Title: Moments in Time: A Close Up

Author: AppleL0V3R

Beta-reader: SymphoniaFreak

Fandom: Naruto

Pairing: Uchiha Itachi and Haruno Sakura

Other Characters: Hoshigaki Kisame

Chapter: Eighty-Six – #78 Cliff: Suicidal

Summary: Prompts from Moments in Time that I was requested to expand on. 86. 78 - Cliff: Suicidal. She should have known that he would catch up to her, even if she jumped off a cliff.

Word Count: 3,840

Rating: T

Type: One-shot – Complete

Genre: Drama, Action

Warnings: Violence, Abduction

Disclaimer: If you've heard of it before, then it's obviously not mine.

Started: April 12, 2013

Completed: May 10, 2013

Note: As the summary states these, are skits I was asked to turn into actual works. I will always put which one it was and the skit just before the chapter. They won't be in numerical order because I'm doing them as I'm requested. They won't be any more than one-shots though they may become two to five –shots (I will forewarn when that happens) but they won't become stories unless I choose to.

Request by: Anime Freak456

Edited on: Sep 3, 2013

78. Cliff (Sakura)

It was an idiotic idea. It was more than a lot risky. She had pretty much no chance of living through it and if she did, she would sustain permanent damage. But it wasn't like the other option was any better; in fact it was probably worse.

So when she came to the edge of the cliff, and when looking down she couldn't see the ground below, she jumped. She hesitated for the barest of moments, had glanced back at her pursuer, but was already in the air and falling faster every second by the time he got to the edge.

It should have been the end. But it wasn't, because he'd jumped off right after her.

He knew he'd survive, and she would as well.

When the first opportunity provided itself, she was gone as fast as she could manage. It hadn't been impossible, but getting away had been no walk in the park either. Between the Uchiha's hawk-like eyes that missed nothing and Kisame who had sharp chakra sensors, leaving without their notice was nearly impossible. Nearly.

That particular moment had been one where neither was focused on her. Something else had clearly been more pressing, and she hadn't stopped to figure out what it was. She wasn't going to waste any time, especially if she had only a few moments to get a head start. Itachi had warned her when he'd first taken her prisoner that she shouldn't try to escape or she would regret it. At the time she'd simply stared back at him, too furious about being in that situation in the first place to really take his threat seriously. Now she didn't even give it a passing thought as she hurried down the hall. Thinking about it would only slow her brain down with useless worry rather than processing her surroundings and strategies as quickly as she needed.

They'd stopped in a barren town that was so empty it could have passed for a ghost town. For that, she was both grateful and discouraged. Grateful because it meant no civilians could get caught in any possible crossfire; since she had no doubt the two Akatsuki members would have no qualms about hurting them. Grateful because they weren't so strict about how far she could wander because there was a dismal chance anyone would recognize her. Discouraged because the lack of population meant less of a chance for someone to recognize her and get location information to her village. It also meant there was no place in town where she could blend in should they catch up to her before she made it out of town.

Catching her breath seemed impossible even though she knew she was nowhere near out of breath; her lungs didn't burn any more than she expected them too after all. It was the psychological effects of panic and anxiety setting in as she couldn't seem to move her legs fast enough. Couldn't get out this town fast enough, couldn't get away from them fast enough. But she wasn't running blindly. This backwater town was more than familiar to her; she knew where she was going and every step was one closer to her home. All she had to do was think fast and stay a couple steps ahead of her captors. And if they had been anyone else, she wouldn't be pushing herself so hard. But they were Akatsuki. In fact, they were the two known for stamina and capturing their prey. Which left her desperate and trying to press her advantage as best she could.

Not more than a couple miles outside the ghost town she knew instinctively they had realized that she had made her escape and could easily guess her destination. But she couldn't stay ahead of them and mislead them; setting traps and backtracking only worked when someone had at least an hour's head start. She had minutes at best. Sakura shoved whatever chakra she could spare down to her feet and pushed to go even faster, causing her muscles to scream in protest. She ignored the burn of the beginnings of chakra overuse and too much pressure on her lower limbs in favor of survival. Already she had hit the forestry areas that made up the outer edges of her beloved home and subsequently the wooded areas she'd grown up playing and training in. It was by no means the home stretch; she still had at least a couple hundred kilometers to go before she even reached the outskirts of Konoha itself. However it made her heart swell a bit and lent energy borne of happiness to her limbs.

