Uhhhhhhh….yeah. Hi. I'm alive. It been a tough break for me but I'm back and feeling good. My inspiration has returned. Welcome it back with open arms. The treat of this chapter though is that it's the longest by far. About 20 pages. Unfortunately, this is the last installment of this story….or is it?...

I'm happy to say that I'm very proud of this story and where it ended up. I am especially happy with the amount of reviews and such that I received for this story. I hope you enjoy this, because this chapter is dedicated to all you avid readers. There may be one last installment of this story either showcasing Sakura's return back after all of the shenanigans or perhaps I have found the inspiration to write another character chapter. We shall see. Let me know your opinion on that.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Naruto or any other characters from the series.



'Inner Sakura'


"Why?" he asked simply.

"Because you did this to him," she replied quietly as she pressed her lips against his forehead and removed herself from his lap, walking towards the entrance of the VIP room. She turned back to face him as he slowly stood from the couch, eyes transfixed on her form. "It's up to you to fix him."

Itachi noticed the sincerity in her tone as he listened to her words. He knew it was true what she said about Sasuke, and he knew that he was the only one that could fix him, he just didn't know if he could.

As he reached her slightly shorter form he grasped a strand of her silky pink hair between his fingers as let his other hand grasp her chin, pulling it up so that their eyes could meet. "This doesn't change things, cherry blossom."

"I realize that," she replied as he moved towards the door and grasped the handle before looking back at her through dark lashes. "But it also does not mean I regret it."

Sakura smiled slightly at his words, "Of course."

Hypnotized was a word rarely used against Itachi Uchiha. In any normal instance, he would be the one to be hypnotizing. But this time, he was the one being hypnotized and Sakura Haruno was the one who remained in control.

This boy is bad

And honestly

He's a wolf in disguise

But I can't stop staring at those evil eyes

-Lady Gaga

Ch.8 Hidden Behind the Mask

As she shut the door behind Itachi, she sunk to the floor and leaned against the wood. Her fingers brushed back into her hair as she held onto her strands in frustration. She couldn't believe the story that she had just listened to and the fact that most of her former teammates' life was a lie. Sasuke was on a path that took him farther and farther away from the truth of his situation.

"But what the fuck am I supposed to do?" she muttered to herself as she let out a deep sigh and sunk her head between her knees. "What the fuck am I supposed to believe anymore? Basically the largest scandal and tragedy in the history of Konoha was all a setup!"

'We will have to worry about this shit later,' her inner persona informed her trying to snap her back into reality. 'Right now you need to worry about the fact that there is a cannibalistic plant as well as a man-child running around outside this room.'

"Fuck," she cursed again to herself as she leaned her head back against the door behind her. "I am not getting anywhere near that cannibal. If he's anything like these last freaks, I do not plan to leave with a chunk of flesh missing from my body. Hidan already took enough."

'Then it looks like you should go retrieve the man-child.'

The pinkette let out a frustrated groan as she combed through her pink tresses, pulling them up into a bun on the top of her head. She had to admit, being in a room seducing the infamous Itachi Uchiha could definitely heat you up. Sakura pulled herself off the floor and grabbed the doorknob separating her from the deadly criminals behind the door. Taking in a deep breath, she opened to door and all eyes were back on her.

She turned towards the plant man that was referred to as Zetsu and felt a shudder roll down the length of her spine. Looking through the group of men, she couldn't find the masked man with the childlike attitude.

"Let me make it clear to you that I will not be seducing a cannibal in fear of missing flesh and even possibly some important limbs. Is the man-child a requirement in this deal we have?" she questioned towards the group. Some of the men smirked while Deidara flat out started laughing at the truth behind her quip.

All of a sudden she felt someone coming towards her and before she could turn to face them she was pinned to the floor with a larger weight hovering over her. Her green eyes opened widely as she stared at the masked man now above her. "Tobi wants to play too!"

She couldn't describe the sudden nervousness that hit the pit of her stomach as she truly felt the aura of the man that was now on top of her. It was dark, for the portion that she could gather. The man putting on the front of a sweet and innocently stupid Akatsuki member was really something else; someone else. And she wasn't sure if she really wanted to take the dive into finding out the truth behind the mask.

Sakura sent a warning chakra through her energy channels and was collecting enough to turn him over when she felt a gloved finger caress the thudding pulse point in her inner wrist. The eerie feeling she had that he was staring into her soul with dangerous eyes while a sinister smile played across his features seemed plausible. She let out a low, almost inaudible growl and was about to let out a string of curses and cruel words when he suddenly removed himself from her form.

Still lying on the ground, she was now looking up at his form with his newly extended limb to assist her off the ground. He cocked his head to one side and she was sure he was still smiling wickedly under his face protection. "Is Sakura-chan ready to go with Tobi?"

