Hey, guys. I'm back, typing furiously before going to finals. Heh heh… Last chapter!!!!!!
- - -
Sakura woke to find a pair of arms encasing her. Her half-awake mind reacted instinctively and she attempted to slip out of the grip around her. It only tightened, and she panicked.
"Sh, cherry blossom," a deep voice murmured in her ear. Calming down, she looked behind her to meet Itachi's dark ruby eyes.
The vampire looked amusedly at her red face, cocking an eyebrow in question. She grinned sheepishly, squirming under his intense gaze.
"Heh heh… Sorry. I'm just not used to waking up in bed with someone else," she explained, shrugging. Then she noticed that she was still being held captive. "Um… Itachi-san, could you let go, please?"
"No." He smirked, bringing her closer to him until her back was touching his chest. She couldn't keep the blush off of her face.
Damn the stupid full moon… Messing with my feelings…
"Let go of me, Itachi-san!" she exclaimed, twisting furiously. He held her steady with both arms and a leg. "Please?"
"I'll let go," he began, "in return for a favor." She stopped wiggling, looking curiously at him.
"A favor? What favor, Itachi-san?" she inquired, having regained her normal coloring.
"A kiss," he replied simply. She stared at him thoughtfully before darting in and pressing her lips to his cheek. The instant his arm loosened, she leapt out of reach and grabbed her clothes. The bathroom door slammed closed; a minute later she stood before him again, strapping on all of her knives.
"Come on, Itachi-san!" she urged him, bouncing up and down childishly. "This is my last day, so I want to have fun!"
He stood, stretching
lazily. "Won't you miss being alive?"
She scoffed. "I'm half-undead anyways." Then her face lit up. "Let's play a game! Try and see if you can make me miss you by tonight. It has to be you, not someone like Ino or Tenten. If you do, you win. If not, I win!"
"Hn." She pouted at his monosyllabic answer but took it as a yes.
"So, what now?"
"It's breakfast time," Itachi suggested, amused by her suddenly childlike behavior. A sudden urge caused him to place her onto his shoulders and keep her there.
"What are you doing?" Sakura demanded from her spot above his head. He just smirked, striding out the door and down the stairs to the dining room. Only then did he put her down.
"Hey, forehead girl!" Ino called out cheerfully, dragging Shikamaru with her. Sakura turned, grinning.
Shikamaru rolled his eyes, muttering, "Troublesome women…" Ino reached over and smacked him on the head.
"Sit with us!" she offered brightly. When Sakura looked at Itachi and he nodded, the blonde laughed, pleased. Sakura wondered if Ino had forgotten about why she was here in the first place, but the instant they sat down, she knew.
"Sakura, do you feel okay?" Ino whispered worriedly. "I know some people are freaking out because this is the last day…"
Sakura turned to her, smiling reassuringly. "I don't mind dying, Ino," she answered truthfully. "I'll miss you, and Tenten, and Hinata, but if it means someone else won't die this year, I don't care."
Ino picked at her dress. "And Itachi? Will you miss him?" Sakura laughed, noticing how the immortal in question leaned closer to them.
"That would spoil the game, ne, Itachi-san?" She took a piece of bread and nibbled on it, conscious of his intense gaze.
"Game?" Ino looked
back and forth between the two, puzzled. "What are you talking
Without taking her jade orbs away from Itachi's face, Sakura evenly explained the goal of the "game" to her friend. Ino's brow furrowed.
"But won't you miss him?" she demanded. "There has to be some part of you that would miss him." She looked at Itachi for help.
"Don't help him!" Sakura protested. "That's not fair!"
Ino turned curiously back to face her, sky-blue eyes wide. "What's the prize for winning, anyway?" she asked.
Sakura looked at Itachi. "We didn't decide that. I mean, if I'm dead, I won't have any use for anything, and if I lose, everything I have to give will be his for the taking anyways," she pointed out, shrugging. "I'm just playing to keep myself occupied."
Ino would have said something, but Naruto bounced over energetically. "Hey, hey! Hinata-chan wants to know if you guys want to come to the beach with us today!"
