Title: blood limit

Author: paws-bells

Characters/Pairing: Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Itachi

Type: One-shot (Complete)

Genre: Romance/Angst

Word Count: 6737

Theme: LJ Community, 50-shinobi theme #28, blood limit

Rating: T (Contains content not suitable for children)

Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto-san.

Summary: Look at me, he whispered fiercely. I want you to look at me. Don't turn away.

Chapter Last Revised on: 19/12/07

In twenty four hours' time, he was going to be completely blind.

Sakura's hand shook finely as she lowered it from his temple. She clenched her fingers into a fist and brought it to her side resolutely.

Dark, onyx eyes stared at her. Or rather, they stared at her vague features; the vivid pink hair and intense verdant eyes were the only things that stood out enough for his failing eyesight to detect.

"What is your diagnosis?" He asked her quietly.

Sakura swallowed and shook her head silently in reply.

"It's not…good." It was an understatement but it was the only thing Sakura could say that didn't sound as bad as the truth, and yet hit as close to it as she could.

But then again, she should have known that he was never one who would care to be comforted by such act of mercies.

"How bad is it?"

For all her talents as an exceptional medic-nin, she could only barely slow down the accelerated deterioration of his sight. The delicate optic nerves were dying rapidly, and so badly burnt and mangled by the constant use of chakra that there was nothing she could do to reverse the extensive damage. The cones in his retinas that gave colors to his sight had been mostly destroyed. The rods were barely being sustained by her chakra.

As it was right now, he was only seeing the world through shades of grey.

The Sharingan was more a curse than a gift, it seems.

Emerald eyes darkened.

One of the most powerful doujutsus in the world, underneath its glorious power and supreme abilities hid a darkness so malevolent and tainted that it was a surprise that it had been allowed to exist even now. However, in the quest for raw, unrivaled power it appeared that there were a lot of things that people were willing to overlook. The sheer insanity, the instability of the demon blood, the unnatural union that was required for the creation of the Sharingan.

It had been something that was never meant to be, never supposed to happen but the greed of Man simply knew no bounds and it was through that sordid desire that one of Konoha's greatest bloodlines was born.

In the end, it was also that same overwhelming thirst for power, coupled with the growing rage and madness that had abruptly ended that proud and great clan once and for all.

And it was only now that Sakura finally realized the truth.

That entire clan should have been culled from the very beginning.

The sheer amount of geniuses that were born from that clan; just how many of them had been lost to insanity, just how many had been lost to delusions of grandeur? How long had the manifesting darkness managed to conceal itself within the increasingly troubled clan; how many had been made to suffer in silence? It should have been rather obvious that the clan was self-destructing from inside out. It had been a slow, arduous undertaking that had taken centuries to work itself out and the genius among geniuses had realized what was happening.

And he had simply accelerated the process.

Now he was the only one left. He and another, the latter being so caught up in the past that he failed to see what his aniki saw then, the pending destruction that had been all around him. He had been too young to understand, yet at the same time still pure and untainted in his childhood. Itachi could not kill him then; he would not kill him now either.

Sasuke was the only family he had spared; the only family he would never touch.

It all came down to blood in the end. Blood kin, bloodline, blood.

And no matter how hard he tried he could never escape it. The blood on his hands, the crimson in his eyes.

And it made Sakura wonder.

"…what would it be like…if you weren't born an Uchiha? Have you ever wondered?"

He stared at her.

She had not answered his question but instead was asking about such an unrelated matter that he almost narrowed dark orbs of onyx at her.

Then she placed small, cool hands on his shoulders, the unexpected touch jolting him before their gentleness lulled him to a sense of patience once more. He would never understand; how easily she could tame his volatile emotions with just a single caress but she did. Maybe one day she would tell him but definitely not now. He wouldn't understand yet, and if she was being truthful to herself, so didn't she. It was only an innate awareness, a special instinct that she had when it came to him.

Without words, her soft touch begged him to indulge her. And surprisingly enough, he did.

"The clan was my birthright." The smooth, lilting tenor of his voice was indifferent as he spoke about his family; the place that he was born in and the people who had helped mold him to be what he had become. "Pride for the clan had been ingrained within me for as long as I can remember." Dark eyes were blank and apathetic as they slid over to meet her emerald ones.

"Pride, and the knowledge that the clan would one day be mine to do as I please."

A small shiver of apprehension crept up Sakura's spine at his foreboding words. Before she could say anything though, he continued to speak.

"There was no place for frivolity like thoughts—and foolish daydreams." He whispered. "The responsibilities of the clan were heavy and I was expected to shoulder them without complaint. I was never allowed to forget my position, and never allowed to forget about the clan. A good clan leader must show no emotion." Itachi recited expressionlessly from memory. "He must surpass all his predecessors in terms of abilities and foresight. He must know what to do for the good of the clan and execute it unflinchingly no matter the circumstance."

And my clan was tainted.

What was I supposed to do?

Clean it up.

Sakura flinched.

It was perhaps the wickedest of ironies that the greatest pride of the Uchihas had been the one to end it all. The clan who had took their most powerful and brilliant of prodigies and turned him into an emotionless, living weapon had probably never expected for him to turn on them so suddenly and abruptly that there was nothing to do but to stare Death in the face as it came to claim their souls.

Onyx eyes hardened.

The elders, who never seemed to be satisfied no matter how hard he tried, no matter how high he soared above them. Always pushing hard, always demanding, it was never enough and they certainly didn't mind taking advantage of a child's vulnerable need to be accepted, certainly never thought it low to exploit him emotionally and leave him out to dry when they didn't need to show him off anymore.

The Mother, who had not done a thing to shield her child from the harsh expectations of the clan, who had not lifted a finger to stop the intensive trainings and brutal sessions of her son's 'lessons' to becoming a perfect Uchiha, who had not done a thing to stop her son's downward descent into darkness and depravity all because that was the 'right' thing to do. He had been her firstborn and the heir to one of the most prestigious clan in Konoha, and coupled with the fact that this child from her womb was evidently a genius who surpassed all others she quickly found that she had no place in his life and could only give him up into the eager, grasping hands of her clan elders and watch passively from the sidelines as they turned him from the warm little toddler who had once smiled and laughed into a cold-blooded, emotionless, and above all, powerful stranger. And she had looked on with pride.

The Father, who had thoughtlessly placed too many expectations upon the frail shoulders of a child not yet old enough but was literally forced into assuming the role of a grownup, who had selfishly used his son as a pawn in a game to further his own goals and ambitions, who had literally stripped away the innocence of his child and thrust him mentally unprepared into a harsh reality where death was an everyday part of life and the only choices were to kill or be killed.

All in the name to fulfill an insatiable lust for more power and prestige.

More, more, more.

Children were never meant to be put in such roles.

At an age where others were innocent and carefree, fending off overenthusiastic fangirls and striking up lasting friendships that would endure a lifetime, Itachi had already mastered the Sharingan, was already a full-fledged killer. He needed no one, was extremely quick on the uptake and very, very good at what he does and it was at that point of time when his clan stopped admiring and boasting about him as one of theirs and began to fear him instead. He was ascending too fast, and so isolated and detached from the rest of the world that nobody knew him anymore.

It was natural after all, to be wary of the foreign and the dangerous.

And his clan, the same one that he had worked so hard for, sacrificed so much for, was abandoning him.

The Uchiha clan was afraid of their own prodigy.

And worst of all, he had no way to show them that he would not harm them. The one and only way he had been taught to prove himself was to become the best at everything he does, to attain as much power as possible because power equals respect and acceptance but the harder he worked and the more well known he became the more his own kin avoided him.

