Disclaimer: All characters in Naruto belong to Masashi Kishimoto.

Title: Necessity
Summary: She was the only thing keeping them from falling off the brink of insanity. Akatsuki x Sakura
Words: 4,386
Time-Period: Before most of the members of Akatsuki were killed off.

For Vesper chan's Sakura one shot contest. I've never done stuff like this before, so I hope you all enjoy it. The song is 'I Don't Want To Miss A Thing' by Aerosmith.

Concealed by the copse just outside the lair, Sakura Haruno lay in quiet wait as two precarious criminals searched carefully for her.

"Where are you hiding, pinky?" Deidara exclaimed, feigning ignorance. He knew exactly where the girl was hiding, but this game of chase was just much too fun to end only a couple hours into it. His partner, a man whose face was obscured by an orange and black mask giggled in anticipation. The offending, emasculate noise annoyed Deidara, who had long ago regretted allowing Tobi to tag along.

Sakura, who was disheveled and dirty from being pursued for hours, watched in anxiety as the two men passed by her small form hidden in the brush. Preparing herself to ambush the duo from behind, she felt the adrenaline pumping through her veins.

Ready for it, ready for it...

Just as she was about to lunge, a strong hand wrapped its slim fingers around her ankle. Sakura stumbled forward, struggling to escape her captor.

"Found you." And with a menacing grin that didn't even begin to faze Sakura, he added, "You lose."

There was a moment of struggling before she yielded to his hold. However, her expression was not one of surrender, but of defiance.

"Zetsu-nii!" Sakura whined, and with a pout, she continued her complaint. "You can't go undah-gwound! That's cheating! Count up to ten so I can go hide again!"

I don't want to miss one smile,

Deidara could blow up homes, villages, and entire countries, but he could not find it in himself to hurt the little girl he found crying in the middle of the Fire Country's forests, looking so pitiful as she sat on the dirt alone.

He watched as her sobs increased, and he wondered, who would abandon such a young little thing? But what really surprised him, however, was that this little girl had pink hair, brighter than spring blossoms set in bloom, that contrasted greatly with her shining green eyes.

"Excuse me, yeah." He exclaimed, stepping up from behind a tree. He had been debating whether or not to approach her, but a part within himself refused to leave without helping the stranded toddler. He may have been an S-Class criminal, but he was not completely heartless.

Sakura squeaked, surprised at the presence of the blond haired man. She quickly wiped her tears and looked up at him with wide eyes. "Y-yes?"

"Where are your parents?" Deidara inquired, crouching down to her eye level. She looked down at her hands, shying away from the man.

"I- I don't know." She replied, hiccuping slightly. Deidara's eyebrows furrowed together as he watched the child fiddle with some of the strange items scattered around her. One of them, he realized, was a ninja headband with Konoha's symbol etched into the metal. There were several weapons strewn about as well. Some that particularly caught his eye were a couple of senbon, dripping in blood and a poison he did not recognize.

"What's your name, yeah?" Deidara asked softly, trying to piece the uncanny puzzle together. A helpless toddler would not have been attacked so viciously, nor would she have been able to carry so many items- the situation before him was unusual, and now that he thought of it, so were her baggy, over-sized clothes. It must have been some forbidden, powerful jutsu that this young girl had unfortunately fallen victim to.

"Sakuwa Hawuno." She replied, pronouncing the 'R's as 'W's in her child-like voice. Despite years of transformation from a human to a merciless killing machine, Deidara felt his heart melt at the adorable display.

"Sakura Haruno, eh?" He queried, seemingly lost in thought. It was evident that the kid sitting among supplies obviously made for ninjas was none other than the Godaime's famous apprentice. Not knowing his question was rhetorical, she nodded, twiddling her fingers together. Deidara scratched his head, unsure of what to do with the girl.

He couldn't bring her back to Konoha. An act of kindness like that would surely lead to his death. He considered dropping her off at the nearest village, but his conscience continually nagged at him, making him unable to even think of abandon the girl. After a couple moments of contemplating, he decided to bring her back to the base for 'questioning'.

"My name is Deidara, Sakura... -chan." He stated, as he gathered all the items surrounding the wide-eyed toddler. "Would you like to come with me for a while?"

Eagerly, Sakura nodded, standing up to dust herself as Deidara finished up with the supplies. Reaching into his pouch, he became aware of his depleting stock of clay. The lair was only a couple hours run from where he stood...

