Running from Trouble

"Ugh!" cried the girl as she hit a tree branch at full speed. She coughed up a little bit of blood which proceeded to splatter on the poor tree.

Momentarily stunned, she slid off the branch and fell limply to the forest floor. Her crumpled and shocked body lay curled up in a ball. She waited until her breath returned to her and then stood to continue running through the dense forest.

She was exhausted and knew she wouldn't be able to keep up this pace for much longer. As soon as she was about to give up and look for a place to hide, a piercing pain ran through her left shoulder.

"Ahh!" she screamed in pain. Her right hand flew to clutch at her bleeding shoulder. A kunai was stuck in her shoulder blade. The blood started running down her arm and fell to a puddle below her. She stopped running on a huge branch sticking out of an even bigger tree. She knelt down and tried to make the pain subside. Nothing helped. She stayed immobile for too long. She was found.

"Well, well, well. We finally caught you."

Orochimaru landed on the same branch, a few feet away from where the girl knelt. "You gave us quite a chase," he complimented.

She sent him a death glare. Looking up, she realized that Itachi and Kisame had joined the snake man.

"What are you two— cough cough— doing here?" she snapped.

Itachi glared at her and Kisame simply said, "Humph."

"They're here to help me apprehend you. I have never needed to ask for help before. Consider that a compliment," Orochimaru sneered.

The girl growled at the remark.

"Well," he sighed, "let's get you to base."

He signaled for the other two to come around and they formed a circle around the bleeding girl.

She managed to scramble to her feet and take a fighting stance, despite her wounded shoulder.

"Oh… you want to fight us?" asked Orochimaru skeptically. Itachi and Kisame chuckled darkly. They all moved in a step closer.

The puddle of blood under the girl had gotten bigger, but she ignored that, focusing on the greater danger. She reached into her pouch and pulled out a kunai. She positioned herself in a defensive pose, holding the hilt of the weapon to her palm.

"What are you going to do with that?" Orochimaru mocked. "One small kunai against three powerful ninja? Ha!"

"Shut up!" she cried.

"Oooooo. Look. She's getting feisty," Kisame exclaimed with a chuckle.

The girl growled again.

"Let's get this over with," Itachi sighed. He pulled out one of his kunai and walked a few steps toward her.

Just then, she realized what was going on. Orochimaru and Kisame were only there to act as a cage, keeping her from running away. Itachi was the one doing the actual apprehending.

Shit, she thought. I can't outrun them anymore, and Itachi is never going to let me even have a chance to escape. Can I take out one of my "parole officers"?

She glanced at Kisame. He was an idiot, but he was quicker than she was right now, and he had a grip hold that would hold a bulldozer in place. She looked away and glanced at Orochimaru. He was the most powerful ninja-thing/demonic snake she had ever seen. But he was her only hope.

Ignoring her bleeding shoulder again, she lunged at the snake man, kunai point aimed at his chest. He wasn't prepared for her to go after him of all people. But he composed his shock and met her attack head on. He grabbed the arm that held the weapon with his left hand and held it up in the air, leaving her vulnerable to a direct attack to the stomach.

His fingers on his right hand sprouted small purple flames. He slid that never ending tongue out of his mouth and grabbed the bottom of her shirt with it, lifting it up to expose the bruised and cut belly beneath.

Panic spread through her as he took aim. She tried to pull away, but he had a firm grip on her wrist.

Shit!

"Five pronged seal!" he hissed. He thrust his flaming hand into her stomach and knocked the wind from her lungs. The skin that he hit started to burn like the flames he had sprouted and her chakra drained from her body, leaving her body empty and helpless.

He removed his hand and released her arm and shirt. She crumpled to the branch below her, clutching her stomach. She coughed up more blood than before, creating another pool of blood, even bigger than the other one. Her stomach burned and her shoulder pained; plus, her energy and all of her chakra was gone, as well as her will to even try to run. She couldn't fight anymore.

"Come on, Itachi. Come pick her up and let's go," said Orochimaru, seeming to be bored.

Itachi sighed, and walked over to the broken girl and picked her up by the waist. He cradled her in his arms—despite the blood—, placed the edge of the kunai to her throat, and nodded to the snake man.

"Finally," sighed Kisame. "This was getting irritating."

They all sprang from the tree branch and ran through the forest, away from the village of Konoha.

The girl, despite the pain, nestled against Itachi's chest, feeling the warmth, not paying any attention to the blade at her throat. She savored the moment of rest that she had before they did… God knows what. She tried to recuperate as much of her strength as she could.

Her bleeding wasn't slowing, but the blood in her mouth was beginning to lose its taste. She let Itachi's warmth rush through her aching and broken body.

She felt herself drifting to sleep, so she reminded herself of the danger she was in and focused on the little pain that was left in her shoulder. It was the only thing keeping her awake. It wasn't working very well.

A little while later, she found that she was beginning to be taken through hallways and corridors. She must've dozed off a little while ago. She checked and discovered that she was still in one piece though.

She was suddenly set down on a table in the middle of a dim room. She was pulled, reluctantly, away from the warmth of Itachi's body. The kunai was taken away and put back in the pouch. The table, that she could feel, was padded… and cold.

"How is she? Still alive?" asked someone that sounded like Kisame. The girl's eyes were closed.

"She's still breathing," said Itachi.

"Perfect," Orochimaru purred.

"Should we leave?" Kisame asked.

"No, you might have to hold her down."

"She's drained of all her energy," input Itachi.

"That doesn't mean that she can't still put up a fight."

The girl still had her eyes closed. She didn't have the energy to open them. Did he really think she could still fight, let alone even move?

She heard the sounds of Itachi and Kisame go sit in the corner of the room. Orochimaru stood at her side next to the table.

She felt his hands on her jaw bone and collarbone. He pushed her so that he had a clear shot at her throat. She could feel him put pressure on her, and then his foul breath bathed her neck.

Shit! What's he doing? Is he going to…? He wouldn't… Is he going to… bite me?

She focused her senses on what he was doing. From what she could feel, he was leaning in towards her.

She opened her eyes.

"No!" she cried, using strength that she didn't know she had to push away from him and land on the floor. She got scraggly to her feet and stumbled to the nearby wall, leaning on it.

"See? What did I tell you? Still some fight left in her veins," Orochimaru sneered. "Come on, deary. Don't be so troublesome."

"Don't… come… closer…" the girl managed. "Please… stay… away…"

"Down to begging now, are we? I love it," hissed the snake.

"Please…" It sounded so weak. "Please… stay… away…" she continued to plead. "Please… please… please…"

"Oh, how I love it. It's music to my ears," sang Orochimaru.

