Well. . You can thank Thomas the Miller for this one. I'm still grounded though. I'm sneaking this one. I made a D in Algebra. WHICH IS NOT MY AVERAGE GRADE. I usually make a B or something. So enjoy this chappie. It'll be a while 'till I can type without getting caught.

Tari-chan: Hello. I am so- Dives from sharp objects being thrown

Tari-chan: . . . .Gomenasai . . . ouch. pulls knife out of arm

Itachi-san: That's what you deserve for leaving us alone for so long. glares

Tari-chan: cringes . . . . I know . . . SO HERE BE YOUR CHAPPIE!!! smacks Itachi

Itachi-san: Stabs Tari with shurieken So read. NOW. And as much as she wishes, she doesn't own me or the Kyuu- I mean Naruto.

'Anyone's thoughts'

'Inner Sakura or Sasuke'

'Anything written, flashbacks, or Black Zetsu'

Close Encounters

Itachi lead the stride to the small village's gate with Sakura following close behind. Before in the guard's site Itachi pulled his hat from his cloak. He held it in front of Sakura as she stared at it inquisitively.

"What?" Sakura asked.

Itachi sighed and dropped it on the top of her head. Sakura held it on then balanced it.

"Just because this village is small does not mean that there are not people looking for you here. Keep your hair in the cloak, wear this hat, and keep confident steps." Itachi said while eyeing the guards.

Sakura nodded. They proceeded to the gate where the guards stood. The guards kept a strong posture but their eyes portrayed fear and panic. Itachi and Sakura stood a few yards from the guards waiting. The guards waited a few moments as well while the wind blew some leaves from their nearby trees. They gave a quick glance at each other and stepped away from the gates.

The ebony-haired Uchiha and Sakura passed through the gates without giving the guards a second glance. As they advanced down the street Sakura took in her surroundings. The town wasn't a dump . . . but it wasn't the pinnacle of wealth either. The streets were lined with salesmen and various stands. Behind the moneygrubbers area was an apartment building that extended to what looked like about three hundred yards. Children ran up and down the streets chasing one another. People walked home from market shopping and whatever business they may have left home to attend to.

Itachi stopped them at one stand and left a list to the clerk. She assumed it was a list of items Itachi would pick up on the way out of the village.

Sakura took notice to the fact that many people stared were staring at her. Well, it was more along the lines of glaring in spite or fear. The Akatsuki were not welcomed. Yet, there was something about their glares that made her think this was a routine here. She watched as a few children ran after each other. They stopped running but one continued running and bumped into Sakura's leg.

The other children stared in shock as the kid- no little boy got up. He dusted himself of and stood up grinning with is eyes closed.

"Gomen mister! I should've paid more attention." The little boy opened his eyes.

He froze and his mouth dropped open as he stared in fear at the figure wear the clouded cloak. Sakura squatted down to his level while keeping the hat over her eyes. She smiled at the fearful boy and softly patted him on the head.

"Next time get your genders right and you'll be fine, kid." Sakura stood up and imitated Itachi's stoic fa├žade.

They continued their trek through the village leaving the boy to stare for a few moments dazed. He snapped back and smiled at Sakura's retreating form.

"ARIGATO MISS AKATSUKI LADY!!" The boy waved slightly and ran back over to his friends.

Itachi quickened his pace and rounded a corner, and Sakura followed. Before her, Itachi stood in front of the door a teahouse. Sakura followed him to the door as he opened it and stepped inside. Sakura caught the door and followed. Inside it was a small elegant place, mostly forest green.

They seated themselves in a wooden booth with a cutout on the wall as wide as the booth to see the outside. As soon as she sat down Sakura took note that the fearsome Uchiha was glaring at her. She may not have noticed it, but he'd kept a steady glare since she'd spoken to the little boy. Sakura shifted under his gaze and eyed an incoming waiter.

"E-excuse me? What would you two like?" The man stuttered slightly.

Sakura was about to open her mouth to speak when Itachi beat her to it.

"The usual." Itachi made it clear for here not to disagree.

