Blood Kissed Petals

And We Run

And we run with a lonely heart! And we run, for this killing love! And we run, till the heavens above. Yeah we run. Running in the dark and we run, till we fall apart! And we run, till the heavens above! — Within Temptation

Hana blinked. "You need my help?" she asked. Itachi gave a soft deep chuckle from behind her.

"Does that surprise you, Hana?" Itachi whispered. Hana narrowed her eyes.

"Why should it surprise me? I always figured you worked alone," Hana said coolly. Itachi didn't answer, preoccupied with playing with her soft brown locks. He kissed her hair softly.

"Why are you so cold towards me, Hana?" he asked. "We use to be friends, lovers even." He snaked his arms around her waist, pulling her flush against his chest. "What's with this new animosity towards me?" he purred seductively. "You did say you kept your promise," his breathed into her ear, tickling it with his moist breath. Hana shivered.

"I don't know if you kept your promise, Itachi," she growled. The Uchiha only smirked. "Whom do you want me to find?" Hana asked, mildly curious. Itachi paused for a moment.

"Uzumaki Naruto," Itachi finally replied. Hana's brown eyes snapped open.

"Naruto? Why Naruto?" Hana asked, fighting the urge to look behind her.

"Can't I have a pleasant little chat with the boy? Why do you assume that I want to do him harm?" Itachi mused, nuzzling her neck. "Why do you assume the worse of me, Hana?" he asked softly.

"Your Akatsuki now. All of you are S-ranked criminals in the Bingo book!" Hana tried to free herself from the Uchiha's embrace, but the man held her tightly. "Is that a good enough reason to assume the worse?" Hana asked.

Itachi sighed, "Fair enough." He let her go, only to spin her around to face him. To her surprise and relief, he didn't have his Sharingan activated.

He trusts me, she thought to herself.

"But will you help me find Uzumaki Naruto." Itachi said; it wasn't a question but an order.

"And if I refuse?" Hana asked, seeing how far she could push her luck with the Uchiha.

"I was hoping you wouldn't refuse." The corners of Itachi's mouth flickered into a smile, before dropping into a thin neutral line. "Please Hana, I'm just an old friend, an old lover, asking for your help," Itachi said.

The kunoichi backed up slowly, treating Itachi like a cornered wolf. "If I help you." She crouched, reaching surreptitiously under her bed. Her fingers wrapping around a kunai's cloth wrapped hilt. "And find Uzumaki Naruto for you, you will let me go, correct?" she slowly straightened, hiding the kunai behind her.

"Yes," Itachi said, with a small bob of his head. Hana fingered the kunai.

"Funny," she said, looking at Itachi, "I find it very hard to trust you!" She lunged at him swiping with her kunai. The action prompted Itachi to activate his Sharingan, his eyes turning bright blood red, the tomoe lazily spinning around his pupil. Hana slid to the side when the Uchiha easily avoided her attack.

"You have gotten quicker," he said softly. Hana snarled, charging at him. He waited, until she was within striking range. Hana took another swiped at him, but he grabbed her wrist, twisted her arm before slamming her into the bed. The kunai clattered to the ground. He pinned her down, knees pressing her other arm against her side.

The Haimaru Sankyoudai were on their feet, hackles raised and growls rippling from their throats. "You lost your weapon, Hana," Itachi breathed into her ear. "How do you expect to defeat me?" he whispered. Hana growled savagely, trying to look at him. His arm was close enough to her face; she twisted a bit before sinking her teeth into his arm.

Itachi yelped in surprise, letting go of Hana. The Inuzuka female spun around, hitting Itachi with several quick jabs before sending him across the room. He collided with the wall; a small grunt forced itself passed his lips. Hana squatted, her hands clasped together forming the tiger hand seal. Shikyaku no jutsu! Down on all fours technique! Hana thought. She lowered herself to the ground, canines and nails lengthening; her eyes took on a feral aura. Chakra swirled around her. Itachi twitched as he came to, Hana gave a savage snarl before pouncing on the still slightly dazed Itachi.

