Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto nor lay any right upon the original story and/or characters contained therein.
Rated M for Mature for strong language and sexual situations. Subject matter contained within this story is not suitable for all ages.
Notes - A lot of the Ita/Saku fans out there have probably read this over on AFF previously, but I have finally gotten around to learning to use my account to upload stories. This is my first multi-chapter story, so provided I have no problems figuring out how to add extra chapters, I will add ch2 right away too. Chapter 3 is coming along slowly. I have been doing some major home renovations and have not had a lot of time to write. I do have most of the chapter plotted out, now is just a matter of fleshing it in.
Her green eyes glared at him from beneath her disheveled pink hair. If he were a weaker man, he would have sworn he could see his death in those eyes that had seemed so lost and scared just moments before. She stood in a defensive stance with only a single kunai clenched in both fists, but her eyes were what were really holding his attention.
He could feel Kisame behind him chomping at the bit for a piece of the action. He hated to be excluded from the fighting. Itachi held up one hand in an offhand gesture that stilled his companion, never taking his eyes from the girl's unwavering glare.
He took a step forward, "Move aside. I have no desire to kill you."
"You will have to go through me to get to Sasuke," her tone was definitely defiant.
"You will die."
A small enigmatic smile graced her lips. "Is that a challenge, Uchiha?"
It was his turn to smile. So, she thought she could stand against THE Uchiha Itachi? Her chin jutted out gesturing towards Kisame, "Tell him not to interfere. This is between you and me." Itachi arched an eyebrow at her; she really did believe she could stand against him. "And I want your promise that if I win, you will leave Sasuke in peace."
A surprised laugh escaped Itachi and Kisame frowned. It was the rare to hear Itachi laugh. "Hai, hai you have my word as an Uchiha," his look turned stony, "If you can beat me." Sakura could not wait to wipe that smug smile from his face. She had not trained under Tsunade for 3 years to find Sasuke only to have him ripped away by Itachi right after she found him. "But are you sure that is Sasuke?"
"Huh?" Sakura looked at him in confusion. "Of course it is Sasuke! What kind of mind fuck are you trying to use on me?"
"Orochimaru did not spend the last 3 years shaping him into who he is today for no reason, ninja girl." Sakura bristled, Itachi smirked, "He could have already taken Sasuke's body over." Itachi did not mention the fact that he and Kisame were there to make sure that Orochimaru had not done just that.
"Enough!" Sakura yelled, "Sasuke would not have allowed that to happen." It was her turn to smirk, "after all, you are still alive." Having said that, Sakura dropped to one knee, punching the ground in front of her causing both men to jump out of the way of the giant fissure her punch had caused.
Itachi let out a pleased smile, this girl would put up more of a fight than he had previously thought. Channeling more chakra to his sharingan, they began to whirl slowly as he analyzed her movements, reading ahead.
After exchanging a flurry of blows not visible to the untrained eye, both jumped back, eying the other for the next move. Sakura had a wound on her shoulder, her dress was slashed, and blood ran down her arm. Itachi would have a black eye by tomorrow, as well as various other small cuts and bruises which both sported after the close combat.
Itachi decided to up the stakes a bit, but Sakura was experienced with fighting the sharingan, having sparred with Kakashi-sensei on many occasions. She used the jutsu he had taught her, in case she would need to use it against Sasuke. The same one Kakashi had copied on the Great Naruto Bridge fighting Zabuza.
Mist began to slowly fill the clearing becoming so thick that you could barely see your hand in front of your face. Sakura quickly relocated while forming a summoning jutsu. Calling forth Yasashii, a human sized slug, she performed henge-no-jutsu on it, transforming it into a duplicate Sakura. Sakura had been perfecting this jutsu for some time, so she and Yasashii were quite comfortable with one another. A silent understanding passed between the two.
Sakura moved stealthily through the mist, in reality only maybe 30 seconds had passed and she was sure that Itachi would make a move soon. Suddenly she heard his voice ring out, "Grand Fireball no Jutsu." It seemed to echo off of the trees and her mist dissipated burned away by the giant ball of flame emitted from Itachi's mouth.
Sakura threw a series of shuriken at him which he effortlessly knocked out the air with a kunai held in his hand. This time Itachi attacked appearing behind Sakura, who quickly blocked his punch with arms crisscrossed. The blow still knocked her back several feet, leaving matching tracks where her feet skidded across the grass. Before Sakura could react, he was in front of her punching her below her guard. She doubled over as his arm sank halfway up his forearm into her soft midsection.
