Pain and Love
I do not own Naruto or any of its characters.
And thanks to Masked Itachi for the title.
With one last chakra-imbued punch to the training dummy, Sakura Haruno sighed. "I think that's enough for tonight. No sense wearing myself out before the mission tomorrow." Gathering her things together, she began the trek to her apartment. Halfway there, she noticed an extremely strong chakra signature following her. Her heart stuttered in her chest as she recognized it. She made a few quick hand signs and created three clones, hoping to distract the nin long enough to make it home. The four Sakuras nodded to each other before they each made hand signs and disappeared in a cloud of sakura petals.
The real Sakura masked her chakra and took a backwards detour that led halfway to her parent's house, then doubled back to head directly to her own house. Slipping inside through her bedroom window, she grabbed her spare shuriken pouch from the top of her dresser and layered a genjutsu around her house and another around herself. As she began to let herself think she was just being paranoid, a black-cloaked figure grabbed her from behind and threw her onto the bed. She screamed and fought against him, but he overpowered her. As she looked up to see who her attacker was, she fell into the world of the Mangekyou Sharingan.
Sakura was tied to a tree. No matter how hard she struggled, she couldn't break the ropes binding her. She looked up when she felt eyes on her. "Itachi Uchiha…" Her eyes got wide with fear and she could almost feel Death's kiss coming closer… But, he just looked at her. No threats were issued, no swords brandished, just the impact of those crimson eyes taking in every detail of her being. It made Sakura feel almost…naked in the frankness of his stare.
"You will give in to me," Itachi stated, as though there was no doubt.
Sakura felt anger rise to the surface. "Oh yeah, buddy? Ya wanna bet? If I weren't in here I could kick your ass to Suna and back," she blurted out. 'Great going, baka. Now he'll kill us for sure!' Inner Sakura yelled. 'Just SHUT UP and let me handle this!' Sakura yelled back. As Inner Sakura shied away from Sakura's thoughts, Itachi walked closer to Sakura. She whimpered and closed her eyes. 'I don't want to die yet…' she thought.
"Be rational, kunoichi. You are nowhere near my level of power. The most rational choice would be to give in to my demands."
"...which are?" Sakura asked tremulously.
"Give your body into my keeping for one night."
"No!" The denial was immediate, vehement.
Itachi took another step closer. "Holding out for my otouto?" Sakura said nothing, but the blush that tinted her cheeks spoke for her. Finally stepping up to the kunoichi, Itachi whispered in her ear, "He will never have you, Sa-ku-ra. He has forgotten all about you in his quest for power. And, after I have you, he will never want you."
Tears welled in Sakura's eyes. She heard the truth ringing in Itachi's words. Blinking back the tears, she looked up to find that Itachi was gone. But his words rang in her mind, echoing around her like bells, growing louder and louder. Finally, the tears fell from her eyes, drenching her face. For what seemed like hours, Sakura wept at the truth that her teammate cared nothing for her. Eventually, exhaustion pulled her into its comforting depths.
As Sakura came back to her conscious body, she saw Itachi hovering over her. She tried to form a protest as he began to unzip and remove her clothes, but she didn't have the energy to vocalize a protest, let alone chakra-punch the man currently stripping her. Instead of taking her like a barbarian, Itachi kissed her slowly, coaxing her weary body into accepting his. As the tears rolled down her cheeks, as she gave in to the elder Uchiha's demands, she thought, "I'm sorry, Sasuke."
If Itachi noticed her tears, he didn't show it. For an eternity, he swept Sakura along with himself in a sea of raging emotions. With his face buried in her neck, he gripped the Jounin kunoichi with a hold bordering on desperation. Words slipped past his lips, senseless babble that neither he nor Sakura understood or would remember. Sakura's hands came up to run down his back, nails lightly scoring the taut skin. In retaliation, Itachi latched his teeth not-so-gently into her neck.
Moans echoed throughout Sakura's bedroom. Itachi held Sakura closer as he neared his release. Sakura's breath shortened, her toes curled. With one last hard, deep thrust, they both tumbled over the edge.
After a few moments, Itachi moved off of Sakura's prone body. Her soft sobs echoed more quietly than her moans had, though the impact was just as great. The nuke-nin gathered his things as he dressed. By the time he slipped through her window, the pink-haired kunoichi was asleep, tears still running down her face.
The next morning, Sakura awoke, hoping it had all been a horrible nightmare. Seeing the rumbled bed, her clothes strewn haphazardly around, Sakura felt tears well up again. Looking to her side, where Itachi had rolled after they had collapsed with fatigue, she saw a cosmos flower draped with Itachi's necklace. In a fit of rage, Sakura flung the necklace across the room, where it hit the wall and slid down to rest behind her dresser. But the kunoichi didn't notice. She had her face buried in her pillow, crying her heart out.
