of her hand...and then...

"Yo, Indra-san! Is that you?!" Young Indra heard behind him, and he flinched. He turned back and away from her to see some kids he knew. He gulped. They were children with ties to his family. What were they doing here? They shouldn't be here. Not now!

W-What would they tell his father?

Where have you been?! Haven't seen you around!" Indra's eyes widened a bit. They didn't know he ran away? His family had kept hidden that he had ran away all this time? He had been gone for the better part of eight months now.

He knew what that meant. They were looking for him. They were scouring all of Konoha for him and had yet to reveal that he ran away. Did they not check the slums, thinking he wouldn't go there, like he predicted? If they were keeping it quiet that he ran away and was missing, they were undoubtedly trying to find him and bring him back, like he feared.

And people from his kind weren't sympathetic to the slums like he was, his family included. They didn't know the hardship the people there went through, and they had no idea just how little they had. They didn't experience it.

They also had no clue of the kind people he had met, from Sakura and Yota, to the kind lady, running a run down bakery and trying her best to give what she could to the hungry children, all while barely getting by on her own. The didn't see the grown ups who had been raised in that hellhole, use their own finances to try and provide aid to any and all they could in the area.

They had no clue, that despite the danger and despite some rumors being true, they were still just people. People trying to get by, and live, as much as they could with the little they had.

Suddenly, he felt the notion that Sakura was right. Maybe they shouldn't have even come up here. Maybe they should have just stayed in the slums for the day...or they should have came earlier, when these kids would surely be busy with their lessons.

"Who're they?" One of the other kids in the group raised their eyebrow and an instant look of judgement came to his eyes. Yota, who was ahead, hurried back to Sakura's side and grabbed her hand.

And it was already too late for that.

"Neh. Sakura-Chan, why are we stopping?" Yota asked with his scratchy voice and the leader of the group scowled.

"Ew! He looks sick! Are they slum kids? Were they bothering you, Indra-san?" He said it like they were the most foul and appalling thing on this planet. Like their very existence was an affront to all. Like they were pests. His face scrunched in disgust and he looked to Indra for an explanation.

"Uhm...I was just taking a detour and—" He started covering up.

"And they started following you? Ugh. The street rats are certainly getting bold coming up here!" One of the boys snarled and Indra saw Sakura flinch and tense out the corner of his eye and she grabbed Yota a little more protectively. But she didn't say anything.

"I bet they're just following you for money, aren't they Indra-san!" One of the runts of the boys seethed and accused. Indra's eyes widened.

"G-Guys, it's nothing. It's no big deal—" He started saying.

"W-We...We'll just go…" Sakura spoke, clutching Yota's hand, already sensing an arising danger. She started backing away slowly towards the exit behind her, though she noted it was a little ways away. Their eyes snapped to her.

"Oh no! We're sick of your kind!"

"Yeah. You guys need to be taught a lesson. We ought to teach you to stay were you belong, since you obviously don't know your place." She gave a scared and terrified look to Indra and his eyes widened back at hers. They painfully locked gazes for just a brief moment before she was pushed to the ground.

"Sakura-Chan!" Yota cried out and reached for her, but another pair of the boys pushed him too.

"Stop!" Indra and Sakura cried out in unison the instant Yota hit the ground and they started beating on him. Sakura couldn't do much against the three boys attacking her, as one gave a hard kick to her torso. So hard Indra heard something crack. He heard her scream in pain.

Indra felt time slow down. She was calling for Yota, while being beat herself. The boy was whimpering and yelping in pain as the older boys kicked and punched him and her. She was trying her best to defend herself and him. And Indra watched in terror. He watched the people he loved begin to be savagely beaten down and he shook his head from the terror.

This wasn't supposed to happen. No, this wasn't what was supposed to—what did he do? What did he do right now? If he jumped in...they'd tell his father and his father might be upset. He'd be disowned and he'd have disgraced their name and...isn't that what he wanted anyway? Why was he even thinking about it like this? Why was he trembling at the thought?

Be it him being a child, and all the drilling they did, he felt the instinct to just keep up appearances. He...he couldn't disappoint his family. He couldn't disgrace their name and their image by saying he was with slum kids. That he was in the slums all this time. They had already undoubtedly gone through great lengths to conceal his disappearance from the public...

"No! Stop! STOP IT! W-We'll get in trouble! Let's just go, before we get caught! They didn't even do anything! Just stop!" He yelled and tried to make an excuse to get them to stop. The one he grabbed did and turned to him. He patted Indra on the shoulder while the other kids continued and smiled.

"Don't worry, Indra-san. We won't get in trouble. They're just slum kids." Indra's eyes widened even more. He couldn't understand...why? Why did they have so much hatred? It wasn't like they had done anything wrong. Sakura even said they would go! So why? Why the hatred? Sure, the slums got violent, and they were dirt poor, but that was due to people doing what they needed. The kids there, they were just trying to survive and if a mugging or a theft would help them eat at night, that's what they did.

