A/N: First of all, I want to thank all of you who reviewed, it made my day, and this fic is my baby, so I'm really touched when someone likes it! I've been horribly busy with exams lately, and I still have one left, but I thought you deserved a chapter from me, because you were so kind to review! Again, I love you all, and I hope you'll like this chapter! Please review^^

The Price of a Secret

(Sasuke POV)

I can't remember what I'm supposed to say when I hear that someone's… dead. Even the announcement was so formal and natural, it sounded like the MBC news channel, where murders were nothing new anymore. Hearing Konan cry silently, already out of shock, surprised me even more. Was that it? We cry 5 minutes, mourn 10 and then we go on with our lives, waiting to see who's next on the 'to die' list? Are these people even normal, or I'm the fucked up one?

Itachi looked briefly at Sakura, or where I left her after she collapsed in my hands. I could read the inquiry in his eyes. He let me choose between throwing a bucket of ice-cold water on her to wake her up, or taking Naruto's treatment in my own hands. I am 100% sure I'm going to regret this the second I'll have to actually get to work, but I chose the second option. I have this feeling nagging at me, to help them as much as I can, and… yeah, extract some information from Naruto once I wake him up. I don't have any experience at all, but his life isn't exactly in danger, so I'll give it a go.

"Just put him on a sofa…" I said instead of giving a direct answer. Everybody cleared Itachi's way, looking at me as if I just dropped a bomb in the middle of the house. 'Everybody' is actually a wrong term. Only Sasori and Konan heard me, Sakura didn't count. By the way, we forgot she's collapsed on the ground. Maybe someone should… pick her up? Sasori was the one who read my thoughts, and instantly went to Sakura's side, lifting her up. Having dealt with so much blood and death in her life, you'd believe she wouldn't faint that easily. But I guess she always cared for Naruto in a special way. Not like she had a crush on me, yet not like he was her brother either. It was somewhere in between.

When I came back to reality (and yes, I can only think and do something else separately. I don't have Itachi's distributive attention), I realized I was alone in the hall. Everybody else left, and through the open door, I could see them moving in sink, placing the two unconscious bodies on sofas. Even with all that, all I could think about was… This is not Somerset. Itachi was in a much worse shape back then, yet aside from me, nobody was so shocked. But now, they're all in this sort of a trance, hit by depression and unfocused on the task at hand. Yes, in the end… someone did die. But where is the corpse? Why is Itachi so unaffected? Announcing Pein's death sounded more like the weather forecast if he were on mute.

Once again, I find myself mixed with the Akatsuki. Why did I have to offer to do the job in Sakura's place? I know, it was not from actual courtesy for a fainted person that might not get her reflexes right after being 'woken up' with ice-cold water. It was simply for my curiosity. I wanted to see with my own eyes what happened to Naruto. Was it just the gunshot in his elbow all there was to it, or it went far beyond that, and the others weren't supposed to find out? Did Itachi trust me that much, or it was simply fate? After all this Akatsuki arc, I've lost my faith in fate. If there is a God up there, he really and honestly hated me with an indescribable passion. God is a sadist, I know that much.

"What do you need?" came Itachi's voice from the living room. He didn't bother to come and talk to me face to face; there was no need to be this formal. I feel as if I were the doctor from World War One. His tone suggested an 'Are you in mood to come' sentence more than anything else. As if it didn't really matter if I came now, later or never to tend to his wounds. As if we had another whole battalion left, and one person's life was insignificant. I think I'll never get used to the Akatsuki, as much as I try.

Maybe what you want is forever out of reach, yet you can't keep on going either. What is going to happen, then?

Itachi kept looking at me all the time with cold and rigid eyes, almost as if he was waiting for me to say something improper. I didn't pay it any mind. In the end, this is not Itachi; I figured that much. At the moment, he's still the Akatsuki agent that doesn't joke and whose mere presence can freeze you in place.

