I'm still alive. I know shocking. I've been having some personal issues and writing anything just wasn't happening. I'm happy to say though that as of right now all my stories are updated(including The Course of a Year) and I even started a new Itasaku story Interns and Tasers, if you want check it out;) Thank-you to Twisted Musalih, Those-carrots, Scififanta, Purplelup, funbunny99, McKazekage(I love you, you're my most dedicated fan and you have reviewed every Itasaku fic I have. I might propose just saying), Depressed Perfectionist(you're right, I will work on that from now on), light blossom and dark warrior, Kyuubi's Angel of Darkness, HermioneSakuraGardner07, experiment15, SurpremeOverlordLetters, Mentra, suzie1107, and graydevilforever for reviewing.

Disclaimer:I don't own Naruto

Chapter Sixteen

The silence was deafening. I grimaced as Genma and Shisui looked shocked while Itachi didn't even blink. His katana was still out and Deidara's hands were in his pockets, obviously collecting more clay. He wore a confused expression and almost seemed amused as if he was dealing with a clueless child.

"If you think lying will help you evade death you are incorrect," Itachi told him coolly. "You will die regardless of your position or lack of in the Akatsuki."

"Well isn't that nice,un," Deidara said rolling his eyes. "Don't take your anger out on me, it's not my fault you were misinformed."

"So you're not part of Akatsuki," Genma confirmed sliding his senbon back into his mouth. "Good, I'm still sore from the beating Sakura-chan gave me this morning," Genma admitted rubbing his shoulder. At this Deidara finally looked back over at me.

"So you're one of them,un."

"Afraid so," I told him and he sighed.

"Can't a normal girl just be into me for my charms and dashing good looks,un."

"Well, the fact that you're delusional is kind of a turn off," I told him and he grinned. He looked like he was about to say something when Sai raised his hand.

"Yes, Sai," I said rolling my eyes at his antics.

"So, because Deidara says he's not in Akatsuki, we're going to believe him and not attack him," Sai asked and Itachi glared at him.


"Geez, someone's got a stick up their ass, un," Deidara said and Genma scoffed.

"You have no idea."

Itachi glared at Genma before turning to Deidara. "You're still an S-class criminal we can't just let you walk away."

"Oh yeah, I keep forgetting about that,un."

"You just forgot that you blew up half of Iwa," Itachi asked and I could see that he was beginning to get annoyed.

"Well it has been quite some time since then, I haven't even done any illgal," he emphasized mockingly, "activities in a few years."

"You expect us to just believe you," Sai asked confused and Deidara smirked.

"Well, I am telling you the truth but if you're so eager for a fight I'm eager to oblige,un," he said taking his hands out of his pockets. I looked at his hands to see two little mouths chewing on the clay. I grimaced at the sight and when I saw him stretch his hand out I ran out in front of my teammates.

"Hold on, there has to be a solution to this."

"Sakura-chan get out of the way,un," Deidara said and Itachi growled.

"Don't call her that," he hissed before turning to me. "Get out of the way Sakura-san."

"Wow, how original,un."

"You're not helping," I told him before turning to Itachi. "Taichou, killing him is a bad idea."

"Who says he could kill me,un?"

"Deidara shut up," I hissed before turning to Itachi whose sharingan was pointed straight at me.

"How could killing this criminal be detrimental to me, Konoha, or this team," he asked and I bit my lip.

"He might be able to help us with Akatsuki."

"Akatsuki, Akatsuki, I'm sick of hearing about them,un," Deidara said crossing his arms. "They're complete losers,un."

"So you do know who they are," I asked victoriously and Itachi's sharingan ceased spinning.

"Yeah, they tried to recruit me a few years ago. Didn't go so well for them,un," Deidara said chucking. "I don't work for anyone. If I wanted to be someone's underling I would have stayed in Iwa and been the Tsuchikage's bitch like the rest of my village,un."

"Do you know what their purpose is," Itachi asked and Deidara smirked at him.