"Would you like a piggy back ride?"

Sakura's eyes lit up in glee as she excitedly jumped onto his back. Once she had wrapped her arms securely around Deidara's neck, he took off, unable to keep his smile from forming as her vivacious laughter filled his ears.

Once the two made it into the lair, Sasori happened to be the first to bump into them. His eyes widened with surprise as he noticed the child clinging to the back of Deidara's cloak. "Who is she, and what exactly is she doing here?"

"She's the Hokage's apprentice, the medic."

Sasori's eyebrow rose, signifying his disbelief. Deidara further explained, "I don't know what happened but it really is her. I found her headband, weapons, and look at what she's wearing."

"Hn." Sasori replied, taking in her appearance. She matched her unique description in the bingo book. As he bent down to examine the young girl even further, he couldn't help but declare, "She would make a lovely puppet."

"What?!" Deidara exclaimed, incredulously. "She's just a kid, yeah!"

"It doesn't matter." Sasori replied, grabbing Sakura's arm. Eyes wide with fear, she whimpered, clutching on to Deidara's cloak with all her strength. When she was jerked violently away from the blond, she fell, scraping her knees. Sasori let go of her arm, and stood there, scoffing.

"Ow!" Sakura yelped, and Deidara knelt beside her, asking if she was okay. Suddenly a green glow covered the raw skin, healing it instantly. Sakura stood up, dusting her shirt off and glaring viciously at Sasori.

"That huwt! And that was wude!" She yelled, her face reddening in anger as each word escaped her mouth.

Unbeknown to Sakura, members from around the hideout who had heard the ruckus were coming down to see the commotion. They stood, some hidden in the shadows, some watching from just around the corner, and one whose head was only inches above the ground.

"Unfortunately for you, brat, I'm going to-"

"Don't. Call. Me. A. Bwat!" Sakura screamed furiously. Chakra surrounded her lithe form as she brought her foot down in an earth-shaking stomp. Cracks around the area of impact were apparent as they spread around in a 2 meter radius.

Inwardly, Deidara's jaw dropped at the severe amount of strength the girl demonstrated. Awestruck, he blurted, "What an explosive temper!"

A pregnant pause ensued as both artistically-inclined men meticulously inspected Sakura.

"She has unique features." Sasori exclaimed, carefully analyzing the now furious toddler.

"Did you feel the ground shake?! That was insane, yeah!"

"Such rare attributes must be preserved forever."

"A fleeting moment! An unpredictable eruption!"

"An extraordinary specimen, one I would gladly keep for all of eternity."

Deidara and Sasori looked up at each other, both surprised they had been able to come to an agreement. Sakura-chan here, was a paragon of all art. An outstanding example- no, the epitome of the true meaning!

Feeling slightly ignored, Sakura decided to speak up. "Deidawa-nii, he's being mean to me! Make him stop, pwease."

"He may have been a little mean but you broke the floor. That's going to cost a lot." Kakuzu muttered in irritation. The mumble had startled Sakura, who had been too caught up in her tantrum that she had not realized his presence earlier.

"Don't listen to him, Sakura-chan. Here, yeah." He lifted Sakura up, letting her sit on his bicep. "Sasori-nii here will give you a free hit."

"Don't count on it." Sasori hissed back. He refused to disgrace himself by allowing a mere child to strike him.

"C'mon, yeah. It's not like you'll feel it. Besides, look at her in an artistic angle! How can you deny that perfect face?"

There was another quiet pause where Sasori did not reply, but simply turned his face to the side, folding his arms across his chest. Deidara grinned widely, surprised Sasori had agreed to allow Sakura to hit him, let alone actually touch his face.

"Well, go on, Sakura-chan." Deidara urged. Sakura shook her head furiously, shying away from Sasori.

"I don't want to huwt anyone." She murmured, wrapping her short arms around Deidara's neck.

"As if you could hurt me, brat."

There was a moment of silence as Sakura started to shake in fury. Chakra once again consumed her small form and in the same second her first collided with Sasori's face, he had hit the wall with as much force as Sakura's stomp, leaving cracks similar to the ones on the floor. Sasori stood there, unfazed.

Inwardly, he knew he was impressed.

"And now you've broken the wall, too." Kakuzu grumbled.

"Sowwy." Sakura apologized, smiling sheepishly.

I don't want to miss one kiss.

