Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Or Labyrinth come to think of it... AND IF I DID THERE WOULD BE A FREAKIN' SEQUEL!
I wrote this simply because, who WOULDN'T? XDD Also it's my friend's birthday today! And since she's a bigger fan of the Labyrinth than I am, consider this as a birthday present, Sukoshi-NinjaFox'sBuddy! (And a birthday contribution for Sakura since they both share the same birthday...)
Oh, and since I have the inability to write a moderate sized one-shot... Prepare for the longest Two-shot of all eternity!
"...For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom as great!" I said firmly to the air, pretending to see the Goblin King right in front of me. Evil, brooding, powerful, and hot. I raised my chin and just about shouted, "You have no power over me!"
"Aren't you a little too obsessed with that story?" Sakura asked behind me. I yelped and spun to see my pink haired stepsister and best friend sitting on a stone bench, her eyebrows raised at me. I giggled self-consciously, "I didn't know anyone was here..." I said sheepishly. Sakura rolled her sea green eyes, "Yeah, you're so caught up in your 'Labyrinth' world that you don't even realized people are actually standing there." I crossed my arms, "You followed me, didn't you?" She squeaked and stiffened, "N-no..." I rolled my eyes, "Saku, let me tell you a secret. To be an avid reader you must have a large imagination, so you can imagine all the details. Thus to have a large imagination you must be observant. And you, dear Sakura, are lying. You followed me here. I'll bet my whole Labyrinth collection that, your dad put you up to this." Sakura glared at me, her cheeks turning pink, "I hate you, Kanari. Especially when you get all logical and formal on me."
I held up a finger to correct her when the clouds that had been hanging over us all day opened and dropped tons of water down at once. Sakura gave an unearthly screech and tried to cover up her styled hair. I laughed and spun in a circle, "Rain, rain dripping down!" I sang. Sakura grabbed my arm and pulled me into a run, "I have a freakin' date tonight Kanari! I'm not going to get my hair all ruined just so you can play 'Singing in the-Freakin'-Rain!' Move it or lose it!" I laughed at my stepsister and let her drag me back to our house.
Of course Kizashi was waiting for us, "Kanari..." He started. I rolled my eyes, "Yeah, yeah. I should be more responsible. I've got homework." I moved to step past my stepfather but he blocked me, "No you don't. You wouldn't have left if you did. Talk to me, Kanari." I narrowed my eyes, "It's not fair! You always blame me for everything, but never Sakura. I'm always to blame and-" Kizashi narrowed his eyes, "You're eighteen and the oldest, you should know better." I rolled my eyes, "You and Mom have a date, Sakura has a date, but heaven forbid that I ever get a date, because then who is going to watch over the brat!?" I stomped into the house, Kizashi storming after me with Sakura mildly following wringing out her soaked hair in the process, "Don't you dare call your brother that!" Kizashi shouted. "Half-brother! Akanbou is my half-brother!" I retorted, turning to face him.
At that moment my mother came in, "What is all the shouting about?" She asked, carrying Akanbou, who was screaming so loud that it hurt my ears. "Nothing! You are just ruining my life, that's what!" I snapped. My mother frowned, "Kanari, stop being dramatic. If you had a date then we would hire a babysitter, but-" I glared at her, "So you're saying that I can't get a date?" Mebuki narrowed her eyes, "Now see here, young lady, you either drop the 'woe-the-world-is-against-me' act, or your grounded!" I pushed past her, making Akanbou cry even louder, and started up the stairs, "What good is grounding me? I'm already stuck here watching over the baby!" I shouted and stomped up the stairs before either of them could say anything else.
Several minutes later, after Mebuki and Kizashi had left, Sakura tapped on the door, "Kanari...? Can I come in?" I rolled over on my bed, never taking my eyes off my worn copy of the Labyrinth, "Shouldn't your date be here soon?" I asked. Sakura sighed outside the door and said, "Kanari, if you want me to, I can call it off and-" Akanbou started wailing again. I tried to ignore it, but he just cried louder and louder. Finally I threw down my book and stalked out of my room to the nursery across the hall. Sakura was bent over our half-brother, trying to sooth him and failing, "Can't you calm him down?" I asked. Sakura glared at me, "It's your fault, with all that yelling you did he's been finicky!" I shoved a finger in her face, making her go slightly cross-eyed to see my fingertip, "Watch it." Akanbou reached a high-piercing screech that made both Sakura and I cringe.
Growling under my breath I took Akanbou from Sakura and placed him on my hip, "Akanbou be quiet! You're giving me a head-ache." He didn't even quiet for a second. I swung him around, "Come on, Akanbou. Look I'm sorry, alright? Please be quiet. I can't take this all night!" The doorbell rang and Sakura glanced to the door, "Uhhh... my date's here I guess. I gotta go." She glanced at me again, "Will you be okay?" I glared at her, "As okay as I can be. Go." My pink haired stepsister cast one final look at Akanbou and me before walking out. The minute I was sure she was out of hearing I held Akanbou at arms length, "Look, we're stuck with each other for a while, so shut up!" If anything, he only got louder. Groaning I laid him down, defeated. "Sometimes I wish that the Labyrinth was real and the goblins would come and take you away... right now." I snapped as I walked away from him, leaving him to cry himself out.
He stopped crying.
I turned to the crib, my eyebrows pulled down in a worried frown. Babies just didn't stop crying, that was impossible. Evil giggles filled the room as I cautiously made my way to the crib, hesitantly calling out Akanbou's name. He didn't even flinch. Cautiously I reached out and jerked back the covers to reveal... absolutely nothing. Now I was freaked out. Something scurried across the floor, I could hear the quick tapping of claws against the wooden floor, but when I turned, nothing was there. More giggling and cackles sounded from various corners of the room. I whimpered and took a step away from the crib, scared.
I stiffened feeling something dark and ominous emanating from behind me. Slowly I turned and faced the threat. There, sitting in my stepdad's reading chair pushing in the corner of the room was the Goblin King, I was sure of it. Everything about him was dark, from his long coal black hair tied at the nape of his neck and depthless onyx eyes to his elegant, yet frightening, clothes. "Y-your... him... aren't you?" The Goblin King dipped his head in acknowledgment. "You have my brother...?" Again he nodded silently. "Can I have him back? I-I didn't mean what I said." The Goblin King finally stood, shadows pouring from his cape, "Kanari... you asked and I have given. Go on about your life, for your brother is one of us now." He turned but I reached out to grab his arm. He faced me again before I could lay my hand on him, "Please. I want my brother back."
Instead of answering he held out a crystal ball. I took a step back, for some reason I didn't want to touch the thing, "Forget about your brother, Kanari. Here, take this as payment. It can show you anything you want." I shook my head, "I want my brother!" I said, raising my voice. The Goblin King frowned slightly, but before he could say anything I heard footsteps coming up the stairs. I stared at the open door, I had thought Sakura had left already! What would I tell her when she found that Akanbou was gone and this dark Goblin King in his place? "Kanari? Do I hear voices? Who are you talking to?" My younger sister asked as she walked in the room, her eyes widened when she caught sight of the fey before me. She pointed at him and opened her mouth to scream when suddenly the world spun in a swirl of color and shadows.
