Sorry guys! I have no excuse for not updating for cough2yearscough… ^^' But I have to say that when you leave a story for two years and decide to continue then IT IS HELL! Especially when the next chapter has to be big on action. Yeah it was hard… So please be kind. I will get back on track…

Oh and this chapter wasn't what I was expecting, but my fingers just got away from me on this one.

Chapter 17

I'm going to die here….

The thought left less fear then she thought was possible as she agilely jumped behind a boulder just as fire burned at the stone surface. Smoke, dust, and shouts clouded the air in the once pristine City Square as bodies of few littered the stone grounds and people ran in panicked pandemonium through the streets. It was more than Sakura could comprehend as her heart pounded erratically at her chest cavity and her lungs refused to gulp more air. Blood soaked her bare arm, dripping down to her fingertips that gripped her sword, waiting for her attackers to make the next move. In the mist of the chaos around her, fear was not the emotion that held the kunoichi as she risked a glance at the stage like setting where both Shikamaru and Zetsu hung limp from two posts.

She was in over her head. Only her team of three were taking on an entire village's defense line. Sure it was nothing new to Itachi and Kisame but Sakura Haruno had never done anything to this scale before.

It was the fact that her team had acted out to save the two ninja and were about to be killed within the walls of the village that sparked a torrent of white-hot rage. Their plan was going along fine. In fact it had been perfect until the Kages who sat greedily at the table decided to make an example of the two prisoners.

All three of them were in place, hiding on top of a balcony right above the Kages. And that was when Orochimaru had stood from his seat and announced his and "Ryuu's" new creation. He had called it a mutt and only when she saw it did she understand. Four large shinobi the size of Ibiki held fast to what looked like a regular ninja strapped with chains, but a closer look told you different.

"What the fucking hell is that?" Kisame cursed in his own disgust as he stared at the scene below them.

Long slimy like tongue slithered out of a pale face and greasy hair hung over his eyes. It looked taller than any man she had ever seen and his clothes were tattered rags to the reptilian scale-like pale skin. His legs were longer then a normal man's, looking more like a beast's though no hair adorned his flesh and talon like claws clenched at the chains hungrily until something had drawn its attention. His tongue had flickered in and out-tasting the air until it was suddenly pulling the men towards the two bloody bodies of Shikamaru and Zetsu.

"What do we do?" Sakura had whispered harshly to Itachi and Kisame who waited next to her, watching with dark eyes. Not getting an answer, she looked back at the creature and then to her teammates. "We have to do something!"

"Wait…." Was all she heard from Itachi and she only stared in disbelief at him. But biting her lip, she knew he wouldn't let anything happen to Shikamaru and Zetsu or else the last 5 days and this attack would be for nothing.

An intense bellow left the mutt's throat, bring Sakura back to the scene below and suddenly it was on all fours scurrying against the chain until it was only a breaths away from Shikamaru's slumped form. Sakura watched in utter horror as the monstrosity of what was once a man reached a clawed hand downwards to rip into Shikamaru's flesh before stopping as something else had caught its attention. The slimy tongue slithered out again… and again until suddenly his head jerked up and a new hunger ached at the creature. It's piercing yellow eyes locked with hers and she knew they were caught. Before the mutt started to try climbing the wall behind the Kages to get at them… before the Kage's realized the meeting was compromised and went to hide away. Before the dark figure with onyx hair and reds eyes known as Ryuu ordered the mutt off its chain, she knew. And that was when all hell broke loose. The mutt scaled the stone wall and reached for her throat, only managing to scratch deep into her flesh along her shoulder just as Itachi managed to pull her away and to safety behind him. Itachi soon after ignited the lizard-like-man into flames as it tried to twist away from the inferno that licked at its scales before falling with a cry unforgotten to Sakura's ears. The thud it landed with was loud and the screams of civilians that had gathered to watch the Kage's and the execution sent a wild frenzy out of control.

