title: Dead End Street

chapter title: we'll paint it red, we'll fit right in

summary: It's been seven years since the Akatsuki took over, but in the dark underbelly of Konoha's criminal underworld a silent war is still raging. As the heirs of the city's fallen leaders are picked off one by one in a bloody rebellion, Uchiha Sasuke returns with vengeance in his heart for the one who betrayed his family. SasuSaku, mobster!AU

dedication: Les, my darling marzipan. I hope you approve.

Dead End Street

Tap, tap, tap.

Her fingers drummed impatiently on the steering wheel, eyes flicking between the door on its hinges and the clock, its glowing, incandescent digits.

Two minutes had already passed and their window allowed only for five.

"Come on," Sakura murmured, her stomach an anxious knot. The waiting was always the worst part, but there had been no gunshots yet. The night was still and quiet, and all she could hear was her own throbbing heartbeat. It took everything she had not to reach for the heavy gun in the glove compartment.

Instead she started counting backwards from ten, eyes glued to the light spilling out across the deserted car park from the open door.

Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five –

A loud bang rent the air apart, followed by three more in quick succession.

"Shit!" She flung the passenger door open as a silhouette rippled across the light and then someone was running, running and she was turning the key in the ignition and the engine roared to life.

Naruto barrelled into the car as she threw it into reverse and swung around, tyres screeching.

He slammed the door shut as she gunned it out of the car park and his bag was slung across the back seat.

"H-hey Sakura-chan…"

Streetlights flickered over them in staccato motion, orange light and then dark, as she sped down the street, away from the pawn shop. The car already smelt of blood and she could see the dark, wet stain spreading on the seat behind him from the corner of her eye.

"You stupid fuck," she growled, slamming her foot down and shooting through a red light. He only laughed and flicked the radio on, knowing her almost better than she did herself. Kiba had fixed the frequency so it would tune in to Konoha's corrupt and significantly diminished police force. The static crackled for a moment.

"…reported robbery at the pawn shop on 74th Street…two dead…suspect fled…"

"Shit," she repeated, as Naruto slumped in his seat with a wild smile, teeth glinting in the passing light. Under his gold hair he was pale as milk.

She hit him with a gloved fist and the wet rattle that spewed out his mouth was probably laughter.

"Stay awake!"

"…'kashi's gonna kill me," he groaned, bleeding out on the passenger seat. Somewhere, a few blocks away maybe, the sound of sirens start up and Sakura curses the day that the Uchiha were all slaughtered in their own home; the day that justice in Konoha died.

"Not if I kill you first, idiot." She sped through the streets, dodging cars and traffic lights, flying across junctions when she should have stopped. She didn't even need to think about driving anymore. Every move she made was instinctive, ingrained in her bones. This – this was what she did best. Sakura could outrace, outwit them all, even in a crackpot of shit like the car she was driving. Shit on the outside, anyway. That was the point. Get away drivers weren't supposed to be flashy.

"Fuck! Sak…behind us…"

"I've seen it," she snapped, slamming her foot down again and putting as much distance as she could between them and the police car that just appeared in her wing mirror. A deft twist of the steering wheel and she'd cut through an intersection and another three red lights, losing the cops trail as she zoomed down a narrow back alley and emerged on a parallel road.

Naruto laughed again, pained and exhilarated, fading fast. "You think it's gonna leave a scar?"

"Shut up," Sakura slammed her foot down on the accelerator for the fifth time that night and drove. He was not going to dying on her, she wouldn't let him.

She couldn't lose anyone else.

A slow death for Kabuto would have been much more satisfying, he thought. Instead he shot his brain out and watched it paint the walls of the office a deep, violent red.

"Fuck," the girl hissed, as the man's body sagged bonelessly against her – dead weight. Before the body guards stationed by the door had time to react, Sasuke had turned and fired at them, a shot each, one through the chest and the other through the neck. They dropped like flies and the girl was still screaming as he turned to face her.

The terror in her eyes as she looked up at him reminded him of a night, eight years ago, when there was no moon and a figure stood over him, surrounded by the bodies of Sasuke's family. He lowered the gun.

"Jesus shit," she hissed, shoving Kabuto's corpse off her and staggering to her feet. "You – you killed the bastard."

"Put some clothes on," Sasuke said. The bruises on her skin were off putting and he didn't want to look at them any longer than he had to. There was blood on her face, in her red hair.

She scowled at him, reaching for a thin bathrobe and holding it closed against her throat. "He'll come for you now, you know. Orochimaru. He'll hunt you like a dog. And me."

He scoffed, unconcerned. There were bigger fish to fry than Oto.

"I got what I wanted," he said, moving to the desk now and rifling through the papers. "Be glad I intervened. You'd be dead if I hadn't."

She swallowed, searching on the floor for something. When she straightened, there was a pair of crackled glasses in her hands, which she pushed up to the bridge of her nose.

"Maybe I would have killed him first."

He raked his eyes over her once, the high heels, the scant clothing. "Unless you're hiding a knife in your shoes, I doubt it."

She smiled once, razor sharp and snapped the heel off one shoe. Inside, he saw, was a small, thin blade clearly designed for slashing throats. "I've spent some time around dangerous men, pretty boy."

"You're a spy."

"Maybe. Maybe I'm just a whore who knew too much," she replied, but he knew she was lying.

"What's your name?"

"It might be Kushina."

He was ever aware of the gun in his hand, and so was she. He didn't need to point it at her to make her feel threatened. He was good at that, after all. He'd survived three years in this hell hole.

"And who were you spying on, Kushina?"