I landed on my butt, the wind flying out of me. Sakura landed beside me as I stood to survey our surroundings. All around us was nothing but red tinted arid wastelands. In the distance I could see the Labyrinth and the castle beyond it, it was more magnificent that I could ever have imagined. I twisted to see what was behind us, but my eyes riveted to the Goblin King standing under a dead tree, evil rolling off him in waves. Sakura huddled against me, staring at the dark fey, still not used to his presence. He stared at me, "Your brother is at the center, in my castle. You have thirteen hours to find him, or he will become a goblin forever." I frowned, "That's not fair!" I snapped. Amusement sparked deep within his eyes, "I suggest you begin. It's further than you think, and time is short." In a whirlwind of shadows, he disappeared. Sakura stood, "Why is Akanbou in the goblin castle? Why does this place exist? Am I dreaming? Please say I'm dreaming!" She babbled, mostly to herself. I reach over and pinched her arm to prove she wasn't dreaming.
She spun on me suddenly, "You did this, didn't you? Of course, you're the only one who used to believe in this crap! It's all your fault!" She reached for me, probably to strangle me, but I deflected her, "Sakura! Calm down. I didn't actually believe that if I said those stupid words it would actually happen! I was just being sarcastic!" I grabbed her shoulders and shook her, "Get a grip, Saku. We have thirteen hours to figure out this labyrinth, or we'll both be regretting my stupid mistake for the rest of our lives! Didn't you hear him? Akanbou is going to change into a goblin if we don't hurry!" That snapped her out of it, "Alright, we just need to... take baby steps. Come on! It can't be that hard!" She grabbed my wrist and dragged me down the hill towards the stone wall that contained the Labyrinth.
"Hey! Watch it, Sakura!" I said as I nearly tripped over yet another fallen branch. Instead of answering she pulled to a stop, making me bump into her. I opened my mouth to berate her, but the words died on my lips when I saw what made her stop, the wall to the Labyrinth. Sakura and I exchanged looks, this place reeked of evil. If it wasn't Akanbou's life as a human on the line I would have turned and gone back. Sakura took a step forward, "Is there a way to get in?" She asked me, but I shook my head. I didn't now. "Yes." A voice said. Both of us gave girly shrieks and spun to see a red haired boy Sakura's age glaring at us with jade eyes.
I found my voice first, "And you are...?" The red head's eyes darted to me, "Gaara." He barked, as if his own name was a curse. Without another word he turned and began walking away from us. We followed him cautiously, thinking he was leading us somewhere. After a few minutes he turned to us, looking almost psychotic, "Why are you following me?!" He growled. Sakura flinched but asked, "Aren't you leading us to the door?" "No." He snapped back quickly. I tilted my head, "Then, can you show us?" "No." Sakura and I looked at each other, was he doing this deliberately? My stepsister turned back to the glowering red head, "How do you get into the Labyrinth?" The boy huffed and said cryptically, "Through a door." I glared, losing my patients, "Will you or will you not help us?" Gaara shrugged, "If you ask the right questions..."
Sakura pursed her lips, thinking long and hard, "Where is the door to the Labyrinth?" Gaara cracked a small smile, "Right there." He said jerking his thumb to the right. As if on cue two doors that were embedded in the stonework creaked open by themselves. If was a wonder we had missed it before. Sakura turned back to the infuriating red head, "Will... Will you help us through?" Gaara shook his head, "No. Now go away, I have things to do." I shot him an evil look as I pushed my sister inside before she could bother him again.
We both looked to the right then to the left, nothing but straight walls as far as we could see. I glanced at Sakura, "Paper, Rock, Scissors?" I asked, half joking. Sakura gave me a look that told me she didn't appreciate my wit. "Cozy, isn't it?" Gaara asked directly behind me. I yelped and spun as did Sakura. The pink haired girl glanced both directions again, "Uh... which way do we go?" Gaara shrugged, leaning against the door way, "Which ever way you decide to go." Sakura frowned and didn't say another thing. I perked up, "Which way would you go?" I asked, hoping that he would give us a firm answer. Gaara raised nonexistent eyebrows, "Me? Neither. I would turn around and walk out." He said then straightened and did just that. The doors slammed behind him, trapping us in the Labyrinth. Sakura looked at me, her green eyes filled with tears and fright. Once again I cursed my stupid move to banish our poor brother to this place. "Let's go to the left." I said, taking charge of the situation. Sakura nodded.
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"Brother! Did I hear from the guards correctly?" Sasuke snapped as he stormed into the throne room, goblins were tripping over themselves to get out of his way. King Itachi may be a ruthless ruler, but he was no where near as cruel as his younger brother, the Goblin Prince. Itachi spared Sasuke a glance of acknowledgment, and slight annoyance, before returning his attention to the cooing baby in his lap. Sasuke glared at the kid, "So it is true. The Labyrinth is active again, and some poor girl is having to fight her way here. She'll fail and you know it!" He growled. Itachi handed the babe off to one of the many goblins and stood, "We need mates, and unless you want to pledge yourself to a goblin woman, I suggest you don't question my methods." Sasuke crossed his arms, "What? IF this girl happens to miraculously succeed, are we going to share her?"
Itachi allowed himself a small smirk, "This girl has her younger sister with her." That shut Sasuke up. It had always been just one girl going through the Labyrinth, but none of them ever succeed to making it to the castle. Could two girls possibly make it through? Itachi saw what Sasuke was thinking and said, "If you will excuse me, I have things to arrange. Watch the boy while I'm gone." Itachi could feel Sasuke's discomfort around the child as he walked away and smiled. Things were going as planned.
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"Oh, we'll never get out of here! It goes on and on, never turning at all! GAH!" Sakura shouted and kicked a branch in frustration before sitting down beside me against one of the walls. I shrugged, "Something will happen, just you-" "'Allo." Something small and squeaky said. Sakura and I stared at each other then down at the small face sticking out of the wall. It was the face of a pug. I blinked, that wasn't there a second ago, "Did you just say 'hello'?" The pug shook its head, "No, I said 'allo' but that works just the same." Sakura saw a chance for help and jumped for it, "Can you tell us if there's a way through this Labyrinth?" "I'm just a pug stuck in the wall, sorry." The pug said sadly then brightened, "Wanna give me an ear scratch?" Sakura obliged while I said, "This path can't be the only one, there's got to be turns and openings somewhere, but we just can't find them!" The pug, panting from being petted, said, "Sure there's lots of openings. This place is full of them! You just gotta look. There's one in front of you there, in fact." Sakura and I both looked, but saw nothing but an empty wall.
Sakura turned back to the pug, "No there isn't." She said, but suddenly I understood. How stupid did I have to be not to see it!? As Sakura argued with the pug on whether or not there was an opening in front of us or not I reached out as if to touch the wall and walked through the camouflaged opening. "Sakura! He was right, there's two more ways this way!" I said excitedly. The pug sniffed, "See? She's the smart one..." Sakura gave him one last glare while she joined me. She jumped up and down when she saw the new paths. "Come on! This should be easy! She started dragging me rightwards. "WAIT!" The pug shouted and we both went back to the opening, "Don't go that way! Never go that way!" Sakura and I exchanged looks. I shrugged and went left, my pink haired sister following. (A.N. Bet you can't guess who the pug is! XD)
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"Pakun threw them off the scent. They won't be coming straight here." Itachi said, staring intently into his crystal ball. With a flashy flick of his wrist the crystal disappeared. Sasuke was holding Akanbou at arms length away from him. He glared at Itachi and snapped "Great, so why don't you take him?" Itachi looked at him, "Why?" Sasuke narrowed his eyes at his older brother, "Because I have no clue how to handle kids. Grab him before I drop him!" Itachi rolled his eyes and took Akanbou from the prince. Cradling the babe expertly, Itachi shot a detached look at his brother, "You might as well get used to it. You might be a father one day." Itachi was secretly amused by the look of revulsion on Sasuke's face. Itachi glanced at the clock hanging just beside his head, nine more hours to go before Akanbou was a goblin and the girls were sent back to their world empty handed and headed. They should be going through the Ever Changing Maze now.