To his credit, Itachi was able to roll out of the way just in time. Hana collided with the wall; the Haimaru Sankyoudai blocked the exits, snarling angrily. Itachi sighed through his nose, knowing if this kept up any longer he'll have the entire Inuzuka clan after him. He looked around, failing to notice Hana.

"Boo!" a snarl sounded above him. He looked up to see the feral looking kunoichi drop down from the ceiling. Her claws raked across his body, shredding both cloth and skin alike.

Itachi struggled with the angry kunoichi, but he finally was able to pin her on the ground. His knees up into her armpits and her hands out in front of her. "Hana," Itachi gasped, blinking blood out of his now black eyes. "That was no way to treat a lover." There was a hint of humor in his words. He looked at the three dogs, his Sharingan spinning angrily. The Haimaru Sankyoudai whined nervously, shivers rippling along their lean muscles.

"Shut up! Stop playing coy with me Itachi! I tried! I honestly tried to love you! Nevertheless, I couldn't! Not after seeing the scene of the crime myself! Not after seeing the state, you left Sasuke in! A year after you left I…I…I broke my promise! I hate you! I hope Sasuke kills you! You deserve death!" Hana snarled, canceling her jutsu.

Itachi felt his blood run cold; he vaguely wondered why her words stung him so badly. Itachi had heard those words from Sasuke, but he expected them, even encouraged them from his beloved little brother; he guessed, that somewhere in his still beating heart that he vainly tried to close off, he still loved Hana… no, never stopped loving her. He never forgot his promise. Closing his eyes, he leaned down, his lips touching the delicate curve of her ear.

"I'm glad you broke your promise," he whispered pitilessly. "Because I have also broken mine," he finished, his heart clenching at those heartless words. Hana blinked, her forehead touching the wood of the floor. "Now," Itachi's tone became business like. "If you don't help me, I will kill your mother and brother." Itachi smirked. "Understand?" he asked.

"Yes," Hana said.

"Good, now when I let you go, get dress and come with me," he paused. "Don't bother leaving a note to anyone because if you do, you forfeit your family's life, understand?"

"Perfectly," Hana growled.

Itachi slowly got off her, allowing her to stand up. She gave him a murderous glare and the Uchiha just blinked. She looked away, biting her lip to keep herself from crying out in frustrated rage. Slowly, with her back to him, she removed her top. She smirked, just thinking about the little strip tease that she was giving Itachi. She grabbed her bra and hooked it on, before pulling on a clean shirt.

Next, she swayed her hips sexily as she removed her pajama bottoms. She heard Itachi give a nervous cough, bit that was about it. Huffing in defeat, she pulled on her underwear and pants; she shrugged into her chuunin vest and zipped it up before grabbing her weapon pouches. She turned to see the stoic face of the Uchiha. She bit her lip and gave a sharp whistle, the Haimaru Sankyoudai leapt to their feet, tails wagging along with their tongues. "Okay, I'm ready," she said, eyeing Itachi.

"Good," the Sharingan user said. Hana watched him walk to the window. "This way will be faster," he said. Hana opened her mouth to protest, but the Uchiha shook his head. Hana snapped her mouth close; she set her lips in a thin line and followed him out the window, her dogs tailing her.

Once they were outside the Inuzuka compound, Hana turned to her unlikely partner. "Okay, where do we go from here?" she asked. Itachi blinked at her before pulling out a pair of dingy looking underwear. Hana assumed that the underwear was once white, but now was an ugly grey color. "You want me to track Naruto using his underwear!?" Hana hissed. Itachi calmly blinked. "Are you nuts?" she snapped. Itachi hooked his index fingers in the band and stretched them. Hana could make out Naruto's slopping handwriting, the black scrawl that was his name. "You're crazy you know that, don't you?" Hana asked, Itachi's lips flicked upwards in a smile.

"It'll work, its close to his body, therefore has a larger amount of his scent," Itachi said. Hana walked up to the Uchiha and snatched the underwear away from him.

