Disclaimer: Don't own Naruto.

Hinata stopped struggling under the manticore's paw.

"What?" she asked. But you have to be Itachi ...

"I'm not Itachi," the man repeated. He looked at the manticore, who immediately released her.

She carefully got up and peered closely at his face. A face she hadn't seen in years...

"Sasuke! You're alive!" Without thinking she happily embraced her childhood friend. Being the heiress of a clan as important as the Hyuuga, she had usually played with Sasuke when Shisui and Itachi weren't around.

Instead of pushing her away Sasuke just smirked and let her hug him.

I can't believe it...Sasuke is back...but what about Itachi? I hope they don't see each other...and what about Naruto?

Hinata shoved herself away from Sasuke and glared at him. "Teme!" she slapped him sharply across the face.

Sasuke barely flinched. "Now what was that for?" he asked calmly. She's the only one who can get away with doing that...

"That was for leaving! Naruto's never been the same ever since you left!" She hissed, trying to keep her tears from falling. "None of us have been!" I can't believe I was even happy to see this guy!

"Hinata...that was Naruto's own fault for holding on to bonds that don't exist anymore. I severed my ties with him...there's nothing he can do now." Even without her byakugan, she could tell he was lying.

"Okay...fine then. What did you come here for? If it's to fight Itachi-"

Sasuke's head snapped up. "Itachi's close by? Did he hurt you? If he's here-"

Hinata stepped in front of him before he could go after his elder brother.

"Sasuke, now is not the time to fight. Please tell me why you're here."

Sasuke sighed. "Hn. Just as the dumb beast said, we have a proposal for you. From Orochimaru."

Behind her the manticore hissed, as if it hated being called a dumb beast.

Hinata stepped back. "I...I really am not interested in what he has to say..."

"Too bad. I still have to tell you."Stubborn as always, Sasuke...

"Go on..."

" Orochimaru knows about your 'talents.'He requests that you join him in the conquest of the shinobi countries."

"And? I-I don't want to do this, Sasuke...he's bad...h-he experiments on babies..." The manticore growled in an almost respectful way.

Sasuke's sharingan eyes flicked toward the manticore. "Shut up, beast."

He turned to her. "I know he did experiments on humans." The manticore growled. "He still does, but he's the one thing I need to gain power. Don't you want power for yourself?"

Power...if Orochimaru makes me stronger...I can prove to the Hyuugas that I'm not weak...

The manticore spoke up. "Master Orochimaru promises you any village of your choice...except the Leaf village. He and Master Sasuke here are still arguing over it." She noticed that it's words seemed rehearsed, as if it didn't want to say anything in the first place.

I could be a Kage...but what is the use of having power if all it does is hurt others...

"Hinata...I know you're considering it..." Sasuke smirked. He looks like Itachi when he does that...

She fiddled nervously with her fingers. "Um...I don't want to...I'd be betraying Konoha..."

Sasuke shrugged. "You are already doing that by going on a mission with my brother."

"I-I know! B-but..."

The younger Uchiha held up a hand. "Stop talking.'s also...a proposition."Even in the dark she could see his cheeks redden slightly.

Hinata froze, then instinctively stepped away from him, arms covering her chest. " what context are you using that word.?"

"Both...Orochimaru said we would all benefit if you joined...and if...the two of us..."

"He wants to mate with you." The manticore said bluntly.

WHAT THE - Willow raged, apparently woken from her slumber.

"Wh-why? Sasuke...why?" Sasuke flinched at her helpless tone.

"Hinata...we both know I need to restore my clan...and you're the only person I can think of that I would do it with...and Orochimaru promises to make the Uchiha clan great once again." He stated, advancing toward her. She stepped back, still shocked at the words that came out of his mouth.

"Careful now," the beast growled under his breath so only his master could hear. "You're scaring the poor girl...she'll refuse you if you keep pressuring her!"

Sasuke ignored his summon's words and went on. "It's not like I love you or anything, I like you...but you're a Hyuuga. And a jinchuuriki, if what I hear is true. The qualities of both are what I want in a heir." Although the jinchuuriki thing may just be a rumor...she lacks the facial marks, like Naruto's whiskers...

Hinata closed her eyes and calmed her temper before speaking.

"Sasuke...I'm sure there are many girls in the Sound village that would appreciate doing you that little...service...and frankly, I'm not planning to have children at this moment...or any time soon!"

If there's one thing I can't stand, it's children...I've never been good with kids...

"I'll take full custody of the would be out of your hands and you could do whatever you like after that."

Hinata nearly fainted at the ridiculousness of his words.

"And you expect me to carry a baby around for nine months, give birth, hand it over to you, leave, and just forget about it?"

He shrugged. "Yeah. Or you could just stick around and be like my wife or whatever."

Hinata snapped and before she knew it found herself slamming the younger Uchiha hard into a tree. Sasuke stared calmly at her, a smirk making it's way across his face.

Just for that she dug her nails further into his arms.

"Listen, Sasuke, I've had enough of this. Father man only kept me just so I could be used as a breeding tool for you stupid Uchihas. So wise up and stay the hell away from me, hm?" she hissed, eyes turning dark.

Sasuke narrowed his eyes but said nothing else. This Hinata is seems like that demon is influencing her attitude...and demons make people do crazy things...

"All right, all right, but will you at least consider it?" Look at that that's what she's been hiding under her jackets...bloody hell... He sniffed loudly, hoping to hide his oncoming nosebleed.