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"Hey! Someone's changing my markings!" Sakura whined, staring at the lipstick arrow that had gone from pointing towards us to where we had just come from. I had thought that using her lipstick had been a good idea, but now it was useless. Sakura threw down the lipstick tube, "That's just not fair!" I had to agree with her on there. An oily voice said behind us, "No it issssn't." Both of us spun, not really surprised this time. Most of the people we met here always snuck up behind us. Two men stood in front of two doors in a small courtyard that had been a wall before. The one of the right had stringy black hair and yellow snake-like eyes while his companion had long shaggy grey hair. Two red tear lines ran from his eyes down to his jaw line. The grey haired man chuckled, "Haven't seen many pretty things like you here. All I get to stare at is him." He glared at the dark haired man leering at us.
Sakura blinked, "This was a wall a minute ago." The snake-like man hissed in laughter, "No that's the wall behind you, there." Both of us turned to see that the wall had moved, we were trapped with these freaky men. "That's not fair!" I snapped at the immovable wall then glared at the two men, "Did you do that?" The grey haired one waved a dismissive hand, "Naw, this place is ever changing." Sakura gripped her hair in frustration, "That's not freakin' fair! When I see that Goblin King I'm giving him a freakin' bit of my mind!" The two men exchanged glances, "Well these doors lead somewhere. One goes to the castle and the other to... certain death!" The black haired man sneered dramatically. Sakura perked up, "Which one leads where?"
The grey haired man held up a finger, "There are rules. You can only ask one of us a question. Gotta warn you though: One of us always tells the truth and one of us always lies." I grinned to myself, this was my kind of game. I stepped forward so that I was in the face of the black haired man, "Answer 'yes' or 'no'. If I asked your friend if this door lead to the certain death, what would he say?" The man blinked then cast a look at the grey haired man, he looked just as confused. "..Yes." He said, a little hesitate. I nodded and stepped back and pointed to the door he was standing in front of, "So this one leads to certain death, and the other leads to the castle. Come on Sakura, lets go!" I grabbed my giggling sister and the grey haired man opened his door with flourish, the confused look still on his face. We ran through the door, laughing, before something else could happened. "That was really smart, Kanari. I think we're getting the hang of-" Before Sakura could finish the floor opened underneath us and we both dropped down into the dark.
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"They made it to the Oubliette." Itachi said. Sasuke, his arms once again full with Akanbou, snickered and their goblin subjects foolishly cheered. Itachi shot a general glare at the audience, who immediately fell silent. Itachi threw the scrying crystal in the air, making it vanish, and leaned back against his throne, "They should have never made it that far." He said to himself. Sasuke smirked, "Well, you failed. Again. Looks like these two will succeed and you still won't have a precious queen, not even another squalling brat." Itachi shot his brother a red eyed scowl and stood. "I'll just have to guarantee one stays here." He said, a plan already forming in his mind. Swiftly he shed his normal skin for the ebony feathers of a raven and flew off towards the gate to the Labyrinth. Sasuke shook his head and took his brother's vacated seat, Akanbou in his lap. He tilted his head at the curious child, "You know, I think I'm starting to like you..." He mused.
"Gaara." Itachi spoke and the red head gate keeper jumped before turning to glare at the Goblin King, "What do you want?" Gaara was one of the few people who dared take such a tone with the king. Itachi raised an eyebrow and said dismissively, "I need you to distract the girls back to the beginning. They've gotten too far." Gaara rolled his jade colored eyes, "Pity." He snapped. Itachi narrowed his now red eyes. Gaara actually gulped, everyone knew that red eyes meant King Itachi was about to kill someone in the most horrific ways possible. Gaara valued his life, even if he spent his days taking care of the boring Labyrinth gate. "Alright I'll do it." Gaara said as if the thought killed him. Itachi cracked a very small smile and disappeared as quickly as he had appeared in a flurry of feathers and shadows.
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I crossed my arms and glared to the right in what I thought was Sakura's direction, "Great, just great. You just had to go and jinx us didn't you?!" I snapped at her. There was a noise to my left, "It's not my fault, how do we know that this isn't the Certain Death and you just made a freakin' wrong guess?" I didn't answer, I knew she was right. We were stuck in pitch blackness, with the only hope for light was the small shaft coming through the trap door above us, too far for us to reach, even if one of us stood on the other's shoulders.
"Well aren't you two in a big mess?" A voice called out from the darkness. I stiffened and looked around blindly, "Who's there?" I asked just as Sakura said, "Show yourself!" There was the sound of a match being lit and a soft glow far in the back of the pit. The glow brightened to reveal the whole cavern. Gaara stood beside an old candle, his arms crossed, glaring at us, "Congrats, you've made it to the Oubliette." He snapped. Sakura frowned, "What's an Oubli-thingamajig?" Gaara rolled his eyes and straightened from the wall. Throwing out his arms to gesture to the whole cavern he said sarcastically, "The Oubliette, the Labyrinth if full of them. One way in, one way out." As one both Sakura and I looked up to the trapdoor so far above us. Sakura looked back at the infuriating red head, "What is an Oubliette for?" She asked.
Gaara raised an nonexistent eyebrow, "A place to put people... to forget about them!" Sakura shivered and plastered herself to me while I glared at him, "So why are you here?" Gaara put on a falsely concerned look, "I was very concerned about you two. So I thought I'd take you back to the beginning, so you can escape." "Oh no! I'm not quitting!" I shouted. Gaara shot me a hateful glare, "Look it gets worse from here on. Might as well turn back now." Sakura stood, "Forget about it. We're getting our brother back so you might as well-" I slapped a hand over her mouth, "Instead of taking us to the beginning, can you take us to the castle?" Gaara shot me a look, "You want me to cheat?!" He asked, his voice raising for once.
I pulled off my 14 karat gold bracelet and held it out to him, "I'll give you this. It's fourteen karats." Gaara's eyes zeroed on the valuable piece, just like I knew he would. Gaara seemed to consider before looked back at me, "How about you give me that, and I'll take you back to the beginning..." Sakura growled, "Do you think we're stupid?!" Gaara shrugged nonchalantly and looked casually to the wall, "Yes..." I glared, but I couldn't let my anger get the best of me otherwise he would leave us here in this hole. "Wait... if you won't take us to the castle, take us as far as you can, then we'll find out own way. Deal?" Sakura narrowed her eyes at me, "Kanari, you can't possible think of giving your bracelet to-" Gaara cut her off this time, snatching the bracelet from my fingers, "Deal. Let's go." Sakura and I exchanged looks as he walked to the wall, go... where?
Gaara picked up a plain looking board and held it against the wall, glancing at us he moved to cover what he was doing. I heard a click and he swung the board open like it was a door. Instead of a blank wall there was a red lit tunnel. Gaara started to walk in when a roar thundered through the hall. Sakura leapt behind me and Gaara slammed the door shut, he shot an almost sheepish look at us, "Wrong side." He explained then unlocked where the hinges had been. This time the tunnel was black. Gaara looked in the tunnel and, when nothing came to bite his head off, motioned us to follow. Sakura and I exchanged uneasy looked before walking into the tunnel, Sakura clinging to my arm. The tunnel was long and dark, I could barely see Gaara in front of us except for an impression that he was there. I felt squished and claustrophobic, having to bend almost half way over to avoid smashing my head against the ceiling of the tunnel.
