AN: Its February readers! Yayy! So many of you that have reviewed have already figured out that something between Sasuke and Ino will happen. Did the song give it away? For now, there are few Itachi and Ino moments but there will be plenty in the future, promise!

My days off fall on the weekend so that means there is little free time to write (I have a kid too) so updates might slow (many of you are thinking, you update every ten days! What?! Slower?!). Yeah…sorry '-_-

More and more is being reveled in the Naruto Manga so the sequel to "Closer" is getting (hahaha) closer. I might just have two stories to work on this year! Hope you guys like this next chapter. Drop a comment when you finish reading! Kisses readers! :MUH:

(PS: This story is rated for a reason. MATURE content at the beginning of this chapter. Read at own discretion)

Chapter 3

I got to go, I got to go

It has been a year to date, Ino thought looking at herself in the mirror. A year since she and Sasuke had started dating and now he was going to take her out to celebrate. Well, she had suggested it and told him firmly that he had better prepare something or else! So he did, grudgingly. But she was happy about it and pampered and prepped herself two hour before he said he was coming to pick her up.

She stood and admired herself in her vanity mirror. Running her hand down her black lacy off the shoulder dress. She smirked. She was dressed to kill. While he had made plans for their evening, she had made plans as well. Tonight they were going to finally sleep together. Her heart hammered and her whole body tingled with nervousness and anticipation. He didn't know it, but she was planning to seduce him tonight. Her parents were gone for the weekend and she was left here…all by her lonesome. She was putting last minute touches on her flawless make-up when she heard the doorbell ring. She gave herself a secret smile in the mirror.

"Show time." She whispered to herself, smothering the butterflies madly swarming in her tummy before grabbing her shoes and heading downstairs. He was waiting by the door, dressed in black pants and a red shirt. Casual, but nice. She greeted him with a smile and paused by the door to slip on her red strappy stilettos when all of the sudden she felt his hands on her waist. She stumbled back when Sasuke pushed her into her house.

"What are you wearing?" He asked darkly before capturing her mouth in a bone searing kiss that took her breath away. The door behind him closed with a slam.

It took two hours for her to get ready, but only two minutes for Sasuke to undo all her work. Their clothes were strewn all over her neat room. Her racy red underwear were the only remaining barrier and they gave her little cover from the dark molten hot look he was giving her. His hands were shaking when they petted her breasts through the silken fabric. She was nervous too. They would get this far before, but it always ended there, leaving them both frustrated and painfully unfulfilled. But she had made a solid promise to herself that this night was going to be the night. So with a deep breath, she let her hands circle his wrist and guided them down her body. Her breaths came in short, excited pants as she sat atop him, straddling his waist with her long legs. She took control of the night when she directed his hands to remain on her waist as she unhooked her bra. She let the material slowly slide down her arms and drop on his chest. Forcing her heart back down her throat, she took his hands again and brought them to her aching nipples. His thumbs brushed over them and then his mouth followed. She threw her head back in ecstasy and held his head close to her chest, biting her lip to keep herself from whimpering. Something primitive and needy was clawing its way to be free and all her thoughts turned primal. She reached between their bodies and grabbed him there, hard and waiting for her. He hissed something between his teeth but Ino was in total control and pressed his shaft between her moist folds. He stiffened when she rocked on him, taking his tip inside of her, testing how big he was compared to her throbbing opening. Inch by agonizing inch, she moved slowly until he was at the threshold of her virginal barrier.

"We can stop." Sasuke breathed his face taunt. But that would be so hard for him, she knew. She was the one who took them this far and she didn't want to stop.

"No." She braced her hands on his shoulder and lifted her hips. "I want this to happen. Please Sasuke." She cried out when he trust forward, impaling her to the hilt. She bit her lip hard, trying to relax her body, trying to get over the pain. The burning sensation throbbed hotly, but she finally took an experimental rock and found that…it wasn't so bad now. The hard part was done, but they still went slow. Not just for her sake, but for Sasuke's as well since it was his first time too. The awkward fumbling of inexperience was gone the third time they did it that night.

XOXO

She would have liked to think that since she and Sasuke were in a more intimate relationship he would stop being so possessive and domineering but unfortunately, it wasn't the case. If anything his attitude became worse. He was even shouldering his way into her time she spent with Shikamaru and Choji. She didn't know how many time she told him that they were nothing but friends to her. She explained that they were like brothers and nothing more. After all, she knew both Shikamaru and Choji from when they were in diapers. She was only a day younger that Shikamaru and their fathers were longtime childhood friends. Sometimes her mom would joke and say that her dad's bromance with Shikaku and Choza would outlive their marriage and that thought made her insecure.

She was close with her mom, but she didn't tell her exactly who she was dating in fear that she would do something to embarrass her in front of Sasuke. After all, he was an Uchiha, one of the richest families in all of Fire Country.

When she found out about it, she was speechless to say the least. After the initial shock, she exploded of course. How dare he keep something like this from her!? She didn't talk to him for a whole week after. Then one day Itachi was waiting for her after taijutsu practice and practically purred at Kakashi-sensei and Neji that he was going to take her home.

"I'll be fine." She assured them with a little smile and they left her alone with Itachi reluctantly. After she felt that they were alone she folded her arms in front of her, unable to summon her previous anger. It had been a whole week and she had missed Sasuke so much. But her pride made it impossible for her to call him or see him. Sasuke was like her too. Prideful. So she wasn't very surprised to see Itachi here.

