Written by: Mikami

Summary: After holding Sakura captive for five months, Itachi comes up with a perfect plan on how to exact further pain on Sasuke. Unfortunately, he overlooked the possibility of it backfiring. One-shot.

Author's notes: Written sometime back in 2004-2005. Reposting for old times sake : ) Everything that is ITALICIZED is a character thought.

Warnings: Profanity. GET LOST KIDDIES, this fic is a lemon-scented Itachi x Sakura.

Part 1: Last Spite

The sun shone brightly and maliciously over Haruno Sakura's head as she turned the wet fish over with an audible slap. Despite the sticky sensation of sweat that was dripping down her scorched face, Sakura gripped the kunai's slippery handle tightly to finish scaling the fish. The scales were scattered on her makeshift rock slab on the ground, creating a doted formation of tiny rainbows.

Sakura gritted her teeth against the soreness of her hands as she put the last scaled trout on the cracked plate beside her. Her hands were red and raw from the work and were almost completely void of sensation. The heat of the sun wasn't making anything better, as it began to roast her alive outside.

She wiped her wrist tiredly over her sweat-beaded forehead and sat back to rest awhile. The punctured wound on her index finger from the sharp trout's fin made her hiss as blood colored the tip of her nail.

A sudden, loud swooping noise caught her ears and Sakura craned her head around while putting her bleeding finger in her mouth. Just then her emerald eyes narrowed tightly at the form of Hoshigaki Kisame, who was giving his sharkskin sword another mighty heave. The frightful capacity of the toothed weapon swung and cut through the air like a spiked pendulum and made Sakura swallow an unexpected lump in her throat. Its master, the Mist-oriented Akatsuki member, appeared paler than ever before.

The wood of a nearby tree cracked and splintered piercingly as Kisame's blade, Samehada, struck the bark and tore off a large section in the middle. At the drastic damage, Kisame bared his jagged teeth in a grin that was a strange cross between delight and wistfulness.

Probably wishing the tree was a crowd of people instead, Sakura grumbled mentally in disgust.

Kisame rested the tip of the sword on the ground—it was the first time Sakura had seen the monster weapon completely unsheathed of its usual wraps. With his hand rested at the skull hilt, he turned his face toward the lake.

A swirling mass of bubbles began to irritate the shore at Kisame's command. He stood stationary at his spot, silently willing the water to dance and play at his leisure. A large wave was about to cast itself onto the sand when Kisame stopped it and made it rise up to form a wall. Dripping with slivers of froth, the top of the wall bubbled and gurgled.

Always does this when he's totally bored, Sakura thought flatly. She decided to go back to work by turning a fish over in her hand. Without a word or blink, she plunged the kunai into its belly.

The activity that Sakura was confined to had been a daily routine in the past couple months. Time passed like a blur and she gave up long ago trying to figure out how long she'd been with the presently scattered Akatsuki. It was useless to try to make any sense of the situation, which was now tiresome, boorish and annoying. Fear was once a feeling that plagued her everyday but for the past three weeks she was able to put it to rest. The reason ? Uchiha Itachi was away on business.

Sakura carved the insides of the trout and messily threw them on the grass beside the plate. She picked up another fish and stabbed it too, but with growing severity.

She could still remember the desperate expressions of her squad in the final seconds of their confrontation with the two Akatsuki members. Asuma had been beaten down, his spirit nearly in shards from the Tsukiyomi. Shino was on the ground, barely conscious enough to keep an eye open, as was Shikamaru. Neji battled with Kisame but after a well-fought period, he was caught off-guard by his enemy's Suikoudan. However, the worst of all was Sasuke.

The blade of the kunai was thrust into a third fish and this time Sakura tore out the insides with a numb hand. She breathed in a constricted sigh, remembering the look on Sasuke's face.

Before the age of nineteen, Uchiha Sasuke already had a string of failed attempts to punish his brother by revenge. And every time a piece of Sasuke was torn away—burned in the flames of spite and the desire to continue his quest for vengeance. Sakura had stayed by his side with no regrets no matter rough it had been. But the following year, a little while after Sasuke turned twenty, he decided to remedy all his past failures. Completely alone, he disappeared from Konoha a second time and set out to find Itachi on his own.

Akatsuki had been lying low in reaction to their old, foiled plan to gain access to the Kyubi and were currently licking their wounds from the unexpected attack by the increased number of Konoha ANBU. The organization was scattered for a long period of time, giving Sasuke the chance to seek out his brother.

The news of Sasuke's second departure from Konoha was found out as soon as he left and at that time Sakura was the first to launch an expedition. Against his will, Naruto stayed behind under the wishes of both Kakashi and Jiraiya. Itachi was a prominent figure in the Akatsuki organization and there was a good chance Sakura's group would run into both him and Sasuke at the time of duel.

Kakashi and Jiraiya had been right.

Sasuke had received another chance to challenge his brother but as Murphy's Law would have it, Itachi once again had the upper hand. Itachi had batted him away like a fly but Sasuke kept charging ahead once Sakura and her retrieval group had arrived. Sasuke was anything but happy about their arrival; however, Itachi gave him no time to stew in his annoyance of Sakura's intervention. One second, the battle between Sasuke, Sakura, Asuma, Shino, Shikamaru and Neji raged on with the Akatsuki members. The next second, the only two left were Sakura and Sasuke, in which Sakura had been knocked unconscious.

Sasuke, looking ragged on the ground, had watched in horror as Itachi gave him nothing more than an eye twitch and vanished with Sakura's immobile form.

