Madara stood quietly in the shadows, waiting for the moment Sasuke fell. The brat had to; he was about as badly off as his brother, at this point. Sasuke finally collapsed, and Madara emerged from the shadows.

He had long ago dropped his masquerade as Tobi, the innocent, impish little fool. He was sick of playing him, anyway. And Itachi knew who he was. It didn't matter anymore. Madara removed the mask and walked over to Itachi, unsure of he was dead or not. Itachi…he looked so beautiful, with his hair unbound and matted with blood, his face tattooed with its unique patterns. Madara knelt down next to Itachi and gently ran one hand down his face, taking in his beauty with wonder. How could such a perfect creature die in such a way…?

Itachi's eyelids fluttered.

Madara's heart leapt to his throat; Itachi was alive! He hurriedly picked up his love, carrying him swiftly away to a near-by cave. He needed to treat these injuries, and fast! Once inside the cave, which he had previously prepared for just this situation, Madara laid Itachi out across a blanket on the floor. Once he cleaned him up, he would move him to the futon on the other side of the cavern. He hurriedly stripped Itachi down to boxers, but hesitated when he came to the blood-soaked garment. Well…he would work around those. He didn't want Itachi to feel violated when he woke up. Madara swiftly picked up a large basin of water and set it next to Itachi with several towels. He then grabbed some bandages and ointment for his wounds. Then, he knelt down next to Itachi and set to work. First, he cleaned out the wounds to see clearly where they were. It was difficult, trying not to hurt Itachi anymore by accidentally tearing the wounds open again, but somehow, Madara managed. Once he was finished, he cleaned out the wounds themselves with antiseptic, making sure they were free of dirt, stones, and anything else that may have gotten in. Next, Madara smeared ointment over all the wounds, then went back and bandaged them. He kept the pressure on the bandages even, making sure it would stop the bleeding and stay in place, but still not cut off circulation. Itachi was stirring; Madara could feel it in his fingers as they danced across Itachi's body. With the bleeding stopped and most of the pain alleviated, Itachi was slowly coming back from death. Madara finally finished bandaging Itachi, picked him up, and placed him on the futon across the room. He pulled the blanket up and over his love's now-clean body, then, on a whim, moved the pillow aside and placed Itachi's head in his lap. His hair was so tangled, and matted, and bloody, and…Madara sighed. Once again, caught in Itachi's beauty, and determined to bring it back to him. He brought the bowl of water over, as well as another, clean towel, and then slowly began washing Itachi's hair. He started at the ends, and then slowly worked his way back to the scalp. He knew Itachi's hair wouldn't get truly clean without something designed for that purpose, but it would at least be a bit more comfortable for Itachi if his hair was generally clean.

"Mmmm…what happened…?"

"Shhhhh, sh, sh," Madara soothed, running one hand through Itachi's wet hair. "Don't move, you're safe. Sasuke is still out there, though. Do you want me to save him, as well?"

Itachi slowly turned his head to the side, unsure of his answer. "I…I suppose so," he murmured. "Yes…yes, please do."

Madara smiled softly at Itachi and rinsed out his hair one final time. He wrapped it in a towel, to keep the moisture out of the bed, and then squeezed it to absorb most of the water. "In a minute," he said quietly, and pulled the towel away from Itachi's head. He spread the towel over Itachi's shoulders and gently propped him into a sitting position. "Stay here for a moment." He stood up and walked over to a table at the other end of the cave, opened a drawer, and took something out.

He came back with a hairbrush.

He handed it to Itachi, smirking lightly. "I know you," he grinned. "Brush out your hair; I'll be back after I deal with your brother."


Itachi absently brushed his hair, doing so slowly and carefully as not to further damage it. He would probably need to cut it, anyway, but it never hurt to be careful…Itachi must have sat there for a half an hour, just untangling his hair. When he finally finished, his hair was dry. Itachi slowly lay down, easing his body back with a small whine of pain. God, everything hurt so much! When he finally managed to get comfortable, lying on his back, he was panting and shivering with the effort of merely moving.

"Awake, my love?"

Madara knelt down at Itachi's side, leaned over, and kissed him. Itachi smiled and nodded. "How's Sasuke?" he inquired.

"Still thinks you're dead. I reinforced this belief; he'll give up on you."

Itachi exhaled slowly through his nose. This was quite a dilemma; he still needed his brother's eyes. But, oh well. He could still get them, but it would be a bit more difficult than he had thought. "Thank you."