He moved to her side and signaled for someone to come get her, since he was "all powerful" and didn't need to pick up a bleeding girl.

Itachi walked over to them slowly. He was about to pick her up when she mumbled again, "Please… don't… please…" She breathed in deeply and quickly. "No… no… go… away…" Her voice was so weak that it was pathetic.

Itachi stopped at her waist. He seemed hesitant.

"Come on! I don't have all day," complained Orochimaru.

Itachi leaned in, after rolling his eyes at the snake, and whispered in the girl's ear, "Don't move."

Then everything went dark. Not in her head; the room was dark. The dim lights had somehow gone out and she could see nothing.

Suddenly, she felt someone's arms around her waist, picking her up and cradling her against a muscular body. All that she could tell was that she was being carried at blinding speed from the place that she had been taken.

Bright light flooded her eyes suddenly, momentarily blinding her. She closed her eyes and put what little trust and hope she had left in whoever was carrying her.

Quite a while after the escape, she found that she had stopped somewhere very, very far away from where she was taken. Whoever had rescued her still had hold of her tightly.

She opened her eyes slightly. They were sitting on a tree branch in a region that she was unfamiliar to. She looked up to see who rescued her.

Itachi sat with his eyes closed, his back leaning against the tree. The girl was sitting in his lap; he had hold of her tightly around the waist.

"I… Itachi?" she managed.

He opened his eyes. "Shh, be still. Try not to move. Your wounds are still bleeding."

"Why… why did you…" she tried.

"I just couldn't take it anymore. You were so pathetic."

She looked at him skeptically and weakly.

"Yeah right…" she muttered.

He sighed. "Well, I have to bandage you up now that you're awake. I feel bad about your shoulder wound, and it's still bleeding."

He shifted her into a laying position on the abnormally large branch. He ripped off a big piece of his shirt and stopped to look at her, apologetically and questioningly.

She knew what he needed. "Yes, go ahead. Just stop the bleeding," she sighed.

He nodded and continued to rip his shirt. He then proceeded to, ever so carefully and slowly, pull her shirt over her head in order to bandage her up properly.

She sighed, resigned, and closed her eyes. She just wanted the pain to go away, and the bleeding to stop.

He set her shirt aside and started to bandage her. He seemed responsible enough to not hold this over her.

"So… you were the one who threw that kunai?" she asked.

He chuckled apologetically. "Yeah, sorry about that."

The girl smiled. She tried not to focus on what he was doing as he shifted her from side to side and leaned her forward into a sitting position.

"Uh… do you mind if I tear up your shirt too?" he asked. "I ran out of cloth."

"Fine… I probably won't be needing it." She sighed.

She heard the sound of her tearing shirt and the shifting began again.

A few minutes later, Itachi stopped and sat back against the tree.

"Done," he sighed.

The girl sat up and positioned herself comfortably across from him. She crossed her legs. "I still don't understand why you rescued me," she said.

He looked at her. "I told you. I couldn't take it anymore."

"Yeah, but I thought you were Mr. Tough Guy and could take anything," she teased. "I thought you were the master of tortures."

He smiled faintly. "I am, but I didn't want to watch that anymore."

"Then why didn't you leave?"

"Because I knew that that would still be going on in that room, and I couldn't stand that."

"Oh…" the girl breathed. "Why?"

"I don't know," he snapped, annoyed.

The girl shut her mouth. She didn't want to push him.

So she changed the subject. "Do you think they're following us?"

"No. There's not a human alive that can match me in speed. It will be about two days until they get to this spot," he boasted.

"Is Orochimaru human?" she teased again.

He chuckled. "I don't know."

They sat in silence for an unbelievably long moment.

"So what now?" asked the girl.

"I guess we should find a place to stay for the night." he stood and the girl followed, only to stagger and start to fall. Itachi caught her before she hit the branch.

She smiled at him. "Thanks."

"I don't think you have the strength to go anywhere." He sighed. "I guess I'm going to have to carry you, again."

He bent down and swung her onto his back. "Now that you're conscious, I don't have to carry you like a small child," he teased.

"Fine by me," she exclaimed. He leapt off the branch with the girl on his back. "And thanks, by the way," she muttered.

He nodded and sailed to the ground with her on his back. It was a silent trip down and around the entire area. They finally found a small cave about three miles away from where they had landed on the tree. They set up refuge in the small cave, starting by lighting a fire and then laying out grasses for them to sleep on.

They sat around the fire, getting warm. The girl lay on her bed, listening to the fire and checking herself with her senses for some form of pain left. She found nothing.

Itachi sat next to the fire, prodding it with a stick. The silence was getting intense. He had to break it.

"So… what's your name, anyway?" he asked. He realized that he had never heard Orochimaru mention it, and he wanted to know.

She looked at him and smiled. "My name is Reika… I think."

He looked at her and raised an eyebrow. "You think?"

She turned and rested her head on her arm to face him. "Well, when I was little, my parents left me alone, and no one ever told me what my name really was. I only remember that my mother once called me something like Reika, so I go by that." She smiled.

"Oh," Itachi sighed.

"Well, I'm going to sleep. Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow. See you in the morning," said Reika.

"Yeah." Itachi continued to poke the fire.

Reika grimaced and turned onto her good side to go to sleep.

As she lay down, Itachi watched her thoughtfully.

Even as she slept, he watched her intently.

Why did I rescue her? Why did I care?

He sighed and lay down on his bed. He closed his eyes and drifted to sleep, replaying those two questions in his head.

The early morning sun drifted through the opening of the cave, waking Itachi from his restless sleep. He opened his eyes and blinked in the light.

He turned on his side and faced the sleeping girl. She was so beautiful in the morning light. Her long brown hair sparkled with elegance and grace and her face glowed like a peach. Her skin had a faint tint of reddish pink. Her small figure was very petit lying on the grass mattress. The bandages that covered her chest and shoulder were the only things she wore on her top. After all, they were made from her shirt. She wore long black pants. They hung in rags off of her hips. Even though she was bruised, she was the picture of beauty.

Itachi couldn't stop looking at her. He sat up on his bed and decided to take his mind off her by making breakfast. He got to his feet and walked out of the cave, not looking back at the girl.

Reika woke up to the smell of something wonderful. She opened her eyes and saw the fire burning again. It held over it two birds, cooking on skewers. She sat up and inhaled the smell. Itachi sat poking at the birds.

"You're awake," he said. "How do you feel?"

"Better than I did yesterday. How did you sleep?" she asked.

"Fine," he lied.

She could see that this small talk was over.

"So… I have a question," she said matter-of-factly.

He looked up at her.

"Why were you guys after me? I'm not that important," she muttered.

"Kisame and I were only after you because Orochimaru wanted you," he replied.

