First of all. I am not happy with this chapter. It took far too long for me to write and it wouldn't flow. Some of it is forced, because I had to push my creativity there. I also planned this to be a longer chapter, but, things didn't work out.
I honestly want to keep working on this. But I doubt I'll ever be happy with it. So I'm putting it out there so I can move on to the next one.
I know it's bad.
I know my writing style has changed.
But, I would actually like to finish this fic.
So, here you are.
Disclaimer: I do not, and will never own Naruto.
Without Uchiha Sasuke
"For what it's worth, I did ask Shishou to take me with her to the front lines."
Said Haruno Sakura, to no one in particular, as she leaned on the wall of the roof.
"But no, she had to ask me to stay and tend to the wounded in a safe place."
She sighed out loud, as cracked her knuckles.
"But if you're here, on the rooftop of a hospital with no one special in it, it means you came after me specifically. Didn't you, Itachi-san?"
The slightly taller Uchiha stepped out of the shadows, his dark onyx eyes focused intently on her.
"I didn't realize you were a sensor."
It surprised Sakura to hear a hint of surprise in his voice.
The pink haired girl sighed audibly, stepping back as she stretched out her back and her glove covered fingers.
"I'm not. But a friend who was just here, told me she sensed you. The fact that you didn't follow her is good for Konoha, but bad for me."
The statement bothered Itachi.
Was there something both he and Pain had missed?
Was there someone they had missed?
But he didn't have too much time to think about it as he heard Sakura's voice again, this time, with a more seductive tone to it.
"Ne, Itach-kun. Where would you like to get it on? Your place? Or mine?"
Uchiha Itachi watched as the doors to his compound swung open and the pink haired girl walked in.
Her hands touched the walls, drawing clear lines in the dust.
The compound was dusty, and it was clearly not cleaned, or wiped.
The grass grew wild, and the fallen leaves piled.
But, the doors, the walls, and the insides of the houses he could see.
Were well maintained, and looked like they hadn't aged in a long time.
"I see you're more of a gentleman than your younger brother. You don't actually mind letting a girl explore before trying to jump on top of her."
"I'm a lot of things Sasuke wasn't, Haruno-san. As you can clearly see by how long I have lived."
It wasn't completely genuine, but it wasn't forced.
There was a hint of how beautiful a thing her real laugh would sound like, hidden underneath what he heard.
Naruto-kun was a lucky man.
"Harsh, Itachi-kun. Not sure what Sasuke-kun would think, after he dedicated his life to you."
Itachi gave her statement a slight nod of acknowledgement.
"Though if he had truly listened to me. He wouldn't have been so weak."
"Now, now Itachi-kun. Let's not actually say things we don't believe. Or else, what is this conversation?"
Truth be told, Itachi did not know what he was supposed to be making of the conversation, or the situation itself.
Surely, somewhere not far from the Uchiha compound, a battle was going on and people were dying.
Pain was surely killing multitudes of Konoha nin, and yet one of their strongest was here, with him, actually acting like a real girl on a date.
Didn't she care?
No. She surely did.
Why else would she bring him here, to such a remote place.
"You do care about Sasuke-kun. A lot. Right, Itachi-kun?"
The girl twirled as she spoke.
Like a little girl dancing in the compound.
Her doctor's coat spun along with her, much like he'd imagine a skirt would.
Maybe in another life, he'd have had the pleasure of having a woman twirl for him like she did.
Or maybe even a daughter.
"What makes you say that?"
He didn't know why, but he trailed after her.
His eyes fixed firmly on to her.
He knew he had come here for a reason.
He knew that he had come here for answers.
Yet, he also knew he was prolonging the confrontation.
"Simple." She said.
"You let him live. When you could have killed him, and ended things."
"You watched him grow up. Which is the only reason you knew it was me who killed him."
"Which is why, you're here, in your old house, with me."
"But you want answers first, which is why you haven't killed me yet."
Itachi let a smile slip out as he shook his head.
"You're one surprising girl, Haruno-san."
The girl smiled back, looking up at him.
"I've been told that a lot."
The words came as she spun away from him again.
No eye contact.
He had been ready to instantly turn his Sharingan on.
But she'd only been teasing him.
He must have stood there for a little while, with the same smile on his face.
Because it was only when he heard her next words, did his thoughts come back to the present.
"It isn't nice to keep a girl waiting, Itachi-kun. You need to ask questions to get answers."
Itachi smiled again, this time closing his eyes at her words.
"But asking you questions, is not the only way to get the answers I want."
Itachi opened his eyes just in time to see her close hers.
"True, then comes the question. Who's wasting whose time?"
The question was an interesting one.
Who was really wasting whose time?
He had known this was a game of shogi, the moment she had asked where he wanted to fight.
It was both a game of biding time, as well trying to find answers to questions.
The question game, no doubt Sakura was winning.
She knew why he was there, and he had found out nothing as to what happened to Sasuke.
The time game, though, neither of them knew who was winning.
It depended on the ongoing battle outside Konoha.
If Pain was winning, what happened here wouldn't matter.
He would finish Konoha off, Sakura with it.
But, if by some miracle, Konoha managed to defeat the paths of pain.
Then, they would come back to find him, and it was he who would die.
This would also be true, if Sakura was stalling for time, for some other party to arrive.
"Your friends might need your help, Haruno-san."
"I think I'm of more help stalling you, and keeping you from killing multitudes, than if I were there."
"What if I told you, that you'd be of more help, if you'd just look into my eyes?"
For once that day, Haruno Sakura was caught off guard.
Looking an Uchiha in the eyes, was a no-no.
She had learnt that from Kakashi.
She had kept it up during her multiple run-ins with Sasuke.
And she was damned if she would look into Itachi's.
