Title: A Sorta Fairytale

Pairing: ItaSaku

Status: Incomplete

Rating: T

Thanks to Yachiru443, The Reveiwer known as Name, xXxtellmewhyxXx, Princess of blah blah blah, minniemousemom, nightwish635, Rajsa, snorkabuziaczek, Katastrofei, XsweetXSourXSoulX, michy, Rosenkreuz Orden , KiwiDoughnuts, and Green Sea Blossom for reviewing!

Here's a nice long chapter for all you lovely people :)

Chapter 7

It was starting to become a daily routine for Itachi to stare at his ceiling every night.

He just had too much to think about, sleep never came easy for a killer but he had always managed it somehow since sleep was essential to good health and he had to be in pristine condition so missions could be accomplished smoothly. Itachi never failed in his missions.

But that was before she came into the picture and he cursed himself for being distracted.

It was a very simple mission, something that should not take him more than few hours to complete but today he made an error and the mission had taken almost a day to complete and Itachi never made mistakes.

Until now of course.

She was affecting him more than he liked it and as much as he tried to shove the image of her out of his head, he couldn't. He was drawn to her, like a cat to a mouse. There was something about her that attracted his attention and he couldn't get his mind off her.

But she hated him. That brought a weird feeling to his chest that he couldn't describe other than it hurt.

And unlike a wound in the skin that would heal in a few days, this pain didn't heal but continued to plague him every so often. She was like a poison, a dangerous being that was getting underneath his skin, slowly killing him inside out.

He sighed and wished sleep would come and take over him so he could forget about her.

Even if it was only for a moment.

She didn't cry.

Instead she just laid on her bed and thought about him, she couldn't help it, it was like a natural reaction after she saw him that night. The previous burden on her heart that her friends had helped lift was starting to crush her again.

Sakura didn't even know why she cared so much about what Itachi did to her. It wasn't as if he was important to her, he wasn't a friend or someone she remotely liked but there was just something about him that she couldn't just ignore. She hated feeling like this, unsure and confused.

And afraid.

She curled into a ball and snuggled closer into her covers and willed sleep to come. It was late and she needed to rest for the next day. Sakura was glad that Karin had left her alone when she saw the depressed look back in her eyes, she didn't think she could take any more before she collapsed. That made her angry, she didn't understand what about Itachi could make her so frustrated, annoyed and sad at the same time but it irked her that he was making her feel so vulnerable. So weak.

She wasn't a strong person but she never thought of herself as a weakling, that title vanished the moment Mamoru died and Sakura had buried all her emotions deep in her heart. He was supposed to protect her but without him she felt so lost. She didn't want to feel like that ever again but something about the Uchiha was making those emotions she thought she had long lost bubble up again inside her.

Dammit! What was happening to her?

Sakura didn't know.

In the end, neither of them slept much. The source of their insomnia, funnily enough had stemmed from the other in question but this was something they didn't know, and probably never will.

Sakura trudged up the stairs miserably, he was free of missions today and that meant she would most likely be spending time with him, doing whatever he did in his free time. Something she didn't want to know or become a part of, anything that was related to him she didn't want to see, but of course knowing her luck, it was highly unlikely she would get her wish. Still that didn't mean she couldn't try at least, a small smile appeared on her face as she bounded up the stairs to the kitchen. Hopefully Mirako would not suspect anything and give her the jobs necessary to avoid the Uchiha for the day, after all if he can't find her then he can't make her do anything right?

Feeling slightly better about herself Sakura hopped up the stairs two at a time, making haste, if this so-called plan of hers was going to work, she'd need to make sure she didn't run into him on her way to the kitchen.

The light faded in her eyes when she saw who was coming down.

Sasuke looked up when he heard a small gasp in front of him, then he smirked.

"Oh? Well if it isn't the maid." he said a little too cheerily.

"I have a name you know!" she blurted. Okay, that was random she thought. At first Sakura was just going to just ignore him but his attitude always screwed up with her plans, there was just something about Sasuke and his rude comments that she couldn't stand and ignore. Then remembering her plan about avoiding Itachi she bowed quickly, almost snapping her neck with the action. Ow, great now I have a crick this early in the morning, fantastic.

"IhavesomethingtoattendtosoI'llexcusemyselfnow." she said so quickly that it came out like a mass of jumbled words rather than a coherent sentence then she literally ran up the stairs and towards the kitchen before Sasuke could even give her any kind of reply. He had no idea what she said just there but decided not to pursue it.

"Weird girl." he muttered to himself before continuing downstairs. He honestly couldn't see what his brother saw in this girl, she wasn't anything special in his opinion, well apart from her hair maybe and her personality was something he mused. But then his brother wasn't any different, as much as Sasuke loved Itachi, he had to admit his brother was kind of boring. He was too robotic, he resisted a laugh inwardly at the thought.

"Sakura dear, are you sure you don't want to rest just now? I'm sure Itachi-sama will have something for you to do later.." asked Mirako uncertainly. It had been an incredibly weird morning since Sakura had practically stormed into the kitchen where they were all having breakfast and demanded to be given a chore. Needless to stay they were all stunned, the household chores were not fun and the idea of someone asking to be given something to do was worrying.

"Very sure." she replied cheerily. "Give me as much as you can, I'm feeling particularly energetic today." she chirped.

"But.." began Mirako.

"Oh, almost forgot. Could I get a note of Itachi's schedule so I can arrange my jobs easier?" so she could arrange to avoid him too, but she didn't say that out loud. Sakura was certain that the older maid knew what the Uchiha did everyday and most likely had some sort of timetable that the girl could use to her advantage.

"I'm sure-" said Mirako before Sakura cut her off.

"Please?" she pleaded, then she tried her puppy-eye technique and hoped that Mirako was one of the ones who would succumb to the technique because if she didn't, well that only left Sakura with the choice that she was going to have to find some way or other to obtain the schedule, and that meant stealing.

Something she had long given up and had no plans on returning to.

The older maid sighed. "Fine." Then she left the room and when she returned a moment later she was carrying a parchment with messy handwriting scribbled over it which she handed to Sakura.

"This is just a rough draft since I'm not really sure what he does everyday and then there's his random missions every so often and all that.."