Before she knew what happened next, she was in an unending battle that would make Kakashi proud. She drove her fist into the sternum of her nearest attack that inched around the safety of her boulder, collapsing his chest and crushing his heart. Before she could catch her breath, another ninja attacked with a sickle blade, swiping desperately at her stomach before a katana into his spine from behind made him fall limp to the ground dead. Emerald eyes glanced up at Itachi who met her eyes momentarily before nodding at the new wave of enemy shinobi sprinting across the rooftops towards them, pushing them further to the center of the village. She somersaulted once and kicked out the legs of one of her opponents who had made the mistake of getting too close to her. As his back hit the ground with a hard thud she sat up to her knees before sending a punch hard into his windpipe effectively crushing it. Panting with adrenaline and the beginnings of fatigue, Sakura turned back to where Itachi sliced at two shinobi, killing them directly, before lodging a kunia into another's throat with blood gushing n bucket loads down the Uchiha's arm. Though Sakura was wounded deeply in her right shoulder and she had a few cracked ribs, she knew Itachi was in far better shape than herself. A hundred yards away came the sound of rushing water, drawing the tired kunoichi's attention to her left as she dodged a wave of quicksand from an attacker. Kisami had nearly a subdivision of shinobi trapped inside his watery prison but struggled as a few others assailed against him.

"Cut them down from the posts," Itach ordered to Sakura as he took out another opponent with a fire jutsu. "We need to get out before more come."

Sakura nodded and sprinted for all she was worth towards the post, climbing up the stage as two more ninja jumped down from the balcony above. Sakura threw her sword into the second one's gut and used a chakra scalpel into the closest shinobi's neck, slicing his artery and windpipe. Retrieving her gory sword, she stretched to the first wooden post where Shikamaru hung and sliced through the ropes with a painful grunt. A sharp cry left her lips as she reached out to grab her friend and his weight unknowingly tore open her wound more, making more life blood pool down her arm. Carefully she felt for a pulse and relief spread through her bones when she felt one, faded and weak. Turning back to Zetsu, she used her left arm and chopped at the rope repeatedly until it finally gave way and he fell against the stage, missing the abandoned dinner table where all the Kages had sat moments before their attack, discussing over a feast as to negotiations for the war. Taking a shaky but much needed breath, she tried to gain an ounce of control over her adrenaline but failed.

Before she could register what happened next, a door where the Kages had taken refuge from the fighting had slammed open and a platoon of Anbu surged forward, spotting Sakura and their prisoners in front of them. It didn't take but a second for them to recognize her as a Leaf Kunoichi and they were at her in a flash. She somersaulted backwards before pulling her fist back, ignoring the agonizing pain from her shoulder and the dizziness from the blood loss that threatened to weaken her as she hit the ground beneath her, sending boulders and rocks flying high in all directions. A few men were unfortunate and ended stuck or smashed between the rocks, but much to Sakura's dismay, most weren't affected and charged at her with weapons.

"Shit!" she cursed under her breath as she prepared for the first attacker. It wasn't until Sakura was hand to hand with one that she realized that these shinobi weren't normal. Pointed teeth snarled at her and the kunais she had seen in their hands were actually imbedded inside sewn up flesh between their knuckles; their fingers long and skinny with yellow pointed nails reaching for her face. With an agonizing punch to the creature's face, he fell dead with his skull shattered behind his eyes. Four more came at her at once and she spun around to slice at the next one but a sudden yell pulled her attention. Time seemed to slow as she looked to the voice to see Itachi yelling at her but it was too late as an explosion threw her and the attackers 20 feet into the air. Blackness engulfed her as a sudden flashback folded over her conscious form.