It took no time at all to find some of the hidden trails that she had discovered in earlier years, ones that would give her a second here and there without taking one to use it. She didn't hesitate to use the network of trees and ditches that had worked so well in her favor over the years. They wouldn't help her nearly so well this time; Itachi and Kisame may have been one of the more destructive teams of Akatsuki, but she knew first hand they were no slouches at tracking and infiltration. Which meant that she had to make the few seconds she would gain from this count, and she had to keep finding and exploiting any advantage she could.

Otherwise she wouldn't be getting out of this alive.

As the meters of ground she gained grew at one of the fastest rates she'd ever run, the burn in her lungs and the aching protests in her muscles began to fade. The rest of her adrenaline had kicked in, and she was past the point of pain, and settled solidly into numbness. That was fine by her; the less she had to think about, the more she could focus on getting home.

And then the worst possible thing happened. She ran right towards a cliff.

If she backtracked, then she would run into her captors, but there was no land on the other side of the cliff, no chasm to cross. Panic flooded her, and for the first time since escaping the room, she looked back with wide green eyes and a racing heart. She couldn't see them, couldn't sense them. But she knew that for every second she stalled, they were just that much closer to catching her. She had two choices: follow the cliff face, which would take too much time, even if she wasn't already wasting more than she really had right now, or…

She could jump over the edge.

It was an idiotic idea; she knew that, and it was more than a lot risky. She had pretty much no chance of living through it, and if she did manage to survive the fall, she would sustain permanent damage. But it wasn't like the other option was any better; in fact it was worse. If Itachi and Kisame caught her, she was dead for sure, but not before they made her suffer for deliberately disobeying them.

She hesitated the barest of moments, had glanced back once more to gage how far away her pursuers were and realized they were finally within sensing range of her. She made a choice and jumped, so she was already in the air and falling faster every second by the time Itachi got to the edge.

A small smile, somewhere between triumphant and resigned to her most probable fate of death, curled her lips as she watched the deadly criminal's face. It stayed blank, but she saw the slightest flicker of anger in his crimson eyes before it was gone. And he did something she would not have suspected in a million years. Her escape eluded her with a harsh finality because he'd jumped off right after her.

With a few choice words, she looked towards the ground and then back at the man who, even in midair, managed to figure out how to start closing the gap between them. He would catch her before either of them hit the ground, and knowing just how infallible this particular criminal had a tendency of being meant that her survival rate had just gone through the roof. At least the one that applied to surviving the fall. Afterwards, who knew what would happen. The reality was that whatever break she had gone for had just been swallowed whole into an abyss of hopelessness. Her out was gone, and she had almost no control over what would happen next.

She squeezed her eyes shut in frustrated anger just before strong, masculine hands grabbed her shoulders and she waited for the impact. There was the barest whisper of a breath against her ear, like he said something that she just could not hear, and then she blacks out from the force of the collision.

The first thing to register is the dull, unceasing ache in the back of her head, like she'd hit it on something hard. She groaned softly and tried to move out of her uncomfortable position, but her limbs were trapped and her body unable to move more than a few centimeters in any direction. Essentially, she was stuck.

Already she could feel the frustration creeping back in. But then she remembered why there was a dull ache in the back of her head, why she'd gotten stuck, and why she'd been frustrated beforehand. Green eyes snapped open, seeing at first only darkness before they adjusted. She'd landed at the bottom of the cliff moments before Itachi caught her, and that's where she was now, squished quite literally between a rock and a hard place.

Under her was the dark brown of the rock floor. Above her was the full dead-weight of the criminal she'd risked torture and death to get away from. She'd failed. She'd tried her hardest and she'd failed. Sakura tried to push that strain of thought away long enough to realize that a couple of her bones were broken and she was feeling more than a few bruises that had formed quite nicely on almost every surface of her body. But what caught most of her attention was the fact that it was hard to breath with 58 kilograms of unconscious shinobi pinning her down. Her initial reaction was to push him off and ignore the pain that radiated from the inflicted damage on her body in an effort to escape again, this time with better chances. The rocks piled half a dozen meters high and surrounding them completely make such an action nearly impossible to perform though, and she didn't have the strength to maneuver well enough to make it work.

