Chapter 15: Eight Months Later...

For Sasuke, the months had flown by, in which Sakura's belly swelled greatly. Sasuke spoiled her with whatever she wanted or needed, but most of the time she didn't ask for much. She slept in the finest silk and satin, and wore his mother's old maternity clothes. In his house, while she was pregnant with the spark of the Uchiha clan, Sakura would not have to lift a finger. She seemed to hate that, but still, Sasuke gave her whatever she needed and did all errands she needed done.

Over the eight months, Sakura had perfected the Sharingan to three prongs, and Sasuke had learned how to heal. He could heal practically everything now: cuts, bruises, even broken bones. He couldn't heal as quickly as Sakura, but at least it was something.

Sakura had learned how to use her Chakra to see their baby whilst inside the womb. It was a beautiful baby girl - she had shown him how to do it, too. Ita was to be her name. Sasuke asked Sakura if she wanted to change the name because of what Itachi had done eight months earlier, but Sakura refused, telling him Ita her baby was and Ita her baby would stay. Sasuke had smiled at her unflinching decision.

This baby seemed to have brought the two of them even closer, and it hadn't been born yet. Sasuke couldn't wait for her to come - he wanted to see her grow, wanted to teach her everything he knew. He couldn't wait for her to activate the Sharingan for the first time. Sakura was in her ninth month, Sasuke knew, and so he didn't have to wait long. Ita was due, in fact, on his birthday, July twenty-third. Happy birthday, Sasuke. He thought to himself.

Night fell, and Sasuke and Sakura retired to bed. Sasuke made her comfortable, placing some spare pillows under her back to make it more even. He covered her up, then climbed in so he was against the wall. He wrapped his arms around her and held her close. They fell asleep quickly.

A few hours later, Sasuke awoke to the sounds of swords clashing and people screaming. There were couple of swords clashing and people screaming. There was also the sounds of people being thrown against the house. Sasuke opened his eyes. Shit, he thought to himself, fully awake.

Sakura moaned a little. "Sasuke - ?"

Sasuke hushed her and whispered, "Keep quiet, Sakura. They've come."

"What do we do?" She whispered.

"I fight them. You just hang tight." She objected to this, but he quieted her. Itachi was right outside the door...He knocked, but Sasuke knew better then to answer. His mind was racing, but no thoughts formed.

Itachi entered then, just standing in the doorway. Sasuke gave him a vicious glare, clinging tighter to Sakura. "You stationed six ANBU around the house. Was it because you feared our coming for you?" He tilted his head in a curious manner.

"I'm not letting you touch Sakura." Sasuke growled, clinging tighter to her still. If he stalled things enough, backup ANBU would come...

"Either you come peacefully, or we burn the house down." Sasuke's eyes widened, but he said nothing. "Very well." Itachi turned to leave.

"Wait!" Sakura stopped him. "We'll go with you." She sat up and stood. Sasuke followed.

"What a good little kunoichi you are." Itachi sneered. Chakra ropes bound their arms behind their back. "We've captured your ANBU friends as well - they'll be coming with us."

"Why?" Sasuke asked, confused.

"Foolish otouto." Itachi said simply, turning around and pulling them forward. They followed without hesitation. "We're bringing the ANBU to make it look like you two decided to leave, for whatever reason. That way there's a less likeliness that we'll be chased."

Sasuke looked to the ground and whispered, "Aniki is a genius, after all." There was no answer to that.

There were six Akatsuki, each pinning an ANBU of their own. Naruto had Hinata, Deidara caught Ino, Sasori held Tenten, Neji was pinned by Kisame, Gaara clenched Lee's arms so tightly his nails had began to dig through his skin, and Shikamaru had been outsmarted by an Itachi clone. The Akatsuki hadn't even bothered to remove the ANBU's masks. Sasuke's heart fell at the sight of them.

"Move out," Itachi ordered, and they all jumped off with their captors. The real Itachi followed behind, keeping watch on the two Uchihas.

At the base, the ANBU were thrown into a large cell facing two single units. Sasuke was thrown into one, and Sakura the other. He couldn't see her now. Glumly, Sasuke sat on the bed that was on the right side of the cell. But what he couldn't see was that Sakura, sitting on her bed on the left side of the room, had her back to him - they were perfectly symmetrical.

A day or two had passed. Sakura was due either tomorrow or the day after that. Sasuke grew worried. At any moment, she could start having contractions. And he wouldn't be able to help her.

After several failed attempts of escape, his ANBU friends had glumly given up. After two days of only bread and water, no one had the energy to do any more. Sasuke comforted the ANBU by telling them they had done everything they could and that he wasn't angry with them. This seemed to make them feel a little better, but when they looked over to a ready-to-blow Sakura, they panicked again. They knew just as well as Sasuke: Sakura could go into labor at any given moment.

But, the day before she was due, there were shouts from the Akatsuki about ANBU. Sasuke smiled. Backup had finally arrived.

Itachi, Deidara, Sasori, Gaara, Kisame, and Naruto came down to their cells and took the ANBU. Itachi himself took Sakura and Sasuke, and his Shadow Replication took Shikamaru. They left out a back entrance Sasuke hadn't noticed before, and quickly scattered into the woods.

The three of them hopped over the thick branches of the ancient tress. Sakura had been able to - almost - keep up with Itachi's fast speed. She was only a branch behind the entire time. Sasuke was proud of her strength.

Night had fallen before Sakura cried out and stopped. Sasuke and Itachi stopped as well, only one branch ahead. Sasuke looked back to her, heart racing. For a moment, there was nothing. But then, when Sasuke thought she was fine, Sakura cried out again, this time wraping her arms around her stomach and falling to her knees. "Shit," Sasuke told Itachi, then jumped back to her, holding her. He brought her down to the ground, helped her into a 'cave' of tree roots. She cried out again, laid down. Sasuke sat at her head. The only thought that went through his mind just then was: