Title: Inner demons

Author: pawsbells

Characters/Pairing: Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Itachi

Type: One-shot (Complete)

Genre: General/Romance

Word Count: 2707

Theme: LJ Community, 50-shinobi theme #04, Inner demons

Rating: T (Contains content not suitable for children)

Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto-san.

Summary: First prequel to blood limit. She was bound to him the very moment they met. One way or another, the little chains of Fate would keep her close to him for the rest of her life. She didn't understand why yet, but one day, she would. And on that day, she would remain with him by choice.

Chapter Last Revised on: 08/10/08


She glared warily at him.

"Don't come near me," she barked fiercely at the unmoving figure standing by the entrance of the room.

Sakura struggled to rise from the bed but it was obvious that she was too weak to even attempt such a simple act. The energy-depleted kunoichi hissed in frustration, emerald eyes flashing with suspicion as she stared at the missing nin with growing trepidation.

It had been nearly a week since she had been caught and placed in captivity by his organization. She had put up a fierce fight the moment she understood that she had been ambushed, but they weren't labeled S-class criminals for no reason and two of them had been more than she could handle. She had no idea whatsoever what they wanted from her; there was no demand for her skills as a medic and they did not look like they were planning to use her to lure out Naruto either. After the death of Uchiha Madara four years ago, all attempts at capturing her blonde best friend had ground to an abrupt halt and the Akatsuki had promptly faded into obscurity.

Most had thought that the notorious organization no longer existed, that the powerful missing-nin had disbanded and that the group had fallen apart because there was no longer a common goal to work toward, no longer anyone to keep them all in line.

Imagine Sakura's shock when she saw the black cloaks with the swirling, crimson cloud patterns again. Then, those bladed, crimson eyes. Her shock hadn't lasted for long though; they had knocked her out soon enough and now she was here, locked and rendered powerless in some large mansion in the middle of nowhere.

How was it possible that the Akatsuki was still active? Why did they take her? What did they want to do with her?

What did he want with her?

The soft slam of the door brought her back from her inner musings.

He had kicked the door shut behind him and was prowling forwards, long silent strides that quickly took him to the foot of her bed. She stiffened—and then her attempts to pull herself into a sitting position became more desperate. She failed miserably however, despite the rush of adrenaline that pumped through her system. She was clearly in the vulnerable position here; no chakra and stuck in an unfamiliar place—his territory.

Bloody Sharingan eyed her quietly.

"Calm yourself."

His arrogant command made her narrow her eyes.

"Whatever you want from me, I'm not giving it to you," she blurted out immediately. It was a standard statement; she had been saying that to him ever since the day she was brought here. For some reason she could not fathom, he had been her main caregiver, providing her with food and water, shelter, and medical care from the minute wounds that she had sustained when she had resisted her kidnappers. There were even books to keep her occupied, rare medical scrolls for her to peruse, and some literature for leisure reading. She was never allowed to leave her room, though; he was the only person she had been in contact with so far and after getting over the initial mind numbing terror over the fact that she was being taken care of by the clan murderer Uchiha Itachi, her rage and fear had subsided somewhat to be replaced by wariness.

The Uchiha was hardly impressed by her threat. He lowered his eyelids, those long, almost feminine lashes of his hiding his gaze from her.

"What," His voice was soft and silky, "makes you think that you can stop me?"

She paled, and then quickly tried to push herself against the headboard. He was moving to the side of the bed now, and she was starting to panic. Then, pale hands came up to undo the Akatsuki cloak that he was draped in, and emerald eyes widened.

"What are you doing?!" she shrilled immediately.

He gave her a look that suggested that he thought her rather addled in the head. He continued to undress.

Sakura froze. Then, she started to sputter with growing hysteria. He had never done this before! Normally, he would stay and watch her finish her meal before leaving her alone for most of the day; he never ventured this close to her and he sure as hell didn't start taking off his clothes!! And she was so weak now; she wouldn't be able to fight or resist whatever he wanted to do to her—she couldn't even run! Her heart started to race with worry and fear as she eyed him with large eyes.

Her look of alarm must have been very obvious to him.

"You are not of any interest to me." He tossed his cloak carelessly over the back of a chair beside her bed before focusing his attention on her. He was now clad in a black mesh undershirt as well as black pants. She stared at him warily.

"Then why are you here?"

He moved towards her and nonchalantly entered the large bed. She stiffened immediately. "Wh-what are you doing?!"

She had half a mind to roll out of the bed. He was so near her!!