As I cleaned Naruto's wound, I could constantly feel his gaze burn at the end of my neck. I asked for a medical clamp- I knew it was the best I could find in Sakura's bag, even if it wasn't quite specific for this situation. It was a pretty massive bullet, by the looks of the wound. It was one made to kill, if it ever reached it target, a vital point. What surprised me, though, was Naruto's unresponsiveness; he didn't move an inch, and his breathing was so regular, as if he was just sleeping. Not a wince when I introduced the clamp in the wound. Not a flutter or eyelashes as I caught the bullet and pulled it out.

He just sat there, with a sort of troubled expression on his face. The one he had when we were in school and he couldn't understand Kakashi's lesson. And then he cheated at tests. Even now, he cheated death. The bullet was in his left arm. What if it got in his chest? How could it be that Pein was dead, Naruto was wounded, yet Itachi was fine? Was this even real, or was Itachi hiding his wounds?

"Are you hurt anywhere, Itachi?"

"You shouldn't be worrying over me. Pay attention to your current task."

Oh, so professional and insensitive as ever, dear brother. But I'll take your word for it, this time.

-2 hours later-

I have long since finished patching Naruto up. Even after all the pain he should've felt, he didn't give a single sign of waking up. Itachi's been grave quiet since I asked him if he's hurt. It's 6 AM, but I decided I'd go back to sleep. There is nothing else I can do for Naruto, after all. I tried to disconnect myself from all the things going on around me, but seeing Itachi lay right next to me in bed, scanning the ceiling, made me remember everything, and gave me the urge to scream.

Itachi's hand found its way to my thigh, and he just rested it there. I couldn't figure how he could look so cold, yet act do familiarly, so king towards me. Maybe he was, once again, caught between two worlds, his mind not here, yet his body still reacting to the environment (me). I put my hand on top of his, and we just stayed like that, one next to the other, with our hands linked on my thigh. It was quiet, but for once, I didn't mind it. I think we both needed our silence, even if I still had some things I wanted to ask.

I looked at him, and something inside me told me to smile. Itachi saw me, and seemed to come back to our reality. He forgot about Akatsuki, at least for a moment, and in the eerie silence enveloping us, he found the strength to smile back. My eyes burnt as I closed my lids. I wasn't going to cry, because I'm not like that. But I still found it peculiarly hard to look at Itachi's half smile. It was such a sad and devoted one only there because he knew it would make me feel better; it only did to a certain point.

He was too tired to hide every little thing, and so I was able to see how tired he was. Why is he doing this to himself? It's torture, even for a strong guy like him! But Itachi was so determined, despite the difficulty of the task. He literally wanted an impossible thing, being sure that he'd be able to do it. Even though I can't explain why, I was also sure that he'd be able to do it. Because if he can't do it, then no one can. I have yet to see someone with such a high determination so far.

In my mind haze, I felt his lips kiss my hand. They were so cold, but so kind. Did all this danger soften me up? Normally, I wouldn't pay any mind to those silly and seemingly shy actions. I'd just rush him to get to the point faster. Itachi wasn't like that… he took his time with everything. He gave up on what he wanted most of the time. He always did things against his will, that much was obvious. A loner like Itachi was surrounded constantly by people who wanted to talk to him, and constructed an image that reflected a pleasant attitude towards them.

Itachi doesn't have a funny side. He constructed a funny side, because it was needed. I realize now what he meant that day, in the hotel. He's not mine, but I own him. I can't have him, but I'll always know him better than anyone else- even when I'm not aware of it. I'm the one who lived with him, the one who knows what foods he likes, how often he eats and how he has a passion for washing dishes. All those little nothings about him, I'm the one who will always remember!...

"Sasuke," came his low, silken voice. It didn't betray his emotions in the least. "Thank you."

"You don't have to thank me." And I was honest, surprisingly. I felt good helping them. It was also a thing I did for my friend, Naruto, not for the Akatsuki. And I believe that Itachi knew that, only he decided to make me understand the fact it meant something for him.

