Title: Leap of faith

Author: paws-bells

Characters/Pairing: Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Itachi

Type: One-shot (Complete)

Genre: General/Romance

Word Count: 2646

Theme: LJ Community, 50-shinobi theme #29, Leap of faith

Rating: T (Contains content not suitable for children)

Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto-san.

Summary: She was so tired of fighting him all the time, of trying to figure out just what he wanted with her… Why not just give in? Why not, indeed? Outtake from Hanami.

Chapter Last Revised on: 10/01/08


Emerald eyes widened with fear, then Sakura quickly composed herself and glared back defiantly at him. Well, as defiantly as her pounding head allowed her to, at least.

It amused the larger male.

"Why, you ask?" He mused quietly. Emerald eyes narrowed. She did not appreciate the way the Akatsuki was toying with her. "Maybe it's because I have a lot of unanswered questions for you, little girl."

Sakura stiffened at the silkily delivered pet name that slipped out from Itachi's lips. It had been the same one that he had used on her when he had been blind, feverish, and half dead.

He knows.

It couldn't be.

"I don't know what you are talking about." The pink-haired kunoichi blurted out immediately, then winced inwardly when she realized just how fake her denial sounded.

Crimson eyes narrowed imperceptibly, then swept down to a lazy half-mast.

"Really."

Sakura swallowed. He was too near. Sakura started to creep backwards into the futon. To her dismay, he caught on immediately and those intense Sharingan eyes quickly and effectively trapped her movements. She growled softly with agitation.

"What do you want, Itachi? Why am I here?" Sakura tried to fall into her oblivious act once more. To her inner misery however, the look on his face told her that he hardly believed her.

"Heal yourself." It wasn't even a demand this time; it was a command to be heeded.

Once upon a time, Sakura would have done exactly what the Akatsuki had requested, no questions asked. But now after she had seen him near death and apparently just as human as anybody else, she had somehow developed a backbone against this psychotic killer. She scowled at him.

"I don't waste chakra on myself."

Her reply clearly surprised him; she could see his eyebrow lift a clear two millimeters. Her frown deepened.

"What?"

"Why?" He asked simply. Sakura stared at the male crouched before her for a very long time. If she didn't know firsthand the type of destruction that he was capable of she would have been utterly endeared to him by the almost childlike curiosity he was displaying at the moment. Sakura cleared her foolish thoughts almost the moment they were conceived. Innocent. Itachi. Hah.

She shot him a disgruntled look, clearly indicating that she need not explain her behavior to him but the warning flicker in his crimson eyes had her sighing with exasperation. He just had to know everything, didn't he?

"I don't like to abuse my healing powers, nor do I like to depend on my chakra overly much."

He appeared intrigued by her answer. Well, as intrigued as Uchiha Itachi could possibly appear, at least. He looked at her for a moment, really looked at her, and Sakura was clearly disconcerted by how very analytical his eyes were. She knew without a doubt that his genius mind was probably working quietly and clinically dissecting everything that he knew about her and for some reason that made her feel very uneasy.

"Besides, I deserve to put up with this little discomfort." Sakura mumbled as she tried to shift the Uchiha's attention away from her. "This will teach me not to overindulge again."

Understanding flitted through his features, so quick that Sakura would have missed it had she blinked.

"Ah. So morning is repentance for the sins from the night before?" His lips quirked up—barely, and Sakura automatically bristled at that faint look of masculine amusement. Her head was still throbbing, she felt horrible and she still did not know where in the seven hells was she. To say that Sakura was not in a good mood would be an understatement.

"Yes, it must be." Sakura answered bad-temperedly. "I woke up and saw you, didn't I?"

If anything, he appeared even more amused by the little hissy fit that she was throwing. Sakura ground her teeth. Wasn't he supposed to be this cold-blooded killer with no sense of humor whatsoever? Ever since she had the misfortune of meeting him, Uchiha Itachi had been constantly surprising her with his behavior. He was slowly but surely destroying all the assumptions that she had made of him ever since she was twelve and that was seriously not good at all!

"Why are you doing this?" Sakura demanded.

His look of amusement faded and his crimson eyes turned blank once more. Sakura had to blink at the sudden change. This man possessed more mood swings than a woman.

"I want to know why you risked everything to help me."

He couldn't know for sure that it had been her who had healed him, Sakura thought wildly. He was just trying his luck, trying to intimidate her into admitting her involvement. She quickly pasted a bewildered look on her face.

"See here, Uchiha. I would not risk anything to help the likes of you." The pink-haired kunoichi spat convincingly. "I was happily drunk and going about my own business yesterday. You were the one who kidnapped me!"