"Tobi-nii! Can I have some ice cweam? Pwease?" Sakura begged, looking up at her appointed tutelary of the day. The masked man nodded his head enthusiastically, allowing Sakura to grab his hand and pull him into the kitchen and in front of the freezer. Glancing up at the handle and then at her caretaker, she looked up at him with a pleading expression.

"I can't weach, Tobi-nii. Can you hewp me?"

"Of course, Sakura-chan!" Tobi exclaimed, taking the small child into his arms and lifting her up on his shoulders, enabling her to pull at the freezer handle. "We have plenty flavors of ice cream, so you can choose, Sakura-chan."

Sakura beamed at him before peeking into the freezer. There was at least six tubs of ice cream inside. Her eyes widened with excitement, there were so many options! Vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, and so much more! When she found the flavor she was looking for, she reached into the freezer to take out the ice cream.

Happily, she exclaimed, "Cookie dough ice cweam is my favowite!, Tobi-nii!"

"Really? Mine too!" Tobi replied, grinning widely behind his mask. Sakura cheered animatedly as she closed the freezer door. When Tobi crouched down, Sakura jumped off, her little arms wrapped around the tub of ice cream. She reached into the drawer and took a pair of spoons, one for her and Tobi, while he took the lid off the ice cream.

Sakura took her spoon and plunged it into the tub of ice cream, then proceeded to shove as much of the sugary treat that could fit on the spoon, into her mouth. Once she swallowed, she clutched her head, yelping, "Bwain fweeze!"

"Here, I'll help warm your brain up!" Tobi proclaimed, wrapping the girl up in a tight embrace. When the pain in her head subsided, Sakura laughed and stood up on Tobi's lap to give him a sticky kiss on the side of his mask.

I just want to be with you, right here with you, just like this.

"Look at the pwetty staws, 'Tachi-nii!" Sakura exclaimed in awe as she looked up at the star-lit sky in admiration. Being the bubbly, talkative little girl, Sakura continued to babble on as she stared at the eternal display above her in wonder.

"You want to know something, 'Tachi-nii?" Sakura didn't bother waiting for an answer and isntead she continued, "I'm an Awies. What awe youw howoscope, 'Tachi-nii?"

"Is, Sakura. What is your horoscope." Itachi corrected in a dull, monotone voice. A hint of a smile graced his face as he silently mused to himself. Rather than watching the stars, he was watching her tiny body rise with each breath he took. It had taken much pestering from the persistent toddler, but he had finally agreed to lie outside and gaze up at the stars with her. When she had settled herself upon his chest, he didn't object, but allowed her to lay there.

"Oops!" Sakura giggled at her mistake. "What is youw howoscope, Itachi-nii?"

"Gemini." He answered.

Despite his seemingly emotionless voice, feelings of nostalgia washed over him. She reminded him so much of Sasuke, who had been just as innocent and naive as the child lying on his chest. He inwardly sighed at the distant memory. Thoughts of the Uchiha massacre flooded his mind but he felt no regret. He knew what he had to do in order to protect the village, to protect Sasuke.

"Cool!" Sakura exclaimed, yawning. Itachi raised an eyebrow. It was plainly obvious that Sakura was exhausted, yet she forced herself to stay awake just to watch the unmoving stars.

"It's almost your bed time, Sakura." Itachi stated, watching amusedly as Sakura connected stars together with her fingers. "We should head inside."

"But I like watching staws with you. I don't want to go to bed." Sakura argued, attempting to stifle another yawn.

Itachi let out a small sigh, "Sakura, you-"

"You neveh eveh have time to stay with me, 'Tachi-nii. Can't we stay out a little longeh?"

Itachi's eyes softened as the girl's words caused the feelings of nostalgia to return once again.

"... Fine. Just a little longer."

I just want to hold you close,

"Get down from there, squirt." Kisame ordered. Sakura was being extremely stubborn, immediately refusing his demand and instead deciding to sit on the very top of the statue she recently decided to climb.

"Nope! You awe going to have to come up and get me!" Sakura exclaimed, sticking out her tongue. Kisame sighed in aggravation- who knew taking care of the kid would be so much trouble? He was only assigned to watch her fifteen minutes ago and already she was twelve feet higher than she was supposed to be.

"I'm going to count to three, and if you're not down here by then, I'm leaving." Kisame declared. When Sakura refused to budge, he started to count.


