Sakura's eyes widened, and she froze in place, stiffening in Itachi's grasp. "W-what did you just say?" she finally managed to say, her mouth going dry.

Itachi could feel his blood pumping in his ears, and he wet his lips with his tongue, shakily trying to regain his breath.

"I have feelings for you," he said, not removing his eyes from hers.

"What did you say?" Sakura said again, her voice catching.

Itachi sighed. "I highly doubt you need me to repeat myself once more, Sakura-"

"I know what you said!" she snapped, her face flushing either in embarrassment or in anger. She was so flustered, and Itachi thought it was so cute. However, he knew that he was in a similar state himself, so he shouldn't be thinking such things.

Sakura's head was whirling with thoughts, and she could not comprehend what had just come out of Itachi's mouth. She didn't understand. Someone like her? He couldn't possibly- Sakura violenty shook her head. She didn't even know what she was going to say until it slipped out.

"You're crazy." After blurting out her words, she immediately covered her mouth with her hands. She did not what she had meant to say, but it certainly was not that. Itachi wasn't even shocked; he just exhaled lowly and scratched the back of his neck. Sakura had to fix her choice of language. "I mean, there's no way you could like me. You haven't made a move on me."

"I figured you would say something along those lines. After all, I was not trying to make my affections obvious." Itachi pinched the bridge of his nose, eyes squeezed shut. "However, believe me. I do have very strong feelings for you, Sakura." He paused. "I have for a while."

Inside, Sakura was curious as to how long he had felt that way, but she reminded herself that he didn't really like her. Sakura whispered, "No." She backed away from him. "I-Itachi, you're confused." She waved her hand at him. "And even if you did like me, which I'm not saying that you do, you couldn't possibly want someone like…me."

Itachi narrowed his eyes at her in confusion. "Someone like you?"

"I'd ask so much of you! I mean, just think of what happened with Sasuke. I-I-I don't want to be a little housewife. Y-You're going to be the next Uchiha patriarch. I-I can't do that for you, I'd ask too much of you!"

"Sakura, I'm not asking you to do any of that," Itachi stopped her, grabbing her shoulders. "Okay, listen, those things don't matter to me, all right?" Sakura's lower lip jutted out, and she averted her eyes. Itachi breathed in deeply. He couldn't remember the last time he had felt so nervous. "Sakura, I'll ask you once, and only once, and after this, we can forget this ever happened." He could feel her trembling underneath his hands, but he didn't trust her not to run if he let her go. "Sakura, will you be with me?"

Sakura felt as if she might faint. The only thing keeping her standing was Itachi holding her up. She opened her mouth and closed it uselessly, unable to make her voice work. Itachi waited with bated breath, feeling sweat form on his brow.

Sakura wanted him to hold her longer, wanted to smell him longer, but…she couldn't do this to him. This was the same thing with Sasuke all over again. She couldn't even tell if she had feelings toward Itachi or not, but she could not ruin his life and expectations.

"Itachi, I can't. You're confused. I'd ask too much out of you."

Sakura could feel her heart breaking in pieces as she said it, but she knew it had to be said. She had to protect Itachi.

Itachi felt his stomach drop, but he nodded. "I understand."

"I'm sorry," Sakura apologized, her voice cracking. He rubbed her back.

"It's okay, Sakura. You didn't do anything wrong."

Sakura nodded quickly, pursing her lips. "Itachi, thank you. You're a good friend."

His lips quirked up. "Hardly."

Oh god, he was smiling at her. Sakura couldn't take this. She felt the tears stinging at her eyes. "I-I have to go!" She ran off, leaving Itachi standing by himself in front of the bar.

He sighed and chuckled sadly. "That hurt far more than expected."

Sakura, despite being back for such a short time, called off of work so she could sleep in. Tama and Pablo had ended up curling up next to her. Even Omoni had slept on her pillow next to her, purring loudly. Her hair was messy and unkempt, and she felt her makeup crusting at the corners of her eyes.