"Your medical studies paid off, in the end. I'm proud of you." What a cheap compliment, Itachi. I'm not going to blush like a 14-year old girl, if that's what you expected.

"You're the one who bugged me to attend that class. Did you actually expect to need me in a time like this?" I smirked at him, knowing I hit a nerve. I know he wants to scowl at me and tell me not to be stupid. He would've done it, if not for the fact he actually did use me in the mission. Yet, he still closed his eyes in defeat and turned his head so I couldn't see his face. I know it's not like he's actually feeling sorry or emotional right now, it's just Itachi's natural reaction when being put in front of a fact he's not too proud of.

I raised the hand that wasn't linked with his to get some hair out of his face, coming close so I could actually see him. My brother can be such a china doll when he's defenseless like that. No wonder Pein was named the actual leader, at least that guy looked scary all the time. And here I am, bringing Pein up again. What a talent for messing things up I have, and I think everyone would agree with that.

"Itachi, how did Pein die?" He didn't answer me. At least, not verbally. He just raised a hand, showing me three fingers: the thumb, the pointer and middle finger. AKA Pein died by a gunshot. Naruto was also shot in the arm… "And why are you perfectly fine, then?"

"I'm too slim, they kept missing me." I had the urge to grin like a Cheshire cat at the moment. This was intended to be a comeback for me, always criticizing that he's too slim for his own good. I kissed his cheek in a protective way and whispered 'This doesn't mean you have to stop eating now, right?'

"Of course not, mother." That did it. Why are you so funny on such a gloomy day? I climbed on top of him and ran my hand through his hair. Even now, Itachi was looking at me with curious eyes, waiting to see what I had in mind. I felt one hand come over my back, pushing me tight against him. I hope I didn't crush him, he's (of course, duh) slimmer than me. I liked being on top of him like that; it gave me a fake sense of superiority, but I'm a master at only seeing what I want from the picture. That, and it really felt nice to have a warm body underneath me- except for his sharp ribs poking me in the chest- it was almost like sleeping on stones… well, warm stones.

During my short thinking time, I realized he's moved one his hands on my butt, trying to push me- I didn't figure out where… unless…

"Aren't you tired after all this ruckus? I'd think you want to sleep, but I appreciate your stamina." I even gave him a wink, only to meet his deep scowl. Okay, then what did he want with that hand on my ass?! But soon the scowl was gone and he raised his head from the pillow to kiss me, but not one of his usual short kisses- it was a longer, deeper one, that seemed to get better and better, up to the point when I felt his tongue brush against my lower lip. I immediately remembered our first kiss- it was awkward, because we were both too emotionally unstable back then (as much as I hate to admit it). But now, it was perfect, just as it was countless times before.

I had the reflex of pulling his shirt, but I didn't have access to his back anymore, and that made me anxious to some point. He immediately figured out my confusion, as I could feel a snicker escape his lips, but he simply continued kissing me, giving me the time to figure out what to do. Don't get me wrong, I did know that he was only allowing me this short moment of power for his own amusement- there was no way in hell Itachi Uchiha would let ME (at least not now!) top him. But even knowing that, my actions were awkward and I lacked the usual arrogance he got used to.

"Afraid of heights, Sasuke?" He asked me when out lips parted for a second. At first, I didn't get what he meant, but it must've been an allusion to being on top.

"Nah, still adjusting. Just you wait, I'm a tornado!" I knew that even if he didn't laugh in my face, he was amused. Or maybe not. I was still shocked when I saw his eyes look so sad, when his actions showed he was enjoying himself. But it never lasted long, and he came back to his usual self, and gave me a coy smile, the one that meant he was sure he'd be telling me "at least you tried" in the end. Not if I have a word in it! I bit on his lip and whispered 'Concentrate' in his mouth, to which he answered by biting me in return, this time on the upper lip. We just stayed for a couple seconds with our teeth millimeters apart, waiting to see who'll be the first one to give up.