"Oh… he was going to bite me, wasn't he?"

"Yes," he replied again. "I don't know why either," he said, reading Reika's expression.

"But, if he finds me… he's going to bite me, too," she guessed.

"Yes. That's why we have to move out today."

"Where are we going?"

He shrugged. "South, I guess."

Reika nodded. She inhaled again. "It smells good. What is it?"

"It's hawk."

Itachi picked one of the birds off of the skewer and handed it to her. "Be careful. It's hot," he cautioned.

The two ate their birds and got rid of the evidence of their stay. Reika climbed onto Itachi's back and they set off towards the south.

They traveled until the sun started to go down, and then they found another place to stay. They found a cove of trees thick enough to be called shelter. They set up the same way as they had the night before. They made bed from grass and ate venison for dinner.

They said their goodnights and went to bed.

Itachi watched her again as she fell asleep, and then dreamed of her while he slept.

This routine continued for a month or so. They ran, Orochimaru supposedly followed, and they had no complaints.

One night, as they both slept, they had a visitor. Orohimaru had apparently made more headway than they had anticipated, because him and Kisame found them one evening.

They were both asleep when they came. They decided to take only Reika and leave Itachi. He would come back sooner or later to look for them… and her.

Reika opened her eyes to find herself in a cell. Her hands and feet had been clamped by chains and attached to the wall. She sat on the floor. Her bandages that Itachi had put on her about a month ago had been continually replaced. Her wound was just about healed.

"Ugh…" she said as she realized that it was cold. "Where am I?" she asked no one.

She asked no one, but someone answered. "You are at my temporary base, deary."

Her head shot up and she death glared at Orochimaru, who stood a few feet away on the other side of the bars.

"What are you doing here?" she snapped.

"Oh, now you don't think I would give up on you that easily, do you?" he sneered. "I can't believe it took us a whole month to catch up to you guys. But I have you now, and we can start where we left off."

He whistled and Kisame and Kabuto appeared beside him. "It's time to get her out of there," he said to the two men.

They nodded and unlocked the bars. They then approached her chains and she hissed at them. They ignored that and unlocked her bracelet and ankle shackles.

Kisame pulled her hands behind her back and shoved her out into the corridor behind Kabuto.

They must've done something to me. My muscles feel like jelly and I can't summon any of my chakra, she thought as they pushed her down the hallway.

They came into a room similar to the one they had put her in a month ago. It was dim, spacious, and cold. Only this room had a set of clamps on the wall instead of a table. They led her to it.

Reluctantly, her hands were forced into the arm clamps. Once they were in, the rest were easy. There were two for her legs, one for her waist, and one for her upper neck. She couldn't move one bit, and the clamps were cold, so very, very cold.

"It's a nice look for you, deary," sneered Orochimaru.

"Go to hell," she spat back.

"Oh, so disobedient, but we'll have to fix that."

He chuckled. "Go wait in the corner," he told Kabuto and Kisame.

"Yes, Master Orochi-sama," buttered Kabuto.

They walked to the corner of the room and Orochimaru looked at Reika.

"Now," he breathed, "let's begin." His tongue slithered out and licked up and down the side of her neck.

"That's disgusting," she snapped.

"Oh, but you taste lovely."

Reika growled at him.

"No more delays. Here I come."

"Thanks for the warning," she muttered sarcastically.

The snake man lurched towards her and put his hands on either side of her head.

He leaned inward and licked her neck again. She made a disgusted sound, which he ignored. He tilted her head to one side, giving him a clear shot of the base of her neck.

She felt his greasy hair on her cheek and his lips on her neck. She prepared herself for pain, ignoring the disgusted nausea that she felt rise in her stomach. She felt something pointy scrape the skin on her neck, but did not puncture it… yet.

She felt him chuckle darkly into her skin, and then the pain came.

It was a sharp pain as the pointy teeth pierced her fine skin. The fangs dug deep into her flesh and she could feel liquid enter her body. She screamed in agony and tried to cringe, but she was chained to the wall. Her shriek filled the room and hurt her ears, but she couldn't stop. It burned; it stung; it was like her neck had been hit with a flaming arrow that injected poison. She felt the snake man quiver as he chuckled into the wound, trying to focus on what he was doing instead of the joyful, blood-curdling scream that sang in his ears. He pushed and bit his fangs deeper and harder into Reika's warm neck. He let the venom enter her in large quantities and took pleasure in the result that was sure to follow this painful act.

Orochimaru probably would have stayed there for a while longer, had something not knocked into him and sent him flying across the room. The girl closed her eyes when the fangs were pulled from her flesh. When they were pulled free, they tore her open flesh and the wound began bleeding furiously.

She heard the sounds of punching, hitting, falling, cursing, and running. Someone came and was fiddling with the clamps that held her to the wall. They were pulled apart one by one and she fell forward. She was caught by warm arms before she hit the floor.

"Reika? Are you okay? Reika? Reika!" said a voice.

She couldn't say anything. She just leaned limply against whatever caught her. She felt her hair being moved off of her neck and being pushed out of the way.

"Shit," the voice muttered. Reika felt the person leaning in and putting his lips where Orochimaru had put his. There was a small sucking at the holes left by his fangs and she felt liquid being sucked out. She couldn't tell if it was the poison or her blood.

After a few mouthfuls of liquid, the person pulled away.

"Dammit, I can't get it all," the voice muttered. "I'm sorry Reika, I'm so sorry."

The person pulled her close into a tight embrace, pinning her against his chest. "I'm so, so sorry…" he muttered.

"I… Itachi?" she stuttered. She was weaker than before.

"Reika? Are you alright? I'm so sorry! I got here too late," he cried. "I couldn't get all the poison out. How long were his fangs in your neck?"

Reika tried to think back over the screaming. "A… few min… minutes… I th-think…" she whispered.

"Damn," Itachi said again. "At least I sucked out a lot of it. He's never put so much venom in one person before."

"He k-kept… laughing…" she stammered. "He k-kept licking m-me…"

"Bastard!" Itachi growled. "That sick, twisted pervert!"

"I… I don't feel… too good…" she whispered as she lost consciousness.

"Reika!" he cried.

He held the unconscious girl in his arms and cursed that perverted snake creature.

How could he do this to her? How could he? Why would he hurt her? he cursed.

He gently shifted her and picked her up. He cradled her in his arms and walked out of the base with her. He then proceeded to leap away to safety.

When next she opened her eyes, Reika was in an actual room. She was in a bed, under covers, and warm. She had a little bit of strength left, so she sat up.

"Lie back down," said Itachi sitting beside her. He had his eyes closed and his arms crossed over his chest. He looked fully serious.

