A/N: This pairing needs more attention! It's my new fix, bahaha. So I challenged myself with writing for it. Hope you guys like it!

He looked too much like Sasuke.

That had to be why she couldn't stop staring. The two of them were just so alike -- in their face (save an extra feature or two), in their hair, in their eyes, in their lean build. There was absolutely no doubt that they were brothers; she didn't have to hear Sasuke's life story to see that.

Yet, they were exceptionally different as well -- almost worlds apart even. Sasuke was a cruel-faced, revenge-demanding stick-in-the-mud, and Itachi was… well… Itachi. Karin didn't really know what to say about him, other than that he just wasn't Sasuke. His eyes did not hold cruelty, just a red coldness (occasionally a black fire). He did not demand revenge -- in fact, he didn't really demand anything; if he wanted anything, he didn't demand it, he just got it somehow, and he seldom wanted anything to begin with. And somehow, he wasn't a stick-in-the-mud either; Sasuke was, in that anything you asked him to do would be answered with a no, because he didn't want to do anything, except pursue his brother. Itachi's answers simply could not be predicted, and Karin figured that he intimidated everyone to the point where they wouldn't want to ask him to do anything anyways. It wasn't that Itachi didn't want to do anything, she was sure, it was just that he simply did not.

He didn't demand, because had no reason to. He didn't do anything extraneous, because he had no reason to. He didn't have cruel eyes or expressions, because he just had no reason to be cruel.

All of that left Karin with a question, however: what did he do, then, besides mess with his brother's head and do tasks for Akatsuki? Or was that just it? Was that really what he spent his life doing?

Good God, I hope not, thought Karin.

And somehow, Itachi was still the most interesting person she knew -- though she knew him not. It was the questions about him that made him so interesting; so mysterious. It's hard for a person like Karin to avert attention away from a mysterious man. Sasuke was mysterious in the way that even though he wore his heart on his sleeve, nobody really knew what went on inside the boy's head. But Itachi -- not only were his thoughts a mystery, but so were his motives, his emotions, and almost his entire personality. The only thing she could figure out from what she observed in the last hour and what Sasuke told her about him was about his lack of cruel-faced-ness and reasons to do extraneous activities. Those facts alone took her a substantial amount of time to even consider before they snapped into place.

But then, in the space of a couple of minutes, she figured out that he was also extremely observant.

Sasuke had told her that they were quickly closing in on his brother -- he could just feel his chakra getting closer and closer. He told her they needed to find his exact location before they could really do anything, which would take, approximately, a day to do, after factoring in everyone's need for sleep. Karin, wanting to really impress the boy, had gone out after the other three Team Hebi members had fallen asleep to look for the elder brother herself. She was an excellent chakra scout; she knew she could easily find such a vast chakra level in a matter of hours, and what were a few lost hours of sleep when she could have a little more affectionate attention from her interest upon the morn? She didn't think it would be dangerous -- she could hide her chakra perfectly, so there was no way Itachi would spot her once she spotted him.

She found him after a mere hour, coming into his and his partner's campsite with his cloak draped over his arm, likely having just finished training or bathing. He sat down beneath a tree, facing her, to watch the sparks of their campfire dance. He did nothing else, and while she waited for something to happen, she took the time to look him over (discovering the similarities and contrasts between he and his brother.)

After another hour of just staring at the fire, his eyes moved. She grew excited -- finally, he was doing something! The excitement turned to dread, however, the further his eyes wandered. Eventually, his Sharingan were locked onto her rusty irises, staring directly into her soul.

Or, at least, it felt that way.

Karin, not knowing for sure if it was really her that he was staring at, began to panic. Did she mask her chakra well? Surely -- doing so was as easy as breathing for her. Had she made a noise during her puzzle-solving? Surely not -- she wasn't known for being a noisy thinker. Had she made a sudden movement? No, she couldn't have -- she was in the same spot on the high tree limb that she'd been in since she got there. Oh, dear God, could he smell her?! She could only hope not.

And it was then she noticed that his partner was absent from the campsite. Maybe he had just walked under the tree she was sitting in, and he was staring at him. It was a comforting thought, though unreal -- his partner was not twenty feet tall, after all. He was certainly staring at her.

Then he spoke.

And she panicked.

"What is your motive in staring at me?" said Itachi, Sharingan eyes still boring into her.

At that point, she knew she was screwed. She couldn't hide and watch anymore, and there was no way he'd let her get away to inform Sasuke of his whereabouts. Her team would find her body in the morning and only wonder what could have happened, and Itachi would be halfway across the country by then. So long, Sasuke, she thought. If only I'd have seduced you into your first kiss before I'd died. …Damn.

She realized Itachi was waiting.

With a start, Karin dropped from the tree and landed gracefully on the ground on the other side of the fire. As she landed, Itachi finally blinked.

"You seem frightened," he stated, and she almost scowled -- it seemed like something Suigetsu would have said to irk her off.

She fell back on her conceited anger. "Didn't your mother ever tell you not to play with your food?" she said. "I was spying on you for Sasuke. Obviously. You can kill me now."

His eyebrow twitched, and she had to question it -- was it a sign of confusion? Irritation? Scorn? "What could make you think I had intentions of killing you?" He was looking her dead in the eye.

She kept her eyes, however, on his mouth, and tried not to think of the identical mouth on Sasuke that she usually had urges to touch -- and failed. "I can decipher it in your chakra -- the intent to kill." She was falling back on her cockiness.

"It seems, then, that you read me wrong." It was a wonder how casually he conversed, tone falling and rising with the sentence.

She almost scowled again, and resisted the urge to push her glasses up her nose. "Then what do you want?" And in her mind, it held a double meaning.

He was silent.