She didn't like his tone; not one bit. There was another question hiding behind the innocence of the one he played out in the open to throw off the rest of his comrades. The question crossed her mind on whether or not his fellow members felt this same ominous aura surrounding the fake man that she did. Surely some of the most brilliant criminal minds in the world couldn't be dull enough to not realize anything suspicious. She decided she would save that thought for another time. Placing chakra into the tips of her nimble, but powerful fingers, she pushed herself off the floor letting her legs effortlessly place themselves on the ground once more, ignoring the man's outstretched limb. She disregarded him as she passed by his form and walked into the room, leaving the door ajar for the man to follow.

The dark feeling continued to swirl around her. She wanted to call off the whole thing and leave with the information she already had. Now it was too late. She heard the door shut behind her and she turned to find the clementine and black masked man standing in the doorway, blocking her only exit.

The kunoichi took in a breath to calm her raging nerves. Showing fear was a sign of weakness; something she couldn't show in the face of an enemy. She watched as the only male in the room took confident steps towards her until there were only a few feet between them. His tall form felt as though it was overtaking her even though he wasn't even touching her. His cloak hid the true features of his body, but with his obvious height and stature as an S-class missing ninja, his bark would have to match his bite.

Deciding she had to break the awkward ice somehow, she was most daring at her sense of humor. "So what would you like to do, Tobi? Color some pictures perhaps?"

He took another step forward and she clenched her jaw tightly as if it would anchor her to the floor. She swore she could simply feel the smirk radiating under his useless façade and she wondered if he would continue playing the useless role of an idiot child.

"Tobi does like to color," his voice began as he now stood only two feet from her. She could start to feel the increase in temperature from the closeness of another body. Normally this would be a comforting feeling, but with him so near, it was not. "But Tobi was thinking we could do something else."

Every fiber of her being was tell her to back away, over even run being the more extreme extent, but she knew that this man wouldn't let her leave; and if he did, she was sure he was up for a rigorous game of cat and mouse. She would star as the mouse, and he would be the hungry cat. But as the stubborn woman she was, Sakura continued to challenge the mistrustful man, "And what did you have in mind?"

"Tobi was thinking that he and Sakura-chan could play a game!"

Sakura hummed quietly in response. She didn't like where this was going. "I'm not really one for games, Tobi."

"Oh but Tobi loves games!" the male protested as she barely noticed the subtle change in his vocal tone. It became richer, deeper; more dangerous. One would hardly be able to tell unless they were searching for a difference. The masked man took another daring step towards her, putting him within touching distance before he spoke again, "Games are one of Tobi's most favorite things! Sakura-chan has to play a game with Tobi!"

"I don't have to do-"

"Oh, but Sakura-chan," his sinister voice cut her off as his hand moved as quick as lightening to grab her wrist, holding her in her place. She noticed the significant lower octave that he was now speaking in and it allowed a trail of chills to make their way down her spine. "Playing games was a part of your bargain, was it not?"

She definitely didn't like where this was going.

She attempted to pull back, already knowing it would prove useless. Her green eyes stared up into the singular black hole that was staring back at her from the mask. Knowing that the man staring back at her most likely held a look that was daring her to challenge him again, she blatantly took the bait.

"Speaking of games, when are you going to stop playing the one you started when you first opened your mouth?" Sakura tested as she felt her nails digging into the palm that was still held in the man's grasp. "You may be fooling the rest of your gang, but let's face it; they're idiots whose last concern is to worry about the true nature of their other members. I knew you were hiding something right after my first glimpse of you. Your childish third person act was just the icing on the cake in my suspicions. So are you going to continue to insult my intelligence, or can we get down to the truth of the predicament we're in?"

The last thing she expected him to do was let out a deep rumbling chuckle, but that's exactly what he did. The sign of amusement was felt through the air as she let the smooth noise ring through her ears. "You really are unimpeachable for a woman your age. I'm sure those old fools Homura and Koharu don't know the irreplaceable gem they have in their possession; someone also outside of a highly-ranked clan bloodline. I'm sure they fume at the fact."

"Flattery will get you nowhere just the same as your games," she retorted back quickly and emotionlessly. "Now tell me who you are."

His mouth made a tsking noise as he replied to her, "I don't believe it's fair to give that information freely. After all, we both know the rules that apply in this room as well as part of your agreement."

Suddenly he yanked her wrist forward so that she was now pressed up against his chest. His gloved clad hand moved to the side of her face and she felt the leather material caress her skin. "So if you want to receive any information from me, Sa-ku-ra, then you'll have to earn it like you have the rest of the information you've gained tonight."

'Bet you're wishing you never made this bet now, aren't you?' her inner persona quipped as she watched the scene unfold.

She mentally scolded her conscious as it was clearly her idea in the first place. Safely assuming that this man was more than he wanted to leave in the open, she knew finding out his identity would prove very useful from this situation. The kunoichi could also assume that he was more important than he would allow people to believe as well. Finding out his motive could be even more prominent to her cause of being in this situation in the first place.

Unlike some of the other Akatsuki members, she knew he wouldn't fall for her simple seduction tricks. Since she didn't know much about him in the first place, she couldn't use his likes against him like she could for Sasori or Hidan. She would have to think on her feet. A clever plan would have to be devised quickly if she hoped to successfully retrieve any useful information from this distrustful man.

Luckily, thinking on her feet was not something that Sakura had a problem with.

"I agreed to partake in this agreement with them because I knew who they were. Perhaps not everything about them, but at least their identities," Sakura spoke up stiffly as she did not care for the man's hold on her wrist and the fact that he was still stroking her face. "Since I have no idea who you are, I don't believe we are at the same fair advantages as your previous comrades who graced this room."

The mysterious man let out another low chuckle as his grasp traveled to her chin. "Do you really believe that fairness was what brought me to your presence, Sakura Haruno?"

Her teeth clenched and her fists tightened at the mention of her full name. This man was at quite the higher advantage than she initially expected. "If I assumed even for a second that you believed that what went on in this room would be judged by fairness, I would not have bother to step foot in here," he answered back slowly. "Something tells me that regardless of fairness, you still want to know who I am and are curious about the information I have to offer you; true identity be damned."

He was right and he knew it. And he knew that she knew it as well.

Sakura blatantly grimaced at the man before her and the sticky situation she had landed herself in this time. Knowing absolutely nothing about this man put her at an extreme disadvantage in this condition and she honestly had no idea how to proceed. She had high hopes that her talk of fairness would be enough to reveal something about who she was locked in a room with, but it had been in vain.

If only she had something that she could go off of-

'Wait just a hot second!' her innered piped in frantically seeking her attention. 'When you initially called him out on his cover, he named off two of the council members! Very few people know their names outside of Konoha! Is it possible that he was from Konoha?'

"Highly unlikely," she replied back to her inner person. "I am up to date on all of the missing ninjas from Konoha and they all blatantly wear their identities on their sleeves. Beside the point, he fits none of their characteristics."

'But he also made a comment about clans from Konoha,' Inner-Sakura added quickly. 'He made it clear from his tone that he has no love for Konoha, which most missing ninjas from their villages follow that line. He's pretty well informed on Konoha and he's making no move to hide that fact.'

Sakura had to admit that her inner persona made a valid point. It was as if he was making a point to give her just enough information to help her along. With her new found information, she wanted to test something. "As a kunoichi of Konoha, fairness if something we pride ourselves in."

She knew the dark laugh was coming before she felt it vibrate through his chest cavity. It seemed that her suspicions were proving to be true. "I never thought I'd hear the word fairness paired with Konoha again in my lifetime," his baritone voice spoke up as she felt the amusement as well spite in his tone. While his strong grip remained on her wrist, his other hand moved slowly down the line of her feminine jaw and held at the smooth column of her neck allowing himself to feel the delicate increase in her pulse. "Perhaps someday you will witness the dark secrets your village hides behind closed doors."

"From the sound of it, it was once your village too," she replied daringly as she gripped his offending limb now on the hollow of her neck. Applying the inner workings of her energy, she began adding pressure around his wrist. "But I think you were trying to make that obvious enough, weren't you?"

The masked man let out an amused sound in reply as he felt the discomfort entering the outer bones of his wrist. "And what would make you think that, love?"

She pursed her lips in distaste. "Let me make one thing very clear to you," her voice spat out with absolute bitterness as her grip immediately intensified to a point where the man before her felt the pain. "No matter what is said or what is done in this room, do not mistake me for anything but your enemy. I am not even remotely close to any type of affectionate pet name you have churning in your demented mind meant for me."

He remained silent, but she was confident there was either a smirk or amusement of some type playing behind his mask of swirled ginger and midnight. So she continued. "In regards to your question, you are playing a game; a game which cannot begin simply from nothing. So by giving away just enough information that someone with enough intelligence would be able to comprehend, you are giving me a starting point. Am I getting warmer?"

Humming in response to her allocations, he spoke up softly with an undertone of something Sakura couldn't quite pin. "All very true, my dear, but allow me to assume that you have reached the next step. Although you are extremely bright, there is something that has stumped you enough to not know how to continue with this situation; something that will not allow you to move to the next stage of our little game without something in return."

"So then you know what I want?" Sakura proposed.

"Of course I do, love. Reading you is much easier than you would believe," he replied back bring back her detested nickname. "But you should already know what I expect of you if you would like to advance to the next step of this game."

Knowing what that man before her was hinting towards, she tossed aside her grip on his wrist relinquishing the bone crushing hold. She held an arm out signaling towards the lustrous red couch that she seemed much too familiar with as she forced a small challenging smirk to her rosy lips although her inner workings only felt frustration and annoyance, "Then have a seat." Her tone felt forced and uninterested, but the masked man took no offense as he moved over towards the piece of furniture with ease.

He sat down with a grace that surprised the Konoha kunoichi as his muscled arms draped over the back of the blood colored chesterfield and one of his ankles came to rest upon his opposite knee in a more relaxed version of crossing his legs. His mask was parallel with her own face allowing her the assumption that he was assessing her from afar. She still couldn't shake the arrogance that radiated from the man and the persistent feeling that he was still allowing a smirk to play across his mysterious features. The urge to assault him only continued to swell.