A month later, Sakura walked into the hospital where she was currently one of the Head Medics; she was only ranked below Tsunade and Shizune. For the next twelve hours after walking into the building, she was overwhelmed. Four separate squads came in, needing medical attention. Then, everyday paperwork kept her secluded in her office for hours. By the end of her shift, she started to feel a bit down. She wasn't worried; the day before, she had worked a full 18-hour shift. One last patient before she left, a nine-year-old Academy student with a kunai injury to the leg, delayed her leaving. She talked to the boy, then drew on her dwindling chakra reserves to heal the wound. Standing, she swayed before righting herself on the wall. Smiling reassuringly at the child and his mother, she walked from the room.
Stepping outside, she pulled the door shut and proceeded to fall face-first to the floor. Genma, flirting with a pretty nurse, darted to catch the falling woman. Standing with her in his arms, he stood for a moment. When no one moved to help him, he snapped, "Well? Where do I take her?"
Nurses scrambled to find an empty room for their superior. Following their forms, Genma walked into an empty room and laid the unconscious kunoichi on the bed. Tsunade herself strode into the room soon after, coming straight away after she heard that her student had passed out. She walked straight up to Sakura and immediately her hands were lit with her chakra. From head to toe, she examined her eventual successor. Only the thick barrier around her mind and the growing form in her belly gave the hime pause.
Without a word about Sakura's condition, she barked, "Everyone out!" The bystanders vacated the room rather quickly. Once the door was shut behind the last person, Tsunade turned back to the bed. Laying her chakra-imbued hand over Sakura's forehead, she coaxed her pupil back to wakefulness.
The pinkette came to slowly, blinking blearily to focus. "Shishou? What's going on?"
"You passed out. Have you been feeling dizzy lately? Any nausea?"
Sakura scrunched her nose. "I've been dizzy, but I always get dizzy after working a double shift. And I've been feeling a cold or something coming on. Why?" When Tsunade didn't answer, Sakura felt the cold chill of fear crawl up her spine. "What's wrong with me, Shishou?"
"Sakura, when was the last time you had sex?" Tsunade asked bluntly.
"Why does that- Oh. Oh, god." Sakura's question halted mid-way as she realized just what was wrong with her. Hands glowing with green chakra, she delved into her abdomen. The spark of light under her hands confirmed her fear. She was pregnant.
Tsunade watched as her might-as-well-be-daughter burst into tears. "I assume this means you're not happy about this?"
Sakura held her face in her hands and shook her head. A bitter laugh escaped her. "No, I'm not happy. It just figures. I never thought it would be like this, though."
At her words, the slug-hime raised an eyebrow. "What does that mean?"
Sakura brought her knees to her chest and rested her cheek there. "I always wanted to have an Uchiha's child. I just always thought it would be Sasuke."
"If you mean what I think you mean..."
Sakura finished her sentence. "...I'm having Itachi Uchiha's child." With that, her head dropped onto her knees as the tears flowed once again.
For her part, Tsunade was stunned. "How...how did this happen, Sakura?"
"He infiltrated the village, followed me home, and coerced me. Worse than that. He used the Mangekyou to wear me down, then used my own body against me."
"How did he slip past the guards?"
Sakura laughed mirthlessly. "How did he do it ten years ago when he tried to abduct Naruto? He's just too powerful to dismiss like that."
Tsunade sighed. "So, what are you going to do? Will you terminate, or germinate?"
Sakura laughed through her tears. "I'm not a flower, Shishou, despite my name. I am not a wilting petunia, or a lovely wallflower." She looked up at the Hokage with a determined look. "I am a kunoichi. This child is mine, not Itachi Uchiha's. The sins of the father will not touch my child."
Tsunade smiled. "I thought you might say that. Now, let's go set up your first appointment, shall we? I won't have my grandchild developing inside an unhealthy mother. You don't eat enough, Sakura."
Sakura smiled up at her second mother with a smile, accepting the admonitions with grace. "I can do this. With help from my family, I can do anything."
For the next few months, Sakura went about life as usual as she could. She took shorter shifts at the hospital, accepted less dangerous missions, and tried to come to terms with the changes in her body.
At her second appointment, she discovered she was having fraternal twins. Ino was there to walk the stunned kunoichi home. As Sakura curled up on her couch, Ino settled in beside her. "It just figures, huh, Ino-pig? Not only is it the wrong Uchiha, he's got super-sperm. And I'm scared shitless."
Ino laughed as she flung her arms around her best friend. "Oh, Forehead, don't worry! You've got me here to help you."
Sakura grinned weakly and shot back, "That scares me more!"
The women laughed and spent the rest of the day moving the furniture in Sakura's apartment around to fit two cribs. When the girls moved the dresser, a glint of metal caught Ino's eye. Calling a stop, she bent to retrieve it. "Ne, what's this, Sakura? Surely not yours. I taught you better than to wear such jewelry."