Looking at Itachi, Sakura raised an eyebrow. He shrugged nonchalantly. "We like to take advantage of the fact that sunlight doesn't bother us."
"We'd love to come!" Ino exclaimed, yanking Shikamaru to his feet, her eyes daring him to contradict her. "If we're all done here, then let's go!" Sakura and Itachi followed her lead, albeit a bit slower. Tenten, Neji, Sasuke, and Ami followed them.
- - -
Itachi watched as Sakura sat on the shore, shaping the wet sand into a lump. Then, using her fingers, she carved away the extra, slowly but steadily revealing a katana of sand. When Tenten saw what she was doing, she hurried over to help with the designing the decorations, such as the handle and a separate scabbard.
Ino and Hinata called to them from the water while Ami sunbathed on a pink towel. Shikamaru had disappeared somewhere, while the other males had gathered under an umbrella, each watching his respective mate – with the exception of Sasuke.
Soon, Naruto bounded off to play with Hinata, who promptly turned a brilliant shade of red, and Neji wandered over to where Tenten and Sakura were, looming over them as they worked – but mostly Tenten. Itachi hesitated before going over to help. Sasuke closed his eyes and fell half asleep, completely ignoring Ami.
Seeing Neji stare pointedly at the back of Tenten's head as she ignored him, Sakura giggled and suggested (A/N: coughforcedcough) that they go over to a shady area where no one could see them and build something together.
Without letting Tenten reply Neji grabbed her wrist and followed Sakura's suggestion. Tenten didn't protest.
Chuckling, the green-eyed girl went back to her work – only to feel Itachi's hand on her head, stroking her hair. When she glared at him, he shrugged.
"You had sand in your hair," he smirked. Rolling her eyes, she continued shaping the intricate design on the blade of the katana. She was trying to replicate a design she'd seen on one of the weapons in the weapons room; however, the last bit kept escaping her.
Tenten and Neji were out of sight. With a sigh, Sakura turned her attention back to the sand katana. She closed her eyes in frustration. The sun made the sun sparkle, she noticed as she opened them again. she began another attempt to carve the design in sand.
"You're doing it wrong," Itachi murmured from behind her, taking her hand and guiding it. He used her finger like a tool and slowly the beautiful design appeared on the handle. "Spend more time in the weapons room."
"Forehead girl!" Ino cried from the water. "Come in!"
"In a minute!" Sakura shouted back. Unexpectedly, Itachi stood and picked her up, carrying her to the water.
"You've got sand all over you," he told her with a straight face. "Wash it off. Unless you want me to do it for you."
Muttering under her breath and red in the face, she ducked under the water, reappearing next to Ino, Hinata, and Naruto.
"All gone!" she called happily. Itachi strode gracefully through the salty water until he towered impassively over her. She stepped back as he stretched out an arm; he brushed the back of his slender hand gently against her cheek.
"You missed a spot." He smirked at her reddening cheeks; she was about to retort when Ino splashed both of them. Dripping wet, they turned.
"Do you want to play chicken?" she asked. "Hinata's too shy and Shikamaru is who knows where."
"Okay!" Sakura agreed. Itachi disappeared into the water and came back up under her, resulting in her sitting on his shoulders. She gave a little shriek and wrapped her arms around his head.
Ino laughed and clambered onto Naruto's shoulders. Hinata stood between them and Itachi and Sakura. "Y-your object is t-to knock your o-opponent off of their p-partner's shoulders," she instructed firmly. "R-ready… s-set… go!" She swam aside.
Ino and Naruto charged immediately; Hinata squeaked as she was splashed by their wake. Sakura nearly lost her balance when Ino slammed into her with hands outstretched, but with Itachi's strong arms steadying her, she recovered quickly and locked limbs with Ino.
"Dammit, forehead girl," Ino grunted as they struggled. "You're strong, even for a half-mortal."
"Thanks," Sakura replied. "I think…" Suddenly, Ino gave a great push and the pink-haired girl tumbled into the water. Itachi caught her before she sank down too far.
