The Calling

by stones

Day Seven

On the seventh day, she felt like a different person.

She didn't know if it had happened over night. Such a drastic change should have been gradual. And now that she thinks about it, it probably was. While Sasuke was a pull, Itachi was a push. She had been on her way, slowly but surely, against the heavy weight of her ball and chain. Then there was the elder, who tempted her, challenged her, shoved her along. And it all came faster than she could have ever imagined. Maybe, just maybe, she was finally there.

They opened their eyes and met the others. Red and green. There were no thoughts, no certain emotions. But they had both felt it, whatever it was.

And she blinked slowly, shifting to lay her hands under her head and she looked upon the Uchiha's face. The sad, cold face. He stared at her, and she hadn't even thought about what he was thinking. Her thoughts, at the moment, seemed more important.

She could just drop everything and start anew.

The sweetest words could be the bitterest thoughts. Could she forget Sasuke? Could she leave behind everything? Could she say goodbye to everything that was? All for him? For this murder—this monster?

"We have to get up," she said quietly, beginning to shuffle.

She ceased her actions, however, when she felt a cold hand lay on her hip. She looked up to him with raised eyebrows, surprised at the gentle touch.

"Stay like this," he instructed simply. He shut his eyes slowly, eyebrows relaxing as the wrinkles over his face smoothed out. "Just for a little while."

She stared for a few minutes, scanning his face. Sakura followed suit, vision fading gradually. They both fell asleep, warmth next to warmth, content. Because they deserved it.

Just for a little while.


When she awoke again, he was gone.

She figured she should have gotten used to it, or perhaps would in the future. She shook her head, clearing these thoughts. There would be no more getting used to because there would be no more of this. Neither of them could afford it.

She stood up, rubbing the back of her neck with a heavy hand. Her stomach growled deeply and she groaned. The bed never looked so inviting. But she stood from the bed, wrapping the white sheets against her naked body, as she scuffled across the room, gathering the pieces of clothing here and there from the floor.

After fixing herself up, scrubbing herself away in the shower because all of a sudden she felt disgusted with herself, she made her way to the nearest town, following the river close by. It was a small town, mostly just a market that the surrounding farmers would come to. She picked at a few vegetables, hiding some away in her bag. Five-finger discount, some would call it. Receiving payment for all she had ever done for the world was what she called it.

Ever since she had stepped from the bed that morning, she felt something deep in the pit of her gut. And the harder she tried to ignore it, the more she felt it, the more it spread, the more she became consumed by it. With barely blinking eyes, body almost moving of its own accord, she made her way back to the house. The small, bloody house.

The closer she walked to the house, the more she become engulfed in a sort of bubble, one that she couldn't escape, no matter how many times she pounded her fists against the elastic walls.

She spilled the vegetables from her bag onto the kitchen counter, cursing as some took a tumble to the ground. Slowly she crouched, collecting an apple from the floor, all the while mumbling about the color red. She rose, hand gripping the red apple until her nails dug in, some drips of juice running down her finger.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

She turned, whipping the apple as she did so. The person behind her ducked, ready for her small attack. The apple loudly collided with the wall, smashing into a mushy mess. She reached behind her, hands grabbing desperately across the counter. Allowing herself a small, reassuring smile, her fingers wrapped themselves around a simple kitchen knife. There was silence as she surveyed the person in front of her.

Black cloak, red clouds.

"Interesting," he sneered, a perverted smile on his face. "A little Leaflet."

Her hand clenched the base of the knife as she remained silent. The wrapping from his infamous sword was coming undone, lifelessly flapping in the air. She bit her bottom lip in an attempt to control her emotions, for now was not the time to act drastically.

Naturally, the first thing that came to mind was betrayal.

Uchiha Itachi had used her and instead of killing her himself, he decided to pass along the job to his partner. And a part of her faltered because had she not even mattered enough to be killed by his own hands?

The second thing that flashed through her head was battle. And she slipped on her poker face as best she could. But Kisame just smirked, because even with her attempt at chasing away all emotion, the fear, hurt, and curiosity still shined through her eyes.

"What to do with you," he pondered, mostly speaking aloud to terrify her further.