And then he retracted his hand from my back and put it next to the other one, on my butt, pushing me with force towards his face. Shit. I HAD to release his lip, or this would result in a teeth clash that at least I wouldn't appreciate.

"Itachi, that was cheating!"

"If I didn't cheat in life, I wouldn't be here, don't you think?" He had me at that. But I just ignored what he just said and tried to figure out how to leave the warmness of the crook of his neck. I could smell both his perfume and hair shampoo, and although they were not some sort of exotic flavors or anything shocking, it smelt so much of him, of flowers, of a calmness Itachi himself was never granted. In no time, my teeth were sunk in his pale and smooth flesh, leaving a nice mark behind. And as strange as it sounds (or as cannibalistic, you choose the proper adjective), I couldn't stay away from his skin. It was too white, I had to mar it in every way I could, so that it looked like a battlefield in the end. So that both his mind and his skin would be the same, and he'd look less perfect. It killed me to know it was all inside him. I wanted it all on the table, all visible, just for ME to see.

I could see goosebumps start to appear, and that meant I was doing something right. Out of instinct, I got my hand in-between our bodies and pulled his midnight black t-shirt upwards, as I felt my own blouse being grabbed viciously and almost ripped from me. I guess he can get serious if he wants to. Skin on skin was much better than cloth on cloth, and we both seemed to agree on that. Very soon, Itachi seemed to lose any trace of kindness and being gentle; he pushed we away from him and immediately inversed our positions.

He broke the button of my jeans when he literally ripped them off me, with only one hand, together with boxers. What intrigued me was the reason for his actions- Itachi has never been like this. Of course I didn't complain, but it was new to have him be so violent, even if not exactly towards me. Also, his head was not raised, and he wasn't looking at me from a certain distance, through half-closed eyelids, emanating a certain superiority from every pore. Now his head was not only the same level as mine, it was even lower- we were ear at ear, and all I could see in front of my eyes was the reddish skin on his neck, still holding the marks of my abuse. Slowly, but equally enthusiastic, I pulled his own jeans down (I couldn't just rip them off like he did with mines- maybe they were expensive, who knows?).

He was just as aroused as I was, and the chilly atmosphere in our room seemed to change by the second. It started smelling good- it started smelling like us. I wanted to ask him something, but the mood was too precious to be ruined. That, and I wouldn't have had the time to do it either, as I felt a tickle on my cheek- Itachi was scratching my cheek with his nail as if I were a dog (and why did that TICKLE me?), and when I opened my mouth to ask "wha-" that's all I got to say, as my mouth was invaded by three of his fingers. This guy should do sex strategies, not battle ones.

I even bit lightly on one of his fingers as a joke, and I immediately felt my tongue being pushed down by his middle finger. Unfortunately for him, I could easily escape, and bit on his fingers again, but the story repeated itself- he also pushed my tongue down with his middle finger- I kind of felt amused by this. We both had our antics, and just because I was bottom didn't mean I was a dog. But that also didn't mean he was going to let me have it my way. In this hilarious fight taking place in my mouth, I didn't even realize his fingers were long since wet enough, so that meant he just played along. When he took them out, I almost got out a whimper, of not for the fact I also wanted things to move on faster- not that they were not already moving fast. It was amazing how I could barely even register if and when he moved.

When I felt a finger prodding at my entrance, I actually realized that he had shoved a pillow under my back, to keep me up. This guy knew how to make invisible moves, that's for sure. It hurt, just like it did every single time, but it was a good pain, as it was inflicted by him. I'll never mind it if it's Itachi- he can use my body as he wishes. He's too good at what he's doing, and he never hurts me just for the heck of it- every flick of pain comes with waves of pleasure and anticipation for something even bigger (yes, also literally). Even now, the pain that surges through is not alone; I can feel sparkles of something between jolts of electricity and tingles of happiness.