Uchiha Itachi was not someone to be trifled with; he was to be placed on a pedestal, respected from a far distance and never to be approached. He needed no one, and from that height he was at all would know that he was the result of centuries of superior Uchiha breeding, the strong blood flowing within his veins easily surpassing that of the Hyuugas.

The pride of the Uchihas.

That was enough for the clan.

But they clearly forgot one thing. He was not infallible. He was not a god. He was as human as all of them and a genius he may be but they had never allowed him the chance to properly develop his mentality. His transition from child to adult had been a painfully abrupt one, a trial by fire that had forcefully ripped away a part of him that he would never fully recover and it was no surprise that the famed Uchiha prodigy was highly unstable and mentally unsound.

He was very good at hiding it though; quiet, observant eyes always watching, always mentally filing away how the people around him would react when encountered with certain situations. And then he would learn to mimic those reactions, never understanding truly why or the reasons behind these seemingly elaborate human behaviors.

There was no one to ask, after all, and he of all people knew how badly his father tolerated weaknesses of any kind.

There was no one to turn to; Sasuke was too young to understand what was going on and his demands to want to be exactly like his aniki always made Itachi flinch. And Shisui—

Shisui had been the last straw.

The elder Uchiha had been as close to a friend as Itachi had ever known. He had not been intimidated by his extraordinary prowess and abilities nor had he been like the rest of the older Uchiha cousins; either ignoring him as if he was not there or sneering at him behind his back because he was the clan's heir and prodigy, hand raised and personally trained by Fugaku and the elders to become the most powerful ninja to ever come from the House of the Uchiha.

He had no idea what to make of the friendly male the first time he ambled over to talk to him. It hadn't been about a mission, it hadn't even been about a challenge to a spar; it had been just a simple conversation about the most normal of matters between two strangers living in the same compound. Itachi never spoke a word throughout the entire exchange but cheerful, smiling Shisui had enough things to say for the both of them. There had been no obligations, no reason for their random encounters but to Itachi's baffled surprise the other Uchiha sought out his company almost as often as he could.

And so Shisui had remained—and although he had never managed to get anywhere past Itachi's many emotional defenses and that nothing important or significant had been shared between the two shinobi there had been a peaceful semblance of normalcy that Itachi had never experienced before but greatly appreciated.

Shisui had been a companion of sorts, a companion the likes of whom Itachi had never had before and whom had made the threatening tide of loneliness recede some. And that was enough for the young prodigy.

But then reality came crashing down, and Itachi learnt not for the first time that everything has its price.

The only reason why Shisui had even bothered to befriend him was because the older male had been told to keep an eye on his young, distant cousin. The young, distant cousin who was just too powerful, too unpredictable and may need to be controlled and restrained like a commonly trained pet if he ever tried to revolt. Affable, friendly Shisui had been sent because he could get the job done, and he did. Within the span of a few short months he had his affection-starved cousin dancing on a tight leash at his heels like a well-trained puppy.

It really was amazing what one would do just so as to further their station within the great clan of the Uchiha. Blood turning against blood; all in the name for a better standing, a higher status. The Uchihas were doing a good job destroying themselves; they certainly didn't need him to start the ball rolling and yet it was he whom they had feared. He whom had never been a threat to his own until they had forced his hand; and this was the last straw.

It was at that same moment in time that Pein came, and made an offer Itachi could not refuse.

There was no hope within this clan, no longer a place within it for him; in the quest for more influence and prestige they had all clearly forgotten what true power was about and were leading the clan towards nothing but destruction. He was just a trophy to be waved about by the clan elders, just another proof of the superior Uchiha bloodline and nothing else. His own mother didn't see him, his father had no idea what to do with him outside of ANBU missions and clan duties and his clan didn't trust him.

He was obviously not wanted here; in this place he had been born, had lived his entire life in. And so he would leave.

It wasn't supposed to be like this though, and therefore before he left Itachi decided to do one last thing; for the good of the clan.