He felt the satisfactory warm ooze of fluid on his arm a moment before he realized that it was not blood, but slug slime his arm was coated in and Sakura was dissipating into hundreds of small slugs, who were quickly retreating. What a shrewd girl. She knew enough about the Sharingan to know that it read chakra and that it would see through a normal henge or shadow clone. She must have spent grueling hours working with that slug to get their chakra patterns to match so closely.
He didn't know that Sakura was close friends with a certain shy girl who was able to utilize Byakagan, a technique able to read even further into the chakra patterns than even the Sharingan. Sakura's technique had never fooled Hinata, but had impressed the girl nonetheless. Although Yasashii had only proved a short distraction, it bought Sakura a much needed advantage.
Itachi straightened slightly when he felt a prick of a kunai at his neck. Kisame watched in amusement. This girl had Itachi on his toes in a way he had not seen in quite some time. "Don't move," her breath hissed in his ear, a feeling of triumph filled her being. She had one of the most powerful men in Konoha, maybe the world, at her mercy. The feeling was exhilarating, but she did not revel in it. She was torn. Sasuke was still unconscious. If he awoke to find that Sakura had not only stolen him from Orochimaru's home, with Naruto's help of course, but also had taken his revenge from him… She felt herself wavering. Itachi stood impassively; she seemed to be fighting some inner battle.
Mind made up, she reached up to knock Itachi unconscious with a quick blow to his head, but before she could finish raising her arm, she was disarmed and staring into the depths of the most powerful sharingan unleashed this side of hell.
She found herself suddenly in the grips of his spell. The world around her faded and was replaced by a world of contrasting colors. Red, black and staunch white. Suddenly he was in front of her, and she felt that she was bound, unable to move. He began to speak to her in a monotonous voice.
"You are in my world now. For the next…,"
His voice was cut off for a moment by a familiar voice that somehow did not fit in this world. "Sakura-chan, fight it!"
Naruto had been scouting the area ahead, while Sakura watched over Sasuke's unconscious body. He had arrived at the scene noticing first the towering Kisame whose attention was riveted elsewhere. Shit! He cursed mentally. He rushed forward seeing Sakura standing close enough to Itachi to touch him, her gazed locked on his. Double shit! He was stopped by the grey man's arm and their eyes locked. A message passed between them, 'you will have to get through me first.'
Naruto, having had a taste of Kisame's abilities firsthand, decided to stand down for a moment while he thought up a plan. But being Naruto, he could not stop his shout. "Sakura-chan, fight it!" Kisame scowled at him and Naruto backed up to a safe distance. He could use his Kage-bunshin-no-jutsu, but Kisame still had that chakra eating sword. He had to find a way to separate that man and his sword. Then they would fight on Naruto's terms.
Meanwhile, Itachi was still droning on in Sakura's head, but she was not listening anymore. Inner Sakura had woken up. Since Itachi was not really in her mind, just hypnotizing her into believing he was, he didn't know what she was doing, just that she was awakening from his jutsu before he had released it, and nobody had ever done that before.
Inner Sakura was ranting and raving, totally pissed. She tore the bonds that locked Sakura in place and she suddenly awoke from the jutsu. She swayed on her feet, dizzy from the jutsu, and mentally exhausted from shaking it off. She fell forward, collapsing against Itachi into unconsciousness. "Interesting," he murmured to himself.
"Kisame, we are leaving," his quiet voice carried across the clearing. Naruto's gaze riveted on Itachi who was still holding Sakura against his chest. In a fluid motion, Itachi scooped Sakura into his arms as if she weighed nothing and quickly disappeared into the trees.
Naruto was caught in a quandary. Which teammate did he protect? "Fuck!" he screamed out. He needed to go after Itachi, but that would mean he would have to fight Kisame, who had that damned sword which would eat up all of his chakra. Plus, he could not leave the unconscious Sasuke. He seemed to be under some sort of sleep jutsu since they found him, and getting him back to Konoha at top speed was priority. 'I am sorry, Sakura-chan. Hang in there until I can come after you with a full team of Jounin.' Naruto having made his decision scooped up both packs, and threw the unconscious pain in his ass over his shoulder and made tracks for Konoha as quickly as humanly possible.
Sakura awoke to find herself being carried like a sack of rice over somebody's strong shoulder. Her mind was fuzzy, she had wanted to stay unconscious, but her ninja instincts had forced her awake.
