(A/N) Hello! Witch of Darkness here again in collaboration with Maru to Moro. We have decided to continue the story of Mutsumi the summary for the story that follows being thus: Mutsumi goes to a bar one night to drown her sorrows after a series disastrous relationships and winds up with some most…unusual company.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.

Mutsumi gazed dismally down towards the bottom of her glass, her woefully empty glass. "Bartender!" she hollered only slightly drunkenly, "I need a refill on my Cosmopolitan."

The bartender sighed, they got people like this in the bar all the time. The sad, lonely types with nothing left for them but the resolute and steadfast comfort of a bottle. Personally, he hoped it was the foreign, expensive kind of bottle but hey, a bottle was a bottle, and after three or four most people entered the "Happy" phase of drunk and started tipping generously.

Meanwhile, Mutsumi, who had gotten herself all tarted up and come down to a bar for nothing, was entering a very different phase of drunk; thinking morosely of her latest failures. Why? It just wasn't fair, she was happy, and cheerful, ate her vegetables, cleaned her room and yet life just wasn't living up to her expectations. It wasn't her career she had a problem with, oh no, she was a fine, upstanding ninja who was perfectly happy running messages and chaperoning dignitaries around the fire country and the assorted allies thereof. She wasn't phenomenal by any means but she'd pulled herself out of a few scrapes most successfully and with dignity intact so on that front things were just swell thank you very much.

It wasn't her friends and family either, no, her parents were dead so no argument from them on anything and she'd long ago dealt with the loss, such being the life of a ninja. Her friends were a cheerful crowd, primarily formed of her fellow chunins and a few others she'd picked up here and there. They were supportive and lively and in general perfectly agreeable people. Being ninjas there were a few inconsistencies, Seiji still thought his pet frog was alive and even took it on walks (it had been dead for about five years but no one had the heart to tell him) but that was about it.

No, these were not the areas which presented the problem at hand. You see, Mutsumi, like most young women often entertained dreams of romance, of candle lit suppers, and of long walks on the beach with a charming companion of the opposite sex. It was from this wish that her troubles seemed to have sprung. Mutsumi hiccupped slightly as the bartender refilled her drink.

God, she just could not seem to win. Sighing and leaning back slightly on her barstool (which might have been a bad idea considering the effect alcohol has on ones sense of balance) she surveyed the room. To her left was a chain of the usual losers one finds in bars at varying times of day, behind in the booths were groups of men and women sometimes together sometimes not, all of whom seemed to be getting on swimmingly (bastards) and to the right a mysterious, cloaked figure who veritably oozed a sense of danger and the thinly veiled aura of deadly resolve native only to the most highly trained of assassins. It was an aura Mutsumi was strangely familiar with. Then again, growing up in Konohagakure and imbibing a goodly number of alcoholic beverages would familiarize and inure most people to such auras. In her inebriated state, Mutsumi decided he was a soul in need of company and who might present a sympathetic ear. (Not bad to look at either, a little blurry, but not bad…he was vaguely familiar too.)

"You alone too?" she addressed the stranger as she scooted over to sit next to him, her black, leather miniskirt squeaking as it slid over the red, pleather covering the bar stool.


Itachi was not enjoying himself. He didn't usually go for such things as "enjoying himself" but in this instance the lack of enjoyment was particularly noted. This unhappy state of affairs was due in no small part to his being in a bar. The Akatsuki did not work out of bars, nor did they meet people in them. In fact, the Akatsuki in most instances had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the establishments. It just didn't work with the image they were trying to create. The Akatsuki did not meet, nor were they met, they simply appeared and disappeared without ever having registered in the consciousness' of those with whom they interacted. Actually, after a meeting with the Akatsuki very little registered in the consciousness' of those with whom they interacted as in general, they were no longer possessed of one. To top off Itachi's overall un-enjoyment of the evening as he waited for his contact, some prostitute seemed to be hitting on him.

Itachi glared at the offending woman as she gazed blearily at him out of doe like brown eyes. Or at least they would have been doe like but they were red and blood shot either from some form of drug addiction, or too much to drink. (It was possible she may have been weeping as women sometimes did for no reason whatsoever but Itachi didn't think it likely.) Regardless of her appearance, Itachi decided he ought to get rid of her as her presence might interfere with his business but then again miniskirt clad women might do something to improve his image. (Kisame had recently been making a number of not so subtle innuendos regarding his sexual orientation.) The choice was soon taken out of his hands however.