Sakura sat back again, trying to discern for the thousandth time the feeling that came over her when she awakened in this place. She was unsettled in this illusion of woodland comfort. The trees swayed merrily in the breeze beside the lakeshore of the old, abandoned cabin. It must have been left there ages ago because of the vines that almost covered it. Stationed beside the cabin was an old water well, a shed and a small bathhouse a few feet away. All of which were miraculously in working order thanks to her.

After the last fish was finished, she picked up her tools and stood up. Her hands and arms were feeling itchy and she reeked of fish guts in the humidity of the day. Wiping her forehead, Sakura looked back at Kisame and scowled when she noticed the pale Akatsuki member eyeing her from head to toe.

" Better take a good hard look. It's all you're getting," she said haughtily.

Kisame's beady eyes flashed.

" I like dirty, pretty things," he replied, baring jagged teeth. " And you're a nice combination of both."

" Is that a compliment or just a regurgitation ?"

Kisame's grin became wider, making the lines of his face reach all the way to his inhuman eyes. " You should take it as one. I don't usually give them out for free."

" Oh, well I feel special," Sakura drawled scathingly.

She watched him start to wrap up the scaled blade of Samehada. He shrugged at her and began at the base, near the hilt. There was a trace of something in his face, something smug.

" No wonder you have trouble taking them," he said. " Your so-called significant other never stopped to pay much attention to you didn't he ?"

" Don't……you start talking about that," Sakura's voice started to cloud over with hot anger.

But Kisame's grin went from wide to excited. He had hit a sensitive nerve.

" It's either he didn't fuck you enough or didn't fuck you at all. Yeah, I think that's it."

A sharp sound whizzed through the air, carrying with it a barrage of anger and hatred. Sakura had roared fiercely and launched the kunai she had been using earlier directly between Kisame's eyes. He caught it effortlessly between his fingers without so much as a sniff from his nose.

" Nice try," he winked at her.

Sakura whirled around on her heel and growled loudly in fury. All she heard was Kisame's roaring laughter as she headed back into the house.

The warmth of the bath did some good in soothing Sakura's jangled nerves. With her head rested back, she sank chin-deep into the steaming depths, all the while trying to expel troublesome thoughts plaguing her ruthless mind.

Earlier, she had tossed the raw fish beside the sink and angrily marched over to the well and dragged the bucket to the bathhouse. With antagonism pulsing through her veins, she heated herself some water and hoped to rid herself of her annoyance and the smell of fish.

Fucking Kisame, she thought acidly. She was already feeling pathetic because she reacted the way she did to his offhanded comment. Sakura had been in his company for a few months now. There was no reason for his words to affect her in any way.

But they did because they were about Sasuke.


Sakura felt a pang in her heart. What Kisame said did hit a sensitive nerve and it did hurt because it was true. Sasuke never really paid much attention to her but all the while she stayed by his side, hoping one day he'd see her patience and loyalty. It already pained her all those years but she didn't need Kisame to rub salt on the wound.

As Sakura picked up the sponge, her thoughts drifted to Konoha—her home. Running the sponge up and down her arms, she wondered if Naruto, Kakashi or even Sasuke believed she was dead. It was a long time already. There was the possibility that Konoha had stopped searching for her.

No, she shook her head violently. They all know I'm alive. They're coming for me.

So why hadn't someone come already ?

Sakura sighed again, inhaling the steam that was rising from the bath. She had no idea how she was surviving the separation from home. It was enough being with two notorious members of the Akatsuki, one of which was Uchiha Itachi—liar, murderer, extortionist. He was the sole reason of the genocide behind the Uchiha clan and Sasuke's pinnacle of malevolence. He was also one of her fears.

The last three weeks were a welcome blessing. One day she just woke up and Itachi was gone. Suddenly the air of her captivity wasn't so heavy and bleak. Kisame was there but he was nothing like his counterpart. Itachi frightened her in ways that made cold, sinister chills run up and down her spine. He had killed everyone that loved him without a single strand of remorse. Sakura claimed inwardly that he couldn't be human.

A vision of his soulless sharingan eyes passed through her memory and made her sick. Sakura then looked at her hands, which were beginning to prune from her long stay in the tub. She really didn't want to get out because that only meant cooking lunch for Kisame. Then again, if she stayed too long, he'd probably tear down the bathhouse with Samehada and demand her services right away.

Sakura tossed the sponge on a nearby ledge and grabbed her towel. The water cascaded down the gentle curves of her body as she rose from the tub and stepped out. She lifted a hand to remove the pin that kept her long, petal locks piled atop her head.

As she did so, the towel was loosely clutched to her chest. She turned around and almost screamed. Her mouth gaped open in horror. The door was wide open and standing at the doorframe was Uchiha Itachi.

Sakura stifled the scream that was lodged in her throat. She swallowed it painfully as her panicked hands fumbled quickly with the towel to cover up as much as possible.

At her current state of undress, Itachi didn't flinch. He wore the same emotionless expression—half of it hidden behind the large collar of his black cloak. His eyes never wandered; they stayed directly on her, causing her to fidget in the distressing silence.

" Don't worry. I didn't see……much," he spoke.

His voice was completely void of any emotion; the same dry and impassive tone Sakura always heard when he was around.

" What do you want ?" she ventured. She clutched her towel closer to her chest when she felt his stare burning her dampened skin.

" Kisame is sniveling for your services. You should feed him before he starts to annoy me."

Itachi reached up and undid part of his cloak to welcome air from the humidity outside and the steam from the bathhouse inside. He fixed her with an unreadable gaze, which Sakura forced herself to look away from, for fear that she'd be plunged into the dark, merciless world of the Tsukiyomi.

" Alright. But I need to get myself together if you don't mind," she said a little disdainfully.

She looked up again but all she found was the door of the bathhouse creaking open. The doorframe was empty and Itachi was gone.