I shouldn't think of her that way...she's way too innocent...

Hmph. You should let me have a go at him, Willow hissed as her host released him.

"Hm, let me" she said in a flat voice. "I don't believe having children just to pass on the Uchiha name is wise...or healthy for a child. Take my advice and fall in love before you think about children. And even then wait a few years. You're only nineteen!"

Sasuke shoved his hands in his pockets. "Maybe your sister would be a better..." he trailed off, seeing the fury on the young Hyuuga's face.

"Good going," the manticore remarked. "Getting a jinchuuriki angry...that is one of the most stupid things you can ever do..."

"It...was a joke?" He whispered in a meek voice.

Hinata grinned menacingly, revealing sharper canines. "Good answer. And stay the hell away from my sister, right?"

"Yeah..." Sasuke sighed and crossed his arms. Sooner or later she'll comply...

Hinata visibly calmed down, though she felt worried on Hanabi's behalf. She wouldn't put it past Sasuke to go after her.

Sasuke watched her closely. He had no idea why, but she attracted him. Having had no feelings for her before, it was strange to see how much seeing her now had this new affect on him.

The manticore rolled his eyes. "Master Orochimaru has been kind enough to give you more time to think this through.

"And what if I don't agree to this?"

The manticore flicked a barbed tail. "I would be ordered to either execute you or kidnap you. Depends on what Master Orochimaru says." He(she decided it was a he) sounded almost regretful as he said this. Is this another one of Orochimaru's experiments?

Sasuke spun around walked away. "Itachi's coming and I want to train some more before I fight him. Let's go." He teleported away in a puff of smoke.

What a pussy...he's just afraid of the weasel... Willow said smugly, rolling on her back.

Hinata gasped as another scent wafted in the air. She recognized it as Itachi's. Maybe having Willow inside me enhances my senses...

The manticore padded away deeper into the forest. It seemed to be finished with her.


He looked over his shoulder. "What?"

"W-were you...born like that?"The creature's big yellow eyes widened, as if it were surprised that someone spoke to him.

"...I was...improved..." Before she could say anything else he too disappeared.

Behind her she heard various plants and grasses being crushed as Itachi looked for her.

"Itachi?" she whispered hesitantly.

No answer. She waited several more minutes. Nothing. Then she caught a sudden trace of Itachi's scent.

Feeling his chakra close by, Hinata instinctively stepped back. That was when she bumped into something firm.

Speak of the devil himself. Here's your man.

We're screwed. And he's not my man!

You're screwed, actually. Came Willow's smug answer.

Gee. Thanks.

"Um...Itachi..." she said weakly before turning around to face him. His eyes were narrowed, and his lips set in a thin, straight line. The fact that he wasn't wearing a shirt made him look even more scary.

Wow, pup. Look at all those glorious muscles...

I think...I'm gonna faint...he's giving me the evil eye...

If looks could kill, she'd have been dead long ago...(now that I think about it, Itachi's looks can kill)

"Trying to escape, were you? Or did you someone here?" came his cold voice.

She slowly backed away from him, her mind racing frantically for a solution to cam him down.

" isn't what it looks like..." she began lamely. If it's not one Uchiha, it's another...

"I don't know Sunshine...I can sense the chakra of shinobi besides the two of us..." For every step back she took, he paced forward, coming even closer. She felt her back scrape against the rough bark of a tree trunk.

Itachi, seeing that she was now trapped stood over her as she cowered against the trunk, one hand on either side of her head. His eyes, now tainted with the blood red of the sharingan gleamed cruelly at her. She shut her eyes as the elder Uchiha bent his head slightly to brush her neck with his lips.

"Sasuke was here."How does he know?

"" She could tell he was angry. Heck, the cold, heartless man didn't even try to hide his anger.

"His scent is on you. He touched you?" Something in his tone made her blood boil and she lashed out angrily.

"I don't think it's any of your business what I do with your brother! You don't have to drag me into this...this stupid war between you two."

Itachi narrowed his eyes. "You're mind and body...don't ever forget that..."

The hell?

Hinata glared up at him. "You never told me that. And besides, I was the one who touched Sasuke. I hugged him. And I don't regret it. I told you before. I'm not your toy."

In one swift movement Itachi slammed his fist into the trunk, right next to her face. Dozens of leaves and pieces of bark showered down on the both of them. His eyes, which for a split second seemed to flash a vivid gold bored hatefully into hers, like he wanted nothing more than to just kill her in the most painful way possible. Without asking any more questions about Sasuke, he spun around and began walking at a fast pace back to where they made camp.

Hinata watched his retreating form, bewildered at his behavior.

What the hell is his problem?

Eh. Dunno, pup. Maybe...nah, can't be.

Maybe what?

Sorry pup, you're gonna have to figure him out on your own.

Hm. I guess you're right.

Her gaze lingered on his back, noting the amount of sweat that made his rippling shoulder muscles

glisten in the moonlight. I've never seen him sweat like that before...was he that worried about me? She shook her head. No; Itachi never worried.

She noticed the way he held his head up high, the way his shoulders tensed, the way his back was stiff. He suddenly stopped walking and stood not too far from her, as if waiting for her to follow. He never even turned around. Just waited.

Hinata sighed and pushed herself off the trunk. As soon as he heard her quiet footsteps, he started walking again. Why would he be so mad at me? I don't get it...she stared harder at him. Itachi must have sensed her intense scrutiny for he seemed to stiffen more. She briefly wondered why he wore a necklace.