"Gross," she croaked, burying herself in her covers. When Pablo yelped, she was reminded that she still had Itachi's dog. She'd have to return him eventually. She would have to face Itachi.

She groaned, covering her face with her hands. She turned to Omoni. "Why am I such a coward?" He meowed lowly in response, judging her. She narrowed her eyes at him. "Don't judge me."

She moaned, grabbing for the phone. She needed Ino. Hopefully, she had a shift off in a few days.

Itachi headed out for a mission with Shisui. This time, it wasn't a mission full of danger or anything. Which was odd to say the least, since Tsunade was a giant fan of making him risk his life. It had been simple surveillance. He laughed mirthlessly, causing Shisui to shoot a stare at him. Perhaps the hokage knew of everything: how her student had broken his heart, though he was not bitter. It was her choice, and he had to accept it.

He eyed Shisui out of the corner of his eye. The news of Saobi would surely be taxing him.

This was all just too much for Itachi right now. He was reminded of everything in the past.

Little did he know, Saobi was doing the same thing.

He was about to confer with Tobi about the plans to invade Konoha. He had to make sure everything went according to plan. However, he knew that soon Haruna would be informed of everything he had done, and oh…he just missed her.

"Saobi, you really suck," Haruna laughed, falling on her ass after witnessing Saobi fail yet another jutsu. Even though Itachi was friends with Haruna, he felt jealousy after seeing Haruna pay so much attention to their teammate. However, it was no matter. He would be getting a new team soon as he was promoted to Chuunin last week.

"Itachi, what do you think Saobi thinks of me?" Haruna asked, a blush coloring her face. They were thirteen, and Saobi was sixteen. Itachi felt that same jealousy coursing through him, although he was sure it'd pass.

"He thinks you're a teammate? You guys have been on the same team for years now."

Haruna looked depressed. "Y-yeah, I guess. It's not like he would like me or anything…"

Haruna was fifteen, and Saobi was eighteen. They had just come back after a rather dangerous mission where Haruna had to save Saobi's ass again. She had passed out of chakra exhaustion, and somebody was carrying her in his arms. Haruna eyelashes fluttered open, and she blushed when she saw that it was Saobi carrying her. She struggled in his arms, and Saobi growled.

"Stay still!" he hissed.

"I don't need you to carry me!" she cried out, pushing against his chest.

He stuttered, "J-just let me hold you!"

Haruna couldn't take it anymore. She just pressed her lips to his clumsily. In his shock, he gasped, and his knees gave out, causing the girl to fall on top of him. "H-Haruna,, this is-"

"Just shut up and kiss me!"

Itachi could not believe the news. Saobi had drowned on his last mission. Saobi had been rather weak, but he had never imagined… Haruna was heartbroken.

Sasuke walked, feeling his anger overwhelm him. This was just too much. There were so many things he could not do now because of the stupid seal. He was limited to worthless, third rate missions, and he could not go to any clan meetings.

His whole life had been turned upside down ever since his little mistake. It was all that woman's fault. She had seduced him mercilessly, gotten him to sleep with her.

He saw that flash of white hair, and he dashed to her. "Hey, you!" He grabbed her arm forcefully, and she hissed at him.

As he turned her around, he noticed the tiny bump on her stomach. It took him a moment to process the information, but he realized it eventually.

"You're pregnant!" he whispered, reaching for her stomach. She slapped his hand.

"Don't touch me."

He grabbed her face. "It's mine, isn't it?"

She looked at him with a blank expression before bursting out laughing. "No, no, it's not."

"What? It's about the correct timing."

"Trust me, it's not." She began walking away.

"It's mine!"


Ino's jaw dropped. "Itachi confessed to you?" Pablo sniffed her ass, and Ino giggled. "Stop it, you're too young for me."

Sakura nodded, roughly petting Omoni who meowed in annoyance.

Ino waved her hands around. "What did you say?" Sakura was silent, biting her lip. "Spill, girl!"

"I said no, okay?" Sakura bit out, slamming her hand on the floor. "I can't do this to him!"

