Title: Impressive Instant

Summary: -What you know can hurt you-

Konoha's got a secret. On the brink of a civil war, the 'Ne-Root vs Hokage-Anbu' power struggle is at the core of the government's problem. Too bad the villagers know nothing of it.

Ino's got a secret. With her newly developed telepathic powers, she has finally gained control of her life. Too bad she never learned to respect other's minds; which has caused her to accidentally stumble upon the village's inner struggles.

Losing faith in Konoha, Ino sets out to set things right in her life, and the world, before making her way back to the 'root' of her problems, the very place she abandoned.

Pairing: Itachi x Ino (He's in character, seriously...)

A/N: *Rewritten* Again. No, seriously, how many times has this been rewritten? Anyway, I made it more mature. Sort-of. (Just review! Again...)

Chapter One: Catch My Wavelength

There is a time in everyone's life when they stop asking why. It's not like we don't want to know the answers, it's just that no-one can give us the answers we are looking for. As time goes on we eventually learn to satisfy this curiosity by coming up with our own ideas, perceptions and beliefs.

But the irony of it all is that even though that signifies our not only physical, but moral, intellectual, and psychological maturity, it's that when we grow up in life we are expected to act like passive sheep. After all, deep down inside we all are just ignorant statistics.

I'm just a number, a statistic, a tool. No, more than a tool. I'm a tool for killing. But then again, that's what is expected from me. It's my job. I'm a ninja.

It's not like I never wonder why us ninja do the things we do, but as I said before; why bother asking when no-one could or can provide me with the answers I'm looking for?

By the time I reached my adolescence I stopped wondering why. Fate didn't 'and still does' not exist. If you want something to happen, get up and make it happen. I guess that's how my assertive personality developed.

But growing up also has 'had' it's downside. My closest friends soon became rivals as I grew aware of this 'every man for himself' world. No longer was I outgoing; developing a dark and bitter streak. I learned of what it felt to suffer from loss, from great agony to resentment. My life was 'and still is' an emotional roller-coaster. Always on the edge, every shape, figure, shadow in the distance is a constant threat. But that was 'and still is...maybe' the life I chose. I'm a ninja.

'Or maybe that is what I want myself to believe?'

I was never particularly fond of summer. And it's not just the damage inflicted on my fair complection caused by the strong, more direct sun rays; no, it's more, something that goes deeper than just my skin.

Well for starters, my hatred for June 21st till September 21st might have to do with the fact that my father died during the summer. Or maybe it was that humid August afternoon over a year ago; the day everything changed, the day I became a telepath.

Pinning a blond stand of hair behind my ear, I try not to cringe at the sight of my split ends. The summer's heat and humidity has also pulled a number on my usually well tamed mane. The ends have curled up, making my hair almost impossible to manage. Ok, I don't care how wanted 'and not in a good way' I may be, even a nuke-nin has hygiene issues to attend to. Then again it's not like I'm suppose to be living the glamorous life.

Actually I'm not even technically a nuke-nin 'or missing-nin' when you think about it. I mean, I didn't do anything horrifying nor homicidal. I didn't turn on my village and 'went with the enemy' like another certain someone I know. I just got up and left. 'Well not without some deliberation'; I may like to act on whim, but there was a reason for me to leave Konoha on such short notice.

The reason was simple: When you get down to it, us 'ninja' are just tools to a quasi fascist government suffering from an internal struggle. And besides, I refuse to support an incompetent leader who has been embezzling tax funds to support her gambling addiction.

To put it simply, I was fed up. I wanted change.

After my father died on a mission, I felt trapped. Trapped in Konoha, in the ninja lifestyle. Or at least that's what I thought. Then with a headache and bloody nose later I was reading minds without even using charkra. My powers are still temperamental, but I can control bodily functions, access memories, and interfere with stuff controlled by the brain. Not to mention that my connection to the astral plane has increased.