"I choose not to answer that!" she said hotly, Itachi only chuckled softly.

Hana squatted before her dogs; the Haimaru Sankyoudai sat before their mistress, wagging their tails excitedly. Hana held out the disgusting underwear and allowed her dogs to sniff it. Three black noses twitched as they drank in Naruto's scent. When their noses were full of the scent, Hana grimacing as she too buried her nose in the filthy garment. She took a deep breath, filling her own nose with Naruto's distinct odor. She pulled his underwear away. "Good kami!" she gasped, eyes watering. "It reeks!" she looked at Itachi, who was calmly suppressing his amusement. "This way," she said. The two ninja headed off following Naruto's scent.

Crickets chirped merrily while fireflies glowed an eerie yellow-green in the thick fog. Night had crept in; Sakura and the other three ninja plus the wounded Sasuke reached the camp, around mid-afternoon. Sakura poked her food as she sat around the campfire; she had extracted the poison from Sasuke, and then proceeded to make the antidote. Karin had swiped the finished antidote from her and went to finish healing Sasuke.

She didn't like all this moisture, it made her skin feel sticky, as if she needed to bathe. "Is he going to be all right?" a soft voice asked.

Sakura turned to see Juugo, his orange hair sticking up at odd angles. He looked over at Sasuke with worry in his eyes.

Sakura smiled. "He's going to be just fine. Some rest is all he needs. The antidote was easy enough to make," she said and looked at Juugo. "I'm Sakura." She smiled. Juugo only nodded before getting up and walking off.

Sakura sighed, looking back down at her food. Okay! Let's cut off his balls now! Inner Sakura snarled. Sakura snickered.

"What's so funny, Leaflet?" Suigetsu asked, narrowing his eyes. Sakura narrowed her own jade green eyes in suspicion. She was glad that Suigetsu had spoken and not Karin, then again, the redhead was at Sasuke's side.

"Oh." Sakura shrugged. "Nothing," she chimed with a smirk.

"You like him don't you?" Suigetsu asked, sticking the straw of his water bottle into his mouth.

Sakura didn't answer that. She frankly, didn't really know what she felt for Sasuke now. "I guess you can say that," she finally answered. "Why do you ask?"

"The way you watch Sasuke. Even though he's sleeping right now and Karin is at his side. You watch him when you think nobody is looking." Suigetsu smirked.

Sakura blinked before taking a bite of rice. "You must be seeing things," Sakura said after a moment.

Suigetsu shrugged. "Believe what you want."

"Why do you bring it up?" Sakura asked.

"I like cutting things in two," Suigetsu replied simply.

"Oh. What's Sasuke and Karin's deal?" Sakura asked.

"Sasuke acknowledges that Karin is the strongest," Suigetsu said. Sakura felt her brow twitch.

Sasuke acknowledges her as the strongest? What's so special about Karin! Shannaro! Sakura thought. "I see? Does she warrant such praise?"

"Karin has a few aces up her sleeve. She isn't all just tracking and healing," Suigetsu stated. "Besides, she really loves him." Suigetsu glanced back at Sasuke and Karin.

Sasuke moaned, slowly sitting up. The first thing he noticed was that he was back at camp, and Karin was by his side. "Karin?" Sasuke asked. His eyes scanning her face.

"You're awake Sasuke!" Karin gasped, shoving her glasses up her nose. "Take it easy, Sakura took the poison out, I gave you the antidote she made. Here." Karin handed Sasuke a bowl of rice. "She also made this. It's not very good, but Suigetsu and Juugo can't cook and I was tending you."

"I see," Sasuke said and leaned back against the tree. "When did Sakura say we can start moving?"

"I don't know," Karin huffed. "I frankly don't trust her."

"She was trained by Tsunade, the Godaime Hokage," Sasuke said. "At least that's what rumors say."

"So? She could try to stop you from completing your goal!" Karin pointed out, before taking her glasses off and scooting closer to him. "I won't betray you like that, Sasuke-kun." She cooed. Sasuke blinked before placing a hand on Karin's shoulder and gently pushing her back.