"But Kisame-nii!"


"You awe no fun!"

"Three! I guess I'll be goin-"

"Okay fine! I'm coming dow- ah!"

Kisame caught her in an instant, but instead of expressing any gratitude, Sakura was grinning mischievously. The devious sparkle in her eyes told Kisame that he had probably fallen to one of her little tricks again.

"Gotcha Kisame-nii!" Sakura beamed, giggling hysterically. Kisame smirked, patting Sakura on the head. It was something he would never do when any other Akatsuki members were around. He was not like Deidara or Tobi, who were openly affectionate with the little tyke. He would never hear the end of it if they ever saw tough Kisame handle the girl so fondly.

Delighted with herself, Sakura started chattering as he continued to pat her head, going on about how she loved to play tricks on him because he was so easy to scare. Kisame chuckled as she did so, grinning his sharp toothed grin at the girl who was not bothered at all.

He would never admit it out loud, but the fact she hadn't been intimidated by his teeth meant a great deal to him. The first time he tried scaring her, she started chomping her own set of teeth, even going as far as trying to bite his arm.

A small smile found its way on his lips as he reminisced.

But as adorable as Sakura was, he had his pride, and even if the girl was only five, he didn't want to get outdone. Children were easy to manipulate, and usually very predictable, so when he suddenly stopped the affectionate gesture, Sakura looked up at him in surprise and confusion. As she did so, she realized, to her horror, that Kisame was frowning down at her.

Concerned, she asked, "What's wong Kisame-nii?"

"I'm hurt, pinky. Your tricks have gone too far." He chided. With a fake sniff, he set the child down on the ground and turned away, crossing his arms over his chest as he did so. Inwardly, Kisame counted once again.




"I'm sowwy Kisame-nii! Sakuwa-chan didn't mean to be mean!" Sakura cried out, latching on to the back of his cloak. "I pwomise to be good! Don't hate me, Kisame-nii!"

"That's what you said last time." Kisame replied, inwardly smirking to himself. His brilliant idea was without a hitch.

"I'm sowwy!" Sakura exclaimed, her voice muffled by Kisame's cloak. Kisame took this as an opportunity to glimpse at the girl, only to notice that she had decided to peek up at him simultaneously. Her green eyes were shimmering with unshed tears, and Kisame felt the guilt tug at his chest.

"I'm just joking, kid." He muttered, turning away embarrassed. Inwardly, he berated himself for being so weak to have given in so easily.

"'Same-nii..." She started, sniffling. Kisame felt like groaning, he knew she only used that nickname when she wanted to ask him for something. "... Can we have ice cweam?"

He chuckled, completely unsurprised. Had she been faking the entire time? She hadn't bat an eyelash at him when he admitted that he had been kidding around. She could have utilized the situation to make it so that she would have a higher chance in him allowing her to eat ice cream. That devious, sneaky girl!

Kisame inwardly grinned, proud of the crafty toddler.

He pondered the consequences of treating the energetic child to ice cream- it was near dinnertime, and he knew he wasn't supposed to ruin her appetite. He glanced down at her wide eyed expression, knowing she was silently pleading him to say yes.

To hell with it, he thought. What harm could a little spoiling do? The others cossetted her constantly, giving in to her every desire, every whim, whether it was ice cream, or a trip to a village. She got nearly whatever she wanted. With a shrug he sanctioned, "Sure squirt. Cookie dough flavored?"


And when he lifted her tiny form into his large arms, it was as if her tears never existed in the first place.

feel your heart so close to mine.

"Deidawa-nii!" Sakura screamed, eyes brimming with tears as she was wrenched from the blonde's grasp. She struggled fiercely against her captor's hold, demanding to be let go. Terror-stricken, she watched as three more masked nin appear, all heading towards Deidara. Their masks were animal-shaped with various red lines painted upon the white surface. Desperately, Sakura continued to shriek, "Let me go! Let me go! Deidawa-nii! Help me!"

"Sakura-chan! Hang on, yeah!" Deidara called out as a team of Konoha ANBU surrounded him. A bead of sweat from his forehead trailed down to his neck as he analyzed the situation. He knew the odds of him surviving were close to non-existent, but he needed to get to Sakura. Failure in this objective was not an option.

The ANBU were smart, closing in on him when he was not expecting it. Deidara inwardly cursed the bingo books. He knew how to fight in close combat and with taijustu, but they were not his strong point. He mainly relied on his clay bombs, which was currently out of the question. One wrong movement and Sakura could get severely hurt.