"It won't be that easy," she told him, voice sounding confident.

"What won't be?" he asked, actually confused, because really, what was this girl doing here?

"Killing me," she clarified, her own eyebrows quirking at the strange uncertainty they both now shared.

In truth, he had been planning on just scaring her off. It was almost as if stumbling upon a small bunny. Besides the thing being downright defenseless, it would be a waste. With just a little shoo, she'd be gone, bouncing away without looking back. A job well done.

"Listen girl-"

They both paused when yet another person entered the small kitchen, making his way as though nothing were amiss. Both his partner and recent nurse looked away from each other to glance at the casual man, sneaking each other perplexed looks, as if trying to figure out what exactly was happening.

Sakura, thinking that the Uchiha had come to sadistically watch her last moments, tensed and finally looked away from the shark-man for good and instead focused on the Uchiha who was nearing quickly and yet, so very slowly. Her back was against the kitchen counter, her hands desperately gripping the edge of the surface. He came closer and closer until he was only a couple feet away.

"It won't work," she warned with a hiss.

The Uchiha raised a brow, looked past her and asked, "The stove?"

Kisame flashed a feral grin from behind.


She cracked each of her knuckles slowly, the sharp cracks loud against the silence. Biting the bottom of her lip, she looked around her room, or at least the room that she had always run to—the room that she always slept in. Save for last night.

She shook her head as though it would solve her jumbled head and mind that always seemed to linger back to thoughts of last night. Inevitably, a small blush would creep onto her warm cheeks. The thoughts were so vivid as they seemed to flash quickly.

Lazily, she pulled her bag over to herself, opening it wide. She shuffled through it, throwing aside useless wrappers. Her eyes landed upon the notorious orange book and she slowly reached for it and brought it onto her lap. Half-interested, she flipped through the pages, her eyes landing on some of the graphic scenes. She stopped turning the pages and her eyes widened when she saw the image on the page that she had flipped through.

The girl on the page had her eyes closed shut, head tossed back. The man, whose face she couldn't see, was pressed against her, holding her up by her bottom, knocking over a broom in the process. Sakura slightly tipped her head, making note that a closet didn't seem the most convenient place to do something like this.

She paused. Why would she even need to make a note of this? Throwing the book like it had been carrying the plague, she gave a troubled huff, determined to focus instead on the noises coming from the house.

The Uchiha had ushered her out of the kitchen with barely even a nod toward the door and the stern command to return to her room. Apart from feeling like a scolded child and feeling embarrassed at the amused chuckle that came from his partner, she was relieved to put some distance between her and the large, blue-skinned man. It was a wonder she was still in the house in the first place. Akatsuki so near was frightening. So why wasn't she feeling the certain adrenaline to run like she had never run before?

More importantly: since when had she started to think of Uchiha Itachi just as Uchiha Itachi and not Akatsuki?

She felt for chakra, though both of them were faint. Had they left the house? Standing slowly, she crept towards the door. They were outside of the house all right. She could barely feel their presence. She kept still, feeling it out, until one of them had disappeared completely. But which one? One of them was getting stronger and stronger. Quickly Sakura hopped back to the bed. She had soundlessly waited, already recognizing the familiar chakra as the Uchiha's, until she could hear his footsteps outside of her door.

They hesitated right outside, and for a second, Sakura held her breath.

The door opened only seconds after, giving Sakura view of the Uchiha in the doorway. She stood, feeling it the proper thing to do.

"Yes?" she asked.

"Kisame had business to attend to," he informed her. She nodded her head, confused at why he found it necessary to explain this to her. He continued, "I've been anxious to fight with my eyesight and test it out."

She shook her head immediately. "You won't use that on me."

"I won't," he assured.

"Then?" she asked, after a slight pause.

"I want to spar," he clarified, stepping closer into the room. Her eyes narrowed at the Uchiha as she tilted her head. Was he trying to mock her?

"Are you kidding?"

Now it was Uchiha Itachi's turn to tilt his head, which was exactly what he did. Was he joking? What kind of question was that? To Sakura, it was a legitimate question.