"While you're medical skills are good, it would be wise to have a fully trained medical ninja on our team," Sasuke stated. Karin pouted and put her glasses back on.

"Fine," Karin said as she got up and headed over to where the others were.

Sakura looked up to see Karin joining them. The red-eyed girl glaring at her before sitting down near Suigetsu. Sakura noticed that Sasuke was awake and eating. She rose to her feet and walked over to her patient.

"How are you feeling?" Sakura asked, making the hand seals for her medical ninjutsu. She placed her hand on Sasuke's chest then forehead. "Any pain? Anything feel off?"

"No." Sasuke said. "How soon can we travel?"

"Tomorrow if you feel up to it," Sakura said removing her hand and sitting back on her heels. "Sasuke—"

"Come with me," Sasuke said.

Sakura's eyes grew wide and her heart began to flutter. She blushed and hung her head, her pink bangs hiding her face. Sasuke wants me to come with him… he wants me… needs me! I knew he'd never fall for that redheaded floozy! Sakura thought. "I should get back to Konoha…" Sakura said, "But I'll come." She took Sasuke's hand in hers. "I'll show you that you don't have to be lonely, Sasuke-kun. I promise you." She squeezed his hand.

"Sakura," Sasuke said. He glanced down at his hand. "Let go of my hand."

"Oh." Sakura let go of Sasuke's hand. That was too fast! Inner Sakura chimed. "I'll see you in the morning then," Sakura said as she stood up and she walked off into the woods. Sasuke merely blinked before noticing that Suigetsu had gotten up and followed her.

Suigetsu easily caught up with her. "Leaflet! Hey, Leaflet!" Suigetsu called out. Sakura paused, slowly turning. She rubbed at her eyes.

"What do you want?" she whispered. Suigetsu sighed and rubbed his neck awkwardly. He wasn't good at these sorts of things.

"Listen, whatever is going on between you and Sasuke, I'm not about to try to understand it. Hate him for all I care," Suigetsu said. Sakura looked at her feet.

"After three years… I still can't get through to him," Sakura breathed. Suigetsu titled his head in confusion.

"What are you babbling about, Leaflet?" Suigetsu asked.

Sakura looked up at the dark sky, her pink locks fluttering in the chilly night breeze. Mist curled around her ankles as she slowly turned around to face Suigetsu again, tears glistening in her sea green eyes. "Have you ever loved someone so much that it physically hurts you to see them destroy themselves?" Sakura asked, hands twisting together.

"No," Suigetsu said slowly, taking a step towards her, "I can't say I ever have."

"I tried to stop him two years ago! Tried and failed! I told him, I loved him with all my heart! Even offered to help get his revenge! And you know what he did? He told me I made him sick! He broke my heart! All I ever did was love him!" Sakura turned her head away violently, tears sparkling in the dim moonlight that seeped in from the branches above and snuck in between the fog. Suigetsu slowly walked up to her.

"Sakura," he whispered. The pink haired kunoichi looked up at the missing-nin. She sniffed, looking into his pale purple eyes.

"The only kindness he ever showed me was, thanking me for everything, that night he left," Sakura bit her lip. "And now he says he wants me to come with him? What am I to him?" Sakura screeched.

Suigetsu blinked, oddly patient with her. A tool. He wanted to tell her, but he kept his mouth shut. Finally, the dams broke and Sakura was full out crying. She flung her arms around his shoulders, sobbing into his chest. Awkwardly, Suigetsu wrapped his arms around her, patting her back. "There, there," he said, nervously.

"Damn it! I'm still so in love with him it hurts!" she sobbed. Suigetsu remained silent, rubbing small circles on her back. "I hate him! Yet," she looked up at the missing Mist-nin, tears rolling down her fair cheeks; Suigetsu noted she looked oddly beautiful with those trembling lips and red rimmed eyes due to her sorrow. "I love him," she whispered.