It was a cleansing; to cull away all that were tainted and infected so as to allow for a new, fresh beginning. It was the natural order of things; Itachi could not help but feel. After all, the vegetation that grew back after a devastating forest fire were always more robust and stronger than before. This would be no different.

And Itachi knew; that with this new beginning, Sasuke would grow to surpass him.

The clan would live through his little brother.

And that was how, in the span of a single night the great and noble clan of the Uchiha was brutally reduced from its great strength of hundreds to just a mere two.

Itachi had never looked back then.

Until now.

The powerful Uchiha stared at Sakura, and since he could not define her features as clearly as he used to he easily read her chakra instead. Was she afraid of him again? Was she disgusted by his twisted justifications for all the horror that he had inflicted upon his own family? Does she despise him?

Of course not.

Enough time spent with this kunoichi had taught him that she possessed an extremely forgiving nature. She would commonly experience righteous anger for the things that he had done which she had felt was wrong or unnecessarily brutal but that agitation that would flare high and bright would fizzle out just as quickly as it appeared once she was allowed to reveal her displeasure to him. She was incapable of fostering hate; she simply did not possess the patience to calmly, cold-bloodedly stoke the embers of hatred deep within her until it was time to unleash it upon the one who had deserved her wrath.

No, of course there was no disgust, no hatred, not ever anger. However, he did sense the sadness and overwhelming worry. It confused him momentarily. What could she be so upset about?

It shouldn't matter what she was feeling. He shouldn't care. The only thing he should be concerned about would be her loyalty. Should she choose to turn upon him, he would be forced to kill her. It was as simple as that. Uchiha Itachi does not tolerate betrayal well; never mind the fact that he seldom if ever trusted anyone enough to allow them the ammunition to hurt him.

She had been a rare exception.

The pink-haired kunoichi had been an unexpected find. She had been absolutely terrified of him at first but her anger and rage at being forcefully taken away from her beloved country had her lashing out at him all the same, a fool's bravery. She had not succeeded in landing a hit on him even till now of course, and it had been two years since that fateful encounter and gradually, she too had changed.

Hostile emerald eyes had softened, her constantly wary defensive form had learnt to relax around him, and the first time she smiled at him her unique eyes had glowed in a way that he had never seen on any other before. It caught his attention—still did.

And he had to admit that he had gotten…used to her.

Living with this powerful medic-nin with the bright pink hair and laughing green eyes had become a normal thing to him. She was very different to him; he could never understand how she was always finding joy in the simple things she saw and be content to remain a captive but she had. Such an innocent being in comparison to himself, she was always curious and asking questions and although she had been forced to kill before she always cried whenever it was over. He felt that she was the most appallingly unprofessional kunoichi he had ever met but yet whenever the tears came, he was always nearby, not necessarily comforting her per se, but just close by and watchful.

It was enough for Sakura.

Silently, the beautiful pink-haired female slid her hands from his broad shoulders to the base of his neck. Nimble fingers started to gently sooth away the distressingly tight knots that she found there. He was always so tensed, so highly guarded and she could still remember how long it had took before he allowed her to go near him, not to mention how long it had took before she could gather the courage to approach him like this. Sakura had long since quit trying to comprehend why she was even doing this, why she was still here and how she could willingly stay here with a dangerous S-class missing-nin like she had. She was needed here, and that was that.

It was odd, the way things worked out but in the strangest of ways they truly needed each other. And Sakura was so tired of fighting it. The world was not always painted in black and white and what she had with him was not something that could be easily defined. His strangely compelling, quietly confident presence lent strength to her in a way she never knew she needed and she liked to think that her own existence in his life had also given him some fresh perspective as well.

When she was with him, she could not help but feel empowered by this sense of completeness.

Does he feel the same?

She daren't hope.

"Well," Sakura murmured. The subject of his clan had been an obviously awkward topic for the both of them. He had never spoken of them before until she had asked to know today, and he certainly had no reservations answering her. Sakura didn't regret asking; his brief words had given her more insight to him than he knew.