He opened his eyes and stared at the girl. "Lie down, Reika. You're still weak."

She looked at him warily, but sank back down to the covers. She set her head on the pillow and turned to look at him.

"Where are we?" she asked, her voice faint and weak.

"We're at a friend's house."

Reika glared at him. "A friend?"

He looked into her eyes. "Yes, a friend." His gaze turned mocking. "What? You don't think I have friends?"

The girl smiled. "That's not exactly what I was implying."

"I know."

She relaxed on her pillow.

"How are you feeling?" he asked, serious again.

She sighed. "I feel… strange."

Itachi leaned forward in his chair. "Can I see something?"

He leaned in closer and pushed Reika's hair away from the wound on her neck. His warm hands probed the tender skin. It was bruised underneath.

"Hmm." Itachi continued to feel the bitten area with care. "Your curse seal has shown up, but it's red… that's weird. Even with all the venom I sucked out, there was still an unbelievable amount of it left. I'm so sorry," he said.

"Stop poking it," she whined.

His hand retreated. "It's sore?"

"Yeah, it is."

"That's interesting…" he trailed.

The door opened then and someone walked in. Reika tensed and scooted away from him.

"Relax," said Itachi. "He's fine. He's the one that treated you."

Reika glared up at Kisame and stayed as far away as possible.

"I came to do the check up on her," he explained, seeming amused at the girl's reaction.

"Go ahead," said Itachi.

Reika sent him a skeptical death glare.

"Don't worry," cooed Kisame, "I won't hurt you."

She glanced at him and then questioningly at Itachi.

"It's fine. Just trust him," he comforted.

The girl glared up at the blue man, and sighed. He sat on the edge of the bed and leaned over Reika. He pulled her covers down and she felt the chill of the temperature drop. She moved away from him, pressing herself to the wall. Kisame put a hand on her shoulder, and she glared at it.

"Come on. You wouldn't be conscious right now if it weren't for me and my medical skills," he said.

Reika looked at Itachi, who nodded. She felt double-teamed, and surrendered. She released the wall and sat on the bed, completely still, while Kisame did his check up.

He probed the spot that Itachi had and said the same things. He then lifted her wrist and pressed his fingers to her veins to feel her pulse. He felt her cheeks for heat, as well as her neck (the good side). He pushed on her stomach to feel the muscle strength and then he stopped.

"I have to feel your heart beat," he said. "That would require me to feel your chest and I might"—

She sighed. "Fine, go ahead. I don't care, just be careful."

He nodded and continued his check up. He laid his hand directly over her heart and pressed down. He stayed there for quite a few seconds, and then released her.

"Everything seems almost fine. Your heart rate is still a little irregular and your neck is tender, but you'll be fine in a day or so. I'll be back in a few hours for another check up," and he stood and walked from the room.

Reika and Itachi watched him leave and then looked at each other.

"So you saved me," Reika suddenly marveled. "You saved me, again. Why?"

"Well… uh… I just…" he looked away.

"Itachi, why do you keep saving me?"

"I don't know, okay? I don't know," he snapped. "I don't know."

Reika looked down at her hands. "Oh…" she sighed.

Itachi exhaled deeply. "I'm sorry. This is just irritating me so much. I can't seem to sort things out."

"What things?"

"Just… my thoughts, events… feelings…"

"Oh," the girl breathed at the last remark.

Just then, he stood up and glanced away. "I have to go get some sleep now that you're awake." And he almost ran from the room, leaving Reika to stare at her hands, thinking about him.

Sure enough, a few hours later, Kisame came back for another check up. He went through the same routine as last time.

"What is troubling Itachi?" she asked him as he felt her pulse.

"Hmm? Oh, he's just confused," he said, not paying too much attention.

"Confused about what?"

"He's just feeling things he hasn't felt before. He has to sort them out."

"What feelings?"

He looked at her. "You ask a lot of questions."

She smiled an innocent smile, and looked at him like she was still expecting his answer.

He sighed. "They're feelings of… affection."

"Affection? For what?"

He glanced up at her as kind of a hint hint, wink wink kind of thing.

"Oh…" she breathed as recognition struck her.

Kisame's hand stopped its work and hovered in front of her for a minute.

"Go ahead," she sighed, and he went to feel her heart beat.

They sat in awkward silence while her heart beat out stutters. She was thinking about Itachi. She blushed and Kisame noticed. He didn't say anything, though.

"So, why are you helping me?" Reika asked to change the subject.

"Itachi is my oldest friend, and any decision he makes has to be a good one. Besides, he'd need some back up. That I was sure of."

She nodded. "So you helped him get me out of there?"

"Yes. I was his inside help."

"I see."

He looked up at her. "He must really like you."

This caught her full attention. "How so?"

"Well, I've never seen him care for anything enough to constantly stay at its bedside for three days. I've never seen him make emotion before this."

"Oh…"

Kisame got up and started to walk away. He stopped at the door and called over his shoulder, "Just think about what I said." Then he disappeared.

Reika sighed and plopped down onto the bed to bury her face in the clean smelling pillow. "Itachi…" she sighed as she dozed off to sleep.

Reika opened her eyes to moonlight flooding the room. She stared at the ceiling for a second and then turned onto her side. She was startled to find Itachi sleeping in the chair.

He was leaning on the bed edge with his face buried in his arms.

"Itachi…" she whispered.

"Hmm?" he asked as he lifted his head and looked at her.

"Oh… uh, nothing… you just surprised me, that's all."

"Oh, sorry," he apologized.

He sat up and inhaled deeply. "How are you feeling?"

That made Reika think about what Kisame said. He always asked how she was feeling. He cared. That was apparently rare for him.

"I'm feeling much better, thanks," she said sweetly.

"That's good. I told you that Kisame was a good medical physician."

"Yeah, you did." She was still thinking about what he had said.

Itachi looked at her thoughtfully.

"What?" she asked.

"What are you thinking about?" he asked.

"Um… nothing…" she said, taken off guard. Can he see it on my face? she asked herself.

"It doesn't seem like nothing."

"Well, it is," she insisted.

He looked at her skeptically. "You're not going to tell me, are you?" he realized.

"Probably not," she teased. Then she was serious. "At least not yet."

He raised an eyebrow at her.

She waved her hands in front of her, palms facing Itachi. "N-never mind. Don't worry about it."

"Hmm…" he said, but surrendered.

They sat in another awkward silence until Reika started to get up.

"Lie back down," commanded Itachi.

"No," she said simply.

"You're still weak; lie back down," he insisted.

"No, I won't," she protested, determined. "I want to walk around. It might be good for me."

"The only thing that's good for you right now is rest."

"I have been resting for…… Wait, how long have I been resting?" she asked suddenly.