Because yes, while he was being so rough, I felt indeed happy. I should just accept it already that we're always in antithesis, never both rough or both sensual. In fact, I don't even know if sensual exists in our vocabulary. But then again, it probably exists in Itachi's, from time to time. I'm a lot more vulgar than he is, yet sometimes I feel so little in front of him. He can already find my prostate as if he has a map to it imprinted on his fingers. He doesn't even have to try. I hear him whisper in my ear a soft yet rough "Do you think you're good to go with just two?" I nodded- it's not like pain bothers me. The bigger the shock, the more I feel connected to him. This way, it's like he's leaving scars on both my body and mind. If I am to lose him… I'll remember this pain and torture myself psychologically. Because pleasure doesn't last, while pain does.

"Make it last." –in time, I added afterwards, in my mind. Maybe I was still thinking about Pein, and how easily I can lose Itachi. Or maybe I was just more emotional this day. But I'm sure that my mood won't last long, and I want to remember this while it lasts, while I'm still connected to him in such a personal way!

He didn't answer, he just thrust himself up to the hilt, and seeing his eyes close so slowly and oddly seductive made it worth the searing pain that jolted through me at once. I know everybody's familiar to the feeling of 'being ripped in two', but unless you're a guy, you don't really know what it means. It's never about pleasure in the first couple minutes- it's all about sweet pain, more or less appreciated by the bottom. Egoist as I am, I still find myself happy when I see Itachi, master of blank face look so focused on waiting for me to adjust. And then, so lost and disconnected from this world when he starts pounding into me with a speed not too many would be able to achieve (it's probably also because he's so slim, it's easy for him to move).

"Itachi, m-move…" I didn't have to say this, but I felt better if I did. He knew exactly how long it took me to adjust, but by telling him, it also gave him the feeling of accepting, and actually wanting it to happen.

I couldn't exactly describe the feeling as electrifying, although it wouldn't be far from the truth. It gave me such a constant wave of content, and I was enjoying it as if it hasn't happened in months. I don't know if it's Itachi's skill or Itachi himself that gives off this feeling, but I love it. And while "too much of anything can make you sick", I wish for him to keep on rocking his hips against mines forever and ever. Even his breath (that was still not ragged, like mine was), made me feel so good. His smile, his smell, his body, his moves, his violence, his kindness, his terror, his love, they all made me feel his trusts as if they were instead administered to my heart, not my ass. And speaking of which, it was about to burst.

I think I lost my head and all my thoughts the moment his hand came between us, and went down, down, down, until it came into contact with my hot length. His hand was cold, it sent shivers down my back. I would say I've forgotten how good this felt, but I'd be a hypocrite. His hand, just like his whole body, seemed to move with a liquefied grace and steady rhythm. I strained my eyes open and saw half of his face, now adorned with beads of sweat and holding a rosy color in his cheeks- even Itachi could have rosy cheeks, but only when we were fucking (and that word suddenly sounds so harsh- as if I was denying we had any other relationship beyond simply fucking…)

"Ita-chi, f-…" I couldn't even speak, although I didn't have to. I bit into his shoulder hard, and almost as if it were a switch, I could feel the slight change in his rhythm. It seemed more erratic, desperate, and it was beginning to be more and more irregular. If I could, I'd force a smile; I felt his pulse inside of me, and it gave me a security I rarely had when I was around him. In any other situation, sensing his pulse made me afraid that I probably wouldn't sense it anymore, one day. But as of now, it was heaven, administered in fast motions. I even heard him whisper into my ear a silent, intimate "Ready?" I gave him another nod, but while doing so, I've unintentionally drawn blood. But he didn't seem to mind.

If anything, it made him go even harder than before. I could see fireworks under my closed lids, and I was sure that soon, when he'll go just a little bit harder, I'd feel even my toes numbing from too much pleasure. It was as if he was trying to make it last longer by postponing the peak- and I just couldn't hold it in any longer!

