Chapter 1

From behind the blood red curtain his smooth careful voice spoke his wishes.

"This scroll is essential to me, Riku. I ask you to retrieve it for me. I promise no better pay for its retrieval anywhere else."

I knelt before the curtain hiding my master. I wore little more than a stained white tank top with torn and worn pants and no shoes. Even for this though, I remained grateful. The man I spoke to now made it all possible, giving me a place to sleep and enough money to feed and clothe myself, in return for procuring items for him.

"Of course, My Lord, I remain loyal only to you until such time as you release me," I recited.

"Do you accept this new assignment, Riku?" he asked.

"I do, My Lord. I will bring you the scroll from the hands of the Akatsuki," I agreed.

He made an approving sound. "I knew I could count on you. You may find the two which carry the scroll at this address." A black gloved hand pushed through the curtain holding a note.

After taking it I stood and made a short bow before leaving the room to start on my new assignment.

Quickly and quietly I slipped in the hotel from the frying heat outside. Whoever thought living in the desert was a good idea was mental!

The lobby didn't look too busy, which would've made this easier. Only an older man sat on a chair and the desk clerk seemed to be around. It was simply furnished, all but five chairs and the front desk occupied the room. A useless fan hung from the ceiling blowing nothing but hot air around.

"Excuse me, Miss? May I help you?" the desk clerk asked me.

I turned to her with an innocent smile. "Actually I'm looking for someone who may have checked in here." I said. I moved closer to the desk so as to not alarm the man sitting across the room. I leaned across the desk and spoke in a low voice. "This pair is under investigation on suspicion of criminal activity with the Akatsuki. Haven't seen anyone like that have you?"

The clerk stood straight. "May I see some identification."

"Oh sorry, did I not mention undercover?" I returned sarcastically.

She looked startled for a moment but recovered herself. "Room 114, upstairs on your left," she admitted. "They wore black and red cloaks."

I thanked her and hurried off that direction. But I couldn't just walk in, I needed a disguise.

I spotted a maid going down the hall with a cart of fresh sheets and cleaning supplies. Walking silently behind her I made my move when she stopped in front of the men's room and swiftly pulled her behind the door, my hand covering her mouth.

I lied as calmly as I could into her ear so I didn't frighten her more. "I'm conducting an undercover investigation on two men who are staying here and I need to borrow your clothes. Do you understand?"

She nodded and I released her.

"You don't look much like a cop, Miss," the maid pointed out.

I sighed. If this took much longer my targets might well have left.

"What part of "undercover" didn't you get?"

She finally leant me her maid's uniform and I gave her mine. With a word about finding a better profession, I hurried out. If only I could take my own advice.

"House cleaning," I knocked at 114.

No answer.

I waited another thirty seconds and then let myself in.

For the most part the room stood clean though one could tell it had been inhabited by men alone recently. The bed lay in a tangled mess, the sheets thrown every direction. Several of the dresser drawers stood open and the courtesy laundry bag laid spread on the floor. I saw no immediate evidence of the scroll, though.

I searched for the scroll discreetly while performing maid tasks. It wasn't hidden in or near the bed. I moved onto the dresser while pretending to organize its contents. Not in the first, second or third drawer. My gaze moved to the small writing desk. No that would be too obvious. But then again, some of the best hiding places are most obvious.

That's when I noticed the piece of parchment wrapped round a parchment colored pillar lamp stand.

Though as soon as I went for it a strong hand caught my wrist accompanied with a dangerously smooth voice. "What do you think your doing?"

My blue eyes met bottomless pools of crimson swirled cold orbs. I knew enough to know I stared into the famed Sharingan, which could only mean I faced Itachi Uchiha, though I never imagined he'd be so handsome. Then of course not many wanted ads pictured him shirtless, as he appeared now. Unfortunately, that was all I got to see.

"You're no maid are you?" he questioned.

I slipped an innocent smile even though I knew it wouldn't work. "First day. I was placing this its proper place, in the drawer."

"Didn't your mother ever teach you not to touch things that don't belong to you?" he pressed.

"Wouldn't know, never knew my mother," I returned sarcastically.

I should've been trembling in the face of the mighty Sharingan but instead I felt invigorated, ready to fight.

"So you're a common thief then, I must wonder, why do you want the scroll?"

I shrugged, trying to sneak around him so my back faced the scroll still on the lamp.

"I didn't say I did. My boss wants it." I lowered my voice. "He usually gets what he wants." I tried to make a grab for the scroll and promptly found myself flung to the bed, Itachi crouching over me holding the scroll. I began to feel a flutter of something like fear or perhaps excitement as he bent to my ear.

"So does mine," he hissed.

I regained my sarcastic composure despite the menace in those black and red whirlpools.

"Perhaps we should split it then?" I teased.

He leaned close again. "Or you could give up."

That's when Kisame opened the door to see Itachi crouching over me on the bed, half naked.

"Itac- I'll come back later."

Itachi rushed to explain before Kisame shut the door. "It's not what it looks like! I was questioning her!"

Making use of his relationship distress, I snatched the scroll, flew to the window and launched myself out onto the street two stories below.

"That maid –" Itachi's voice faltered noticing my disappearance along with that of the scroll. "just stole our scroll."