Title: Lady Luck

Author: paws-bells

Beta-ed by: MelissaRose85

Characters/Pairing: Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Itachi

Type: Continuous (InComplete)

Genre: Romance/Humor

Word Count: 6142

Theme: LJ Community, 50-shinobi theme #11, Lady Luck

Rating: M (Contains content suitable for mature teens and older) Not so much but still explicit content ahead!

Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto-san.

Summary: AU. Sakura had never thought that the practice of bringing home injured animals would carry such great impact to her relatively simple life. But then again, none of them had ever been Uchiha Itachi.

Chapter Last Revised on: 02/06/13

Chapter Three

To ensure that embarrassing situations would not crop up again, Sakura quickly changed out of her pajamas and into a polo tee and a pair of Capri pants. It also didn't take long for Sakura to locate Naruto's clothes, and she placed the set of clothing and a bath towel right outside the bathroom. Itachi was still not out yet, and so the pink-haired doctor dragged out the spare futon from the storeroom and proceeded to air it out. She opened up the guest room as well as all its windows, giving the area a quick cleaning and dusting before laying out the bedding as well as the extra pillows and blanket. She was making the bed when he found her, busily arranging the pillows to her liking and looking very domestic as she did so when Itachi walked into the room.

"I could get used to seeing you on your hands and knees, you know."

Sakura was not expecting him to be right behind her, and his soft, teasing drawl did not help matters at all. She yelped in surprise and quickly sat down on the futon. She swiveled her head around to see the raven-haired shape shifter leaning against the doorframe, towel slung casually around his neck, clad in a tight pair of jeans and nothing else. Sakura fought down a hot blush and fixed her gaze resolutely on his face, noting the mild amusement lurking in his cat slit eyes.

"Don't keep doing that!" she scolded him, pressing her palm against her racing heart for extra emphasis. "I do not appreciate being frightened!"

A slender eyebrow swept up in question. "Do what?"

She gestured at him unhappily. "That 'creeping up on me' thing!"

Itachi pushed away from the doorframe and ventured deeper into the room, towards her. Sakura quickly noticed that his calm, deliberate tread produced no sound whatsoever. He stopped before the futon she was currently seated on and leveled a glance at her, almost as if proving his point.

"This is the way I walk, Sakura," he told her. "I can assure you that I'm not doing it deliberately to discomfort you. You have nothing to be afraid of."

Sakura crawled to the edge of the bed, got onto the floor, and rose to her feet. "I know you aren't doing this deliberately," she muttered before looking at him up and down for the first time since he came into the room. "Why aren't you wearing the shirt?"

"Your…friend's shirt was too small," he drawled out. "Even the jeans are a bit on the short side."

"That's because you are too tall," she remarked a little defensively on behalf of her best friend. Naruto was by no means a giant, but he had a brawler's build, nothing like the lean, lanky form of the raven-haired shape shifter. "You will just have to bear with this for the time being. We will go to the mall to get you some clothes later- What happened to your ears?!"

Sakura was stunned to suddenly realize that those cat-like appendages of his were gone; his slightly damp raven hair spilled across his shoulders, but there were no signs of the furry, triangular ears previously seen on the top of his head. Even his long tail was nowhere in sight, and a little disbelievingly, Sakura peeked around him but could find no evidence that there had been anything unusual about this man.

"I have the ability to shift into a human form as well," he explained simply, briefly holding his hair back to reveal rounded, human ears that were located in the perfectly normal place. "It would have been difficult for me to fit into these jeans otherwise, not to mention blend amongst the general populace."

It did make sense, though Sakura was slightly awed by his abilities. She wondered what else he could do, but decided not to ask.

"…alright, then," she muttered cautiously. "Well, this is the guestroom. It's not much, but I have already cleaned up the place a bit, so it is livable now."

He glanced briefly around the room. It was mostly empty except for the futon and a cupboard, as well as a small study desk pushed against the wall under the window. He returned his attention to her.