Remembering the events that led up to her being here she recalled that she and Naruto had been bringing Sasuke's unconscious body back to Konoha. According to what they had been able to deduce, Orochimaru had been preparing Sasuke's body to take it over, probably in the next day or two.
Orochimaru was at perhaps his most vulnerable when they had attacked. He must have had a hard time finding suitable replacements for the 5 ninja he had lost 3 years prior. For the ninja they encountered upon entering his base, had been easy to take out. The thought never occurred to them that they had improved that much.
He had also been unconscious; they assumed that is was some sort of trance in preparation of the body transfer. Kabuto had been the biggest obstacle, but Naruto had already fought against him, and while Kabuto had grown a small amount, Naruto had made a huge leap in his skill level, as had Sakura.
When Kabuto had used his chakra scalpel attack, Sakura had jumped in front of Naruto and blocked it with her own chakra scalpel. The two medic nin fought, little zaps of light coming off the knives of energy. When he had sliced deeply into her leg with his weapon, Sakura fell, thrown off balance, and before she could get up, Naruto had jumped in.
"Your opponent is me. You and I, we have a score to settle, Kabuto."
Kabuto smiled and pushed up his glasses. "You have grown quite a bit Naruto-kun. I will not underestimate you this time around." But he had underestimated Naruto, and lost quickly.
The rest of the way was easy, and not many were left in the building, most fled after seeing the huge number of Naruto's enter the underground hideout. When they found him, he was resting in what appeared to be his bedroom. Medical supplies littered various surfaces of the room, and he appeared dead. Sakura had checked all his vitals, and he was actually in a comatose state. Probably some form of sleeping jutsu had been performed to keep him like this. They had argued over the body of Konoha's biggest enemy, but in the end, neither of them could cold-heartedly kill the bastard in his sleep. They both knew it was probably one of the biggest mistakes they would ever make, but neither could bring themselves to kill him.
They found Sasuke shortly after in some sort of medical lab. After Sakura had done an exam on him, finding him in the same state Orochimaru was in; they grabbed his body and fled.
After two days travel, Sasuke was still unconscious. Naruto's wounds had all healed, and he had insisted that Sakura use her healing jutsu to fix her leg as soon as they exited Orochimaru's lair. Sakura had argued that Naruto needed to be healed worse, but Naruto had given his trademark grin that now so resembled the fourth's grin and said he would be fine tomorrow. And indeed he was.
Having paused to make sure that they were still on the right track, Naruto had told Sakura to rest while he scouted ahead. He had been gone for roughly 20 minutes when she suddenly felt two strong presences close by. It had taken these scenes maybe a minute or two to flash through her mind, when she realized who carried her.
Itachi! Finally her senses flashed to full alert and she began to struggle against the tired ninja. He had not rested since using a vast majority of his chakra to fight her, and had been carrying her for the last several hours.
Kisame's voice drifted to her, a hint of a menacing leer conveyed in each syllable, "I could carry her for awhile if you like, Itachi."
Sakura immediately stopped her struggles and breathed a sigh of relief when Itachi replied, "I don't think that will be necessary."
Sakura could just imagine the shark-man's face as he replied, "let me know if you change your mind." Cold dread settled in the pit of her stomach. Although of the two, Itachi was probably the stronger, the appearance of Kisame really unsettled her. And although Itachi was a cold blooded killer who followed his own agenda, she felt he was the lesser of two evils.
Kisame noticed Itachi's waning strength, and in an unspoken signal between the two of them, scouted a place for camp. After traveling together for so many years, the two men were able to hold entire conversations with body language.
Once a suitable location was found, Itachi dumped Sakura in an unceremonious heap at his feet. She found herself lightheaded from traveling for several hours slung over Itachi's shoulder. She quickly readied herself to make a break for it, but Itachi read her like a book. "If you try it, Kisame will be glad to bring you back, although I can't account for all of your limbs should that happen."
She glanced over at the quasi-human who had his hand on his wrapped sword and a grin on his face that spoke volumes. He wanted her to run so he would have a chance to maim her pretty skin. Sakura sat down dejectedly.
Kisame started a small fire while Itachi pitched two tents, which were in packs each carried hidden under their cloaks, while Sakura watched the sky deepen as night settled around them. Sakura was used to the sort of silence that enshrouded them from missions deep into enemy territory. The only sounds were the crackle of the fire and the hum of the forest around them.
Itachi raised his eyes questioning at the girl who had edged closer to him, normally people moved away from him, not closer. Her gaze was fixed across the fire and he suppressed a small smile when he saw that Kisame was eyeing her like a piece of meat. None but Kisame knew if it was a sexual or a sadistic interest he held in the girl, but she seemed to prefer Itachi to his partner.
