Book Three: Sadistic Heir
Dark wings they are descending
See shadows gathering around
One by one they are falling
Temari awaited the return of Itachi. Unwillingly, of course. Still, she knew he would strike here in Suna soon. Rai was a healthy and beautiful baby, and at only three months old had begun to crawl. Actually, he learned how to scoot until he finally mustered up enough strength to pick himself up and crawl wherever he wanted to go.
For the first month, Rai almost never ever moved. Temari had him wrapped in a blanket and placed in a very small crib, where he would stare and observe his surroundings for hours.
Despite this, Temari worried about Rai when he was alone, fearing the one of her brothers might be decide to be a vigilante and 'dispose' of him. After all Itachi had put her through, and after finding out exactly what had been going on in her womb the whole time she was pregnant, Temari could not bring herself to hate Rai. It was probably a new motherly side of her.
Truthfully, she did not worry about Kankuro. He certainly didn't have the heart to slaughter an infant. Gaara, however, had a bad past and could switch personalities again in the blink of an eye. She knew how easy it would be to crush baby Rai with his sand. When she had to leave, Temari would beg Kankuro to keep an eye on Gaara.
Still, Gaara found plenty of opportunities to see the child in private. He looked at the child and realized it reminded him of somebody. It was not Itachi, nor Temari. But himself. He and Rai were two of a kind. That blank stare was extremely familiar, because during his childhood, Gaara had that same vacant expression.
Gaara always noticed that when Kankuro or Temari caught him alone with the baby, they would try to coax him away as soon as possible, telling him there was work to be done and missions to be given out. He wasn't stupid. He knew they didn't trust him alone with the child, which offended him slightly.
They all noticed that Rai was very advanced, and learned new things very quickly. If he was hungry, he would simply look at Temari. When he learned to crawl, he would find her and tug on her dress. Sometimes, they found him crawling around the kitchen floor, waiting for somebody. He and Temari seemed to communicate telepathically, and Kankuro and Gaara didn't understand. He looked at her, and she instantly knew what he needed. They wondered if he would even learn to speak.
Finally, Temari got back on her feet and went on a few Jounin-level missions, which allowed her to lose the baby weight. For the few months she spent back home, she could barely fit into her dresses, and her brothers didn't help matters by insisting she sit back and relax for a little bit. It was a frustrating cycle and she had to constantly remind them that she wanted to get up and do something.
Now, Temari was worried about when Itachi would show up in her life again. There were rumors going around that he had been seen by Naruto (or probably one of Naruto's dopplegangers) so it wouldn't be too long now.
Little did she know, Itachi had already made a couple trips to Suna. Both times, Gaara had been visiting Konoha and he managed to sneak in, unnoticed. First, he went to go see Rai, who woke up, feeling his presence. Itachi would then go over to Temari's bed. He found it strange that Rai had better instincts than she did. Perhaps her guard was down just a bit? He would have to fix that. Both time he visited, Itachi stroked her hair twice, and those were the only two time Temari had nightmares about him.
The first one was simple. Dark setting, a lonely and worried Temari searching around for her baby, and suddenly Itachi would appear and one of their infamous 'games' would ensue. It rattled Temari only a little bit, because she woke up before anything too traumatizing happened and found Rai sleeping peacefully across the room. After a while, Temari was able to go back to sleep.
The second time, however, was a little more nerve racking. It took Temari back to the Akatsuki hideout when she had no memories. When Itachi had taken advantage of her. This time, Temari knew exactly who she was and how she came to have amnesia. Still, she had to sit back and watch her fall for Itachi's trick. Inside her head she screamed no even though the event had already happened and it was over with. She even had to watch herself enjoy their little romp on the bathroom floor. It was like being stuck in someone else.
After that dream, it was the only time she could not bare to look at Rai. His face reminded her so much of Itachi, and every time she looked, reality would slap her in the face. That this child's father was a complete psycho. Eventually, she got over it, reminding herself that Rai was only a baby.
"I'm sorry, Rai." Temari would tell him, holding him close and telling him that it wasn't his fault. Even after the stillbirth, Temari refused to acknowledge the fact that Rai was exactly like Itachi.
Itachi even knew it was time to strike soon. Rai was growing older, and learning more as the days passed by even at such a young age. He also knew that Temari was getting anxious to see him, knowing he would soon make his move. If he didn't show up, Temari would probably go crazy, wondering where he was and what he was plotting. The very idea made him smirk. Making Temari wait, then attacking when she least expected it. Perhaps he should also kidnap her right under the Kazekage's nose, to see what kind of controversy that would stir up.
Temari hardly let her guard down. She was always on her toes, watching her back, almost paranoid about when Itachi would show up. It was almost frustrating. The damn baby had already popped out, and there was no need the drag things out. Yet, that was Itachi's style, and he was abnormally patient. Patience was never really a quality Temari possessed, unless it was to keep Gaara from going on a random killing streak when they were younger.
Temari was definitely more of a 'get it over with' type of girl. Sure, she could calculate and plan, but it was always done quickly and she would try to go through with it as soon as the idea popped in her head. Itachi loved taking things very slowly, making sure everything was precise and planned before anything was to happen. Since Itachi was more powerful, he got his way ninety-nine percent of the time, which usually pissed Temari off, making her even more impatient.
All of Itachi's traits were the perfect combination to make him deadly. Obviously, intelligence and patience were a given, but a few others usually fell in the middle. He was a silent predator, who basically refused to draw attention to himself, and his powerful Sharingan eyes helped out quite a bit. Temari was no stranger to the Mangekyou illusion.
Rai was a story all his own. He laid back, watching all the events that happened before him. Every time he looked at somebody, he seemed to be taking them in, almost analyzing them. A few visitors had come by, and even a few academy graduates. They all said Rai was adorable, but had a creepy aura to him. Kankuro even stated once that Rai would probably grow up to be some kind of genius. A mastermind whose intelligence was beyond that of any child his age. At six, he would probably be allowed to enter the Chuunin exams. If Rai started training early enough, he could be molded into the perfect ninja.
Temari believed Kankuro. It was no surprise that Itachi's child would be like this, and would show potential in both personality and physical assets that would make him the ideal ninja. Never in her life did Temari expect to give birth to a child whose father was so powerful, and at times wished he was normal. She doubted he would even fit in with the other academy students.
She could see it now. A lonely Rai, sitting all alone in the corner of the playground, watching the other kids play. If he went over to ask them if he could join, they would go ballistic and sprint away. Rai would become angry and attack just as Gaara did...
No! Temari would make sure he didn't become the lonely freak on the playground, with no friends simply because he was a little different just as Gaara had been. There had to be some kind of personality within this child... Temari simply hadn't found it yet.
Over the couple months, Temari had been so paranoid about Gaara, her brother hadn't even had time to bond with him. Temari could see that this assumption hurt him, and one day finally mustered up the courage to let him hold Rai.
"Now just let his head rest on your arm." she instructed, surprised at how well Gaara was at this. "Good. Now I'm going to get a bottle. Don't move, okay?" Reluctantly, Temari left the room. When she came back, Gaara and Rai were staring, and both of them were almost glaring. Finally, Gaara broke the stare and looked up at Temari. Immediately, he handed back Rai.
"That child..." Gaara said as he walked away. "It was like he was staring into my soul." Even after all the times Temari had convinced herself that Rai would not be like Itachi, she now knew that even Gaara feared him, if only slightly.
What was Temari to do? It wasn't like she could very well order him to stop being like Itachi. Though sometimes that didn't stop her from trying. Not that she ordered. Nost of the time it was more like a beg. "Why are you so much like Itachi? Can't you be a normal child for once? Please?" Rai never answered, and Temari always rolled her eyes, realizing how stupid she was for even trying.
One night, Gaara announced that they were invited to a fancy dinner at Konoha. It was more like a ball, and most of the other villages were invited. This included Suna, and Gaara handed out the invitations to her and Kankuro.
"Why are we invited, again?" Kankuro asked, trying to fix his bow tie. "I mean, I can understand if the Kazekage goes, but I don't see any reason for us to be there. Me and Temari, I mean."
"Stop complaining." Temari told him, smoothing out her dress with one hand, and adjusting her other so that Rai would be comfortable. "It'll be fun."
"Besides that, Tsunade and Sakura said they want to check up on Temari." Gaara reminded him.
Truthfully, Temari wasn't really going to see Tsunade or Sakura. She was actually praying that Shikamaru would be there, perhaps even Kakashi. She enjoyed some of the talks she had with the old Jounin. He was very wise for an old pervert who read porn in public as a hobby. Not only did he read it, he practically ogled it.
They finally arrived by horse, and they were all given a warm welcome. Gaara especially by Naruto. Tsunade came over to Temari and examined Rai in her arms.
"He's very beautiful." she complimented. "How's he doing?" her cheeks were red, and she was already hiccuping from the sake.
"Fine." Temari replied. "He's already crawling."
"Already?" Tsunade looked shocked. "He's only a couple months old."
"I know. It surprised me, too. He's a very intelligent child. Always observing what goes on. Is Shikamaru here?"
"Yeah, he should be over somewhere by the punch table." Tsunade walked away to greet some other guests, and Temari continued her search for Shikamaru.
Over the last couple months, they had been writing letter. Temari had, at least. She told him about Rai's progress and her theories on when Itachi would strike next. Shikamaru wrote half-assed replies saying 'That's good' or 'I'm doing fine'. Temari took what she got from him. It was probably a miracle she got letters back at all.
Temari was so glad when she finally found him. She waved, but Shikamaru pretended not to notice, and even tried to run away. Despite carrying a baby, Temari caught up with him and started some small talk.
"Hey, did you get my last letter yet?" she beamed at him. Shikamaru only stared at Rai, who stared back.
"Yeah." Shikamaru finally replied. "Writing letters is such a drag. I always get writers' cramp." he complained.
"You're such a whiner." Temari punched his arm playfully.
"Oh, yeah. Kakashi said he wanted to talk to you. He asked me to let you know he's outside."
Temari cocked her head to one side. Rai saw this movement and mimicked her. "Why is he outside?"
"I dunno, he's probably taking a piss in the bushes or something." Shikamaru shrugged.
Temari rolled her eyes at him. "Why are men so damn vulgar?" she shook her head at him, as well. "Wait for me here, OK?" Temari walked off to find Kakashi.
When Temari closed the door behind her, she could only see the town, and lots of sky. There was no Kakashi in sight. "Strange." Temari wondered if he really was doing his business in the bushes. "Kakashi?" she called out.
A figure stepped from behind the building and into the light.
But it was not Kakashi. "Hello Temari." One simple sentence almost frightened her to death, but it was only because of who had said it.
When Shikamaru saw Kakashi standing on the other side of the room, but did not see Temari with him, he went outside to check on her...