"It's good." Sakura said as her eyes scanned the parchment then she smiled at the older woman. "Thanks. I'll get going now." and before Mirako could say anything else Sakura had already ran from the room, yelling something about dusting the whole manor much to the amazement of Karin and the other maids.

The smile had brought a little more reassurance to Mirako, hopefully what she was doing was right and Sakura really was going to use the schedule for a good purpose.

There was something off about his brother today.

As much as Sasuke hated to admit it, he knew his brother was much more faster and ruthless when it came to sparring and often he would be a mess of bruises by the end of it but today Itachi seemed distracted and his movements were slower and less lethal than they usually were. It wasn't like his brother to be thinking about something else during their morning training session, concentrating on your opponent at all times was one of the few but important lessons Itachi had drilled into Sasuke although it seemed like Itachi should probably to take a few of his own words to heart if the way he was behaving today was any indication.

Sasuke gritted his teeth, although Itachi was distracted today he didn't leave any openings and Sasuke hadn't managed to land more than a few measly kicks which Itachi had blocked perfectly while dodging the rest. This just shows how vast the difference in power was between him and his brother, a gap he always tried to close even if it was only bit by bit. Sasuke growled and charged at Itachi again.

Itachi monitored Sasuke for the time being, his moves were sluggish and will not effective at all when it came to real-life battles and here he thought he had taught his brother well but it seems like he was wrong. Itachi wrinkled his nose ever so slightly, he didn't like being wrong. He would have to do something about him soon, as if it wasn't bad enough that Sasuke let his emotions be read off his face as easily like a book and no doubt if Itachi was an enemy shinobi then Sasuke would be dead right now.

They had been sparring for about an hour now and Itachi had other things he had to take care of today. Just when he had been planning on what was the best way to get Sasuke to admit defeat for today, his little brother startled him by speaking as he dived forward ready to knock Sasuke off his feet.

"So..what's up with you and Sakura?" Sasuke asked curiously.

Itachi faltered in his move for a moment but that was enough for Sasuke. It hadn't been his intention to deliberately stun his older brother into making a mistake but the question had been invading his mind since his encounter with Sakura this morning and he thought it would be better to ask now rather than later. Itachi's momentary distraction was good enough for Sasuke as he lunged forward with his katana, hope building inside him that maybe for this one time he might actually be able to knock his brother onto the floor like he had done to him far too many times.

Itachi narrowed his eyes as soon as he found out that he had left an opening for Sasuke to attack him and before Sasuke's katana had reached him he had pulled out his own and parried the blow. Sasuke's eyes widened. Then with expert control he flicked the other blade hard enough for it to fly out of Sasuke's hands and he watched with amusement as Sasuke's face contorted into something like astonishment as he watched his own blade fly away and land with a dull thud to the side. Itachi pressed his own katana to Sasuke's throat.

"You lose again little brother." he said calmly.

Sasuke scowled at him. As if he needed reminding of his sore defeat.

Itachi sighed, he knew what his little brother wanted but he knew Sasuke wasn't ready for it yet. Praise was something he rarely ever gave and he thought he had told Sasuke enough times that it was not important and what he really should be focusing on is how to improve his current abilities. Although he supposed it didn't hurt just to tell his brother that he was good since Sasuke had desired for it so much.

He removed his katana from Sasuke's throat before turning around to head back to the manor. Sasuke's shoulders dropped a tiny fraction at his brother's lack of reaction, he went over to pull his katana out of the ground before following Itachi and that was when he noticed his brother was no longer walking but standing still. He was shocked by Itachi's next few words though.

"Not bad. But not good enough..yet." he muttered quietly before he continued forward.

The comment had left the younger Uchiha stunned for a moment before he grinned. Itachi wasn't one for words and what he said just now was as close as it could ever get to being a compliment. It made Sasuke happy to know that his brother was actually acknowledging his abilities.

"You haven't answered me yet." asked Sasuke.

"Hn." grunted Itachi.

Since they were brothers, it wasn't hard for Sasuke to decipher what Itachi's grunt had meant. It was almost like their own language he snorted.

"I was referring to my earlier question about Sakura."

"Hn." Sasuke assumed this meant, so what?

"What are you planning to do with her?" Sasuke's eyes flickered over to Itachi's as he tried to search for any hints and emotions that might be playing around on his brother face. He was disappointed but not surprised at his brother's lack of display, Itachi had always been an expert in covering up his feelings.

He knew something was up when there was silence instead of a grunt. It often meant Itachi was too busy thinking with that brain of his to give him any kind of response. Sasuke often wondered what Itachi thought about all the time, he had no doubts that his older brother was an extremely intelligent being but he had no idea what thoughts might be running across his mind just now. His poker face was as unreadable as it could ever be.

"It is none of your concern." he finally replied and he vanished. Sasuke sighed, typical brother.

Sakura was bored.

According to the "schedule" Itachi should be in the manor somewhere just now and that itself was enough for alarm bells to be ringing in Sakura's mind.

Which was how she found herself in the west wing of the manor – the furthest away from his room - dusting random ornaments that lay dotted in almost all the corridors she'd come across. A job that was fairly easy had become one that was so irritating it took all she had to not smash them against the walls.

It was annoying at the very least, his actions and movements were unpredictable and it was only thanks to her fellow maids she had managed to avoid the Uchiha all morning. Not that her fellow maids had known they had played a part in this little game, they merely thought it was their duty to let the young master of the house know where his "personal maid" had wandered off to which was of course nowhere near her real location since she had long disappeared from the area as soon as she was spotted by one of the servants making it difficult for him to actually track her.

Sakura sighed and leaned against the wall, it was tiring to be avoiding someone. Her heart always skipped a beat whenever she felt someone coming near her and was constantly worried it was the Uchiha that had found her. If it wasn't, it was often just one of the servants but that still didn't mean she could sit back and relax, she knew none of the servants would hesitate to tell the Uchiha where she was if he asked so she was constantly on the move.

If it wasn't for the map of the manor she had stole out of the library, Sakura was sure she would have been lost already. The place had looked big enough on the outside but the inside was much much worse. Not only was there a million rooms and corridors there were also hidden passageways and shortcuts that only a seasoned servant or members of the family would know about. It made her wonder if all this running about, hiding like a mouse was worth her energy at all.

Well it was either that or be stuck with the Uchiha for company.

She preferred the first option.