This. This was just savagery. This was unwarranted and unneeded savagery.

"There's...There's no reason for this. Even if they're just slum kids—" Indra continued to try and reason, but there the kid before him snorted.

"Won't you grow a pair? You're always so sensitive. Don't worry! It's because they're slum kids who want our money. What more reason is there to teach them a lesson they won't forget?" He explained, like it was explaining the weather. And Indra, wide eyed, watched as he turned back and starting beating on the girl who saved him. He watched her trying to defend herself and Yota, but they had yanked the young boy he was fond of from her and split into groups to continue their assault.

His teeth gritted, and his hands clenched. He couldn't take this.

And he ran. He ran, begging any adult he came across to come with him so they could see what the others were doing. So that if anything, he could just tell his father he was nobly trying to help lost, naive kids from the slums. It would keep the pride the Otsutsuki had and he'd go back. He'd go back if it would help Sakura and Yota.

Indra pulled her in for an embrace as tight as he could and his remorse grew. She was thinking about those vindictive words he told her to sabotage the Uchiha. She was only able to consider the pain she felt and the validation she received of false truths he and Karin had implanted. And there was their past. It was all piled on to her current state of suffering.

And just with the way she sobbed into his chest, he could tell she was wrong, thinking the Uchiha would abandon her. He was sure of it; the Uchiha would never have abandoned her. Never. Especially not the way he did.

If this was her state after what had happened, the Uchiha must have displayed an excessive amount of love towards her. It might have even been along the lines of worship. The betrayal she must've felt right now had to have been massive. And the Uchiha was undoubtedly having a meltdown right about now. Who knew how frantic he was at the moment? Falsely setup; framed as a womanizer by another woman in front of the woman he actually loved. Certainly, the Uchiha was looking all over the city for her.

The Uchiha did love her and he knew it. Their talk earlier, though Sakura obviously didn't know about it, was enough to tell him the Uchiha's feelings just might equate to his own for her. Afterall, she was in this state...meaning the Uchiha must have damn near worshipped her. Her cried out words were even more an implication of that. She said the Uchiha could just look at her, and she'd know he loved her.

He showed her a love that made her mourn and grieve for it, after it's mistaken loss, and Indra was suddenly unsure if he really could fill that hole left in her chest. He thought he could go along with Karin's idea and ideals. He thought he could swoop her from Sasuke, but like this...this seemed far too damaging. And he hugged her tighter.

"Don't think like that, Sakura. You just need time. Everything will sort out. This will pass…and I'm here for you. For as long as you need me, I'm here. I won't leave again. I won't abandon you. Not again." He whispered softly into her ear and she only buried her face deeper into his chest. And again, that guilt he felt with having to see her like this, disappeared further. They stood like this for a long moment, until her sobs finally eased a bit.

He knew it was wrong. This was wrong. But this...this reward for such a wrong was a bittersweet pleasure. She was holding onto him for dear life, crying into his chest and Indra couldn't help but see this as an opportunity, to finally atone to her, and make up for their past.

Maybe, he could mend her broken heart. Maybe, he could fix the damage done. She didn't have to feel this way forever. This pain could fade away, as proven a multitude of times tonight, even if it was thanks to alcohol…

And maybe she could make room in her heart for him.

"Come on. You should get some rest. I'm sure you've had a long day." He said softly. She nodded and he began leading her through the private penthouse. She still sniffled and hiccuped but the mention of bed appeared to give her a bit of comfort. Entering the large and modern-decorated bedroom. He led her to sit down on the bed and he kneeled before her.

Without a word he gently grabbed her leg and lifted it. His hands ran down her smooth skin to her ankle, and he took off her shoe with tenderness. He stared down at her feet. They were small in his hands, petite and slightly arched. Even with her nails plain and undone, they were kept, and rather cute.

'They're beautiful.' He couldn't help but think as he removed the other. As he caressed her foot, he couldn't help but massage it a bit. She ran a lot today, in heels no less. She also danced and walked around a lot in the bars she went to, though she did have those last few hours where she took them off.

He wondered if the Uchiha ever kneeled to her like this. If he truly loved her and if she mourned for that love she thought she lost, Indra expected that the Uchiha had even kneeled before her. Did the Uchiha ever massage her feet? Anything like that? Her heard her give a soft and contented moan, and it urged him to continue.

"That...feels good." She commented quietly.

"Do your feet hurt?" He asked and looked up at her and continued to rub the foot he had in his hand. Something in him paused, still holding the foot he had just released from her heels. For a moment, kneeled like this before her and holding her feet, he really was staring at a goddess. Even though her eyes were still sad, she was stunning from his place on the ground. Was this why humanity had a history of monarchs and the like, and was this beauty the reason for their worship that was akin to gods?

He felt beyond unworthy. Even while kneeling before her.

"A little…" She responded quietly. His head lowered back to her feet.