Gaara lead us safely through the tunnel and into a large twisting cavern. Faces built into the stone stared at us, Sakura jumped back in surprise. Gaara didn't even hesitate in walked forward, my sister and I following more cautiously. As he passed the first face it's mouth moved and said in a deep voice, "Doooon't gooooo onnnnn!" Sakura yelped and jumped away. Gaara didn't flinch but continued on his way. More voices followed all of them deep, but every one of them different, "Go back while you still can!" "This is not the waaaaayyy!" "Take heed and go no further!" "Beware... beware!" "Soon it will be too late..." Gaara finally waved his hand, "Don't pay any attention to them. They're just false alarms. You get a lot of them in the Labyrinth, especially if you're on the right track." Just then another rock face said, "Oh no you're not!" Gaara glared at the rock, "Shut up." He snapped and the rock responded in a down cast voice, "Sorry... just doing my job..." I was having a hard time trying not to laugh at that. Gaara walked past another rock face but held up a hand when its mouth started moving, "Don't start." I did giggle at the rock's pout.
A crystal ball moved past my feet and I suddenly knew what was at the end of the cavern. Gaara seemed to understand the ball's significance too, grumbling under his breath. All three of us followed the ball to a blind beggar leaning against a wall, holding a tin cup. "What have we here?" He asked in a gravelly voice, but I already knew who it was. I stepped in front of Sakura to keep her from him in case he tried anything. Gaara crossed his arms, moving to stand partly in front of me, "Nothing." He said. The beggar stood with 'surprising' ease and threw off his ragged cloak, revealing the Goblin King underneath him, "Nothing? Nothing, hn?" He snapped, glaring with red eyes at Gaara. I pulled my sister to me and she stared at him unabashedly. Gaara bowed mockingly, "Your Majesty, what a pleasant surprise! If I had known you would have stopped in I-" The Goblin King cut him off, "Could it be that you're helping these girls?" Gaara blinked, "Helping? No! I was taking them back to the beginning." The Goblin King glanced at Sakura and I as we simultaneously shouted at Gaara, "WHAT?!"
Gaara shot us a dirty look, "I told them that I was going to help them but I was really taking them back to the beginning like we planned." Sakura screeched, "You did WHAT? You lying little-" Once again I put my hand over her mouth so not to make matters worse. The Goblin King spared my sister a brief look of annoyance before advancing towards Gaara, "If I thought for one second you were betraying me, I'd be forced to use the Amaterasu Sharingan on you." Whatever that was, it made Gaara gulp and take a step away from his king. The Goblin King turned to Sakura and I, his eyes their normal black color. I shoved my sister away and stiffened, prepared for whatever he could throw at me. Sakura went for Gaara, her fingers curled into claws, but the red head held her off easily. The Goblin King leaned against the wall, his arms crossed, "Kanari... how are you liking my Labyrinth?" I forced myself to breath slowly and said defiantly, "Piece of cake." I heard Gaara groan and glanced at him to see if Sakura had hurt him. He was staring at me, giving me a look that said 'you idiot'.
The Goblin King raised an eyebrow and, with a slight-of-hand motion, brought a crystal right under my nose. I pulled back startled, falling against the wall. An image of a boy Sakura's age lounging in an intimidating looking throne was at the center of the crystal. I gasped, that boy was holding Akanbou. I lurched forward, attempting to foolishly grab the ball as if I could reach in and grab my brother, but the Goblin King pulled away and the crystal vanished. "If you think so, then how about uping the stakes, hn?" He turned and pointed to an extravagant clock that showed thirteen hours instead of twelve. The hour hand was on the five and the minute was on the twelve. Slowly the hands began to move forward until both reached the eight, "That's not fair!" I cried. The Goblin King turned to me, stopping the time, "You say that often... I wonder what your basis for comparison is." He mused.
The crystal ball appeared in his hand again, "So the Labyrinth is a piece of cake? Let's see how you deal with this slice." He twisted and threw the ball down the dark hallway. There was a flash and suddenly a large machine full of spinning spikes and knives started towards us. Gaara's jade eyes widened and he pulled Sakura, who had stopped trying to kill him to watch the drama between the Goblin King and I, into a run. I stumbled after them, "What is that?" I yelled at the red head. He glared at me over his shoulder, never faltering, "The cleaners! You just had to go and provoke him didn't you?!" Sakura tripped and fell to her knees with a sharp cry. Gaara twisted around to pull her to her feet and I pushed her from behind, "MOVE!" I yelled at her, I could almost feel the sharp blades from the cleaners against my ankles. Whatever the 'cleaners' were, I wasn't about to stick around. We reached a closed gate and all three of us rammed into it, hoping that it might burst open. Gaara shook the thing, but the chain holding the two doors together would budge. Sakura noticed a small dark opening that would have been missed if she hadn't looked closely, "Hurry this way!" She said, tugging on my arm. I grabbed Gaara and we both managed to slip into the crack just as the machine came by.
I fell to the ground on top of Gaara and watched at the terrifying machine continued on its way, not even faltering when it hit the gate. I could see that four goblins worked the machine, two riding it like they would a bicycle to make it for forward and the other two to work the spinning blades. Seeing their short stocky little bodies work the death trap somehow made the machine seem more humorous than scary. Gaara pushed me off when the cleaners were gone from our view, "Get off me!" He snapped and I glared at him, slowly crawling to my feet. Sakura called from deeper in the room, "Hey guys! Wonder where this thing goes?" We both looked to see a long ladder reaching into the murky shadows. Gaara shrugged, "One way to find out." He said and grabbed a hold of the first rung. Sakura and I didn't follow him. Gaara glanced over his shoulder and raised both nonexistent eyebrows questioningly. Sakura crossed her arms, "How can we trust you now that we know you're taking us back to the beginning?"
Gaara rolled his eyes and began climbing again, "I'm not. I lied to him to throw him off the scent." I placed my hands on my hips, "How can we trust anything you say, Gaara?" Gaara finally stopped and threw us an irritated look, "Let me put it this way. What choice have you got?" Sakura and I exchanged looks, he did have a point at that. I shrugged and Sakura nodded, silently agreeing to follow him until he proved himself guilty. Sakura started up first with me following her. Gaara actually kept talking, "You've got to understand my position. I hate my life, but I like to live. And Itachi isn't against killing me." Sakura frowned, "Why's that?" Gaara paused to look over his shoulder at the pink haired girl, "Because King Itachi isn't against killing anyone, except his brother and the Labyrinth runners." I jerked when I heard the Goblin King's name, I had been in this Labyrinth for God knows how long and I had just found out his name! My foot hit a rotten rung and it fell away, making me shriek and cling heavily to the ladder, I watched at the log fell miles down to clatter against the stone floor. I slowly brought my foot up to the next rung and continued my way, more cautiously.
"What did he threaten you with earlier? That Amat-thingy." Sakura asked. Gaara shot a look over his shoulder again, "Can't you remember any names?" He snapped then sighed before she could answer and said, "Amaterasu Sharingan. It's the worst possible punishment here, where King Itachi literally tortures you to death!" Sakura shivered and shut up, concentrating on climbing. I blinked though, "That's horrible, granted, but why does it get the fancy name?" Gaara sighed and said, "Because Itachi tortures you with your worse nightmares and not even physically hurts you. It's more mental torture. There are three results from Amaterasu Sharingan: Death, insanity, or corruption. Think it deserves that name now?" He snapped at me and I mutely nodded.