"This is more than I expected," he told her frankly. "Though bedding down with you would please me more."

Sakura refused to blush. She was beginning to understand that this man was an incorrigible pervert.

"If I find you in my bed without permission, you will find yourself very sorry," she threatened.

An eyebrow swept up.

"In that case, does that mean that it will be perfectly alright only if you agree?"

Sakura's brow twitched. "I will never agree to any such thing," she declared.

To her irritation, he only looked amused.

"Never say never, little one. You may end up eating your words one day."

"That is unlikely," she muttered under her breath before continuing. "Anyway, I'm going to make some breakfast now. Is there anything that you cannot eat?"

He seemed to be aware that she was abruptly changing the subject, judging by the quiet, knowing glint in his crimson eyes. Still, he allowed her to do so, but since they both knew that he was only giving in to her, it only served to annoy her even further.

He shook his head once.

"My physique may change every time I switch forms, but I'm still more human than animal, Sakura. I have no trouble taking the same type of sustenance that you do." He paused, cat slit eyes gleaming with a hint of mischief. "Being fed by you would be a pleasure."

Not surprisingly enough, Sakura ignored his last comment. How was it possible that everything that came out of his mouth had to sound like some sort of honeyed sexual innuendo?

"…Right. Milk and cereal it is, then."

Breakfast was slightly awkward, but otherwise, passed quickly. Sakura was not used to the company and was therefore largely silent throughout the entire meal, absentmindedly going through the course of action that she would have to take today, mentally shifting about priorities and her list of 'to-do' chores in light of her newest responsibility. Putting her daily schedule to order was a task she especially appreciated today, since it gave her something to mull on instead of the shape shifter currently sitting across from her, not to mention it also allowed her to ignore said male who was currently staring blatantly at her.

If this was his way of giving her the 'expectant stare' for second servings, she could have told him to save the effort.

"Please help yourself to as much cereal as you wish," she muttered at last, shattering the peaceful silence. "There is no need to give me that look, and if you are still hungry, we will go out and get something else later."

Strangely enough, her comment seemed to amuse him, for some reason or another. Sakura was beginning to learn that this man was a very strange individual.

"I have already had my fill, thank you very much," he told her politely, although his rich voice was lightly tinted with humor.

Sakura shook her head inwardly and stood up, gathering up the used dishes and utensils and placing them in the sink to be washed later. She walked back to him.

"Well, we will go get some clothing for you now because I may have to return to the clinic later-"

"Clinic?" he interrupted, the mildly playful look in his eyes quickly turning serious. "Are you not feeling well?"

It wasn't difficult to detect the hint of genuine concern in his voice, especially since he was making no effort to conceal it, and was reaching out for her, fingers lightly caressing her cheeks, ruby-tinted gaze watching her closely for any signs of sickness, and she was inwardly surprised by his immediate reaction to her words, not to mention her own feelings regarding the matter.

It felt…nice.

How ridiculous. She barely knew him!

Sakura shook off the thought mentally and quickly answered Itachi. At the same time, she drew back from his proximity and brushed away his hand, obviously uncomfortable with how she seemed to enjoy his touch.

"No, I'm not sick. I work at a small clinic just a few streets away from here as a general practitioner."

He cocked his head slightly, and chose not to force the issue of her skittishness—for the moment.

"So you are a doctor." He didn't seem surprised. "That explains why you are so proficient in the arts of healing."

Sakura shrugged. "It's all part and parcel of the profession. Well, it looks like a good day to go out. We will have lunch outside after shopping-"

The ring of the doorbell interrupted her sentence, and Sakura glanced curiously at the door.

"Stay here; I will go get it." Without another word, she hurried out of the kitchenette and headed briskly towards the entrance of her home, calling out for whoever was outside to wait for a bit as she went to unlatch the locks.

Swinging the door open, Sakura's curious gaze changed into one of surprise when she discovered the identity of the person standing on the other side of her entrance.