"Let me know if I should add some pressure or not." He said tenderly, and continued his work. He massaged her foot for about ten minutes, graciously granted gentle and pleased moans that let him know he was making her feel good. She didn't make a single request or complaint as he massaged all of her foot, even her toes. He moved to massage her other foot, with the same pressure and tender squeezes, making sure no place on her foot was left undone.

"Is that enough Sakura?" He asked lifting his gaze back up to her from his still kneeled place on the ground. The pink haired angel nodded. He stared at her, somberly worshipping her beauty whilst simultaneously begging for her forgiveness, for all his transgressions. For everything wrong he had ever done...and was about to do...he begged her forgiveness.

Even if he didn't deserve it.

He lifted himself near her. He felt drawn to her, and slowly his nose brushed against hers. With a shyness, he kissed her lips, softly and gently. He stole a few, smooches from her lips unable to help himself, truly. He pulled away from her, feeling a flash of shame and guilt for having done that whilst she was like this.

But still, hunched over with a hand on the bed and being so near her face, he didn't move further, hoping and waiting for something. Her reaction, mostly. Her half lidded and drunk eyes stared into his for a while, as his other hand longingly stroke her cheek.

"I'm...sorry, Sakur—"

He was going apologize for kissing her at a time like this, but he didn't have the chance to. He didn't even have a chance to think or react, when she wrapped her arms around him and pulled him to her. He was on top of her, holding himself up so he didn't crush her...and she was kissing him. His eyes were wide, feeling her hands around him, one in his hair and the other around his shoulder blade pulling him as they kissed. Their bodies were touching. Her lips were so soft. She shifted back, pulling him along to get further onto the large bed and he crawled on with her, never separating from her lips.

He must be drunk as well, even though he didn't drink much at all tonight having spent most of his time watching her.

Because the next thing he knew, with guilt and shame, he started kissing her back. His pained eyes closed and he started kissing her back just as recklessly as she had when she started.

And it felt so good.

"Hmmmm...mmmmm." The sound vibrated against his tongue and Indra's jealousy towards Sasuke grew. Was that what he heard? This is what Sasuke was feeling, for all that time? This pleasure he was getting, just from her kiss...it was addicting. How long had the Uchiha had her like this? Moreover, the Uchiha had the entirety of her body. This was nothing but a taste of what the Uchiha had and Indra imagined that the Uchiha was more than addicted to her. His reaction with their encounter in his office now made so much sense.

No wonder the Uchiha acted so territorial over her, back in his office. It was as if Indra himself couldn't get enough of kissing her. Feeling her touch like this...the more he did, the more he wanted. She was like an addictive drug and his regrets for leaving her all those years ago multiplied by millions.

He pulled away a bit, staring into her eyes. She was there, panting along with him, and he envied the Uchiha who had her heart so reverently. Her half lidded eyes were staring up at him so beautifully and he wished he could have been her first for everything.

That bastard was so damn lucky and Indra envied it. He was angered and jealous and he wanted so much more. He had dreamed so long of this moment and even when he first found out that he wouldn't be her first kiss, the way he had, he wished to be the Uchiha. He wished he was Sasuke Uchiha.

The man had more freedom than he ever did. He gained more from life than he ever had. All the way down to the heart of the woman he loved.

"Sakura...you're drunk." He reminded both her and himself—himself mostly. After all, he was the one who started this technically. She was drunkenly continuing it and he wondered if it came from that part of her that was hurt over giving herself to Uchiha. She reached for him, lifting her head up to kiss him and pulled his head down for him to kiss her. He could feel her hands over each one of his muscles, from his chest to his back, through his shirt.

The hand he had against the bed, near her face moved to her thigh, hooking her knee over his hip. Without either thought or fear, he massaged it, rubbing her skirt up more than it was while she rode that bull tonight. It left him with one thigh in between her legs.

Even just touching her like this, was this addicting? Such smooth and soft skin, touching it made him repress shivers down his spine, and it came out in the form of a his groan. He was getting waves of heat and pleasure just from that? He had other women in his bed before and none of them made him feel like this. Not just from a touch.

He had no doubts about it now; the Uchiha was most definitely losing his mind right now. Without a doubt.

If this is what she felt like—if this was only a taste of what Uchiha had, Indra wanted more than anything to experience more. He wanted more. So many years had passed between them. So many years he looked and searched, only to come up short. Now, things could be different. He could give her anything and everything she wanted. He could fulfil his promise to take care of her from all those years ago.

And if this was his reward; her kiss and touch, the ecstasy that came to him from those two things—he would gladly and wholeheartedly take her from Sasuke Uchiha without a single ounce of remorse for it.

Wanting to touch all of her, his hand kneaded her foot, before rubbing back up her leg with a tighter pressure, reveling in her soft moans. It made her body writhe beneath him and he couldn't help but grind against her. His hand that was holding her thigh squeezed and lifted her office skirt just a bit more than it had already risen. They pulled away for oxygen and Indra stared down at her. She remained there panting from the heavy makeout and she was blushing. His eyes warmed and pained even more.