I've never seen him like this before...why would he lose control? Itachi wouldn't look at her. He didn't even turn his head sideways to investigate any of the sounds accompanied them through the night.

Then it hit her like a ton of bricks. you think he's maybe...jealous? Now that she thought about it, Itachi always said his brother's name in a voice full of hate.

Maybe...I guess you'll have to see for yourself...Willow was pacing back and forth, around and around her tree. Hinata could sense that her demon was unable to go back to sleep. She felt a little guilty for that.

Itachi plowed ahead, uncaring as to the brutality with which he crushed the soft grass under his feet. Just the thought of his Hinata having a relationship with his younger brother infuriated him. Why am I even calling her mine? She belongs to no one...

A soft touch on his shoulder made him turn around. Hinata stepped back a few paces when he faced her, but she wore an almost determined expression on her face. Even so, she kicked at the ground as a nervous reaction to his cold, calculating expression.

"What?" he asked rather rudely.

"Um...I just w-wanted you to know...Sasuke and I didn't do anything...he only told me Orochimaru wanted me to join him...honest." Itachi only narrowed his eyes at her.

"Why are you telling me now?"

Hinata stepped closer. "I don't know why you hate the idea of me being near S-Sasuke. I-I don't know if it's because of your rivalry or not, but," she seemed to hesitate, then plunged right ahead with what she had to say. "You can't tell me what I can and can't do around him. Even if he is a teme."Well, I do understand why he made his decision to leave...I can't blame him...I might've done the same...nevertheless, they are both temes...

"Ah, but who is it in charge of you? If I can recall,"he bent down until his nose was inches away from hers. "I am, and no matter what you say, whoever has you in their mercy is whom you must obey." Of course he was lying through his teeth, but he couldn't help getting her mad. It was all for his own amusement, really.

"Y-you're wrong. I don't belong to Orochimaru, or the Akatsuki, a-and I'llprobably never belong to you or your brother either. I-I'm not some bit of property that you or anyone else can lay a claim to."

Itachi's blank expression was now an almost blank expression with a hint of amusement. It's about time she stood up for herself...alas, it shall never work on me...what a baka...

"Hn." he replied. Is it me, or did she say 'probably never belong to me'? Now, why did she add a 'probably'? If she's even considering Sasuke as a possible hus... He decided not to finish that thought.

Hinata watched him anxiously. He would either shrug her words off, or rip her heart out for speaking against his beliefs. She honestly believed he would do the latter.

Instead of doing that, all he did was look down at her with cool, narrowed black eyes. Slightly pissed at the fact that he didn't seem to hear her words, she stared at her sandals. Almost immediately Itachi reached down and tipped her head up so they could see eye to eye. For once, his eyes seemed to hold so much emotion. There was a certain...longing in them. As if he desired something that was out of his reach.

But what could a man as strong as him want? More power? Or maybe...a companion? I highly doubt he would want someone to give his heart to. He seems more bent on power than on love...

Do you not want to give your heart to someone you love?

What are you getting at, Houkou?

Nothing, nothing, the demon said meekly. And my name is Willow now.

"I already have proof you're my property," he said quietly.

"Where is this proof?" she whispered. He bent down until his cheek was brushing against hers, his warm breath tickling her ear.

"It's on your neck." With that he spun around and resumed walking, one hand in his pocket and the other holding a pouch, which no doubt contained kunai and shuriken.

Perplexed, Hinata removed the bandanna from her neck and looked near her shoulder. Nothing, except for the scar from the hickey Itachi over a week ago, the night before he left on his last mission.

Oh yeah, wasn't that the same night you two-

Waah! Don't remind me of that!

A low, evil snicker could be heard in the back of her mind. I wonder what would happen if I give her chocolate? Hinata thought evilly while examining the hickey. (Note: Feeding dogs chocolate can kill them, so don't try that at home!)

It was then that she noticed how the scar seemed to look like an upside-down kanji.(She's looking down at it, so from her angle it looks upside-down) She squinted her eyes, trying to decipher what it would say if it were right side-up. The moment it dawned on her what the kanji represented, she fought an urge to throw a dozen kunai at the Uchiha.

That...that teme bit his name into my neck!

Aha! He wants you! Yes! In the wild, before mating, many male animals, like wolves, like to gently nip their female mates as an act of possessiveness and fore-

Willow. Not. Another. Word.

Heh heh heh...

Itachi continued walking, wondering how long it would take before the inevitable explosion. He decided to count down.


He could hear the young woman's sharp exclamation of shock and anger.


Total silence. He could sense her seething in rage. A smirk tugged at his lips.


"Itachi! Why!?" She caught up to him and, in a fit of blind rage began to strike him across his shoulders.

Itachi let out a quiet, deep chuckle, the closest thing to a laugh she had ever heard come out of his mouth. Just hearing it made her heart beat faster. She made her blush disappear as fast as she could.

"Is that proof enough for you?" He smirked, and Hinata instantly knew that he was barely feeling the blows.

"I really hate you now!" She shot back. Itachi's smirk turned into one of mischief. Ignoring her protests, he threw her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes and continued walking back to camp.

"Itaachiii..." she whined, pounding on his bare back with balled fists. She had the distinct feeling he was enjoying this.