Her hand gripped the duster harder before her head snapped towards the source of the voice and relief washed over her when she realized it was only Karin. "Hey." she replied.

"What are you doing here?" asked Karin curiously.

"Dusting." she said quickly. Karin was a sharp girl and Sakura was sure if she started stuttering the other girl would be able to tell she was lying. "What else?" she continued before laughing and waving the duster in front of the other girl.

Karin raised a brow at her statement and sighed softly, Sakura dreaded her next words.

"I'm only telling you this because I'm your friend." she began and Sakura's mouth opened in surprise before she shut them, it was rude to interrupt whatever important thing Karin was going to say.

"He's looking for you." Big surprise Karin, as if Sakura didn't know that already, she resisted the temptation to roll her eyes at the other girl. But Karin wasn't finished.

"And he's coming this way now since one of the guys had seen you earlier so I suggest you start heading to somewhere further away now." she finished then her voice dropped a couple of notches before she said "The last time I checked the library was in dire need of some dusting...."

Sakura smiled at Karin who was now looking away muttering to herself about "silly girl" and "troublesome".

"Thanks Karin." said girl glanced up at the sincere smile Sakura was giving her before blushing awkwardly. She cleared her throat a little too loudly and turned around to leave the pink haired girl to fend for herself.

"I should also point out Sakura, that generally when people are "dusting" they require an object of some sort to clean to make it believable." she pointed out Sakura's blatant mistake that had led her to believe she was lying before she walked away.

Sakura's mouth gaped open. How on earth did she manage to make such a silly mistake? She prayed silently to whatever God was watching her to thank them that she was glad they had sent Karin to find her first. She brought out the map and wondered which path Itachi would most likely to take to come to the west wing, after studying it for a few minutes she decided it would be best for her to travel via the top floor across the western area and down the east tower before looping back into the library on the second floor in the east wing. She stowed the map back into the pocket of her maid dress, which was the only good thing that came out of wearing it. The dress had tonnes of hidden pockets that Karin had told her about, a maid's secret she said. It was highly useful since it didn't hurt them to carry small essentials around, it made the jobs a lot easier if you didn't have to constantly trundle back and forth for tools.

Sakura didn't think the dress was hideous but it was a little too frilly for her tastes.

It was just like any other ordinary maid outfit you might see, a simple affair consisting of a white dress with a black apron over it and a pair of black shoes to complete the set. It was as simple as it could get in terms of fashion but the material was very soft and silk like and it didn't take Sakura long to be fond of the dress. Plus she thought she looked pretty good in it when she saw her reflection in the mirror, the black and white brought out the pink colour of her hair very well. It had been a long time since Sakura had worn any decent clothes that didn't have holes in them or were in ragged condition, all the spare money she earned had gone towards buying medication for her mother.

At the thought of her mother Sakura tried to stop the tears from forming in her eyes, she failed drastically and wiped them away angrily before heading towards the stairs that lead to the top floor. She couldn't think about her mother right now, especially not since the "hide and seek" game only just began.

To say Itachi was frustrated was an understatement, he was pissed. Sakura was toying around with him and he would be damned before he let her win against him in this game. He strode down the corridor swiftly and to other people he looked as normal as he could ever be but inside he was raging.

He had spent all morning trying to locate the stupid girl believing it was only sheer coincidence that she had disappeared as soon as he arrived in the designated location the servants spoke of.

He was certain the servants were not lying, his skills had told him that much.

That meant she had somehow found out he was coming and had flitted off to wherever she was now to avoid encountering him. Somehow he had taken on the role of being the cat trying to hunt down the mouse but with no success and Itachi refused to lose, especially not to a little pink haired girl! He was tired of hunting around the house for so long, she had wasted a good amount of his time and he was not happy. Heck Itachi found himself travelling around the whole manor, from east to west and from the top all the way to the bottom, something he would have never done before.

Itachi practically yelled at the next maid he saw, he didn't notice his voice had been louder than normal and only the fear from the maid's eyes had alerted him that he was frightening her. He sighed and controlled himself.

"Have you seen Sakura?" he asked again, this time much quieter and less harsh.

"U-um...I saw her coming down the stairs in the east tower....just there." but the maid was talking to air. Itachi had already disappeared.

The library was like paradise to her. Sakura had always been fond of books ever since she was little, where other children would beg their parents to let them play outside she would choose to sit quietly and read instead and her favourites were none other than your typical fairytales.

She pulled a old leather bound book from the shelf and blew the dust off it's cover so the title would be visible. Cinderella, she smiled. This was the first book her father had given her when she was little, Sakura missed her father dearly. Although he was a bit overprotective, she could tell it was all because he cared for her. Tears started to form when she thought of her father....all alone by himself, she rubbed at her eyes roughly brushing the tears away before seating herself on one of the comfortable chairs the library had to offer. Sakura held the book tightly to her chest and and closed her eyes, allowing herself to drown in the memories of the past.

"Daddy!" screamed a little girl with bright pink hair as she ran up to a tall man about thirty years of age who picked her up with grace before allowing the little girl to burrow her head into his shoulder. He glanced up from his daughter to admire his wife in the background who was smiling at him happily as she saw how glad the little girl was to see her father.

"Hey darling, what you been doing today? Did you miss daddy?" he chuckled as the little girl lifted her head to wrinkle her nose at him.

"I fell from a tree and cut my knee." she whimpered. "It was sore!" she protested before her father let her down to inspect her knees. He raised a brow at his wife who shrugged her shoulders.

"Sakura-chan, how many times have I told you that girls don't climb trees? Tree climbing is for boys, you should be playing dress up and learning dancing instead." he sighed at his daughter who was now hiccuping from all the crying earlier.

"But Mamoru-kun can already climb trees with just his feet! I can't lose to him!" she wailed desperately then she started crying again. Her father pulled his daughter into a hug.

"Don't cry dear, did Mommy kiss it better?" he chuckled as he remembered how Sakura refused to believe her wounds were healing unless one of her parents had kissed it. It had been something his wife came up with when Sakura had been ill as a little girl. Whenever she had refused to take any type of medication, they would tell her that if she took the medicine then mommy and daddy will kiss her and grant her one wish, Sakura upon hearing the word "wish" had eagerly agreed to taking the medicine.

"Yeah but I want daddy to kiss it too!" she cried. He smiled then kissed her knee. "There we go, feeling better now princess?" he grinned.