"Sakura…" He murmured with desire. She caressed his face, and the touch made him lose his thought. And as she stared back up at him hazily, he grew even more angrier, this time with himself.

"I'm so sorry...Sakura." He whispered and he couldn't help but kiss her again, from the guilt and strife he felt from the memory of their past. The memory that caused their separation. She only accepted his kiss, and her body grinded against his and it increased both his desire and his inner turmoil.

As he massaged her thigh and she opened her other leg for him to be completely in between both of them, he cursed himself. As he heard her moan beneath him, he absolutely cursed himself. He could have had this. He could have had this so much sooner, before Uchiha ever had a chance, and without such pain and resentment between them. If he had stayed, she would have been his before the Uchiha ever laid his eyes on her to begin with.

It was all his fault. She was right the first time they had talked. He had been a coward. Back then, he feared what the other kids would most definitely tell his father. He thought back then that he would never go home again, that he'd stay with her.

Only to fear what his father and family would think to find out that he had been hiding in the disregarded and neglected slums the whole time. His family weren't all that kind about or for the slums. If it wasn't indifference for it and its inhabitants, they held nothing more than disgust, and after having living months in the slums with her, he didn't understand why. They were just neglected. They just needed help and with all their money and stance, they could have made it better. It wouldn't have even bothered them to put some of their money into at least the housing there.

And instead of fighting for her, he chose his childish fears and blood over what had become his life, and it was the worst decision he had ever made. Especially because he was now like this. Especially, because he lost her. Over the fear that he would be disowned; like she said, he abandoned her. And he hated it. He hated that he was so cowardly back then.

Instead of standing at her side and protecting her like he promised, he ran. He ran like a coward, thinking that he could tell someone and help that way instead of fighting back. But, the truth was, he had become a coward the instant those other bastards recognized him. He abandoned her. Just like she said he did.

He was an absolute idiot for that.

"I'm so sorry. Sakura...forgive me." He whispered against her lips again, continuing to kiss her with years of repressed need, longing and want. It felt like he had waited a lifetime for her. Maybe he had. Maybe, it wasn't just the years of their seperation in this life. In a previous life, she had been his and that's why he was so adamant about having her again.

Because, even though they were kids back then, he felt it. He felt a special connection to her that made him want to stay by her side, no matter the circumstances. He knew he loved her back then and he failed her in this life, due to his cowardice. She breathed out loud as he separated from her lips again, a trail of saliva parting from their tongues.

"Indra…" She whispered sensually and he felt her hand untie the low ponytail in his wild and long hair. It came loose, and he felt her hand rub through it, influencing him deeper and deeper into his desires. He brushed his nose against hers.

"I'm...sorry too. Yota's death...it hurt you just as much, right?" She questioned somberly, caressing his face. His eyes gave a look of pain. As he told her prior, he never forgot the boy. His feelings back then were absolute. For him, they had become his family. They were a family and he abandoned them.

Sakura was his wife...Yota was his son...they were his world, even though he did what he did. Even though the drillings and rules of his life overtook him, he had loved them more than anything he had before. He hadn't loved anything as much as them since.

He never forgot that joyous smile and playful nature, that brought light into a place that seemed like it held nothing but darkness, just as much as Sakura did. Sakura was the proof of that. Even in the darkest of places, light could still be born and life could still flourish. He had watched them take all the negativity and hardship in their lives and not only did they overcome it; he watched them continue to smile and laugh afterwards.

"That day...I didn't just lose Yota...I lost you. I lost you, too." Indra started and his brow lifted with sorrow. His hand on her body and the one against the bed gripped tightly with remorse and regret. And again, over and over, as he had for years; he wished that day didn't happen. It shouldn't have…

And if he hadn't been a coward for his own family, if he hadn't given into the years of rigorous lessons engraved into his psyche, it wouldn't have went down the way it did. He would have and should have protected them. He should have stayed by them. They...were supposed to have each other. They were supposed to watch each other's backs and because he feared his family, the one he ran away from, he broke that promise.

Yota...their Yota, would probably still be here if he'd stayed.

"And for years, it's been my biggest regret. I should have stayed. I should have protected you like I promised I would. If I had just stayed...we could've been together...always…" They could have. If he had kept his promise. If he hadn't been a coward, he would have remained at her side. They could have had a lifetime together. Even if he never went back to his life of prestigious status, they could have had a nice life, together.

"I'm so sorry. " His voice trailed. She hushed him and kissed him again. He responded in full kind after a moment of hesitation, tilting his head to kiss her deeper.

Fuck, it was so wrong. He knew this was beyond wrong...and the more he kissed her, as he had been dreaming of for years and years, the more he didn't want to be right. The more he stared at her, panting breathlessly the way she was, with that light blush on her face, the more he didn't care about right and wrong. And now she was pulling him to kiss her again and he had to oblige. His body and mind screamed against any other action.