As she coughed violently, the crimson-eyed immortal rubbed her back and asked, "Daijobu, Sakura-chan?"
"H-hai…" she answered weakly, "but I think – " She froze, her hands groping blindly for something.
"What is it?" Ino asked sharply. Itachi disappeared under the surface of the water.
"I lost the knife Tenten gave me!" Sakura cried, searching the sandy bottom frantically. "It's in a waterproof sheath – "
"Are you looking for this?" Something black dangled before her pale face. She sighed in relief, recognizing the sheath.
"Thank you, Itachi-san!" His eyes widened for a fraction of a second as she threw her arms around his waist, but he didn't miss Ino's knowing smile. Sakura saw her blond friend's expression as well and quickly pulled back, mumbling an apology. Itachi found himself wishing that Ino hadn't interfered.
- - -
At dinner that night, the table was full of sobbing, wailing females (and the occasional male) who had finally grasped the concept that this was their last night. Many pleaded for their lives, but no one – and nothing – was let out of the castle.
Sakura was determined to enjoy her last meal. Chatting with Tenten, Ino, and Hinata kept her mind occupied while she ate, and it was some comfort knowing that one human, at least, would make it through the night. Tenten had been holding Neji's hand the whole evening.
Ami had collapsed into a trembling heap at Sasuke's feet, but the raven-haired immortal took no notice save for a single, contemptuous glance at her. All around the table, vampires paid little heed to their captives. One or two humans ate silently, keeping their eyes on their food. Sakura guessed that these were the ones who, like her, had nothing to lose.
Once finished, the royals began leading their mates away and up the stairs, where screams could be heard faintly – horror and pleasure, mixed together until the thin line between them blurred and was gone.
Neji helped Tenten up, and she went willingly; Sakura wondered if she was the only one who saw the slight flicker of fear that flitted across the brunette's face for a moment.
"Come," Itachi whispered, rising from the table. He offered a hand, which she pointedly ignored, but he reached out and took her hand anyway.
- - -
She changed into the pitch black nightgown yet again, placing her knives and sheathes onto the table.
Itachi beckoned to her from his perch on the bed. As she lay on the black silk sheets beside him, he pinned her down and kissed her. And then it happened.
It felt like she had died, but she'd always known that she would go to Hell when that happened; and this was possibly as close to Heaven as she'd ever get. She closed her eyes and let her body take control, deciding to enjoy her last night.
The kisses that Itachi trailed across her face won him the game. Memory after memory flashed before Sakura's eyes of the last two days – more happy, contented memories than ever before in her life. She found herself crying, and Itachi kissed the tears away.
As they slowly calmed down, Itachi kept his arms around Sakura, holding her to his chest, as if unwilling to let her go. When she tried to wiggle away from him, he merely tightened his hold on her and nuzzled her neck.
"Sakura… Sakura-chan…" he mumbled, squeezing her. "Don't leave me…" She gave up trying to get loose and settled instead for stroking his silky black hair.
"I won't leave," she assured him softly.
"Stay with me… forever…"
"Forever," she echoed him. "I won't leave… I'd miss you too much…" As she closed her eyes, she didn't notice his satisfied smirk.
Slowly, silence crept through the castle, aided by both Death and her sister Sleep. Darkness enveloped Sakura.
- - -
No light invaded the sealed room, but Sakura's internal clock woke her. Her jade eyes fluttered open; she sat up and found herself dressed in a long black gown. The space beside her was empty but still warm.
Suddenly, the door opened and light flooded the room. Shading her eyes, Sakura could make out Itachi's silhouette. Once her eyes had adjusted properly, she stood.
He was smirking – that infernal smirk drove her crazy! At his beckon, she followed him to a corner of the room. He brushed her pink locks until they shined and tied a black ribbon around her neck. The metal choker had come off in last night's frenzy. Kissing her cheek, he led her out the door.
She narrowed her eyes – he seemed to be in a good mood. But why?