- So when I thought about using my recently acquired powers on the Hokage, I didn't think twice about the repercussions. Or that the Konoha's society and government are hanging by threads, and any of the missions being sent out each day just might be the straw to break the camel's back.

Konoha's on the brink of civil war, yet it does not appear so. And to think that this is all being kept hidden from it's citizens. If I was the rebel 'movement' type I would have done something about it.

But I'm not, so I left.

'But' my actions do have an upside. I've formulated a plan to get Sasuke back, 'and' take down Akatsuki at the same time. But like most plans 'or maybe just my plans', there are risks involved.

But the risks don't effect 'or concern' me.

With a sly smile, I pull out my signature compact mirror; the initials I Y engraved onto it's marble cover. Examining my reflection, my appearance is worse than I first anticipated.

There's people a few miles up ahead. I sense their minds. They are powerful. Just what I'm looking...'to manipulate'. I almost shut the mirror, but I catch something out of the corner of my eye.

Hm, another nosebleed. Happens whenever I use my powers. Shutting the compact, I toss it into my pocket and nonchalantly wipe below my nose with my right index finger.

I may have mastered my powers, but I still have to work out the undesirable kinks.

It's hard to believe five minutes ago I was primping myself in a mirror.

I could feel the warm crimson liquid ooze it's way down my cheek and straight onto my blouse.

Now I really need a shower.

My bruised wrists swell with pain, but I have more important things to tend to right now; like the two Akatsuki who dared to cross my path.

"The girl, what shall we do with her?" Their black, elegant windbreakers flowed in the mid-summer's breeze, as I stayed bound in a highly advanced genjutsu.

Most ninjas in my predicament would be focused on getting out of this illusion, hell, if they had my power, they would have made sure that they'd never been caught up in this illusion; but I'm not like the rest. I let my prey dig their own graves. falling victim to their trap only triggered a chain of events in my favor.

"Such a beautiful girl, so delicate. Be a shame to just dispose of her." Ok, the blue one's sadistic grin is where I'm drawing a line. Every girl has to have her limits.

Muscular, blue hands lifted up my chin, smearing the blood dripping it's way down my neck.

"Look, we've terrified her to a nosebleed." The aloof ebony haired Akatsuki looked away, as if he could foretell his partner's fate. He's right, I would never let the blue one over here get away with that.

Now what's a telepath to do? I could pull off some flashy mind trick, hopefully that can be enough of a distraction that I'd have time to run. But then again I have more entertaining options. Like...

The blue one drew his sword, I made sure of it, and swiftly lashed out at his partner. The dark haired Akatsuki quickly fought back, skillfully I might add. For his petite stature, in comparison to the other Akatsuki you would have never guessed the caliber of his power. The dark haired Akatsuki remains apathetic, seemingly unimpressed by his comrades sudden betrayal.

Well, it looks like I've got two of the nine Akatsuki taken care of. Sometimes even I impress myself. Stepping out of the genjutsu, I didn't even bother to wait for the dust to settle in the 'Akatsuki vs. Akatsuki' battle I've triggered.

Though I wouldn't mind if the attractive petite Akatsuki is the victor. A sick thought crosses my mind, but I quickly shut it out. Brainwashing an Akatsuki to be my personal eye-candy would go against my ethics. And this is coming from someone who has no problem with turning your mind inside out.

"You're quite the smart one." Speak, or should I say think, of the devil. His scarlet eyes swirled and in a matter of seconds he pulled me into the forbidden world harbored up in his mind.

Over the years I've experienced many diverged forms of pain. From mental, to physical, it's only natural to experience such while living the life of a shinobi. Though this red eyed Akatsuki can combine both physical and mental pain, stepping the game up to a whole other level, torture.

But that only made reversing Tsukuyomi to my advantage more the pleasure.

Forty-eight hours passed within a blink of an eye; Ewwh, in that case it would mean I haven't taken a shower in over a week. After I dispose of these fools I am going to find a hot spring immediately.

Looking down at the soft, almost lifeless figure sticking out from the otherwise flat plain, I kick over the dark haired Akatsuki's body.