Never had someone so…so strong and powerful asked her to spar with them. Even on her old team, she would always have to butt in and suggest a session. And usually her request was met with fake smiles and annoyed glances. But now as she looked up at the man in front of her, there were no overly wide smiles or irritated frowns. There was only an open stare.

"Yea, sure," she sputtered out quickly, nodding. "I mean, yeah. I will."

Itachi merely nodded and there were a few seconds that passed before he shifted slightly, turning towards the door. "Shall we then?"

Sakura nodded again. "We shall."

His posture seemed to straighten out more, if that was even possible. He nodded slowly and Sakura bit the inside of her cheek, trying to figure out why the air had gotten so thick and awkward quickly, and more importantly, why was the Uchiha looking lost?

Inside his head, however, he was wondering what the hell she was doing just standing there. It was practically instinct to wait for her to leave before him. Ladies first, wasn't it? It was incredibly awkward, something the Uchiha rarely ever noticed. He lifted his arms out and motioned towards the door. "After you then."

Sakura could have nearly let out a 'huh' and looked at him as if he were crazy. That was what he had been pausing about? Because she wasn't leaving first? Maybe he was paranoid about turning his back on her. Maybe the Uchiha actually had some manners, contrary to the popular belief. Few people possessed any sort of manners lately. The last time she could remember a man holding a door out for her was when Naruto propped it open for her, telling her to be careful not to spill any of the ramen she had made for the both of them.

"Right," she mumbled, letting out a small, nervous chuckle.

At least she'd be able to let go of all of the thick tension during the spar.


She could barely feel her legs holding her up her body, which currently felt like a blob of jelly that she couldn't even move.

Just what was she thinking when she agreed to this?

Uchiha Itachi stood across from her, ready to fight. That in itself should have been able to depict the immense feeling of dread and fear that had suddenly taken over her.

"Come at me," he commanded, anxious after standing still for so long.

Sakura licked her dry lips, and shook her head only slightly.

The Uchiha paused. "Would you like me to come at you?"

She would have loved to shake her head again. Of course she didn't want Uchiha Itachi coming at her looking like death itself. And his face was promising a hard fight. She really didn't expect anything less from him. Her pause must have been interpreted as an okay, because Uchiha Itachi suddenly disappeared from her sight.

Her senses peaked and she listened closely, felt wholly, and watched carefully, becoming one with everything around her. The breeze in the air altered her hearing, nothing but the whizzing sound filled her head. Her sight did little to nothing, the Uchiha moved far too fast. But she could feel a presence, and it was coming at her from the side.

Quickly she flipped backwards, moving out of the way. When the tips of her toes touched the ground, she pumped her chakra to her hands, sending a fist forward. It connected with air, as expected. A smile crept onto her face unknowingly, actually enjoying the fight. She lifted her head, finding the image of a sharp kunai coming straight for her thrilling. The knife thudded when it stuck into the log she had substituted herself with, and she appeared a few feet away.

She hadn't expected him to jump towards her and initiate a close range combat, which Sakura had to admit, wasn't a very good strong point of hers. She was kept on her toes as the Uchiha sent fists coming her way, and a kick every now and then. One had hit her in the stomach and succeeded in knocking the air from her. She fell backwards, hands around her stomach.

With a push, she jumped away, already reaching for the kunai Itachi had given to her specifically for the fight. She held it down, flicking her wrist up and letting it fly through the air with a wiz. Her aim was unfortunately off and he dodged it easily. Sakura cursed, panic now settling in because she had fallen behind. The Uchiha clearly had the upper hand at this point. Her smile faded as the fight lost its playfulness and took on a serious feeling.

During the fight, she had managed to send a punch towards the Uchiha's way, and managed to connect it with his jaw, though it wasn't as strong as she would have liked it to be. As her breaths became shorter and legs became weaker, she landed to the ground, back against the tree. He landed in front of her and Sakura barely had time to think about what to do next when she was met with the familiar image a kunai coming her way.

She couldn't even blink as the kunai flew closer and closer. Which way to move? Barely a second passed when the kunai thudded into the bark on the left side of her head. She let go a breath of tense air, tilting her head to examine the kunai only a few inches from her head. It had succeeded in slicing off a piece of her hair that was now slowly falling to the ground—pink against the dark dirt.