"I rescued you four days ago. You've pretty much been sleeping ever since."

Reika looked down at her hands, which were lying limply in her lap. She sat on the bed in thoughtful silence.

"What are you thinking about?" asked Itachi again, breaking the quiet.

"Oh… just things," she sighed.

"What kind of things?" he probed.

"Why do you care?" she challenged. This was how she was going to find out for sure.

"I've rescued you twice, carried you for thousands of miles, and sat here at your side for four days, and you think I don't care?"

"What are you saying?" she asked. Reika wanted him to say it himself and not second-hand from Kisame. She wanted to hear it from him.

"Are you that dense?" he asked, raising his volume a little. "Are you seriously that naive?" He stood up.

Reika flinched at his tone, but she was so close. She looked up at him with innocent eyes. "I don't understand," she lied sweetly.

"Dammit, Reika! Do I have to spell it out for you?" he roared.

She gazed innocently up at him again.

He leaned on his hand, which he had placed on the edge of the bed, and softened his expression. "Of course I care about you, Reika. I don't know why, but I care very deeply about you." He lowered his voice to a whisper. "I haven't cared for anything in such a long time, and I had forgotten what it felt like. I'm sorry for all the trouble I have caused you, and all the trouble that is probably to come. I will leave and never come back if you wish it. I promise," he breathed, pained.

Reika looked back down at her hands and sighed a sigh of relief. Then she looked back up at him and moved to stand on her feet. He didn't stop her, he simply watched her with expectancy for a reaction.

She stood beside him. He turned to face her. Her eyes were soft and triumphant. She smiled.

"What?" Itachi whispered.

Reika moved dangerously close to him and reached up to put her hands on his face.

"That was all I needed to hear," she said in a voice saturated with honey. She pulled his face closer to hers and stood up on her toes.

Her mouth was on his in seconds. Her lips were moving on his surprised lips; her body pressed into his. He could feel her warm figure against every line of his muscular one. She pressed her hands against his chest and parted his lips with hers.

This was something he had secretly wanted from the moment he freed her from Orochimaru's lair the first time. He had never had the courage to make a move. Now, she had made the move he had dreamed of, and he didn't want to blow it.

Itachi gripped the girl's arms tightly and kissed her back, pulling her closer than a woman had ever been to him. He wrapped his arms tightly around her slender body and then pushed his body deeper into hers than before. He pulled his arms back from around her and gripped her shoulders. Ever so gently, he pushed her back onto the bed, taking total control of the situation. Reika was pinned to the mattress Itachi's body. He grabbed her wrists and pulled them up to restrain them on either side of her head in an indestructible hold. He pushed his body onto hers directly above her, his lips still working on hers. Her breathing was panting now and her heart rate was off the chart. It pounded upward towards to man on top of her. His heart did much of the same.

Itachi was afraid that his weight would crush her, but she seemed fine, so he continued to press forward, trying to get as close as possible without getting to the point where boundaries… and clothes were a thing of the past. He moved his right hand from her wrist, ever so slowly, to her backside.

His lips released hers, only to find themselves pressed against her throat, moving on the tender skin gently enough so that is would not hurt her bruised skin, but forceful enough to be called "overly passionate". He continued to kiss the skin on her neck, then moved down to work against the flesh just above her collarbone, down a little further until he was pulling her shirt collar aside in order to kiss further. Just so he didn't go too far, he moved back upwards and found her lips again.

Reika moved her free wrist to wrap itself around Itachi's back, digging her fingers into his clothing, clawing at the shirt that was one of the articles of boundaries that held them back. His lips moved to her throat, just under her jaw bone. A sigh escaped the girl's lips and his lips came back to cover them.

They were almost one with each other, each one thinking in the same sync as the other. They knew what each other was thinking and what movement they were going to make. They both knew that they didn't want any boundaries anymore, so they were just going to let their lust and love have their ways.

Reika's panting matched his and their hearts beat to the same rhythm. Butterflies filled the girl's stomach, flapping their wings against the walls.

Itachi pushed on her backside with his hand, doing much the same thing as what her fingers were doing to his back. He groped her back and tightened his grip on her one wrist, pulling it further above her head. He moved his hand on her back up her shirt, rubbing the soft skin on her back. He lifted it further and brought it up to her arm.

He pulled away for a few seconds in order to lift her shirt completely off of her slender body. Then he went back in the same position as before; his right hand pinning her left wrist above her head, his lips moving on hers, his left hand rubbing her back.

She hooked her hand in his shirt and pulled it off of his muscular body, which was on top of her petit figure. His weight felt good on her chest, which felt like it was going to burst at the seams.

He breathed her name into her skin, and whispered something else that was muffled. She understood it as "I'm sorry, and I love you."

She breathed back, "I love you, too."

He moved his hand to the rim of her underwear and pulled it down some. She moved her hand to grip his, and coax it to be careful. Her legs were still bruised. He was very careful when he slid them off of her legs.

In the next few minutes, everything became a blur. Itachi took control of the situation and they… uh… became one with each other.

Kisame walked into the room the next morning and stopped short. He looked at the bed and smiled.

Itachi and Reika lay in the bed. She was in his arms and they were asleep together. They were naked under the sheets.

Kisame chuckled. "Well, well, well. Reika, you softened that rock of a man that Itachi had become. Congratulations. Enjoy him, and take care of him," he whispered so as not to wake them. He slowly backed out of the room with a tender smile on his lips.

The two lovers lay in the bed, smiles on their lips, hearts aflutter, and unconditionally and irrevocably in love.

Reika opened her eyes. Itachi's arms were around her waist, hugging her close to his naked body. She could tell he was awake.

"Hey," she whispered.

"Oh, you're awake," he said, surprised.

"Yeah."

"How did you sleep?" he asked, composed and smiling.

"Great, you?"

"Great," he replied. She could hear the grin in his voice.

Itachi shifted his arms and turned her around to face him; she never left the circle of his arms. They stared into each other's eyes.

"So…" he started.

"So…" she repeated.

"How are you feeling?" he asked, smiling sweetly. She knew what he meant.

"I feel… wonderful. What about you?" she asked. He knew what she meant.

"I feel… amazing."

They stared into each other's eyes again.

"This small talk is weird," Reika murmured.

"Yeah it is. Let's just not talk anymore," he suggested in a whisper.

"Good idea."

Itachi smiled and pulled her close to him, hugging her to his warm body. She wrapped her arms around his figure and pressed her naked self closer to him, pushing her exposed chest against his.

They lay there like that for a while, until Itachi started to get up. He laid Reika on her back and shifted over her, standing on his feet next to the bed. He started to pull on his clothes, which were scattered around the room. He gathered hers and set them on the upturned chair next to the bed.