"Quiet, Sunshine." Itachi said in his monotone. What a little fool...I should have kidnaped her a long time ago...she really is a reliable source of entertainment...

The irate kunoichi did as he ordered, grumbling a little under her breath. She could faintly smell Itachi's shampoo.

Mmm...peaches and vanilla scented... Willow murmured, earning a silent giggle on Hinata's part.

When they got back to camp it was already almost morning.

"There's no point in us going back to sleep," Itachi said dropping her on the ground.

Ow ow ow... she thought as she landed with a 'thump' on her rear. Stupid Uchihas...

Deidara was already up, staring at the sky. When he saw how Itachi was carrying her, he couldn't stop smirking. Those two are the biggest bakas I'll ever this rate it'll be years before they admit to having feelings for each other...still, they do look cute together...not that Itachi's particularly cute...but then, I'm a guy whatever, yeah!

They stayed there another hour to eat breakfast, then went on with their journey. They only ran for two hours before they arrived at the town they were going to stay at. As soon as Hinata set foot in it she knew it was a shady area.

Prostitutes were lurking around corners in broad daylight, men in long coats were exchanging suspicious-looking plastic bags (which no doubt contained the popular drug opium) and there were very few children in the streets.

Deidara draped his robe over Hinata before she could protest.

"You don't want to catch attention, yeah. The way you're dressed right now, the whore mongers will be keeping a close eye on you." He shot a fierce glare at some older teens who had been staring at the kunoichi.

Hinata nodded and put the robe on. His words were true; she knew that in areas where prostitution was a way of getting money, a man wouldn't hesitate to kidnap a nice-looking woman or girl to whore out. She remembered going on a solo mission to rescue a child who had the misfortune of being kidnaped by one such man. The delicate ten year old was rescued safe and sound, while her kidnaper was sent to prison. And it was too soft a punishment as well...ten years in jail...

Little Lavender, who was perched on her shoulder peeped and gently bit her ear. Hinata instantly knew the gesture meant "I'm hungry again, and since you're my new mommy you must feed me."

"Be patient. I'll give you something to eat soon." She whispered to the bird.

Little Lavendar chirped imperiously and gave her cheek a hard jab before turning away in anger.

"Hey, Miss," a middle-aged man with a few missing teeth sauntered up to her. "The bird for sale?"

"No." she said firmly. "I'm not selling her."

"Aw, come on. We could go over to my place and negotiate."

Before the man could lay a hand on her Itachi shoved him to the ground.

"Don't even talk to them," he murmured to Hinata before treading on the man's back. The man let out an audible wheeze of pain as Itachi walked over him and continued to lead the way.

I guess even animals that look unusual are valuable here as well, She thought, making sure to keep a closer eye on her pet.

Itachi whispered something to Deidara then walked ahead.

"Where's he going?"

"He's checking the area around the hotel for spies or enemy ninja. We'll need to stay in one since the mission will be three or four days, yeah." Deidara answered.

"Oh. Um...what exactly will I be doing in this mission? Itachi said something about getting valuable"

Deidara's visible eye widened.

"Er...well...Itachi's the one who should be telling you...since he's leader, yeah." He looked nervous.

"R-right." They walked in silence for a few moments. Morada, who had been missing for quite some time landed on Deidara's head.

"Ow! Morada, stop digging your claws in, un." Morada let out an apologetic chirp and settled down in Deidara's hair like a hen.

As they walked along, Hinata noticed that many of the buildings were nightclubs and bars. She frowned, realizing her mission might have to do with such places.

And if Deidara's too nervous to tell me, then it isn't something I'll like...

When they got to the hotel Itachi was already standing outside it, looking very out of place there.

"Deidara,"he said addressing the blond. "You check in first. Just in case we're being watched inside."

Deidara nodded and went in. Hinata wondered if he remembered that Morada was still on his head.

After a few minutes they walked in, making sure that Deidara had checked in and was gone from the counter. As soon as they got to the check-in counter the attendant(an older male with a nice accent)

broke into a huge grin when he saw them.

"Huh, what's this? A couple of kids on their honeymoon, eh? You folks is the first normal ones I seen in a while. Heck, a guy(or was it a girl?) with a chicken on his head just checked in." Hinata blushed several shades of red. She couldn't help hiding her face in the sleeve of Deidara's robe.

"Um..." I think being married to Itachi would be scary...and life-threatening...

"Aw, the little woman's kinda shy, ne?" Itachi slipped an arm around her waist and held her closer to him.

"Ah, yes, this is her first time out of her village. Right, Sunshine?" What!? Now he's playing along? I bet he's doing this just to get a cheaper room...

"Um...yes, honey..." She squeaked, her face still red. Itachi raised an eyebrow. Honey? Where the hell did that come from? He seemed to be saying.

She gave him a look that he knew translated to I couldn't think of anything else, teme...

Itachi's eyes flashed red at her for a second. What did you call me?

Hinata looked away. Nothing...

The attendant chuckled. "Cute wife you got there." He picked up a room key from a wall and handed it to Itachi.

"I think you kids would be nice an' cozy in this here honeymoon suite. An' don't worry." He winked. "You get half off, just for you two. Now run along."

Itachi grabbed her hand and headed for the stairway. "Well, wifey, what do you want to do next?"

At the word wifeyHinata tripped over the top step and sprawled on the thick red carpet.

"W-wifey?" She spluttered, spitting out lumps of carpet fibers. "Don't tell me..."