"Much much better. Now you owe me one wish" replied Sakura. Then she stretched her arms up indicating she wanted to picked up. He laughed as he bent down to gather his daughter in his arms, she snuggled up closer to him.

"What did you wish from mommy then?" he asked curiously.

"That I don't need to eat vegetables at dinnertime." said Sakura smugly. She was obviously proud of her achievement of conning her mother into allowing her to skip out on eating any of the vegetables. He chuckled at his daughter who was grinning at him like a maniac.

"Well done darling!" then he smirked at his wife who was scowling at him for taking Sakura's side. "It's getting late now, how about daddy tucking you in to sleep?" he asked.

"NO!" yelled Sakura.

"Little girls need a lot of rest to be able to climb trees..." he pointed out to her.

Sakura looked at him suspiciously. "You said girls don't climb trees."

"Well you know what to wish for then don't you?" he grinned.

"But I want daddy to read to me!" she cried, tears forming in her pretty green eyes again.

"Daddy is tired Sakura dear, how about another time?" asked her mother gently.


"It's okay Mizuki, I'm not that tired tonight and it's been a while since I last played with Sakura, I miss her company too." he reassured his wife. She sighed and shrugged her shoulders, admitting defeat. "Fine, you win again." she said. He chuckled then gave her and Sakura a three-way hug. "I love you two." he murmured. "I know, I love you too." said her mother. "I LOVE YOU TOO DADDY!" screamed Sakura into their ears. "AND MOMMY!" They winced at her loud voice before breaking out in laughter.

Sakura looked at her parents weirdly before giggling to herself.

They looked just like any other ordinary family out there. A nice happy family.

"Once upon a.." he began.

"NO! Not like that daddy! You need to say it with more feeling!" yelled the little girl.

He sighed warily before clearing his throat to start again.

"Once upon a.."

"NO! You're doing it wrong!" she yelled again.

He wanted to whack himself with the book, being unconscious was certainly better than being lectured by his little girl about not reading properly to her. He had lost count of how many times he was made to repeat the first three words in the fairytale with "feeling" as Sakura had put it. He was literally sick of hearing himself speak those three words. If he heard anyone else speak to him with those three words he was going to sucker punch them three times through three walls.

"Darling, we can't get through the story if you keep stopping me at the first three words.." he said before Sakura interrupted him.

"I don't care. Stories with no feelings are useless! Do it right daddy!" she said grumpily before sulking. He sighed, exasperated with his daughter already.

"Once upon a.."


He groaned. It was going to be a long night.

"No! Don't take my daddy away!" she screamed as hands pulled her back from running towards her father. He gave her a sad smile.

"Sorry Sakura dear, seems like daddy won't be able to kiss this one better this time." he chuckled sadly before he was taken away by the soldiers. Sakura struggled against her captor's grip, biting on the arm around her she managed to free herself a little. She ran and ran but her father got further and further away from her. Then she fell, she looked up to see her father disappearing into the distance before stretching her hand out to grab him back.


She screamed as strong hands jerked her awake from the nightmare. She could hear someone yelling her name sounding concerned, her eyes hadn't adjusted to the darkness yet and she could only make out a vague outline of someone standing in front of her grabbing her shoulders and shaking her violently.

"Sakura!" said a familiar voice. Oh, it was Itachi. She could recognize that voice of his from a mile away, however she didn't expect it to be filled with so much feeling. His voice was usually so robotic. She blinked a few more times to rid of eyes of the sleepiness.

"What are you doing here?" she blurted.

"Looking for you. Where were you all day?" he asked coldly.

She winced inwardly and looked at her hands instead, she didn't like his voice when it was like that, it was so cold and painful to hear.

He resisted the temptation to roll his eyes at her reaction but inside he was really worried for the girl, he had been hunting for her since the start of the day and it was now late evening but still no trace of her. Itachi then did something he never ever did before, he started to panic, thinking that she might have gotten into an accident. It was only by sheer luck that he had just gone pass the corridor to the library when he heard her screams. Her scream had almost drained all the blood in him, it was so painful and full of hurt. By the time he had rushed into the room Sakura had been thrashing about and whimpering in her sleep, obviously the victim of a nightmare. He shuddered to think what kind of nightmare it was that caused her to produce such a sad cry.

"I..uh...I was...erm...dusting the manor..." she trailed off quietly, suddenly aware that it was dark outside. She looked up at him and the first thing she noticed was his eyes, for the first time Sakura saw that they weren't entirely onyx but had tiny specks of brown in them. They were hardly visible, it was only thanks to the moonlight reflecting off them that made her notice.

Sakura didn't know she had been staring at his eyes until Itachi raised his brow at her then she blushed. Wait, why was she blushing? The question caused more red to tint her cheeks and she prayed silently, thankful that the darkness was here to cover her so he couldn't see.

She was wrong. Itachi could see perfectly well and he resisted the temptation to smirk at her when he saw the blush slowly taint her face. He stood up and helped her up when he noticed she was struggling, no wonder he thought, she must have been sitting stiff like that since this afternoon.

"I expect to see you tomorrow Sakura. Don't make me hunt for you again like today." he warned her.

So he knew she was avoiding him, well it didn't really take a genius to figure that out she mused. Still the thought of him being unable to find her till now left her feeling satisfied. She nodded and he looked at for a moment. "Make sure you get some rest." he said as he vanished into the air.

She stood in wonder for a moment, he sounded so concerned about her health she couldn't help but wonder if there was something more to him than just the cold mask he put on display. With a sigh she pushed the thought out of her mind for the moment, she was physically and mentally exhausted and wanted nothing more than to drop dead onto her comfy bed.

The idea gave her enough fuel to begin the long and slow trek back to her sleeping chambers.

Sakura groaned as the sunlight shone onto her eyes, who the hell opened the damn curtains? It felt like she had only just fallen asleep before being cruelly woken up by some moron who obviously hated her a lot to be disturbing her like this.


Sakura shot up in bed.

"What the hell!?" she exclaimed, pointing at the Uchiha who was leaning against the wall next to the window.

"It's time to get up, we have a lot to do today." he said calmly.

"Don't you mean "YOU have a lot to do today?"."

