Because everyone is studying for finals (which I probably should be doing, but I'm too lazy…), I have nothing much to read, so here I am typing again.

- - -

Sakura awoke in a brightly lit room three hours later. Noticing the smoking pot in the corner with a scowl, she splashed a bottle-full of revivant (A/N: Hey, the word "deviant" is on spellcheck, even though "spellcheck" isn't. What does deviant mean?) over it. Then she waited. And waited. And waited.

Finally, growing impatient, she took out a piece of wood that she'd found a few days ago and reached for a kunai, only to find her weapons gone. How troublesome. (A/N: Shika-kun!!! ) Luckily, kunai were not the only things she carried as weapons. With a blade found in the toe of her sandal she set to work freeing the phoenix in the wood.

When Deidara came into the room, the basic shape had begun to show. Upon seeing the knife, he demanded it; she gave it to him willingly. And produced a thin stiletto from a sheath on her back the instant he was out of the room.

An hour later, he returned – Sakura restrained a smirk at the expression on his face. This time he took all of her stilettos.

He walked in two hours afterwards, confident that she would be unarmed. But no; she had hidden a packet of senbon in her chest bindings and had nearly completed the bird's body. With his face twitching, he confiscated all of the needles (and complimented her carving).

Only to find – another two hours later – that she had sharpened the nails on her right hand until they were razor sharp.

He screamed; Itachi arrived shortly after. "What is it, Deidara?" he asked calmly, looking at the fully detailed phoenix in her hands.

"She won't stop producing weapons!" the hysterical blonde cried as Sakura giggled, putting one last touch on her carving. As if to prove Deidara's point, she flipped open a tiny lighter hidden in her mouth and began burning shadows into the wood.

When Deidara showed him the large pile of weapons taken from their captive, Itachi only remarked, "Impressive, Sakura-san."

Upon hearing her name, Sakura spoke. "Why am I here?" she asked. "They won't come looking for me, so I can't be used as a hostage." She kept her eyes respectfully on the carving in her hands and her head lowered.

Itachi put a finger under her chin and tilted her face upwards, forcing her to look into his crimson eyes. She held his gaze steadily, without wavering as most people did.

"Why are you here, Sakura-san?" He chuckled quietly; she shivered at the deep sound. "To be honest – I have no idea why you're here."

Her dazzling eyes widened, confusion written across the emerald orbs. Deidara laughed, taking the lighter from her long fingers. He seemed to have recovered. "You don't have any weapons, do you, un?" he asked cautiously.

"Why would I tell you?" the pink-haired girl retorted. Itachi placed a finger on her neck, running it along an invisible line to the back of her neck.

"Perhaps you should give us the wire necklace, Sakura-san," he remarked calmly. Sakura's eyes flashed in annoyance mixed with respect and she sighed, sliding her fingers under the wire and tugging sharply. She handed Itachi the cobweb-thin wire.

He examined it closely in silence. Placing it in Deidara's hands, he glanced at Sakura. "A pretty piece of work, Sakura-san. Did you make it?"

She nodded slowly, fingering a small ring on her left hand. Blood-red followed the movement of her hands and narrowed slightly.

"I have seen that ring on another's hand," he said quietly. Sakura stiffened, looking down at her hand.

"Have you?" was all she said.

Deidara peered curiously at the ring before looking at Itachi. "Whose hand, un?"

It was then that Itachi spoke the name of the previous leader. His voice was softer than usual, and Deidara shivered. Sakura, however, went deathly pale and strangely still.

"Of course," she murmured. "Is he here?"

"He was the leader of Akatsuki," Itachi told her. Her eyes narrowed and she let out a short, harsh laugh.

"How quick to rise in the ranks," she muttered. "But it will be his downfall. Too much power will get to his head."

"It already has, un," Deidara mumbled. "Itachi killed him a year ago and took his place."

Sakura's head shot up in shock. "D-dead?" she whispered. "Are you serious?!"
"Of course, un." Deidara cocked his head, looking quizzically at her. "Why?"

She seemed not to have heard him. "Gone. All this time, he's been gone." She sank to the ground, staring at the ring on her finger. "Killed by his own subordinate. How ironic!" Her quiet laughter sent a chill down Deidara's spine.

"Sakura-san. Did you know him?" Itachi crouched beside Sakura and looked sharply at her.

"Of course." Her laughing continued, softer and softer until it subsided. "Of course I knew him."

"How, un?" Deidara lowered himself to the floor as well, sitting cross-legged next to her.

"Hm… When I was little, we belonged to the same gang. I specialized in poisons, and he in hand-to-hand. Using a poison I'd unknowingly given to him, he killed the whole gang. I barely survived because I had an antidote on hand. My friend – I gave what little I had left to her before she was completely gone. Couldn't save anyone else. He fled. Shishou found us and Konoha took us in. But there were side effects to my poison that I hadn't foreseen, and I didn't have enough time. Within the hour, she was dead."

"That is all?" Itachi's keen gaze focused on her face.

She smiled bitterly, dropping her head and letting her bangs hide her face. "Of course, there's always the fact that he's my brother."

- - -

And there's the end!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! …Nah, just kidding. Actually, this used to be the last part of the second chapter, but I liked having it end where it ended. Without further ado, this is the last chapter of Allegiances!!!!!

- - -

"Of course, there's always the fact that he's my brother."

