Beta-ed by: MelissaRose85
Characters/Pairing: Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Itachi
Type: One-shot (Complete)
Word Count: 1076
Theme: LJ Community, 50-shinobi theme #34, Puppeteer
Rating: T (Contains content not suitable for children)
Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto-san.
Summary: Sequel to Hunter-nin. She was no longer of any use to him. Yet, for some reason or another, he still refuses to let her go. Like a master puppeteer and his puppet, he automatically binds her tightly to him without even understanding why. One day, he would. And on that day, he would no longer need to find excuses to keep her.
Created on: 03/09/08
Completed on: 05/09/08
Chapter Last Revised on: 23/10/08
His eyes could not be healed.
The damage caused to the delicate optic nerves had simply been too great to repair; he had used his Kekkei Genkai so often for the past one and a half decades that the chakra strain had been just too much.
He was slowly but surely going blind, and even now, she doubted that he would be able to see well without the aid of his precious Sharingan.
And once those fragile, precious rods and cones that gave him vision died completely, he would never see again.
A part of her had rejoiced greatly when she first realized the truth.
Surely, this was only the least of his just desserts for all the atrocities that he had committed in the past. For the clan that he had singlehandedly wiped out, for the brother whom he had made to suffer so greatly, for the many lives that had been lost to those bloody eyes, those bloodstained hands.
Inwardly vindictively, she had told him in a blank, spiteful tone the results of her diagnosis.
Even the best medic-nin in the world would not be able to heal what was already destroyed.
Very soon, he would go blind, and when that day came, losing his sight was going to be the least of his worries. There was no doubt that he had acquired scores of enemies in his years as a nukenin, and coupled with the fact that he was constantly being harried by hunter-nin, they were both aware that his lifespan wouldn't be a long one once his vision forsook him.
Surprisingly enough, he had not reacted with violence to her gleeful, hopeless diagnosis. Crimson eyes were shuttered; there was no doubt that she truly believed that he had reaped what he had sowed, and he did not refute her beliefs.
"You will let me return now, right?" she asked him, a small sliver of hopefulness creeping into her eyes at the notion of being able to return to her dear friends. "Your eyes cannot be healed; you do not need me any longer. Let me go."
He looked at her, this pink-haired kunoichi who clearly did not belong in the darkness that had been his domain for so long, whom he had snatched from the protective embrace of her friends and beloved village to fulfill his own purpose, whom he had forced to weave her healing magic over him.
It was all for naught.
She could not help him, and he would have to return her. She would go back to Konoha unharmed; for despite what he told her, her friends had never stopped looking for her, and despite what he told her, she had never quite stopped believing in them, either.
She would return to her cherished loved ones, they would accept her with open arms, and gradually, she would soon forget about this nightmare, forget that for a brief moment in time, he had once stolen her away for his own selfish gains, that for a brief moment in time, she had been caught like a songbird in a cage and he had been her sole provider and protector, forget him.
Unlike himself, her future was still bright and long ahead of her. While his name would eventually fade into obscurity, hers would glow and shine and would one day be well known among the Five great countries.
He resented it, and the dark, cruel part of him wanted to snuff out that light before she had the chance to shine for the world.
They were direct opposites of each other and he could not help but notice the irony.
It wasn't fair; he was smarter and stronger and more powerful than she would ever be, but due to circumstances that could not be changed, she was the one who was loved and fiercely protected and looked after by her loyal friends, whereas he could only ever be standing on the outside looking in. Maybe it might have been different, if he had been born into a different family, if he didn't love his brother so much, if he hadn't wished to protect his brother from the hell that they had been their birthrights.
But the world was seldom fair and just, and he had learned to accept his lot in life.
If anything, he should feel relieved over the eventual loss of his cursed sight. This endless nightmare would end soon. Undoubtedly, he would die alone, most probably under the hand of an enemy, maybe even his little brother.
And then, like most powerful nukenin who had been lost to time, he would be forgotten, one of the last members of the once great, but now dying, Uchiha clan.
The selfish, rarely let out part of him revolted against that idea, just as it revolted against the notion of letting the kunoichi go now. Maybe he was the fox who could not get the grapes, maybe he just despised what he could not get, but suddenly, just the mere thought of returning her to her village infuriated him inwardly.
He would not give her back just yet. The full brunt of her resulting fury was nothing compared to the cold sting of loneliness that he had silently endured for the past decades. If his time was going to be up soon, then for once, he would indulge himself.
He would keep her, for a lonely death was something that seemed so desolate and bleak that even he refused to consider it. Powerful as he may be, he was only mortal and human.
She would just have to wait a little longer before she could return to her precious village once more, and even then, she would remember him.
Only his death would free them both.
Nothing more, nothing less.
He ignored her sharp cry of anger.
"You may not heal me, but you have the ability to delay the onset of my blindness," he informed her blankly, standing up and towering over her petite form, calmly eyeing the helpless rage that swirled and simmered in her expressive emerald gaze, the upset tilt of her mouth that pulled her lips sharply downward.
He looked away eventually, and started to stride soundlessly towards the exit, leaving her defeated form behind. He paused at the door, and his empty whisper had been so low that she had only barely heard it.
"You can go, when I can no longer see."
Questions That I Would Like To Answer Before You Ask:
And that's the wonderful beginning to the love story that we all know as ItaSaku. Sort of, in the squint-or-you-will-miss-it kind of way.
Not so coincidentally, this will also be the last prequel to 'blood limit.'
I will probably consider doing one last, more proper, 'bridging' one shot after this, but we shall see.
Hope you people like!
Your reviews fuel my passion for writing. So please leave a comment if you like this fic, thank you.