Quietly taking in a breath, she saw fit to release it slowly as she moved towards the man waiting before her. He had placed himself strategically in the middle of the piece of furniture so that she would be forced up against either of his sides or directly in his lap. She refused to give him the satisfaction of what he already had mapped out. Taking slow steps towards his form, as she was within reach noticing his fingers give a slight twitch, she turned sharply and made her way behind him.

Trailing her index finger across one of his broad shoulders, she placed a hand at each junction of where his shoulder met his neck. The muscles rippled beneath her skin. She knew it was not what he had expected of her and that realization made her smirk. The hands she used to destroy and heal moved up his neck slowly, fluctuating her thumbs under his ears not hidden by his mask and back down to the front of his neck. Her delicate fingers danced across his jugular dangerously. It would be so simple to form a chakra scalpel at the tips of her fingers and slit the man's throat. Perhaps she didn't want to know his secrets after all.

"Even without looking at you, I know what you're thinking," 'Tobi's' voice spoke up suddenly almost startling Sakura enough to jump. "I will give you the opportunity to try, but if you fail you will understand that I don't take kindly to attempts on my life."

While it was common sense for an enemy to have thoughts such as this while their enemy had their hands wrapped around their throat in a compromising position, she felt that this man took it to the next level of extreme. It was as if he knew more about her than she knew about herself.

"Although I may be brash and confident with my skills, I know when not to pick a fight I can't win," Sakura retorted as she finally moved her hands away from his throat and down across his chest, leaning her chest partially on the back of the couch and his shoulders.

The vibrations of his amused laugh were felt through her fingers and up her arms allowing goose bumps to arise, "Clever girl."

"Clever enough to know that your façade is much more than meets the eye," she quipped back as she moved close enough to rest her chin on his shoulder with her lips now directed at his ear. "The way you carry yourself outside of the character you created is almost the exact opposite of how 'Tobi' is perceived to not only your fellow Akatsuki members, but your enemies. So it allows me to comfortably assume a few things."

He hummed in reply as her hot breath whispered against his ear and her nails drew patterns across his clothed chest. "And what are you proceeding to assume, my dear?"

"For starters, you speak with a sophistication that takes time and experience to perfect. Your dialect is that of someone mature, certainly older than myself by many years," her voice drawled out. "Am I on the right track?"

He remained silent and with no vocal disagreement, she continued.

"From what you have given away in the slightest of information, I can tell you are intelligent," her whisper was barely audible as her nose drug up the sensitive skin behind the cartilage of his ear. "That much is obvious."

"Such a flatterer, Sakura-chan," he complimented smoothly as one of his hands that was previously resting atop the couch moved to tangle in her pink locks. His fingers reached up to the band that was keeping her tresses away from her face and pulled it out, allowing her hair to cascade effortlessly around his slender fingers. "Enlighten me to why it is so obvious."

The move to place his hand in her hair was one to attempt to regain control after the misstep in planning her movements. She cursed at herself inwardly for allowing the movement. With a hold on her, he could easily move the situation in his favor.

'Fuck it. Let him. I'm down.'

'You do realize the man was posing as a child not too long ago, right?'

'That's the last thing on my mind. Let's talk about that voice. Hands down one of the sexiest voices I've ever heard.'

"Without saying too much, I know you know your fair share about Konoha. Besides the fact that you can name some of the esteemed elders of our village-"

A scoffing noise interrupted her at the mention of the elders. "We're considering lowlifes such as them esteemed now a days? Konoha really must be taking a turn for the worst-"

"Beside the point," she cut him off sharply, returning the favor. "You make it quite clear that you have no love for Konoha. None the less, your vernacular also gives away that you're a descendant from the very place you hate the most. And before you try and argue the fact that you have traveled abundantly, although you may have a detection of other accents, your tongue is most prominent in that of the speech picked up only in fire country."

She felt the man tangle his hand further in her hair and scrape across her scalp with just enough pressure to borderline pain. Attempting to ignore him, she moved her mouth back to his ear. "But above all, you are powerful to a point where you feel the need to mask your chakra," her voice was low and sultry against the sensitive skin of his ear. "And not only do you mask your chakra; you mask your appearance. Something very few shinobi do in fear of being recognized."

"You believe I fear something?" the Akatsuki member question as he grasped the pinkette's hair forcefully in order to turn her head towards his own.

"Everyone fears something," she replied quickly as she felt the hard material of the edge of his mask on her face, "Even you."

The man in question let out a sound of amusement, "And what do you believe that I fear, Sakura?"

With her face still forced in his direction with the uncomfortable solid material of his cover-up pressed against her skin, she dared to look into the lone hole in the mask. "Like I said, you fear recognition. You fear being seen for what you really are because you've covered it up for so long."

"What a naïve girl you truly are," his voice was dark and unamused like it had been previously. "You know nothing."

"Say what you will, but I'm not the one wearing the mask," Sakura added back quickly, successfully driving home her point. "Who I am is on parade for all to see."

