AN: It's been 2 years since I updated this. A lot has changed, from my own writing style and ideas, to the current progression of the manga. This story would never work with the time-jump, but for the sake of not taking it down and rewriting it; let us assume this is merely a deviation from the canon. Where this deviation starts, I've no clue, but clearly Sakura did not fight Sasori. And really she's stronger in the series than she is in this story. I fail.

Full AN at the bottom. Please read it.

Disclaimer: Nay, do I own the series. But I do have some nifty throwing knives!

I Just Wanted To

Scroll V: Thoughts

Sasuke's sharingan flared as he searched the immediate area, looking for any sign of his brother—a flutter of a cloak, the flash of red on black, anything.

Of course, there was nothing, and the young man bit back another frustrated scream, short nails biting into the palms of his hand.

Behind him, Kakashi had taken the piece of hair from Naruto and had pushed his headband up, his own sharingan eye inspecting the piece. Although he was no forensics expert, the color definitely matched Sakura's, and the hair was indeed real. The lock of hair had some dirt on it, and what looked like it could be dried blood.

"Is it… hers, sensei?" Naruto all but whispered.

Kakashi said nothing for a long moment, before looking out at Sasuke. "I think so. We'll have it analyzed by a professional to be certain, but I don't doubt Tsunade-hime will be making moves even before we get the results back. Let's calm Sasuke down and get up to the hokage's office."

Naruto nodded, and leaving a half-full bowl of ramen behind, perhaps a first for him, he pushed off his stool and made his way over to his best friend, who was still shaking with barely suppressed rage. Reaching out, he hesitated, before placing his hand down on the Uchiha's shoulder. "Ah… Sasuke…"

The brunet whirled around on his best friend, deep red eyes blazing. Naruto froze, wondering just what the man would do, before Sasuke hissed out, "We're going to find him. We'll find him, and we'll find her. And then we'll kill him and save her. Got it?"

Naruto mutely nodded eyes wide. What was he supposed to say to that? Fortunately, Kakashi took over. "That's fine, but first we need to get this to the right people to see if we can get a lead on where Itachi is. Let's go."

Willing to go along with that, Sasuke nodded, took a deep breath, then began to make his way down the street, Kakashi and Naruto in tow.

Some distance away, a figure sitting Indian-style on some rocks opened his eyes, hands falling away from the seal he had been holding. That part of his plan complete, Itachi stood and looked out in the direction of Konoha. Just as he anticipated, that jutsu had come in quite handy to deliver his message to his brother without his having to even get near Konoha. It saved a good deal of time, too.

With that thought, he pushed off and made his way back in the direction of his current hideout. He would hope that if Kisame had returned, the Hidden Mist ninja had not jumped to any rash conclusions upon finding Sakura.

But despite appearances, Kisame wasn't daft. Just brutal.

Fortunately for Sakura, Kisame had either not yet returned, or hadn't come into the room she was currently confined to. The young woman had finished eating, and had also finished her tea. With nothing else to do, she was left with either the choice of trying to rest, or exploring the room she was currently in. She chose the latter, hoping to find something that might later aid her in her escape.

Of course, as she had noticed the first time, there wasn't a whole lot to the room. The most interesting thing was the shelf and desk from her earlier observations. She didn't dare open the cabinets, but she could look through the glass panels and on the shelves without touch, easily enough. There were a few weapons, the standard kunai, shuriken and a variety of needles, some long, some short, some thick and some thin. On another shelf were a stack of scrolls, most likely blank, and a bottle of ink. Beside the ink were three brushes, each of a different size, all lying on a sheet of rice paper. Interestingly enough, the one closest to the shelf's edge looked like it had been recently used. The paper below it was warped and stained a dark grey. Curiously, the pink-haired medic reached up and touched the bristles. They were damp to the touch, and her fingers returned with a grey residue on them.

Eyeing her hand, she wiped it off on the yukata she wore before returning her attention to the shelves. A couple of explosion tags and some twine were toward the back of the shelf, and the front half was virtually empty. And she had just about moved on when her eye caught something on the polished wood. She almost missed it, and it took her a few times before her fingers would finally grab it, but she pulled up a single hair.