(flashback 4 hours earlier)

The decision was easier for her to make then she wanted to admit. Perhaps it was Itachi and Kisame's influence on her to where she picked up their habits with not having a care in the world about turning their back to their village. But that wasn't true…. She did care that she was acting against her village. She only justified it to ease her conscience to a whisper instead of the insistant scratching of guilt. Though no matter how loud the scratching was she continued to tell herself it was the only real chance to save Shikamaru and Zetsu. Deep down she knew, if they returned to the Village and left it to their hands then the chances of getting her comrades back alive were nearly impossible. But even so she still felt the guilt tugging at her.

"So you understand the plan, kitten?" Kisame asked, drawing her out of her thoughts while rubbing Sameheda evilly.

Sakura blinked before nodding her head numbly, avoiding Itachi's onyx gaze that bore into her. "Yea… don't get killed," she answered shortly but she knew there was more to it.

Kisame cackled loudly, making Sakura stare at him skeptically. How he could be so care free about their situation, she would never know. She only ever felt this nervous twice with her ridiculous routine to get Sasuke back and when she prepared to fight to get Gaara from Sasori. Sakura sighed for what had to be the fiftieth time today. When they had all agreed to go straight to Stone Country, she hadn't realized how much it would take out of her. She felt sluggish and exhausted from the five days travel which would have been an easy seven day at a normal pace. But instead they had ran nearly day and night to reach stone just for Itachi and Kisame to go scouting ahead which she was more than grateful for. Itachi had sensed how tired she was and allowed her to rest while the two "more experienced criminals" took charge and came up with a plan. However what had her concerned was the "if they did make it out alive" then what would happen when they returned to Konoha. Would Tsunade try to keep them out of trouble and convince the elders to turn a blind eye to their actions? Surely her mentor would try her damnest… But even deep, deep down, the kunoichi knew the chances were slim… Did that mean that she should return home, expecting to be arrested, though?

"Ah… C'mon now kid," Kisame said with a blood thirsty grin that only added to his intent. "You're going to bring down my good mood."

"Kisame," Itachi spoke for the first time since they had returned. Meeting the Uchiha's gaze, Kisame's grin dropped slightly and he shrugged before walking away into the forest, hefting Samaheda onto his shoulder.

Sakura swallowed noticing that she was now alone with Itachi. She still wasn't sure what-IF- anything was between them since the night he held her until she slept and she secretly wanted to keep any chances of a repeat at bay. He must have noticed her hesitate to glance at him and chose to stay where he was. "There is a lot going on in your mind, kunochi," he stated more then asked. With a pointed look in his direction from Sakura he continued. "I can see the cogs turning even now."

"Congratulations on your observation. However, you being shunned from your village isn't anything new for you," she murmured while turning her head to the side.

Itachi stared at her, watching as she try to ignore him before he decided to continue. "Let's say they do declare we are traitors or say we turned into deserters… What would you rather have? Be arrested for your crime or live a life on the run?"

"What are you going on about-" Sakura started irritably.

"Answer the question."

"I already know what you chose," she huffed, watching him now-knowing that she could turn this conversation into something bad if she wasn't careful. "You didn't want to answer for your crimes."

Ignoring the meaning behind her words, he continued. "I'm not talking about me. I specifically asked what would you do?"

The question threw her. So much so that her glare lessened and the only intelligible thing that came out was "huh?"

Itachi finally turned his gaze away deciding to wait instead of repeat himself.

After a few moments of thought, Sakura straightened up. "I would allow myself to be arrested of course."

At this Itachi gave a wry smirk but there was no humor behind it. "Because you believe it is the right thing to do." His tone had changed into one almost taunting as if he was mocking her. At this, she wasn't sure what to think. "I suppose you think I would have been a better man if I had stayed or turned myself in."

"Well, yes considering who you murdered," she retorted hotly even though the statement he said was rhetorical.

"Let us say we return and a warrant is out for our arrest…. Will you expect Kisame and myself to stay and be taken in?"