Gaara pushed something out of the way and bright light filtered down, blinding Sakura and me. "Here we are. You two are on your own from now on." Gaara said as he climbed out. Sakura reached the top and said, "Whaaaat?" I poked my head out of the squat jar and glanced around, we were in a little courtyard with statues. I scrambled out of the vase along with Sakura, "Gaara!" We both shouted as we ran catch up with him. Gaara continued walking, "I said I'd take you as far as I could go. This is as far as I'm going." Sakura jumped in front of him, "You cheat! You nasty, little cheat!" Gaara just looked at her, "Don't try to embarrass me. I have no pride." I glared at him, and just when I was starting to like the red head, he had to pull a stunt like that! I lunged for him and actually managed to tackle him to the ground, Sakura piled on when he tried to get up. With both of us on top of him, Gaara was pinned. "Let me up!" He snapped and we laughed, "Not until you agree to help us." "FINE, I promise!" He growled back and we both stood.
He glared at us while he dusted his shirtfront off, "You're lucky a promise is binding in the Fey Realm." He growled maliciously. Sakura and I both just giggled. I nodded towards the castle, "There's the castle, which way should we try?" Gaara glared at me, "You forced me to promise something I didn't want to do. It's not fair." I smirked at him, "No it isn't!" I paused, realizing what I just said, and murmured to myself, "But that's the way it is." Suddenly I realized that all the times I had said that is wasn't fair, it truly wasn't, but there was nothing I could do to change it. Complaining about it wouldn't help either.
A laugh made all three of us look to the right, Gaara rolled his eyes when he saw who was laughing while Sakura and I recoiled. Two men were grinning at us wearing green skintight leotards. Both of them had shiny black hair that was styled in a bowl cut and bushy eyebrows. "Blossoming young girls! Oh how youthful you two are!" The older one cried happily seeing my sister and I, tears springing to his eyes. Gaara groaned. The younger of the two, someone who looked to be Sakura's age, bounded forward so that he was inches from her face, "You're beauty is intoxicating, blossom! I swear with my everlasting breath that I shall love you and only you!" The guy sank to one knee with his right hand extended towards Sakura and his left over his heart. My stepsister recoiled in disgust and hid behind Gaara, who glared at the boy with such hatred that it surprised me.
I stepped forward and asked the older man, "Can you tell us- that is my sister and me- which way to the castle?" I asked him. He gave me a cheesy grin, "The way forward is sometimes the way back!" I frowned, "I am NOT going back, don't you try to throw me off too!" The man got a teary look in his eyes and I grimaced, there was nothing more freaky than a grown man crying, "Youth! You have lost your precious youth!" He lamented. I stepped away, "Yeah... we'll be going now... Come on Sakura, Gaara!" I grabbed both of them by the wrist and pulled them away from the 'youthful' boy. He cried out, "Noooooooooooo don't leave my precious flowers!" We all broke into a run after that.
vvv POV Change vvv
Itachi growled, glaring into the crystal ball. Sasuke, leaning over his brother's shoulder, laughed, "Well, seems those two are getting smarter! That little prank won't work anymore I guess. You lost." Itachi glared at Sasuke, "Will you shut up?" He snapped, Sasuke just smirked and turned away to watch Akanbou play on the floor with the goblins. The little toddler clapped and held out his hands towards one of the cuter goblins. When the goblin didn't immediately rush into the boy's arms for a hug, Akanbou began to cry. Sasuke glared at the confused goblins, "Entertain him!" He ordered and all the goblins scrambled to make the child laugh and escape the Goblin Prince's anger.
Sasuke turned back to see his brother watching him, he crossed his arms defensively, "What?" It was Itachi's turn to smirk, "You've grown attached to him." Sasuke tried to deny it, but with ever protest Itachi just looked more and more convinced. Itachi stood, "It seems I'll have to distract them another way... Sasuke I will need your help with this one." Sasuke sighed, finally something to do besides scaring goblins and making kids smile!
vvv POV Change vvv
Sakura was starting to drag her feet, "I'm tired, can't we rest now?" Gaara rolled his eyes and I turned to my sister, "No, we don't have much time and we need to get Akanbou and leave." Sakura's spine stiffened as she seemed to get her second wind. She seemed to think of something, "What will you do, Gaara, when we leave?" The red head, who hadn't done anything to make me hate him lately, paused, "Go back to taking care of the gate, I guess." Sakura held her hands behind her back, "It's too bad we won't ever see you again. You're a good friend, once we got to know you." I had never seen anyone looked so surprised before. "You- you want to be my friend?" He asked in an unusually small voice. Sakura and I looked at each other. I turned to Gaara, "Yeah... why shouldn't we be? You've been a big help." Gaara had a ghostly smile on his face, one not full of mockery or sarcasm. I felt sorry for him.
We turned a corner and there was a roar so loud that we all jumped. Gaara leapt back, "Good-bye!" I twisted to grab the back of his shirt, "Where are you going? I thought we were friends!" He jerked out of my grip with surprising strength, "Not with what's ahead I'm not!" He yelled and disappeared. Sakura gave a small whimper and pressed against me, I steeled myself and straightened, "I'm not afraid." I said firmly, hoping that I could convince myself, and followed the sound of the roaring.
Tied upside down by one foot was the strangest animal I had ever seen, surrounded by men in black cloaks with small red clouds on them. The animal resembled a fox, but it had long erect ears, like a rabbits, and was a deep orange. The thing that caught my attention the most was it's nine tails waving fiercely in the air. One of the cloaked men was holding boy with yellow spiky hair and brilliant blue eyes filled with tears, "Leave him alone!" The boy shouted. The fox creature roared again and swiped at one of the black-cloaked men who came too close. Sakura cowered behind me, too scared to move. I glanced around for something and found a rock laying on the ground. I picked it up and shoved Sakura behind me, in case my plan didn't work. I waited until the silver haired cloaked man passed behind the blonde one before I threw my rock at the blonde and hid so he wouldn't see me. "OUCH! Hidan did you throw that, un?" I heard the blonde ask. Hidan, who I guessed was the silver haired man, asked, "Throw what?" There was a small explosion followed by Hidan screaming profane curses that made me blush.
I peeked around the corner of the bush to see the blonde chasing after the silver haired man, throwing something grey that caused explosions. The remaining three exchanged glances, shrugged, and went back to torturing the poor fox. I grabbed another rock and waited for my next opportunity. Soon I had all three of the men arguing with each other and fighting. The one accused of throwing the rock was chased off by the other two, leaving me feeling proud of myself.
When Sakura and I emerged from our hiding spot the fox creature snarled, his lips pulling back to show an impressive array of pointed teeth. The blonde boy jumped up with a grin that would have rivaled the two goofy green leotard guys from before, "Thanks for your help! I thought those guys would kill Kurama for a minute!" I shrugged, "It was nothing..." I glanced at the still upside down and growling fox creature, "Can you tell it to stop growling?" The boy smacked the fox on the shoulder, "Be nice. They just saved your sorry hide." He turned away and began fiddling with the rope holding the fox up. The fox shot a glare at the boy but fell silent. Sakura finally came forward, "I'm Sakura and this is my sister Kanari. We're running the Labyrinth." The boy whirled, "Really?! I've never met a runner! I thought King Itachi only let one runner through though... Anyway, I'm Naruto and this is Kurama, my pet/companion." He shoved his hand at me.