"Yo, Forehead Girl, aren't you going to invite your BFF in?"

"Ino?" Sakura looked bewilderedly at her best friend. "What are you doing here?"

Yamanaka Ino scowled at the pink-haired woman.

"Because I knew you would forget that we are meeting today, you addle-headed woman. You never remember anything outside of your precious work." The blonde grumbled as she started to push her way past her friend and into her apartment. A little chagrinned by how she had really forgotten about the little get-together with her best friend, Sakura allowed Ino to wander deeper into her house before she abruptly returned to her senses and remembered that Itachi was still in the kitchen.

If Ino saw the handsome, raven-haired shape shifter, she was sure to jump to all the wrong conclusions.

Eyes widening with dismay, the pink-haired doctor shut the door quickly and hurried up to stall her friend.

"W-wait, Ino!" Sakura heaved an inward sigh of relief when the blonde stopped to look at her quizzically. "Why don't you sit in the living room and wait while I go get ready?"

Ino frowned slightly.

"Why are you treating me like a guest all of a sudden, Sakura?" Before she could come up with a reasonable reply, Ino waved the question away. "Maa, never mind, you are always so strange. It's such a hot day outside. Go get ready; I will just help myself to a glass of iced water."

Sakura froze, and could only watch helplessly as her friend started for the kitchen.

"Hey, Ino! Wait! Why don't I get that drink for you?" she tried one last time to stall the blonde but to no avail. Ino was like a force of nature by herself, and Sakura really had no luck as her friend plowed through her protests and entered the kitchen.

"Geez, what's wrong with you?" Ino questioned as she made her way to the sink, retrieved a glass and proceeded to open the fridge door to take out the bottle of chilled water. She looked quizzically at Sakura as she poured her drink but the pink-haired female was busy being surprised by Itachi's absence. At last, she deduced that the shape shifter must have wised up regarding the situation and retreated into his room, much to her relief.

"Er, nothing," Sakura replied at last, giving her friend an embarrassed look. "Wait here then, I will be right back in an instant."

Ino took a chug of her water before replying. "Alright, but no dilly dallying!"

Sakura backed out of the kitchen and hurried towards her bedroom, collecting her purse and everything else that she needed before heading towards the guest room. Getting clothes for Itachi would have to wait for a bit, since there was no way she would be able to shake off Ino today. She had made the promise to go out with her best friend today nearly two weeks ago, and so Ino would definitely not allow her to take a rain check this time around.

Unfortunately, a peep into the room across from hers yielded no sign of the shape shifter, and the bathroom was empty as well. Sakura started to worry.

Where was he?

"Oi, Sakura! Are you ready to go already?" Ino hollered from the living room.

"Erm…yeah!" the pink-haired female called back, turning around to meet with her friend.

Ino frowned at the frazzled, distracted-looking doctor.

"Exactly what's wrong with you today?" the blonde questioned with her hands on her hips. "You are even more preoccupied and inattentive than usual!"

Sakura could only give her friend an apologetic look.

"Sorry, I was busy with something…"

Sharp sapphire eyes stared exasperatedly at the sheepish woman. "You are always busy with something, Sakura. When are you not?"

Sakura had the grace to appear chagrinned, and at last, Ino relented.

"Ah, well, I'm already resigned to your workaholic ways. Anyway, time's a wasting. Come on, let's go check out that new mall in Shinjuku-ku; I heard that they are having some opening promotion sales!"

Only Ino could get so excited over the prospect of shopping, Sakura thought fondly as she smiled at her friend.

"I don't mind going out with you, I have some grocery shopping to do as well," the pretty pink-haired doctor replied. Ino barely refrained from rolling her eyes at Sakura's sensible tone.

"You are always so serious. Will you ever lighten up, my dear?"

Lips tilted in a slightly wider smile, Sakura was about to reply her best friend when the latter noticed something unusual in the house.