And her heart ached for him.

"I always felt that you would have been a scholar if you weren't born a nin."

Despite himself, her deceptively lighthearted reply piqued his interest.

"A scholar?" He echoed softly, the question in his smooth tenor barely detectable.

A small smile appeared briefly on Sakura's lips. She nodded.

"Yes." The kunoichi affirmed as she continued kneading at his tensed muscles. He was slowly relaxing into her hands; she wondered if he had realized that. He probably did. "Knowledge is also a type of power after all, and you are always so hungry for it.

"You would be the best in your field of course," Sakura continued musing. "because your drive to succeed would never change no matter what you do."

The slight amusement that made its way into her voice was obvious by then.

"And knowing you, Itachi, you would also be the most intense individual anyone could meet; making people feel foolish just by standing next to you and scaring everyone away."

His onyx eyes lifted and met hers then, the effects of her soothing massage evident in his languid, relaxed gaze.

"But not you." His calm, matter of fact tone surprised her.

Sakura stared back at him for a long moment before nodding slightly in agreement.

"But not me." She confirmed in a whisper, all earlier traces of amusement disappearing into thin air at his short sentence.

The room was silent for a long moment before he spoke again.


Sakura thought about his question.

"I don't know." The pink-haired female admitted at last. "Maybe this was the way things were supposed to be."

She withdrew her hands from his shoulders and allowed them to fall to her sides. They were on the bed and she was kneeling between his outstretched legs, so close that she could feel the gentle heat emanating from his body. His proximity did not threaten her; in fact she edged even nearer to him, until one of her knees bumped against the insides of his thigh and she could see the delicate slivers of cobalt blue that were embedded within his pupils.

She was not surprised when his hands came around her waist to tug her closer. She allowed him to maneuver her as he pleased. It wasn't a well known fact for obvious reasons, but he was startlingly gentle when it came to her and it never failed to surprise her anew whenever he initiated any sort of contact with her.

The heat of his large hands spread delicious warmth to her body and Sakura suppressed the urge to arch fully into him. Instead she dropped her head against his shoulder and in response he turned his face into the side of her slender neck.

"You believe in fate."

The movements of his lips against the sensitive skin behind her ear made her shudder with pleasure. She swallowed, then shook her head.

"No." Her whisper was husky as she lifted her arms and wrapped them around him. "I believe in second chances."

He said nothing to her firm declaration but then again, she didn't expect him to. Instead, she quietly remained with him as she allowed him to sort out his thoughts.

"How long until I lose my sight completely?" He asked at last.

Sakura was hardly surprised that he had reverted straight to his previously unanswered question. He was too good a shinobi for her to distract away from anything he wanted to know unless he allowed it. The pink-haired kunoichi sighed softly into his shoulder before lifting her head to look at him. There was no pity in her eyes; he wouldn't appreciate it and if she was in his shoes, so wouldn't she.

"Thirty-six hours at best."

There was no visible reaction from him at the rather distressing news, except that she had felt him still completely. By her sides, Sakura's fingers twitched in response; for her the instinct to comfort was overwhelming but she knew better than to try now.

"At worst?" His deceptively calm manner did not fool her. Sakura closed her fists resolutely. The urge to look away from his intent gaze was strong but she would not give in to it.

"At worst, twelve."

The sheer finality in her tone echoed across the empty room. Sakura eyed him warily. His sharp, pale face, blandly expressionless as it normally was, looked as if it had just been wiped slate clean.

Emerald eyes darkened.


Before she could complete her sentence his eyes, seemingly glazed as if in deep thought, slid over to focus upon hers. There was an odd light in those onyx orbs and Sakura was more than a little disconcerted.

"If I utilize the Sharingan, will it speed up the process?"

The kunoichi stared at him for as long as she could; trying her hardest to decipher what was going on within that complicated mind of his. As usual, she was not succeeding.