This made her anger grow -- oh, please don't let him be two-dimensional! I want--

"You're here to spy on me?"

She had to mentally shake her herself. "…Yes."

"Why did you come here?"

It seemed a tad redundant -- didn't he just confirm her intention to spy on him? -- but then she understood what he was asking. "I came here," she said, eyebrows creasing, "to find your location in order to tell Sasuke. But you distracted me, and I wanted to figure you out."

He almost seemed taken aback at her bluntness; her lack of beating around the bush. And then, he smirked.

Her eyes widened.

He stood, smirk fading gradually, and walked up to her from around the fire.

She couldn't breathe. Could barely think. He looked so much like Sasuke, and they were both so sexy, and they had the same lips….

"If I could ask you not to tell him where I am, I would," he said (how in the world is such a supposedly psycho guy so casual?) "But I know you're going to tell him, one way or another. I have no intention of killing you, and I'm not going to sink so low as to bribe you or otherwise persuade you. From one shinobi to another, I would tell him if I was in your situation." He wasn't smirking or smiling, but something about him seemed so candid while he still looked scary and intimidating and handsome. "But I'm not prepared to face Sasuke off yet, and I doubt he truly is either. So by the time you return to tell him, your information will be useless."

And then he just looked at her.

Karin was staring him in the eyes, and she knew how stupid it was of her to do so, but she simply couldn't help it. Not only did he look absolutely scrumptious, but his chakra was ten times more powerful, and at least five times more attractive than Sasuke's. She could see herself in her mind, embracing this man's chakra, curling up within it, doing so many exhilarating things with it.

She wanted him.

And now that she had no Sasuke-related reason to be here, seeing as he was going to negate her intellect as soon as she gave it anyways, she just wanted to -- well, she couldn't say exactly what.

But when she snapped out of her thoughts once more, she had drawn to mere inches away from him. He didn't look like Sasuke anymore. He just looked like Itachi -- like a very handsome young man that was forbidden to touch. Except that the forbiddance of it made her want to touch him more.

"I'm sure that someone has told you before not to enter someone's personal space," he said quietly, but it didn't sound like he meant it.

"Yes," she said, noticing that her glasses somehow wound up in her hand. And she wanted to kiss him. Oh, she just wanted a taste. But she felt like she should ask him, in an odd way, and then she had to recall her earlier musings. Sure, he wasn't Sasuke, who would most obviously say no, but she just wasn't sure if he'd say yes either. She didn't want to ask.

"It's rude," he said, as if to finish both her thoughts and his own previous statement.

He wasn't moving. He was just standing there, staring at her, just like he had been for the past few moments. There was no conflict in his face, no indecision, like what must have been on her face. He wasn't leaning into her, and it wasn't romantic.

She didn't want him to care. She only wanted a kiss.

Her gaze switched between both of his eyes, and then something turned in her mind, and in her stomach, and she leaned upward.

Karin kissed Itachi.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, not caring that he wasn't holding her back or responding to her lips, and she pressed herself against him -- chest to chest, hips to hips, and face to face.

She moved. She pushed him steps back. She laid her tongue against his lips. She sucked the moment dry.

He tasted like fire. But not the searing red flames that she might have expected, but blue. Mellow and mature, cold but still burning. It was like sake. She didn't want to stop drinking from his lips. It was just too good.

But she pulled away when she had become completely breathless. She let go of him, and took four steps backwards, staring at him all the while.

He stared back.

His eyes were boring into her from across the campsite, face lit by the fire.

Karin noticed her legs were going numb. She looked down.

She was sitting in the tree.

Startled, she turned her gaze back up to Itachi.

He was sitting beneath the tree directly across from her, cloak lying next to him, legs crossed. His eyes still stared at her. She watched as they drifted, ever so slowly, back to the fire, and she felt like she was watching a previous scene in reverse.

When she finally got back to her team's campsite, they were still fast asleep. Blank-minded, she took the same liberty.

Upon awakening, she felt like sighing. She felt like sitting around all day. She simply didn't want to go anywhere.

It just felt like a little girl crush, now that Itachi wasn't in front of her and "boring into her soul." It was ridiculous to think of it as anything more….

And she should have guessed that it was genjutsu from the beginning. Uchiha Itachi was a master at genjutsu. He didn't even need to look one in the eye to put them under the illusion. He had known she was there. He waited it out until she was caught in a thinking daze, and then he wove a story for her, hypnotizing her, choosing the one thing to use against her that he knew was her weak point. And how dare he use her fantasies --

But in the genjutsu, he let her fantasy come true. He didn't hypnotize her into seeing Sasuke slit her throat, or Suigetsu trying to be nice to her, or Orochimaru turning his sick experiments on her. He let her kiss him. He let her kiss him.

And it didn't matter that he didn't make his genjutsu-self kiss her back. He still wove the illusion so that she would kiss him.

Karin was more confused than ever.

Nevertheless, she couldn't contain a small cocky smirk.

Naturally, Sasuke was ticked upon his arrival into the land of the living, once he realized that he now couldn't feel Itachi's chakra at all. He commanded Karin to try and sniff him out, but she knew they wouldn't find him for another while. He would be long gone by now.

Only two days later did they sense his chakra again, but, like the last time, the need for sleep overwhelmed the need for proximity. Karin awoke in the middle of the night. Itachi's chakra was closer than it had been when they settled for the night, but it was still. And of course she couldn't restrain herself; she snuck off once more.

Half an hour of silent searching passed, and she found him, talking shortly with his partner about this or that tailed beast. She hid in the tree above the shark-man, Suigetsu's fix. She stared at Itachi, and waited.

His eyes drifted upward. He looked her dead in the eye.

Karin smirked.