"Don't do it." His soft warning told her right away that he knew what she was about to do—and his lethal tone told her that she wouldn't like what he would do to her if she disobeyed him. And so she stayed frozen in her place. He looked at her with his crimson eyes.

"From now on, we will be sharing this bedroom."

She looked at him with disbelief. "What?!"

"You will accustom yourself to my presence," he continued blithely, ignoring her loud exclamation. "I will not harm you."

Her eyes narrowed, even though his expression was deadpan as ever.

"Will not, or cannot?"

He looked at her quietly. "Both," he admitted at last.

She did not understand. "Why?"

The crimson orbs were impassive.

"Because I need you."


He refused to explain his cryptic statement no matter how many times she demanded it.

True to his words, he came into her room every night after that fateful evening. His actions were always the same. Come in, remove cloak, get into bed, sleep. He would be gone before dawn though—long before she woke. She would always open her eyes to the gentle morning rays and a blissfully empty room.

Sakura had been petrified for the first few nights; although he ignored her most of the time, he had made it abundantly clear that he would not tolerate any attempt to escape on her part. She wasn't even allowed to leave the bed when he was in the room. She learnt to stick to her side of the futon, though, and he stayed on his.

Gradually, she began to understand that he really wasn't planning to do anything to her. He would lie on the bed, close his eyes, and sleep. It was as simple as that. He never even moved! She always found herself watching him; he was only a foot away from her and in sleep, he appeared so unguarded and relaxed—and so very young that she often had trouble believing that this was the same man who had brutally massacred his entire family in the span of a single night.

Then, her gaze would wander around the room and land upon that black cloak patterned with red clouds, and then she would remember that she had never asked to be here in the first place, that she had been brought here against her will, her chakra suppressed and her weapons taken away; defenseless and left to depend upon an S-class missing nin for her every need—and she began to grow angry and frustrated all over again.

She clearly did not belong here, enclosed in a bedroom and reared like a little pet kitten. She was a capable kunoichi and an even better medic-nin. Her abilities and talents were needed elsewhere and being kept here with nothing to do was basically wasting away her potential. Not to mention that her friends and family were probably worried sick about her and she missed them desperately. Worst was the fear that she might never get to see them again, and that made Sakura even more agitated as the days passed.

And now it had been two months since she was captured. Time had crawled for her; she had been filled with so much worry and trepidation that the two months had felt like years, and she still did not understand their motives for keeping her prisoner. She had tried to ask of course, but he had never given her an answer.

Still caught in her worries, Sakura stood unseeingly by the shelves of books lining the side of the room as she contemplated her situation. Her chakra was somehow being limited by her captor; she still had no idea how it worked but apparently he didn't have to be in her vicinity to milk away her chakra or to give it to her if he so wished. She was normally barely strong enough to move around her room in her normal, confident gait, and although he allowed her to remain in a mobile state most of the time now, the initial week when she had been captured had been hell. He had taken away her chakra completely, leaving only a bare minimum behind to ensure that she would still live.

As if her thoughts had summoned the Uchiha, the door creaked open.

The kunoichi no longer flinched at the sound. He always came exactly at this time of the night. She had learned to expect him when the time came.

Without looking at him, she turned obediently from the wall of books and made her way to bed. She was about to get in when he made a sound. It wasn't a word, and it wasn't a grunt, but it was enough to catch her attention. She lifted her head towards him.

Emerald eyes widened slightly at the sight before her.

It must have been pouring outside. He was wet from head to toe. He also looked like he had just been mauled by a wild beast. The Akatsuki cloak was torn and tattered, his aristocratic face, though unharmed, was a lot paler than usual and most damning of all was all the blood that dripped onto the floor from the large, gaping wound on his left thigh.

He was injured.

She could only stare.

Then he started to move, shutting the door behind him and shuffling forwards in an awkward gait that was nothing like his normal strides. His face revealed none of the physical discomfort that he must be experiencing; instead, crimson Sharingan glowed eerily as they focused on her wide eyes—and he moved resolutely towards her.

She stiffened when he crossed the room and stopped before her, a grotesque trail of blood behind him but still looking as expressionless as ever.

It was obvious what he wanted from her.

She closed her eyes, but the weight of his stare was almost tangible on her petite frame.

He wasn't going to ask her to heal him, she knew. He would not command her, and if he didn't, she had no obligations to aid him whatsoever. She was just a captive, forced here against her will—

Her eyes snapped open. She did not look at his face.