Screw Sasuke Uchiha. Screw their love. He had waited years for this. He wanted this, all this time. He had always wanted to be her first. He wanted to be the first she kissed. He wanted to be the first one she made love to. His jealousy and frustration over the fact that he wasn't won, over his feeling of guilt. He couldn't even be her first like he wanted…

But he could be her last...

His lips lowered to her neck and she sighed with pleasure. He smooched at her neck, shyly pulling at her skin with his lips and feeling her shiver. Her hand combed through his long hair, moaning lightly as he worked. His tongue licked her skin and he heard her gasp. And he worked off the first button of her shirt.

"Mmm…" Her neck arched a bit and then, his conscience disturbed him.

Even if this was his desire, she was drunk and in pain. She wasn't thinking straight. This was taking advantage of her, whilst she was in agony and he couldn't go through with that, especially after all the things he had done wrong before. After abandoning her and doing even more wrong like he was now, he owed her so much more than this. He owed her decency and respect. He owed her the utmost reverence whilst remembering he held no worthiness to her.

He once thought the Uchiha was undeserving of calling her his. Meanwhile, he was no more worthy. In fact, he was certain this made him less than worthy than the Uchiha was.

'Not like this.' His mind argued against his wants. Indra opened his eyes and pulled away from her skin ever so reluctantly. He stared down at her.

Her emerald eyes were glossed over. Her face showed that of drunken lust and she caressed his face. His brow lifted with understanding and pain. She was beyond drunk right now. All of the liquor had hit her and now she was in this state. She didn't know what she was doing, and she probably didn't even know what he was doing. In the morning, she'd probably hate him even more than she did now, if they went further, despite this all happening under her influence.

"What's wrong? Kiss me. Don't you want to..." She urged with a temptive whisper, trying to kiss him again. He couldn't resist the first few smooches she stole from his lips, shamelessly returning each one without fail. Did he want to? By the Gods, of course he did. No one in this world could understand how much he wanted to, save for Uchiha.

He kissed her a few more times, before he forced himself to move fully off her, and sit on the bed beside her. His body screamed furiously at the action. His eyes lowered to the floor with guilt.

He was seriously about to go through with that. He was seriously about to take advantage of her, when he had already done so much wrong in the past. But, heavens forgive him, he wanted her so badly. She asked him, didn't he want to and he was struggling between reminding himself that she was drunk and the desire to have her the way he wanted after all these years. The struggle was immense and he wondered if the Uchiha had the same strife in meeting her and wanting her.

Especially now, after that invitation and that makeout session. He knew it was sinful and he knew it was wrong, but he wanted her and he couldn't help it. The way she had been grabbing him and touching him. Those sounds. He couldn't resist it. She sat up, looking at him in confusion. She reached for him, grabbing his bicep and looking at him with drunken inquiry.

"Indra…" She slurred. He gave a pained smile of understanding. She didn't even use the suffix with his name anymore. She didn't, and probably couldn't say it in that sweet, joyous way he remembered. With that beaming bright smile on her lips.


His suffix...currently belonged to another man.

This right now, it was nothing more than a cry for help. A plea to forget her current pain was the only reason she was kissing him and urging him like this. She was trying to forget about him quickly. She wanted to erase Uchiha from her mind with temporary pleasure and he knew that self procedure well. It was a ploy he had used several times with other women to try and forget about her, or even just something that bothered him over the years.

He didn't want to take her like this. He would be patient. He wanted her to love him, the way she cried that she loved the Uchiha. He'd win her from him. Surely, the Uchiha hadn't taken advantage of her in a drunken state. Then he wouldn't either.

With that, he looked over to her.

"Sakura...you're drunk and not thinking straight...get some rest. I'll be sleeping elsewhere, if you need me, okay? Just give a shout. I won't be far." He said softly and painfully.

Even if she was what he wanted, he would never want to become the man who took advantage of her. He was already taking enough advantage of the whole situation that was her being separated from Sasuke.

He looked at her and she gave him a pained look. She grabbed his sleeve and moved her head against his shoulder. It was instinct from the past when his head leaned against hers like he used to when she put her head on his shoulder. She nuzzled against him with comfort and he couldn't help but caress her face with affection.

"I-I…I-I'm sorry…" She whispered. He smiled softly. She was slightly coming to her senses now and yet, she seemed to cling to him even more. She had her arms wrapped around the one closest to her, with her head on his shoulder. His free hand moved from the bed to her face.

"There's nothing for you to apologize for. I'm the one who's sorry…"

"If you need anything, I'll get it for you. Don't worry, Sakura. I'll take care of you, until you feel better. You can stay with me for as long as you want to. Just rest..." There was a silence, and then she snuggled into the shoulder she was beside, as if seeking comfort. She was pressing herself against it and the feeling of his bicep between her bosom was all too temptive.

And he grew angry at himself for having a conscience, as wrong as that was.

"Stay with me...like back then. Please? The way we used to sleep when we were younger...I don't -hic- I don't want to be alone." She requested with a slurred whisper, and her hands squeezed around his arm. Indra's eyes widened slightly with surprise before they warmed. And Indra was just beyond elated she remembered such a thing. It was one of his fondest memories.