"Where are you going?" she asked.

"I can't stay here all day in bed with you, no matter how much I want to. Kisame will get suspicious and he'll never let this down if he found out," he explained.

"You and him are really good friends, aren't you?" she guessed.

"Yeah. Yeah we are. He's been my friend for years."

"That's really great. I've never had any friends," she sighed. "What's it like?"

Itachi stopped getting dressed and stared at her. "You've never had any friends?"

Reika nodded playfully. "Not one. I grew up alone in the woods. Everyone was scared of me. I don't know why though…" she trailed.

"I think I know… Orochimaru once mentioned something about your childhood. That's why he was after you," Itachi said.

She sat up and wrapped the sheets around her. "What…?"

He looked at her thoughtfully and sighed. "I don't know if I should tell you…"

"Please? Whatever it is, it ruined my childhood and is the reason that I become a star in that snake's eyes. I have a right to know." Her eyes turned pleading and she leaned toward him. "Please…?" She stuck out her lower lip.

"Come on, don't do that to me," he begged.

She leaned toward him some more.

"Please?"

He looked away. "Not right now. When we get on the move again, I'll think about it. But not now."

"Fine," she pouted.

Itachi smiled and walked over to her, fully dressed. He sat on the bed in front of her and held her face between his hands.

"I have to go now," he breathed into her face, staring into her eyes.

"No… don't go…" she said childishly, pulling free from his grasp and hugging his now clothed body.

"I have to. Kisame will be here soon to check on you. In fact, he should have been here already…" He looked at the clock on the wall. "Shit…" he cursed, getting up from the bed.

"What?" asked Reika curiously.

"I'll see you later," he said, walking out the door, leaving the girl alone in the room. She sighed and plopped down on her pillow.

A few minutes later, she heard voices drifting up from the floor below. It was Itachi and Kisame.

"Did you come into that room already this morning?" she heard Itachi boom.

"Yeah. So?" Kisame responded.

"Damn it, Kisame! So you saw…"

"Yeah, I saw you two, cuddled together," Kisame said.

Reika giggled. She heard the grin in his voice.

"That's just great, Kisame!" Itachi fumed.

"Why are you so mad?" asked Kisame. "You two make a cute couple."

"Yeah, but now you know and you're going to hold it over my head. I hate it when you know stuff about me," Itachi protested.

"I'm not going to hold this over your head, Itachi. I wouldn't do that to you over something as serious as this," Kisame said back.

"Right. Next, are you going to say that you're not blue? That you're just really cold?" Itachi asked sarcastically.

Reika laughed out loud at that remark and quickly covered her mouth so they wouldn't know that she was eavesdropping.

"Itachi…" sighed Kisame.

There was a silence. "What?" he snapped finally.

"Do you love her?"

There was another silence. She didn't hear his answer.

"What was that?" asked Kisame playfully.

Reika heard a mumble, but still couldn't catch it.

"I can't hear you," sang the blue man.

"Fine! I love her! Happy now?!" Itachi screamed.

Reika sighed and relaxed. The butterflies returned to her stomach. Her heart pounded and sang in her chest.

Kisame only did the last part for her benefit, she was sure of that.

She rolled onto her side and stared at the wall. It was quiet downstairs. She heard a door slam and that was it. She waited for Kisame to come and do his check up, which she was sure was only a few minutes away.

Sure enough, he came walking through the door with a medical bag. He sat on the chair and set her clothes aside.

"Sorry for the mess," she apologized.

"That's alright," he said. He put his bag on the floor and pulled out a stethoscope. "This is your last check up. Tomorrow, you and Itachi are free to go."

"Okay," she said.

There was a silence between them.

"So, you heard the conversation, right?" Kisame asked, though he was sure of the answer.

"Yeah," she giggled.

"I never thought he would feel anything for anyone, ever."

She smiled. "Where is he?"

"He went for a walk. I think I infuriated him." He chuckled.

Reika chuckled, too. "I wouldn't doubt it."

Kisame put the earpieces in his ears and stopped. He looked at her.

She sighed. "Go ahead," she said.

He nodded and put the stethoscope to her chest. She breathed evenly and he listened.

Itachi walked into the room then but Kisame didn't pull his instrument away. Itachi walked over and sat next to Reika on the bed, putting his arm around her waist.

Her heart jumped in her chest at his touch. Kisame, who was listening, smiled an amused grin.

Itachi looked confused as Reika blushed and Kisame laughed.

"Did I miss something?" he asked, puzzled.

"N-no! It's nothing," she stuttered assuredly. Her heart thudded under Kisame's stethoscope.

"Right…" sighed Itachi sarcastically.

Kisame finished his check up and left the room ten minutes later, leaving the two lovers alone in the room.

Itachi turned on Reika and put his lips on hers. She kissed him back and hugged close to him. He pulled her into his protective grasp and moved his hand down into the sheet covering her still naked body.

He pushed her down onto the bed gently and leaned over her. She pulled her lips free.

"Kisame said I'll be good as new by tomorrow. We can leave in the morning," she whispered into his neck.

"Great. I was starting to get used to this place. We don't want that, do we?" he teased.

"No, we don't," she giggled. "Although, I don't think Kisame is the kind of person you can get used to."

Itachi laughed into her hair. "I don't think so, either."

She smiled and gave herself over to him. She let his hands take her body and… uh… do things.

A few minutes later, he released her and slid off of the bed until he stood on his feet.

"Come on, get dressed. I want to show you something."

He had put a blind-fold on the girl and was carrying her from the house and through the forest. He had hold of her, cradling her in his arms, leaping from tree branch to tree branch. He shot through the lush vegetation, running toward the place that he was taking the girl.

Reika couldn't see a thing through the blind-fold, so she kept her eyes closed. She felt the motion of his body as he carried her to some unknown place. She trusted him. She didn't know why, but she trusted him. Maybe it was because she loved him.

The motion of his body stopped and she felt herself being set on her feet.

"You ready?" he asked, his mouth next to her ear.

She nodded. Her blind-fold was lifted off of her eyes. It took her eyes a minute to adjust and focus.

When they did, she realized that they were next to a waterfall. It was a wall of water about fifty feet tall, cascading over the overgrown edge of a cliff. They were at the bottom of the falls in a small clearing. It was a perfect half-circle around the cliff wall. The trees were wild shades of green that surrounded the lovers. They reached up to above the tip of the waterfall. The mist had saturated the air and the sound filled the small clearing. The small pool at the bottom of the falls was crystal clear.

"Wow…" Reika breathed.

"You like it?" Itachi asked, hugging her around her waist and pulling her close.

"It's beautiful…" she whispered.