The hall that had once been filled with noise now stood deathly silent, as red-eyed humans and emotionless immortals stood side by side. Some of the latter were merely holding empty shells of their mates. Sakura shuddered. Two by two they stepped forward before the council of elders. The dead bodies were taken away by vampires clothed in black. The grim-faced eldest held out a tiny vial of clear liquid to every immortal whose mate was still alive.
The vampire took the vial and either handed it to the human next to him or – very rarely – gave it back to the elders. Neji lifted the container briefly before setting it back down in the elderly immortal's hands. Sakura caught Tenten's eye and nodded slightly in approval. Tenten beamed.
Sasuke eyed the vial of liquid critically before placing it mercilessly in Ami's hands. She sobbed once before swallowing. Sasuke led her away to collapse in the privacy of his room.
When it was their turn, Sakura wondered it Itachi would ask her to take the poison even though it wouldn't affect her. He stood examining the vial for so long that she wanted to grab it from him and get it over with. Then, just before she exploded, he handed it back.
With that infernal smirk still on his face, he placed a hand on the small of her back and guided her up the stairs back into his room.
Unsheathing her longest knife, which was something like a short sword, she tested it on her finger. Glancing at Itachi, she asked, "Where should I do it, Itachi-san?"
"Do what?" he replied, taking the knife from her gently.
"Kill myself," she answered. "Unless you wanted to do it yourself?" She cocked her head.
He chuckled, placed the knife on the table, and embraced her. "You can't. You promised not to leave me, remember? You're going to stay with me forever…"
Without another word, he slid the ribbon off of her neck and bit through the skin, draining her. She slumped over without fighting and he sat down on the bed, laying her limp form across his lap.
As her heart beat slower and fainter, he slid one of her kunai out of its sheath and slashed his wrist. The instant her heart stopped, he pried her mouth open and let his blood drip down her throat. She involuntarily swallowed and shivered.
Slowly, her heart began to beat and her chest rose and fell as she breathed. Placing her gently onto the bed, Itachi watched as she slept. He brushed a loose strand of hair out of her face and kissed it, inhaling her scent.
"Sakura. Sakura-chan, wake up," he whispered softly into her ear. She moaned, stirring.
"Itachi-san…?" She reached up and felt the puncture marks on her neck, staring at him in confusion.
"You're immortal now, Sakura-chan. We can be together forever," he murmured, tracing the outline of her face. "Oh, and by the way," he added with a wicked smirk, "I believe that I won the game last night."
Sakura laughed. "And what is your prize, Itachi-san?" Her face glowed as it had never done before.
"For one thing, stop calling me Itachi-san. As for my prize…" He grabbed her waist and pinned her to the bed. "I have an idea…"
They were interrupted by a knock on the door. "Hey, you two!" Ino called, completely certain that Sakura was not dead. "Do you want to come to the beach with us again?"
Sakura threw Itachi off of her with her newfound strength and opened the door. Ino frowned.
"Gods, girl!" she exclaimed. "You don't look so good! The beach will do you wonders." Without waiting for an answer, she grabbed Sakura's hand.
"Come on, Itachi-kun!" Sakura called over her shoulder. Itachi smirked as he registered the use of the familiar suffix.
"I'll claim my prize tonight," he warned in a deep tone that sent shivers down Sakura's back.
She grinned cheekily at him. "Catch me if you can!"
End Undead Game.
- - -
Whew. Finally done. I need you to tell me if the rating is okay with the REALLY vague scene up there. I dunno… You tell me. Oh, yeah. I forgot that last time, I made a mistake. I said that Hinata was a full-time mate, and some of you caught me there.
Original vampires:Mates (turned vampires):
Hinata (she is his cousin, after all)Naruto
ShikamaruIno (Sakura knew her before)
SasukeNo one (because he's an idiot)
Itachi (duh… He's Sasuke's brother)Sakura (No, really?!)
I think that's it. Heh. Thanks to all of you who read, and all of you who reviewed! Sequel to Allegiances, coming up! (I'm still writing it, so it might be slower…)