"Hey, what's that? Eh? A cat?" Ino pointed, glancing at Sakura in surprise. "What's a cat doing in your house?! I thought you didn't like them?"

Without even looking at what Ino was staring at, Sakura already had an idea just what the former had seen. Still, she followed the direction of her friend's line of sight and was not overly surprised to see the large black cat sitting almost smugly on the sofa behind her.

"Oh, he's a big boy, and what a luxurious coat he has!" Ino commented as she moved curiously towards the tom cat to have a closer look at it. "Where on earth did you find him? He's huge!"

Sakura was not sure if she was comfortable with the way her friend was talking about Itachi, though of course, Ino could not be blamed. She was not aware that the large feline had the ability to shape shift to a human form, after all.

At the moment, the crimson-eyed cat was sitting regally on its haunches, long black tail curled elegantly over its paws, though the way it was looking all too innocently at her made the pink-haired female twitch inwardly. Reluctantly, she answered her friend.

"I found him last night, on my way home," Sakura decided to speak the truth. "He was injured, so I brought him home to treat his wounds."

Ino lifted a brow, somehow not really taken aback by her friend's simple reply.

"So that's the reason you are so distracted. Why am I not surprised?"

Sakura looked embarrassed. "Sorry, Ino."

The cat stood up then, long, sleek tail flicking behind him as he leapt onto the floor with soundless grace, before ambling over to Sakura's feet. With little preamble, he sat down right before Sakura, and tilted his head to look up at her, highly intelligent, cat-slit eyes locking onto hers in an apparent request to be picked up.

Sakura ignored him, not surprisingly. Itachi refused to take that for an answer, unfortunately, and let out a rough, demanding rumble that quickly told her what he thought of her non-compliance. Ino laughed outright at the look on Sakura's face, an irritated, disgruntled expression that told the blonde her normally gentle-tempered friend was thinking of doing some violent things to the oblivious cat.

Indeed, Sakura was sorely tempted to give Itachi's tail a good stomp or two, only it seemed cruel and she couldn't bear to hurt the admittedly (grudgingly so) beautiful feline, even when she was well aware that said animal/shape shifter was an incorrigible pervert who had somehow managed to convince her to let him stay in her apartment.

She must be out of her mind.

Easily sensing that he was not getting anywhere with Sakura, Itachi switched tactics.

The large cat got up to his feet and proceeded to butt his head affectionately against the side of her leg, emitting a deep, loud 'mrow' for good measure. He was acting every inch the feline that he was; long tail slightly curled in a question-marked sign as he kneaded those large paws of his around her feet.

Sakura really had no idea what to make of the situation, and had the strangest look on her face as she tried to reconcile the overly affectionate human Itachi with this overly affectionate cat version.

Ino completely mistook the wary expression on her face.

"Hey, he's only asking to be picked up, Sakura. You don't need to look so terrified," the blonde remarked.

Sakura frowned slightly.

"I'm not terrified," she protested. "I'm just naturally wary of those sharp claws and teeth."

"Right." Ino did not sound convinced, and at last, Sakura decided to prove her friend wrong.

The pink-haired female frowned at cat Itachi.

"If you scratch me, I'm kicking you right out of the house, understand?"

It was evident, judging by the mildly insulted expression in those crimson eyes that the shape shifter could comprehend very well what she was talking about, and at last, Sakura stooped down reluctantly and took the cat into her arms.

Not surprisingly, he was incredibly heavy, though he gave no resistance as she picked him up. Instead, he was purring like an engine, and Sakura could not help but feel very embarrassed when the large feline took the opportunity to situate himself firmly between her breasts, nuzzling against her soft chest with undisguised delight, long black tail flicking idly with pleasure as he blatantly took advantage of Sakura's current inability to retaliate in light of her friend's presence.

"Oh, I think he likes you!" Ino cooed, and it was all the pretty pink-haired doctor could do not to drop that pervert cat on his head. "Are you going to keep it?"

