A/N: Took a while, and still not quite satisfied with it. Still, I promised Ice I'd upload it tonight, so yeah. I'm pretty sure that there are past/present/future tense issues, and if you would be SO KIND to point them out, I would be thankful. (The 01, 02 stuff is me numbering the prompts I was given. Trying out a new style.)
They first met on Halloween. Most children would have taken one look at him and screamed bloody murder, but Sakura cheerfully rang the doorbell and beamed at him when he emerged with a bowl of candy. She was all made up with fuzzy bunny ears and a fluffy tail, and he could only wonder what happened to the princess trend that seemed to be the dominant costume for girls her age.
And somehow, she had ended up on his front door in the Uchiha compound.
…he didn't know of any relatives of his who sported pink hair. She must have been a passerby.
So what on earth was she doing in the compound? It was well known that only older jounin with their offspring would stop by – along with those who lived in the compound, of course – so what was she doing here? By the looks of it, she was alone, but she did not look perturbed at the least.
"Trick or Treat," she chirped out with a smile.
He dutifully handed out some sweets, his upbringing forcing him to oblige to her wordless command. Before she left, however, he questioned her.
"Where are your parents?" At the question, she merely shrugged her small shoulders.
"I don't know. I think they got lost." More like she got lost.
"Do you know your way home?"
She couldn't have been older then six. What was wrong with her?
"...it's late. Make sure you reach home safely."
"Awww! But I never get to stay up this late!" With good reason too, Itachi thought.
"Go home, little girl." She pouted and stood resolutely to her spot.
"But-but I still haven't filled my bag up with candy!"
He silently motioned for her to open her bag, and then proceeded to dump the rest of the bowl's contents into it. The amount added was sufficient enough to qualify as "full."
"Now, go home," he repeated.
"Thank you very much Mr. VeryNiceCandyGiver!"
…At least he could excuse himself from passing-out-candy responsibilities, seeing how the bowl was empty.
"…what are these circular piles of meat and bread?"
"It's called a hamburger, Sasuke-kun."
Itachi paused momentarily as he saw his younger brother sitting outside with his team. Apparently, their daily appearance at Ichiraku's had been diverted to a fast food joint that day.
He had just returned from a mission two hours ago, and was experiencing one of those rare days of freedom. Stress lines were already dominantly splayed across his face, the result of the heavy ANBU workload.
"Why is it called a hamburger if the insides are filled with beef?"
His eyes were once more drawn back to the rowdy group to his left. Hamburgers. He distinctively recalled his first experience consuming them. Having grown up in a prestigious clan, most of the meals were prepared by his mother by tradition, and so they had never eaten takeout. It was only when he was on a weeklong mission and they had run out of food that he learned the concept of ordering from a restaurant.
He disliked hamburgers. They were impossible to eat with chopsticks.
Sasuke's teammate, however (she had pink hair. Why did that seem familiar?) seemed to enjoy them immensely.
By the end of his spying, he had learned that her name was Sakura, and that she possessed a helpless infatuation with his brother.
"The Hokage is in the training field right now. Please deliver your message later."
"My message is urgent."
"She is not here at the time."
Itachi frowned behind his mask before disappearing in a wisp of smoke. When he reappeared, he found himself in the middle of a green field.
The former green field crumbled and cracked, and an ominous looking crack split the earth. He raised an eyebrow to find – with surprise – Sasuke's female teammate.
Had that little girl really destroyed the field in one move?
"Excellent work, Sakura. Come here and take a break." At his approach, Tsunade did not turn around, but he knew she was aware of his presence.
"Report, ANBU." He simply handed her a tightly sealed scroll. He was finishing the seals used to depart when she stopped him. "Stay for a bit, will you? I have someone to introduce." She motioned at her apprentice to come closer, and the rosette haired girl obliged.
"Haruno Sakura, this is the renowned Uchiha Itachi."
"Hokage-sama, I prefer anonymity," murmured Itachi. "Is it necessary for her to know my identity?" She ignored him.
"Uchiha Itachi, this is Haruno Sakura. Sakura is my apprentice, and she is progressing well through her studies. It is likely you two will meet again in the future."
"You're Sasuke's brother, right?"
They shook hands, and he left afterwards.
It would be interesting to note her unusual skills.
One month ago, she was made jounin. The next month led her to the unit of Uchiha Itachi. She had been assigned as their designated healer, despite the unit's rank of ANBU.