"No. I would require your presence today Sakura." he said. Then he smirked, "Have you forgotten you're my personal maid already?" She went silent afterwards then she sighed.

"Is this really necessary?" she asked, referring to the fact he was standing there and watching her every move. She wanted to run but she couldn't exactly do it with him standing right there, maybe if he could just wait for her upstairs.....

"You might run away again."

Her plan flew right out the window.

"I'm not going to." she pleaded.

"I don't trust you."


"I promise I won't." she said nicely batting her eyelashes cutely.

"Promises mean nothing."

Fuck you.

"Well I need some privacy at least!" she said exasperatedly.

"I shall wait for you outside your room. Don't try anything funny." he warned before exiting the room. Sakura got up and ran over to dead bolt the door first. She could have sworn she heard him chuckle through the wood and refrained herself from punching him through the door. She cursed under her breath and gathered up some clothes before heading into the bathroom.

"Do not look so miserable. People will think I have been torturing you." he said to Sakura as they made their way up to the stairs. They haven't had breakfast yet but Itachi assured her that he had already prepared something for them to eat in the carriage since they will be busy today.

"Haven't you?" she retorted. It certainly felt like it to her, being in his presence was torture itself already.

"No I haven't." he replied.

"It certainly doesn't feel like you haven't." she muttered to herself.

There was silence for a while as they walked through the gardens, it was a nice day she noted. Such a shame she had to spend such a good day with Itachi, the guy could probably suck all the happiness and fun away from anyone unfortunate to come across him.

She was too busy looking at the sky and thinking intently that she accidentally stood on her cloak and stumbled forward. It was only thanks to Itachi and his lightning flexes that stopped her from falling flat on her face. His arms were around her waist and his hand had gripped hers just in time, she would have laughed at the cliché and comical sight if she wasn't so embarrassed. She blushed even more when he leaned in towards her face.

"Are you okay Sakura?" he murmured quietly. She could feel his warm breath on her face and she hated to admit, it didn't feel as unpleasant as she imagined it to be. In fact it was kind of enjoyable. Oh my God, I did not just think that! She recoiled in horror and pushed Itachi away from her before standing properly on her own two feet, eyes glued to the floor in awkwardness.

Hell yes you did! Screamed Inner Sakura in joy.

Shut up idiot! Yelled Sakura in response. She didn't want her inner side to erupt now and blow her not-so-calm cover, as if it wasn't already on the verge of breaking thanks to the little incident that just occurred.

Itachi smirked at the look of horror that had appeared on Sakura's face earlier, it was amusing to say at the very least of how easily she could be read. It didn't take a genius to figure out what her train of thought must have been. He looked her her questionably when she looked as if she was having an internal argument with her mind, something that amused him even more since he didn't know he had such a big impact on her.

"Are you okay Sakura?" he repeated.

Her eyes snapped up to look at him in confusion. Then the answer dawned on her, "Um..yeah." she muttered quietly, her face had started to glow red even more. No,no no! She didn't want to look like a silly girl blushing in front of him! "Just a little warm from the sun." Phew. Good one Sakura!

He raised a brow, somehow he wasn't convinced by her explanation and she gulped.

"Uh...should we get going now?" she asked nervously, hoping to change the subject.

"Hn." Then he turned around and motioned for her to follow. She breathed out a sigh of relief before heading towards the carriage.

She was back at the market. Again.

Sakura wanted to palm her forehead, fate seemed to hate her if this was of any indication at all. She could almost feel the bastard smirking behind her at her string of curses when they reached their destination.

She growled at him when she saw the smug smile on his face, he was doing this deliberately to annoy her and it made Sakura mad.

"Something the matter?" he inquired.

She had to fight off the burning desire to smash his face in at that statement. What did he think? Obviously it mattered! She was pissed and he knew it but the way he was acting as if nothing was wrong was starting to irritate her like hell. Sakura had been so busy cursing Itachi she never even noticed a silver haired man had sneaked up behind her.


"WAH!" she jumped a mile and turned around to glare at whoever it was that just scared the crap out of her. The silver haired man just cocked his head to the side, he was extremely weird and strange thought Sakura. He was carrying a small orange coloured book with half of his face being covered by a mask leaving only his eyes visible, strangely one of them had also been covered by a headband with the leaf symbol which indicated he was a shinobi like Itachi.

A very mysterious one too.

"Hatake, what brings you here?" came the Uchiha's cold drawl.

"Eh..." said the silver haired nin nervously before looking around seemingly to be searching for something, or someone. "Just strolling about the area."

The Uchiha narrowed his eyes at the nin who gulped nervously. Kakashi was under his squad in ANBU and despite the man's perverse and annoying nature, he was a good shinobi and very powerful. Although Itachi didn't show it, he acknowledged the other man and that was saying something since Itachi hardly ever acknowledges other people.

Sakura watched the weird interaction between Kakashi and Itachi and made a mental note to research the other nin. He shocked her by finally registering her presence.

"Hey girlie, who are you?" he asked curiously.

A vein throbbed somewhere in Sakura at being called a "girlie". "The name's Sakura and I'm very pleased to meet you old man." she said with a smirk when the comment left the other man stunned.

Then he startled her by laughing, "Ha ha, she's a quirky one all right!" he said to Itachi who remained stoic. "Nice to meet ya too Sakura, the name's Kakashi." he said as he closed over his book and held his hand out for a handshake.

She looked at him in wonder then slowly took his hand, he was surprisingly gentle and she could tell instantly that this guy was a nice person. His hair was pretty interesting though, the white was a big contrast to his young face so she couldn't help but ask, "How old are you?" she blurted.

"Eh..well...I think maybe...26?" he replied deep in thought.

"29." said Itachi. He remembered reading it off his ANBU profile once.

Sakura stared at him incredulously. How did he know?

"Ouch...yeah..29. Thank you Itachi for reminding me that I'm getting old." chuckled Kakashi.

"But your hair..." Sakura wasn't finished with her question when he answered.

"It's natural. My father's was the same." he replied already knowing where the conversation was going. Everybody he encountered had asked him about his unnatural shade of hair colour and he was already to used to such questions. He was sure the girl had her fair share of questions too, with shocking bubblegum coloured hair like that so he didn't take offence at her words.

"Oh..." was all she could come up with. Then she blushed, embarrassed she had just asked him such a personal question and was worried he would be offended. "Sorry." she muttered.