Smiling I shook his hand, finally the first friendly person we've met! Naruto turned back away and gave one hard tug on the rope. Kurama dropped to the ground in a tangle of tails, limbs, and rope. One angry red eye peered out of the mess, glaring at Naruto. The boy laughed nervously, "Sorry, buddy, I wasn't paying attention..." He said before turning back to us, "The Goblin King gave Kurama and I the job of scaring people, but he lets the Akatsuki come in every once in a while to keep us in line. I really don't get why because I keep Kurama in line and I'm not dangerous... at least I don't think I am... Am I?" He turned to us suddenly. I shook my head 'no'. Sakura perked up, an idea apparently coming to her, "Hey... do you know the way to the castle? Our last guide ran away." Naruto helped Kurama stand, "Sure! We can help, can't we Kurama?" The fox snapped his nine tails and gave a snort. Naruto laughed, "You'll have to forgive him, Kurama's ego has been badly hurt."
We all laughed at the fox's expense and followed him through the maze. I was glad, since the two seemed to know where they were going exactly. We came to two doors and Naruto hummed, "Well this is as far as we know. But I'm willing to stick with you if you don't mind. I love exploring new places!" I laughed and nodded. Naruto kept the conversation going as we walked through the forest that had been behind the door we took, making Sakura and I laugh with all the funny stories he had. This was a nicer change than grouchy Gaara. Still I wondered what happened to him... There was a thump and I spun around, worried that some new danger had jumped out. Nothing but leaves settling over a spot by a tree. I frowned and turned away, opening my mouth to ask if anyone else had heard that.
And the floor dropped out from beneath me.
vvv POV Change vvv
"GAARA!" Sakura's voice filled the air, full of panic. Gaara halted. Sakura was the scared one, but he had never heard her sound so scared. Did Kanari disappear? He spun to go back after his friends and ran right into King Itachi. Gaara leapt back, his jade eyes narrowing at his king. Someone cleared his throat to the right of Gaara. The red head turned as saw none other than Prince Sasuke. He barely managed to keep his fear in check. King Itachi, Gaara could handle. One had to purposefully provoke him before he killed you. Prince Sasuke, however, he was known to kill someone for just looking at him wrong. Gaara was just glad that Itachi was the only one of the two who possessed the Amaterasu Sharingan, otherwise Gaara doubted any of the goblins would be left by now.
Itachi tilted his head to one side, his eyes red "You're not going to help those two are you?" Gaara refused to let his nervousness get in the way as he lied, "No. They got away from me and I just heard them now. So I'll just be off to go get them and take them back to the beginning like you told me to." Sasuke laughed, "You don't believe that do you, Itachi?" He asked. Itachi gave Sasuke an unreadable look before looking back at Gaara, "For a second I thought you were running to help them, but that would be stupid; after all the warnings I gave you..." Gaara smirked, "That would be stupid. Now I should be going, I've got to take those two girls back to the beginning and-"
"Wait!" Itachi said, stopping Gaara before he could go any further. The red head grimaced before turning to face the Goblin King and Prince, his face blank as usual. Itachi held up a crystal ball, "I've got a much better plan. Give this to the pink haired one." He tossed it to Gaara. The red headed gatekeeper caught it easily, staring at the peach that had once been the crystal ball. He frowned then glared at his king, "Fine." He growled and stomped off, trying to think of a way to avoid handing the peach to Sakura and not get killed in the process.
vvv POV Change vvv
"Gaara...?" Sakura whimpered, looking around frantically. When she had first heard the thump she had dismissed it as Kanari tripping over something and ignored it. But the second thumb made her spin in time to see her sister falling through the ground, the only glimpse of her being her white-blonde hair streaming down into the hole. Sakura had turned to warn Naruto and Kurama, but they too were gone and Sakura was alone in a freaky forest. She hated this Labyrinth, she hated feeling weak and defenseless, but she couldn't help it. Sakura wasn't as prepared as Kanari had been, she had read the book over and over again. She probably knew the story word-for-word.
"Sakura!" Gaara called up ahead. Sighing with relief the pink haired girl ran towards the sound of his voice. "Gaara!" She cried when she found her friend at the edge of the forest and threw herself into his arms, surprising the both of them. Gaara stumbled back and hit a crumbling stone pillar. The stones gave way and both went tumbling down a steep slope. Sakura collided with something soft and it yelped, leaping away. Gaara landed on top of her, but quickly backed away, glaring, "Don't do that!" He snapped. Sakura giggled sheepishly, "Sorry, but Kanari went down somewhere and so did Naruto and Kurama." Gaara blinked, "Wait, those two actually came with you?" Sakura blinked, "Yeah... you know them?"
"Enough with the chit-chats! You two landed on Akamaru!" A boy with red claw mark tattoos on his cheeks shouted at them. waving his hands towards a giant white wolf-dog that sat by his side dejectedly. Sakura rolled to her knees, "We're sorry, we both tumbled off that wall and accidentally collided with him." The boy frowned, but didn't say another word about it. Instead he propped an elbow on the dog's back, "So... I'm guessing that you two got a little carried away?" He said, wiggling his eyebrows at the two. Both turned the shade of their hair, "I'm not dating him! I'm a runner for heaven's sake!" Sakura shouted. Gaara just glared. The dog boy raised his eyebrows "Runner? Haven't seen one of those in a while. What's your name?" "Sakura... and this is Gaara, my friend and guide through the Labyrinth."
Naruto suddenly crested the hill behind the dog boy, Kurama by his side, "Kiba?" He called questioningly. The tattooed boy turned and waved, "Hey Naruto! Long time no see! Have you met the new runner?" Naruto nodded, "Yeah... I've been traveling with Sakura and her sister Kanari." He looked around, probably looking for the wispy haired blonde girl, "Where is she?" He asked Sakura. Sakura bit her lip and looked away, she was worried what happened to her sister. Gaara explained the situation in as few words possible. Naruto leapt forward when Gaara finished, "We'll find her! Kurama and Akamaru can smell anything!" Kiba nodded. All four jumped up on the backs of the two canines as they began hunting for Kanari's scent.
It was night and still no sign or whiff of Kanari. Gaara concluded that she must have fallen into another Oubliette, the only places in the whole Labyrinth that couldn't be tracked. Sakura sat with her new friends over a campfire later that night, trying to hold back tears. It wasn't fair that she had company and warmth when her sister was suffering in the dark. The only thing they had in common was there was no food to eat.
vvv POV Change vvv
"Not another freakin' Oubliette!" I snapped pounding on the wall, my hands throbbing. Frustrated I kicked the wall and immediately regretted it when my toes screamed in pain. This Oubliette was smaller, but the trapdoor was still just out of my reach. I could graze the metal bars that allowed the weak light in, but that was it. Growling to myself I sat down, clutching my knees to my chest, as I glared off into the dark.
A soft glow suddenly sprang up behind me. I gasped and twisted around, "Gaar- Oh it's you." Itachi chuckled quietly, contact juggling a glowing orb around in his hands as he leaned against the far wall, "Don't sound so disappointed, love." I narrowed my eyes at him, "I'm not your 'love'." I snapped. Itachi looked up, all the amusement gone from his face, "How are you liking my Labyrinth?" He asked, but I shook my head, pointing an accusing finger at him, "Oh no! I'm not falling for that again. And you might as well get used to the fact that I'm not going back to the beginning!" Itachi shot me an irritated look and straightened. I scrambled backwards as he advanced towards me menacingly, "You may not have a choice if you say that again." He growled. I shivered and turned away from his glowing red eyes. They didn't bother me in the daylight much, but alone in the Oubliette's darkness, they were haunting.