Halfway through the mission, they were attacked. The enemy was one they had never encountered before, one who sported bright violet wings. It was ugly and gnarled, but it struck with a feral ferocity, proving to be unpredictable. It looked suspiciously like one of Orochimaru's mutated creations. And before they knew it, the demon spawn had called upon its kinsmen to help disable their unit.
It was, for lack of words, a bloody and long battle. Uchiha Itachi had been brilliant in the field, single handedly taking out half of the enemy, only receiving a fraction of the team's injuries.
Soon afterwards, however, he collapsed. Sakura had thought it to be a case of chakra exhaustion until she probed deeper. There was something sinister in his blood, something that didn't belong.
The team was forced to retreat back to Konoha.
He awoke to sterile white walls and beeping monitors. Everywhere ached. Within minutes, a nurse came to check up on him. With a jolt, he realized that she was the medic assigned to his team earlier.
"Mmm?" She didn't spare him much of a glance, but continued to monitor his vitals.
"Remember those abominations we faced earlier? Well, one of them managed to nick you with their teeth, and turns out that they're also venomous." Her tone had an edge of distaste to it. "We already came up with an antidote earlier, so you don't have anything to worry about – just rest. Are you feeling any discomfort whatsoever?" When she didn't receive an answer, she gave him a wayward look of exasperation.
He stared back stonily. Sakura sighed. Uchihas: too prideful to admit any sort of discomfort, even if said admittance would benefit them.
"Any pain or numbness? I assure you, this is for assessment of the poison's properties. Please cooperate."
"…mild aching around the limbs." Her eyes widened at his newfound willingness to answer. Deciding not to question it, she scribbled down his remark.
"I will be personally checking in on you to make sure the antidote is effective, so expect periodic visits. Don't even try to squirrel out of bed rest –"she gave him a stern look. "I've had enough of those with your brother."
She left then, her footsteps leaving quiet imprints on the floor. Itachi eyed the door. Based on her fearless interaction with him, (along with that no nonsense demeanor) he concluded that disobeying her orders would not be wise. He had seen Haruno in action before, and he did not wish to be on the receiving side of her fist.
…she had proved to be a valuable asset after all.
06. cell phones
In the shinobi world, cell phones were absolutely useless. They were easy to track, connections could be easily disrupted, and they demanded consistent charging.
However, that did not stop it becoming a regularity among civilians. Having come from an ordinary family, Sakura had acquired the device over the years. She preferred to use it out of convenience, such as the occasion of catching up with friends.
Itachi, however, had been raised in a highly esteemed ninja clan, and therefore had never been exposed to the inner workings of such a contraption. But his reaction still had surprised her when the feudal lord flippantly told him to go "Ring up my friend Diablo, will you?"
Itachi had given the lord a slightly blank look when he was handed the cell phone. But being the prideful ANBU he was, he slinked away into the shadows, toward his teammates. He cleared his throat in order to announce his presence.
"…Are any of you familiar with this civilian communication device?"
Sakura resisted the urge to fall over laughing at the term. But knowing Itachi wouldn't take kindly to it; she stifled it under her mask and held out her hand in order to receive the phone.
"You know, Itachi, it's rather novel that you're able to wield any kind of weapon with ease, but you can't even dial a number on a cell phone."
The unit snickered, but Itachi glared at them, promptly shutting them up.
It's a situation of desperation when Sakura was forced to transform into a scroll look-alike in order to fool their enemy. They were being chased, and the team had split up in an attempt to create a diversion.
Unfortunately, that left her, the one with perfect chakra control, to be the placebo. Screw ANBU missions. Neji was busy grappling with the nin in front of him, leaving Shisui to grab her and speed off in the opposite direction from Itachi. (Who held the real scroll in his pack.)
However, the enemy had been numerous, and Shisui was soon cornered through sheer numbers. And it was all because they were trying to retrieve her – the damn placebo scroll. So in a moment of sheer stupidity, he tossed her over to Itachi, who was the faster of the two.
It had a true test of trust when Sakura went flying through the air as a scroll, cursing in her mind that if the enemy managed to get their hands on her, she was going to be surrounded and damnit she wasn't a football, so stop throwing her like-
-and then she landed in Itachi's open hand, who promptly sped away with both Sakura and the real scroll. The majority of the rogue nin droped their fights with Shisui and burst in after them.