"…yes." Sakura was hesitant. Something was really wrong here and she wanted to know what it was.

"How long?"

Without thinking much about his question because she was still mulling over his strange behavior Sakura blurted out the answer.

"Half a day, at most."

His eyes, those suddenly inscrutable eyes of his stared at her for the longest time. It made alarm bells go off in her head. Sakura knew what that feeling meant immediately. He was going to do something she wasn't going to like.

Before she could demand to know what he was thinking he slid his gaze away from her. Those insanely long eyelashes of his swept down and promptly concealed any of his thoughts from her, much to her frustration and growing apprehension.

"Very well." He spoke at last, and when he opened his eyes again, they were red.

Sakura froze for a short moment before she reacted.

"Are you crazy?!" The kunoichi exploded angrily. What the hell did he think he was doing?!! "Turn it off right now!"

Despite the excruciating pain he felt at forcing chakra into his eyes, his powerful bloodline limit immediately threw his entire vision into sharp relief. The most brilliant of colors filtered harshly into his highly sensitized retinas and compared to the dull and subdued world of grays and whites that he had been seeing for the past weeks, this was something he had not known he would miss until it was almost gone.

"Damn you, Itachi! Did you hear what I just said?" Sakura raised her hands immediately to his temples in an effort to push her own healing chakra into his badly damaged optic nerves. "Turn the Sharingan off!"

The worried scowl on her beautiful face and the anxiety in her emerald eyes were so much more obvious to him now than they ever were and he understood immediately why she was so upset.


Sakura could only gape at him with rising irritation as he gave her that one worded denial and gently but firmly took her hands in his and brought them back down to rest upon her lap. The kunoichi opened her mouth as if to say something but closed it again when the words just wouldn't come out.

"Why?" She bit out at last. Sakura was getting very angry. He was being reckless with his own wellbeing and that was something she could not tolerate. There were so many others out there who had been born blind and would have given anything just to see the world that they were in and here he was doing everything he could to accelerate the process. And not to mention that he had no right making her worry like that; no right at all! Sakura fumed.

"You know what?" The kunoichi snapped as she started to push herself away from him. She needed to get far away from his proximity so that she could cool down some. "I don't want to know why. You are a spoilt, angst-ridden moron who just had to-"

Her angry tirade was cut off abruptly when he caught a fragile wrist and pulled her retreating form back to face him.

"Look at me."

Sakura was not in the mood to listen to unreasonable commands. She was very determined to ignore him but the way his fingers tightened slightly over her forearm had her lifting her eyes up to meet his grudgingly in the end.

Simmering emerald met bloody crimson, and it wasn't long before Sakura saw what he had wanted her to see within those Sharingan depths.

It wasn't anguish. It wasn't grief. It wasn't even denial.

It was fierce relief.

Just like that, her anger wilted to be replaced by growing confusion. It didn't make sense to her. As usual, he wasn't making any sense to her. He was so bloody complicated!! And why on earth would he feel relieved for, of all things? He was losing his sight, his famed bloodline as well as its infamous final evolved stage, the Mangekyo Sharingan. He may be insanely powerful but the loss of a kekkei genkai as great as his was sure to incapacitate him some. So what was there to be relieved about?

Sakura did not understand.


He spoke before she could demand for an explanation.

"This is my second chance."

Sakura froze.

Her mind raced to try to comprehend what he was referring to and then-

And then understanding dawned.

The kunoichi could only stare at him.

"You-" She whispered falteringly. "You would go so far as to rid yourself of-"

"No." He interrupted her before she could complete her sentence. "I am not ridding myself of anything. This is in my blood; no amount of cleansing would get it off me." Itachi continued to look at her intensely, willing her to understand. She would in the end, he knew. She was a very intelligent individual.

"But my time is over, and I see no use in prolonging the inevitable."

This is my second chance, Sakura.

