Chapter 43

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"Lady Sakura, do you need anything?"

Sakura glared at him. "Unchain me at once."

"I'm afraid I can't do that, my lady. If I do, you would find a way to get free and my entire plan would get foiled."

Sakura shook herself inside the rusty, metal chains. "Must you tie me up like this? Why couldn't you use rope?"

"I didn't know what you would have on you. I took no chances- and unless you have a laser stuck inside that wedding ring of yours, I strongly believe that you have no chance of escape."

Sakura's heated glare melted into a puddle of pleading. "Please," she said, trying a different way. "Please, at least bind me in a more respectful manner. These chains really do things to my skin."

"It will only bother you if you decide to thrash so. Please forgive me for saying this, but whatever you plan to do, it will not work. The only thing that can save you now is your fiance."

Sakura's eyes welled up in tears for the first time in hours. "But that's exactly why I want to get free," she sobbed. "If I can leave on my own, he can't danger himself- please, just let me go. His hatred for you has already passed, I know it has."

Crow shrugged. "If you say so- but no matter what, I will not let you free. You are my hostage, and my bait." Sakura shook her head. "No, no, please... he'll forgive you... please don't kill him..."

Crow squatted down so he was eye to eye with Sakura. His warm hand grasped her chin as he turned it so that their faces were inches away from each other. "You don't understand, Lady Sakura," he said softly, eyes searching her fear-filled ones. "I simply cannot let you go free. Do you want to know why?"

Sakura nodded, chin quivering.

"Because if he doesn't show up or loses against me, I'll have to kill you."

Her blood ran cold.

"K-Kill me? Why? Isn't kidnapping me and torturing me on my wedding day enough?" she said, voice unstable. "It's to strengthen his hate for me," he said softly. "Who do you think sent Karin to him? Me. I knew how much he hates her. She's probably dead and buried."

He continued talking. "Killing you if he loses or doesn't come will remind him of his hate for me. He'll want to hunt me down till the ends of the earth until I'm hacked, chopped, burned, strangled, however horrific way he'd want to kill me. And I would be at perfect ease."

Sakura shook her head slowly as he got up. "I really don't have anything against you," he said softly, black eyes staring down at her poor figure. "I really am sorry. Should I give you an idea on how I would kill you?" She said nothing.

Then, something strange happened.

Was his eyes glowing? Spinning? Turning red? Sakura just thought that she was being delirious- after all, it had been hours since she last ate. But no, no, it wasn't just his eyes- his figure shank. Grew fur. His thinned-out frown turning into a growling set of teeth.

Before she knew it, he had transformed into a wolf.

Sakura jumped and scooted backwards into the pole, hugging her chained up hands to the cold metal surface as the wolf stalked towards her.

"This is how I would kill you," a soft purr came outside of those sharp teeth. "Puncture your neck so that you would die instantly, then tear up your body to make it look like I killed you with my claws. I am doing you a favor by showing you my other form- please accept my sincere apology."

Her shoulders began to shake as he turned back into a regular human, clothes and all. "But remember," he said quietly, "If your fiance wins... and kills me successfully... I would not kill you. You would get married to him and live happily ever after. Keep that in your head and just wait for him to come."

He turned around and disappeared into the darkness. "Good night, Lady Sakura," was heard with his disembodied voice.




"We're gonna take Rin and Hinata," Shikamaru was saying after they dragged him back inside the room. "Rin for her medical knowledge, and Hinata to track exactly where Itachi is. Kakashi and Yamato will tag along in front so that they can take the girls and run if Itachi were to find them. Be extremely careful not to be seen," he advised them. "If you are caught, Sakura's living existence in this world is more than likely to be over."

Kakashi and Yamato nodded, not even breaking a sweat.

"Rin and Hinata, do your best to keep yourself hidden. Your safety above Uchiha's, remember that. Even if it looks like he's losing to Itachi when they fight, do not get involved. Sakura's and his life is on the line. Got it, guys?"

They nodded, Hinata's forehead wrinkling in concentration.

"Okay, good. So that'll be the plan for now... luckily, the fog's quite thick tonight so take these," Shikamaru handed out two rods. "They make mist, so if he's on your tail it shouldn't be too hard to grab and go, spraying it on your way-"

"Do they have a specific smell?" Sasuke interrupted. Shikamaru looked at him, surprised. "It rids all scent of them after and it'll be like they were never there. Make sure to use the trees; he could track you by footprint."

Everyone nodded- they were on board with the plan.

Well... except one.

"Why aren't I going?!" Naruto complained to his friend as Shikamaru gave him a pointed glare. "First off, I asked Kiba about whose scents are easiest to track and you were number one on that list. You reek of ramen."

He opened his mouth to respond, but Shikamaru held up a finger. "You're too loud. You'd probably rush in to save Uchiha if he gets in any trouble and complicate things. You'd try to do everything yourself. Dude, a mission like this is just not suited for you and you going would only hurt everyone. Get the gist."

Naruto made a face. "I'm not that loud."

"Yes, you are," rang all across the room.

Shikamaru gestured to the silent man waiting by the door. "Oh, and... I've asked Obito to keep a strict hold on you until the others get back, good news or bad."


"When are we leaving," Sasuke interrupted as he pulled on his cloak. "He said tomorrow by midnight. It's about eight right now- we need to go. Now."

Tsunade held him back as she looked over to Shikamaru. "Was that everything?"

"Yes, I believe it was... and one more thing," he added. "The ones in charge of rescuing Sakura are to be Kakashi and Rin only. Hinata, you will only locate where she is and stay with Uchiha when he fights. If anything happens, tell Yamato to come back immediately to report. We'll decide on what to do later on. Hinata, you are to stay until you spot Sakura coming back with Rin and Kakashi. You will then depart, regardless of whether or not Uchiha is with you."

Sasuke nodded, pushing Tsunade's hand away. "I'll be back. Please tell the others that the wedding will take place tomorrow."

Tsunade opened her mouth to argue, but she decided not to and said obediently, "Yes, sir."

They left.

I'll be coming for you soon, Sakura. Just you wait.  




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