A/N: I know, I know, it took me long enough to update, especially for a this short chapter. I wrote most of it right after i finished chapter 2, but I couldn't bring myself to finish it and submit it. And I've been quite busy. Sorry! I'll try my best to put up the next chapter sooner. I'd like to thank to all the people who reviewed and put me or my story on their favorites/alerts list. It makes me real happy, thanx a lot :) So, here comes the second chapter.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Naruto characters, blah, blah, blah...

''M-me? J-join the Akatsuk-ki?'' Hinata was beyond shocked.

''Yes,'' Itachi said.

''B-but w-why m-me?'' There. She was stammering again.

''Because you have enormous strength. Your powers are valuable. You are a valuble shinobi, and we want you to join us.''

Hinata couldn't believe her ears. Rarely she was complimented on her strength and told she was valuable. Her father told her everyday she was weak and worthless. But was she really? Being told so often how horrible she was really did take her confidence down. It would take anybody's confidence down. So, maybe she was stronger than she thought. Itachi thought she was strong. That must've meant something. He thought Sasuke was weak after all.

''S-so I join you and...'' she said, just in case there was some trick to it.

Itachi shrugged. ''You live here, go on missions the Leader assigns you, and enjoy yourself the rest of the time. We're asking nothing but loyalty and strength.''

Hinata nodded, but didn't say anything.

Itachi sighed. ''Look, we're not that bad as you think. People have many prejudices, but they're not true. You have nowhere to go, no clan, family, or village to belong to, like all of our members. We offer you our help. Trust me. There is no trick, nothing. And being as S-ranked criminal isn't that bad,'' he added. ''Our lives aren't bad. Take this room for instance. It used to belong to an Akatsuki member. And I think you found it qute comfortable.''

Hinata thought about it. She had nowhere to go, for sure. And here she'd be secure. Her past wouldn't haunt her, and she'd be able to start a new life. She didn't feel like she was betraying her village or anything. Konoha wasn't her village anymore. Everybody there betrayed her. So she was doing nothing bad. This time, she was the one to decide what to do with her life.

''OK,'' she finally said. ''I'll join.''

Itachi smiled. ''Good. I'm sure you won't regret it. Now, we have to go to the Leader,'' he said, getting up.

Hinata stood up and followed him out of the room. Maybe her life would now take a turn for the better.

''So, you decided to join us, eh, Hinata?'' the Leader asked.

Hinata nodded.

''Good,'' he said with a pleased voice. ''We'll give you time to recover now. You can just relax. The entire hedquarters are at your disposal. Once you recover, you can start training. I believe you'll find our training conditions quite good. Then, when you are back into top form, I'd like you to fight another Akatsuki member. Itachi here tells me you're extremely strong. I believe his judgement, but I'd like to see it for myself. Take your time, don't rush anything. There's plenty of time. You're free to go now. Itachi, you stay for a while.''

Hinata turned around and walked towards the door. As she was exiting the room, the Leader said, ''One more thing.''

Hinata turned her head to look at him.

''Welcome to Akatsuki,'' he said with a smile.

''What did you find out, Itachi?'' the Leader asked.

''She seems to have been through some tough times. She was kicked out of her clan, and then, naturally, nobody wanted to have anything to do with her. She has nowhere to go. I think that she joined us primarily because of that. But she wouldn't tell why she got kicked out. It is something she'd like to keep a secret, probably something that cause her great distress, not to mention shame.''

The Leader nodded. ''All right. Find out what it is, and see if it interferes with our plans in any way. Keeep the girl on eye, and find out as much as you can about her.''

''Hai!'' Itachi said shortly.

''You are dismissed,'' said the Leader, and Itachi exited the room.

Hinata wandered through the halls aimlessly, not knowing where to go next. The headquarters were huge, and she had already started thinking she was lost. Suddenly, Itachi materialized in front of her.

''You finished with the Leader?'' Hinata asked. She had become much more relaxed in his presence, since she figured he wasn't so bad.

''Yes,'' Itachi replied. ''Now, I'll take you on a tour around the headquarters and you can meet the others,'' he turned around and started walking.

''So I am an Akatsuki member now?'' Hinata asked, rushing to catch up to him.

''Yeah, you are,'' Itachi said.

''Then when will I get one of those?'' Hinata indicated his cloak, decorated with red clouds.

''After your fight with an Akatsuki member,'' said Itachi sounding bored, like he was talking to an annoying three year old. Hinata refrained from saying anything for a while.

They walked down the long hallway of the headquarters. It was pretty simple, well-lit, with no decorations on the walls.

''What do you think about that dress?'' asked Itachi after a few moments of silence.

''It's pretty,'' Hinata answered fingering the wide, decorated skirt. ''You said that the room belonged to an Akatsuki member. Who was she, and what happenned to her?''

''Itachi lowered his head. ''She was the only girl member at Akatsuki. She had exceptional powers, but as you see, also a great thing for luxury. Of course, every single one of her wishes was granted. An amazing ninja, especially skilled at spying. Quite cheerful too. A great fun. Could make even the most serious one of us laugh.'' He was silent for a moment apparently lost in memories. Then he sighed, and continued bitterly. ''She was killed. We were on a mission, there was a mistake, and...she died. All of us were devastated.''

Hinata listened curiously. His voice throbbed with pain, and it was extremely weird for Itachi to show emotions. That was the first time she'd seen him do that. That girl must've meant a lot to him, she reasoned. It suprised her. She didn't really expect Itachi Uchiha to show caring for anyone, especially a teammate.

''Here we are,'' said Itachi regaining his emotionless tone, as they approached the exit doors. When they approached them, Itachi performed an ninjutsu on the look and pushed it open. They stepped out in the warm sunlight, and Hinata gasped at the sight...

He, he, I know, I left it at a cliffhanger, some of you may hate me for it. But i promise I'll try my best to update soon enough. The reason I didn't write more is because I am not sure about the story pairing. I intended at first for it to be a Naruto-Hinata story, but lately I've been thinking of pairing up Hinata with either Itachi or Deidara, and one of my readers already suggested for a Hinata-Deidara paring. So, I want you to vote on it. Please do so in your reviews, so that I can decide what to do! I want to do what my readers want me to, cause I want you guys to be pleased with it. So, review with your suggestions!