Ino blinked. "Do what?"

Sakura sniffed. "It's the same situation with Sasuke all over again. I will be expected to give up all my duties to become a full time housewife, and I can't do it. He said it didn't matter, but I can't ask so much of him. It's selfish."

Ino looked at her with curious eyes. "Wait, girl, what brought this confession on?"

Sakura told her about Natsuki, and how she saw the two of them kissing in the bar. "I ran away, and he saw me. He chased after me."

Ino stopped her, covering her mouth forcefully. Indignant, Sakura bit her lightly, and Ino smacked her across the top of her head.

"Ow! What was that for?" Sakura exclaimed, nursing her bump.

"You are so dense!" Ino huffed, poking her in the chest. "So, so dense! I don't know how you haven't realized it yet!"

Sakura frowned. "Realized what?"

Ino rolled her eyes and groaned loudly. "Sakura, you. Like. Him!"

Sakura gritted her teeth. "No way, Ino! That's impossible; I'm not that stupid."

Ino huffed impatiently. "How is this stupid? Love isn't stupid."

Sakura could not believe her ears. Why was Ino so insistent on being this way? There was no way. "I'm no stupid enough to fall for another arrogant Uchiha. Not another one…"

Ino's eyes softened. This poor girl did not know how to deal with her feelings. She was so afraid of getting hurt again that she couldn't even admit that she was in love. "Sakura, it's not a shameful thing to be in love."

"I'm not in love, okay!" Sakura choked out, squeezing Omoni so hard he bit her in anger. "I can't be. Even if I was, it would not be fair to do this to him. I know he said it didn't matter, but still, it's not-"

Ino covered Sakura's mouth abruptly. "Wait, what? I feel like I'm missing a crucial part of the conversation here."

"It's just about me not being able to be the ideal Uchiha wife, y'know," Sakura sniffed, rubbing at her eyes. "And he said he didn't care about that, and I just-"

"Whoa, hold on, Sakura!" Ino blurted out, holding her hands out in front of her. "He literally said he did not care! What are you getting so worked up for?"

Sakura's lips twisted into a grimace. "What if they shun him or treat him badly? I don't want him to be unhappy!"

Ino scoffed. "You think he'll be happy with this other bitch, his fiancée?" Ino slapped her harshly on the shoulder, and Sakura's brow furrowed. "Sakura, grow up! Not everything is always going to end up in drama or heartbreak. He said he's okay with it, don't you trust him?"

Sakura had tears threatening to overflow by now. "I do, but he can't possibly like me, someone like me…"

Ino pursed her lips and cupped Sakura's face. "You need to think, Sakura. Think real hard. Hell, you probably don't even have to think that much, just don't make excuses, okay?"

Sakura was still, and Ino groaned. "Honey, get over yourself. Just think about it, okay? Now let's go get some dinner."

Sasuke saw the white haired woman again the next day. She was sweeping outside the pottery shop, and once again, he sighed at the bulge in her stomach. Yet again, he aggressively grabbed her arm, and she hit him across the head with a broomstick.

"What do you want?" she asked flatly, continuing her work.

"Why won't you admit that the baby is mine?" Sasuke demanded, stepping in her way.

The woman's shoulders slumped, and she let out a long groan. "Leave me alone, Sasuke."

"I'll take responsibility," he reasoned with her. "I'll take care of you and the baby. Marry me."

The woman's eyes widened. "You know I was a member of Yagura's army, right?"

Sasuke shook his head. "It doesn't matter to me." Forcing a smile, he said, "I'm sure we can learn to love each other eventually."

"Go away, Sasuke. It's not yours."

"You take responsibility and marry me!" he called out, but the woman was done listening.

Rudy was being very compliant that day. Even Mei and Chojuro were conversing civilly with him. Tsunade rolled her eyes at Shizune who was staring dreamily at the prisoner. However, Tsunade couldn't blame her. He was extremely handsome. And his body…

"Tsunade, focus," Jiraya reminded her.