I turned back to him, "Why have you come here?" I asked quietly. Itachi leaned forward so that his face was inches from mine, I tried to lean back, but it was impossible without melting into the wall. If only I could. "Why do you think?" Itachi whispered, his eyes dark once again, but they shown with something I didn't dare name. I gulped.
vvv POV Change vvv
"I'm soooooo hungry!" Naruto complained as they all walked through yet another forest. Kiba, riding Akamaru in the front, rolled his eyes, "Yes, Naruto, we heard you the first thirty times!" He said over his shoulder. Kurama growled his agreement, glaring at his friend. Naruto clutched at his growling stomach, "I know, but still... I hope the Goblin King will feed us." No one had the heart to tell him that he would probably suffer the Amaterasu Sharingan for betraying Itachi. Maybe Itachi would torture him by feeding him to death.
Sakura leaned against a tree, hunger and fatigue pulling at her bones. She knew she couldn't fall asleep though, that was one of the rules in the Fey Realms. Kanari had told her the three most important rules of what never to do: never sleep, no matter how tired you were. No matter how thirsty you were, never drink anything. Sakura couldn't remember the third one, but she knew it was something along the lines of sleeping or drinking. She just couldn't remember what! Sakura sighed, "Maybe we could find some berries or something along the way." She offered tiredly. No one but Gaara heard her.
Gaara grimaced, now was his chance. He hated himself for it, but he valued his life more than he did anyone else, even though it pained him to think of it that way. "Sakura?" He said and the pink haired girl paused turning to her friend letting the others go on, "Yes, Gaara?" Slowly, hesitantly, Gaara held out the peach, "Here..." He said dejectedly. Sakura gasped excitedly and grabbed the peach before Gaara could second guess himself. He winced when she took a bite. Sakura slowed her chewing as she something come over her. She stared at the peach, "This taste's strange..." She looked up to see guilt written all over Gaara's face, "Gaara what did you do?" The red head back away, "Damn you Itachi... and damn me too." He grumbled before turning and walking back the way they came. Sakura fell against a tree, the peach still in her hand, as she began to dream...
vvv Sakura's POV vvv
People spun and twirled, their glittering, shining outfits dazzling me. I blinked and slowly walked forward, hearing the gentle shushing sound of my shimmering white dress as it swept along the marble floor. Everyone wore a mask, all grotesque monstrosity that reminded me of something, they contrasted against the beautiful outfits that surrounded me. The sweeping dresses that sparkled like a thousand stars and the sharp suits that outlined the mens' masculinity perfectly. Soft gentle music whispered in my ears like the sweetest lullaby, caressing over my skin. I stared, wide eyed, all around me, trying to find something that looked familiar, but nothing did.
Something dark flickered in the corner of my eye and I spun around, looking for what caught my attention. A man dressed in black was watching me, holding a horned mask against his face. Slowly he removed it and I was shocked by his fey beauty. Dark almond shaped eyes stared at me from across the sea of dancers. His midnight blue, almost black, hair was spiked in the back and bangs framed his flawless pale face on either side. Something about him just made me feel drawn to him and I began working my way towards him unconsciously. Before I could reach him, however, one of the dancers moved into my view and he vanished.
I twirled, looking desperately for the strange man. The dancers squeezed in on all sides, teasing me, pulling at my hair, pressing into me. I wanted to scream, but I didn't know how. They laughed at my hopeless efforts. I paused in front of a couple, their faces hidden behind a fan as I scanned the crowd, but among all the brilliant colors, I could not find the man I was looking for. It shouldn't have been too hard, he was the only one wearing all black, it had looked good on him, even with his pale skin. Everyone stared at me, no one seemed to be looking anywhere else. I began to panic. Spinning I caught a glimpse of a man surrounded by sneering women, but he wasn't the man I was looking for. I started to turn away, but something made me turn back once more. There he was, that man. Standing in the place where the other one had been seconds before. This time he didn't disappear, he came towards me and took me in his arms. I involuntary sighed, I felt like I belonged there, and leaned against him. Suddenly everyone seemed to have something else to stare at.
Panic struck at my heart as I realized something wasn't right, I was missing something. Someone. There was someone who was supposed to be with me. No I was looking for someone. Maybe both? Was someone with me and both of us were looking for someone? I blinked and glanced into the crowd, hoping that I might find who I was looking for, but I recognized no one. People began to press into me and the man I was dancing with. Their twisted masks leering at me. I closed my eyes tightly, I couldn't do this! A gong sounded somewhere distantly and I looked frantically for the source of the noise. There at the very back of the circular room was an elaborate thirteen hour clock, showing exactly 12:00. That was important I remembered. Something important happened when the hour stuck the thirteen. I glanced back at the man holding me. I had never seen him before, but he suddenly reminded me of someone who I didn't trust, who I hated! The person I hated did something to someone I held dear, but what? I had to get out of here! Struggling I escaped the now leering man's arms and pushed my way through the crowd, coming to a mirror wall. I glanced back at the dancers then at the wall. I needed to get out of here. I grabbed a white chair and threw it against the wall.
Everything fell apart.
vvv Kanari POV vvv
I looked up at Itachi, opening my mouth to ask what he meant, when he captured my chin in one hand and covered my mouth with his. I tired to resist, tried to push him away from me, but he was relentless, his lips never leaving mine, his tongue caressing the roof of my mouth over and over and over again. I couldn't help but melt at the heat of his kiss, my arms around his neck was the only thing keeping me from falling, my fingers digging into his dark hair. His mouth molded mine, his hot breath brushing against my face. His arms wrapped around my waist, pulling me closer to him as his lips eased over mine. After a few minutes I finally pulled back, trying to catch my breath. I blinked several times, trying to catch up with my racing thoughts.
Finally I gulped and looked into Itachi's onyx eyes, "What was that for?" I asked then blushed when my voice broke. Itachi didn't answer, he just kissed me again. I moaned a little this time, making his arms tighten around my waist. He moved from my mouth to my neck. I tilted my head away, exposing my neck for him as I scrambled to think, shivering when I felt his teeth graze the skin over my pulse. Finally I caught hold of my thoughts and shoved him away, "You- you...!" I still couldn't think straight.
Itachi didn't seem pleased to be interrupted, "You shouldn't have done that." He warned in a low voice, but the malice in his tone made me shiver. I glared at him, "I hate you! You have my brother and who knows where my sister is! I shouldn't be here in this Oubliette kissing you!" Itachi smirked, "You're right, you shouldn't. That doesn't mean you don't want to." I stuttered and tried to deny it, but the Goblin King just smiled. Frustrated I actually poked him in the chest, "In the Fey Realms, nothing is given for free. I demand a wish from you for that kiss!" Itachi raised an eyebrow, "You catch on quick." He mused to himself. Secretly I was glad he thought so. I poked him in the chest again, "I wish that you would take me to my sister and not move her from where she is." Itachi smirked at my very specific wish, he held out a crystal ball, "Very well, throw this when you are ready to leave. But first..." He darted forward again and crashed his lips to mine once more before disappearing. I screamed and threw the ball, taking my anger out on it.