"World domination."

I nearly slapped my forehead. For Kami's sake the guy was one step away from death and he was mocking one of the most powerful shinobi to ever live. Deidara seemed to notice the skeptical and annoyed faces of my teammates and I but instead of giving us the right answer he began to laugh.

"You're treading on a very thin line," Itachi told him and I silently agreed.

"That's what's so funny,un" Deidara told us and then he finally stopped laughing. "I'm being completely serious."

"What," Genma asked and Deidara nodded.

"Yeah it sounds kind of insane and I doubt they'll be able to pull it off. They plan on collecting all the tailed beasts and turning it into one giant beast, or that's the gist that I got,un. I think they already have some in their possession,un."

"That fits with the reports," Genma mumbled to us and Itachi frowned not taking his eyes off of Deidara.

"And how do they go about extracting the beats," he asked and Deidara shook his head.

"Sorry that's something I was not privileged with, un. They're a pretty secretive group."

"We need to contact Tsunade," I told my team and Itachi nodded.

"Give a message to one of your summons Sakura-san."

I bit my thumb and flew through the familiar hand signs.

Boar. Dog. Bird. Monkey. Ram.


"How may I help you Sakura-sama?"

"I need to deliver a message to Tsunade-Shishou. The Akatsuki plan on collecting all the tailed beats and turning them into one great beast. We obtained this information through Deidara, a missing nin from Iwagakure. We also know an Akatsuki team is in the area and we require further instruction," I hesitated. "Naruto needs to be guarded at all times," I finished and the slug gave a small bow.

"I shall return quickly with Tsunade-sama's reply."


"So you're the infamous Hokage's apprentice," Deidara said in awe. "Pretty badass,un."

"Stop talking to her," Itachi told him before finally placing his katana in his sheath.

"So am I just supposed to wait here while your Kage decides my fate," Deidara asked with a single blonde eyebrow raised and the whole group glared at him.

"You're lucky to be alive at this point," Itachi said and Deidara scoffed.

"Yeah Kami bless these past few minutes I've gotten to spend with you. A great end to my life," he said sarcastically. He smirked,"not that you can kill me anyway."



"Hello Sakura-sama," a much bigger slug bowed down to me. "I'm here to inform you that Tsunade-shisou orders you back to Konoha immediately. She also wishes for me to take the criminal Deidara with me."

"What," Deidara asked eyeing the slug. "How am I supposed to go back with you,un?"

"You will enter a pouch in my mouth," the slug said simply and I had to choke back a laugh at Deidara's appalled expression.

"You're joking right,un," he asked looking nauseas. "I refuse,un."

"Then you die," Itachi said simply and Deidara sneered.

"What makes you think that you can even defeat me,un?"

"Even if you do have the power to defeat me, you cannot defeat four ANBU level shinobi. You're not invincible," Itachi said motioning to us. "We have you outmanned and I assume that someone of your caliber is intelligent enough to realize you have no chance of victory."

"So what, I give up now and die in some jail cell after being tortured for months on end? That doesn't sound any better," he said bitterly and I stepped forward. Itachi's hand shot out and landed on my shoulder. I felt a shiver go through me but I ignored it in favor of looking at Deidara.

"You will be treated fairly, I promise."

"You sure about that,un," Deidara asked and I nodded before giving a half hearted smirk.

"I'm the Hokage's apprentice, I can make stuff happen," I told him and he sighed before looking at the slug.

"Ok, let's get this over with,un," he said grimacing.

The slug leaned over and opened its mouth and Deidara gave me a little wave before walking in, wrenching. The slug closed its mouth and it gave me a bow before disappearing.

"I believe it is time for us to leave," Sai said and he looked at me with a confused expression. "As a teammate I suppose I am supposed to care about you, I therefore apologize for the fact that the only man who will ever find you attractive is now going to be killed."

I hissed at him and Itachi's grip on my shoulder tightened. "Shut up! He's going to be fine," I yelled and Sai tilted his head.