She looked up at him, frustrated. "I thought we were only sparring."

"We were," he replied simply.

Between her heavy breaths, she shook her head. "You could have killed me."


She pushed herself off the tree, giving him an incredulous look. Aa? That's all he had to say? What if she had moved? Even a couple of inches? That kunai would have been lodged between her eyes. She gripped her hand around the knife and pulled it out, stumbling backwards.

But she should have known there was no going halfway with the Uchiha. It was either all or nothing.

"Well?" she asked, curious to what he thought, as anyone would be. As much as she hated to admit it, it was an honor to go against someone as great as the Uchiha, and she had definitely taken some good things from the experience.

"You're sloppy," he said simply, much to Sakura's chagrin. She had been expected an encouraging "job well done" and maybe a pat on the back. Wasn't that the polite thing to say to someone after a spar? With Itachi, it was always the truth and there was a part of Sakura that hated it.

Sakura had always been the one to beat around the bush. She was sure as hell aware of everything that went on around her, though she wouldn't really accept it. Sasuke wasn't a hero, but she would never accept that so easily. Sakura wasn't the strongest she could be, but she sure wasn't going to admit that to herself. It was much easier to tell herself that Sasuke was perfect, Sasuke was a god and she was doing everything in her power that she could to be strong, to be the woman she had always wanted to be.

Why take the long road when the easy is paved in gold?

At that moment, she figured Itachi had come to her life to teach her that not all that glittered was gold.

"When you dodge," he started, "imagine where you are going to land instead of flipping around aimlessly. Your moves are predictable and usually focus around one attribute: your strength. Predictability will be your downfall."

And Sakura agreed because it already has been.

He pulled out a kunai, holding it the air so that the sunlight glinted off of it. "When you throw this," he started, moving it down, "flick sideways, not up." And he threw it.

Sakura gasped as it flew by her head again, so closely, that she could hear it.

"Stop that," she hissed, glaring up at his smug face that held that infuriating smirk.

"Stop what?"

"You know exactly what," she said, going to walk past him. She went to pocket the kunai she held, until his voice stopped her from behind.

"I'm afraid I have no idea what you're talking about," he whispered so lowly that it was hard for her to hear.

"Picking on me," she clarified for him.

"It is below me to poke fun at a small girl," he countered.

She grit her teeth, stopping in her tracks. Was he trying to get her angry? He was certainly succeeding. Sakura had learned that Uchiha Itachi knew exactly where to prod her, where to push her to make her head a jumbled mess with emotions flowing from every direction. He knew exactly how to make a certain emotion jump out. Well she'd show him just how angry she could be. She turned quickly, flicking her wrist sideways as she sent the kunai flying. It took her a second to see where the knife had landed and she grinned when she saw the Uchiha, leaning sideways, and right behind where he was standing was a kunai lodged in a tree.

Her anger subsided and she reluctantly smiled as the Uchiha straightened out, pulling the kunai from the tree and said, "Good."

"I hate how you do that," she said, crossing her arms, a small smile on her face.

He spun slowly on the back of his heel, turning to look at her. He was slowly taking his time making his way to her, though she took the chance to look him up and down—his eyes that suddenly turned mischievous, the few strands off hair that rebelliously tore away from the bunch during their spar, his thin lips that parted only slightly as he approached. When had he gotten so close?

She shifted on her feet, nervous at the sudden loss in distance between the two. But he seemed comfortable, his face as blank as ever. But his eyes—his eyes—they held a playful glint that made her smile uncertainly and bat her eyes in anticipation.

"And what's that?" he asked, bringing a hand up to take her arm, unraveling them and dropping them to her sides.

"That?" she asked. "That being—" her words were cut off when he moved in closer and pulled her to him, wrapping an arm around her back in the process. Her hands came up in surprise to lie against his chest and she looked up, already mesmerized by his eyes. "That being the way you do…this."

