Stranger by angrypixels
She knew what was going to happen.
Sakura was nowhere dimwitted and being the Hokage's aide for the past years gave her an insight on her mentor's mentality and reasoning. It was a brilliant plan, really. Getting rid of a troublesome group of stubborn people without getting your hands dirty. Being a nin was not all about killing and fetching. Cunning political maneuverer was essential and could save a hidden village from blowing up from inside out and keep all the nin clans one big happy family.
The ex-council standing outside the village gate apparently didn't have much political skill, given their current state.
It all felt a little surreal to her. The Uchiha clan massacre truth. It was not surprising, as she had seen even more outrageous and cold-blooded actions done by people during her career. However, Sasuke and his life of revenge was something that played a strong role in some parts of her life and the moment she found out that his anger filled chase around the nation for his brother was all for naught, she did not dare imagine how Sasuke felt.
Sakura stood near the gate along with Naruto and Kakashi, watching nervously as Sasuke walked out of the village and stood before the exiled elders. Sakura could only see his backside, straight and unmoving. His headband was tied around his head and his black hair waved gently in the wind. The whole image of him, a nin of Konoha again, was surreal as well.
"Boy. You had this all planned out with her, didn't you? Haven't caused enough trouble for everyone else already?" Homura growled with venom as he stood his ground and stared back unwavering.
Sasuke answered by raising his hands and quickly forming a series of seals. Immediately, slithering shadows burst out of the ground to bind the two elders tightly with their limbs stretched out in the air.
Snakes. Black and red snakes the size of her thigh. No doubt he learnt this jitsu from a certain traitor.
Both elders widened their eyes in fear as they struggled to move and speak. However, the snakes had wound themselves around their necks and pierced their throats with fangs, immobilizing their body and rendering them silent
With a twitch of his fingers, the snakes shifted so that the head of the two captives swerved to face Sasuke.
Sasuke moved closer to stare at them almost nose to nose. Sakura couldn't see his face, but by the twitches and widening of his captives faces, she knew he was definitely giving them a close up view of his activated mangekyou sharingan in its full glory.
After what seemed like an eternity, Sasuke took a step back and took out his sword. With quick slices, both of the captives' robes and undergarments parted and slid off. The snakes then moved and tightened strategically so that fleshy pieces of such as their thighs, waists and chests were squeezed outwards.
Sasuke then placed his blade against the trembling fleshy thigh of Homura and stared into his eyes.
"My brother's eyes shall watch you suffer in silence."
Instead of his infamous lightning speed, Sakura watched his blade cutting through the flesh at an agonizing slow pace while he kept his glaze steadily on Homura's face. Once freed, the pieces of white thigh flesh dropped onto the floor at their feet. Blood sprayed everywhere like a broke fountain but Sasuke stood unmoving with his back to the crowd. He then proceeded with the same with Koharu.
Once Sasuke was finished with the thigh areas, he stepped lightly to the side of Homura and held out his sword in front of Homura's white face.
The two ex-council members trembled violently despite behind bound firmly and their eyes bulged out in terror.
"These lips shall no longer spread lies and pain."
A blur of a sword later, both of Homura and Koharu's lips were added to the pile on the ground, their mouths becoming gaping black holes as they wheezed loudly and erratically.
Next, Sasuke twirled to stand behind Koharu and placed his sword against the side of Koharu's head, right above her ears. Sakura could see beads of sweat and tears trickling down from Koharu's face onto the blood soaked ground.
"Pleas for mercy shall no longer fall on your deaf ears."
Within a seconds, two pairs of ears tumbled onto the ground and bounced away.
"Do you not smell the stench of blood on your hands?"
Disfigured pieces of noses followed next.
Sakura could not breath nor blink as she continued to watch Sasuke slowly and methodically slice off fingers, toes, followed by hands and feet. Arms were removed at the elbow in clean chops and legs flung carelessly away while knee caps popped out violently.
By the time the two traitor's shoulders and hips were saw off, both the tormentor and the victims were literally drowning in blood and gore.
Sakura knew from experience that the victims were still alive and conscious but would not survive much longer.
Sasuke obviously also knew the extent of the remaining life force in the bodies in front of him. Once he was satisfied with the pain inflicted, he stepped backwards and held out his sword which was dripping dark red from hilt to edge. Suddenly, bolts of lightning appeared and twisted brightly around the sword.
Sasuke lifted his bright sword to eye level and pointed it at his still breathing victims.
"The heart that reigned madness shall beat no more."
Within a blink of an eye, the blazing sword was stabbed deeply into Koharu's chest while tendrils of bright lighting burnt her skin and flesh. As quickly as it went in, it was removed and plunged in the same manner into Homura's heart.
Finally, he whisked his sword out and swirled his body away from the victims while their decapitated heads went flying in different direction.
Streaks of blood covered his face. His usually spiky hair was matted down in gore and his clothes hung heavily in liquid crimson. With his eyes closed, it was as if he was crying tears of blood. Sakura could feel her heart turn to ice at the sight.
Once the two heavily disfigured heads thumped onto the floor, Sasuke slowly opened his eyes and a pair of full-fledged mangekyo sharingnan glowered at the crowd.
Sakura resisted the subconscious urge to step backwards. She could feel some of the crowd moving restlessly behind her.
"Amaterasu." His toneless voice echoed in the air.
Flailing shadows of black fire burst behind Sasuke like a dark sun, lighting the remains of the bloody massacre into a explosion of pulsing ebony light. The fire blazed high into the air and for a few moments, the world seemed to fall into a realm of nightmare.
Sakura immediately closed her eyes yet she could feel the scorching heat on her eye lids.
Amaterasu, the fire from hell that burns for seven days and seven nights.
A traitor's end for Homura Mitokado and Koharu Utatane.
The flames gradually died out but both Sasuke and the crowd stood unmoving, the latter obviously dumbstruck from what had happened before their eyes. All that was left of the horrifying scene was a wide piece of black, scorched ground with a strong smell of burnt flesh in the air.
Nins and even civilians who lived in nin villages were used to death. In pure battle such as the fourth ninja war, enemies were killed or incapacitated as quickly as possible. However, in interrogation, enemies were tortured with the goal of keeping them sufficiently alive to obtain useful information. Not all nins saw the interior of interrogation rooms which was left to specialist who could stomach it all.
Sakura had always been thankful she was never there to watch the whole procedure, only instructed to arrive at the end to heal the clump of still living human flesh.
It wasn't the blood, gore or the stench of death that made her freeze from the moment Sasuke's blade first flashed in the sun. It was the emotionlessness, preciseness and cruelty that pulsed and echoed with each and every calculated slash.
It rang familiar in a very, very wrong way.
She, along with many others in the crowd, momentarily forgot that those ashes scattered into the wind were traitors. The only thought that went through their minds was that those were once Konoha nins. Just like them.
"Monster…" a civilian, who finally managed to finally get hold of his conscious, squeaked as he backed up and turned to run for his life. The rest of the civilians followed suit within the next few seconds and even a few Konoha nins.
The blood soaked figure in front of them carelessly waved his sword in the air in a flurry of moments, flicking off the blood left on his sword, and then proceeded to tuck it between his belt. He then walk forward towards the gate entrance, his red, glowing eyes fixed on every single one of them stand there.
It was as if those very eyes were fixed on her.
Before she knew it, Sakura's cold, shivering hands were lifted to cover her mouth. She could feel her eyes widen and her lips trembling while she tried very hard not to scream.
At that precise moment, she finally recognized him, that man who was slowly walking towards them. Just as he did many months ago. Everyone who participated in the fourth ninja war recognized him.
He was not a stranger. He was that familiar monster.