Frustration turned into agitated upset as the urge to cry at the hopelessness of her situation hit her like a ton of bricks to the gut. What the hell had she done to deserve this? What the hell had she done to be in such a fucked up situation with no way out? Yes, she was a kunoichi. She knew that the things she did, even on orders, were wrong to the point of unjustifiable sometimes. But she also knew that she was a medic; she showed mercy, sometimes even at her own expense, and she did everything in her power to protect and serve her loved ones. Wasn't that enough of a balance that she didn't deserve to be trapped in such a cruel and hopeless cosmic joke?

Sakura took as deep a breath as she was capable of and tried to quiet her mind. Letting her emotions rule her reactions and senses in the presence of this particular man, even when unconscious, was a grave mistake, and she'd already lapsed for longer than she had any right to. Past the lumps and bruises–she'd already gotten used to the pain effectively enough to ignore it for the time being–she realized that the cloth covering her left leg was slowly but surely becoming drenched. But beyond dull, persistent pains, her leg was relatively unharmed; in fact her legs were only feeling the aftermath of being pushed so hard while she had run. Her back had taken the brunt of the fall. Superficial wounds meant at least a stinging sensation, and they didn't bleed that much.

It took her a split second to put two and two together. Itachi's right thigh was bleeding enough that even her clothing was soaking it up at a steady rate. He wasn't exsanguinating at a rate and amount that meant a severed femoral artery, but still one suggesting a deep gash that would become life threatening if not taken care of in the next twenty-four to forty-eight hours. If Itachi died whilst still holding her down at the bottom of such a steep cliff, then she would die of dehydration long before anyone found her.

Sakura didn't want to die. She had loved ones and a village to live for.

And the only way she wasn't going to die in this godforsaken place without a single hope was if Itachi didn't die while lying on top of her. She was going to have to suck up her moral sensibilities and her prejudices against the man who had taken her captive under threat of death and was using her as bait. She was going to have to staunch the bleeding and stabilize him enough so that when he woke, he could get them out of this perilous situation.

Her mouth settled into a grim line as her instincts and even logic kicked up at a fuss at not only helping the notorious criminal, but sticking around to wait for him to wake up. She shoved it back down with the rationale that if she wanted to live–and she did very much–then she had to help him and pray to whoever would listen and answer that she could get away from him before he punished her for escaping.

In the back of her mind, the small pessimistic voice in her reared its head long enough to inform her matter-of-factly that such a wish was silly and unrealistic. After all, she hadn't been catching very many breaks lately, and that didn't seem like it was going to stop any time soon.

Still, she forced herself to reach a hand down between them, probing blindly but carefully for the source of all the blood along Itachi's outer thigh. Tentative fingers stopped when they reached the beginnings of a tear in the pant leg, and a little further prodding revealed that there was indeed an inane amount of blood seeping out of the wound. The experienced medic didn't need her eyes to see what she was doing, but she sorely missed her usual first aid kit, made specifically for injuries like this one.

Biting back a sigh, she shifted under the weight of the unconscious man so that she was as comfortable and relaxed as possible. Between the throbbing in her head, the aching in her muscles, and the nearly dismal level of chakra circulating in her system, she would need all the concentration she could muster. Her left hand found the slight indent where Itachi's back dipped due to gravity and her own abdomen not being the straightest of surfaces and stayed there. And because of her shifting, Itachi's face had become nestled in the crook of her neck, which she tried not to notice. Concentrate, she reminded herself.

And then she set her fingers to the task of uncovering and cleaning and sterilizing the painful though not immediately deadly wound. She was working almost on autopilot despite her completely devoted attention to the task literally at hand. It took nearly three times as long as in normally would have to sew the ripped skin together and then to set the skin cells on their way to knitting under and around the stitches. She blamed the accumulation of everything that had happened since she set out for her mission not so long ago and the insufferable man she was currently wasting her energy on.