"Perhaps I mask myself to save others from their own fears. Their fears of the truth," the man replied as she heard him release a short breath with the closeness of their features.

"You have no care for others or their fears," Sakura replied as she felt his grip tighten in her hair. "If anything, you feed off of their fear. You relish in it."

"Careful now, love," he warned as his tone grew deeper. "You're crossing delicate boundaries."

"If I would have concerned myself with crossing any delicate boundaries, I wouldn't have bothered coming in this room. Or didn't you have similar thoughts on fairness?" she tested.

He finally hummed in acceptance at her words as his free hand moved around to caress her cheek softly before he spoke again. "Perhaps you are more dangerous than I originally believed."

"Perhaps you'll learn not to underestimate me again," she responded, taking into account the praise she was provided.

"Perhaps not, Sakura Haruno," he whispered as his gloved fingers moved from caressing her face to the edge of his mask. "Perhaps not."

Pulling he most surprising act since he walked into the room with her, he removed the mask that was obscuring his face. Before she could use her sense of sight to look upon what had been hidden for so long, her sense of touch was activated by a tickling sensation running across her hands. Whatever it was cascaded over her hands and slightly down her right shoulder that was making contact with his upper back. Lips parted softly in surprise she noticed that his mask had not only hidden his appearance, but his hair as well.

His mane was dark and luxuries as they swept back to the middle of his back. The locks had a pleasant smell as well as texture and her inner self cracked a joke at her own expense at the thought of this fearful man lathering his hair. Suddenly realizing she had been neglecting the sole purpose of his mask removal, she moved her left hand that had been resting on his chest to his chin. Grasping it similarly to what he had done to her earlier, she turned the man's face towards her own. Sakura felt the relaxed release of his breath from his lips across her face as their noses almost touched.

His skin was in similar paleness to her own. His cheekbones were high, showing the masculinity and beauty of his face. His jawline was sharp and his lips were full with a contrasting thinness to them. His nose seemed to be in perfect proportion with the rest of his face. What had surprised her most at first glance was that he seemed to be much younger that she had originally guessed while making earlier inferences. There were few lines on his face, but she wouldn't consider them deep set wrinkles. They were signs of maturation that only seemed to heighten his natural masculine splendor.

It was a blow to her ego to allow herself to be relishing in his appearance the way that she had, but her curiosity had only increased over time as she spoke with the man. Who he was really came down to the looks that he took so many precautions to hide since he entered the bar that night. But she still wasn't satisfied. The portion of his manifestation that she had been most interested to see remained hidden behind his own eyelids. He had taken the leap, but still clung to the edge of the cliff for safety.

As if sensing her frustration with his continuous secrecy, he smirked. It looked as natural as breathing as the movement met his lips. It was exactly what she had pictured when they had spoken and she had visualized his smug expression; she was afraid to admit that it was much more precarious than she had originally expected.

He wished that he could see her expression at the moment. He wished to watch her take in the contours of his face and be struck by his beauty. He wished to watch her take in the victory he had so graciously given her after her intellectual observations of his character.

"Show them to me," she finally spoke up, her voice lower than she had intended. He felt the curiosity slowly killing her from the inside out.

"You are crossing a very dangerous line to open a very tightly sealed door, love. Are you sure you are ready to know the truth?" he questioned with his velvet tone as his smirk widened with his own words. "There is no going back once that door is opened."

Sakura couldn't fully comprehend the meaning behind his words. She knew she would be learning about something that perhaps even the rest of the Akatsuki wasn't aware of, but she wanted to know; needed to know. Her inquisitiveness had pushed her over the edge and the rational thoughts that normally entered her mind were silenced by the sheer curiosity of something that very few others truly knew about.

Her grasp remained on his chin as she stared at the closed lids. "Show me," she finally whispered.

Her simple request set off a chain of reactions that she had never expected when she entered this room. The man posing as Tobi allowed his eyes to open and Sakura was met with the color of blood. But it wasn't only the familiarity of the color of his irises. It was the familiarity of the black tomes that were held within the color of blood.

An initial reaction when she was faced with a power such as this was to snap her eyes shut and pull away, and that's precisely what she went to do. Her viridian eyes closed quickly to avoid the dark mind numbing power that the man's eyes held. She immediately released her grasp from the man's chin and used her animal like reflexes to pull back.

But he was quicker.

She felt a grip pull firmly on her wrist and she tried to pull further away, but the tightness of the restraint would not allow it. Before she could comprehend what was happening, her body was pulled effortlessly over the back of the piece of furniture she was using as a shield and into the lap of the man she was fleeing from.

Her body tensed as she felt one of his muscular legs trap her own legs underneath him. The hand that was not occupied now took hold of both of her small wrists while the other hand found its way to supporting her neck. Knowing that escape from his hold was futile, she reversed their roles and kept her eyes blocked from him view, just as he had been doing to her. She tried to crane her neck away from his form but the steel grip at the base of her neck prevented it.

She was trapped and at his mercy.

