Disclaimer: I held a gun to Kishimoto's head and he still refused to gift me ownership of Naruto. Stubborn man.

A/N: Sorry, you all. I know my reviewers weren't too happy about the current state of Sakura/Itachi's relationship and...Well...yeah.

I do feel a little clarification is required. I know my updates are sporadic right now. I'm doing my best. I seriously considered calling it quits but i figure you all would prefer random updates to no updates at all. That being said, I appreciate feedback of any form. Love/hate. It's all cool. But understand that I'm a reader as well as a writer. I follow fanfiction on this site as well. I understand your pain. However. I also understand that the author has no obligation to gift me my desired update when i want it, in the way i want it. Every chapter is updated as my best at the time. I won't apologize if that's not enough.

Hugs and Kisses!

She sat there for what seemed like hours, staring in the direction he'd left. He must hate her, to ignore her like that. To not even speak a word.

When Mikoto approached, she hardly noticed.

She jumped when his mother's hand touched her shoulder. Sakura looked up feeling haunted and rejected.

"Did you speak to Itachi?" the older woman asked.

Sakura winced and shook her head glumly.

A frown shadowed the woman's face. "Is everything well?"

Miserably, she shook her head.

Mikoto sat down on the sunbed beside her. "May I ask what is wrong?"

Sakura didn't answer. She couldn't. How could she say to Itachi's mother that she'd insulted her son and doubted his honor? He didn't deserve that. Mikoto didn't deserve that. And Sakura fully deserved Itachi's anger.


Pasting a huge, transparently fake smile on her face, Sakura stood to her feet. "It's nothing, Mikoto. I'm just being silly." She gave a little laugh and brushed invisible dust off her pants. "Well, best be going. Lots to do."

Mikoto's frown deepened. "Sakura – "

"Please," Sakura insisted, smile slipping from her face. "I have a lot to do and refuse to intrude any longer. I'll just let myself out."

Standing to her feet, Mikoto nodded slowly. "Very well. But I insist on walking you out."

"That won't be necessary."

"It's my home and I insist."

"Then…thank you."

Mikoto tilted her head. "You're welcome." Then she led the way back into the mansion.

When they reached the front door, the woman pulled Sakura into a firm hug and whispered in her ear; "You can always talk to me, honey. No matter what happens."

Sakura cleared her throat against the lump forming there. "Thank you."

Mikoto opened the door and Sakura gave a little wave before stepping out.


Mikoto watched the girl walk down the driveway with slumped shoulders and a slow step. Sakura was heartbroken, that much was obvious. And somehow her son had something to do with it.

She clenched her fists at her side. And things had been going so well. She and Sasuke had a friendly wager going on how long it would take Itachi to propose to the pink-haired girl. Yes, she supposed they had to begin dating first. But blast it. She wanted grandchildren from her eldest already! The man was 26. He needed to settle down and she was so sure that Sakura was the one he would ultimately choose. He'd been fond of the girl all her life, after all.

And now something was wrong. Very wrong.

This was unacceptable.

And somebody was going to answer for it.

Whirling on her heel, Mikoto marched down the hall, stomped up the curving stairs and two minutes later, banged on her son's locked door.

"Just a minute," he called inside.

She wasn't interested in waiting. She banged harder.

She'd grab the spare key he didn't know about if she had to.

Seconds later, the door swung open and her irritated son stood in the threshold with a towel thrown around his waist and another drying his long hair. "What is it already…" his voice trailed away as he realized who he was speaking to. He cleared his throat. "Uh… mother?"

She crossed her arms. "Let me in."

Wariness overcame his expression. "I'm dressing."

She scowled. "I don't care."

"But –"

She swatted the back of her hand on his forehead. "Don't you 'but' me, young man. I don't care if you're naked as the day you were born. Move."

He stepped aside.

Mikoto strode into her son's room and yanked out the leather chair at his mahogany desk. "Sit."

The towel fell away from his hair.

His dark eyes flickered between her and the chair.

She took a dark breath.

He sat.

Satisfied, she began pacing the length of the room.

Her son sat very still with beads of water dripping down his chest from his damp hair. His gaze followed her agitated movements.

