Behind the Glares

Ayane Selznick

That Day

Succession of soft thuds echoed the small forest.

Since Itachi was in front line with his small party behind him, he activated his Sharingan to detect any unwanted Chakra that might come and ambush them on the way. Seeing as there won't be any threat after they've defeated two ambush groups earlier, the other groups must have been dashing all the way towards the Hokage tower.

Just what the hell are they up to barging in here anyway?

He took a quick glance from west and east then resumed looking north.

Seems like only one group survive…

Before he can quickly assume everything, he finally saw the Konoha Hospital.

He smiled and said out loud, "We're here."

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Little Sakura-chan was delivered to a room where Medic Nins quickly take their positions to help her recover. Although it was dehydration, stress and low Chakra reserve, they still tended to her needs. After a while, all the Medics disappeared to tend another group of Shinobis who were injured from an invasion, which happened previously.

While her little sister sleeps on the bed, Kayako decided to buy food and water for her. She didn't consider talking to the young Uchihas but Itachi easily deciphered what was inside her mind.

(Might as well mention that he wanted to talk to her about that incident…)

After Kayako closed Sakura's door, Itachi slowly moved his way out of the room but was noticed by his kid brother who was also attempted to follow him.

"Sakura-chan didn't like the idea of waking up alone."

Clever. What a clever idea Uchiha Itachi. He just read his brother's mind and stopped him from following his lead. However that doesn't end there yet.

The eldest brother continued, "Besides, you wanted to have privacy with her anyway." With this he quickly disappeared before being struck by Sasuke's handful of shuriken.

"Damn you…" The little Uchiha muttered unaware that his face turned sizzling tomato.

(Kawaii!)

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Once she left her sister's room, she immediately decided to take a walk at the market to buy her sister's needs. She didn't care if her savings will be used as long as her sister will get well soon. She stopped jumping already when she landed at the ground. Surprisingly, there was an area where people are oblivious to what happened earlier or maybe they're finally back to their businesses after all, Konoha Nins are fast workers.

Sighing, she started walking and looking for restaurants or food stands to buy lunch. Sasuke-kun mentioned that they haven't eaten their lunch yet so it was one of the reasons why she almost drain her entire Chakra and dried from dehydration.

Surprising, though, she didn't get mad at that man's little brother. She understood their situation; not that she knew that their siblings were planning to set them up. Also, she grew tired from the short battle they teamed up with.

Wait a sec… why am I thinking of him again?

She shook her head after buying the lunch for her sister. Then she decided to take a quick stroll at the fruit stand to buy some juicy fruits. While doing so, she halted to a stop when Uchiha Itachi appeared right in front of her.

She felt something enraged inside her again but she stopped that rage for her sister. She has to hurry up and deliver all these stuff before Sakura-chan wakes up. So without thinking, she side stepped once and went pass Itachi's form.

"I'll help you with that." He offered but Kayako just continued walking.

"Shouldn't you be reporting to the tower?" She asked when she stopped at another fruit stand, meters away from where Itachi was standing.

Since he got her attention, he turned around and looked at her from afar.

"I promised to tell you exactly what happened that time. The report can wait later."

Ah so he's telling me that I'm much important than the village? How sweet. It was sarcastic, not romantic.

Kayako refused to reply. When she's done with quick shopping, she opted to teleport back to the hospital when suddenly a hand prevented her from doing the hands seals. She knew who it was.

She dared to look him in the eye for a glare but she stopped when she noticed how his eyes begged her to listen. Although his eyes told him gravity of the matter, there was something behind it that made her stay. Mentally counting from 1 to 10, Kayako breathed out the air she held for a second and looked at him in his eyes.

"Let's talk elsewhere," She said, "I wouldn't want the whole village to know what this buzz all about is."

Truly, when Itachi glanced from both left and right, he noticed that all the merchants and buyers were all listening to the two of them. He felt his blood rose to his cheeks as he silently agreed to Kayako's suggestion.

"Follow me." He finally said and disappeared from his quickness, Kayako trailing behind.

Now that they were at the hospital's rooftop, Kayako silently placed her baggage at the side of the door of the stairs then crossed her arms across her chest. Itachi, however, just stood there looking at her actions.