It would not have been a big deal, except Itachi's hair was black. And this was a significantly lighter color. It almost looked… pink.

She frowned. It was only a few centimeters in length, and she could've been mistaken. After all, what would he need her hair for?

Nevertheless, the young woman found herself stumbling back toward the bathroom, body protesting the entire way. The pain returned full-force, or perhaps she was just now noticing it again, and she whimpered as each step she took sent throbbing aches up her legs and body.

It seemed like forever before she found herself back in the bathroom, tiles still somewhat wet from where she'd gotten out of her bath. Looking around, she spotted the mirror and slowly approached it. She stopped in front of the mirrored glass and she wavered, before catching her balance again. Exhaling softly, stiff fingers reached up and began to comb through her hair.

And she suddenly stopped when she pulled her hair up to see a lock much shorter than the rest, just an inch or two from the scalp. Her eyes widened slightly, fingering that area. He'd… cut her hair. But for what reason?

She wasn't certain she wanted to know.

What she did know is that she needed to sit back down. Pressing her palm against the wall, she made her way out of the bathroom and over to the bed, easing herself onto the mattress and feeling it sink under her weight. With a good deal of effort and some grimacing from the pain she got from moving, she finally was able to lie down on her stomach. Turning her head to the side, she pressed her cheek against the cool fabric of the pillow and closed her eyes.

She didn't expect sleep to come so easily.

But when one was as exhausted and weak as she, then one's body often made the decisions instead.

Kisame returned to discover his partner had left on some errand of his own, leaving just a few of their current peons behind. Weak though they were in comparison to the actual members of the Akatsuki, they were loyal.

And kept the place clean. Despite what one might think Kisame liked living in some place that was clean when he could afford the luxury.

Samehada resting on his shoulder, he walked down the halls, sword barely avoiding scraping against the ceiling. He walked past Itachi's room, paused, and glanced at the closed door. He had the nagging feeling something was not quite right, but he also was not so rude as to enter the other man's room without good reason (and permission) to.

And so he shrugged slightly, continuing on down the hall to his room, disappearing inside.

Itachi returned a couple hours later, being informed upon entering the premises that his partner had also returned. The man said nothing in reply, quietly making his way to his room, where he opened the door and expect to see his current captive had behaved.

He was not disappointed. She was still sleeping on his bed, resting on her stomach with an arm draping off the edge of the bed. Patiently, his eyes skimmed the area, looking for anything out of place. He found nothing, and so he closed the door behind him, making his way to his usual perch—the chair by the window.

Slowly, almost methodically, he undid the clasps on his cloak, opening it and sliding it off his shoulders, before draping it over the arm of the chair. He took a seat before proceeding to remove his legwarmers and shoes. That done, he got up and entered his bathroom, shutting the door behind him. Like Kisame, if the option of cleanliness and good hygiene was readily available, he was going to take advantage of it.

Sakura woke to the sound of running water. Blearily, she blinked and slowly pushed herself up despite the loud protest of her muscles and body. She was not disoriented, knowing exactly where she was, but she did not know why the water was running.

Looking around, her eyes fell on the cloak draped over the chair and her sleep-muddled brain managed to fit the pieces together.

Itachi was back.

She bit her lip, wondering how long the shower had been running, and how long she had before he would be finished. It wasn't like it mattered; there wasn't anything she could do to prevent whatever would be happening in the near future.

The defeatist attitude she had taken on sickened her, and she shook her head. She was being pessimistic, not realistic. Despite his strength, he was not immortal. Never mind that he was a genius with a bloodline limit, an S-class criminal who had murdered countless people, a member of the elite organization that was the Akatsuki. Never mind that he had a partner nearly as strong as he. Never mind that she didn't know where she was.

Never mind that she was only a Chuunin.

She was Sakura. And it just wasn't in her nature to give up.

She would have to take it slow, plan carefully and outwit him, but she had the brains, she knew she did.