Madara smirked, leaned over, and kissed Itachi again. This time, though, their kiss was sweeter, longer, and maybe even lustier. Madara was holding back on purpose; he could not do much more than chastely kiss Itachi, given that anything more would probably injure him. "Of course," Madara whispered. "But now…we need to get you out of here."

Itachi nodded slowly, and Madara sat back on his heels with a sigh. "But really, I'm afraid to move you…and Sasuke…"

Itachi shrugged. "Then get rid of Sasuke. Just get me adequate food, water, and clothing, and I'll be fine for a few days. I won't be able to move much anyway, so it won't matter much. I'll probably just sleep."

Madara sighed. "You're probably right," he said softly. "Well, I'll be back soon with some clean clothes for you, and to change your bandages and get you something to eat and drink. Think you can survive a few hours?"

Itachi nodded. "Like I said; I'll sleep."

Madara nodded once. "Well, then; I'll be back, my love. Try not to move too much, alright? Just whisper my name; I'll come."

Itachi nodded in agreement, his eyes already closed. He could faintly hear Madara leaving just before he fell into the deep world of sleep.


Itachi awoke again to a tickle on his palm.

His eyes shot open, and he instinctively shook his hand. A tiny white snake fell to the ground, and Itachi breathed a sigh of relief. "Orochimaru…" he whispered. "What are you doing?" He tenderly lifted the snake in his palm, gently caressing its head. He received a sharp nip to the thumb for his attempt to pet Orochimaru's long, flat head, and he found himself laughing at this. "Why aren't you changing back?" he whispered. "Naked?"

Orochimaru's scales flushed from white to peach, and he nodded slowly. Itachi laughed again, harder this time. He suddenly yelped at the pain in his ribs-probably broken, definitely fractured. He sighed and set Orochimaru down, motioning to the blanket where Madara had cleaned him off. "See if there's a clean towel you can put around yourself," he murmured. "Unless you'd rather-ow, you had no idea what I was going to say!"

Orochimaru gave him an indignant glare and slithered over to the table in the corner, and found himself a nice, long blanket-and an Akatsuki cloak. Smirking, Orochimaru locked his fangs into the hem of the cloak and tugged it slowly, but surely onto and over the edge of the table. He cleverly used his own weight to pull it down on top of him, and suddenly, the cloak was filled by a gasping, pale man with purple-rimmed eyes and golden irises slashed by vertical pupils. Orochimaru slowly stood up, making sure that the cloak was pulled closed over his lower portions before fastening it in a standing position. He left the top open, though, across his chest.


Itachi grinned. "Orochimaru. Nice to see you again." Orochimaru sighed and sat down next to Itachi, sitting on one hip with his legs closed and bent off to the side. He leaned to one side, putting out his hand to support himself. He sighed again, but much more lightly this time, and finally broke the heavy silence.

"Your brother's hygiene is worse than anyone's I've ever seen. It was disgusting watching from within; absolutely horrible."

Itachi grinned. "Can someone say, 'princess'?"

Orochimaru glared. "Good hygiene and being spoiled are quite different. And you should know; you're even more a diva than I am."

Itachi's grin came down to a smirk. "Ah, true, true. But it is fun to piss you off."

Orochimaru gave an indignant "Hmph," and averted his gaze. They both felt the tension in the air; Itachi and Orochimaru hadn't exactly been best friends when Orochimaru left Akatsuki.

"I'm sorry."

Itachi glanced up at Orochimaru. "For? There are so many things; I want to know which one to cross off the list of forgiveness."

"For trying for your body."

"You're only sorry because you got hurt and humiliated."

"Ya know what, shut up!"

Itachi laughed lightly, despite the pain in his sides. "My adorable little snake," he murmured, reaching out and running one hand down the side of Orochimaru's face. The snake shivered and withdrew a few inches, but could not bring himself to pull back the rest of the way. Itachi smirked.

"So, no one's touched you still? I'm amazed. You always struck me as a whore."

Orochimaru's weight shifted. "First of all, if you think I'm going to lower myself to your level, I'm not. I'm above that. Second of all, I will not sit here and be insulted. If you have something you want to say to me, say it and get this over with. And finally, I could kill you easily right now, and could have many times before. Don't go getting all high and mighty because you were better than me before. Because for another month until you can walk again, you won't be top dog. Besides, half the world probably thinks you're dead."

Itachi snorted with laughter. "Now you stand up to me. Because I can't do much to you."

Orochimaru sighed and slowlyshifted himself back to his original position. "At least I'm not fool enough to be blind to my own faults."

Itachi glowered. "What are you trying to say?"