I ended up in a junk yard full of broken things, right in the middle of our group. Everyone blinked at me and I blinked back. Sakura leapt forward, "KANARI! I'm glad you're okay! We've been worried sick and, oh well, where were you?" There was no way I was about to admit to kissing the Goblin King in a dark Oubliette, "I... uh... got pulled down to somewhere I didn't recognize. It was like a bog or something. I accidentally touched... something, I couldn't see what, and suddenly I'm here." The new boy and Naruto exchanged looks, they didn't seem entirely convinced, but Sakura fell for it, "Oh poor you!" I looked at my younger sister, "What about you? Did anything happen to you?" She blushed and shook her head. I guess she had an embarrassing experience too and didn't want to talk about it. Was it bad that I hoped she hadn't been with King Itachi?
After they had explained how Kiba had come into the group, I glanced around, realizing one of our party was missing, "Where's Gaara?" Sakura shrugged, "He disappeared. Guess he didn't want to face the Goblin King." There was something she wasn't telling me, and from the looks on Naruto and Kiba's face she hadn't told them either. I shrugged, "Oh well, the castle is just up ahead... let's go! We don't have much time left." I grabbed Sakura's wrist and dragged her along with Naruto, Kiba and their companions following. We came to a small courtyard between two gates. The gate to the goblin city started to close when we reached it. I yanked Sakura back in enough time to have her avoid being crushed between the two doors.
A large creature came forward, snarling, it's large tail crushing anything it hit. We all back away, Kurama and Akamaru growled. With a roar the tan raccoon like dog charged and we all dove out of the way. Kurama and Akamaru tried to attack, sinking their sharp teeth into the creature's skin, but the raccoon-dog easily dislodged them. The boys barely managed to get out of the way before it crushed them. I was angry, to come all this way only to be stopped by some fat animal that was too clumsy to be a real threat! Suddenly Sakura pointed up on the wall and shouted, "Gaara!" We all turned to see the red head running across the thin wall with retaliative ease. He jumped down and landed on the raccoon-dog. It reared with a scream, its fat legs waving wildly in the air. Gaara grabbed it's small ears and twisted so that he was hanging down the creature's face. They both glared at each other for a moment before Gaara landed a well placed punch in the raccoon-dog's forehead. The creature went down groaning and I stared, such little things could take that creature out?
Gaara fell off it's head when the creature collapsed to the ground and rolled. Sakura ran to him and helped him sit up, "Gaara, are you okay?" The red head shot Sakura a sheepish look, "I'm not asking you to forgive me. I'm not ashamed of anything I did. Itachi made me give you that peach and I don't care what you think of me. I told you that I looked out for only me." It seemed I had missed out on some major things during my time in the Oubliette. Sakura smiled and hugged him, "I forgive you, Gaara." The red head looked surprised. I stared at him, "King Itachi gave you what?!" I shrieked. All four of them grimaced and glanced back at me. Sakura explained, "The Goblin King tried to slow us down and forced Gaara to give me a peach that made me forget almost everything, but I eventually remembered." She beamed at me, but I was still staring at Gaara, "She ate the peach?" Sakura frowned, "What's that got to-" I waved it away, there was no way I was telling her, maybe the three Fey Rules didn't apply in the Labyrinth. I could only hope.
vvv (Because I think the fight is silly, I'm not doing it! So there!)
It was smooth sailing from the gate to the castle, hardly a goblin in sight. I kept glaring at the back of Gaara's head and wondering how we could get out of this mess that he had managed to put us in. No one else seemed to understand my dilemma, maybe those rules were just fairy tales and not true. Kiba marched straight up to the castle's gate and pounded, "The runners have made it safely through the Labyrinth, let us in to see the King!" He shouted. Slowly the doors creaked open, ugly little faces of goblins peering around its edge. One in painted red armor came forward, pike in hand, "I will escort you to the King of the Goblins." He stated in a surprisingly deep voice. We all exchanged glances before stepping forward to follow the red knight, but he held up a hand, "Only the runners." Gaara, Naruto, and Kiba shrugged before backing away. There wasn't much they could do anyway.
For once there were no tricks, the red armored goblin lead us straight to the Goblin King in his throne room. I recognized the room from when Itachi had show my my brother before he brought out the cleaners. I could hardly believe it, Sakura and I had made it. I glanced around then glared at Itachi, "Where is my brother?" Itachi smirked at me and snapped his fingers. The boy I had seen in the crystal ball came forward, Akanbou sleeping in his arms. Sakura gasped and ducked behind me. I shot a surprised look at her then at the boy, wondering what the connection was. He chuckled and bowed mockingly to us, sweeping out his velvet black cape, "I am Prince Sasuke, King Itachi's younger brother." I involuntarily glanced at Itachi, who smirked back at me. I jerked my gaze away.
Itachi stood, bringing all attention to him, mine included however reluctant, "Congratulations, Kanari and Sakura. You made it to the castle beyond the goblin city before the thirteenth hour. Your brother is free to go." Sasuke handed my brother over. I could tell he had grown attached to Akanbou since he didn't want to let go. Both Sakura and I cooed over our baby brother, feeling everything to make sure the goblins hadn't altered him one bit. I hugged him tightly, feeling his baby fine hair brush against my cheek, and blinked back tears. Itachi glanced at Sasuke and the prince lunged forward, dragging Sakura to him. She shrieked and Akanbou joined her. I glared at the prince, "Let her go! We won, you can't do anything to us anymore."
Itachi stood from his throne and descended the dais to stand in front of me, "You don't understand. She has to stay here. She broke one of the rules." I glared I knew what he was talking about, but Sakura didn't. "What rules?" She asked hesitantly, pausing in her struggle in Sasuke's arms. Itachi turned to her and held up three fingers, "Three rules of the Fey Realms. Never sleep, eat, or drink anything or you're stuck here for all eternity. You ate a peach." Sakura resumed her struggling with vigor, "Let me go! I didn't know! I-" Sasuke slapped a hand over her mouth, "I'm starting to think we should have given the peach to Kanari..." He growled. I glared at him, "Let her go!" Itachi turned back to me at the sound of my voice, "There is one way she can be let go... if someone, you or Akanbou, takes her place."
Sakura shrieked, "Don't do it, Kanari! Don't you dare! I'll come back and haunt you for the rest of your freakin' everlasting life! I'll never forgive you if you do!" I began breathing hard, feeling panic creep up my back. I felt like something was sitting on my chest. My eyes darted from Itachi to Sasuke to Sakura to Akanbou and back. A thread of an idea came to me and I grabbed at it. It was hopeless and stupid, but it was the best I could think of. I looked back at Sakura and mouthed Quote me. She gave me a confused look. I repeated slowly Quote. Me.
Understanding filled her eyes and she nodded, I turned back to Itachi. "Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered I have fought my way to the castle beyond Goblin City to take back the child you have stolen..." Both the prince and king back away, anger in their red eyes as they realized what we were doing, and powerless to stop it. We continued speaking moving towards each other to stand beside the other. I handed Akanbou to Sakura, "For my will is as strong as yours... and my kingdom is as great." I looked at Sakura and made a split second decision, "You have no power over-" Sakura said "-me." but I changed at the last minute and yelled, "-Sakura!"
My pink haired stepsister turned to me at the last minute, her sea green eyes filled with betrayal and hurt, before shadows surrounded her in a whirlwind and she returned to the human world, leaving me to take her place. I closed my eyes so I wouldn't have to see that I was indeed alone, I couldn't burst out into tears, not in front of the Goblin King. Taking a deep breath I turned to the mildly stunned Itachi, "I... May I go lay down?" I asked, my defiance that had been with me all throughout the Labyrinth suddenly gone. Itachi nodded and motioned one of the goblins forward, "Taro will take you to your chambers."
And thus Part One ends! Now on to Part Two! Where the real romance begins! ;)