Sakura sounded faint as the last sentence slipped from her lips. She paled slightly. Oh god, the brevity of the situation had finally hit home and it hit hard. He had kidnapped her. Most probably taken her far away from Konoha, from her friends, and she still had no idea whatsoever what he wanted from her.

Itachi shifted subtly, an indication of his impatience. The slight movement drew Sakura's attention back to the Akatsuki male once more.

"Kunoichi." Itachi's voice had not risen with his increasing intolerance for her behavior but there was something dangerous about the quiet tone that told Sakura clearly that he was no longer amused by her antics.

Sakura looked warily at him. Why did he want to know anyway? Was he planning to blackmail her or something? Then her emerald eyes narrowed. Well, two can play this game.

"If I tell you the truth, will you release me?" Sakura asked pointblank, not bothering to beat around the bush. Sakura grimaced inwardly as her head throbbed sluggishly. She really needed some coffee. Black. Bitter. Heavenly.

Crimson eyes glinted.

"You are free to leave once I am done with you."

Sakura stared suspiciously at the man not a foot away from her. His easy agreement was too…easy. "You are not lying to me, aren't you?"

He appeared darkly amused by her unwitting slur against his honor. Men had died under his hands for a lot less.

"I never lie."

Sakura scrutinized him for a little longer before deflating slightly. Something told her that this was as much as he was willing to concede to her, so she might as well cooperate now.

"How did you know it was me?"

Her admission was weary and he eyed her placidly for a long time.

"It was not difficult." He answered at last, not at all bothered to conceal the indifference in his voice. Sakura bristled at his nonchalance.

"Why are you so determined to know who healed you anyway?" The pink-haired female demanded. "Can't you just be grateful to be alive?"

Crimson eyes hardened.

"Nothing is free in this world."

Sakura stiffened at his implication.

"If you are trying to tell me that you had kidnapped me just so that you could show your gratefulness, let me tell you that you possess the most twisted sense of gratitude that I have ever seen."

He ignored her annoyed quip.

"What is your motive? What do you want in return for your services?"

Sakura's brows shot up. Services? She grimaced. He made her sound like some cheap whore and that annoyed her ever further.

"For your information Uchiha, I healed you because it was my job. No motives whatsoever crossed my mind when I saw you unconscious and bleeding like a stuck pig. You were just a man in need of medical aid at that moment and I was just a medic-nin in the wrong place at the wrong time."

He considered her disgruntled words, Sharingan eyes piercing intensely into hers as if trying to discern the truth for himself. Sakura met his gaze bravely; she had nothing to hide and she wasn't afraid to show it.

"Why?" He asked at last, and Sakura was utterly flabbergasted by his insistent path of questioning. Why the hell was he so curious about her motives?

Sakura was starting to get very irritated. Here she was wanting nothing more than to die in peace or at least sleep off the effects of her horrible hangover and there he was with his incessant 'whys' and 'how comes'.

"I don't know why!" Sakura burst out suddenly with frustration. "Hell, if I know! All I know is that you are a notorious S-Class missing-nin wanted in five countries and that I was supposed to kill you on sight, not waste all my chakra tending to you like some personal nursemaid! But look at what I did; I just had to go and poke my nose where it didn't belong and heal you and now I have you on my back and this very huge headache to show for it! Can't you just take things as they are?"

It was obvious that her outburst displeased him greatly and Sakura quickly clamped her mouth shut at the menacing way his bladed pupils were moving about.

"Little girl," He whispered. "You are trying my patience."

All of Sakura's self-preservation instincts seemed to fly out of the proverbial window when he used that detestable nickname on her again. She was no little girl! "Well, guess what?" Sakura hissed back at the Akatsuki, bewitching emerald eyes spitting sparks of fire. "You are irritating the hell out of me too! And quit calling me that!"

Itachi shot her a look so arrogant that she had to grit her teeth to stop herself from punching him in the face. She might be angry, but she sure as hell wasn't suicidal.

"Then how would you like me to address you, Sakura?"

Sakura froze at the sudden tension in the room. Of course she had known that if he had managed to take her away from Konoha then he probably knew her name as well; but she certainly wasn't prepared for her own reaction towards it. It made no sense; she shouldn't have felt so affected by his lazy purr and suddenly dark eyes. But she did and to her dismay her hot temper dissipated rapidly like mist under the sun and she quickly found herself with nothing to hide her wayward emotions with.

His crimson eyes gleamed knowingly and Sakura was instantly on the alert.