Sakura really wanted to say that she had no idea what he was talking about. But for some strange, bizarre twist of fate she did understand what he meant and even as it belatedly occurred to her that either she was getting better at understanding him or she was starting to think like him; both of which were not exactly very good pieces of news for the pretty pink-haired female by the way, a part of her could not help but agree with his logic.

It was seriously not good if she was even empathizing with him now.

Sakura closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. Then just as quickly she opened one eye and glared balefully at her antagonist.

"You make me feel like tearing my hair out sometimes; and now is one of those many times, trust me." There was a grumpy pause before she looked to him again. "Can I convince you to change your mind?" She asked with as much irritation as she could muster but he could have told her not to bother; he easily saw through her façade anyway.

Her worry for him was strangely…empowering.

Itachi merely stared at her with a slightly arched brow.

It was enough of an answer for Sakura. She groaned.

"This is my fault again, isn't it?" The kunoichi asked mostly to herself. Opening her eyes fully now and looking at him, she continued asking/talking to herself. "I should have kept my mouth shut on the 'second chances' thing, shouldn't I? Yes, I should. I'm such an idiot."

She sounded so very featherbrained and lighthearted at the moment mumbling to herself but he easily saw through her act. It was her way of coping, as odd as it appeared to him, and unfortunately for her it wasn't working at all. He could clearly see that she was on the verge of panicking.

"It makes no difference." He was oddly calm about his condition. "In the end, the results are the same."

Sakura's eyes narrowed. The silly, distracted act was no more as she snapped at him fiercely. "So you think that speeding up the process of your blindness would help?"

He looked at her for a long time.

"No." His voice was quiet. "But my sight would certainly be a lot better for as long as I can see and most importantly, everything would proceed according to my own terms."

He had always hated to be controlled.

It was one of the first things that she had discovered about him. Manipulation, mind games and anything that could count vaguely as deceitful maneuvering would easily set him off. It was very important to him that he had control of the situation at all times and it didn't matter that he himself was a master of manipulation, of mind fuckery; he just had to be in control. Maybe it was a hard lesson learnt from his troubled childhood, maybe it was partially ingrained into him from all the 'leadership lessons' that his clan had taught him but Sakura was slowly understanding the reason why he did certain things that didn't seem to make sense to her before.

After all that was said and done, this was his choice and after knowing him like she did it was getting harder and harder to justify away just why she would care so much whenever it came to him. And she was no longer the little twelve year old Genin from nearly a decade ago; trying to force the person she loved into something that was for his own good had never worked then and she knew from experience that it wouldn't work now. There was nothing she could do and damn it, this feeling of helplessness was something she hated the most when it came to matters like this.

Matters of the heart.

The weak little girl from so long ago with the big heart and so much love in her eyes had merged partially with her savage inner self, and the new Sakura that had been the result of this union was a powerful, fiercely protective kunoichi who would do anything to keep her loved ones from harm. Sometimes that instinct to protect, to guard became so overwhelming that it was very hard for her to stand by and do nothing while those whom she cared for did something she felt was dangerous or life threatening.

And somehow, someway, and without her knowing it, Uchiha Itachi had made his way onto the very top of that list of people.

Her love for him felt so powerful that it scared her. Badly. He didn't know of course, and she didn't think that she would ever want him to. He had so much control over her without even realizing it and she didn't dare to think what he might do if he ever knew.

Loving someone like him was not an easy thing to do.

Turbulent emerald eyes turned blank. Sakura looked as if she had just lost an important fight. Her entire demeanor changed from fiercely defensive to submissive in an instant. Suddenly it was as if she could not bear to look at him any longer and so she turned her gaze away from him, and he stiffened.

Even though she had not shifted an inch away from him her emotional distancing was as blatant to him as a slap to the face.


Long fingers came to her chin and tilted her head up so that he could look at her again. She stared back at him with soulful emerald eyes that captured his attention like nothing could. Once more she tried to turn her head away but he was not allowing her any leverage.