"For now, I suppose." Sakura admitted grudgingly. "It would be a lot more convenient for me to send him to the pound, but that would be cruel of me, huh?"

It would indeed be very cruel of Sakura, to subject the poor kennel keepers to the idiosyncrasies of one Uchiha Itachi.

Of course, Ino mistook Sakura's meaning completely. A cat enthusiast herself, the blonde nodded in understanding.

"Well, I think it will be good for you to have a pet," Ino remarked. "A cat is pretty low maintenance compared to dogs, and this big kitty here certainly seems affectionate enough."

To be honest, said kitty was being too affectionate, though Sakura only smiled weakly at her friend.

"What are you going to name it?" An oblivious Ino asked.

"Er, his name is Itachi."

The blonde looked strangely at her best friend.

"Itachi?" she echoed doubtfully. "As in a weasel, 'Itachi?'"

Sakura nodded.

"He seems partial to that name," the mildly embarrassed woman explained, and Ino's brow only arched a bit higher.

"Well, if you say so. He's your cat now, after all."

Ino's nonchalant comment quickly served to make Sakura's currently strange situation even more clear to the pink-haired female. Her friend was right; she was now utterly responsible for the shape shifter. She had already decided to help him after all, and no matter what, it was only right for her to do her best, not just pitch in halfheartedly and pretend that she had already devoted her best efforts to aiding him.

A familiar light of purpose came to life in her eyes, and Sakura turned to her best friend.

"I'm really sorry, Ino, but can we take a rain check for today? I really don't feel comfortable leaving him alone at the moment."

Sakura's tone was apologetic, but Ino easily recognized the protective look in the other woman's eyes, and the blonde sighed loudly.

"You are such a mother, Sakura," Ino chided with exasperated affection. Then, she looked at Itachi. "I hope you know how lucky you are to belong to Sakura, cat."

Crimson eyes watched the blonde with inhuman intelligence, and at last, she smirked and returned her attention to Sakura.

"I suppose you will just worry and be distracted even if I insist on dragging you off shopping today, huh?"

Her best friend just knew her too well, and Sakura gave her a small, unrepentant smile. Ino shook her head in reply, though the reluctant smile on her lips told all that she wasn't mad at her friend. They had known each other long enough to understand the other's behavior fully. Wandering towards the couch, Ino retrieved her purse and slung the strap against her shoulder before putting both hands on her hips.

"Well, I give up," the blonde announced, watching Sakura as the latter carried the large, sleek cat in her arms. "At least you are not preoccupied with work this time, and instead you are focused on something else for once."

Emerald eyes softened slightly. It wasn't a secret that her friend always worried that she was working too hard, and Sakura knew that this proposed shopping trip was more for her benefit than anything, and she felt so very fortunate to have the best friend in the world, though Ino would have hotly denied it if she knew just what Sakura was thinking.

"When we go out the next time, meals and drinks on me, alright?"

Ino's smirk widened.

"That's better. I will keep you to your promise then, and won't hold back on the expenses."

"Yes, yes, Ino-pig. I will come prepared with enough money to feed a starving army."

"Ha Ha. Very funny." The blonde refrained from rolling her eyes and instead started for the door. Sakura followed.

"Take care of yourself then. I will see you soon, I hope," Ino commented pointedly.

Sakura nodded.

"Don't worry, I will call you."

After a quick flurry of goodbyes, Ino finally left and Sakura awkwardly slipped the door shut. It was a little harder than she thought, juggling the heavy cat Itachi and closing the door at the same time, but she managed. She headed back to the living room next and promptly deposited the black feline on the couch, and none too gently. Unfortunately, before she could have a word, or rather, whole paragraphs with him, he changed.