At the mercy of an Uchiha. An Uchiha, which she had no idea until this moment, was alive.

"Your curiosity will someday be your demise, Sakura-chan," his voice rumbled and she felt the responding vibrations through the nearness of his chest cavity. "Let me remind you; you are the one who asked for this."

"I asked for this thinking that the answer would be rational or plausible!" she protested as she continued her refusal of opening her eyes to the danger now evident before her. "What I have before me now is…is impossible!"

"Would you really deny what your eyes have just accepted?" his voice was softer, as if attempting to lull her into her own false sense of security; a tone that would convince her to open her eyes to blatant danger. But she wouldn't be fooled so easily.

"I accept nothing but the facts," she spoke these words and then her resolve began to falter as she remembered the story that Itachi had told her not much earlier. The logic behind her thoughts began to crumble before her.

"You only accept what you were blatantly told," he told her as the hand at the base of her neck rotated her head to face his own, her eyes still staying shut. "I know you are not as naïve as you would lead me to believe. You know there is more to your village than you will ever have the privilege to know."

"I don't need to know everything!" Sakura protested as she struggled harshly in his grip. "All I need to know is what to do to keep those I love and those of my village safe!"

The man let out a hum of disapproval at her response. "You plan to be ignorant to the truth around you because it's easier. Is that truly what the ninja way has become?"

Though this man was dark and no doubt evil to his core, his point was certainly valid.

"All of the Uchiha's are dead. All but Sasuke were killed by Itachi himself," Sakura spoke quietly as her eyes remained clenched before she continued. "That's what he told me."

The inner struggle within the pink haired woman was evident. He knew this. Everything she had been told was a lie, but that's just how he had intended it to be perceived. "Not even he knew of the secret kept from him at the time. He may still be ignorant to it, but he certainly is too difficult for his own good."

Sakura didn't know how to take the comment about Itachi, but she continued her silence. "The rest of the world also remains ignorant to it, but eventually all things come to light," he continued, his voice still holding its velvet texture. "As you insinuated earlier of my fears, I have none of being known for who I truly am; for someday everyone will know my identity."

The question ringing in her ears since she first took a dangerous glimpse of her companion's eyes kept playing over and over again in her head. She needed to know. The uncertainty burned like hot metal to her brain.

"Who are you?" she finally whispered.

"I am Madara. Madara Uchiha."

The words he spoke were enough to make her eyes shoot open. "Do you take me for a fucking imbecile? That's impossible! Madara Uchiha was around when Konoha was established. He's been long dead. You're fucking lying."

She didn't even realize that she had opened her eyes until she noticed the smirk forming across his features. Her emerald orbs met his own and she immediately shut them once more in fear of being pulled into a world of despair.

"It's truly charming; to think that your life revolves around the naïve idea of the plausible. Haven't you witnessed enough to know that what we think is impossible has the potential to be possible?" his insinuations struck her nerves as she felt his legs hold her down tighter as his grip on her wrists followed suit. "You are a perfect example of the impossible, Sakura Haruno. You defy the laws of nature by healing those who are welcomed to death's door with open arms. You of all people should believe in the extraordinary."

"You claiming to be who you are is not extraordinary; it's a travesty to the world as we know it."

His chuckle reverberated through the space they claimed. If this man was who he had claimed to be, she should really be watching her tone. He could kill her in an instant. "You flatter me with your words," he finally spoke up. "It is good to know that my name still has to ability to strike fear in the hearts of those who know it."

"Do not take your dominant behavior as fear from me."

"Oh?" he inquired. She knew he was smirking once again. "Aren't you afraid that I could snap your neck in an instance? Take a blade to your neck without any attention from yourself?"

"If you wanted to do that you would have done so already," Sakura told him as she felt one of his hands move to her neck and trail across her fluttering pulse point.

He hummed in response before continuing, "You insinuate this yet you shield your eyes from the dangers you know I possess. You're right. If I wanted to kill you, you'd be dead. And yet you're here, so what does that say about my intentions?"

Sakura scoffed in response as she still tried to gain distance from the man before her, "I wouldn't go calling them honorable ones in any terms."

"I would never allude to the fact that anything about me is honorable, especially my intentions towards getting you into this room. But you should have been well aware of that fact when you struck this deal with my subordinates."

"Having an S-class criminal that was suspected to be dead popping up in places he shouldn't be with a not so pleasant history with my village was not what I had in mind! Excuse me for being less than thrilled with my current predicament!" the leaf nin combated as she pulled at the restraints on her wrist harshly. "I still fail to see what you could possibly gain from this arrangement. What is it that you want from me?!"

There was a pause before he spoke again, letting his hand explore the smooth skin of her face. "It's not about what I want from you, but what you want from me."

"I want nothing from the likes of you."

"I beg to differ, love. For why else would you have agreed to be alone with me? You know that I have information. The type of information, you're not sure, but that's what makes this little game of ours so fun; the unexpected. You have the chance to gain information others could only dream of acquiring. All you have to do is play along." He spoke so simply that it could have been fooled for as sincerity, but Sakura was not satisfied.

