Because after a while, Sakura will have to learn not to be so naïve.

- - -

Konan observes the young woman who sits shackled to the wall, having been captured by Itachi and Kisame.

She dared to look into Itachi's eyes, Konan remembers. Even Itachi seemed surprised by the lack of fear in her emerald eyes.

The blue-haired Akatsuki member wonders at how naïve and foolish this pink-haired girl is. Itachi and his partner sweep out, leaving the two alone.

The silence presses down and reminds Konan of Pein, because he also never speaks when it is not absolutely necessary. Shifting uncomfortably, she wishes that this girl would start talking. She needs a distraction.

"Are you afraid?" she startles herself by asking. The girl on the floor does not look up.

"No," is the apathetic answer. Konan expects to hear her declare her confidence that her friends will rescue her. But there is nothing. Perhaps she is not as naïve as Konan thinks.

The door opens and Pein enters. He crouches beside the girl and places a finger under her chin, forcing her to meet his eyes.

"Haruno Sakura, will you heal Uchiha-san's eyes?"

She looks at him without flinching. "Why should I?" There is not defiance, no anger. It is merely a question.

Pein's lips tighten minutely. "If you do, we will allow you to live," he replies.

Sakura lets out a peal of mirthless laughter. "And is my life worth anything?" Now her voice is wry and mocking.

Ringed eyes flash dangerously. "Your loved ones?"
"You cannot harm the dead," she answers coldly. "I do not fear death. And I am already in pain. What is a little more?" She shrugs.

"What can I offer you?" Pein asks reluctantly.

A slow smile makes its way across her face. "Turn around and see who follows you. I will heal him. Bring him in." Her expression turns cynical and she gives Konan a glance that can almost be called a wink.

Pein summons Itachi and strides out. He seems to have deciphered Sakura's message, and as Konan ponders it, he calls her to him in a much softer tone of voice than usual, requesting to speak to her for a moment.

Following her God, Konan looks over her shoulder to see Sakura giving her a knowing almost-smile.

As she brushes past Itachi, who has a strange expression on his face, she realizes that Sakura's eyes are the green orbs of a girl forced to grow up far too quickly; even more quickly than most shinobi.

Sakura is not naïve, she decides. No, she is not naïve at all.


- - -

I like to imagine that afterwards, Sakura became one of the Akatsuki and lived happily ever after with Itachi.

Pfft… Dream on, me.