"Eh? It's okay! No harm done!" he said cheerily waving his orange book around. Then he winced as a loud cry came from somewhere behind him.

"KAKASHI!!" somebody yelled.

"Uh..gotta go now guys! Seeya!" yelled Kakashi nervously before he disappeared with a "poof". Sakura stared at the spot he had occupied before he vanished and then looked at Itachi, silently demanding some sort of explanation about the man's random actions. He remained stoic, making no motion to talk to her so she contented herself by glaring at him.

Sakura almost had a heart attack when she saw who – sorry maybe "what" might be a better word to use here – was charging towards them.

"Uchiha-san!" he boomed. "Have you seen Kakashi?" Sakura flinched at his loud voice. His appearance was certainly....interesting she thought, although weird would probably describe him better and more accurately. He was dressed all in an obnoxious green colour with a bowl hair cut and the biggest eyebrows Sakura had ever seen in her entire life, she shuddered.

"I'm sorry to say I have not Maito-san." replied Itachi. Sakura turned to give him a incredulous look. Did he just....lie? He returned her favour by giving her an amused look that almost translated into something along the lines of, "Yes I did so what are you going to do about it?" She scowled at him.

"Such a shame! He had just lost in our 102th challenge and was supposed to treat us to lunch today but oh well I shall catch him around some other time....anyway I must head off to continue my training now! Goodbye Uchiha-san! Let's go Lee!" he yelled loud enough for the whole street to hear, Sakura winced.

"One moment Gai-sensei!"

That startled Sakura, she didn't even realize there had been somebody else with Gai and looked around curiously trying to find out who it was. She realized with a new sense of horror when she saw the voice belonged to a young boy around her age who looked like a mini clone of Gai, with the exact same nasty shade of clothing as well as the same bowl haircut and the second largest eyebrows she had ever seen in her entire life. She shuddered. He was grinning at her and she resisted the urge to turn around and run as far away possible from him.

"Are you Haruno Sakura?" he asked.

"Um...yes? How do you know me?" Sakura was confused, she had never met someone like him before so how did he know her?

"Naruto-kun had mentioned he had befriended a very kind and pretty pink haired girl called "Sakura-chan". I have been searching for you ever since!" he claimed happily. She was so going to pound Naruto for getting her into this mess! The blonde honestly didn't know when to keep his mouth shut and Sakura was seriously contemplating the idea of shutting it for him permanently.

Sakura blushed when he said "pretty" but couldn't help herself asking, "Why?" she blurted. Then she recoiled in horror when he gave her the thumbs up while flashing what he supposed was a dazzling smile but in Sakura's case it felt more like a freaky show of his white teeth.

"My name is Rock Lee!You are beautiful and I love you Sakura-san! Will you go out with me? I promise to protect you with my life!" he asked boldly unaware that a certain Uchiha was currently sending death-glares in his direction, or maybe he did but decided to ignore them, instead he concentrated on the girl in front of him who was shaking uncontrollably.

"NO WAY!" she yelled. Then she immediately felt bad afterwards when Lee's shoulders slumped down looking dejected. "I mean! It's not your ugl-" she stopped, saying he was hideous was probably going to make him feel worse and she decided to rephrase her sentence, "I mean, you're nice and everything but uh...you're just not...my cup of tea you know?" she said softly, hoping her rejection didn't hurt him too much. The guy was nice, maybe a little too overenthusiastic but she wouldn't mind becoming friends with him, providing he took off that obnoxious green outfit and wear something sensible when she was around. He surprised her when he looked up at her, a new light in his eyes and something told Sakura this probably wasn't a good sign.

"I see! Somebody like myself is currently not good enough for a pretty girl of your caliber! I shall continue to train my body as much as possible and then pursue you when I have become stronger!" he said happily, obviously happy of his new goal in life. She sighed exasperatedly but decided to nod along to the charade.

"LEE!" Gai roared.

"Yes sensei?" he saluted.

"In recognition of your new goal in life, I shall reward you with a new mission of running 500 laps around Konoha using your hands only!" he bellowed loudly. "Is that clear?"


Sakura refrained herself from covering her ears, why were they so damn loud? And what the hell was that about 500 laps? Was that even consider as a reward? She saw Itachi stare at Lee with a weird expression on his face but it was gone in a flash as he turned to give her an amused look, it as almost his way of saying "haha." She gave him another one of her icy glares.

"The lotus of Konoha will bloom by the next time I see you Sakura-san." said Lee. Then he took one of Sakura's hands gently, much to the amazement of her and Itachi and planted a light kiss on her knuckles. Sakura could almost feel Itachi's deathly aura trying to suffocate the oblivious boy and she resisted the temptation to laugh. "I shall see you again sometime Sakura-san." Lee smiled and then charged off with Gai to goodness knows where, the forests probably, to do handstands she mused.

Itachi stared after Lee. This was not good, the boy was infatuated with Sakura and if were Sakura to fall for him - not that he thought she would since she looked a bit disgusted with his choice of attire but there's the chance is still there – then his plans would be ruined and he would not allow that to happen.

He looked down at said Kunoichi and noticed she was still a little bit flushed from the meeting with Lee and he hated to admit it but kami, she looked so cute. As if on cue Sakura looked up quizzically at him, wondering why he was staring at her with such a strange expression, he gave her a smirk instead which was like the trigger to her random changes in emotions as they rapidly faded from confusion to annoyance. She huffed before walking forward again and he decided to follow even though technically she should be the one following him but he let that slide for today.

"Oh my God!" somebody yelled. Then Sakura heard the sound of footsteps running and the grunts of people who were shoved out the road by the rampaging blonde. She gasped when she saw who the blonde was.


"Ino...pig?" said Sakura in disbelief. She had never imagined she would see her best friend ever again and couldn't help the tears that were escaping her eyes, she wiped them away angrily knowing Ino would tease her for being such a crybaby but Ino surprised her first by grabbing her into a suffocating embrace.

"I missed you forehead! It's awfully boring in the shop without you, I don't even have anyone to tease any more!" Ino wailed loudly. Sakura's shoulders drooped slightly, that was what Ino missed about her? Then she smiled, it was just so like Ino. "Where the hell did you go? All I knew was my mom telling me that you had to go work elsewhere faraway....and you didn't even bother saying goodbye to me! Some kind of pal you are!" she said accusingly.