"There, there," Suigetsu repeated, placing her head against his chest. The steady beating of Suigetsu's heart, oddly comforted Sakura as she sobbed softly. The two ninja didn't even notice that Juugo had been sent by Sasuke to fetch them. Upon seeing the missing-nin in a comforting embrace with the Leaf-nin, Juugo shrugged thinking it was best to leave the two alone, he calmly walked off.

Sakura pulled away from him and stepped back. She rubbed her eyes and her nose. "Thank you," she whispered. "I needed that."

Suigetsu nodded. A twig snapped, causing the two young shinobi to freeze. Instinctively, Suigetsu grabbed the hilt of his sword, his purple eyes narrowing as he calmly scanned the forest around them. A few more twigs snapped causing Suigetsu to raise his head at the sight of the culprit. A low snarl vibrated out of Suigetsu's throat: "You!"

"Is there something wrong, Lady Tsunade?" Shizune asked as she placed more paper work on Tsunade's desk.

"Yes!" Tsunade shot her assistant a glare. "I have Hyuga Hiashi breathing down my neck!" Tsunade snarled. Shizune rubbed her forehead.

"Hmm, I thought he might come up," Kakashi mused.

"You thought?" Tsunade rounded on the jounin. "In case you've forgotten, Naruto and Hinata have been missing for at least two days! Hinata is the Hyuga heiress! Any number of enemy villages would love to get their hands on her!" Tsunade said. Kakashi blinked calmly

The three walked into the Hokage's office to see a very furious Hyuga Hiashi standing there, his pale eyes icy. "I demand an explanation Hokage-sama!" Hiashi shouted. Tsunade brushed passed him, to sit behind her desk.

"Hiashi, I've got Neji, Lee, and Tenten after them. I'm also going to send, Nara Shikamaru, Yamanaka Ino, Sai and Temari after them as well," Tsunade eyed the Hyuga leader.

"That's not good enough! You should have ANBU Black Ops out searching for her!" Hiashi snarled.

"You know it could be a meaningless thing," Kakashi said.

"How is my daughter running away, meaningless?" Hiashi inquired hotly.

"She and Naruto could've just eloped and are simply enjoying a little honeymoon and will be back in the village in a few days," Kakashi said with a shrug.

"My daughter wouldn't elope with that blonde idiot! And if she did, she wouldn't have left a note either!" Hiashi said, slamming a hand on the top of Tsunade's desk.

"Kakashi, go tell Ino, Sai, Shikamaru and Temari to get ready for a mission," Tsunade sighed.

"Right away," Kakashi nodded before poofing away. The door creaked opened, Shizune attended to the messenger while Tsunade and Hiashi stared at each other.

"Tsunade," Shizune mumbled. The lack of an honorific caught Tsunade by surprise, causing her to look up at Shizune.

"What is it Shizune?" Tsunade asked.

"Word just came in, Haruno Sakura hasn't returned from her mission," Shizune said. Tsunade closed her eyes with a sigh.

"She's what? A day late? She may have been stuck with the princess. Don'' worry about it," Tsunade said.

"But shouldn't we send someone out to…you know…" Shizune looked away.

"No," Tsunade shook her head. "Sakura is a highly skilled kunoichi, she can handle whatever it is, but if you feel that strongly about it send word to Neji, Lee and Tenten to look for her," Tsunade said. Hiashi was about to speak when the barking of dogs cut him off. "What is it now?" Tsunade growled. The door burst open and in came Inuzuka Tsume followed by her son.

"Tsunade, my daughter is missing!" Tsume growled. Tsunade felt the start of a very nasty headache.

Finding Ino was easy enough. She had dragged Sai off to Ichiraku. The blonde kunoichi looked up at the silver haired jounin. "What?" Ino asked.

"You better get your things ready," Kakashi looked at Sai. "You too Sai. Tsunade-sama is sending you out to look for Hinata and Naruto," Kakashi was about to leave when he paused. "Any idea where Shikamaru is?" Kakashi asked.

"At the training grounds," Ino slurped her noodles. "With Temari." Ino said. Kakashi nodded before vanishing.