This made her agitated and aggravated.

"Well, you said you wanted to talk. Don't tell me you're asking me to say something. I told you—"

"You were almost killed that time." Finally Itachi put up that topic from the past that absolutely shut his ex-teammate's continuous blabbering.

Her eyes widened dramatically, waiting for his next statements to be heard.

"The second to the last exam, the elimination match was held as one-on-one combat test."

Kayako remembered that one. Right after the teamwork tests of Heaven and Earth scrolls, they have to be eliminated from that certain test. And that was the time when it happened.

Itachi continued though, his eyes never turned away from Kayako's.

"You were the seventh combatant along with that Ninja from Sand. He was skilled and far more experienced than you were."

That earned a popping vein on her temple.

"You're saying I was weak back then! Why you—"

Itachi took the liberty to butt in before she explodes.

"Sensei and I noticed that he was experienced for eliminating people."

"What?" Her eyes went wide again.

"I remember what our Sensei told me about the man you're fighting with. That Chuunin exam was his second try out. He didn't pass the previous exam because he killed his opponent on purpose…" His eyelids finally closing half of his lovely black orbs as he resumed their story, "I was… scared if the same thing will happen to you."

What… did he just say? He was afraid that… I'll be killed?

She noticed that Itachi looked away.

"Your match was about to end, knowing that the Ninja from the Sand got the upper hand. When he launched you to the wall you instantly fell unconscious. After ten seconds of counting, the Sand Ninja won the round. But…"

"But what?"

He looked back to her eyes, letting her look at his enraged emotion.

"After the counting, he yelled at you to wake up and then at the same time delivering his death blow. The audience was shocked when he started attacking you, ignoring the situation that you were already unconscious."

She narrowed her eyes at that but continued listening.

"But the blow didn't happen because…" He looked away and said, "I knocked him back."

Suddenly she felt her insides churned. He protected her from death? He put himself in danger for her sake? Oh geez, conscience dear, conscience!

Her mind demanded to voice out loud the question, "WHY?" but it looks like her throat went dry which means, Itachi had the time to continue.

"There were screams and yells that told him to stop but it he didn't listen. He tried to take me out but failed. He was on his last trial when the Examiner held him away and asked the Hokage for the decision." He sighed, "They decided to get rid of the Ninja right away seeing as he's gone wild. Then declared a draw match since you haven't been awakened."

Itachi placed his hands on both his pockets then smirked.

"Then you woke up after the declaration. And the first thing you said when you laid your eyes on me was—"

"—what did you just do…" Kayako interjected when she remembered what exactly she threw on him.

Silence prevailed for a couple of minutes.

Itachi had nothing more to say knowing that Kayako remembered what happened afterwards. She, on the other hand, felt ashamed, not because of what she previously thought of, but because of her way of bringing shame to herself. Of all things to say to him, she just accused him as though he did something wrong when in fact he risked his life to protect her – to save her from death.

Kayako felt like crying because of that shame. She was going to cover her face from the tears that were threatening to fall when Itachi's hands suddenly held her wrist.

"I didn't mean this to make you feel that way. I'm just telling the exact thing." Suddenly he heard her sniffed and then her shoulders trembling.

Well, what do you know; Kayako was actually acting like Sakura-chan!

"I-I… I didn't know that-that something like that happened when I was out… why didn't you tell me!" She cried and attempted to flail away her wrist from his hold.

Itachi held her sudden reaction while waiting for the right time to voice out his side.

"I was trying to tell you that but you were angry. I tried explaining to you but all you ever did was brush me off."

This made Kayako cried even more… Itachi just sighed. He didn't know how to comfort girls, just like Sasuke.

"I…I'm so… I'm so sorry…" Finally the young Haruno uttered after her sniffs and sobs. Itachi just held her shoulder.

(Shoulder? Since when did his hands go there?)

Flashback

While Kayako was stuttering and accusing him of not telling her what happened that day, his hands immediately landed on her shoulder when she attempted to hit him.

End of Flashback

(Was it really that important? Sheesh.)

"I'm so immature…" Sniff, "I should have," Sniff, "Listened to you…" Cry.