The skeletal frame of the cat stretched, lengthened and transformed as the taut skin and muscles over it grew and shifted as well, accommodating the internal organs and assorted nervous system as they changed and realigned to build a distinctly larger shape. Animalistic limbs elongated to match the human body that coalesced from previously feline form, clawed paws simply grew to hands and feet in a biological transformation that should not have been scientifically possible. The luxurious black fur receded, and then completely disappeared, revealing a pale expense of smooth, unmarred skin overlaying lean, powerful muscles, as more and more human features emerged in place of diminishing feline traits. The cat ears disappeared amongst long, raven hair only to reemerge as blunt, human aural appendages on both sides of a sharp, aristocratic face, the long, slender tail melted back into the spinal column as if it was a completely natural occurrence to do so, and yet, those exotic, cat-slit crimson eyes remained the same, a quiet testament to this shape shifter's unique heritage.

Within what seemed like the blink of an eye, what sat on the couch was no longer a large black cat, but a very nude, handsome, dark-haired man whom a rather disgruntled Sakura was somehow not very surprised to see.

Her eyelid ticked in reaction to the nonchalant manner in which one extremely annoying Uchiha Itachi was once again completely unperturbed by the state of his nakedness, judging by how he was sitting confidently on the couch and making no move to conceal himself whatsoever.

The flare of irritation and embarrassment that she had felt over his appalling lack of modesty, not to mention how he had blatantly taken advantage of her earlier, even though he had been in cat form, quickly served to cover up Sakura's awe and worry over seeing his transformation for the very first time.

How was something like this even possible? Was he not in pain from the change?

It had certainly seemed morbidly uncomfortable to her, the disquieting sounds of popping bones and shifting muscles making her cringe inwardly, not to mention the other internal changes she was completely unsure about.

However, before she could clarify her doubts, the Uchiha simply reached out, snagged the startled female by her wrist and tugged gently. The unexpected shift of her center of gravity elicited a small hick from her, and not surprisingly, she promptly lost her balance and landed bottom first on the seat of his lap.

"Hey!" Sakura growled in protest, but otherwise remained completely stiff and unwilling to retaliate even as strong arms nudged her against his lean musculature, wrapped around her slender waist in order to situate her more firmly against him. A rough purr rumbled from his chest, and the pink-haired beauty only became more stilted as thin lips touched her sensitive ear, a rough tongue licking the tip of her ear lobe before being lightly impressed upon by sharp teeth.

Sakura drew a deep breath at the feathery, ticklish sensation he was causing, but otherwise tried not to react, not even when she could clearly feel him, his heat, through the thin fabric of her clothing. Red suffused her face as she thought about how she was literally sitting on him, could feel the very delineation of his sleek, muscular thighs pressed against her bottom, and quickly gave herself a mental slap in the face.

The fact that the over exuberant shape shifter was running his mouth teasingly against the side of her neck, a steady, deep thrum of contentment reverberating from his animalistic vocal chords, long fingers innocuously stroking her flat belly and lulling her into a state of calm relaxation in his arms was certainly not helping at all.

"Itachi?" Sakura sounded strangled.

"Yes, kitten?" his voice was lowered to a husky whisper, softened, no doubt in deference to his proximity to her ear. Nudging the stray strands of pink hair aside with his nose, the breathtakingly attractive man proceeded to nip at the hypersensitive edge of her jawbone, forcing a hitched gasp from the stiffened female.

"Y-your transformation…" She was being unnaturally…wooden…in her reaction towards him, and what he had at first attributed to shyness and embarrassment might not be so after all.

The raven-haired shape shifter gave pause to his action, midway in the act of showing affection to this pretty little female whom he was interested in wooing. Cat-slit ruby eyes narrowed imperceptibly in response to what her body language was telling him, and although he still refused to let her go, he purposely loosened his hold on her, not intending in any way to scare her any further than he already might have.

It was the first time she had seen him Change after all, and therefore it wasn't particularly surprising to him that he might have frightened her with his inhuman ability.