"I-Itachi, g-go har-der, g'dammit!..." it was so hard to make even the faintest sound, and talking was almost like trying to breather underwater. I saw him wink, and then I closed my eyes. I was trying to control my body and open my eyes when I'd feel the pulse inside of me rise with a beat- that was always the signal that Itachi was soon going to finish. And while my stomach kept burning hotter and hotter, I realized I wouldn't be able to open my eyes. I wanted to see Itachi's face! I've never been able to keep my eyes open in order to see his face, just once, as he gave in to pleasure, and as I felt his head tilt backwards.

"Pretty please?" Even with the hint of mock in his voice, he obliged and sunk his nails in my shoulder, his other hand moving firmer on my dick, as his own length buried itself deeper into myself, deeper into the mattress, with wet pants and a sudden shriek of pleasure from me, before I bit my lip to silence my suddenly very vocal chords. From Itachi, only a very deep breathe came- no sound whatsoever. But that was not something new. What surprised me for a bit, though, was the fact he buried his head in my hair when he came- he used to keep his head high up.

I was suddenly too drained of energy to even say "thanks", or something like that. I just blacked out immediately after I felt him remove himself from staying on top of me and collapsing to the side. It could be out of exhaustion, stress, or just too much pleasure, too much anticipation and the numbness from my toes could've moved to the rest of my body as well. All I know is that I fell into a deep slumber, from which I could only realize that Itachi put a hand over my stomach and brought me close to his chest. Maybe he's asleep too…

(Sasori POV)

At 9AM, Naruto woke up. I was the one assigned to look after him, and from the moment he opened those blue eyes that look so much like Deidara's, I've only had problems. First, he wants to drink some water. Okay, no problem, slave Sasori brings water, but what do you know, in the meantime the little idiot decided to get up and try to move! Okay, maybe it's just a shot in the shoulder, but he still has to rest. At least until Sakura or Sasuke say it's okay for him to start walking! But he won't listen to me- it must be blonde genes.

"What happened with Pein?" Here he goes again- he's been asking that for 20 minutes on the clock, and he doesn't get the idea that I won't answer. I've already told him to wait for Itachi to fill him in, but his only answer to that was "And where is Itachi, then?" Trust me, buddy, you don't want to disturb him right now. And it's not that the walls are particularly thin, or their voices too loud (actually, I've only heard Sasuke's voice for a split of a second), but the bed squeaks like a motherfucker, and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out why's that.

"Sasori, where's Sakura?" I didn't bother to even attempt an answer. Most probably, she was still fainted. Because otherwise, she would've come here, or at least I'd hear her screaming through the house something along the lines of "Is Naruto okay, oh my god!" Stupid teenage girl screaming, what can I say. She's not my favorite character, although Akatsuki owes her. Yes, she saved Itachi. Yes, she actually helped us with some information here and there. And YES, she is Naruto and Sasuke's ex-classmate and friend. So what? I still don't like her. Everything about her annoys me, from the bubblegum hair to the overly dramatic behavior.

She's still that hormonal 14-year-old girl in a skirt, even if she's technically almost 18. Some people never grow up. Such as Deidara, but at least he's good looking and he's not stupid at all- he's just childish. Speaking of Deidara, he didn't wake up even with all the noise from downstairs! Hidan was just as bad as him. I mean, he DID wake up, came out of the kitchen, saw Naruto on the couch, and then grinned, thinking that Kakuzu will have some unexpected money to pay. But of course, this was Hidan. He couldn't be serious about anything, even if his life depended on it. Kakuzu woke up and came into the living room half an hour ago, saying that Itachi brought Naruto back home injured, so he would pay for all the costs. Again, what else could I expect from greedy dollar-man Kakuzu?

"Sasori, I'm really trying to get some answers out of you! Answer me at once!" Damn, Naruto is just like an annoying fly that keeps buzzing at your ears and won't stop. I thought he'd be smart enough to grasp the idea that maybe, just maybe, I didn't want to talk to him. Well, 'didn't want to talk to him' is an exaggeration, but the ides was that I actually had no idea what to tell him, if I ever decided to answer. So I just waited for Itachi to return from fuck-ville and settle things out around here.

