Itachi was in a rather awkward, but strangely comfortable, position.

His feet were over the back of the couch, and his body was twisted off to the right. One arm hung over the edge of the couch, and the other was crossed over his torso. Itachi was clearly a flexible person; his body was twisted against the flow of his legs, and his legs were twisted against the flow of his body. Kisame eyes him oddly, one eyebrow raised in skepticism.

"Lacerated anything yet?" the shark-nin sneered, walking past Itachi. The Sharingan flared to life, making Kisame immediately repeal his words.

"Sorry, it just looks weird…"

Itachi sighed and turned onto his other side, somewhat mediating the form of his body. "Better?" he drawled, sarcasm dripping from every syllable his tongue caressed. Itachi's voice was soft, but deep and clearly masculine. Despite his appearance. Itachi's Akatsuki cloak lay balled up under his head, leaving a lithe torso and skinny legs to be appreciated. It was late spring, and the day was a warm one. The temperature had forced even Itachi out of his cloak, the numbers reaching eighty seven at best. Itachi had also exchanged his normal leather pants for a pair on tiny shorts that could be called slut shorts were they on a female. As it was, Itachi's fishnet-covered torso arched up in a graceful wave of black-and-white, pale white skin rippling in the sweet spots of the light. His smooth legs, legs women would kill to have, were naturally hairless and skinny, leaving Kisame to wonder of Itachi was a transsexual. However, the last time he asked, he ended up waking up very confused-in Brazil. He somehow got back to the Akatsuki lair, only to be beaten to a crap by a still-furious Itachi. He finally repented and starting kissing Itachi's feet, and the Uchiha finally let up-right after kicking him in the face. Kisame sustained an imploded face and much pain and suffered.

"Sexy, that's what."

A rolled-up magazine soon swatted against Kisame's face with surprising force. Kisame staggered and tripped as he passed a certain peeved man-whore, swearing as he fell on the coffee table and skidded off with another thwak! of the magazine. "Alright, I'm sorry!" he yelped. "But seriously, man, I'd bang you. If I was a girl!!"

This time, Kisame's reflexes were a bit better, despite his self-control having not improved at all. He was rewarded with a lighter whack on the skull, and Itachi returned to lounging. If there was one thing Kisame had learned about Itachi in all their years together, it was that Itachi always had poise, grace, and an extreme attitude. Even sitting on top of spikes, he would look like he was sitting on a couch of perpetual indulgence. He would, Kisame thought ruefully. Damn, if only he wasn't so powerful…slut shorts were so cute on Itachi…

"You're still staring."

"I'm sorry. Was I?"

Clearly unrepentant, Kisame picked himself up from his fall and crossed the room to an armchair opposite Itachi. He had discarded his Akatsuki cloak for a sleeveless shirt and standard three-quarter-length shinobi pants. He had unwrapped them, as well. Kisame sighed and kicked up his feet on the coffee table, leaning back and groaning.

"Pein, you asswipe, you had to pick this permanently-Florida dump for a hideout?"

Itachi sighed. "Don't say stupid things like that around here. The walls have ears."

"Yeah, yeah," Kisame muttered. "Whatever. Anyway, what are we doing for the rest of the week?"

Itachi shrugged. "I was thinking about working on a tan."

Kisame's eyebrows came up in surprise. "Ya know, I hate how I never know when you're being sarcastic and when you're not."

"Do you honestly think I would try to tan? I could be in that damn cloak and I'd still burn on my stomach."

Kisame laughed at this and turned sideways on the armchair, putting his feet over one arm and his head and shoulders over the other. "Too……ya know, I think I'm going for a swim in the waterfall. Coming?"

"I told you, I burn like all hell."

"Because your body had no sun exposure ever so it flips out because it isn't used to the sudden exposure."

"I hate water."

"You can stay where it's only three feet deep. Or even on the shore."

"I hate you."

Kisame sighed and sent Itachi a fairly decent glare. Itachi shrugged. "I'll be along tomorrow, maybe. But the more you bug me, the less I want to go."