Itachi handed her a ration of food, diverting her attention from Kisame's predatory gaze. She was looking down at her food so missed Itachi's slight frown and Kisame's apologetic smirk.
The two had yet to talk about Itachi's reasoning for kidnapping the girl. But Kisame trusted Itachi's judgment. Of the pair, Itachi was the more cool-headed and Kisame knew this. He trusted Itachi with his life and vice-versa. It was a bond built up between the two of them having fought together, bled together, and watched the lonely moon pass overhead for so many years. So Kisame did not question Itachi's decision. Itachi was not one to reveal his plans before he was ready to anyway.
Sakura tried not to squirm, she didn't understand how both of them had gone and relieved themselves and not realized that she would need to do the same. She had tried to ignore Kisame's gaze all night, but she felt as if he would bore holes straight through her. He was just waiting for her to run.
She had been giving off subtle hints, which she was sure that Kisame had noticed, but the asshole was not doing anything to help alleviate her discomfort. In fact, the prick seemed to revel in it. Letting out a frustrated sigh, Itachi gave her a frosty glare for interrupting the silence. She glared back.
It was not bad enough that he attacked their party, kidnapped her, but now she was sure that if she wanted to relieve the pressure on her bladder that he or, she shuddered, Kisame would watch her while she did it to be sure she didn't try to run away. She shifted again, and Itachi looked at her again in an irritated way. Inner Sakura started hurling curses at the dense man.
"I need to urinate." Her voice came out between clenched teeth, and she was sure she had heard a guffaw from across the fire. Her face flamed and her furious gaze riveted on the source. She was uncomfortable, angry, and she was not backing down from this staring contest, not when it was their fault she felt like this. A hand appeared in her line of vision, and her attention diverted to it. She stared dumbly for a moment, before following it up to his blank face.
She griped it with her left hand, and felt a bond of chakra form around her wrist. Releasing her hand, he led her into the forest, and turning his back to her, he allowed her to do her business as if he were walking a dog. 'This is so degrading,' Inner Sakura bit out, but finally finding relief, she did not complain aloud.
Bedtime provided yet another unpleasant surprise. She was sharing a tent with Itachi, who had handed off all of his and her weapons to Kisame in an obvious show of mistrust. She had to let out a small smile at that. He knew exactly where her mind had gone.
Once inside the cramped tent, he had performed an unknown jutsu and she noticed an aura of chakra enshrouding the tent as the jutsu took hold. She was sure it was effectively the same as a trip wire blanketing the tent, and if she should try to leave, he would know immediately. He had all ends covered, and she was left with no options to escape this night.
She reclined against the hard ground and felt the night chill begin to settle into her. She would not show any more weakness to this man than she already had. She lay there staring at the ceiling of the tent as the cold seeped further into her and a tremor passed through her frame. Sakura closed her eyes and cursed her lack of bodily control as another shiver racked her frame.
A slight rustle beside her caused her to open her eyes just as she felt the warmth of a blanket thrown over top of her. Shocked, she saw Itachi curling into his cloak, back turned to her.
Sakura snuggled further into the warmth, unwilling to wake, but her mind was not allowing her to go back to sleep. Something was wrong about this situation. Suddenly she realized she was curled around another person, arm thrown around his waist as she cuddled up to his back, he smelled nice. It took her mind another moment to figure out whose warm body she was curled against, and when she did, she quickly moved away, heart in her throat.
Itachi instantly awoke at the sudden movement beside him. Ninja instincts kicking in, he pinned her down. They stared into each other's eyes for a moment; Itachi noticed that her eyes were the most brilliant green with the filtered sunlight coming in through the tent. Sakura's cheeks began to redden at his close scrutiny, and she squirmed slightly in discomfort, causing a small shudder to wrack his frame before he silently rolled off of her. Sakura waited for him to exit the tent before moving, breathing a sigh of relief when he did, she was mortified at the whole situation.
Itachi stood outside the front flap of the tent for a moment collecting himself. He was used to having an erection in the morning, he was male after all, what he was not used to was waking up to a pretty ninja with intense green eyes in his tent, pressed against his back. Or the fact that when she was pinned under him, she unintentionally brushed up against said erection, causing a jolt of desire to rush through him. This was so unlike him, even the prettiest women were hard pressed to elicit any reaction from him. It was merely a case of coincidence; Itachi dismissed it from his mind.