Itachi shrugged. "Apparently, honeymoon suites are cheaper here. It's better if we act like we're married. If you don't like it, maybe Deidara would be nice enough to let you stay in his room."

"Okay, I'll go ask him-"

"Nice try, Sunshine. You're stuck with me." Itachi picked her up bridal style and continued walking to their suite. When they got there, he dumped her (once again) on the floor and opened the door.

The second Hinata lay eyes on it she nearly fainted. The room was hot pink, with a plushy red carpet and heart-shaped lamps.

Willow...I have a very bad feeling about this... that is a whole lot of pink going on over there...

Oh my...this is the most unromantic, and ugliest room I've ever seen... I'm scared...

How does the bed look?

She nearly laughed when she saw it. It was a regular double bed with blue sheets, looking so out of place in the "pink palace suite", as she decided to call it.

Itachi was busy unpacking his clothes and putting them inside a dresser. He didn't seem to notice how ridiculous the room looked; in fact, he hardly even glanced at the bed. Little Lavender flew to the dresser and peeked over the edge. Before Hinata could do anything, the little bird flipped right over the edge and fell inside Itachi's open drawer. When she struggled out of the clothes and peeped happily at Itachi, Hinata couldn't help but smile.

Itachi narrowed his eyes. "I think there's something here that belongs to you," he said and went to look out the window. I can't stand looking at cute things. Especially birds...(Then why is he not looking at Hinata?)

Noticing a small wrapped gift basket on the bathroom counter, she left the troublesome chick to explore the wonders of Itachi's underwear and investigated. It was wooden, with a pinkish wrap over it and a pattern of tiny hearts running along the handle. It was cute, she had to admit. Being naturally curious, she peeked through the plastic wrap to see the contents.

Hmm...roses, chocolates, stuffed teddy bear, condoms, a packet of coffee...whoa, hold up, condoms?

As unwanted images of her and Itachi appeared in her mind, the demon lord himself walked into the room, noticing immediately the kunoichi's red face.

"Sunshine? What did you do now?"

"U-um...n-nothing..." she tore her gaze away from the basket and walked hurriedly out of the bathroom. An eyebrow raised in amusement, he took a look at the basket and at once realized what was bothering her.

When he came out, the young Hyuuga was staring out the wide window, fiddling with her fingers. Her face was still red.

"Sunshine..." he said quietly.

No answer.


Still no answer.

Itachi thought for a second, then got up and walked to the bathroom. He reached into the basket and pulled out the teddy bear.

Hinata still hadn't moved when he came back. Taking careful aim, he threw the teddy bear so that it smacked her right in the back of her head.

"Ow! What was that for!?" She cried, turning around to fix him with a glare. Unfortunately for her, unlike Itachi's, Hinata's glares were so harmless even a worm would laugh at her attempt to look intimidating.

To Itachi, it almost looked cute. Almost.

"It's your own fault for not paying attention. What kind of kunoichi zones out like that, hm?"

She rolled her eyes and tried to get rid of the remnants of her blush. "You didn't have to throw the teddy bear at me." she pointed out.

"Why? Would you have preferred that I throw the condoms at you?" he replied with a straight face.

That did it. All attempts to stop blushing failed, and the redness came back brighter than ever. With a little squeak she darted under a thick blanket to hide her face. Not that it mattered; the demon lord already saw. I can't believe he said that...this guy is evil in it's purest form...

Itachi smirked as he watched the blanket-covered lump on the bed that was Hinata. His black eyes narrowed in mirth as an idea sprang to mind.

Hinata held her breath and kept a tight grip on the blanket over her head. Maybe if I stay still and be reeaally quiet, Itachi would get bored and stop tormenting me...

Just as that idea made itself known in her head, she felt the mattress lower slightly as another, heavier weight got on the bed.

It's all right, Hinata...all he wants to do is lie down, right? She thought to herself.

Through the blanket, she could feel a hand travel up from her thigh to rest on her waist.

Oh yeah, pup. That's right. All he wants to do is lie down, right?

Shut up, Houkou.

Make me, Hyuuga.

Then, there was his voice so close to her ear.

"What's wrong, Sunshine? I thought you wanted this...or will you deny it, just like you've always done?"

Letting out a little "eep" noise, she curled into a ball.

"You know...we could take it nice and slow...I'll be gentle this time...just for you..." Itachi made sure he sounded sultry and seductive. He smirked as he sensed her heartbeat quicken.

""She stiffened when she felt him move so close her back was against his warm chest.

"How do you like it? Fast? Long? Or both?" He hugged her tightly through the blanket.

His efforts were rewarded when he heard several helpless whimpers erupt from the blanket-covered Hinata. He knew it wasn't fair to make fun of her, but he couldn't help it. It was all too amusing.

"Man, Itachi, stop terrorizing her, yeah."

Hinata yanked the blanket off her and turned around to see Deidara, who was sitting on the edge of the bed.

Itachi sat up and crossed his arms. "Hn. She was asking for it." He knew Deidara was watching the entire time. The blond could tell without asking that Itachi wasn't serious in his actions.

Hinata blushed and looked away from the Uchiha, who smirked at her.

Deidara ruffled her hair. "Don't feel bad. Itachi's always doing things like that, yeah." He glanced nervously at the Uchiha. "Did you tell her what she has to do yet?"

"Wh-what do I have to do?"

Itachi turned to her. "For this mission, you have to act like a prostitute."