He smiled and pulled her closer, pressing himself into her back. "I made this place," he bragged. "It was completely overgrown before I got here. I made this for you."

"Is this where you have been for the past couple days?" she choked out.

"Yeah, it is," he whispered.

Reika was speechless. This place was amazing. It was so beautiful, so peaceful, so… so… well, words couldn't describe it.

Itachi tightened his grip on her waist and leaned down to kiss her neck. He moved both of his arms down to rest on her hips and his hands hung in front of her… uh… mid-section.

"What? Here?" she asked skeptically.

He chuckled into the skin on her neck. "Sure, why not?" he whispered. His warm breath washed over her shoulder.

She sighed. "Fine, you win," she surrendered.

Itachi grinned and tightened his grip on her hips. He pulled her into a small cove behind the waterfall. It was green with moss; the moss was everywhere, forming a carpet on the ground, walls, and roof. The waterfall acted like a curtain, shielding them from the peaceful clearing.

Itachi spun Reika around and kissed her neck under her jaw. He groped her chest with one hand while his other hand knotted itself in her long, brown hair. He pressed her against the moss covered wall and kissed downward from her throat, to her collarbone, to between her breasts and back up to her lips, moving his against hers in a forceful manner. He pushed his body into hers and moved his hand from her chest to inside her skirt, reaching up her inner thigh.

Reika ran her fingers up his back and to the back of his head. She pressed into his incline and felt his lips against her cheek, his hand in her skirt, his other hand in her hair, and the soft wall behind her. Her breathing turned to panting; her heart beat had picked up speed dramatically.

They stayed behind the waterfall for quite some time, and enjoyed every minute of it.

They returned to Kisame's house two hours later. Reika rode on Itachi's back.

They walked in the door and Kisame was making dinner. He heard the door open and close. He popped his head around the corner and appraised the two. Reika's shirt was on backwards and her skirt was ruffled, as well as her hair. Itachi's shirt was buttoned messily and his pants were in the same condition as the girl's skirt.

"Ah, that's what took you so long," he figured. "Dinner's almost ready."

"Thanks, Kisame," said Itachi. He walked to the stairs and started climbing up to the room above, where Reika had been staying.

He opened the door and put the girl down on the bed. She sat with her legs crossed and looked up at him. He stood beside the bed and smiled at her.

"What?" she asked.

"Oh, nothing," he replied. His smile broadened.

"Seriously, what?" she probed, his expression making her feel self-conscious.

"Nothing, don't worry about it."

She pulled her pouting face out and looked up at him with innocent eyes. "Please?"

"That won't work on me a second time," he scoffed.

She crawled to the edge of the bed and clawed at his shirt like a kitten. "Itachi…" she whined.

"No," he looked away.

She climbed up his shirt and leaned on his body, putting her hand on his cheek. "I hate when people don't tell me things… What were you smiling about?" she purred.

He looked at her and sighed. "I was just thinking about you, that's all," he replied.

"What were you thinking about that would make you smile like that?" she asked suspiciously.

He hesitated, rolled his eyes, and then leaned in to whisper in her ear.

Reika jolted away from him, clasping her hand over his mouth, and stared at him, appalled.

"Shut up! We had a deal! We're not supposed to repeat any of that!" she hissed playfully.

Itachi grinned under her hand.

Just then, Kisame brought up two plates of dinner for them. They ate in silence, watching each other.

Itachi continued to grin at her and Reika glared at him, rolling her eyes.

After it got dark, they were too tired to… er… do anything, so Itachi climbed under the sheets with Reika, in their clothes, and went to sleep.

The next morning, they said their goodbyes to the blue man and went off on their way.

They traveled for two weeks, stopping at night to settle in for the night, and set off the next morning in a random direction. Reika had had enough practice that she could run the same speed as him when running, now. She rarely rode on his back anymore.

Now, it has been about two weeks since they had left Kisame's house. They sat on a hillside and tried to go to sleep.

"Tomorrow, I have to go into the city for some errands," whispered Reika.

"Okay, I'll scope out the area, then," Itachi whispered back.

"Okay," she agreed, drifting into sleep in his arms.

The next day, they headed towards the nearest city, which was located in the mountains. Reika only had one errand to run, so they agreed to meet back at the village entrance in a half hour. She ventured off into the town and Itachi raced away to wait.

She asked a few people politely, and finally found her way to the drugstore. She went inside and found what she was looking for. She brought it to the counter to pay for it and the old woman smiled at her.

"Who's the lucky man?" she chuckled.

Reika blushed. "I don't know if he's lucky, yet," she remarked courteously.

The old woman laughed and rang her up. Reika paid and left with her purchase. She looked at the town clock. She still had twenty minutes left… more than enough time. She found a little bakery and went inside. She asked if she could use the restroom and they graciously let her.

She sat on the floor next to the toilet, staring at the wall. She waited for the results. Sweat drops rolled down her cheek and she dabbed them away with her hand.

"I hate waiting," she whispered to herself. She looked at the clock on the wall. "It's time."

She took a deep breath and looked at the test.

"Shit!" she muttered loudly. "Damn it!" Her anger quickly faded and she felt tears rolling down her face. "Positive… positive… What is he going to think?" she wailed quietly.

There was a knock on her door. "Are you alright in there, sweety?" asked the bakery owner.

She wiped her tears away and took a deep breath. "Yeah, I'm fine," she called. "I'll be out in a minute."

"Okay," she heard as the owner walked away.

Reika smiled a faint smile and stared back at the wall. She wiped the rest of the tears away and composed herself. She stood and walked out of the bathroom.

"Thank you," she said to the owner.

He smiled at her. "No problem, dear."

She smiled back and left the bakery.

She walked out the front gate and saw Itachi leaning against a tree. When he saw her, he looked up and smiled.

"You ready?" he asked.

She paused. "Yes," she said.

"Alright, let's go," he said, walking across the pathway and leaping into the trees.

Reika just stood there and stared after him for a moment, and then whispered, "Right behind you." She leapt after him; hand on her stomach, positive pregnancy test in her pocket.

That night, Itachi made a move on her, but she pushed him away. He looked confused.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"Nothing. I'm just not in the mood tonight."

He looked away. "Oh," he sighed.

Reika didn't recognize his tone. She looked at him, confused. "What?"

"It's nothing," he replied with another sigh.

"I know you well enough to know that something is bothering you. What is it?" she probed.

He turned to glare at her. "Are you not attracted to me anymore?" he snapped.

"What? Of course not," she replied, surprised.

"Then why are you avoiding me?" he growled.

"I am not avoiding you!" she growled back.

They both jumped to their feet in sudden rage.

"Yes you are! You've hardly spoken to me in the past week, and you continue to turn me away! What is wrong?" he roared.