"… If you were good men you would-"

Suddenly Itachi was in her face, his breath fanning over her startled expression. "But we are not, Sak-ur-a," Itachi whispered enunciating her name. "We don't go by the rules and neither do your Village. You would think that with the war going on that they would be a little more slack with the laws but you are wrong. There was a time before when you and Kakashi and your teammates left one mission and took off onto your own vendetta and when you returned, your Hokage gave you a little slap on the wrist because the elders were watching. Now….. Now is different. You are in an alliance with Akatsuki and people are already missing and towns are burning. With us not returning to the village we are already printed in the Bingo books or labeled dead. Don't think for a second that anyone other than Kakashi and your friends to stand up for you. You will be cast aside and no one will help you out of prison."

Sakura stared back into onyx eyes, dark with intent and danger lurking in every pore of his face. Anger over rode her fear momentarily as she stood to her feet and pushed past the towering Uchiha but he gripped her wrist tight and swung her around till her back had hit a boulder making her wince as a sharp pain bolted through her spine.

"Don't push me again," he nearly hissed as emerald eyes stared with cold fear into his crimson red. "I won't tolerate it, Sakura."

Everyone knew he had killed people for less and that thought alone was enough for her anger to diminish. Sakura swallowed as she tried to put a mask of calm over. She managed just enough to hide her direct fear but he saw it in her eyes, felt it in her tense upper arms. He was only trying to help her and she had snapped back at him because she didn't want to hear what he had to say….didn't want to know the truth about their situation. Sure she knew what she was getting into but actually being in Stone right outside the village… It was a real wakeup call that the life she knew was most likely not going to ever be the same. "I'm sorry," Sakura mumbled while pulling her eyes away. "I know you are trying to explain it to me… I shouldn't have pushed you."

Itachi blinked and lessened his grip on her when he felt her relax. He wasn't sure why he was getting so worked up over it. Normally he would just sit back and watch in amusement as her world would be turned upside down but now… now his actions explained exactly what he felt. He wanted her to know what was going to happen, what kind of trouble they were all in. He didn't want her to think she was alone through it. Even today he still bore the guilt he had from betraying his village. "You are so naïve and innocent," he murmured more to himself then to her. "You think that something will prove me wrong and you will be ok in the long run."

"I….I'm just wishing I didn't have to make this decision, is all. Whatever happens, will happen…. It's just the life of a shinobi…," she said softly, already at a resolve that nothing after this will be the same. Her life was pretty much over, right?

"You forget that we are a team now," Itachi's voice was softer now and as she met his gaze to see if he was still angry, she only met black eyes instead of the flaring red staring at a spot above her. There was a long moment of tense silence and after a heavy sigh he continued. "If we make it back safely then whatever you chose when we get to the village is what we will do as well."

"Huh?" Sakura asked stupidly. His hand smoothed out a patch of her pink hair softly but he still avoided her questioning gaze. "You mean if I chose to be arrested instead of run… you both would do the same?"

Silence grew between them, stretching to what seemed like hours before he merely nodded and stepped back from her.

"But why?"

Itachi only shrugged with a "Hn." and turned away from her, feeling her stare into his back because he didn't know himself.

The Kage tower quaked as debris, boulders, and smoke blinded Sakura's vision. The impact with the hard-packed earth of the plain knocked the wind out of her and the ground still shook with more explosions from further away. But what concerned Sakura was that she couldn't hear any of them; not the booms or the screams of people.

With tired and weak limbs, she pulled herself up, pushing through a few large rocks that landed on her. Emerald eyes glanced around and it was then she noticed that her left eye was blurry and stung from blood pouring freely from a gash above her eyebrow. Panic began to settle into her bones as the blurriness in her mind started to clear. She was bleeding badly now and her ribs were excruciatingly throbbing against her muscles; her hearing non-existent and even as she made a feeble attempt at standing, she realized she was dizzy to the point everything was spinning around her; the buildings, enemy shinobi, Itachi defending her from any attacks as he tried to talk to her.

She vaguely wondered in her tired mind, as she got to her feet, if he was saying any comforting words or if he was concerned about how she was right now. Surely that foreign look in his eye meant something right?