"You honestly believe that? You are quite naive for such a high level shinobi, hag."

"Sai, I would suggest you shut up," Genma said his eyes looking almost murderous. It was one of the only times I had ever seen him mad. He was generally a very easy-going guy but I could tell that Sai just rubbed him the wrong way.

Let's face it he rubbed everyone the wrong way.

"I'm sorry I forgot that I'm supposed to lie to woman," Sai said with his lips donning a fake smile.

"Let's leave before I kill this guy," Genma muttered darkly and I nodded in agreement.

"Genma," Itachi said and Genma looked at him. "I want you and Sai to go ahead. Sakura and I are going to the hotel to check out. I'll see you in Konoha in three days," he told them and Genma grimaced.

"Do I have to go with him," he asked and Sai gave him a fake smile.

"This should be good bonding time, correct," he asked and Genma looked like he had told him he had killed his mother. And then ate her.

"Drinks are on me when we get back," Itachi told him and Genma scoffed.

"They're on you for the rest of your life."

Genma and Sai both flash-stepped out of the clearing which left me with my captain who was still gripping my shoulder.

"Better get to the hotel, don't want to leave too far behind them or Shishou will get worried," I told him and I walked forward making his hand slip off my shoulder.

"Of course."

We walked in silence to the hotel and I gave a gentle smile to the old woman who was manning the counter. She gave us a little wave before we started going up the stairs.

We went into our respective rooms and I packed up my things. I also threw all of Genma's things into the pack he left behind. I didn't feel too burdened by the thought of carrying both mine and Genma's things home. It would be a walk in the park compared to the time Shishou made me carry a pack filled with weights to Suna and back.

Good times.

"Taichou, I'm done," I called out before opening my door. I was surprised to see Itachi already leaning against the wall.

"All we need to do is checkout and then we'll take our leave," Itachi informed me and I followed him down to the stairs to the front desk where the elderly woman was smiling at us.

"Will you be checking out today?"

"Yes, ma'am," Itachi answered and the woman made a note in her book. Itachi handed over some bills and she counted them before sliding them into a drawer.

"Please come again," she said waving at us as we took our leave. We walked

through the village and as soon as we left the village Itachi readjusted the bags that were over his shoulders.

With no outward signal we both took off and I felt a sense of relief at the familiar

movements. We traveled until the sun began to go down and I felt too fatigued and hungry to carry on. As if he could read my thoughts Itachi stopped.

"We'll stop here for the night," Itachi told me jumping down to the ground. I followed quickly and gratefully dropped my bags on the ground. I reached into my bag and pulled out a meal bar and tore a chunk out of it swallowing it quickly. I felt someone's eyes on me and I looked up to see Itachi's onyx eyes glittering with amusement.

"You'd think you hadn't eaten for days," he said mockingly before pulling out his own bar.

"I'm hungry," I spat out before taking another big bite. Damn Uchiha, he was ruining my chow time.

"I can tell."

"I can tell."

I smirked as Sakura glared at me; her puffed up cheeks pushing on her mask from the large amount of food she had stuffed in her mouth. I found it funny how my otouto found her so intimidating when really she was just an overgrown house cat. A house cat that could destroy mountains but a house cat nonetheless.

I felt my good mood falter as thoughts of my otouto clouded my mind. It only reminded me of why I had out Sakura on my team. My team really had needed a medic but there were other options, the biggest reason had been to spite my brother and maybe give him a little push into action. I had flirted with her, embarrassed him, and done everything else that usually made a man's blood boil and I'll admit that he did act out but it had been against Sakura which put him even further behind in the race for her hand.