Of course he would never detonate a bomb where it's explosion would directly hit Sakura, but all the dust, debris, and smoke would certainly cause her discomfort and that was simply not acceptable.

"Calm down, Forehe- Sakura." The captor, said softly and reassuringly. Sakura was too busy attempting to slip through the woman's hold to even realize that whoever it was already knew her name. "We're here to help you. The man you are with is a bad person. We are going to get rid of him, okay?"

"No! No, no, no!" Sakura cried out in desperation. They were going to get rid of Deidara? She struggled even more, if that was even possible. The woman was beginning to find it difficult to fully immobilize Sakura as she continued to kick and scream.

"Don't touch him! Leave Deidawa-nii alone!"

"Sorry- guh," The woman grunted as Sakura sent a forceful kick to her stomach. "I'm afraid I have no choice but put you to sleep for a while, okay? It won't hur-" Before Sakura's captor could do anything, she suddenly went limp, and Sakura fell unceremoniously to the ground with her. She quickly composed herself, and looked up at her savior.

"'Tachi-nii!" Sakura exclaimed, sounding very relieved. "'Dawa-nii is in twouble!"

Sakura wiped her eyes before too many tears could escape. She didn't want to appear weak in front of Itachi-nii, or anybody, for that matter. She had to be strong in order to help Deidara at the moment. Itachi did not answer as he turned to aid the bomb expert, who appeared as if he would collapse any moment.

In less than two minutes, Itachi had knocked all three ANBU unconscious. He had refrained from killing them in front of Sakura, not wanting her to witness such a traumatizing sight- but oh, how he wanted to. When he saw the woman's hand inch closer to Sakura's neck, he had instantly become furious. She had no right to even touch Sakura.

"Deidawa-nii! Awe you okay?" Sakura worriedly asked as she hurried over, hugging on to him like he would disappear anytime. He nodded, smiling at the girl's display of concern- he never had anybody care so much for his well being. Touched, Deidara hugged her back, his still-living, beating heart right up against hers.

And just stay here in this moment,
for all the rest of time.

They watched as she slept soundly, eyes softened at the tranquil sight before them. Her music box, which had been a gift from Sasori on her sixth birthday, played a soft tune that floated throughout the room, subduing the Akatsuki members even further.

They listened to her quiet breathing, glad she was alive and with them instead of where she was supposed to be, in Konoha. The little girl was so full of life, love, naivety, and genuine compassion, things they all lacked- no, they were things that were all lost. It had been taken away from each one of them at such a young age, whether it had been from corrupted clans to a hard life of poverty.

It was as if the warmhearted child with candy-colored hair contained enough innocence for all of them.

And now that they thought of it, maybe she was where she was supposed to be. Maybe she had a purpose; that fate knew she was needed in their lives. Maybe she was here to keep their rational mind in check, because without her, they would all be driven mad as they were forced to become nothing more but mere tools, killing and doing anything to reach their goals. Emotions were forbidden in their lifestyle, and would inevitably lead to their deaths if they succumbed to the feelings they desired.

They had seen the slaughter of thousands, and too many times have been the cause of it. Guilt and regret were essentially forgotten, for any distractions would certainly lead to their death. Apparatus, tool, weapon; that's all they were. They lived a life where they simply could not afford to be human, yet Sakura had done the impossible and helped them become that and more.

She had brought out feelings of love, of affection, of all things they had believed, long ago, they were incapable of. She had both encouraged and sustained their humanity.

They would never let her go.

She was a necessity, the only thing keeping them from falling off the brink of insanity.

The end!

I hope you liked it. (:

Here's a list of some kid-Sakura words I thought might be hard to understand.
(babyfied - proper spelling - pronunciation of babyfied)
awe - are - awh
Awies - Aries - Ae wees
'Dawa - (short for Deidara) - dah wah
favowite - favorite - fae voe wit
fow - for - foe
hewp - help - hehwp
huwt - hurt - hehwt
longeh - longer - long eh
neveh - never - neh veh
'Same - (short for Kisame) - sah meh
staws - stars - stahws
weach - reach - weech
wong - wrong - wong
wude - rude - wooed

Sorry if these made it too difficult to read. If you need more clarification on any of Sakura's baby-speak, feel free to ask. (:

Please review!