What the hell did he say? Oh, hell no! Pup, I'm coming out and I'm gonna give this teme the ass-whupping he de-

Willow! Let's wait and hear the rest of this...though I already don't like it...

...But you' re a minor! A puppy! Eighteen is too young for this...

It's the way it is for kunoichi, Willow...we all have to do this eventually...

Hmph. Fine...but I'm holding a meeting in a few minutes so hurry it up! Willow sounded very much aggrieved.

Itachi watched her expression closely. She seemed to staring into space for a few seconds, then shook her head sharply and directed her gaze back at them.

She wasn't talking to her demon...was she? No...she can't possibly know...

"I won't do it."

"What do you mean?"Itachi asked sharply.

"I mean that I'm not going to be-"

Itachi sighed. "It's not that big a deal. We decided on a bargain with a man who deals in prostitution. He knows the whereabouts of certain people we need to find."

Hinata eyed him warily. "What sort of people?"

Deidara flashed Itachi a swift glance. Itachi's eyes barely flickered to him.

"The kind of people that align themselves with the Akatsuki, then attempt to betray us." Hinata noticed he didn't look her in the eyes, as if he didn't want her to read his mind.

He's hiding something...

"So," she said, forcing herself to stop stuttering. "When do I meet this guy?"

"Tomorrow, un." Deidara answered. "We don't want you to do anything with him, just show up at his place and perform for him, yeah. If he likes you, he'll give us the information and we'll 'give' you to him. Of course, we'll already be gone before he gets his hands on you."

"Um...but why me for the mission? Isn't there a female Akatsuki who can do this?"

"Yeah. But since she's 'friendly' with Leader, I don't think he would like that idea, yeah. Besides, this guy likes girls with specific qualities, qualities that you have."

"And what are they?"

"Well," said Itachi. "Your lavender eyes, and your bluish hair. He wants a woman with unusual facial characteristics."

Hinata shrugged. "So? There are over a hundred other people with my eyes. It's a family trait."

"That may be so, but your eyes have a tiny amount of blue, yeah. No other Hyuuga has eyes like yours." She glanced at Deidara.

"Really?" She looked at herself in the mirror. He was right; there was only the faintest amount of light blue thinly outlining the lavender, which only became visible if she tilted her head to the side. And even then, it was barely noticeable. I never saw that before...I wonder if I got it from Mom...maybe Hanabi has it too...

"It's obvious. You're not a "pure" Hyuuga." Deidara said almost approvingly. "Right?"

"Y-yeah." And frankly, I'm glad I'm not pure. I was never into the whole incest thing...and neither was Neji...

"The second quality is your talent in the arts. Instrumental and vocal. And dancing, but I've never seen you dance before, yeah."Deidara turned to Itachi. "What was the third thing?"

"Hn. The third thing is your shyness."

"Huh?" My shyness? Oh no...

"Yeah, Sunshine. He likes to recruit women who don't act like whores. Mainly younger, innocent ones like you."

She swallowed. "You mean...his prostitutes are like geishas...except without the kimonos and face there anything else?"

Deidara averted his eyes. " likes girls that are a the...bosom department, yeah."


The blond ninja turned red and faced Itachi. "Um...Itachi? Can you tell her, yeah?"

"He likes girls with big...breasts..." Itachi smirked inwardly when he saw the priceless expression on the Hyuuga's face. One eye twitching, the other wide and unmoving. Her jaw was halfway to the floor, and she clutched the blanket closer to her chest. Deidara took out his camera and snapped a quick picture, which snapped her out of her shock.

Damn...they noticed...oh dear...what have I gotten myself into? I should have worn a tighter bra!

Hh. You know, I would be satisfied if you just gave me five minutes of freedom...I'll help you hide the bodies later...

"Oh Kami..." Before she could faint Deidara rapped her sharply on the head.

"Ow...guess I needed that," she mumbled, walking to the dresser and fishing a sleeping Little Lavender out of one of Itachi's socks.

"No need to think about that right now, un. Why don't we go look around the place, yeah? I heard there was a casino and bar in here." He grinned mischievously.

Hinata smiled shyly at him. "I-it's all right. I-I need to sleep right now..."

The blond shrugged. "Okay, un. Itachi?"

"Hn." He grabbed his cloak and followed him out, barely shooting a glance at the girl.


"Willow, I'm here," Hinata said as she arrived at her demon's tree. "What did you want to do with me today?"

The said demon's head poked out of the tree. "Ah. You've arrived." She padded down and stood in front of her host. "Have you ever wondered what this place is?"

Hinata nodded. "Isn't it a part of my mind?"

Willow laughed. "No, that's for Yoko and his host. Hinata, we are in the demon world."


"Yes. I may have been imprisoned from the real world, but it doesn't mean I have to be cut off from the spirit world either."

"So...does that mean you brought my spirit to the demon world?"

"Yep! But that's not what is important right now. Right now, there are some new techniques I want to teach you."

"Really? What kind?" Hinata felt excited. Not everyone had the opportunity to be taught by one of the strongest demons.

"Well, I see that you've already learned one of the rebirth jutsus, so we can skip that. Today we'll be talking aboutyour transformation stages. Anything you want to ask me before I begin?"

"Um..." Hinata didn't know how to start. There was something strange about her demon's eyes that bothered her. It was only whenever she transformed into a human that they seemed normal. Willow's eyes were completely black, with no sign of any pupils.