But the first thing she needed to do was finish this half-assed job the previous medic had done on her body.

She shifted her weight into a more comfortable position and gently eased one her legs close to her body for better access. Her hands came up to form the seals she knew all too well, although she did so slowly, for her body would protest otherwise. Once the sequence was complete, she pulled her hands apart as pale green washed over them.

She had not yet replenished enough chakra to heal everything, but she had enough to take care of some of her problems.

Palms pressed down lightly against her leg and she smoothed them slowly over the skin, healing the heavy bruising she'd sustained. When her hands moved on, all that was left behind was pale skin tinged yellow, the sign of a bruise at the end of its life.

By the time Itachi had finished his shower Sakura had covered her legs and feet and was currently massaging her foot, fingers cool from the afterglow of her jutsu. She would like to do her back, but that would be difficult. It wasn't a place she could so easily see, and the best she'd be able to do was just pump a lot of chakra and hoped that the regenerative qualities of the energy would fix what was still damaged. It wasn't a great option in her mind, and she didn't have that kind of chakra to waste, either.

She'd just do a little bit and then the rest later. Sleeping on her stomach wouldn't be that bad.

She raised her arms over her head and placed them on her upper back when the bathroom door opened and steam escaped into the cool room, lightly caressing her exposed skin. She looked up, and saw her captor looking back at her, a towel on his bare shoulder. He was clad only in his uniform pants, the rest of the material in his hand. His hair was wet and untied.

She found she couldn't move, her gaze locked onto his as he stared at her calmly. It was he who broke eye-contact first, moving over to his chair and sitting down. He dropped the rest of his clothes atop his shoes, casually reaching up to push his hair over his shoulder.

Sakura still hadn't moved, save her head, which had followed him as he moved across the room. A minute or two of minding his own business passed before Itachi looked up and leveled his gaze with her. She flinched in response and looked away, her arms falling to her lap. Even when he spoke, she did not turn to look at him again.

"I see our medic is not at your level."

She said nothing, not knowing what it is she was to say to that. True, she was a well-talented medical ninja, but she feared if she agreed, something bad might come from it.

But Itachi said nothing more, peering at her for a moment longer before looking away. The wheels in his mind turned as he thought before he made note of the time. Standing, he pulled his cloak over his shoulders and looked to Sakura. "Stand and follow me."

Her heart started beating faster as she pushed herself to her feet, crossing her arms just below her breasts in a protective manner. He led her out of his room and then down the hall, and she followed, fearing the worse.

He stopped at a door and she held her breath as he opened it and gestured for her to step in. She hesitated, before cautiously moving into the room.

It was empty, save a bed and a few other bare furnishings. Looking around, she exhaled softly as it clicked.

He probably wanted his bed back. She turned to look at him and met his piercing gaze. He inclined his head slightly. "You will stay here. Do not leave this room with anyone other than myself."

He then closed the door. There was no click of a lock, and she did not feel any chakra to signify there was any sort of barrier spell on the door.

She wondered about that as she made her way over to the bed, pulling back the sheets and crawling under them. She pulled them up to her face and stared at the wall, hoping and praying to whatever gods there might be that Naruto and Sasuke would not try to find her.

Don't let them get hurt because of me.

To Be Continued.

AN: I hate this chapter. It sucks, there is OOCness and it's a rather pointless filler chapter, but its existence mocked me until I sat down and finished it.

But here is an update. Along with a question…

Are you still interested in me continuing this story? I ask, because it does not fit into the canon and there are tons of plot holes resulting. It irks me to no end, and I find that the chapters are sincerely difficult to write because I don't know where I'm going with this, nor do I really like Itachi anymore. Deidara ftw anyone?

I thought about taking this down and redoing it to better fit the canon storyline, but I don't think I have enough desire to see it through.

Anyway, I apologize for the poor quality, but here it is. I'm really starting to think I need a beta or something. Gah…

I keep thinking there was something else I wanted to say, but I do not recall what it is. Oh, well. Thank you for your comments and support thus far!