"HEY! It wasn't my fault! I..." she faltered. What was she going to tell Ino? She didn't want to rat out her mother being a horrible woman who sold her own daughter but she couldn't exactly blame the Uchiha when he was standing right next to her.

"Yamanaka-san." said Itachi politely with a nod. "Uchiha-san." Ino replied and bowed slightly. Then Itachi startled them both, "I will be over there Sakura." he pointed then he left the two girls together. It was almost as if he had read Sakura's mind and was allowing them to catch up and chat about Sakura's current...circumstances. She grimaced, it was going to horrible but at least she didn't have to do in his presence.

"Okay forehead, start talking." said Ino eagerly. Sakura sighed, Ino hadn't changed at all, still the same bossy gossip lover but that's what Sakura liked her, she was always truthful and despite all the teasing she knew Ino cared greatly for her.

"Well it kind of started like this..." she began as the two continued down the market.


"Wow...that was the best story I've ever heard for this month!" said Ino in delight. Sakura groaned, how typical of her to think it was gossip material. Ino noticed Sakura looking unhappy and said, "Hey..no worries forehead, I ain't going to use this as gossip." Then she huffed grumpily when Sakura looked at her with surprise. "I might be a gossip lover but I'm not that evil enough to sell out my best friend." she said and stalked off.

Sakura groaned, she was the one who needed cheering up from all this mess but now she had to be the one to cheer Ino up. She smiled, just like old times she thought. Sakura ran up and gave Ino a heart-warming crushing hug, the blonde taken by surprise recovered pretty quick and gave her a hug back.

"It surprises me to say this but..I missed you too Ino-pig. It's just not the same as it was." said Sakura quietly, a little sad. Ino gave her an incredulous look. "Are you kidding me forehead? You're Uchiha Itachi's personal maid! Note the "personal" part, how can you be sad when you're working right beside a hottie? People would die for such a chance!" Ino said in disbelief, shaking her head at Sakura like she was mad.

"I didn't have a choice!" she shot back hotly.

Ino pretended she didn't hear Sakura. "You know, you must be pretty special if Itachi saw something in you. He's not famous for being kind and saving innocent girls by bringing them into his house as maids, you must have something about you that quirked his interest, I wonder what it is?" wondered Ino. Sakura sighed exasperatedly.

"It's not what you think Ino." she said.

"Well what is it?" Ino asked.

"It's...actually..I don't really know myself." Sakura said honestly. Why did Itachi pick her of all people to be his maid? It just didn't make sense but she didn't want to think about the matter just now. "So." she asked Ino, "Been on any missions lately?"

"Yeah, just a rubbish one though. Mom started to get suspicious and I had to lie and tell her I was with Chouji and Shikamaru all day. Well that wasn't far from the truth so I won't count it as lying but ya know.." she waved it off.

"No I don't know actually." then she laughed as Ino frowned at her.

"Quiet forehead, you know what I mean!" and she elbowed Sakura.

"Ow! That was sore Ino-pig! Oh,by the way, how's it going with Shikamaru?" she asked curiously.

"Nothing. The lazy ass is too busy being lazy to give a crap about what I want to do." she said tonelessly while Sakura just looked at her sympathetically. Everybody knew Shikamaru was as lazy as heck but Ino often put the guy in his place, she just had that much influence over him. Actually Ino pretty much has influence over a lot of people, she shuddered to imagine what happened to anyone who got on the bad side of Ino.

"I'm sure he's just busy with missions lately."

"No, I asked him to come shopping with me the other day and he said he had a mission so I was like "fine okay" then I saw the lazy fuck lying in his back garden watching the damn clouds! Unbelievable! Seems like the clouds are more important than I am!" she huffed angrily then she grinned mischievously, "I'll get him back for that!"

Ouch, Sakura felt sorry for Shikamaru. She knew what Ino's shopping trips were like and didn't want to wish that much misfortune over her poor boyfriend but he should have known better to hide in his back garden of all places, she didn't want to know what Ino had planned in store for him. It was probably going to involve something painful. She yelped when she felt somebody's hand on her shoulder.

"We're leaving now."

Sakura had been so busy in her imagination she didn't notice Itachi slowly sliding his way up behind behind her. She scowled at him for interrupting her chat with Ino.

"Oh, is that the time already? I gotta go now too forehead, I'll talk to you later...okay?" said Ino uncertainly moving forward to give her a goodbye hug.

"For sure." Sakura confirmed before returning the hug, she was going to see Ino again whether Itachi liked it..or not. "Seeya." Ino nodded and then headed off into a different section of the market.

"I meant what I said." she said to him, he gave her a nonplussed look. She sighed, "I'll be seeing Ino again." she explained when he continued to look at her with confusion, then he nodded. "Aa." She presumed that meant "okay" in Uchihaese.

They continued to walk in silence back to the carriage and Sakura was just about to get in when she heard an obnoxious yell that could belong to no other than-

"Naruto." she said smiling at the blonde boy who was panting from running up to catch her. "Sakura-chan~!" he said while getting ready to pounce her for a hug, he was thrown about thirty three feet backwards, destroying a few stands and smashing into a wall before he could complete the action.

"That was for telling Lee about me." she said nicely while cracking her knuckles again. Naruto whimpered quietly as Sakura made her way towards him. "But-EE!" he yelled when she suddenly darted forward in his direction.

"This is my thanks about Ino." she whispered in his ear as she hugged him. He looked her surprised, "You're not going to hit me again Sakura-chan?" he asked. She rolled her eyes at his stupid question , "What do you think idiot?" He rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "Oh, ha ha." he said.

Sakura grinned at him, "You doofus, Ino told me all about how you went to find her after you saw me in the market the other day and she's been wandering around ever since hoping to bump into me."

"He he, no problem! I'd do anything for you Sakura-chan! Remember that time you helped me steal-" he was cut off abruptly when Sakura slapped her hand over his mouth and hissed. "Don't mention it ever again!" She looked nervously behind her at Itachi who was eyeing them curiously. Naruto caught the look in her eye and paled when he saw the Uchiha a distance away. "Oh shit-" he was rewarded by Sakura slapping the back of his head. "No swearing in front of a lady!" she yelled at him.