"Right," she clipped, straightening her papers. "Rudy, this information we're asking of is crucial. Please tell us everything you know."

Rudy snorted. "You wouldn't believe me. It's crazy talk."

Mei began to get angry, a bitter smile etched onto her face. Chojuro seemed as if he might pass out. "Listen up, you-"

"Excuse me!" a guard came in, trying to appear composed in front of so many important people.

"What do you want?" Mei snarled.

"The prisoner has a guest," he stammered out. "I mean, a visitor." Tsunade raised an eyebrow at him, questioning why he thought it was so important that he had to interrupt an interrogation session. "I-it's the white-haired woman, your majesty. I mean, Hokage-sama."

Tsunade's eyes widened. "Let her in."

Mei gasped. "But-"

"I said, let her in." Tsunade dared Mei to challenge her, just by casting an icy glare her way. Mei frowned, but she backed down.

Mei was visibly restraining herself as Jin walked in, and Chojuro was biting his nails, not sure if he had to restrain his leader or not. Jin spared both of them a glance, a hint of guilt in her eyes. She turned to Jiraya. "Could I just- just have a moment alone with him? It won't take long."

Mei growled. "Why, so you can break him out and-"

"Permission granted," Tsunade stated, standing up from her chair. "We'll be right outside. No funny business. Five minutes."

The woman nodded, and this time, Chojuro did have to drag Mei away from the scene.

Five minutes later, the group reentered the room. Rudy was visibly upset, but he had a fiery determination burning in his eyes.

He breathed deeply. "I'll tell you the identity of Tobi."

Sakura felt his breath tickling her neck. She felt herself heating up all over, and a chill travelled up her spine. A pleased sigh escaped her lips, and she leaned into the warmth behind her. "Wouldn't it be nice if we could be like this forever?" a low voice murmured behind her, lips brushing over her ear. Warmth bloomed in Sakura's chest, and she nuzzled her nose into the man's shoulder.

"Don't get your hopes up," she giggled, playing with the little hairs on the back of the man's neck. He jerked and stifled a chuckle. Sakura snorted and put her forehead against his. "I don't understand why that tickles you so much," she whispered, cupping his face with her hands.

He pressed his lips to her forehead. "I honestly have no idea." He smirked. "Whatever, you like it."

Sakura gave him a sly smile. "Maybe."

The man gave her a lingering kiss on the lips. "You're irritating." He pressed his lips to her again, and Sakura whined as he pulled away. "Patience," he murmured against her collarbone. He gave her a playful nip on her shoulder.

"You're a jerk," she pouted. He grinned at her. He started kissing his way down her body, her chest to her belly to her hip…

"Oh, god, Itachi…"

Sakura awoke with a start, flushed and gasping for breath. Omoni, who had been sleeping on her stomach, screeched and jump offed her with his claws out and ready to go. Pablo started yapping in fright while Tama only bothered to spare Sakura a glance.

Sakura licked the perspiration off her upper lip, trying to regain her breath. Her long hair was matted to her face and neck, and she sighed. She felt warmth between her thighs, and she couldn't believe that she had such a real reaction to such a ridiculous dream such as that. Rubbing her eyes, she cursed Itachi for messing with her head.

"Your daddy is an idiot, you know that?" she informed Pablo, who merely cocked his head to the side in confusion. Sakura exhaled deeply.

The truth was, she really liked that dream.

Sakura finally had the energy to go back to work, and she was surprised at how little Itachi came to mind. Ino tried to bring it up every time they crossed paths, but Sakura just brushed it off. She hadn't realized how much she had missed work since training. It was nice to be back in the grind, actually helping people. She also had missed Daru's cute ass, but that was a secret.

Oddly enough, Tsunade had decided to drop in that day and was running some rounds herself. All of the children who were hauled into the room with her came out looking as if they'd seen a monster. Maybe her bedside manners weren't as great as they had been years ago.

After hours, Tsunade walked in with a woman with white hair. Sakura took in a breath. "I had you as a patient before, um, Jin-san, was it?"