"Are you afraid of me, Sakura?" he asked bluntly, and when she didn't reply at first, he hooked his index finger under her chin and tipped her head slightly so as to meet her eyes, his quiet, patient gaze waiting for her response. At last, she gave it, but not without carefully thinking the matter through first.

Was she afraid of him? After seeing what he could do, the power that he was capable of, did she fear him now?

Admittedly, his abilities were downright unsettling to her. True, he had as much as told her outright that he was a shape shifter, and she had accepted his explanation completely, but hearing about it and seeing it were abjectly different experiences altogether, and this only served to forcefully remind her that he was not the same as she was.

But he had no intention whatsoever of hurting her, and that, she was absolutely sure of. Call it instinct or even her overly trusting nature, but his actions so far had not hinted at all that he would harm her, except for his exasperatingly…frisky…nature whenever she happened to be in close contact with him.

Like now.

Sakura began to relax slightly as her own thoughts started to sort themselves out. Her unguarded posture told him of her answer even before she could speak, and that pleased him. She was naturally wary of what she did not know, but was still rational enough not to let her cautiousness cloud her common sense. The fact that she was quickly getting over this episode inwardly relieved him as well; it would be a lot harder to court her if she was skittish of him.

"…No. I don't think I'm afraid of you," Sakura admitted at last, though she did twitch at the way the raven-haired shape shifter was evidently 'rewarding' her frank, honest reply with a brief, openly affectionate caress to the side of her hip. The man really was an incorrigible pervert; that she was beginning to understand, though what's worse was the fact that she didn't seemed to be too appalled or upset by his overly touchy manner which most would have likened to outright sexual harassment.

Maybe it was because he had never gone over the line in his teasing of her, and that he had never failed to show her that he was earnest in securing her affection, even if he was going about it in a blatantly physical way that she didn't exactly approve of—or felt prepared for—but it was difficult to fear this male when some part of her had already decided to put her trust in him.

"About your transformation," Sakura repeated determinedly, bringing her face away from his finger even as her hand snaked downwards to stop the arm around her waist from stroking any other part of her. She would have preferred to wiggle away from his hold, but he was not letting go and it was mortifying for her to struggle against his naked form, rubbing against certain…bits of him which would only give him more reason to be even more happily amorous with her.

At last, she gave up and narrowed her eyes at him.

"How is it that you are unaffected by it?"

"Unaffected?" he echoed, even as he easily caught hold of her resisting hand and proceeded to run his fingers lightly against her open palm, more than willing to follow up on any sort of contact that she was initiating with him. Sakura tried instinctively to pull away her hand only to find that he wasn't letting go anytime soon, but at last decided to thank her fortune since he wasn't fondling her anymore.

"Yes," she answered him. "The modifications of your body looked painful. Are you not in pain?"

It wasn't difficult to detect that particular inflection her tone, and he quickly realized that she had been concerned.

Cat-slit crimson eyes dilated slightly at the revelation, and poor Sakura squeaked in protest when Itachi tilted her head towards him with a free hand and proceeded to nuzzle her cheek gently.

"You were worried about my wellbeing." It wasn't a question, definitely not when he was sounding so pleased over it. Sakura was sorely tempted to deny his shamelessly satisfied remark, face bright red over how he was being so gentle with her, a strange, but not unpleasant, pressure building up in the vicinity of her chest at the way he was looking her. A flash of utter vulnerability occurred to the pink-haired beauty; she was in his arms and literally mesmerized by him—utterly at his mercy.

Insecure, she started to stiffen slightly, only to pause in her reaction when he spoke again.

"I'm glad that you care," he told her simply, and with growing fondness. "To answer your question; there's only a small amount of discomfort experienced during my transformation, though it's something I learned to overcome when I was young." In his rich, soft tenor, he continued, "There's no need to feel bad for me, little one."

Sakura turned her gaze away from those knowing ruby eyes, very embarrassed by how he figured her out so easily, and they barely even knew each other for little more than a day! This was definitely a very strange reaction coming from her; she had never formed such an incredulously rapid sense of attraction to anyone before, so why…?