"I feel that playing along will require more than what I'm willing to give. You don't strike me as a man that gives that kind of information away for the thrill of seeing a naked woman. You could see that from whomever you wanted and it wouldn't cost you your secrets," Sakura deduced plainly, drawing him into an honest answer. "What is it that you would gain?"

"Humor me, Sakura-chan, but what do you have to lose?" he retorted plainly. His words spoke true and the pink haired kunoichi took the next step in their game. Emerald boldly met the color of blood as she finally opened her eyes to face the beast.

"Was that really so bad, love?" Madara spoke up with a triumphant smile as his red eyes took in the vibrant color of her orbs and the weighing apprehension that shown through them.

"Like walking into a blatant trap," she answered simply as she felt her eyes strain to stay open when every instinct told her to close them off from the rest of the world. This man was dangerous, and regardless to hints or promises he made, he could still kill her in an instant.

He allowed another devlish smirk to grace his features. Sakura couldn't help but let her mind travel to the fact that the man before he claimed to be one of the creators of her village. A man long assumed dead, and now he was associated with one of the most feared criminal organizations in the entire world. Konoha was fucked.

"Ask your questions, love. I'm waiting," his voice spoke up breaking her from her questioning.

"Why hide for all of these years? If you are who you claim to be, you could have attacked Konoha long ago and quite possibly claimed what you intended. Why wait?" Her question was well process and certainly dug deep for a starter question, but she couldn't seem to wait and he knew that.

Madara knew that pushing her into the more provocative part of their endeavor after she just received enough bravery to keep her eyes open in front of him was unwise. He would give her this as a token of good faith. "Although Konoha may have been at its weakest, I was also at mine," he began. Sakura was mildly surprised that he would admit to any sort of weakness, but she also knew that he was a master manipulator. He would delve into any tactics to get what he wanted and she needed to be wary of that. "It was not wise to make a move to fulfil any of my intentions when I had not yet devised a plan suited to my tasks. Like taking a mission with a team unsuited for the charge at hand."

"So the Akatsuki is suited to the task then?" Sakura's question was quickly fired after his thought finished. He was aware of the interrogation tactic she was using, but it would not suit the game they were playing.

Initiating his reward, he moved their position so that Sakura slowly slid to straddle his lap. Both of her wrists were still in his grasp of one hand now between their chests as her eyes will still open to his. His unoccupied hand slid down the curve of her waist, under her top, and held firmly onto her skin. He allowed himself to move into her neck, his nose dipping up the curve of the pale column of skin breathing in her natural scent that he found intoxicating. "I'll allow you to delve into your own assumptions on that as I have my own."

Sakura said nothing in response to his way of dancing around her question. She knew that all of the members of the Akatsuki were his pawns, but for what she still hadn't placed. Noting that her hands were still in his grasp and he was still quite fixated on her neck, she spoke up. "I can't quite fill my end of the bargain if my hands are immobile."

She felt him release a puff of air against her neck that could have been taken as a form of amusement. His long black mane was beginning to tickle against her exposed skin. "I rather like it this way," his reply was slightly muffled by her own skin. She then felt his tongue drag its way up her neck as if testing her like a dinner dish. From the rumble like purr she felt through his chest, she assumed he approved. "Continue, pet."

She inwardly scowled at the pet name before she asked her next question. "What's the point of capturing all the tailed beasts?"

He pulled back slightly, but she felt his other hand move from her waist to the skin covering her ribs. She held her breath. "Power, of course."

The ninja pursed her lips in annoyance, "Quite the vague answer."

He let out another sound of amusement at the woman before him. "A vague answer for your vague question. Be more specific, love."

"In what way to you intend to use their power?"

The Uchiha enjoyed the slight annoyance that played across the pout of her lips. The fact that she was striking helped her cause, but she would need to be more daring to reap the benefits of what he offered her. Taking his intentions a step farther, he rocked his hips into her own. Her reaction was instantaneous. The color in her cheeks flushed pink as she bit slightly into her lower lip to hold in the shock and carnal feel he hand just shudder through her. No matter how much she would deny her attraction, he was versed enough to know it when it appeared.

"Why, Sakura-chan, I intend to use the power in any and every way I see fit, just as I am now." Her green eyes slightly widened at his answer and accusation in one sentence. She went to defend herself, but he silenced her with more dangerous words. "Though you may deny it externally due to your pride, I hold power over you that cannot be denied. In the case of power, I use it to my benefit. The tailed beasts hold power that can change the entire making of this world to my intentions, while I hold a power over you that is entirely different."

"Enlighten me," she growled out, not at all impressed by his words. The defiance in her voice only provoked him further sealing herself more into that fate he had planned for her.

The smirk that never departed his face seemed to grow wider at her challenge. "The power I hold over you changes your role in my game from a simple pawn to that of a Bishop. Like a game of chess, your role is utterly important to the rest of the board. You are not a simple servant piece. Your role has elevated to something much more prominent to my success."