"but something is different."
Something was different.
He wasn't attacking her.
There were multiple ways to get her to look into his eyes.
Especially by force.
Yet he hadn't.
He didn't want to.
There was something wrong with this entire thing.
Haruno Sakura didn't have much time to follow her train of thought, for Itachi chose to move then.
Vanishing with blinding speed, appearing right in front of her, taking a page from his younger brother's playbook.
"Look into my eyes, Sakura."
Sakura didn't know if it was the surprise of how fast he moved.
Or if it was something in his voice that made her look.
But she did.
Just in time to watch onyx black, turn into crimson red, and then feel herself drawn in.
Into whatever he took her into.
Haruno Sakura 'woke' with a start.
If waking was what she'd do in this new world she had been brought into.
"Welcome to my world of Tsukiyomi."
The voice echoed through the space.
A step on what sounded like a puddle drew Sakura's gaze to her right.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?"
As if anyone would call an infinite amount of space, with a red sky, and an even redder moon, beautiful.
But then again, beauty was in the eye of the beholder.
Or in this case, creator.
"This world, is unique in the sense that, everything in here, is under my control."
"Mass, space. Even time. Is under my control."
Sakura gasped as she felt herself being pulled.
Watched as she was bound by ropes and tied to a tree by the world itself.
"The world does what I will it to do."
"You feel what I want you to feel."
"You live what I want you to live."
The sky blurred, as the scenery shifted to the playground in Konoha.
A little girl in a pink dress.
Sitting on the ground, as a group of girls stood above her.
These were her memories.
"I can make you relive painful memories."
She still remembered this.
The girls would tease her forehead.
Call it an easy target.
"I can make you relive happier ones."
A flower come out of nowhere, straight into Ami's mouth.
That had been the day she had met Ino.
A day she'd always be thankful for.
"I can make you live your worst nightmares."
The scene shifted, blurring out like a destroyed mizu bunshin, before it solidified again.
This time, into the bloody, unconscious form of her boyfriend.
Her heart clenched, much like it had that day.
But this time, she had to watch as she failed to keep him alive.
"Bastard!" she spat out.
"And I can also make you live your dreams."
The scene shifted again, and this time, she woke up to the laughter of children.
Two children to be exact.
A pink haired little girl, and a blond haired boy.
Two children, that ran towards her as they saw her.
Two children, that called her kaa-san.
The background solidified into the Hokage tower.
The Hokage's office, where her husband sat, smiling at his loving family.
Her eyes hardened.
It was her dreams.
It was exactly like how she wanted things to be.
"What's the point of all of this?" She hissed, venom clear in her voice. Long gone, was the playful girl that he had been with earlier.
Now, in her place was a hurt, and hardened shinobi.
Itachi closed his eyes, both to calm himself down, and to imagine a clear picture in his head.
"The Tsukuyomi, is an ability limited to the mangekyo sharingan."
"It has a limit. Mine lasts for 3 days, in here. But I can stretch time to make it feel like it goes slower."
"It is also very intensive on the eyes. I'll become permanently blind, if I use it too often."
There was a pause, Sakura didn't know if he was trying to phrase this properly, or if there were other reasons for it. But there was a pause.
"In our numbers, there is a man, that possesses a Sharingan."
The silence was palpable, but he could clearly hear the surprise in her voice.
"He calls himself Tobi, but Pain and I believe that he is in truth, Uchiha Madara."
The background shifted again, but this time, into a place Sakura didn't immediately recognize.
The scenes showed two men talking.
"He came to me, as I stood outside the clan compound. He offered me help with the slaughter of our clan, in exchange for one thing."
"He requested a meeting, with Danzo."
The name elicited a response. A growl to be exact. Itachi's curiosity was piqued, but he resisted. He couldn't afford to get side tracked. He was running out of time.
"I do not know what exactly was discussed between them. But, the Massacre was carried out without a hitch."
"Pain believes that Madara was looking for a very specific Sharingan. Uchiha Shisui's. Capable of casting a manipulative genjutsu so subtle, that no one would discover it."
"I do not know if Madara got his hands on it. But the last I saw the one eye of Shisui's it was in Danzo's possession."
"Regardless, With Pain's eyes, Madara has the capability of resealing the tailed beasts into anyone he wishes to. With eyes like Shisui's and the moon's reflective power. He could cast it onto everyone and maintain it with the amount of chakra he has."
The word caught Itachi off guard.
"Yes. If a pair of mangekyou sharingan, are implanted into the owner of a different pair. Their eyes, would become what we call the Eternal Mangekyou. One that doesn't go blind with usage."
"How do you know?" He asked.
How did she know something he didn't?
The scenery shifted and Itachi looked around. How had she managed to change his world?
Either she had immense mental fortitude, or he had slipped in his control.
"The naka shrine."
Sakura nodded, and walked the scenery down into a basement. Itachi let her. He needed to know what she knew.
The scene shifter again, and he saw a tablet.
A tablet that now, showed more writing than he was sure had been on before.
"You can see it, can't you? The part that can only be seen by a mangekyo."
Itachi nodded and traced the tablet with his fingers.
"There's one more part." He said, as he realised it. "The tablet has space for something more, but I can't see it."
"If the mangekyou can't see it, what can?"
"The Rinnegan, Pain's eyes."
It all made sense now.
The Uchiha's were descendants of the Sage of the Six Paths.
If you could transplant Uchiha eyes into other Uchiha, it couldn't be far off a thought to transplant the Rinnegan into them either.
"We need to tell the Hokage."
Itachi's eyes hardened.
"Yes, we do."
"But three days in here, is just a couple of minutes out there."
"Right now, you have 71 hours and 30 minutes left."
"Now how about you show me how you killed my little brother?"