Kisame sighed again and stood up. "Fine," he said sourly. "Be back in two hours."

Kisame stood up and left the room, and Itachi exhaled slowly through his mouth. Full, pretty lips parted with the gesture, and Itachi found himself alone as Kisame headed out, closing the door behind him. Minutes passed, and Itachi dozed on and off in the drowsy effect of heat. Nothing eventful happened for two hours-except an interesting dream that Sasuke actually came close to killing him. Itachi awoke to a distant pounding-like feet running. He stood up, aware that they were drawing closer. Loud, raised voices could be heard-one person yelling at another, and the second person sounding scared and afraid. Itachi could hear both footsteps now-and also the sickening thud of flesh hitting flesh. Who was being beaten? And why? Itachi slowly stood up, stretched, and noticed that the room had definitely gotten cooler. Finally, Pein turned on the air conditioner. Itachi knew the dumbass liked heat, but that had been ridiculous. Itachi exchanged his slut shorts for his normal leather pants, rolling down his boxers again and straightening them out before he pulled his pants on. The tight leather rippled against his skin, and Itachi walked out the bedroom into the front hallway of the two-bedroom apartment he and Kisame shared. He stepped into his shoes at the door, and opened it to see what was going on.

A flash of silver, and a tangle of skinny limbs and prominent ribs tumbled across the floor right in front of Itachi. The Uchiha thought he could safely assume this was whoever was getting it from Pein-the multi-pierced man was standing in the doorway-as no respected member or associate of Akatsuki would ever be treated that way. The male was starving, and his ribs could be clearly seen under his pale skin. Bruises speckled it across almost every part of his body, and his silver hair was matted with blood and some other undistinguishable substance. Itachi started and jumped back, glancing at Pein for an explanation. Pein ignored Itachi, brushing past him coldly and lashing out at the slave cowering on the floor. The male yelped in surprise and terror, scrambling backwards and ending up on his knees. Pein ignored this, as well, and kicked him hard in the ribs.

"Stupid bitch!" he screamed, punching the slave in the face. Itachi had had enough at this point: he walked over to the scene and wordlessly stepped between Pein and the slave on the floor, waiting until Pein had backed off a bit to ask,

"Okay, what is going on here?"

A tiny whimper brought his eyes to the slave behind him, choking out blood and clutching at his sides. Itachi crouched down in front of him and carefully moved his hands, taking a good look at his sides. "You broke a few ribs," he said, addressing both Pein and the slave. He brought up a small amount of healing chakra he copied from Konan and pressed his hand to the slave's side, healing the broken bones and receiving a look of shocked gratitude from him.

"Wh-why are you doing this?" he whispered, gazing up at Itachi with a new respect etched into his face. Itachi sighed.

"I can't just leave you crying. Then I feel like the biggest jerk in the world. Besides, you seem sweet enough. What did you do to have Leader-sama hurt you so bad?"

The slave whimpered at the sound of Pein's name, then shrugged. "I-I'm not sure," he said softly, but inched ever closer to Itachi. "He-He just walked in and-and started hitting me…and he wouldn't stop…so I ran away. But he followed me, and I got caught in front of your door. And then you opened it, and I got through." The slave blushed and looked down, clearly embarrassed at intruding. "I-I'm sorry, I d-didn't mean to..."

Itachi shook his head. "It's fine. But…who are you? What are you doing here?"

The slave lifted his head, and brushed his silver hair off the left side of his face, revealing bandages wrapped around the left eye. Itachi's eyes widened.

"Kakashi?" he whispered. "Son of Sakumo, of the Hatake clan?"

The slave nodded, and Itachi remained shell-shocked for a moment. "And…I'm going to take it you were simply captured, and then Pein spotted you and it was all downhill?"

Kakashi nodded again, and Itachi sighed with sympathy. "Pein, here's a deal," he said, standing up to look his leader in the face. "I'll take care of him, calm him down for you, clean him up a little, and then you can have him back. Besides…I'd like a bit of time with him."

Pein, who had remained silent the entire time, now spoke softly, but carried a big stick. "And what if I say no?"