Sakura blinked hard, trying to get her sight focused before making a sluggish attempt at retrieving her sword and just as she turned to cover Itachi's back, a katana was slid carefully around her throat and another hand gripped her right shoulder. Two hard fingers dug into her fleshy wound where the first mutt had clawed at her, making her release her sword with a cry of pain. The world began to spin faster but she could see more then felt herself being pulled backwards towards what was left of the stage where Shikamaru and Zetsu lay untouched. The feeling of warm breath on her ear told her that whoever held her captive now was talking to her but she couldn't hear a word, only look out as the numbers of the enemy shinobi had dwindled to only a few teams now.

Unexpectedly everything seemed to freeze and come to a halt as Itachi killed the last of the squad that had him preoccupied. Turning to where he left Sakura, he blinked and his gaze landed on her with a katana to her throat.

"I would have never thought to see this," breathed her captor to Itachi, his voice laced with surprise and hatred.

"You didn't think Konoha would agree to take me back?" he inquired with his Sharrigan spinning dangerously. "Judging by how you don't seem that surprised, I imagine you were told already."

"Did you want that kept a secret too?" her captor asked with the katana edging closer to his hostage's throat.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you, brat," Kisame grumbled with Samaheda grinding against the stone hard floor. "I happen to like the kitten, if you catch my drift."

"Let her go Sasuke," came a new voice from behind the youngest Uchiha. "I have plans for her that requires her to be alive."

Sasuke glared at Kabuto as the white haired medic walked around to face Sakura. With eyes narrowing, Sasuke suddenly knew what he had meant. "This is the girl you have been watching? Sakura?" At this, he let out a dry laugh and spun the said girl around to meet her wide emerald eyes. "What is it that makes you so special?" he hissed.

"Sasuke?" she mumbled in surprise now coming face to face with her captor. He only rolled his eyes with a cocky smirk, waiting for her to throw her arms around him—


He was suddenly thrown backwards into the Kage building as dust and more debris covered the area. Sakura suddenly felt faint and slumped to her knees, feeling someone rush to her side. Looking up, dread filled her when she saw it wasn't Itachi but Orochimaru's medic.

"Damn kitten-good punch! So what did he mean by 'been watching'?" Kisame asked as he stepped forward. "You are a fucking pervert just like your master, ain't ya?"

"Ah dear, looks like your temper hasn't improved at all," Kabuto commented, ignoring Kisame as he pulled away from another one of Sakura's punches.

"That… fucking…. Bitch," came the venomous grumbles from Sasuke as he stepped out of the wreckage, wiping blood from his lip as he sauntered out.

"She can't hear you, Sasuke. Her ears are bleeding badly. Probably ruptured from an explosion," mused Kabuto as he almost playfully stalked around Sakura's form, every now and then reaching out to try and grab her halfheartedly. Itachi gripped his own katana tightly, ready for whatever happened next. With a quick pointed glance at his partner, a new plan was made as Kisame nodded knowingly.

"What happens next," Kisame asked as he stepped forward making a casual beeline towards the teasing Sound medic. He didn't really care to know the answer as he was only trying to distract the two opponents.

"Hmmm? Oh I take this kunoichi off your hands and Sasuke can do whatever he wants with you," Kabuto waved off as if it was the most casual thing in the world.

"Yeeeaaaa I don't think you understand when I said 'I like the kitten'. She's going nowhere with you two that's for damn sure," Kisame promised darkly.

Before either Sasuke or Kabuto had anytime to retort, Itachi was on them in a second, swinging his katana gracefully, closing in on their space quickly until Sasuke's blade bit right back into steel. Both blades were locked together as Sasuke twirled to the right, slashing vertically his older brother. Kabuto, taking his chance, gripped Sakura's hair and pulled her to her feet but that was all she needed as she kneed him in the groin before punching him squarely on the chin. Her chakra was low, luckily for him, as he was only thrown back a few feet. A bloody smirk was aimed at her before Kisame stepped in cockily before calling back to Sakura, "Sorry, kid, but I want a go at him next."