Sakura froze at the sight of the necklace dangling from Ino's finger. Trembling hands reached out to grasp the metal that Itachi had left for her. As she touched the cold metal, she felt a flash of pain. Jerking her hand back, she glared at the offending thing. "Throw it away, Pig. Let's get finished. Soon, I won't be able to move, much less move furniture."
Ino shrugged as she slipped the necklace into a drawer in the dresser. Sakura may fuss when she found it, but it was obviously important to the girl.
Miles away, Itachi felt a jolt of energy hit him. With it, came information about Sakura. A special jutsu on the necklace allowed him to check up on Sakura whenever she touched the thing. The necklace was an heirloom passed down from father to eldest son for generations. It was a gift given to the heir's wife, to keep constant tabs on the woman.
Itachi had impulsively given it to Sakura. It seemed that impulse had been fortuitous in the end.
It seemed his one-time lover was pregnant. With twins. Itachi's lips quirked in a half-smile. Time for a visit to Konoha.
As Sakura was about to walk out of her apartment door, she heard a commotion down the street. She walked toward the sound and saw Naruto and Kankuro fighting in the street in front of Ichiraku. As she got closer she heard them yelling about...ramen? Sakura shook her head as she walked toward Ino, who was standing outside her family's flower shop.
"How much more immature can those two get? I thought once Naruto started hanging around Gaara and Kankuro he'd grow up some, but it seems like Kankuro is even more immature than Naruto when he's away from Gaara," Ino complained.
Sakura laughed at the affection in Ino's voice. "You're just angry because you have to go get him away from Naruto...in front of all of those people," Sakura said, laughing at Ino's expression.
"Well, I guess it is the only I can do, since he's going to be my brother-in-law. I don't see how Gaara puts up with his antics," Ino said, mystified.
"Well, he is a lot like Naruto. And you know how much Gaara thinks of Naruto. He saved Gaara from himself," Sakura said.
Ino sighed. "Yeah, I guess you're right. Hey, what are you doing out here, Forehead?" Ino asked, as if she just noticed Sakura standing there. "Aren't you supposed to stay in bed since you're so close to your due date? You know Tsunade-sama will be angry at you if she finds out," Ino said, genuinely worried about her friend.
"I'll be fine, Ino-pig. I'm just going to the store to pick up some things for the house," Sakura told her patiently.
"I'll go with you then. Gaara asked me if I could pick a few things up for him," Ino said as she locked the door to the Yamanaka Flower Shop.
The two walked through the park to the store. Ino looked at Sakura, about to say something, but her words died before they left her lips. Sakura was watching a small child play with her father. The little girl was running in circles around the dad, who was laughing and looking at his daughter with so much love in his eyes that it made Sakura's breath catch in her throat.
"Sakura," Ino started softly, "I'm sorry. I know this isn't how you imagined you'd end up. Single, two kids, and a third masquerading as your teammate." A thoughtful look crossed her face. "Do you think he knows? About the babies, I mean."
Sakura tore her gaze from the family. "I don't know, Ino. I don't think I care, either. I won't let the stigma of the Uchiha clan touch my children. They won't even know who he is, if I can help it. I'll say their father was a shinobi who died on a mission. It's not so far from the truth."
Ino let out a beleaguered sigh. "Forehead, half the village knows. Once the nurses at the hospital knew, they told everyone. Like it or not, they've already been branded as Uchiha."
"The name doesn't matter, Ino. It's the insanity, the greed, the hunger for power." Her hand rubbed across her expanding belly. "I won't let these innocents be dragged in the mud just because of who got me pregnant. And might I add, he forced me. It's not like I was carrying on a wild affair with a nuke-nin."
Ino laughed. "Whatever. You're impossible. Let's finish here so I can go continue my wild affair with the Sand Beast. Can it still be considered an affair if you're engaged?"
The girls laughed, not knowing that they were being watched from afar.
Itachi watched Sakura and the Yamanaka girl walk to the market. His face was strained, his eyes ringed by the shadows caused from no sleep. For the past four months, he had watched Sakura, growing rounder with his children, loving them even in their gestation. For the past three months, he had been plagued by a recurring nightmare. A dark cave, an evil laugh. Sakura's screams and the cries of his children. The lack of sleep was taking a toll. Turning to leave, he took one last look at Sakura. Hand on her belly, she looked longingly at the father and his daughter still playing across the park.
"So you want a family. I suppose that's the natural process of things. Perhaps..."
Chapter one, rewritten. I'm posting this as chapter 18 for now, so you guys will know I updated it. Soon after, I'll replace the current chapter one with this, if it receives enough positive feedback. If not, then I'll continue working on whatever project I'm focused on at the moment.