She licked her lips, leaning against the desk and revealing a long glimpse of pale thigh. "A more accurate question might be to ask whoI was spying for."

He didn't take the bait, only stared at her in silence and waited. A coy smile curved her lips as she looked away and he wondered, briefly, how much of that was a mask meant to draw him in.

"They call him the Puppet Master."

Instantly, he went utterly and entirely still. As if sensing that she had his undivided attention, the girl who called herself Kushina crossed her ankles delicately and reached down to extract the cigar from Kabuto's breast pocket. Her hands were shaking.

"Got a light?"

Sasuke obliged her, watching her every move with the still eyes of a hawk. Kushina inhaled and exhaled, smoke rolling in gently spirals from her pretty pink lips.

"You're from Konoha," he said at last, when it became apparent she wasn't going to spill all her secrets to him. Clever girl.

She smiled, but it was thin and fragile. "So are you, pretty boy. I know who you are."

He pressed the barrel of the gun against her temple, a silent warning. The rapid pulse in her exposed throat was clearly visible.

"Ask me," she said. "Go on. Ask me to lead you to Akatsuki."

"I'm not asking," Sasuke hissed against her earlobe, hand holding the gun steady.

Slowly, leisurely, she drew the cigar away from her mouth. The next thing he knew, there was smoke in his eyes and a hand knocking his wrist away from her head.

When he finally managed to wrench his stinging eyes open, his wrist was bleeding sluggishly and Kushina had a gun of her own pointed at his head.

"Don't think I won't blow your motherfucking head off," she told him, tossing the cigar to the floor and snuffing it out with the toe of a stilettoed foot. Her aim was steady, eyes still and alert behind the lenses of her glasses. A stalemate, then.

Sasuke lowered the gun and eyed the body on the floor distastefully after a pregnant pause.

"You certainly know how to make a mess."

In his mind he saw the ghosts of everyone he once loved lying on the floors of the Uchiha Corps building, drowning in their own blood. He remembered screams and moonlight flitting through the crack of the door he trembled behind, hands over his ears to muffle the gunshots in his father's office.

"You're from Konoha," Sasuke repeated, wondering if she knew what he saw when he looked down at Kabuto's messy corpse.

"It's a shithole," she said, breathing hard. "You haven't been there since it fell, have you, pretty boy? You were lucky enough to get out. You didn't have to watch the empire fall."

"Take me to the Puppet Master," Sasuke told her, "And you can get out right after. Leave it behind."

Kushina laughed once, brittle and sharp, a gleam of white teeth and smudged lipstick. Her aim never wavered. "You don't get it, do you? There is no getting out for people like us."

The tragic part, he thought, was that he understood all too well. Hell didn't spit its victims out, it swallowed them whole and sucked the marrow down, blood and bones and screams. There was no getting out alive.

"I'll give you a name, pretty boy. And that's all."

"S'pose I can't blame you for that."

Kushina started backing towards the door, still pointing the barrel of the gun directly at the space where his heart was. "Haruno Sakura."

She was almost out the door when he asked, "Who are you? Really?"

The girl who called herself Kushina gave him a sad smile, soft and doomed. He thought of his mother. He thought of a little girl whose face and name he could no longer recall. "Just a dead girl, Uchiha Sasuke."

She was gone before he could say anything else.

She hit speedial as they roared onto the freeway, heading downtown in a black blur. Kiba picked up on the third ring, his lazy drawl interrupting the silence in the car.

"S'up babe?"

"I need you to meet us."

He laughed once, reckless and intimate. She could picture his shit-eating grin down the line. "Cops on your trail, Sakura-chan?"

Maybe quarter of a mile behind them, the sirens were still screaming and Naruto was slumped in his seat, milk white and barely responsive. All she could smell was blood.

"Naruto's down and I have to ditch the car, fast."

"Kakashi's out," Kiba said, growing more serious. "He'll get there faster than I can."

As far as she knew, Kakashi was supposed to be on a job all night – but she took what she could get.

"Get him on the line. I'm heading for the stadium, there's a match just finishing up."

The sirens were getting closer – she swerved from lane to lane, her foot pressed flat against the accelerator.


Wordlessly, Sakura reached out and squeezed his hand. Orange lights flickered over them and somewhere nearby she could hear a helicopter approaching.


Spotlights were the last thing she needed; if the helicopter locked onto them they were screwed.

Kiba's voice suddenly crackled down the line. "He'll meet you on 2nd Street. White van with tinted windows."

"Thanks." She sped towards her exit, dodging around cars and putting more distance between themselves and the cops on their trail. "Tell him to hurry."

There was a pause as Naruto groaned, though whether from pain or despair she couldn't tell.

"Sakura?" Kiba asked, all the laughter gone from his voice now. He sounded like the scared twelve year old she first knew, who would share cigarettes with her and Ino under the stairs when no one was looking.

She shut her eyes for the briefest of moments, grief of her own threatening to choke her when she most needed to be strong.

"I need Tsunade to prep the back room," she said, trying to delay the moment she would have to acknowledge their failure. "He's losing a lot of blood."

"Sakura, did you find her?"

The world turned beneath the wheels, and Sakura felt like they could almost be flying. Except –

"No," she murmured, hating everything as the line crackled and went dead.


notes: there isn't much in my life that watching New Girl can't fix.

notes2: writing fanfiction in lectures in not a good use of my time but hey presto, it seems to happen a lot.

notes3: I know I'm supposed to be updating Divergence but it's amazing how many times writers block has punched me in the face with that one. I'm working on it?

Bitches be bold and review