But Sakura still couldn't hear and instead ran over to the two unconscious bodies-the reason they were there. Picking Zetsu off the floor, she felt a grumble in his chest, telling her he was coming to. As he sat up with her help, she was met with a black and white face, drained and weary from the drugs they had probably used. She flashed him a quick smile and pointed at her forehead protector around her neck, showing him she was on his side before he acted on instinct and attacked her. Once she saw the recognition in his eyes, she didn't waste time as she ran a quick assessment on his condition, unaware that he had been asking her some questions. "I can't hear you," she said what she thought wasn't too loud or too soft. A blank look was all she received and she mentally rolled her eyes before pointing to her bloody ears as if that would explain why she wasn't answering his many questions and it seemed to as he only nodded and looked towards the two fights in progress. "We need to get out of here quick before more shinobi come. We won't be able to hold out much longer."

Zetsu only nodded his head in acknowledgment before pointing to himself then to Shikamaru. Sakura looked back and forth before it dawned on her and she agreed to him carrying Shikamaru out. Running to her friends limp body she tried to assess his damage but only a deep frown pulled at her lips. Quickly she laid his body flat on the ground and set her ear to his heart before remembering she wouldn't be able to hear. Pissed off at herself for thinking that, she quickly with trained fingers looked for a pulse but when finding none, she panicked. Taking her combat gloves off, she thrust chakra into his chest cavity and into his heart. Feeling no pulse she tried again, again, again, again, and again until she knew there was nothing left. It was pointless as Shikamaru lay unmoving beneath her fingers; the result of overdose of sedative drugs. His heart had long since stopped and she knew it was all a waste. She was nearly out of chakra, and out of energy. She didn't even have the strength to cry and deep down hated herself for that. He deserved that from her. Shikamaru deserved better.

Zetsu understood her silent still form and he lifted his partner up to his arms and stood to his feet telling Sakura to follow him, though he knew it was pointless for him to say so. The kunoichi made to follow but halted in her steps. "Itachi," she said aloud and turned to run back to the fighting. Zetsu watched as she left him and ran after the eldest Uchiha with the faintest smirk on his lips before he turned and left the village with the body of Shikamaru in his arms.


The said man turned to see Sakura running towards them, still stumbling slightly. Turning back he dodged a lightning attack from Sasuke. "I know the truth, Itachi," Sasuke growled out. "You were innocent. They ordered you to kill our family!"

"Hn… Then why do you still stay with Orochimaru if you know, little brother?" Itachi asked, not short on his own venom. If Sasuke didn't know the truth he would have still thought that Itachi was a cold hearted killer.

"Because I'm not after you. It's Konoha that is going to be destroyed and I will return," Sasuke said darkly. "I will kill Danzou and their hokage and all that interfere."

"What makes you think you can accomplish that? Leave it Sasuke. I killed our family and if you want revenge then it's me you have to kill…. Are you strong enough for that yet?"

"I'm not going to kill you. But how the hell can you go back to Konoha after all they have done to us?" Sasuke asked angrily with his arms thrown out to his sides. "No-no…. I will have my revenge. They will all die."

Itachi stared at his younger brother who stood nearly as tall as him now. He knew he meant it but surely even Sasuke would know that such an attack was pointless. It wasn't just the Leaf Village that had a corrupt system; every village had. It was politics and no matter how much he wished it wasn't true, it was inevitable. "Sasuke, you still don't understand anything," Itachi said coldly earning a death worthy glare from the younger brother.

"I understand more then you know…" he hissed but was interrupted when Sakura stood boldly next to Itachi matching his glare. Bitterness and something else raged inside him at the sight and he decided he hated seeing Itachi and Sakura together like that. "What's this? Sakura has found a new school-girl crush, has she?" he scoffed. "Confessed her undying love for you yet, brother?"