He reappeared near the training grounds. "Kakashi," Iruka's voice caused the legendary jounin to turn around.

"Iruka, what are you doing here?" he asked.

"Is it true? About Naruto?" Iruka asked.

"I'm afraid so," Kakashi watched Iruka's shoulders slump in disappointment.

"I expected this from Sasuke, but Naruto…that's new," Iruka said.

"Iruka, Naruto didn't run off to Orochimaru," Kakashi said.

"True, but still; and taking Hinata with him! How could he!" Iruka bit his lip.

"We don't know why Hinata went with Naruto. She could've been kidnapped by him or left with him on her own free will," Kakashi said.

"Did you hear, Inuzuka Hana is missing now too," Iruka said.

"Hmm, that's interesting. Hana is a good girl. It's not like her to run away," Kakashi mused.

"Do you think she left to follow Naruto?" Iruka asked.

"No," Kakashi shook his head.

"Well, I better let you get back to whatever you were doing," Iruka gave him a sad smile before returning to the Academy.

Kakashi walked up to Shikamaru and Temari. "What is it now Kakashi?" Shikamaru asked.

"Lady Tsunade wants you two to pack and go with Ino and Sai to look for Naruto and Hinata," Kakashi said.

"Ah man, what a drag. Why?" Shikamaru asked.

"Hyuga Hiashi was getting on Tsunade's case about Hinata's disappearance," Kakashi shrugged. "Anyways I have something to take care off," Kakashi waved before vanishing.

"CANON BALL OF YOUTH!" Lee shouted, jumping into the water. Tenten covered her face with her arms.

"How was that?" Lee asked, swimming up to his teammate.

"Ten out of ten," Tenten smiled. Lee grinned.

"You two better get out of the water, we need to get moving," Neji said, standing near the lapping water on the shore.

"Ah, Neji! Lighten up! It's a blistering hot summer day! The water is nice," Tenten said.

"Besides," Lee piped in. "Naruto and Hinata are at least a day ahead of us if we are even heading in the right direction," Lee finished. Neji snorted; unaware that Tenten had snuck up behind him.

"We got new orders. To find Haruno Sakura, so doesn't matter we still need to get—" Neji fell into the lake. "Moving," he spat once he surfaced. "Tenten that wasn't funny!" Neji snarled.

"I thought it was," Tenten said with a playful smirk. Neji shook his long wet hair out of his face.

"I'm surprise that the village doesn't know about your guys' little secret," Neji said watching Lee and Tenten dry off. "The water is nice," Neji smirked.

"What secret?" Tenten asked.

"You know, about you and Lee," Neji said.

"WHAT?" Tenten froze. "Who knows?" Tenten shrieked, a blush coloring her cheeks. Lee trying to hide behind a tree.

"The village. Lee could never keep a secret," Neji said.

"LEE!" Tenten snarled. Lee gulped.

"Actually, I only told Neji," Lee said. Tenten froze before turning to the Byakugan user. Neji looked up at the very dangerous, very pissed off weapons mistress.

"NEJI!" Tenten growled. Neji gulped before dunking into the water so only his pale eyes were above the water. "You are so dead, as of now!" Tenten screamed, hurling the kunai in her hand towards him. Neji bolted to the opposite side of the lake, swimming as fast as he could.

Kakashi looked at Hana's room. He felt something, but couldn't quiet place it. The light glinted off something. Slowly, the jounin walked over to it. "Blood?" he whispered. "But whose blood?" Kakashi cut his thumb, made a few hand seals and summoned Pakkun.

"What do you want Kakashi?" the talking nin-dog asked.

"Whose blood is that on the floor?" Kakashi asked. Pakkun sniffed the blood.

"Ya not gonna like the answer Kakashi," the dog sighed.

"Whose blood is it?" Kakashi pressed.

"Definitely Uchiha," Pakkun sighed.

"Sasuke's?" Kakashi asked.

"No," the dog shook his head. "It's Itachi's."

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