The nights were never really too quiet. There was always the occasional sound of a gun, or the sounds of fighting. They could only go to the quietest corner of one room in her small shack of a house, and they would hold each other throughout the night in a very specific way, due to the way she habitually slept for her own defense. Yota would be propped up next to Indra on his shoulder, sleeping with them, while the three shared a ragged blanket.

He slowly stood and, while she straightened, he kicked off his shoes. He next, rearranged the pillows. After he arranged the comfortable pillows in a position that would support his back to sit up against the headboard of the bed, he sat against it with his wide open and bent legs and Sakura pulled back the covers.

She crawled between his legs, and sprawled against him while he pulled the covers over both of them. She laid her head in the crook of his neck. He made sure the blanket covered her shoulders and then wrapped his arms around her in a protective embrace beneath the blanket. In reaction, she gave a final curl of her body against him for comfort.

As he thought, he remembered exactly how to make her sleep peacefully against him. He remembered exactly what she wanted. He remembered how to hold her and he remembered how to ease her into her slumber. She felt protected like this, when they were younger. In her drunken state, she couldn't help but reminisce of the past. Just because she could feel his arms around her. Because, even though he messed up in the past, in her drunken state, the past didn't matter.

"More comfortable than an old, dragged in couch, right? Or against the wall on the cold wood floor?" He softly asked, a small chuckle behind his reminiscent voice. There was a moment of silence...before Sakura, suddenly, giggled as well.

"R-Remember when we got it? How you had to hide from Naruto?" She chuckled out, still teary eyed. Indra gave another bittersweet smile, caressing the tears from her eyes as he reminisced with her.

"I didn't want to be discovered by anyone else. I still didn't want to be seen by others, and I never told you back then, but it was in case my father had put out a reward for me. And...unexpectedly, your friend Naruto brought an entire living room set for you. TV stand and all, without the TV. At least that gave us the couch though. No more sleeping on the floor." He laughed lightly and brushed his nose against her forehead. Sakura smiled and laughed along with him. His nose stayed against her and the eyes of the Otsutsuki warmed.

It may have been a terrible situation, but this is what he wished for. She was in his arms. She was smiling and laughing with him; she was with him. It was bittersweet. Even if she was drunk, and even though she was undoubtedly hurting, he was happy to be with her like this. She was in his arms, she was smiling and even reminiscing with him again. It felt like old times.

She felt like his wife again...and it elated him. And now that they were older, and now that they were here like this, it felt all the more real.

'My...wife…' The thought crossed his mind with tender reminiscence. Those same childish thoughts he had when they were younger returned to him again, and despite his guilt, he was elated to have her in his arms again. He bet the Uchiha didn't even know to hold her like this. He bet the Uchiha didn't know this was her favorite way to be held and that being held like this was the most secure she felt.

"And I hid you in the closet!" She laughed and looked up at him. Indra's eyes lowered, and another bittersweet smile came to his lips. He wished what happened between them didn't happen. He wished it was all just a terrible nightmare that he woke up from. But this was life. He had to admit to his wrongs. He had to face them all, no matter how painful, and he wanted to make it all right again.

He wanted her to smile at him and laugh with him...just like she used to.

"Worst hiding spot ever. Although, it's not like you had anywhere else to really hide me." He chuckled. No one else would share this experience. No one else could because these memories were theirs and theirs alone. Those days, she was at his side and if he wasn't, she was calling out to him with her hand reached out. Always waiting for him and always calling to him.

He wished it had stayed like that forever.

"He dragged it in all by himself! I couldn't just tell him, no." She giggled.

"Along with a brand new blanket he stole from...I believe the name was Kakashi...and he wanted to put it in your one and only closet." She snickered. Naruto at the time had already been walking towards the closet doors, while she turned to address Yota for a second. Then she saw Naruto reaching for the doorknob and made a mad dash for it, before she blocked the closet door with her whole body.

Naruto, of course, then had nothing but obnoxious curiosity about what she was hiding. And she made up the worst excuse.

"I didn't know what to dooo!" She chuckled.

"You said he couldn't enter the closet because you had a surprise, when you could have just taken the blanket from him and thrown it on the couch or something." He playfully grumbled. She laughed with him.

"I panicked! He had his eyes on me for days."

"Leaving me confined to the small cramped closet for each and every one of them until you finally gave him one of my only surviving shirts."

"I'm still sorry. I had to give him something. Or would you have preferred being found?" She laughed along with him, only for them to die down and she gripped his shirt.

"I suppose it's fine." He snickered.

Sakura's drunken consciousness drifted away, and she lazily lost being in Indra's arms, and everything was fine. This was alright...especially when the man she currently loved didn't seem to love her back.

The past came back in inklings and she realized how much she had forgotten...how much peace Indra used to bring her. Before everything that happened that dreadful day, it was thanks to him those years ago that she experienced a peaceful slumber, for the first time ever.