"This?" he asked, further closing the distance between them until his lips met hers. She let a small mewl from the back of her throat and fell into him, allowing his body to support her. For now, she was just so willing to give in. He held onto her tighter, a hand coming up to dig into her hair and she leaned her head towards the touch. His lips left hers, but didn't hesitate to latch onto her neck, sucking and biting between the tender kisses. She leaned her head back, allowing him to give affection to her neck, closed her eyes, and just enjoyed.

"Yeah," she sighed, wrapping her arms around him, for she felt that if she didn't, she would lose her balance fall into nothing. "That."

And she could feel his smug smirk on her neck as he lifted her up. Instinctively, she wrapped her legs around him.

She wasn't sure if she had heard right, or if the Uchiha had even spoke at all for it seemed incredibly out of character for him to speak at such a time, let alone say what he said. But as he carried her back into the house, she could have sworn between all those heated kisses and feels, she heard, "Oh. That."

She smiled peacefully as they broke the kiss and held onto him tightly, resting her chin on his shoulder. As he carried her through the hallway and towards the bedroom, she couldn't help but notice how incredibly narrow the hallway was and the window at the end of it seemed like the light in the tunnel.

And really, she didn't mind going back into the dark.

Just for a little while.


She blinked slowly, enjoying the warmth of the sheets around their bodies. It was a clutter in the room, filled with discarded clothes and forgotten pillows. It didn't feel stuffy, however, and Sakura would have instead called it peaceful. Peaceful and beautiful. The bed had never seemed to wonderful, and she wondered if they would ever have to get out because she knew there was no way she wanted to. She looked up to Itachi's face, watched how he kept his gaze at the ceiling even though he knew she was looking at him. Maybe it was because he was tired, or maybe it was because she wasn't a threat, but Sakura had hoped that it was because he was comfortable.

"Kisame will be back soon," he said, and she watched his Adam's apple bob as he spoke.

She shook her head, laying her head on his arm. "Don't," she pathetically grunted, reaching her fingers out to graze his chin. She didn't want to pay attention to anything outside of this room, outside of this bed. It was all too perfect, even though she knew, it would be over soon.

He only swatted them away, looking irritated. She recoiled to herself, giving him a confused look. Was he not holding her only a few minutes ago?

"You cannot avoid the inevitable," he said, shifting in the bed to sit up, swinging his legs over the side. She stared at his smooth, bare back, eyebrows still in a worried knot.

"What are you—"

"You will return to Konoha tonight," he simply said. She could not see his mouth or face, and therefore, couldn't see if he was teasing or not. It was hard enough to tell even with seeing his face, but only his voice gave no clues whatsoever.

"So what?" she asked him, keeping her eyes glued on him even as he stood from the bed and bent over to retrieve his pants from the floor. "Just like that?" Her voice cracked and nose flared, a guarantee of a shower of tears. "You used me?"

After having put his pants on, he stood away from the bed, scanning the room for where he had thrown his shirt. "That was never my intention," he said quietly, most likely between grit teeth. Sakura wrapped the blanket around herself and arose on the bed on her knees, staring at him incredulously. How could he be so calm? "We have both let our guards down."

"Let our guards down?" she echoed. He finally turned back, but kept his eyes off of her, and instead scanned the room for the remainder of his clothes. She saw his black shirt on the bed in the corner of her eye and could see that he had spotted it. Slowly he moved over. "Let our guards down," she whispered to herself, though the silence had allowed his ears to catch her words. She took his shirt into her hands and held it out to him as he neared. He took it from her, but before he could pull away, she caught his wrist.

Tensing, he snapped his eyes to hers. They relaxed just as quickly. Her eyes were glazed over, and she continued to look at him and he was surprised that she had not looked away. It was unnerving for it felt as if she could see every part of him. The parts that he was proud of, the parts that he wasn't, and the parts that he had thought he had hid away. Forever.

Her lips parted slightly and he heard her light breaths. And then she spoke in a quiet whisper.

"This isn't a fight."

After a moment, he pulled away from her and she dropped her arm, the other hand still clutching at the sheet covering her. "I know that."

"Than stop acting like you don't," she hissed, a stubborn tear running down her face. But she ignored it. He tried to. "Not everything is a fight."

But for Uchiha Itachi, it was.