He's not dead, I don't do 'death', but he is pretty far gone. His partner, the blue Akatsuki, is a couple of hundred yards away; it's hard to imagine this currently harmless being having the potential to do such damage. But there's exceptions, like me.

"For someone so pure to be dabbling in the world of Akatsuki, they may find themselves in mortal danger, Ino." A hard, monotonous clapping came from nearby, and my body stiffened.

The voice, it was so shrill, like nails on a chalkboard.

"Whoever said I was 'pure'?" His eccentric eyes followed my movements precisely as I attempted to make a break for it. He's somehow canceling out my mental powers, almost as if he's psychic himself. I turn around for a second.

Where did he...?

Too late. He's right behind me. "Ino, you're not fooling anyone. Though I must admit you put on quite a show back there. You'd make Akatsuki proud to be among their ranks."

I look down at his flowing Akatsuki robe and back up at his face.

Did he just... Can he be... I smile weakly. Well they must have a headquarters. And in this headquarters there should be a bathroom. Bathroom equals shower.

"So, when do I start?"

The things a girl would do for a shower.

Being accepted into the ranks of Akatsuki is much as a curse as it is a blessing.

But I tend to view it as just a simple roadblock on the path to my original goal. Not to say I don't find my new title somewhat interesting.

Though to quote a comic book; "With great power comes great responsibility." Let's just say being an Akatsuki is a gift I do not wish to abuse. God forbid I gave myself a negative image.

Mentioning image, I can assure you that right now I am the image of perfection.

It's the weekend. And even members of an evil organization need downtime.

There are many bars in Akatsuki country. In the heat of the summer sometimes a cool beverage can be so tempting.

The allusive ebony-haired Akatsuki will be mine.

Why? Cause every girl needs her hobby.

Delicately placing a strand of blond hair behind my right ear, I can sense him watching me.

Everything is going according to plan.

Putting the menu down onto the counter; to any passerby it seems that I am only at the bar for drink and leisure. Some things in life are too easy.

"Are you all ready?" As my mouth unconsciously forms a seductive smile, I pause for a moment, pursing my lips to make sure every word comes out smooth and accurate.

"Vodka Martini; shaken, not stirred." The bartender nods, sheepishly returning the grin I had given him.

Though most men may not give in to it, I have the uncanny tendency to melt hearts with an action simple as a stare.

Well aren't I quite the oxymoron? An Ice Queen who melts hearts.

Minutes pass and I don't even have to turn around to realize he is approaching me.

"Someone's quite the bond girl." Under normal circumstances a flit of an eyelash would be enough to have him wrapped around my finger; but I've dealt with his type before, and I can tell you now, it takes more than just my minx tactics to keep this situation under control.

Well, for starters, I have to keep him on the edge. Let him know I'm not someone to be reckoned with.

"Is flirting a part of business, or for your own pleasure?" I hold onto every syllable, almost long enough to hide the suggestive tone I've become too accustom to using.

Not daring to look him in the eyes, I glance over towards the counter instead, smiling to the bartender who has now returned with my drink.

Bringing the glass up to my lips, I resist the urge to seductively eat the olive off the toothpick; but I know better, a move like that wouldn't work on him. Not that it wouldn't be fun attempting it.

But then something unexpected happened. He inches closer.

Or maybe it would.

"They say never to mix business with pleasure..." His warm breath lingers around the nape of my neck, the sensation itself too intense for words.

"Well I never said I was here for business." Flashing my clear eyes up towards his crimson orbs, I make my hard as diamonds persona evident.

I wish I could say he was shocked, surprised, hell, even scared; but like I said, I dealt with his type before, and it was going to take more than my usual bag of tricks to phase him.

"Your cloak, do you wear it to strike fear in the hearts of others, or as a symbol of pride?" Eying the black and red windbreaker draping from his shoulders; it was somewhere along the line of a 'fashion faux pas'.

"Why must you ask question you already know the answers too?" His red eyes swill a bit; tsk, some people never learn.