"Wha.?" he began before gulping nervously as Itachi came up behind Sakura, "Uh...hello..erm..Uchiha-san." he said, trying to keep his voice straight but couldn't help how it had risen a few notches.

Itachi nodded at him before turning to Sakura who was glaring daggers at him. "Sakura. As much as I hate to interrupt this important conversation of yours, it is about time we left." he said nonchalantly. "I shall be waiting for you in the carriage, do not make me wait." he said as he turned around with a sweep of his cloak and strode down back to the carriage.

Sakura sighed, she said goodbye to Naruto with a promise that she'll see him again and hurried to catch up with the Uchiha.

She couldn't help but smile though, what she thought had been a crap day turned out pretty good indeed.

Sakura hummed quietly as she set the dinner table, there was a guest tonight at the Uchiha household and that had set everybody in a panic because of the short notice. Rumour was that the guest was a high ranking noble who was close to the Elder Council. Sakura didn't like the sound of that, the elder council was comprised of two old foggies who didn't care about other people except themselves, she remembered Tsunade showing her disgust at their selfish decisions and she had to agree with her shishou on that matter.

A little while ago when she was still a noble, there had been a horrible outbreak of the plague in the civilian area of the capital, Tsunade had insisted on spending a large amount of the royal funds in purchasing medicine and hiring doctors to help the civilians as well as creating a team of researches to target the source of the outbreak and do their best to eradicate it. But the council had objected to her hasty decisions and refused to let her near the funds, they decided it was better to confine the infected individuals in a secluded area of the capital and let them die so the plague won't spread. Families had been torn and many had died as a result, the Queen had pleaded with them countless times but with no avail, they refused to budge and she could do nothing except curse them everyday for their stupidity.

As a medic, Sakura could go help heal those who were ill but she was forbidden by the council since she was a noble and they couldn't risk the plague spreading within the nobility. She yelled, argued and eventually pleaded with them to let her save the dying people but they still refused. Once she had tried to sneak out of the house but had been captured and kept locked in her room until the plague had subsidised but by then millions had already died.

She sighed softly as she finished with the table, the guest was due to arrive soon and she was to report back to the kitchen as soon as she was done. Her next job would be to serve the meals so just now she had nothing to do except wait. Normally serving wasn't part of her job but the maid in charge today was ill and they desperately needed a replacement, they were relieved when Sakura volunteered to help out, anyway how hard could it be to put a plate on a table?

Itachi saw her sitting alone on top of a box just outside the kitchen and made his way towards her.

"Sakura." She flinched before looking up at him then relaxing when she saw it was only Itachi.

"Yes?" she asked raising a brow curiously.

"Our guest today is of utmost importance and it would not do if you decide to erupt into one of your....unintelligible tantrums." he said tonelessly.

"I won't." she said calmly.

"Good." then he turned and left. Somehow he doubted she would be very calm when she found out who the guest was but he had made arrangements that avoided her meeting the guest and only then did he relax.

Little did he know, his arrangements had already been ruined when the maid fell ill and Sakura had volunteered to replace her.

"Sakura!" one of the maids yelled.

"Coming!" she hurried towards the kitchen table where the plates of steaming food had been laid out.

"Serve the soup first in the center and then the salad diagonally right, do not get it wrong!" ordered the cook.

"Yes,yes I already know after the 100th time you've told me." she said lazily as the cook narrowed his eyes at her.

She lifted the first tray and left the kitchen to head towards the dining room. As usual the place was adorned with flowers and decorations, it had also been scrubbed from top to bottom immaculately but what surprised her most were the normally bare walls had now been covered with expensive works of art, probably bought recently to impress the guest. She resisted the urge to roll her eyes at such a blatant attempt in sucking up to the nobility.

Itachi paled when he saw her come into the dining room. What the hell is she doing here? He thought frantically. He had been in charge of selecting the staff for the work tonight and had made sure her name wasn't on the list!

Sakura noticed Itachi had gone a lighter shade in colour when she walked into the room and she frowned. Why was he so surprised to see her serve? Just because she was his personal maid that didn't mean she wasn't allowed to volunteer for extra work!

She wanted to see what the guest looked like but couldn't because his back was faced to her. Oh well, just as well he was sitting directly in front of Itachi and she was in charge of serving them both, she'll get to see his face when she comes back with the second round. She gently placed the soup and salad in front of the guest, her eyes glued to the table as her hand shook a little. Itachi had been staring at her ever since she came into the room and it was starting to intimidate her a little.

"Oh, this looks lovely." said the guest. Sakura froze. The voice was so familiar but it couldn't be...?

She bowed quickly and practically ran back to the kitchen to grab Itachi's share before darting back to the dining room. This time she walked very slowly to his side of the table, eyes glued to the food in front of her again, she was afraid if her suspicions were confirmed before the food reached the table, she would not hesitate to throw the food at the guest.

Itachi looked at her, she had paled considerably since the guest had spoken and he knew she had already suspected who the voice had belonged to and was trying her best to keep her emotions under control until she confirmed her suspicions. He noticed she was shaking and her eyes had been glued to the food. He sighed inwardly, it was going to be messy.

She placed the food in front of Itachi, the porcelain thudded a little louder than usual since Sakura couldn't help her fingers that were trembling and only went they had left her hands completely did she look up from the food.

And straight into the eyes of the man who destroyed her happiness, torn her family into shreds and made her life become a living nightmare.

Author's notes

I really did want to update earlier than usual this week but I felt 8 pages was a little short so I decided to leave it till I hit the week long deadline which gave me time to extend the chapter another 10 pages. This chapter is so far the longest I've ever written, even more than chapter 3 :O since it's a total of 11k words without the author's notes.

Oh and please welcome my new beta reader Llama-Chan! She's my friend in real life who is currently doing part time beta-ing for me when she has free time ^^ I'll still be updating every week but I'll also be going back and replacing old chapters with newer editions to make it easier for new readers(and old readers :P)

On a side note, my Bio exam went quite well(I hope) and now I'm about to start another practice prelim paper for Maths D: So have fun while you can guys! When you hit my age it's all about exams and feeling suicidal D: My first practice run at a maths paper was horrendous and I got a total of 46.5% which was undoubtedly a solid D in order words a fail. Brilliant.

Even a simple "I adore this fic" would make me a very very happy writer.

And happy writers update fast :O