"Do not." He repeated once more, only this time his normally placid tone was injected with mild steel. "Don't turn away from me, Sakura."

She shook her head at him, still trying very hard to conceal her chaotic feelings but not succeeding very well thanks to his hawk-like gaze.

"And why not?!" She snapped at last, making one last desperate attempt to detach herself from him, both emotionally and physically. "It's not as if we are important to each other anyway, right? You are just my captor and I'm just your medic and occasional fuck budd-"

The hot tears were escaping her eyes by then and before she could continue hurling all the hurtful words that she didn't mean and was tearing her apart inside he pulled her struggling form towards him and promptly sealed her mouth with his, silencing her abruptly and effectively.

Wounded doe-like eyes were wide open as he kissed her almost savagely, lips ground tightly against hers and not giving an inch as she struggled to be free. He nipped fiercely on her flesh and forced his way into her warm depths even when she stubborn refused to part her lips for him and hauled her even closer to him as she thrashed and fought against him. His Sharingan began to whirl as they forcibly locked down upon her large, wet eyes and it was all she could do not to succumb to his addictive brand of possession.

Then suddenly it was over.

His heat, the distinct rainwater scent was all him, was all over her; covering her, surrounding her, cocooning her.

Oh, Sakura wanted to fight him so badly. She wanted to cry and scream and claw viciously at him but she couldn't.

She just couldn't.

Not when he was holding her so closely like this. Not when he was kissing her like this. And certainly not when he was about to go blind soon…in a matter of hours.

She didn't want him to remember her this way.

All the fight drained out of her. Her struggling body went slack against his and she gave in to him. Her eyes were still open and staring straight into his as they gentled slowly and hesitantly, she placed a small, cool hand upon his cheek.

Her wordless surrender and the fact that she was calming down worked very well to sooth his own turbulent temperament as well. The effect was instantaneous. Almost immediately, their kiss became less of a struggle for dominance and more like a gentle exchange of affection. The rough texture of his tongue against hers became less hostile and more languid, the tight grip he had on her waist loosened as he absently stroked the bare sliver of skin that peeked out from between the hem of her shirt with his long fingers and the tomoes in his eyes stilled.

The small, almost apologetic kiss he placed on the side of her mouth before withdrawing completely from her was so unexpectedly sweet that tears threatened to overcome the sensitive female again. He looked at her calmly with his crimson eyes as she blinked desperately to curb the tide of tears that almost overwhelmed her. She pressed her face against his neck.

"I despise you." Her muffled voice, slightly roughened from crying, was barely loud enough for him to detect.

He merely closed his eyes and gathered her even closer to him if possible. She did not resist.

"No, you don't."

You love me.

You are my salvation.


Questions That I Would Like To Answer Before You Ask:

Wow. This one-shot is my deepest one yet. It is so profound that I'm a little confused myself. Angst and I don't really go well together, I think. So my apologies, folks, if you went through this fic and came out more than a little confounded by what was going on.


The part about Itachi's past is mostly not true, of course. I pulled that out of my butt, to speak the truth.

However, I think that I am right to say that it was his clan that had forced him to act like he had. Itachi was a Chuunin at age ten; it is safe to assume that he could have killed at that age already, if not even younger. Now tell me if you don't think there's something very screwed up with the abovementioned sentence. Combining with the fact that he probably was never allowed enough interaction with people his own age, I would assume that he was emotionally stunted as well. Forced to behave like a grownup even before he hit his teens, taught to kill even before he was old enough to distinguish between what was morally right or wrong, his conscience ripped away from him before it was even fully developed, add increasing pressure and never ending expectations from the clan and extreme loneliness—I believe we have the perfect recipe for insanity.

So we have a kid who ends up being mentally unstable and very distant and detached thanks to his strict upbringing. He's a genius and sees things most don't; combine that with the rigid ideals of the clan and boom. Another perfect recipe for disaster.

At least that's my theory. Hope this made the fic a little clearer—and not worst.


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