"What's the harm in striking up an innocent conversation?" Leaning forward slightly, I stir the remnants of my drink with the olive tipped toothpick.

"Your intentions are anything but innocent." His voice is strong, yet soothing, not something you would not expect to roll off the tongue of a homicidal ninja.

"Ah, you caught me." Scrunching my face into a scowl, my lower lip quivers into an exaggerated pout. "Then again, neither are mine..." His strong hands firmly wrap around my waist, pushing into my abdomen. Bringing his face towards my shoulder he positioned himself close enough to inhale my very fragrance.

"You scent, it's intoxicating." He pulled me closer. Too close for comfort.

"It's Dior. Always Dior." I pull back, and his grip loosens.

"As much as I enjoy this kind of interaction, don't you think we should get to business?" I raise my right eyebrow, forming a stern expression that contradicts my soft features.

"Of course." He steps back and straightens his posture, and for a moment he looks around his age.

By this time, the bartender has taken my empty glass away, leaving me nothing to fidget with.

Not that it matters, I still have his mind.

Something I've indulged myself in fifteen minutes ago.

I don't like making deals with people. Blame it on my bad negotiation skills, but I always end up getting screwed in the end. Of course, I never thought that would 'literally' be the outcome.

I could feel Itachi's heart throb as my bare chest brushed against his skin. My hands roam his chiseled chest, his fingernails dig into my back.

Itachi took several sharp breaths.

"Your eyes; let me see them," Itachi's pseudo angelic voice whispers. And in the heat of the moment, I do just that. My blue orbs reflect crimson; my face cringes in horror.

Deadly mistake.

Re-opening my eyes; I find myself in a nightmarish dreamscape. I'm definitely not in Kansas anymore. Or a roadside motel.

This place; it feels so familiar. Like a distant memory.

"Ino, don't tell me you forgot?" That voice... could it be?

"What do you want from me? Why did Itachi bring me here?" To be honest, I have a slight idea. I just don't like the outcome of it.

"Ino, child; you don't want to know. After all, why ask questions when you know you'll never get the answers you're looking for?"

Figures. Stepping forward, my bare feet levitate just above the floor's surface; and I let my brain adjust to the surreality of this dimension.

"He doesn't want to hurt you; I was the one that summoned you here," the apparition spoke; it's emerald eyes focused on one of the many red feathers floating around the room. Plucking the feather in mid-air; within seconds the apparition materialized beside me, attaching it to my chest.

"This feather, it will protect you. Keep us on the same wavelength." I nod, not sure of what just happened. Whatever this presence may be; I have a strong feeling it's not something to be reckoned with.

"Ino, one day this will all be yours; whether Itachi admits it or not."

And with the apparition's finished words, I was back in Itachi's arms, at loss of breath. Before I can gain my composure, Itachi's mouth crashes with my own, and I struggle. "Mmmm...mm," Pulling back, Itachi eyes revert to their natural onyx shade, and he leans closer.

"I should go." Yeah, you should.

Not that I don't need him, but his Sharingan; it's too overwhelming for me. I may act in control; but most of the time I'm just faking it. Even though I have mental powers, everyone else has free will. You can only fight it for so long...

Talking about fighting; intuition tells me Konoha-nin are in the vicinity. Apparently, my departure sat most unwell with Tsunade. On the surface it seems I just took an unofficial prolonged vacation; however, she's slightly aware of my knowledge. Of course, my apparent 'knowledge' is just the tip of the iceberg. But let's save that for later. I've got some hunter-nin to annihilate.

"I'll assist," Itachi states dryly. I guess he picked up on their chakra signals. I, on the other-hand, sense their minds.

"Unnecessary, I can deal with them from here." Itachi looks on, his expression is partially skeptical, partially intrigued. So cute. Well, I guess he can help. But he'll have to do it my way.

"Give me your hand," Before he can respond, I take his palm, and form a tight grip.

"You took me to your world; now let me show you mine."