After the danger passed, she reverted back to her normal form, completely unaware that she was still in Itachi's hand. Her reappearance had been sudden and awkward as the icy Captain was suddenly bombarded with an armful of sweet smelling kunouichi. Sakura had been equally as shocked. She had dropped the transformation only to end up in Itachi's arms. Literally. She gave a little "eep" as she fell into him, her first thought being hey, he's actually quite warm… And then she realized what it looked like.
"Wha-wait wait I thought – dispelling – I can explain, I swear-" She leapt off of him as if he had suddenly caught fire, her face turning all sorts of shades of pink under her ANBU mask.
Itachi would have seemed to be completely unaffected were it not for the half smirk gracing his jaw.
Sakura had known Itachi for years. No, really, she's known him since she had known Sasuke, and that went all the way back to her academy days. But she hadn't really known him until she started undertaking more ANBU missions with his team. It was somewhere between the Captain-pays-for-meals and Make-sure-you-don't-rush-in-with-chakra-depletion concerns that she was able to discern that he still cared for his cellmates despite his ruthless and indifferent demeanor. Somewhat.
But still, that was in no way a warning for when she was facing an enemy and he freaking took the hit for her.
Admittedly, she hadn't been fast enough to avoid the attack, but that gave him no excuse to be a self sacrificing idiot and take the hit for her! What if it had been lethal?
So it wasn't surprising when she brought him back to camp and healed him, raining down curses all the while about how stupid he was, and that idiocy must run in the family, because she was sure Sasuke had done the same thing two years that she needed the protection, damnit.
And the bastard simply deadpaned in his unoriginal and incredibly infuriating way about how she needed to train more if she wanted to avert the same situation from happening. She smacked him and told him that she was the medic here, and if he didn't shut up it would be good to remember that he was completely under her mercy.
Still, she was secretly touched that he cared enough to take the blow for her.
Not that she was going to tell him that.
"HOLY MOTHER OF-"
"It's made out of Styrofoam, Sakura."
"I DON'T CARE, IT'S HUGE!" She paused for effect. "And it looks real!"
Sasuke's first date with his teammate ended in failure due to the fact that it was late October, and Halloween decorations were up. He decided that moment that they would never work out, seeing how she was absolutely terrified of a fake spider.
But Mikoto treated Sakura as practically family, and would be oh so disappointed if she learned that she wouldn't be gaining a certain pink-haired nin as a daughter in law. Sasuke was wise enough to realize his coming demise.
In all of her years being married, the Uchiha Matriatch had gotten her every wish and whim granted, courtesy of their very whipped – ahem, generous father. He had a rather concrete idea of the pain she would bring down on his head if he were to fail to bring Sakura into the Uchiha household. He scowled.
"Itachi. Get over here."
"…in order to keep our dear mother pacified, you are going to invite Sakura to the movies."
"What kind of ridiculous demand is this?"
"Father has spoiled her rotten!" Lowering his voice, he added, "Think about Mother's reaction if she doesn't get what she wants."
"…Mother wants me to date Sakura?"
"Your suite is not very convincing. You'll have to do better then that, foolish little brother."
"Look, Mother has been dropping hints."
"She adores Sakura. She wants her in the family. And you're gonna help."
"Why not pursue her yourself?"
"She's my freaking teammate."
"She is, on assignment, also mine."
"…I'll convince mother to buy more cabbage."
"…No attempts at bribery will cause me to waste time on such things a trivial as dating the opposite gender."
"So you wouldn't have a problem dating people of the same gender?"
"…I was just asking, okay?"
But beside himself, the idea had been rather tantalizing. A relationship with Sakura. A rather…intriguing concept.
She wouldn't have expected it. No, seriously. So when Itachi had gone up to her and bluntly told her to "Go out with me", he really should have expected her answer.
"Are you high or something?"
This was going to be more difficult then he anticipated.
"Oh come on, it's a carnival! Lighten up!"
"…I refuse to wade into a pool in order to catch goldfish."
"…You were the one who asked me out to begin with, anyway." Her eyes lit up in a sly smile. "After all, I suppose if it took you a whole two months-"
Defeated, he knelt by the pool with a small net. The next couple of mintues were spent in fruitless attempts to catch some fish. The hole in the net, unfortunately, only added to his troubles.
Despite this, though, at the end of their night, he not-so-subtly told her that he would be eating lunch at a certain sushi place tomorrow.
The next day, she joined him at the restaurant.
12. lost and found
"…you rescued it, so it's now your responsibility."