Itachi mentally smirked at how immature she was when crying. Suddenly, she finally burst out everything while she clutched his shirt. In other words, she collided herself to him.

"I even ruined everything we had back then! Waaaahhh…!"

Stunned from what she's done for the both of them, he couldn't help but blush. Both his arms dropped at his side while Kayako held his shirt.

Great, I was once a human alarm clock, now I'm officially changing my job into a human tissue.

Seeing as they were the only ones on the rooftop, Itachi prepared himself to allow and return the embrace. Ahem, to comfort her. His shaky hands slowly wrap around her while he nervously gulped his own saliva thinking how embarrassing he would get once someone will—

"Yo!"

—see them.

"Oh!"

Apparently, it wasn't one… they were two.

-----------------------------------------

Sakura stirred in her sleep, making her senses fully awake when she felt like leaving her dream state behind.

"Sakura." A familiar voice called her name.

She knew that it wasn't her sister; the voice was too deep for a female. She hasn't opened her eyes yet but once she did, she finally recognized the owner of the voice.

"Sasuke-kun…" She weakly called out his name.

She tried to get up but Sasuke told her to rest. Her dull green eyes looked around the room.

"I'm in the hospital, huh?" She asked.

"Aa."

When she laid her eyes on him, she gave him a weak smile.

"Thank you for bringing me here."

Sasuke shook his head, "it wasn't just me. On the way back I met my brother and your sister."

"Neesan? Where is she?"

"She went out to buy food."

Sakura sighed softly then let her smile faded away. Sasuke liked her most when she smiles.

"Thank you for being here, then." She chuckled, "honestly I don't want to wake up alone."

"…I know." Sasuke mumbled. It looked like the white bed got his full interest as he avoided his gaze from Sakura.

Since Sasuke's eyes weren't looking back at her, Sakura placed her left hand on his right cheek. Instinctively, he looked back at her with wide eyes.

(And extremely red cheeks. Mwahahaha!)

"It's so kind of you to be here. I'm happy that you're the first person I'll see."

Sasuke gulped down his saliva while watching her green eyes staring lovingly at him.

This is the moment, Sasuke. This is the moment!

His mind was trying to dictate him something. It was trying to push him to do whatever he has to. And so, giving in for the first time, he placed his hand over the one she used to place on his cheek. Sakura almost hung her mouth open upon contact.

"Sasuke…kun…" Her whisper still echoed in the air.

What shocked Sakura was the way Sasuke looked at her. She knew that he was telling her something by just reading his loving eyes.

(Loving eyes?)

"I…I've been meaning… to…"

"To?"

He thought something lodged in his throat that he was unable to tell her what exactly he wanted to say. But it didn't end there yet especially when his face slowly move forward to her face. He didn't quite put a finger why his body was moving to its own accord.

Sakura turned red from how Sasuke was trying to close their gap. Thousands of words entered her head but one thing was sure. She knew that Sasuke has something on her.

Sasuke…kun…

Inches… centimeters… closer…

They both felt each other's hot breath at close proximity. One more move and Sasuke would be able to meet heaven through her lips.

Closer… closer…

BANG!

Alarmed, Sasuke jerked back to his chair looking as if something didn't occur while Sakura turned her head away.

"Oh…hohohohoho." Said the person who barged in.

Familiarizing with the owner of the voice, Sasuke threateningly looked to his side to see their blonde teammate casually walking towards Sakura's bed.

"First it was Itachi-nii-san and Kayako-nee-chan. Now it's Sasuke and Sakura-chan." The cheerful sly voice stung their ears.

But upon hearing something about their siblings, Sasuke stood up and looked at his teammate. Sakura turned her head to them with the same expression as Sasuke's.

"What happened to my brother?"

"What happened to my sister?"

Naruto could only blink at their sudden inquiries. Really, their plan of getting them back troubled the younger siblings too much.

"Anou… Me and Kakashi-sensei saw them at the rooftop."

"What!" They chorused.

Naruto seemed nervous at this. They weren't worrying about this before but now, just by looking at them, he knew that they were so much interested.