However, even as the vicious thoughts registered in her mind, her hand wandered as far down Itachi's thigh as her fingertips could touch before sliding back up between them. Clearly she was still in what her brothers liked to affectionately call 'medic-mode,' and her hand was searching for any other injures to attend to with precision and care as she was used to doing. Before her consciousness could kick in enough to get her to stop helping more than she absolutely had to, she felt the muscles under her left hand stretch and clench as the nuke-nin above her shuffled.

Itachi was waking up because she hadn't been able to stop herself from being a medic. She scowled at the notion because of course every time she was even a little bit selfless it bit her in the ass tenfold.

He continued to shift, his whole body moving as his injury-induced groggy mind began processing this situation at hyper speeds despite not even being fully conscious. And then Sakura felt his entire body tense as he stilled completely. Her right hand had stopped at some point between her realizing she'd woken him and him stiffening, resting firmly on the hard musculature of his pectorals while her left remained snuggly in its place on his lower back.

She stayed as still as she possibly could and fought the urge to squeeze her eyes shut in the hopes that it would make reality go away.

After a few long moments where neither of them moved so much as a muscle, not even to breathe, Itachi's lips parted against the sensitive flesh on her neck directly over her pulse-point. His breath fanned, hot and distracting, over her skin, and it made her hold her own breath much more consciously. He slowly lifted his face away from her body, using his hands where he'd placed them next to her elbows to leverage his body the rest of the distance needed for them to come face-to-face. Her hand fell away from his chest, landing limply and ignored beside her hip.

Green eyes stared back at him, willing herself not to back down, not reveal any emotions, and not to look away even for a split second. And she waited, waited for him to process the situation fully, waited for him to make the first move. All the while feeling like the lamb that'd wandered into the sleeping lion's den and chosen to lick his wounds better only to wake the ferocious creature in the process.

Some part of her, the one that exuded pride and strength, tried to get her attention long enough to remind her that she wasn't some weak or helpless lamb; she could fight. Maybe not effectively against this particular lion, but that did not make her prey. She normally would have given way to this headstrong and resilient approach, but she couldn't seem to muster enough courage to square her shoulders and openly challenge Itachi.

So she waited.

Observant sable eyes stared at her a moment longer, taking her in, before he leaned in close enough to breathe on her ear. "Foolish Kunoichi." And in a whirlwind of motion that should not have left her head spinning the way it did, he had his arms under and around her as he climbed to his feet and hoisted her with him. Suddenly she wasn't trapped under his weight anymore, but instead pinned with his weight against one of the rock walls surrounding them.

She blinked involuntarily to adjust properly to this new version of 'stuck between a rock and a hard place' and found herself staring into the crimson color of Itachi's Mangekyou Sharingan.

She was so screwed.

A sinister sort of smirk curled his lips that made her shiver under his intense gaze. He pushed her further into the rock structure to the point that her breasts were crushed between their chests, and the posterior side of her ribs and vertebrae protested the painful abuse they were forced to take on. He'd caught both of her wrists while changing from horizontal to vertical position and had pinned them above her head with one hand. He'd also gotten one of his thighs between hers without losing his control over the range of motion of her legs.

That little pessimistic voice clamored for attention again, reminding her that sometimes her hard earned strength and quick wits and unique talents meant absolutely nothing in the face of a predator who was better in every way and had recognized her as prey.

Itachi leaned in close again, this time until their noses almost touched. The expression on his face was not its default blandness, nor was it anger at her escaping or frustration at her suicide attempt. It was a mix of curious and triumphant, and predominately predatory. "You won't be getting away from me." He informed her in a tone expected of his expression. He tilted his head to the side slightly. "You gave up the right to even try."

Her breathing seemed to stop as her stuttering mind tried to connect what he had just said, tried to make sense of it and all its possible implications. He seemed content to wait for her to make the intended conclusions, his eyes gleaming the moment he saw the gears turning in her mind abruptly short-circuit and stop. Watching as her breath hitched in a gasp that wouldn't quite leave her throat when she finally put two and two together.

Her body went limp, and her brain seemed to break as she processed the conclusion she'd reached. Irrationally, she remembered the little bit of rationale she'd used to spark this particular result in the first place, and she hated herself for it.

What the hell kind of mess did she just get herself into?