"You want to know what is wrong. You want to know what is wrong?" she roared back. "I can't tell you!"

He looked surprised. "What? Why?" he yelled.

"You would get angry, furious, and I don't want that. I wouldn't be able to stand that!"

"What do you mean?" he asked, a tiny bit calmer.

"You always get angry at something unexpected," she explained in a loud voice.

"Unexpected?" he asked, raising his voice again.

"Yes, unexpected."

"What is unexpected?" he growled.

"Do you really want to know? Can you handle it?" she asked sarcastically.

"Handle what?!" he exploded, waving his arms beside him.

She grabbed his shirt with one hand and slapped him across the face with the other.

"I'm pregnant, you idiot! I'm carrying your child! That's why I wouldn't be able to stand that!" she screamed. She released him and jumped away as tears started pouring down her cheeks. She had a look of disgust and astonishment at his behavior on her face. It never reached hate, though.

Itachi was speechless. He stared at her with wide eyes. Reika stalked off, away from him, away from the campfire, away into the darkness to give him time to process that.

As she disappeared into the shadows and the forest, Itachi sank to the ground.

P-pregnant... he thought to himself. Pr-pregnant? H-how? He sighed. Pregnant…… Oh, Reika…

He got up and jumped into the shadows, in the same direction that she had gone.

Reika sat on a tree branch overlooking a rushing river. Her legs were pulled up to her chest so her chin could rest on her knees. Her arms were wrapped around her legs. She sighed.

That jerk, she thought to herself. That big, fat jerk. How could he react like that? Why would he yell at me like that? Some father…

Tears started to pour down her cheeks. She sobbed silently to herself. She buried her face in her knees, looking away from the rushing river that resembled her tear flow.

She broke down and let herself cry into her knees.

Reika suddenly felt a hand on her back. Her head snapped up to see Itachi sitting beside her. She didn't even notice him approach. He was staring into the raging waters.

She stared at him and he shifted his gaze to her.

"Pregnant, huh?" he asked, wiping at the thick flow of tears on her face with his free hand.

She sobbed and nodded.

He smiled at her and pulled her close to hug her. "How long?" he asked gently.

She swallowed the lump in her throat. "Two weeks," she muttered.

"Two weeks… hmm…" he said coolly. "Sorry for flipping out on you back there. I had no idea…"

Reika sighed and moved a hand to her stomach. He noticed her movement and followed her by placing his hand over top of hers.

She looked up at him and tears started to fill her eyes again.

"Stop crying, love. It's not good for the baby," he smiled.

The tears streamed down her cheeks and she threw her arms around his body. She buried her face into his chest and cried. Itachi put his hands on her back and let her cry. "I'm sorry," he whispered.

She pulled away and looked at him through tear filled eyes. "Sorry for what?" she sobbed.

"You didn't want to be pregnant, did you? But I made you that way, and for that, I am sorry."

She put a hand on his cheek. "What are you talking about? Even if I didn't want this, I love it. Sure, it's scary, but I'm glad it's with you. I wouldn't want it any other way," she breathed through her tears.

Itachi didn't know what to say. Even though he probably ruined her life, she was still happy.

"I love you," she whispered.

He was shocked. "You still love me, even after everything I've put you through?" he asked skeptically.

Her eyes softened and her smile became sweet. "Of course I do. You're the father of our baby, and the man I will always love, no matter what happens."

His eyes, too, softened and he pulled her closer. "I will always love you, too, Reika…" he whispered.

NINE MONTHS LATER:

Reika and Itachi were settled on a hillside just outside of a small village. They had been there of a week in case she went in labor. They chose a small village like this because more than likely, no one knew who Itachi was. They were safe from being rejected.

Reika's belly had grown quite large in nine months. The baby had started kicking a month ago, so Itachi had decided to find a small village like this one. They didn't know what gender the baby was. Reika was hoping that it was a girl, and Itachi was hoping for a boy. They had a bet going on it, so that whoever won got to name the baby anything they liked. Reika had a feeling that she was going to win. She called it "mother's intuition".

Now, they sat around their little campfire and talked about random things. Suddenly, Reika's hand flew to her stomach and she gasped.

"Oh God," she breathed.

"What?" asked Itachi, completely oblivious.

"It's time," she whispered, looking up into his eyes.

"Shit," he muttered, jumping to his feet. "Come on." He picked her up in his arms and ran in the direction of the village, being careful not to hurt her.

He entered the village and ran towards the hospital, ignoring the people staring on the streets. He plunged through the hospital doors and urgently told the secretary that she was having his baby.

Reika smiled—despite the pain—at how he emphasized that it was his baby and not just a baby.

The people at the hospital quickly wheeled her away to the delivery room and prepared for the birthing.

Itachi was in the delivery room by her side the whole time, holding her hand and whispering encouragement in her ear. The entire delivery took only six hours and Reika was left in her room to rest while Itachi sat in the waiting room… waiting.

Two hours later, the doctor came into the waiting area and told Itachi that he may see her now. He followed the doctor to Reika's room and the doctor left them alone.

Itachi walked in to find his lover sitting on her bed, holding a little pink bundle. As he entered, she looked up and smiled.

"I win," she whispered, looking back to the bundle. "It's a girl."

He sat on the edge of the bed and looked at the sleeping baby.

"She's beautiful," he whispered, stroking its cheek with his finger.

"She takes after her father," Reika teased.

Itachi chuckled.

"You want to hold her?" she asked.

"Sure," he said.

She shifted the bundle and handed her to him, being careful of the baby's head. Itachi cradled the little girl against his chest and rocked slightly back and forth.

"Did you decide on a name?" he asked quietly.

"I had one in mind, but I wanted to ask you."

He looked up at her. "But you won; it's a girl. The deal was, whoever won got to pick the name. So what did you have in mind?" he asked.

She smiled and looked at the little girl. "Kira," she whispered.

"Kira," he repeated. "Our daughter is Kira." He looked at Reika and smiled. He put one arm around her shoulders—keeping the baby safe in one muscular arm—and kissed her.

THE END!

Stay tuned for the sequel! hope you enjoyed!

AUTHOR: I know that there were a lot of things I didn't get to, like what happened with the curse seal Orochimaru put on Reika and why her childhood was ruined, but that's why you need to read the sequel! ha ha! evil laugh The sequel will be just as good as this one, if not better. And I know that I didn't make Itachi as evil and cold as he should have been, but this would be a difficult love story to write if I made him like that. So, deal with it. If you don't like it, then you shouldn't have read it. So there! But read my next one and Itachi turns into an actual father. And if you did like this, you're going to love the sequel!

Thanks for reading!

-Rachel 