Itachi only watched Sasuke with a knowing stare before answering, "She hasn't done anything of the sort… and I would like to point out she is not longer a girl-as you put it- but a fine grown kunoichi." Itachi's amusement grew when Sasuke gritted his teeth. "You don't know her like you think you do…"

Sakura watched, wondering what would happen next between the two brothers. There was now a sharp ringing in her ears and she only hoped that meant her hearing was returning though at the moment she really didn't mind seeing as she was in no mood to listen to Sasuke talk about revenge. She did have to admit she was surprised to see that he wasn't desperately trying to kill Itachi like before. Why was he just talking? And what was with the death glare…aimed at her?

Watching them talk for a moment longer didn't prepare her for what happened next. A strong arm wrapped around her shoulders pulling her into Itachi's side and he leant down to whisper something in her ear. His warm breath fanned over her chilled skin, causing her to blush at the closeness. His fingers tickled at her side making a soft pull at the corner of her lips unexpectedly as she tried to look into Itachi's eyes that bore right into hers with a depth she had never seen before. Emerald eyes looked back to the younger Uchiha just in time to see Sasuke lunging at them but everything went black before his blade could reach the two. Wind whipped wildly around her and dust blinded her vision before suddenly clearing and leaving them once again at the Village walls of Stone where they had started their crazy day that morning.

Nausea rolled through Sakura and she spun away from Itachi to throw up her lunch on the ground but he didn't seem to be bothered. "It takes a while to get used to the effects of the Jutsu," he said more to himself as another gust of wind started and Kisame appeared moments later with a toothy grin.

"Damn girl," Kisame cackled. "You have a weak stomach."

"She can't hear you," Itach said flatly and helped Sakura up. Her face was pale and her eyes blood shot. With careful arms he lifted Sakura in his arms and began a fast paced sprint. Kisame followed with a care-free shrug of his shoulders and wiped some blood from a gash at his chest.

"I can walk," she argued weakly but made no move to get out of Itachi's strong grip. Her adrenaline was drained and her strength gone. "Shikamaru… he didn't make it. Those bastards overdosed him," Sakura cursed but didn't look for a reply, only closed her eyes and wished it wasn't true.

Itachi's dark irises looked down at the sleeping kunoichi in his arms and he unconsciously pulled her closer to him, feeling her breath against his chest.

Kisame watched his partner out of the corner of his eye and didn't miss the smallest ounce of concern that leaked into Itachi's expression. "So where the fuck is Zetsu?" he asked, ignoring his observation.

"Hn…. I saw him leaving with the other leaf nin," he replied shortly. "We will meet up with him at the Leaf border."

Kisame only nodded before a sick grin curled his lips. "I sliced up the slimy medic before we left! Hahaa he fucking slipped up and I got his cocky ass. The little snake managed to get away though."

Itachi said nothing as he tried to remember the sight of Ryuu. The man had been in the darker end of the table and had a dark aura around him that made Itachi feel like he had felt that same chakra before. But the chakra was so well hidden and so venomous that he just couldn't be sure. What he did know was that this man was dangerous and was the mastermind behind the Nations War.

A/N: Well, I have to say I didn't think I'd ever get another chapter up. I'm sorry it's taken so long and huge thank you to the people who've kept me going through the PM's and reviews. Without you this would have been done in my head only. I'd also like to apologize over the length, it's quite short; but it's been bouncing around on my hard drive so long that if I didn't finish it here I'd never upload it.

I will try to be quicker with my next post... *winces*. Reviews will make it uploaded faster! Maybe this week it will be up… *grins*

I hope that you will all have patience with me and if you're still sticking with me…. Huge thanks!

Take care and have a great week.

Also! More about this chapter will be explained in the next…. There is a reason why I had Sakura deaf and not knowing what was going on between Sasuke and Itachi… Soooo for those wanting more ItaSaku already then stay tuned for next chapter!