"It's not so bad, is it, Itachi-kun? She's quite fluffy and demure. She won't be much trouble."
"…I do not wish to keep a rabbit."
"Then give it to Sakura. She likes furry creatures, yes? Go. Actually, it should be your anniversary gift."
"…we've only been dating for one month."
They've fallen into a pattern, one that is busy, but they make it work, nevertheless. Itachi's ANBU missions are generally unpredictable and can last for a while, so Sakura times her shifts and Team 7 missions to align with his time away from Konoha. Of course, it isn't perfect – but it's alright. On the days he finishes early, he waits in the hospital for her shift to end. Sometimes she's held up by an emergency, and he's forced to sit there for some time before she finally emerges, sweat and blood streaked, exhausted.
It is those days that he accompanies her out of the building, stonily walking by her side. Once they're out of the nurse's views, however, he effortlessly picks her up and carries her home, much to her chagrin.
"I can walk home myself, damnit!"
Arguing with Itachi was like making Naruto speak with an indoor voice: virtually impossible. Plus, she was tired and achy and really, she could just deal with this in the morning, after she got some sleep. Mmm, sleep… Making herself comfortable, she sighs a little before curling up in his arms, head buried in his chest.
He brings her back home, and spends the rest of the night there, dozing with her in his arms.
Two months later, he has a vision that chills him to the bones. He sees himself dressed in his ANBU attire, but his eyes are red, and he's in the Uchiha district. Before he knows it, he's quickly made work out of his relative's corpses, and he's walking toward the newly built area of the compound – no, because somehow, subconsciously, he knows what awaits him at the other side of the door. He throws the wood off its hinges, and he steps through into an unfamiliar room – only to be faced with a sickening familiar face.
"What are you-"
He doesn't let her finish, instead cutting her down in a blurred motion. She doesn't have time to defend herself, but she couldn't have anyway – there is a defined, smooth lump where her stomach should be, and she weakly encircles her arms around her middle in a last-ditch attempt to protect herself. Her green chakra is circling out from her palm, and with a jolt he realizes that they're the exact same shade as her raw, betrayed eyes.
But his body acts against his will, and that cursed blade slices into her again, and part of him is screaming and screaming and No-
The blood seeps from under her, staining the hair he knows is pink.
She's awoken by something moving, and with some shock, she finds the source of it is her raven haired lover. Itachi never woke up unless there was danger-
"Sakura," he whispers almost desperately, and suddenly he's holding her, clutching her like a lifeline. His face is hidden in her shoulder, and she notices that he's trembling minutely, and terror rises up in her before she can stop it.
"I-Itachi…?" What was wrong? Nothing ever had upset the Uchiha, and out of the blue he was holding onto her like he was afraid she was going to disappear any moment.
He doesn't respond, instead taking deep, calming breaths of her scent. She was still here, he hadn't slaughtered his family, he hadn't lost her-
He steels himself, and slowly pulls away from her. She looks confused and concerned all at once, and he schools his expression into one masked by indifference. She isn't fooled, however. She gazes into his eyes and wraps her arms around his torso, and he barely lets out a shuddering breath. She comforts him the only way she can think of, stroking her fingers against his back in a soothing rhythm.
She was like the color white, pure and unstained and just her, without clan expectations or ruthless assassinations to color her dark.
He would never tell her how scared he was to lose her.
He is completely captivated by her, despite his efforts to conceal it. And amazingly, miraculously, she feels the same with him. It's not the first time he's thought about how lucky and undeserving he is to have her, but it is the first time he's done anything about it.
One day, in the middle of teethbrushing, he proposes. She stares at him with her mouth full of foam before literally pouncing on him and kissing him senseless. Of course, they have to pull away within the first couple seconds due to the distasteful combination of toothpaste and shaving cream – Itachi this is all your fault you just had to – mmf!
Of course, its later that she remarks on how utterly unromantic it was, and how she has to throw away all her dreams of heartfelt declarations.
But other then that, she doesn't complain, and Mikoto has a field day when she finds out.
17. the star
She is the star in his life, one of the only indulgences he allowed himself to enjoy. His hand rests on her swollen belly, and part of his in silent awe of how just beneath the skin, there's something that's half him and half her.
It's peaceful, for once in his life, and he decides that he likes it this way, without any clan pressures or bloody bodies to weigh them down.
-and the night sky.
Soyeah, review, tell me what you think. :).