He went to turn, but she caught him again, only this time instead of wrapping her fingers around his wrist, the tips of her fingers only touched the outside of his hand, but it stung as much as a burn. He looked at her again.

"Please," she pleaded. The word held so much.

"You will leave tonight either way," he said, and it was final. She listened to his footsteps as he left the room, shutting the door behind him.

She fell back on the bed, sniffling and wiping away the burning tears. She knew she shouldn't be crying. She knew she couldn't complain or curse the heavens for the ways things were going.

It was only for a little while.

She should have known that.


"Medic," was the first thing she had heard him say in the last couple of hours.

She had returned to her room shortly after their small struggle, one that they had barely made out of alive. Without the energy or will to do anything more, she collapsed on her own bed, dug her face into her pillow, and stopped the tears from coming, though a few had slipped past. Somewhere between the thoughts and regrets, she must have dozed off for when her eyes opened again, it was dark. And once again, it was suffocating.

She began to pack her things, stuffing the scroll into her bag harshly. All of her spare clothes that she had discarded during the days of her stay were picked from the floor and the ring that she had kept under her pillow had been taken from its hiding spot. She sat on the bed as she studied the dark ring, not blinking as she studied it closely. No matter what angle or height she had looked at it, it remained the same. There was no flash, there was no flicker, there was nothing. And so she left it on the nightstand, for it was not needed anymore. Neither was she.

That was when he had entered the room, calling out to her, although this time instead of calling her name, he called out what she was. She turned to face him, not being able to resist giving him the glare of half anger and half sorrow. His cloak hid his face, the red clouds clouded her vision. He entered the room despite her cold exterior and closed the door behind him.

"You must be feeling exhausted," he said, more of a statement than an observation.

She nodded only once, glancing away from him. He neared, however, and held a hand out. In the corner of her eye, she saw what he was offering. A soldier pill.

"I don't need anything from you," she stubbornly said, declining his offer.

"Take it, Sakura."

She looked to him, lower lip crinkling. Quickly, she took the pill from him and held it in her closed fist. "Is this what you want?" she asked, already the tears starting to come. "Do you get off on this? On making me cry?"

She did not see any reaction from him, only the swirl of his eyes. Wordlessly, he turned away and walked towards the door. Before leaving he titled his head. "When you are ready, come to the kitchen. Do not be frightened by Kisame. He will not touch you."

When he left the room, she lifted her hand and opened her fist. The soldier pill was crushed.

She made her way to the kitchen slowly after, bag slung over her shoulder. There was the overbearing sound of a low voice coming from the lit kitchen that contrasted so greatly from the dark hallway that she was walking through. She peeked in, seeing Kisame at the small kitchen table, a bottle of sake in the middle of the table. Itachi sat across from him, cloak still on. She entered slowly and Itachi's eyes landed on her, followed by Kisame's. His lips were curled in a mocking smile.

"Look who's out and about," he smiled. "The little Leaflet."

She did her best to ignore him. "I'm ready, Uchiha," she said, trying to speak without emotion.

"You hear that?" Kisame laughed, looking over to his partner. "She's ready. I still don't know why you're going through all this trouble. Might as well just dump her on the side of the road."

Sakura slightly backed away, and Itachi must have seen, for he stood and motioned for her to follow him. But before she could, Kisame spoke again.

"What a Leaf, huh?" he asked, pouring himself another glass. "I thought your kind supposed to be the most loyal." He snorted, downing the sake. He turned his head to look at Sakura. "Not only are you fixing his eyes….no. Konoha must love you…but only if they never find out right?"

"Medic," the Uchiha called out sternly, already on his way to the door. Sakura quickly followed suit, trying to dodge Kisame's amused looks. She tried to block out his voice as they left the house, and succeeded as the sound of chirping crickets took over.

Uchiha Itachi quickly jumped away as soon as they were outside. Sakura had to take a moment to realize that he was already sprinting away, and she jumped herself, trying hard to catch up and keep up. The soldier pill he had given her had been a waste. All that sparring and time without food was taking a toll on her, not to mention the incredible guilt, loneliness, and loss she was feeling all at the same time.