The waiter gave a swift nod and trotted away. Most customers left the area of seating that Itachi and the pink-haired kunoichi sat. Itachi continued to glare piercingly. Sakura sighed and turned in his direction.

"What the hell did I do wrong?!" Sakura hissed.

No response but a glare.

Sakura cooled down and groaned in distain glaring back.

"Not that I'd want to, but I can't read your mind Itachi-san." Sakura watched the waiter put their tea on the table.

When he left they each took a cup and dragged it over to their spaces.

"You do not associate with anyone unless necessary." Itachi took a sip of tea.

"I was just being courteous and considerate." Sakura shrugged lightly.

"Courtesy is not a relevant quality to the Akatsuki. It is not as if, we were to simply ask villages for their tailed beasts we would get them." Itachi explained.

"Hm . . . . I suppose that sounds reasonable to a degree." Sakura toyed around with her cup.

"We do not want people getting the idea that we are not to be feared or ignored." Itachi glared.

"Oh, okay. I get it. Gomen." Sakura smiled and sipped her tea.

Itachi nodded and they proceeded to bask in the comfortable silence.

Sasuke and Shikamaru made their way through the small town occasionally scowling at the amount of people crowded in the streets. They halted to a stop when the heard whispers from a nearby odango stand. They casually closed the distance by a few feet and listened intently.

"I was wondering how long it would take for them to come back . . ." A woman whispered.

"Did you see the smaller Akatsuki with the Uchiha come through the North gate?" A man questioned.

Sasuke's ears perked at this information.

"I haven't seen that one before . . . Usually the fish guy comes with him." The woman answered.

"Hm . . . . They had the build of a girl. And that kid . . ." The man stammered.

"Yeah . . . she didn't hurt him for bumping her." The woman and man received their odango and dropped the subject.

Sasuke and Shikamaru stared at each other for a while. After a moment they both bolted to the Northern side of the village. Shikamaru had a nagging feeling that this wasn't going to end well.

'Well . . . Rescue's are risky . . .' Shikamaru thought shooing his discomfort away.

They stopped their running to catch pieces of conversation leaving a trail. Their last witness was a little boy who was telling his friends about the "Pretty miss Akatsuki lady" that he wanted to be his mommy. So Shikamaru and Sasuke rounded the corner next to them. They spotted a small teahouse with wide openings in the walls to see where customers sat.

Shikamaru walked to the door, taking a suck at his cigarette and Sasuke gave him a questioning look.

"A man needs his tea." Shikamaru stated matter-of-factly.

"Well, technically Shikamaru you're a woman right now." Sasuke smirked.

"Fuck you." Shikamaru opened the door to the inside.

Sasuke followed. He'd known the real reason Shikamaru had entered the teahouse. They had both sensed a very powerful chakra when they wondered about half-way through the crowded streets of the village. Sasuke recognized it immediately. Itachi. Shikamaru was simply being good-humored about their predicament. According to his odds, their chances of beating him, let alone him and another Akatsuki were fairly low.

They both strode down the aisle concealing their chakra as they had been upon entering the village. Sasuke led Shikamaru to the both across from two Akatsuki clad figures. They acted as if ignoring them and the occasional feign of discomfort to seem like average fearful citizens. When the waitress came Sasuke placed the orders and Shikamaru made quick observations of the seated Akatsuki.

'The taller one is definitely Uchiha Itachi . . . the smaller one . . . I've heard of a female Akatsuki named Konan . . . but she wasn't described as small framed.' Shikamaru took another glance as they sipped their tea in silence. 'It has to be a she. No mans' hands can be that small. Why aren't her nails painted?' Shikamaru's eyes widened slightly. 'That girl isn't wearing the complete standard uniform. Based upon the angle her neck is bent she isn't facing him . . . She must be avoiding his gaze. They aren't teammates. We haven't received any information about death or injury of Hoshigaki Kisame. Three possibilities . . . One: They simply forgot or didn't feel compelled to paint her nails. Second: Itachi is with some one he shouldn't be with and doesn't want anyone to find out who. Or Third: He's dragging a hostage around town for fresh air. The Akatsuki are pretty nitty-gritty about details, I don't think they'd let the nail polish thing, slide . . . I don't think Itachi would go through those kinds of lengths to hide some one, and he never has any shame to show things he's not proud of. . . . I'm pretty sure that's a hostage.' Shikamaru stopped for a moment in thought.