Oddly enough though, that didn't bother me. I had told Genma that I wanted to set her up with Sasuke but the thought of them being together didn't sit quite as well with me as it used to. I had spent several weeks with this woman and I was beginning to question my choice of action. I found that I was often making excuses as to why her and Sasuke wouldn't work out. She needed someone who could handle her temper, someone stronger than her and someone just as smart, someone who could be level headed when she had a bad day at the hospital, someone who would understand how she felt when her teammates, or ex-teammates made her feel left out. My otouto could provide none of these things. But the thought of her with any other man also didn't appease me. I had an inkling as to why I felt this way but I knew embracing these thoughts wouldn't help the situation any.

"Weasel-san, are you alright?"

I looked over to see Sakura's concerned eyes showing through her mask.

"I'm fine, Kitty-chan," I said and I knew beneath Sakura's mask her face was a dark, angry red.

"I'm a tiger," she protested and I smirked although I knew she couldn't see. I could still her grumbling as she grabbed a sleeping bag from her pack. She unrolled it and then proceeded to wrap it around herself. It was a little cold out so with a few quick hand signs I had a small fire going in between us.

"Thanks," she muttered.

"You're welcome."

It was silent for a little while until I could hear Sakura twitching in her makeshift blanket.

"Is something wrong Tiger-san?"

She looked up and her eyes shown with surprise and slight nervousness. "Why did you pick me for your team?"

"Because you're the best medic in the five nations and you can hold your own in battle. My team needs someone like that," I told her honestly although I knew it wasn't the whole truth. "Why?"

"I've just been thinking about it. There's a lot of other ninja who would be more qualified."

"That's probably true," I admitted. "But I picked you, and that is all you need to concern yourself with." Her eyes looked slightly pained and I stared at her across the campfire. "Do you wish I hadn't chosen you?"

"Yes, well no," she corrected. At my questioning eyes sighed. "It's just this whole drama with Sasuke. I just wish he wasn't so angry with me."

"Well that can't be helped," I told her. "He's jealous; it would have been the same if the Ji-Naruto had been promoted first."

"That might be true," she said. "But I think who promoted me is his biggest issue with it," she told me and I tensed.

"He is angry about my involvement," I told her not denying it. "He wishes for me to acknowledge him as an equal and giving that to you and not him is displeasing to him."

"But I'm not your equal," she said exasperated. "I'm not his equal either, he's way stronge-

"That isn't true," I interrupted her. "I distinctly remember you beating him to a pulp only a week ago. I'd say that proves your superiority."

"It doesn't feel like that," she mumbled and I found myself walking over to her. She looked up surprised and I lay a hand under chin where the mask ended.

"But that is the way it is. You have surpassed both my brother and Naruto. You are no longer the genin you once were."

Sakura's eyes began to tear over and she let out a bitter chuckle as the streamed down under her mask. "How can I think that way when all I ever do is cry," she said bitterly.

"Well," I said raising my hand to rest it on her masked cheek. "You could start by not crying," I whispered wiping her tears from her eyes. I heard her gasp slightly and I let my fingers linger on her eyelids as she closed them. I felt her eyelashes flutter against my fingers and a warm feeling began to spread throughout my chest.


I felt like a bucket of ice water had been dumped on my head. What was I doing? We were on a mission and she was my teammate. On top of that she was the girl my brother was in love with even if he wouldn't admit it and there was an even bigger problem.

I found that despite all these reasons there was nothing I wanted to do more than stay here with my hands cradling her cheeks. Her emerald eyes were staring questionably into mine and it was the innocence there that made me stand up.

"I'll take first watch."


"You should get some sleep, Tiger-san," I told her shortly before jumping up into the trees above the campsite. She stared at the space I had been before placing her sleeping bag on the ground and slipping into it. It took nearly an hour before her steady breathing alerted me to her slumber. I didn't feel the slightest bit relaxed though because there was now something there that I couldn't just ignore.

Sakura interested me, far more than she should. Maybe even more than I was willing to admit.

Ok that's it for Chapter Sixteen; do you guys think this happened too suddenly? I wasn't sure but it just seemed to flow when I was writing it. Oh well, please check out my other Itasaku stories and updates on this one will occur on Fridays. Please review!