What the blue-skinned man had been true. She was betraying her village. She was betraying all of her friends. She was betraying Naruto by being around Akatsuki willingly. It was wrong of her. Dreadfully wrong and she doubted that she could ever repent for her sins.

She watched the back of his cloak as they traveled in silence, the clouds on the black background whipping back and forth as though a sharp wind was pushing them this way and that, anyway that it pleased. They had made good time and had stopped to the ground a while later, landing in silence.

"We are almost near the border," he said. "Where we met."

She nodded. How could she forget?

He looked over his shoulder at her. "Do you know the rest of the way back?"

She nodded solemnly, trying not to think of the parting for too long for she knew the tears would spring to her eyes. But who could blame her?

Her naivety about happy endings had driven her to a dead end. She had already been through this before, how had she let it happen again? The Uchiha was not her Prince Charming, and sadly, neither was Sasuke. She was not a Princess that had been waiting to be saved. If anyone had to save her, it would have to be herself. Because it had taken awhile, but Sakura had finally learned that life was not a fairytale. She was Konoha and he was Akatsuki. She was a medic, he was a murderer. It really was never meant to be.

"We can part now," she said. "I know where I am."

"Very well," he replied.

It started to lightly drizzle, so calmly that Sakura could barely feel it against her cold cheeks. They both stayed there for a while, not knowing where to go from here. It was something both of them had never come across, something that could not be described.

"I will not apologize for being rational," he said, much to Sakura's surprise. "It is the smartest course of action for us to take."

She turned to look at him only to find that he had been looking at her the whole time. She said nothing, only continued to study him as he continued to study her. For who knew how long this precious moment would last? And suddenly the rain came down harder upon them and they washed away the labels, the expectations, the morals.

For at the moment she was just Haruno Sakura and he was just Uchiha Itachi and dammit, they were meant to be.

"You won't apologize for anything," she said as they both walked towards each other. She threw herself onto him and buried her face into his cloak, breathing in his scent for one last time, trying hard to remember the musky scent of rain, for who knows if she'd every be able to smell the real thing ever again.

She felt his arms come around her, holding her to him closely. And they stayed like that, maybe for a couple minutes, maybe for hours. Time didn't seem to matter and Sakura could have cared less if it disappeared forever, because this was where she was happy, and this she never wanted to give up.

But she knew she had to. They both did. For their lives were polar opposites, and even though they came beautifully together for a short while, they would crash back to their original positions, awaiting another rendezvous. He could not play the part she wanted him to. He could not be beside her when she woke every morning. He could not pause his life and figure out his mistakes, and realize that they should be together. He could not be Sasuke. She didn't want him to be.

"I can't be there to catch you when you fall," he spoke into her ear, breaths warm against her cold, red ears.

She looked up at his face, his cold handsome face, and stood on her tiptoes as she gave him a ghost of a kiss. "I won't trip."

Reluctantly, they let each other go.

She stood a few feet from him, holding her bag close to herself.

"Medic," he said with the nod of his head.

"Uchiha," she countered with her own nod.

And they both turned and went their separate ways, knowing Fate would take a cruel mercy upon them and they would meet again.

As Sakura jumped through the trees, staring up at the red clouds above her head, she noticed the tear coming down her cheek.

Not because The Callings had ended, but because something else had begun.




A/N: The End.

Thanks to everyone who has read, reviewed, and enjoyed the story. You guys all made The Awakening and The Calling successful. Well, they were successful in my eyes. You all are awesome. I hope to hear from some of you again in future fics that may come along and I hope to read all of your works at some point or another. Once again, thank you.

It's sad to see it go. :\

Later loves.

Will there be a sequel to The Calling?

I have one, but it wouldn't be happy. Like at all. :) Plus for what I have in mind, there wouldn't just be one more 'sequel', there'd be two seperate parts that would have to go along and that's a lot of work. I don't really think I'm up to it right now. Maybe come back later? Put an alert on or something? So as of right now, no there will most likely not be a sequel in the near future. There might not be one at all.

But I dunno. Never say never.

Where's my happy ending?

I thought it was happy. :/ A peaceful happy. A calm happy. A realistic happy. A Sakura and Itachi kind of happy.

What? That's it?


Am I happy with the ending?

I sure as hell am.