-10 AM-

Naruto fell asleep from all the bickering and all his failed attempts to make me talk, and he finally left me alone with my thoughts. It was pretty quiet in the house, you could even hear Hidan moan in pain on the roof- I told him he could only stab himself over there, because the roof is already red. And although it's very cold outside, he still went out and carried on with his ritual- I can't believe this guy, he should be in a psychic hospital, not roaming free on he streets- and especially not being an Intel-extractor with the right to kill people. Itachi was insane when he offered Hidan this job. But then again, Hidan did come in handy at times. Only by seeing his bloodshot eyes and numerous cuts on his chest, shoulders and arms, you'd be ready to confess even what you didn't do.

When I heard a creak at the bottom of the stairs, I turned my head to see who it was. Surprisingly, it was not Deidara, but Itachi. I thought he would've slept longer after a long mission and well, other activities…

"Has he woken up?" He asked me on a shushed tone, which meant he knew that Naruto was currently sleeping- not that it was some kind of mystery, the guy snorts.

"Yes, he has. And I'm going to make use of this wonderful occasion to ask you what's on the agenda… What are we going to do?"

Although my tone suggested a serene attitude, I was very anxious on the inside. Knowing something might happen to Pein when he went there was one thing, and suddenly realizing he'd dead, and we won't see him anymore, was entirely different. I didn't even say goodbye, or tell him I actually had grown to respect him as a leader and that… yeah, I've forgiven him for nailing me on the roof in Somerset. I don't understand how Itachi had the heart to forget about something as important as his death and fool around with Sasuke.

Even now, Itachi's face was unreadable, and except for his slightly disheveled hair and his bruised neck (I REALLY wonder why's that, sense the sarcasm), he looked just as he always did: stern and serious. I didn't have to wait for his answer too long, although it wasn't a verbal one. He headed towards the kitchen, where Hidan and Kakuzu were, and asked me where Tobi was. I answered shortly that he left this morning, saying that he had some business to do- probably see if he could discover some new things on the black market. Itachi nodded, and gave Hidan a light slap on the forehead when the latter decided to start yawning in his face.

"Does anyone have questions? I'm up for a long speech." Itachi announced in what I deemed as a tired 'I don't want to be here' tone. Hidan and Kakuzu shook their heads no, and only I raised a hand, and asked him what happened last night, in detail.

"There are no details. So for the long speech, Pein died early this morning- Kakuzu, write the date on a dollar, so you won't forget. I know we can't mourn properly, because we have to take care and cover our own asses, like Hidan always says. Starting from this very moment, I'm the Leader of Akatsuki. You won't address me as 'leader', thought, because I consider that title will forever be Pein's. And be ready to die. That was all."

And just as that, he left the room, and went upstairs. I wanted to follow him, but decided against it. Nothing that he said came as a surprise. I expected him to be the leader, now that Pein was… gone. But what I didn't expect is this nonchalance he treats everything with. Not a shade of remorse, not even a single gesture, like lighting a candle in the kitchen: nothing!

10 minutes after his speech, I also decided to go upstairs, to the room I shared with Deidara. On my way there, I could hear Konan cry, and the soothing voice of… Itachi? I didn't expect to hear that, but it was still nothing compared to the words that came from Itachi's mouth that very moment: "Don't cry like that, Konan. If you do, Pein will also cry when you'll meet again…" While Itachi's words made no sense, the tone of his voice was so kind, so reassuring, it almost didn't sound like him at all. I don't know what he meant, if it was a metaphor or soothing words for broken souls, but I think I've regained some of the confidence I had in him before last night…

A/N: So, was that to your liking? I hope so:) I decided I haven't put a lemon in a long time, but I also felt like it shouldn't be a downright PWP, so it's a bit lighter^^ Don't worry, in another 3 chapters or so, I'll put another one, that time it will be the real thing- so stay tuned! Tell me how this chapter turned out, did it meet your expectations?

Kisses, Ioio-Chan .