Tsunade clapped the woman's back, a scowl etched on to Jin's face. "That's right. Sakura, we need you to do a chakra paternity test." She paused. "Also, this is confidential. Don't tell anyone." She grabbed out a plastic baggy with some strands of blond hair in it. "Check for this guy." She pulled out another bag of hair, black. "If it's not the first, check the second."

Jin sighed. "I'm telling you it's not Sasuke."

Tsunade frowned. "We're checking just in case."

Sakura was getting more and more confused the more they talked. "Wait, what's this about?"

Tsunade shook her head. "I'm leaving this to the two of you." She abruptly left the two women alone, shoving Jin's file into Sakura's hands.

Sakura opened and closed her mouth like fish, trying to say something to her teacher. She stomped her foot. "Forget it! You're infuriating, Shishou!" She looked back to Jin who had an eyebrow raised. "Come with me please."

Inside the testing room, Sakura asked for Jin to remove her shirt, and Sakura could see a little bump growing on what would have been a very hard stomach. "Has everything been going well? The fetus is doing okay?"

Jin nodded. "I've been good, doctor."

Sakura laughed and licked her lips nervously. "So what was this talk of Sasuke? They…Shishou thinks that he might be the father?"

Jin nodded. "I was the one who stole the scroll."

Sakura narrowed her eyes at the woman. "I see." She examined the feel of the chakra that the blond hair emitted, memorizing it. She recognized it as Rudy's. Putting her hand to the woman's stomach, she grimaced. This was the woman who had easily stolen a classified scroll. By sleeping with Sasuke, nonetheless. It was impressive, in a horrifying way. "Sorry, my hands are cold."

"Hardly," the woman scoffed. "You don't have to worry, by the way. The baby really isn't Sasuke's."

Sakura coughed out a laugh. "How can you be so sure? It is the right timing."

The woman smiled from beneath hooded eyes. "That's because I never slept with him." Sakura froze. The woman continued. "He was so drunk he passed out when we got to the room. After that it was easy pickings. That guy was way off his rocker that night." She looked at Sakura. "He mentioned you a lot. Cried in his sleep about you. Are you his girlfriend?"

"Was," Sakura clarified, feeling her chakra near the uterus. "Obviously didn't work out and believe me, I see that it was a blessing now that it didn't."

The woman snorted. "Rudy said you were funny."

"Well, you're in luck. Because he's the father."

When the woman left, Sakura sat in her swivel chair and burst out laughing. This was just too funny. Sasuke had really been had by this woman. It shouldn't have been so funny since she was technically the enemy but the extent to which Sasuke had been tricked was just too much. Sakura left the hospital feeling so good she decided to treat herself to some ice cream.

Sakura was greeted by three hungry animals the moment she stepped in the house. "Babies are hungry, huh?" Omoni was grouchy as fuck as usual, demanding that he be fed right away. She sighed. After putting down the two meals for the cats, she called Pablo to her. She took his little paw in her hand and examined it. It seemed as if it had healed up completely already, and he would be ready to go home. She pursed her lips as she fed the now healthy dog. That meant she would have to see Itachi.

The very thought of it made her sick to her stomach. She was so anxious about it she thought she might upchuck the next time she saw him. At the same time, she really wanted to see him. Moaning, she curled her arms around herself. Now that she wasn't busy at work, the images of the dream came rushing back to her. The way the dream Itachi's mouth had felt on her…her…

"No, Sakura, stop it!" she hissed, pulling at her scalp. "This is crazy, this is crazy." She shuddered. "I do not have a crush on him!" she shrieked at the cats, causing Tama to yowl dangerously. "I can't have one on him." She looked to Pablo. "Right? I couldn't have a crush on your daddy. Your stupid, asshole, clean-freak, handsome, kind, caring daddy…" She stopped, her lips trembling. "Oh, god. Oh, god, Pablo. I do. I do like him." She turned to Pablo. "I should probably get you back to Itachi, huh?"

Words: 3869

sorry for the long wait!