"What?!?!" Deidara exclaimed, leaping to his feet. "Y-your brother, un?!" Sakura shrugged tightly, keeping her face hidden by her hair.

"We were never close; the only connection between us was really our blood. I'm glad that he's dead," she muttered.

"Siblings, hm?" Itachi stood slowly, thinking. "You have skill, and Akatsuki could use a good medic…"
Sakura shook her head violently, her bangs flying to reveal her pale, drawn face and trembling lips. "No! I belong to Konoha!" She stood defiantly.

A kunai thunked into the wall next to her. A thin trickle of blood appeared on her neck, staining the neck of her black top. Itachi bent over and licked the crimson drops from her skin.

"Allegiances change quickly, Sakura-san," he whispered. "You know our location. If you refuse, I will be forced to spill more of your delicious blood."

Sakura shivered at the feel of his tongue on her neck, hissing in pain as he passed over the cut he'd given her.

"I'm not afraid to die," she replied quietly. "Those who fear death are the first to die down here."

Itachi paused and smirked, his hot breath sending shivers down Sakura's back. "How true, Sakura-san," he murmured softly, pulling away slowly. "Deidara. Take care of her. I'll be back."

"Hai, Itachi-san, un!" Deidara grinned. After Itachi left, he turned to Sakura, producing a chess board from nowhere. "Can you play?"

She smiled back thinly, emerald eyes lighting up eagerly. "Of course! I'll play black."

He laughed. "Of course, Sakura-san, un!" he replied generously.

- - -

She was much better than he'd expected, having put him in a very challenging situation. He bit his lip, thinking.

Sakura's eyes darted all over the board, lingering on some pieces before moving to others. Shikamaru had taught her to play since she'd been taken in, and he was a master. She'd been laying her trap since the beginning of the game, and they were approaching her victory.

Sure enough, when Itachi came back two hours later, she'd checkmated Deidara. She smiled happily, reaching a hand across the board to him.

"Good game," she sighed.

Deidara shook her hand, staring at the unmoving pieces on the board. "That's amazing, un!" he exclaimed.

Sakura laughed cheerily and sat up the pieces again. "Nah, I just had a really good teacher. I've only beaten him once, when he was blind drunk. Doesn't really count."

Seeing Itachi, Deidara stood and smiled. "I'll see you soon, then, Sakura-san, un," he told her. "Good luck."
Before she could ask for an explanation, Itachi slid to the ground across from her, fingering the white king.

"Will you play me, Sakura-san?" he asked, his crimson eyes boring holes in her. Nervously, she nodded, observing as he made his first move. Offensive – but everything about him was offensive, wasn't it? (A/N: Is it even possible to make an offensive first move in chess? I mean, you can move a knight, but other than that, it's all pawns…)

She countered with an attack of her own, challenging him. They played in silence until she made the first capture. What she hadn't foreseen was the way her move had left an opening for him to capture a more important piece.

Cursing at herself mentally, she studied the board. When she was sure she hadn't missed anything else, she reached out and slid a piece directly into the enemy ranks.

"Check," she muttered. He pondered a moment before retreating. But she had anticipated this and followed cautiously but firmly.

Only to be blocked by a piece not worth taking. She frowned and sat back, beryl eyes flickering back and forth between pieces until she grasped her knight and moved it decisively into a threatening position.

He raised an elegant eyebrow. "A sacrifice, Sakura-san?" (A/N: And I'm listening to Evanescence's Sweet Sacrifice…) He let his hand rest on bishop, turning his penetrating gaze onto her. "Why won't you join us, Sakura-san?" He saw a risky maneuver that would be necessary if he captured – but then, he'd always loved risks. He replaced the knight with his bishop.

"I belong to Konoha," she repeated firmly, moving into a position that told him to stop her before she got all the pieces in place.

"You would be treated well here." His pale hand nudged a piece in the middle of Sakura's pattern.

"I was treated fine before," she shot back, shoving her queen forward aggressively. She was blatantly offering her best piece up – but it would cost him the game.

Itachi chuckled softly, reaching across the board to stroke Sakura's cheek gently. "Give it a year with us," he suggested smoothly. "After that, we'll let you go with an oath of silence." He moved his rook, and Sakura saw that the next move – no matter what she did – would be checkmate.

Sighing, she tipped her king over, signaling her defeat. "…Okay." Her voice came out as barely a whisper, but he caught it.

A smirk spread itself over his face as he stood, pulling her up with him. She immediately backed into the wall behind her at the look on his face. He followed her.

"Tell me, Sakura-san," he murmured silkily into her ear, "have you ever been in love?" She tried to keep steady as his fingers traced over every scar on her neck.

"It was Sasuke, but he left," she whispered, turning her face. Itachi took her chin and turned it back towards him.

Then he pressed his lips against hers, noticing as her eyes widened. He caught the fist she threw at him easily without flinching. When he pulled away, he smirked and spoke, letting his hand rest on her collarbone.

"Deidara likes you. If you stay, you will be liked, cared for." He glanced at her before opening the door. "You will be loved." He beckoned her to follow him.

As she stared at his back, Sakura touched her lips. Whatever happened in the next year, she would not be returning to Konoha for a long time.

"Allegiances change quickly…"

End Allegiances.

- - -

So, what did you think? I love chess, so I couldn't resist putting it in. There was this one game that I played where I lost in the fourth move. My friend took her opponent's queen in her fourth move. I love destroying her carefully planned victories with my stupid moves. She still wins anyways, though…