Her patience with that man had worn quite thin at this moment and she put more strength in her struggle to free herself from him. "I refuse to be part of your vile game."

"Oh my dear Sakura-chan, as if you have a choice in the matter," he told her as his strong grip tightened completely around her, crushing her to his form. His other hand then moved to grip her neck with just enough force to warn her that he was serious. "Everyone has a role in my little game whether they like it or not. You should feel honored that your role has improved."

She didn't understand what he was saying anymore. She was just a simple ninja of Konoha and if this man was who he claimed to be, she had no idea how she could have warped into his plans in any way. What exactly was he expecting of her in this game that he was forcing the rest of the world to play with him?

"I am no one of importance to you, so I see no reason as to why I would be anything other than a pawn," her jaw was clenched as she spoke the words. She tried to speak negatively of herself in order to spark an answer from him.

"You're the spark that will start it all," he whispered lowly as the hand around her neck slowly moved down to travel briefly across her collar bone then dipping into the valley of her breasts, dragging the zipper of her vest down as he went. At this point, there was no point in her protests, so she remained silent as she looked into the eyes of the madman before her. Her zipper finally reached its end, but his hand continued. "Being the loyal kunoichi that I know you are, you will return to your village and inform your Hokage of all the information you received, more specifically who I am and my intentions. Your information will spark the beginning of the next great Shinobi war where your pathetic village will try and ward off the plan I have set into motion years before most of the people in Konoha were even born."

She felt her mouth fall open slightly as he spoke. He was proposing a war. A war almost 100 years in the making. A war against the most terrifying things that Madara could muster. A war that would put everything she held dear in danger.

She felt his vile touch move across her navel and to the band of her black shorts. "You will be the one to save your village, but you will doom them in the same moment. In the beginning, your information will seem priceless to the point that everyone will call you a hero for catching it just in time." His hand continued to move lower as his fingers danced over her inner thighs before travel up once again. "But the truth of the matter is, I'm only sharing my plan now because the fate of your village is inevitable. Death and destruction are all you can promise Konoha now."

"No," she whispered against the stark harshness and blatant honesty behind his words.

"Yes, love. Accept it now. Everyone you know and love will perish by my hand," his lips moved towards her ear as his hand reached its destination at her center. He felt her quick intake of breath and it thrilled him. "You will be the same, unless you wish otherwise."

He knew she had heard him, so he continued as his hand pressed more firmly against her. "Escalate your role in my game further, work for me and your fate shall change. What will you do with your life, pet? Throw it away or live it?"

Her words were caught in her throat, her heart was beating a mile a minute and her brain was on overdrive with the information she was still trying to process. The man was proposing the impossible. He was implying the things she feared most. He was insinuating the destruction of her entire world. Finally she found strength within her and moved chakra to all point of her body, roughly pushing herself away from him and to the wall on the other side of the room.

Her breathing was heavy as she placed a hand to her partially exposed chest as she remembered he had loosened her vest. He was talking pure madness. This had to be a dear. Unfortunately, she knew it wasn't. This man's intentions were clear, and they were serious.

"No," she finally whispered as she glanced up to make eye contact with him once again. She found him in the same position, the aura of amusement still not leaving his features. "I will not willingly play into your sick and twisted game."

He pushed himself off the furniture and sauntered towards her, his black hair waving around his head. "Regardless of your willingness to play, you are a vital part, as I said. Your consent is superfluous. You are not given a choice in my game. Your fate will end in the way I see fit."

"Get out," she demanded as she pointed to the door. "We're done here."

Instantaneously, he appeared in front of her and slammed her against the wall behind her. Each of his hands held one of her own as his body was pressed too familiarly against hers. "Careful, pet. Your part is vital, but the fact of your life in the end is still contentious."

"Then kill me now," she growled out as she tried to fight against him, only to have him press further into her. "You can certainly find another messenger for your death warrant. It just won't be as convenient for you."

She expected him to kill her after her request, but he simply smirked down from his head taller than herself. His mouth moved back down to her ear as he let out a brief chuckle before his last words. "Now where would be the fun in that, love? I've adored our time together. I look forward to seeing you once again, although it won't be under than same pretenses."

She felt a quick peck to the underside of her jaw before his presence vanished for good. Sakura sank to the floor as she stared at the empty room in front of her.

"Fuck," she cursed as her hands found their way into her pink tresses.

This mission certainly hadn't played out the way she had hoped it would.

Author's Note: Only took me, what? Three years? For that, I apologize. At one point I had just lost all inspiration for the story. But after all the constant reviews and PM's, I knew this story was important to not only myself but to you readers. For that, I thank you. Sometimes I just need to encouragement to know that what I'm doing is appreciated by someone. In this case many people. So thank you, thank you, thank you. Like I mentioned previously, I want to put out another chapter for this story. Perhaps Sakura's return, or maybe even a Pein chapter. At first I didn't think it would work, but I may be able to conjure it up if it's wanted. I think the idea of spinoff one-shots from this story would be fun too. Let me know your thoughts and your reviews are always appreciated.