She truly had forgotten that, after all these years and Indra's absence caused her to say her next words.

"Why...did you have to go that day? Why did you leave us? Why...why did you leave me and Yota like that?" She whimpered. Those pain-filled words made him hold her tighter and he stroked her hair some more, doing his best to comfort her. His heart hit his chest hard, and his face grimaced. His eyes cringed and he held her as close as he possibly could.

"Because I was a fool. A foolish coward. Just like you said Sakura, I was a coward and I'm so, so sorry. I'll never forgive myself for it. I'll never forgive myself for leaving you...for being the reason we lost him." He whispered his answer. She cried and tears streamed down her face, with her half lidded eyes staring into the skin of his neck. She cried and cried and finally he lifted her face with a gentle hold of her chin. He did his best to kiss every single last tear away but it was impossible.

There was nothing else he could do right now. The most he could do now, was hold her tight as she buried her face into his neck and listen to her cry in pain. He had to listen to that and it only made him hold her tighter. These were the consequences of his actions. This is what he got for leaving her that day, and for not finding her sooner. This is what he deserved after abandoning his family that day, out of fear for a family he didn't even truly want anymore back then.

Sasuke finding her and claiming her heart, all of this was all his fault.

"I'm sorry…I'm sorry I kept pushing you away...I didn't want to...remember. It hurt to see you...I could only think about him..." She whispered again, placing her head back in the crook of his neck. His eyes pained and he stroked his hands through her hair again. He could already tell, she was starting to pass out. She barely heard the next words he said as her eyes slowly came to a close.

"I know. I know, Sakura and I told you, you have nothing to be sorry for…" He rebutted, and placed his head against hers again.

"I'm the one...who's sorry, Sakura. A thousand times and a million more, I'm sorry." He confessed.

She eased with his hold and his words, and she held him back tighter. The stroking of his fingers through her hair comforted her just as much. He always had a certain way of doing that. One that made her sleepy. It was soft and gentle, but intricate. He stroked her hair like he was masterfully playing a harp single handedly and it always made her sleepy. He gave a soft and sad smile of reminiscence.

He was sorry for a lot of things. He was sorry for this moment. He was sorry for kissing her. He was sorry for the hand he had in that vile woman's plans. He was sorry for everything else he did wrong in the past. And he was most sorry, for leaving her that day, years ago. If he hadn't...things surely would have been different. He would have stayed with her...he would have kept her safe. They would have had each other, all this time. She wouldn't have been alone. He made her a promise...and he failed her that day.

She didn't respond. He felt her body become deadweight against him. She was obviously passed out from all the binging she did tonight, her heavy breathing an indicator that she was unconscious. He squeezed her tighter, and his legs crossed over her just the way he used to. With a larger body now, he sheltered her smaller one completely and stroked her hair.

So she felt safe. So she felt him. And Indra prayed for her forgiveness.

For everything.

And in a few moments of silence, as he was just starting to close his eyes, he heard her mumble in her sleep. A small, quiet, broken whisper that wracked him with guilt, envy and anger all at once...though not at her and it woke him up from the exhaustion of following her all over the city and the lateness of the night. It was already four in the morning anyway. Why bother to sleep?

Especially when he heard her whisper that.

"A woman's broken heart isn't yours to take, lad."

That whisper that just came from her lips, reminded him of what that old man had said. That whisper, and those broken syllables she mumbled in her sleep just now was a reminder…her heart was not his.


His teeth clenched behind his closed lips as she repeated his name again in those same quiet whimpers. He glared at the window of the bedroom, as if he was searching across Konoha with just his eyes for the man whose name she just said.

Her heart was not his...

'Not yet.' He thought angrily and lifted Sakura's face to kiss her lips in her slumber, for his own satisfaction and out of absolute spite for the man who truly had her heart.

'Please. Sakura, please be alright.' He mentally begged for the one hundredth time while searching for her. Sasuke was hastily walking down the street where he said he would search for Sakura. His eyes scanned and scanned everything and anything that passed him ten times over. Any bars he passed, he shot straight inside and before he ever asked each bartender if they saw her he made sure to scan the place and crowds for her as well.

He was starting to beg to see that telltale sign of her pink hair. He was hoping the police would get back to him and say she was in custody. Please let Suigetsu suddenly call him and tell him she stumbled home on her own, like Naruto kept insisting she would eventually.

He suddenly felt a pain in his head and in his chest again. So much so, his hands both reached to grab either or, one hand gripping his hair and the other grabbing his chest and he leaned onto a nearby streetpole for support. The sharp pain made him dizzy.

'What the hell was that?!' He started panting from the pain, trying to gather himself and shake it off, but something felt like it was stabbing his chest and like something was being drilled through his brain and scrambling it into mush.

After shaking it off—although the feeling still lingered—his eyes caught another bar he found in the area and he walked in.

