for red and feilyn — no one forgets my face. itachi/anko ;;christmas request o3

(a/n) This was written for a drabble meme over at LiveJournal; considering it's better than the two or three ongoing one-shots I have right now, I figured it wouldn't hurt to post it over here as well. I kind of stole this whole idea from an old one-shot I once read in the Danny Phantom fandom (yes, yes, you heard me right), so if you feel like complimenting me on the scenario, don't.

"Anko-sempai..." Itachi's voice is ragged and whispery from disuse; he has been in solitary confinement for six days, and she has no idea how he knows she's there. "Can I ask you something?"

Anko sidles closer to his cell, glancing in at his prone form. His hands were bound to a wooden slab, each finger tied down intricately so as to keep him from making even the suggestion of a sign. A blindfold was tied around the upper portion of his face, covered with seals and, Anko knows, ultimately superfluous—it was obvious he'd never use those eyes again. Honestly, she doesn't know why they're making such a big fuss about having captured the second-to-last Uchiha, because it was obvious from the moment he was brought in that he was already a dead man.

He just hadn't stopped breathing yet.

"What is it, Uchiha?" she asks.

His head turns from facing straight at the ceiling to facing some point three meters to the left of where she stands. "Has the council decided to kill me yet?" he asks, with no more feeling than if he'd asked whether the rain had stopped.

Anko shrugs. A couple seconds pass, and she realizes, of course he didn't see that. "Hell if I know. They might keep you for torture. Interrogation. Leverage. Or just for shits and giggles. Godaime-sama isn't so keen on capital punishment, but Danzou is, and who the hell knows about those old farts."

"Ah," he says, and rolls his head back to the ceiling. "I must be honest, Anko-sempai, and admit I never expected to see you again."

"And now you never will. Cute, huh?"

A tiny smile cracks the corner of his lips. "Of course."

Anko thinks about all the things she wants to say—about how much it hurt to care about someone and have that someone betray her again, and how unnerving it was to watch his little brother grow up, and how when that same little brother betrayed and left the village, she seemed to be the only one who was unsurprised...

"If it's a question of cruelty, I'm not afraid to die," he says, shattering her reverie. Anko scowls.

"Considering you've tried to off yourself three times since we've brought you in, that doesn't surprise me," she snaps. "That thing with the leaky ceiling and the dango skewer was inventive, though."

"Thank you." That shadow of a smile again.

"Any reason, by the way? I mean, usually someone commits seppuku the second they get dishonored. Which for you was, like, ten years ago—"


Anko grunts. "Nine. So. And it isn't like you're trying to keep yourself from cracking against interrogation, considering Inoichi was passed out for, like, two days after finally getting inside that thick skull of yours."

A silence. "...It's a matter of recognizing when it's time to go, I guess," he says softly. "I've done what I've needed to do. I've lived through something that most assuredly should have killed me. And...I feel it. I've started to forget things. Names. Events. Sensations. People. To tell you the truth, Anko-sempai..." He turns his head in her direction again, the blindfold masking his sightless eyes: "I've forgotten what your face looks like."

Anko stares at him for a long time.

"Aw, what the shit. I'm going to hell anyway," she mutters, undoing the lock and pushing his cell door open.

Whether he hears the door or feels the vibrations in the floor or the draft of moving air is moot. "What are you doing?" he asks, more with exhausted exasperation than with actual curiosity.

"Now, do you promise that if I undo your bonds for five minutes, you won't try to incapacitate me, kill me, and/or escape?" Anko says, cracking her knuckles.

"...If you like, but wh—"

"Do you promise?"

"Yes, but—"

"You promise?"

"Yes. Anko. I promise. Why?" More exasperation bleeds into his voice, an emotional reaction Ibiki would have paid in blood to witness and exploit.

She forms a sign and releases the seal on the knot of ropes on his chest that bound him to the floor. "That's three times you promised," she reminds him, fingers dancing about his hands, untying knots and releasing seals.

"What's this about?" Itachi asks as he flexes his fingers experimentally, sitting up slowly and rubbing his wrists.

Anko seizes his wrists and sets his hands on her face. Every fiber of every instinct and every word of every lesson ever beaten into her as a child is screaming bloody murder and obscenities at her, but Anko was never much of one to listen to convention in favor of her impulses. "No one forgets my face, Uchiha," she says, a flush of red entering her cheeks. "No one."

Itachi's hands linger on her cheeks for a moment. Then they slowly move up to her forehead, gently resting on her unmarred forehead protector. "Ah," he says, with a growing realization.

His fingers are light but cold as he moves from her forehead to her eyebrows, lingering on every worry line he comes to before smoothing it away; to her eyes, gingerly feeling over her eyelids and touching every eyelash before moving on; to her cheeks again and her nose; to her mouth, softly and tenderly running a thumb over each lip; to her chin, under which he placed two fingers and lifted...

"I remember now," he says wonderingly, before he presses his lips to hers.

Five minutes later, he is the one who breaks away. "I promised," he whispers, to Anko's unvoiced protest.

But of course, when she's finished retying and resealing him, and turning to walk away, she hears him again: "...Anko-sempai?"

She turns to see a wicked, wicked grin on a face she never expected to see such an expression on. "What?"

"...I forget what your body looks like."