"Bartender!" the strange women called, "get another drink for my friend, he's having…What're you having?"

As it happened, Itachi had been drinking soda water (easier to detect poison) but before he could answer the woman, (Itachi was beginning to think she wasn't a hooker at this point as they didn't usually spend so much time on formalities or money on drinks) had ordered him a glass of something clear and strong smelling. Possibly rubbing alcohol. The woman had ordered a glass of it for herself and was soon swigging away merrily.

"Excuse me," said Itachi coldly, "but I am otherwise engaged this evening."

She sighed and crossed her legs, the miniskirt squeaking yet again, as she ran a hand through her long, brown hair. "I wish I were otherwise engaged, but I haven't been otherwise engaged for about a month. I don't get it. I mean I'm sweet and funny and a C cup but ever since that stupid Sasuke all the guys I've dated have been so weird."

At this point Itachi had begun to notice certain peculiarities about her person. For instance her fingers and palms were callused and her fingernails cut practically short. She was amazingly agile for one who had drunk so much and even in the dim light he could detect a faint tan line running across her forehead of a most specific shape. There were numerous other such peculiarities to be noted and it didn't take long for an individual of Itachi's mental prowess to surmise that she was a ninja. To be specific a chunin level ninja of the hidden village of the leaf specializing in defensive nin-jutsu and tai-jutsu. (Hey, you weren't a genius for nothing.) Itachi was drawn from his momentary perusals of her person as she had continued speaking.

"I mean I had really thought that it would be fun. Because Sasuke was, well all the girls wanted him and he was so handsome and talented and mysterious, but then when we were actually talking all he does is obsess over this revenge thing. It's pathetic. He has no life."

Itachi was deeply gratified to hear it.

"And after that I thought it would be okay and I'd just find someone normal if slightly more interesting to go out with but I'd made friends with this really nice girl named Sakura and she said that her ex-teacher needed to go out with someone and I thought why not? I mean older men are supposed to be interesting and mature right?" At this she let out a long mirthless laugh. "I have never been so wrong."

She looked at Itachi and he couldn't help but notice that she had the sort of haunted look usually found in torture victims and people who spent a lot of time around him.

She continued with her story. "That bastard was THREE hours late. And do you know what he did while I was there?" She didn't wait for a response. "He read his dirty, echi, Icha Icha Paradise books that's what he did." She fumed.

Itachi was slightly stunned by the passion with which she spoke as well as the lethality of a few of her gesticulations and had just begun formulating a plan to wipe the smug looks off of Kisame's face, (girls on the rebound were always easy) when she again gazed up tearfully from her drink and opened her mouth. It seemed the saga of her woes wasn't finished.

"After Kakashi I swore off men for awhile," she began tremulously, "but then I met this guy who was visiting from wind country, Gaara, a little bit younger than me, but he was so sweet and vulnerable and…" she sighed, "We dated for about two weeks and everything was really nice. He said he didn't have a lot of experience with dating so I chose most of the things we did and he was such a good listener most of the time. He said he was trying to learn more about people and I was so flattered that he was paying attention to me and not proposing (Itachi wondered at this) that I didn't think there was anything wrong with his being kind of quiet. At least he showed interest in things unlike some other people I've mentioned, but then one day he walked me home and I leaned in to give him a kiss and…well let's just say I spent a week in the hospital with sand related injuries. After that there was a wall between us. He said I'd startled him and that he was really sorry, but it was like the trust was gone."

Itachi wondered at the statistical probability of sequentially dating three of the most psychologically disturbed individuals in the country. Now he was quite disturbed in his own right, about that he had no illusion, but Sasuke, Hatake Kakashi and Gaara? Combined they had enough neurosis, pathologies and general abnormalities of thought to send every therapist, psychiatrist, and neuropharmacologist running for the hills. Still…, he glanced at Mutsumi, (as she had loudly introduced herself to him upon having first appeared) she was currently staring sorrowfully into space while leaning, arms folded, slightly forward on the bar in front. The resulting effect being that her ample bosom was placed most advantageously in a position of greater prominence. She turned her head to look at him and Itachi was struck by the fact that she was actually quite pretty. Her eyes were large, and she had what was quite possibly the most perfectly symmetrical nose Itachi had ever seen. Hmmm…the image of Kisame's smirking face drifted through Itachi's mind, maybe she'd want to make it an even four.

(A/N) Poor, poor Mutsumi. She just can't catch a break can she?