After scanning the crowd for her with observational focus and after completely memorizing every face in the bar to be absolutely certain she wasn't in the crowd, he walked straight to the bartender of the night. He gave her name, and description, the time frame of when she might have been here, only to be told by the bored and tired man that he hadn't seen anyone of the sort. And when Sasuke asked if he was certain, the man only replied he was certain he'd recognize and remember pink hair. No one like that has been there all night.

As he stepped out again dejectedly, he shook his head and slapped his hands on his cheeks. He was starting to feel tired. Exhaustion from the entire day was starting to set in, but he wasn't going to go back home. He wasn't going to go to sleep. Not with Sakura out there and nowhere to be found.

As he continued to hastily walk down the street in search of the next bar to check, and as he searched through his own heart for just the feel of her through that sixth sense she had instilled in him after they had first made love, he mumbled her name.

"Sakura…" As if calling her would somehow make her appear. As if through their connected hearts, she'd hear him. As if she'd just show up out of nowhere and she'd be running into his arms and he hoped this sensation in itself meant that she was at least okay.

For some reason, he imagined it. For some reason, he got the vision of her stumbling before him and with those distraught tears in her eyes that he hated. He imagined her running to him and crashing into his already reaching and waiting arms, because they were never supposed to be disconnected like this and he already missed her.

He imagined embracing her tightly when she slammed against his torso. He imagined he would have gripped her so tightly, she'd never forget his hold. He'd kiss her wherever he needed to—be it her cheeks, her lips, her neck or her skin. He'd kiss her everywhere if it would reinstill the knowledge that he loved her.

He hoped their reunion would be like that. He hoped she'd come straight into his arms and that she'd hold him as tight as possible. He hoped she still loved him and reacted to his kiss as she always had.

He hoped he hadn't lost her heart just yet, even if she was so upset with him, she had gone awol like this.

He hoped she'd kiss him because she wanted to wipe all trace of Karin from his lips and he would kiss her to show he loved her and only her. When they got home, he'd have no choice but to make love to her all night, with her urging because of everything that happened between them today. And he would. He would have made love to her over, and over—all night, and all day tomorrow if he must, to make sure she knew his true feelings. The only time he'd stop was for the breaks he knew they would both be needing.

Whatever time it took for either one of them to recover, he'd get back to his work of loving her until her body couldn't take it anymore. Only until she couldn't take it anymore, and she said so through her moans would he stop. Only until she told him enough. And he certainly had no grievances whatsoever about such a process to make sure she knew he loved her and to make sure she still loved him. He'd make love to her as much as he needed to, if it'd make this all go away. He'd make sure she knew he loved her and wanted only her, and no one else.

If he could just find her…

"Sakura!" He frustratedly called out again beneath his breath, begging for any indication or feeling that she was somewhere out there. A sign. A feeling. Anything. Give him anything to know she was at least alright. Even if she didn't make it home like Naruto suggested, even if she was somewhere else; just let her be safe and not hurt—not in the hospital. Not again!

Just as he was begging for that signal, a wind blew and something in the mid-August air paused him midstep and his eyes widened. He froze in place and he felt an odd feeling slam against his chest. The pain he felt before that had been still throbbing, even when he shook it off dissipated.

"Sa-suke...kun…" He was damn near certain he heard her call to him as clear as day. He heard her slurred and tired sounding voice right in his ears, so much so, he whirled around, looking for her. His dark and panicked eyes darted everywhere and while she was nowhere in sight...he felt her. He sensed her. He knew he did, so much so his hand reached and clenched at his chest again. And while he still had the urgency to find her, and was at complete odds with this entire ordeal, that sensation he got just now filled him with slight relief.

It calmed him, because it let him know he was still connected to her. He could still feel her like before. That sixth sense he seemed to have developed after becoming one with her, was intact and it just gave him the indication that she was somewhere…and that she was calling to him.

No...it wasn't that. When he read into the feeling deeper, she wasn't just calling to him. That wasn't it. She was calling for him. She was calling for him to come get her and it increased his restlessness to find her.

But he took the slight relief and comfort in the fact that if he could feel her, maybe even if she wasn't in her right mind right now, maybe, she felt him as well. Maybe when she was sober, she'd feel their connection again, and through it, she'd feel his turmoil. And she'd come back to him as soon as possible.

Still, he didn't want to wait for that. He couldn't be patient, especially with the even more increased urgency hearing her voice gave him just now. He wanted to see her. He wanted to hold her and explain everything.

He just wanted her back. As soon as possible.

-CRASH! BOOM! CRACK! People screaming-

Hinata: Hurry, Lone Wolf! Hurry! -running hand in hand-

He's going to destroy the entire village just to kill me...( T-T )...

Hinata: Naruto-kun won't let that happen. ( ^.^ )

-looks back- O.O H-Hinata...

HInata: Hm?

Tell...Tell me that's not Sussanoo flying right for us...


Hinata! You curse?!


Running! Running! Hope you all enjoyed. I know these chapters are rough to read, and still, I promise it gets better!


Aaaannnnnndddd that's my cue to run even faster for my life if that is even possible. See ya next chap...if I'm still alive...-runs-

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