"Um...your eyes...there's something strange about them." She flinched, expecting her to break her in half.

"Hmph. It's about time you asked. You see, pup, early on in life I lost my eyesight in an attack. It's a common problem, being the runt of the litter...back then my eyes were blue."

"Oh...I didn't mean to be rude about it..." Now she felt guilty for asking in the first place.

"No, it's a good thing you asked. Because this will become very important in later training. Look into my eyes." Hinata stared into the demon's eyes, slightly unnerved at the fact that she couldn't see her.

A few seconds passed, and nothing happened. Then, as if out of nowhere, tiny white specks appeared and spiraled slowly around the edges of her eyes, like stars at night.

"W-Willow...what is..."

"Just keep watching" At that precise second a moon-like pupil appeared in each, glowing brightly against the black interior. With a jolt, Hinata realized it was the moon, and the white specks were stars, arranged in a helix like the milky way and surrounding it.

So...pretty... She thought as she gazed dreamily into the demon's eyes. And...beautiful...

The more she stared at the gently whirling stars, the more she felt herself become sleepy. bright...moonlight...cinnamon buns...yeah... She hardly noticed she was thinking random, nonsensical words.

Five minutes later she felt a claw prodding itself rather sharply into her ribs.

"Mmm...all right, all right, I'm up!" She opened her eyes to see Willow standing over her, grinning in the way only a dog could.

"Wh-what did you do to me?"

Willow gave her a smug look. "I used a genjutsu to make you fall asleep. Although, it was more like hypnosis."

Hinata sat up, rubbing her head. "But...what did you do to your eyes?"

Willow shrugged. "I don't know exactly how, but I regained my eyesight just after my mother died. You see, my species is called houkou"

"There are more of you?"

"Not really. If more demon dogs actually went to the trouble of training hard and gaining tails, there would be more of us. Only a few houkous are left. Now, the most powerful of us is given the actual name Houkou. Kinda like the other demons, for example Yoko, or my old buddy Nekomata, the two tailed cat. Get it now?"

"Um, yeah..."Who on earth is Yoko?

"Anyway, my mother was named Houkou before me, and she was somehow powerful enough to control the stars. I, however, was mauled and blinded by another demon when I was barely six hundred years old. As such, in the last few years of her life she worked hard trying to regain my eyesight. Then, she finally figured it out. As she lay dying, she transferred the rest of her powers to me, and just like that, I was able to activate my eyes whenever I wanted. But I was always comfortable blind, so I only use them while fighting. I think she purposely made my eyes to resemble the stars and moon as a little farewell present to me."

"Oh..."Hinata murmured numbly. Now she wished very dearly she hadn't brought up the subject at all, for her demon was looking slightly depressed.

"But! If you go far enough in training you may eventually be able to use these eyes. They're pretty similar to the Mangekyou, but...I don't know which is stronger."

"The Mangekyou? I thought that was the strongest doujutsu ever made..."

"Ha! Shows how much know you know about the world outside the shinobi villages. Once we're out of this mess, I'm going to show you everything you missed out on, pup. The sights, the sounds, even villages over a million miles away. How's that sound?"

Hinata smiled. She had to admit it; the idea sounded tempting to her. Traveling with the demon was something she looked forward to. "Yeah...why not?"

Willow grunted in satisfaction. "Perfect. Now, I can sense your anxiety from over here. Something else bothering you? You don't smell the moment." She finished, narrowing her eyes suspiciously.

"Er...yeah. I know you probably wouldn't know how to help me, but..." She blushed.. "My over a week late..."

Willow's stellar eyes widened. "WHAT?" She spun around and began pacing back and forth. "Shit shit way...there's no way...oh my..." She nervously turned her head to look back at her host. "A-anything else weird going on?"

Hinata stared at her, stunned. This was the first time she had ever seen the demon freak out. It scared her.

"Um...the other day...I was sliding down a tree fingers suddenly stuck to the trunk...and when I looked at them...I had...claws..." Willow sat down, face darkened in thought.

"Come here," she ordered in a low voice. "And hold out your hand."

Hinata did as she asked. As soon as she held out her hand the demon took it in a hand-like paw and turned it over. Suddenly, and without warning she pinched one of her fingers and let out a yelp of surprise when a small, centimeter long claw popped out from a slit in the middle of it.

"So it's true," she murmured to herself, tapping it with an unsheathed claw. "And I thought Yoko was lying...damn."

"Who's Yoko?" Hinata asked, feeling too scared to ask what Willow was talking about.

"Oh, he's just my idiotic father. He got sealed inside some poor fool nearly two decades ago." She answered dismissively. "Heh. Me and Nekomata nearly got killed when we challenged him to a fight. He's like the strongest out of all of us."

"Okay..." Hinata said slowly. "So... do you know what's going on with my body?"

"Er...yes and no..."

"What do you mean yes and no?"

Willow grinned. "Well, in regards to the period problem...dogs don't have periods. For us, it's called heat."

"And what, pray tell, is heat?"

"You seriously don't know?"

"No." She shrank back when she saw the evil glint in the demon's starry eyes.

"All I can say is, you will bleed a little every six months...and, you'll probably end up getting pregnant if you don't avoid the guys for a while."

" don't mean..."

"That's right, pup. If you don't be careful, you may lose control and attempt to mate with any guy within your reach."