'It's a girl. Sakura-san was kidnapped by Akatsuki . . .' Shikamaru put two and two together.

"Shit." Shikamaru and Sasuke mumbled in unison as they had been contemplating the mystery Akatsuki.

That 'Akatsuki' was not an Akatsuki. That was Sakura.

-------------------------------------------

Itachi resisted the urge to smirk. His foolish little brother and his companion just realized who he was sitting in front of. The moment he'd entered the village he recognized Sasuke's chakra signature and one following at his heels. He led them to this teahouse to see if they would take the risk of following. They did. This was no surprise to him, he'd expected for them to act in haste due to the fact that he was there.

Now that they'd figured who the girl was it was only a matter of when they would take action. He briefly wondered if they would wait to be outside of the village, on the street, or attempt to follow them out to the base. Either way, they weren't getting their medic back. Itachi kept a steady gaze on the fidgeting girl as she silently cursed her cup for being empty. So oblivious, and too worried about not getting herself killed to even notice her comrades sitting across form her, contemplating a possible rescue strategy.

Itachi reached over the table and took the cup from her hands. She made a face and attempted to make a grab for it. Itachi moved it slightly to the other direction just when she was about to grasp it. Sakura growled at him.

"Itachi-san! What the hell? I didn't do anything. Why'd you take my cup?!" Sakura scowled.

"Hn, you're fidgeting around too much. It's distracting." Itachi put it down on his side of the table.

"Grrr . . . do you have obsessive compulsive disorder or something?" Sakura shot back.

"No. Now cease your arguing Sakura-san. You're acting like a child that got her toy taken away." Itachi glared.

Itachi took a quick glance at Sasuke and Shikamaru. Their eyes widened at a noticeable fraction. This time, Itachi smirked.

"Now what the hell's so funny?!" Sakura just can't drop an argument.

"Sakura-san, we're leaving." Itachi stood up and dropped a tip on the table.

"Bu-! Oh, never mind. Do you think Tobi-san's broken anything yet?" Sakura asked.

"Hm . . . perhaps three fairly expensive pieces of furniture. That's just an estimated guess though." Itachi shrugged.

Itachi walked through the doors with Sakura in tow. He soon felt the two shinobi's chakra following their direction as well. He smirked. This was going to be interesting. He led Sakura down the crowded roads and streets until he stopped altogether. Sakura bumped him in the shoulder but immediately stepped back.

"What's up? Why are we stopping?" Sakura asked confused.

Itachi turned around and took a few steps around the left side of her so he stood in front of her. Sakura remained confused peeking over his shoulder to see two figures running down the street. She looked back at Itachi who angled his face to see her. He simply smirked which confused Sakura even more.

When he turned back to the two figures. Sakura saw their features. A boy, a green eyed blonde headed boy with hair to his chin. He had a look in his eyes that could only be described as pure blood lust. And a woman who didn't look like a woman. She had long black hair that went to her elbows, but was tied in a low ponytail like Itachi's. And blue eyes that looked reluctant to stay opened. Not to mention she held a cigarette between her fingers.

Why were these people after her?

At the Akatsuki base Deidara was laying outside in the grass after training. Then, he heard a familiar chirp of birds. He stood up. Itachi was calling for assistance. The Konoha brats must've caught up with them. He hopped into a clay bird in disappeared in to the sky. He wouldn't have to tell the others. They heard.

Neji spotted a bird flying in a familiar motion. He went to warn the others. Sasuke and Shikamaru had either found something or there was trouble. They had to hurry.

Dudes, sorry.

Atleast I'm back.

But remember, I'm grounded from the computer.

So I'm not supposed to be typing this.

I hope you liked this chappie.

I wrote almost 1,100 more words than last time.

I'm working on a big-ass project right now.

So it'll be a while.

-Tari-chan XD