When she felt sufficiently calm enough to carry a conversation, Mikoto ground out; "What happened?"

"I don't know what –"

"Sakura, Itachi! Sakura."

He fell silent.

Silent was not acceptable.


"Mother…" he groaned. "Leave it alone."

Well. He didn't want to talk about it. Fine.

"Work," she said.

He turned his head away. Piercing black eyes looked ready to skewer the wall.

Nothing. "Her schooling," Mikoto said.

Not even a twitch.

"Her mother."


"Her father."

He rolled his eyes.

"Your father."

The look he shot her was a mix of indignation and disbelief.

Too much reaction. Definitely something there. But not quite it. Very well. "Sasuke."

Itachi ran a hand down his face.


A muscle in his throat twitched.

Bingo. Mikoto folded her arms across her chest. "So? What did Rina do this time?"

Itachi put his elbow on the desk and leaned his head on his fist. "She did nothing, Mother."


He grunted.

She felt the sudden urge to strangle him just until he lost consciousness. It was like pulling teeth to get her eldest to talk when he didn't want to.

"Well. If she didn't do anything, what did you do?"

His throat muscle jerked.

Her eyes narrowed. "What did you do?"

His hesitation was slight but noticeable to the mother who raised him. "I did nothing."

"You're lying."

He sighed.


"I don't want to talk about it, Mother."



Exasperated, she held up her hands. "Fine. Fine. Don't tell me. Hold it inside. Let the girl you love walk away. Set your life on fire and fan the flames. I don't care. Has nothing to do with me anyway. I just gave birth to you. 14 hours of labor. Nauseating pain. Contractions that made me want to cut off your fathers –"

"Mother!" He jerked to his feet and pressed a hand to her mouth. "Please, Mother. Please."

Satisfied, she raised a brow.

He slowly removed his hand from her mouth.

She raised the other brow.

He ran a hand through his damp hair. "Rina and I…we're engaged. It will be announced next week."

A punch in the gut would have been a kinder surprise. Mikoto felt like the wind was knocked out of her esophagus. "W-what?"

He gave her a tired look. "You heard, Mother."

She grabbed the chair he'd vacated and sank into it. This was…most unexpected. "But you hate her."

He wouldn't meet her gaze.

"You must tell me why."

Instead of answering, Itachi leaned over to grab the towel that'd fallen to the floor and resumed drying his hair.

"Itachi. Why?"

"Why not?"

"W-why…why not?" she sputtered. "Are you ill?"

"No. It's just that there's reason to delay the inevitable," he said, walking into the bathroom and reappearing with a band he used to tie back his hair.

"No reason to…Have you gone mad?"



Ignoring her, he disappeared into his walk-in closet and closed the door.

Mikoto sat, fuming, while she waited for him to come back out.

A few minutes later, he strode out of his closet wearing black slacks and buttoning up a blue shirt.

"You'll break her heart," Mikoto said.

"Rina's heart is perfectly fine, I assure you."

"You deliberately misunderstood me."

"You should be specific."

"Itachi!" she snapped.

He said nothing while he slipped the last button in place. Then he sat on his bed to tie his shoes. "Sorry," he finally muttered.

"Is that what you said to Sakura when you told her you are engaged to Rina?"

"She doesn't know."

"She doesn't know?"

He shook his head.

"Then what was all that about earlier?"

"Something else."

"Something –" she stopped herself short. She was becoming repetitive. She took a breath through her nose. "Itachi. What the hell is going on? You two have an argument?"

"No. Yes. Maybe… No. There was nothing to argue about."

She wanted to gape at him. She really did. Her eldest was so confused he didn't even know what was going on in his head. "Are you listening to yourself?"

He yanked a shoelace unnecessarily hard. "I don't deserve her, alright? I don't. I've known it all along and now she does too. Alright? Can we stop speaking about this?"

She was thrown. Absolutely baffled. What on Earth made him think he didn't deserve Sakura? And choose Rina of all women? "Son. I don't understand."

He shut his eyes. And when he opened them again, they were cold to emotion. Even to her. "I'm done talking."

He grabbed his keys off of the desk and strode out of the room.

Mikoto remained behind, mentally reeling, and feeling every minute of her 48 years.