"Alright. Please let me go now," she muttered, more than a little dismayed over her own lack of control in the face of this overly virile male who had openly claimed to desire her almost the very moment she laid eyes on his human form. Was she so lacking attention from the opposite sex that this sinfully attractive shape shifter could easily tempt her with those half-lidded, bedroom eyes and husky, honeyed words that were saturated with blatant, lust-filled intent for her?

She shuddered inwardly, all but quavering at the sensual mental imagery that her thoughts had provoked.

"Itachi, let me go," she repeated her request in a hurry this time; why was it that she was always thinking of such decadent acts whenever he was nearby?

"No," Not surprisingly, Itachi denied her politely worded request. "I rather like holding onto you. You are soft and sweet-smelling and so damn responsive to me. I would be a fool to let you go."

It was as if he was speaking about an entirely different matter altogether, and Sakura felt her heartbeat accelerate at his insinuating tone—not to mention, he was nuzzling her again, this time, running his lips against her bared throat, the softest purr of contentment thrumming from his chest. If she still wasn't convinced that he was a cat, then his open, physical shows of feline-like affection were certainly enough to cement the idea in her mind.

"Besides," he continued softly, the smallest tinge of amusement coloring his rich, velvety voice. "Didn't you just tell your friend that you couldn't bear to leave me alone, little one?"

Sakura sputtered.

"That was not what I meant!" she objected. "Don't twist my words to fit your motives, and I'm not joking with you, Itachi; release me this instant! I have lots of chores to do today and you are wasting my time!"

She was reprimanding him like a wayward little child, and he was a bit nonplussed, not to mention quite amused, by how she seemed so eager to escape his embrace. He would have been feeling rather chagrinned if not for the fact that he could clearly sense her increased rate of respiration, her rapidly beating heart, fluttering like the wings of a small bird within her chest, the soft, sweet flush of her face, the delightful scent of her arousal, mild as it was now. Once again, her physical reactions told him that she was attracted to him, but was still fighting so hard to deny her natural urges.

As such, he cuddled her protesting form close to him for a brief moment before releasing her. Sakura scooted away the moment she could, landing on the seat beside him with little preamble and throwing a baleful glare at the handsome shape shifter.

"I'm hurt, Sakura," he merely murmured in reply, a lilt of good-natured humor evident in his rich voice. "That you find common chores more important than my pleasant company."

"The last part is debatable," she muttered under her breath, before rising to her feet. He was certainly as arrogant and self-important as only a cat could be. "And where are your clothes? Please put them on; I really don't want my neighbors to think that strange things are going on in my home."

Upon delivering the stern lecture, the disgruntled woman turned and scurried away, no doubt eager to maintain a neutral distance from the…distracting shape shifter. It was too bad that she missed the small smile that ghosted across his lips at her flustered reaction, though thankfully enough, Itachi heeded her warning and went off to get dressed.



Questions That I Would Like To Answer Before You Ask:

Well, I'm quite sure that this chapter is pretty self-explanatory. Thankfully, since this fic is nowhere near as plot heavy (Plot? What plot?) as 'cabbage patch,' I didn't really have to spend four hours writing a super duper long A/N. Still, if any of you have queries, feel free to shoot them at me. I will try my best to answer them. =)


To be honest, I'm not really a cat person, so KittiTachi's cat form mannerisms might not be all that accurate for all I know. I have only observed the behaviorism of felines from cute YouTube kitty videos as well as during occasional visit to the local pound, so don't be too upset if the reactions are all wrong. Still, I hope some of you have enjoyed this installment.


This chapter was not scheduled to be up by this weekend actually. It was only sent to my dear, wonderful beta a few days ago, but she worked super hard and pulled through, so you guys get to reap the rewards! I'm not promising steady updates though (since I always get yelled at by the readers when I cannot keep my word), so just enjoy them when they come, okay?

Thanks for reading!


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