"No…don't call me that either." Sakura mumbled weakly, her emerald eyes darting frantically around the room, sourcing for an escape route. As if sensing her decision for flight he edged closer to her, so much so that she could see the delicate slivers of cobalt blue that were embedded within his pupils. Her eyes widened.

"Erm…you know what? You can call me whatever you like…" Sakura was really disconcerted by his proximity and she did not like the way his masculine scent was inundating her senses and making her feel even woozier than ever. Halfheartedly, Sakura inched backwards into the futon and to her dismay he didn't stop her with his Sharingan this time. He followed after her. Sakura stopped immediately when she realized the folly of her actions and by then he was so near that their breaths mingled and their noses were nary an inch apart from each other. Sakura's heart thumped crazily within her chest.

"So now I am free to name you as I like." His voice was so low that she had to strain to hear him and not really processing his words she nodded blindly, so bothered by his nearness was she. Sakura missed entirely the small smirk that graced the thin lips of the male. "Does that mean that you are mine to do as I please as well?"

Sakura gaped at him.

The petite female felt like she was going to faint from shock. Blood rushed up to her face and the pink-haired medic knew that she probably looked as red as a tomato. What the hell was he trying to imply? The first thing that came to her mind immediately was that he was trying to manipulate her emotions again. She glared angrily at him, suddenly very weary of everything.

"Why are you singling me out like this? All I did was heal you, surely I don't deserve the mind games that you are playing with me."

Once again Sakura found herself objected to a most intense scrutiny. She forced herself not to fidget, not to show any weakness before him and met his gaze straight on. Then suddenly, before Sakura could react that is, he lifted a lean hand and laid it gently against her left cheek, the long slender fingers curved lightly against her delicate cheekbones. Stunned, Sakura could only tense and watch him with wary emerald eyes.

"Relax; I vowed not to hurt you."

Sakura remembered that promise very well. He had pledged it to her when he was barely conscious, bleeding and sick with infection. Sakura shuddered inwardly. He was doing something to her; she knew it. If only she had the strength to break out of this spell that he had weaved around her.

If only she wanted to break out of this spell that he had weaved around her.

Sakura made a quiet decision.

Wary verdant orbs calmed down, regained their former luster, bright and—

Trusting.

She knew that whatever she was doing was very wrong.

He was a clan murderer; wiped out his entire extended family in the space of one night at the mere age of thirteen. Still barely a child. He had since joined the most radical terrorist organization in the world, committed a lot of grievous crimes to people who hardly deserved his wrath and was the main cause of her childhood crush and teammate's defection to the treacherous snake sannin. He was probably involved in a plot to destroy Konoha and was definitely after the Kyuubi in her best friend Naruto. She was probably breaking at least twenty rules in Konoha just by being here, and what she was going to do next was definitely going to get her branded as a traitor to her country.

But it was already all too late to consider such things; for the Wheel of Destiny had already began to turn the moment her path was crossed with Uchiha Itachi's.

Their paths were already intertwined whether she wanted it or not.

I want to know what makes him tick.

Like everything she had done, like every road that she had chosen, there were definitely going to be repercussions. At the moment, Sakura could only hope that her decision now would not cause her any regrets in the future.

She sighed softly.

No regrets.

Sakura looked tentatively into those ruby eyes. Despite having observed each and every one of the fleeting emotions that had passed through her expressive face, they were blank and revealed none of his thoughts. His hand was still placed against her cheek though, the pressure so light that it felt to her like the brush of a butterfly's wings.

He was waiting for her.

Sakura took the leap.

Emerald eyes slipped shut. She was so tired.

Slowly, surely, she leaned into him, felt his chakra sooth hers in a way she had never imagined. The ache in her head eased dramatically and she pressed her cheek more firmly against his callused palm, not wanting to admit but liking very much the source of his warmth against her soft skin. A low masculine chuckle rumbled from the powerful Akatsuki nary a feet away from her and she opened an emerald eye to stare at him balefully.

"I still don't trust you."

Crimson eyes gleamed.

"I know."


::owari::


Questions That I Would Like To Answer Before You Ask:

This is an outtake from Hanami, so if the plot seems slightly familiar you know why now. I did not include this scene in the original ficlet because the situation was completely absurd and just too unrealistic to fit the scenario in that chapter. As a one-shot I still feel that this scene was rather odd, like it was lacking something. Realism, definitely.

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I have so many people out there asking me to continue Hanami; and I will, I swear. After I'm finally settled down in my new home my continuous fics will be the first things that I will focus upon. Until then, I hope this little peace-offering of mine would satisfy you guys—at least temporarily.

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Your reviews fuel my passion for writing. So please leave a comment if you like this fic, thank you.

--paws