"Most likely. The worst part is you wouldn't know what you are doing. Only lust would control your body at that point."

" period..." She began to feel light-headed.

Willow shook her head. "Gone, kiddo. You should be happy. From what I've heard, it's not something particularly enjoyable for you humans."

"B-but...what if I do lose control? I don't want any children..."

Willow shrugged. "Well, you better hope that happens when you're around Itachi or Deidara. They seem above taking advantage of you. The only kind of men who will always take advantage of you are other jinchuuriki. As a female, you will release an aroma that only other jinchuuriki can smell. And that will drive them mad and force them to mate with you. But hopefully, we won't have to worry about that. I doubt there are any others around..."

"Th-then what about when I'm not in heat?"

Willow smirked, eyes less bright than before. "That's the good part. You see, female dogs get very aggressive if males try to mate with them. In your'd probably end up attacking every single man that flirts with you."

Hinata groaned. "Can things get any worse?"

"Yes they can, actually" Willow tipped her head to the side and casually scratched an ear with her hind leg. "During heat, your attitude against other females will be of a hostile nature. It's possible you could kill someone in that state. In fact, even now you pose a danger to me."

Hinata's head shot up. "How? I know you can take control of me any time you want...(I think you did it before) how can I hurt you?"

Willow began grooming her tails, trying to still the sudden spasms that rippled through them. "The problem,"she thought between licks. "Is that I'm different from other dogs. Very rarely do I lose myself and lash out. You, on the other hand don't have that control, being human and therefore inferior..." She ignored Hinata's annoyed sigh. "And seeing as how I'm female, you will soon take every opportunity to attack me, and if I defend myself, I may accidentally kill you"

She abruptly stopped when she saw the frustrated look in her host's eyes.

"Oi, don't go teary on me now, pup. It's all a part of growing up, so you might as well get used to it!"


Willow growled and clapped a paw over her eyes in anger. I'm not getting anywhere with this kid today...hmph. I'll just train her to death to make up for it. She staggered and scrambled quickly to regain her footing.

"On second thought," She continued to speak telepathically, but in a much more weary voice. "We'll start our training in a few days, seeing as how you're not in the condition for any workouts..."Willow turned away and began to limp back to her tree, tails dragging, and her head hung low.

"But-" The demon turned her head slightly to glance back one last time.

"Goodbye, Hinata..."

"Willow, wait!"

The last thing she beheld as darkness swallowed her up was the sight of her demon's legs buckling before she collapsed heavily on the grass, a thin trail of blood leaking out the side of her muzzle.

"Willow!" She screamed over and over again, but to no use. She was back in her own world now, and try as she might, she couldn't concentrate enough to connect with her demon's mind.

I should have left her in peace the whole time...maybe just talking to her takes up all her energy...she's probably old and senile...and I just added to her own problems...

Little Lavendar flew over and nuzzled under her chin.

"Thanks," she murmured absentmindedly.

What now? I'm only killing us, the longer I stay with the Akatsuki...

Turning her head to the window, she caught sight of a small reddish cat scratching at her window. Pulling it open, she allowed the feline to slip in and jump on to the bed.

"Where did you come from?" She asked with a tired smile.

The cat mewled once and fixed her with an almost intelligent gaze. It's fur pattern was odd. It had golden- red fur, and big yellow eyes. It's tail was unusually long, and there was a scarlet spot on each shoulder. There was something familiar about this cat's eyes, although she couldn't name it. If it was even a cat at all. That thought managed to strike some fear into her heart, and that fear grew the longer she stared at it.

An inner instinct told her that this creature, this cat, for some reason did not belong. Her best chance would be to kill it right away, but she didn't have the heart to do that.

Hinata shrugged and lay down on the bed again, shivers running up and down her spine. The creature was observing her with those intelligent eyes, and that fact was enough to scare her. She nearly gasped when the cat(?) padded over and curled up next her, a satisfied look on it's face.

The second it yawned she knew that it was no cat at all, but an intruder that needed to be gotten rid of. It's teeth were all canines, and each tooth was at least an inch and a half long. Judging by the amount there were, there were more than twenty.

Swallowing her fear, she closed her eyes and prayed for Itachi to return.

She had unknowingly set a monster on herself.

"What will I do now?" She whispered to herself, tears running down her cheeks.

Yes, my dear, the manticore thought to itself. What will you do?


First of all, I want to say how sorry I am that it took me this long to update. The writer's block I went through is so bad it's not even funny. First of all, I want to clear up a few things. 1) I'm not quitting this story, for I'm planning a sequel and 2) I only started a new story because I had nothing better to do when I had problem with this one.

After the next two chapters, this story will turn more dark, then afterwards will be the sequel. I'm also changing my writing style, since it's too messy in this story and after seeing how much better it is in Mirage, I'll put more of an effort into later chapters. As for Sasuke and Itachi's fight, I'll leave that for later chapters...

Also, in case you haven't noticed, all fifteen year olds must go to school, so unfortunately, school's going to delay my writing...sigh...

Well, at least I update my stories instead of disappearing for years at a time, right? Anyway, once I have everything in order, the story will go as smoothly as planned.

Once again, I apologize for being so late and I hope you'll forgive me sometime in the near future...


Narutochica TT

Note: Manticores were thought to be real when the remains of humans were found in the forests of India and Bangladesh. However, it was found that it was the Bengal Tiger that was responsible for the killings. (Man Ticor, Man Tiger, see the connection?)