But before he could share that information, he wanted to know what's going on between them. Grinning widely, Sasuke and Sakura knew that something's up.

"I'll tell you what happened but you gotta tell me what's going on with you guys!"

Both of them had sweat drops from the side of their heads.

Stupid Naruto.

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The invasion had stopped, thanks to the quick response of Konoha Nins. They captured all the intruders and placed them all in prisoners. The Hokage congratulated everyone's help during the event and offered to give high pays. He was also pleased to see that his number one ninja, Uchiha Itachi, and the talented kunoichi, Haruno Kayako, had finally stopped their own little war.

There weren't any big destructions thus the citizens of Konoha returned to their daily routine.

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"SAKURA-CHAN WAKE UP!"

Sakura scrambled her way to sit up upon hearing her sister's call from downstairs. Today is the day for Team Seven to meet up at the red bridge then Kakashi will have to inform them about their mission. Looking at the time, she groggily made her way towards the bathroom.

"He'll be late… it's okay…"

Kayako was done making their breakfast. After Sakura left, she has to go to the Hokage Tower for A-Class mission. It would be another solo mission if the Hokage didn't put in another name in the list. Waiting for Sakura to arrive, Kayako prepared their favorite juice, strawberry.

"Good morning." She greeted when her little sister climbed down the stairs.

"Morning." Sakura greeted. When she walked inside the kitchen, she smelled her favorite fruit, "hey that's strawberry!"

"Of course," Kayako replied and appeared on the dining table while she held two glasses of strawberry juices.

They ate in silence then after some time later, they heard someone knocked on their front door. Kayako stood up and told Sakura to place their dishes on the sink. When she was in front of the door, she revolved the knob the door to reveal the person from the outside.

"Oh, Sasuke-kun, good morning." She greeted with a smile.

"Good morning, Kayako-san." He replied with a bow.

"Are you here to pick her up?"

"Yeah." Kayako noticed the blush that crept on his cheeks she smiled. "Wait here a sec." She turned inside and called out her sister's name, "hey slowpoke, Sasuke-kun's here! I'm sure you want to hurry up now, right?"

"Okay, okay!" And Sakura did hurry up.

Kayako giggled then returned to the boy standing at their front door.

She smiled at him and said, "Please take care of my sister, especially during missions."

Sasuke stared at her for a while then nodded, "I will, Nee-chan."

She giggled again, "That's better."

Then they heard Sakura sprinting from second floor to the ground floor. When she neared the front door she slowed her pace as she started walking outside, bidding her sister good bye and started walking with Sasuke by her side.

When Kayako entered their house, Sasuke took Sakura's hand thus walking hand in hand towards Team 7's meeting place.

(KAWAII!)

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Uchiha Itachi left the Uchiha Manor at exactly eight forty-five in the morning. The Hokage called him yesterday, offering him to instruct a Ninja for the next mission. Itachi gladly accepted.

Jumping from one rooftop to another, he arrived at the Haruno Residence.

He promised to pick her up before he went to the Hokage Tower since they have the same time of meeting. Walking towards the porch and arriving in front of the door, Itachi gently knocked.

"Wait a minute!" A girl's voice hummed from the inside.

Itachi smirked as he withdrew his hand and waited for her patiently. After a minute or two, Kayako opened the door with a smile on her face.

"Morning, Itachi-kun."

"Morning, Yako-chan." Then he smiled.

Kayako locked the door of their home and jumped off with Itachi leading the way to the Hokage Tower. When Kayako caught up his pace, he grabbed her wrist to pull her to him then gave her a chaste kiss on her lips. Kayako turned red.

"This is what I've missed so much when we were in our team."

Kayako hesitated then answered, "Yeah… me, too."

Their relationship before? Well, actually, they were more than teammates and friends.

In other words, lovers.

The End

Author's Note: Wahaha a cheesy ending! I enjoyed this story hopefully you guys feel the same way. The SasuSaku hints are there as well as ItaKaya. Mwahahaha! Finally another story done! (Dance, dance, dance)

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This story is actually, would almost be two years old! XD

Announcement: I'll be having an upcoming SasuSaku story, entitled as Inverted Cross. Watch out for this one:D