Itachi shrugged. "I suppose that's your decision, but I know he's certainly going to die if this keeps up. You'll beat him to death if he doesn't starve before then."

Pein sighed. "I guess he'll die if I don't let you, do go for it. You have four weeks to clean him up, rehabilitate him, and get him ready for me. If he isn't ready, I may allow you a one-week extension. But that is entirely up to me and my opinion of him."

Itachi nodded and bent over, sliding his arms around Kakashi's waist and helping him stand. Kakashi immediately went to Itachi's shoulder, burying his face in the missing-nin's shirt and bringing his hands up to his body and making himself as small as possible. Itachi put one arm around Kakashi's shoulders, and the other settled in the 

Hatake's lower back. Pein sighed and turned away, walking out the door with a nasty reminder:

"Four weeks. Full health."

Itachi took Kakashi into the kitchen first, handing him an apple and letting him eat quietly. Kakashi settled in a corner with his food, and Itachi set to gathering first aid supplies. He had long dreamed of this moment: the moment he could tame Kakashi, have him for himself. Ever since ANBU, Itachi had seen potential in Kakashi: as a lover, as an associate, as a ninja, as a-


Itachi glanced down at Kakashi. "What?" he asked, dampening a washcloth in the sink. He knelt down in front of Kakashi and began carefully wiping the blood off his shoulders, just to get him used to Itachi's touch. Kakashi's face flushed, and he glanced away.

"I-I'm sorry to trouble you, but…I haven't had any water in two days…"

Itachi nodded and stood up again, going to one of the cabinets above his head. He reached up, opened one, and pulled out a glass. He filled it with water from the fridge, then handed it to Kakashi and let him drink before he continued wiping him down. "I'll get you more in a few minutes," Itachi said, setting the glass aside. "But I don't want you to vomit."

Kakashi seemed fine with this, and the two ended up sitting together on the floor for at least an hour and a half. Itachi wrapped Kakashi's sprained wrist, bandaged all his wounds, and healed the worst of them. He had totaled six cuts and a broken arm that needed chakra, and two lacerations that needed bandaging. The rest of the cuts he bandaged, and the bruises and smaller wound she applied ointment to. Kakashi remained quiet the entire time, simply happy that someone was touching him and it didn't hurt. Itachi finally finished and stood up, giving a swift exhale of relief. He washed his hands and began gathering all the medical supplies, wondering if Kakashi still needed anything. He seemed very hesitant to ask; was he afraid of Itachi, of denial, or of being hit?

"Want something to drink?"

Kakashi nodded, and Itachi gave him a glass of orange juice. From the looks of it, Kakashi would need the vitamins. Kakashi drank slowly, wanting to prolong the moment and make sure he could keep everything down. Itachi put away everything he had used to clean Kakashi up a bit, and then came back into the kitchen. The glass was clean and sitting on the counter out of the way and in one of the far corners. Kakashi himself was sitting in the next room against one of the couches, curiously picking through a book. Itachi felt a small smile come across his face. A book…a nice idea. He wanted to remember this day, and those to come. And he wanted to make sure he would remember Kakashi's progression…small notes in a notebook couldn't hurt. Itachi knew he had one somewhere…Itachi left Kakashi to his book and went into his bedroom, rooting around in his desk. Ah, here we are-a blank notebook. Itachi grabbed a pen and scribbled down a few sentences, just for sake of memory:

Day 1

Kakashi is quiet, shy, skittish, and afraid of his own shadow. He seems to be alright around me, though. His wounds were awful. Count three long lacerations and one shorter one. Bruises cover nearly entire body, but concentrated around head and hips. Kakashi shies at any attempt to touch him there, but responds well to my own touch. Too many small cuts to count, but fourteen cuts longer than six inches. Demeanor remains sweet and docile, but shy and afraid.

Itachi closed the book and sighed. This was either going to be wonderful for everyone, or misery that loved company.

A/N: The first fic I have ever written that will actually show the couple falling in love instead of going straight to the smut. : ) Well, review for it, and I'll see what I can do about the next chapter.