"Sit down." Her voice was hard and brusque as she disappeared into the bathroom to gather her medical supplies. She came out eventually, arms laden with sterile bandages, medicine, anesthetic and other related materials. He was seated on the bed by then, face paler than ever as he lifted his badly injured leg onto the mattress by sheer force of will.

She set down her supplies on the side table and turned her attention to him. "Are you injured anywhere else?"

She was trying her hardest to be cold and unfeeling, to pretend that she didn't care. He stared at her calmly. Then he shook his head.

"Very well." Borrowing a kunai from his pouch, she tore open his pants from the point of injury itself and down to the hem. Then she focused upon the wound. It was a large gash, deep and jagged, and he was lucky that it had not hit his femoral artery; he would have bled out long before he could find his way back here. She spent quite some time stopping his blood flow as well as picking out stray bits of cloth and foreign matter from the injury with a pair of tweezers, and to his credit, he barely flinched throughout the entire ordeal.

Then she stared at him. "Release my chakra," she demanded, completely prepared to go into an argument with him if he denied her. To her surprise, he gave in to her without any word of protest. The abrupt return of her chakra was empowering and Sakura felt a little less helpless for the first time since she had been captured.

"You aren't worried that I would take this opportunity to escape?"

He merely looked at her.

"You have proven that you would not leave an injured person unaided. Even if you do manage to escape after that," His strangely hypnotic eyes pinned her to her spot firmly.

"I will hunt you down again."

It wasn't a threat. It was a promise and she flinched slightly at the utter certainty in his quiet voice. It told her that there was no place on earth she could hide from him, and that he would find her no matter where she ran. And she still had no idea whatsoever what he wanted with her.

A little shaken by her thoughts, Sakura forced herself to pay attention to his injury in order to distract herself from her predicament. His bleeding had stopped almost completely by now and she could seal up the wound already. Her hands flared with potent green chakra as she started to concentrate on knitting his torn flesh together. Her hands hovered over his injury and she watched calmly as the jagged edges of his wound started to close together and heal.

His eyes never left her face as she worked diligently to repair his damaged muscles and tissues. Her face was a mask of fierce concentration as she guided her chakra to do exactly as she wanted, and he watched the determination in her eyes flare up as she struggled slightly to control her power.

Eventually, the large wound closed completely, leaving nothing but smooth skin and sleek muscles.

Sakura was panting softly when she removed her hand from Itachi's now unmarred limb. She had not healed for so long that her chakra control had faltered somewhat. It had drained her greatly to heal him.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, she looked to him, her chest still rising up and down a little quicker than normal as her eyes fleeted sharply over his form, looking for any other injuries for her to heal. There were none.

He was still bloody and torn and wet though. She frowned. "You will need to clean up if you are not hurt anywhere else."

Wordlessly he unfolded his lean form from the bed, his movements a lot more graceful and fluid than before. He had probably lost quite a lot of blood, and so she hovered slightly behind him as he stood by himself. She half expected him to walk out of her door, but to her inner surprise, he headed for her bathroom instead.

"Wait," she called out before he could shut the door. "What about my…chakra?"

Sakura felt like an idiot for blurting out that he had not taken back her energy at all. She could have used the opportunity to try to escape! But yet…

He looked at her quietly.

"Will you run?" he asked at last, his voice unperturbed and very calm. He appeared so very non-threatening right now but she knew better.

"…No," her whisper sounded defeated, even to her own ears.

"Good." And the door closed soundlessly behind him. Sakura deflated.

Why was she acting so weak, so needy, so dependent?


:owari:


Questions That I Would Like To Answer Before You Ask:

As I have told my beta, this was written quite awhile back, sometime last year, if I'm not wrong. The original version was even longer than this edited version, but it had remained uncompleted as I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with it. Then, I recently went back to it and decided to create a three-part prequel (of sort) for 'blood limit'. They are short, only vaguely related, and I'm not very sure where the romance is but it's somewhat in there, hidden underneath the underneath, haha. You will just have to squint hard (or use your imagination).

So this is the first part, and I will be putting up the remaining two on every Wednesday.

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Obviously, this is Canon AU-verse, as oxymoronic as it sounds. Akatsuki still stands, Uchiha Madara is dead as a doornail (good riddance!), and…Itachi is still alive. Please don't ask why; I really have no idea either, other than for the rather obvious fact that this is yet another one of those fevered fantasies of deranged fangirls (yours truly) that we see floating online so often nowadays.

Oh dear…why am I dissing myself again?

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

--paws