"I know I'm fickle and moody. I know I'm self-centered and an asshole to most people. I know I'm a horrible person who only uses others for his own gain. I know what I have, and what I don't. And I made sure I had nothing to lose before gambling. You, Itachi…you killed everything you had. You had such a wonderful life…a family who loved you, a high ninja rank, talent, friends who genuinely cared, a little brother to idolize you and to play with and teach and…my God, Itachi, you had so much! And all this time I had a perverted little bitch and a hot-tempered beast for friends and no parents! No family, no home, no friends, nothing! No one really took me seriously, or appreciated me. I can understand you maybe having the same feeling, but you had other things that you could have gone to. And look at what you did. You destroyed it all. But you still have Sasuke. And then you destroyed him, as well! You destroyed him in a worse way than you destroyed your family. You had one last chance, Itachi-it's your fault for not taking it, and even rejecting it flat. You had so much-and then you had to go and floor it."

Itachi fell silent at this. It was true; he had something, but he hadn't seen it. Well, that's puberty for you. Finally, he came together and murmured, "I'm still not seeing your point."

"Sasuke!" Orochimaru cried. "Don't you see what you've done to him?! Go make it right, before it's too late!"

Itachi exhaled slowly through his nostrils, and his head hit the pillow. "You are such a clueless fool. Don't you see it had to be done? Get out, Orochimaru. Or I will hurt you."

"You wouldn't," Orochimaru snarled. But he did go as far as to rise to his feet. "You can't!"

Itachi smirked, and his eyes slowly opened. "Amater-"

"Alright, I'm leaving!"

Orochimaru was gone in a single streak of white just as Madara came back into the room. He glanced curiously at Itachi, then Orochimaru's retreating back. Itachi's one call seemed to bring it all to a close:

"I've found another."

Madara could finally see Orochimaru freeze. He slowly turned, and his face was like stone at the end of the cave's entrance tunnel. "I'm not sure whether to laugh at you both or cry for the loss," he said quietly, and then whipped around and left again. Madara sighed.

"I'll take care of him-"

"Let him go."

Madara glanced back at Itachi, shocked. "Itachi, what-?"

"He's right," Itachi continued. "But please, leave him. We used to be such good friends, but then he took it too far and I punished him. My body is mine, and he should have understood that. Just leave him. He will destroy himself eventually. And Sasuke-well, my ototou should teach him a swift lesson. Let them kill each other, and keep their own secrets between themselves. But for now…for now, let's just keep ours."

Madara finally smiled, and removed his mask. "I'll put up a jutsu. Are you sure you want to push yourself-?"

"Kissing me won't hurt."

Madara smiled and sat down next to Itachi, pulling him into his lap and kissing him tenderly. Itachi would have been surprised at the man's gentleness had he not experienced it before-Madara wasn't exactly a hopeless romantic sod. Itachi's arms came up to encircle his lover's neck, and Madara's hands wrapped around Itachi's waist. He pulled him closer, fitting their bodies together closely without putting too much pressure on Itachi's wounds. Itachi swiftly kissed him back, and Madara teased at his lips with his tongue. Itachi's mouth opened, and the two met in battle for dominance of the kiss. Itachi rarely won, for simple pleasure of being dominated, but every now and then, Madara allowed him a bit of bullying. It was fleeting, though; Itachi needed to know that he was respected, but still the uke. Itachi seemed slightly softer tonight-Madara would not be teaching him a lesson as usual. But still, it was nice to just sit here and kiss Itachi's soft, sweet mouth. Madara would have been surprised, had he not kissed Itachi before. Itachi just tasted so sweet for someone so bitter. His mouth was hot, unlike his cold personality. Madara always loved Itachi's contrasts: without the Sharingan, and most people didn't know it, he was a creature completely in black and white. His ebony hair, his porcelain skin, his dark, black eyes…Madara's hands ran down across a toned stomach, rippling with muscle and glistening with sweat. Madara carefully broke away, running one hand through Itachi's hair.

"Am I hurting you?"

Itachi shook his head, a small grin on his face. "Not at all."

And with that, he surprised Madara by tackling him over backwards and pulling them both into a lust-filled kiss.

So much for being injured. Because it was going to be a long night for Uchiha and his master.

A/N: This is a special-ful one-shot for InvisbleCrimsonTenshi, because she is awesome. She has been a faithful reviewer for many of my stories, and she deserves this. I was hesitant to do Itachi and Madara, as they are related, but I found that they are legally allowed to be together-Madara is Itachi's third cousin twice removed, or something. O.O And so, legal and not incest!! Yays. Enjoy, Crimson!!