When she emerged from the tent, he was calmly stoking the fire, no expression on his face. She kept her eyes trained on the ground, and found a place to sit and wait for breakfast.
After breakfast they set out, she wasn't told where they were headed, and silence reigned. The silence started to grate on her nerves. After having spent so many years in the company of Naruto, the silence was almost unbearable.
Naruto. She wondered if he was ok. Did he fight Kisame or Itachi? And what of Sasuke? Had he been brought back to Konoha safely? She knew that Naruto was strong and resourceful, and Kisame had no visible injuries, so she was hoping that they did not fight, and praying that he took Sasuke back to Konoha.
Knowing Naruto and his protective nature towards her, he would try to bring half of Anbu after Itachi to rescue her. Maybe she should just try to gather information and wait for Naruto to rescue her. But she had decided long ago that she didn't want to look at his back again, she would plan her own escape.
Kisame signaled a stop, and they paused for lunch. Sakura covertly examined Itachi's face. She had heard that he and Sasuke were like twins, but on her own examination, she disagreed. It must be that each resembled a different parent. Sasuke's face was softer and rounder, whereas Itachi's face was more angular and his skin tone was darker. They both had the same eyes and the same mouth, as well as the same cool demeanor. Cool was an understatement, it was downright frosty.
But she would be dead if she didn't notice how handsome he was. Those damned Uchiha good looks; it was unfair for one family to be blessed with such good looks. And it was not like the sharingan detracted from those looks either. If anything it added to the allure.
Mentally shaking herself, she forced her mind to focus on more important things like escaping a pair of ninja strong enough to take out an ANBU squad before breakfast. Thinking of which, dinner and breakfast had not been too great, hopefully lunch would be better. Her hopes were dashed when she was passed another dried ration.
She sighed as she tore a piece of meat with her teeth. Hopefully dinner would be better.
They traveled the rest of the day, stopping only to scout around the few times that they had felt other chakra signatures in the area. Sakura was warned to tamp down her own chakra signature or else. She knew that Kisame would slice and dice her before she could defend with no weapons, so complied.
When the afternoon sun began to wane, a signal must have passed between the two, because both stopped and camp was started. Kisame disappeared into the forest, while Itachi started the fire and pitched the tents.
Kisame re-emerged from the forest shortly thereafter with three fish and a container full of water. He handed a surprised Sakura the fish.
Inner Sakura raged, 'just who the hell does that shark bastard think he is talking to? I should burn that jerk's food!' Sakura did not show the inner smile that covered her face from ear to ear.
Sakura intentionally turned their food less than hers, letting it burn on one side, and undercook on the other. The problem was, she didn't want to be obvious about what she had done. She allowed her fish to burn slightly, but had set it slightly further back from the flame so it would not be too bad.
Heart in her throat, she feigned shyness, praying neither had noticed what she had done, both had been busy doing different things. "I am not too good of a cook," handing each of the men their fish. Kisame eyed the burned half, but didn't comment, it couldn't be as bad as Itachi's cooking.
He took a bite of his fish and choked a bit crunching on his burnt fish, but Sakura gained a bit more satisfaction with each crunch she heard; while she took a bite of her own fish, which was just slightly overdone. She almost broke out into a fit of giggles when Itachi bit into the less done side of his, and had a hard time biting through the rubbery undercooked fish. Inner Sakura was in tears she was laughing so hard; thankfully Sakura was able to school her expression to match Itachi's.
'That will teach Kisame for ordering me to cook. Got what he deserved!'
She felt herself drowsing off next to the heat of the fire. When a hand settled on her shoulder to shake her awake, she grabbed the wrist, jumping to her feet and bending it back in such a way that would force any ordinary person to their knees. Itachi extracted his wrist from her grasp as if it was nothing, and she glared daggers at him. He had a way of making her feel so weak and inconsequential.
"As much as I would love to stand here while you imagine killing me in various ways, I am tired," Itachi's tone was flat.
Sakura flushed slightly, she was a ninja, and she should school her reactions better than that. Having been a student of Hatake Kakashi, one would think she would be able to have a little better poker face. Damn this man for making her feel like a child.
Sakura crawled inside the tent, scurrying over to the corner so she would not have to come into contact with Itachi. He performed the same jutsu to seal the tent again. Maybe she would have to wait for Naruto to rescue her; she had yet to come up with a means of escape.
Itachi handed her his blanket again, which she gratefully took. There was already a chill in the air. Wrapping herself in it, she soon fell asleep.