The older Uchiha stood in front of her, a soft look on his face and curled a finger at her to tell her to follow him. They ended up in a park not far from the dojo. It was night, but the soft glow of a nearby convenience store granted them some light. She sank into a swing, leaving her yellow duffle bag with her workout clothes next to her in the sand. For a long while they just sat in silence until Itachi's kind voice finally broke through. "Ino, I assume you know why I am here."

Because Sasuke wouldn't come himself she thought dejectedly, looking down at the circle pattern she was making in the sand with the tip of her shoe. "I can guess." She murmured. Both of Itachi's hand caught the swing and brought it to a jolting halt and she looked up. Her blue eyes met his serious dark ones. She had missed him too. She missed talking with him late in the night on the phone and missed going on their little coffee date this past Sunday. Slowly, he squatted in front of her, looking out of place in this playground with a suit and tie on. But she had rarely seen him wear anything else because he worked so much. Even his 'relaxed' style had to have a jacket and dress pants.

"Things are different for me and Sasuke." He began softly, his eye trained on her. "We always had bad luck when it came to women. They hear what family we are from and all of the sudden, they're in love."

Ino snorted lightly. That was not her and Sasuke's case. They had been friend a good seven months before anything romantic developed between them. He had been guarded about his life and she learned early on not to ask about it lest he get into one of his broody moods. She knew that Sasuke and Itachi were wealthier than her. Sasuke went to the top private school in all of Fire County. And the cars and motorcycles they drove were probably worth more than her house and the flower shop put together. Their clothes alone screamed money but they never made her feel awkward about her status as a middle class citizen. Maybe she was a little off put when Sasuke would say something demeaning about her public education, but she knew that it was just playtalk for him.

"It's been almost a year since we met. When were you guys going to tell me?" She asked quietly.

"When we trusted you." Itachi said bluntly then his face softened and he shook the swing gently. "Ino, we trust you."

After that, she broke down and called Sasuke that night. After his bedtime. He answered after the first ring.

Now, with everything out in the open between them, Ino relaxed a bit. She didn't tell anyone exactly who she was dating but her friends knew she was seeing someone. Secrets. Ino Yamanaka liked secrets. Secrets about herself were the most enjoyable.

She often met up with Shikamaru and Choji, but today, Sakura was in town and Ino set aside some time to meet with her. They were in a quaint bakery that afternoon. "Ino! When did you get that gorgeous bracelet? Let me see! It's a memory charm right?" Sakura wasted no time with pleasantries and clasped Ino's hand into hers, practically yanking her across the table.

"Oh my gods! These are custom charms aren't they?" Her sparking jade eyes had stars in them. Ino smirked behind her cappuccino cup, content to hear Sakura's cooing over her latest gift. "It's from that guy huh? The one you won't let me meet?" She made a small whining noise in the back of her throat. "Can't you at least tell me his name? Do I know him?" She gave a pleading expression.

If Ino told her Sasuke's name, she would know for sure who he was. All of Fire Country knew his family and there were hundreds of publications on that family's two drop dead gorgeous sons. She giggled to herself. And one of them was hers.

"Maybe someday. I want to keep our relationship out of the public eye right now." She said with a small shrug, flipping her long blonde hair behind her shoulder.

Sakura latched on to that information. She had always been a bright girl. "So he's famous? Ohhh I'm so jealous!" She let Ino have her hand back and took a petite sip of her latte, eyes sparkling with unsaid fantasies. "I wish I knew someone famous. My mother practically keeps me under lock and key. I had to lie and say I was going to harp practice today in order to meet you."

Ino's smugness faded when she heard Sakura's sad sigh. With long glossy pink hair parted to the side with a little black bow, Ino thought back to the time she first gave Sakura a red ribbon and began their friendship. Back then, Sakura had been a shy child who had a hard time adjusting to her new school. She only had her mom at the time and came from some back water country. Often, some of the kids would mock her for only having one parent and dressing in thrift store bought clothes. Ino had put a stop to that when she saw her crying in the bathroom. They had been good friends until her mother married and moved away. Now she was prim and proper with more confidence, but still very innocent.

She was dressed demurely in a blushing peach wrap dress and white ballerina style flats. Her long pink hair fell down her back, held in place by that black bow. Even her forehead was behaving itself. She wore little make-up, clear gloss, soft blush and mascara. Ever the little princess her overbearing mother groomed her to be. Her back was straight, ankles crossed and her hands folded neatly in her lap.

"I'm surprised that she hasn't put a dermal GPS tracker on you yet." Ino muttered, crossing her long legs and leaning back in her chair, While Sakura was dressed like a church maiden, Ino was in a more provocative attire. Dark wash skinny jeans with a toga like powder blue tunic and black high heels. Her hair was in a high ponytail, bangs that usually hung in her right eye were tucked behind her ear with a sapphire jeweled beret. Her lips were painted watermelon punch and she wore heavier make-up, dramatically making her blue eyes glow.

Each girl was beautiful in one extreme or another. The waiter even stuttered that their drinks were on him when they ordered. Sakura had blushed at the unhidden admiration but Ino tossed him a saucy smile, giggling at the flaming flush that spread across his boyish face.

"She's that way because I'm her only child." Sakura defended her mother.

"I guess." Ino said in a mumbled though she suspected that Sakura didn't truly believe that.

Sakura sighed. "I miss going to the same school as you. We always hung out and now we only see each other when I'm in town. Which isn't very often."

Ino smiled softly. "Yeah. Have you picked a college yet?" She changed the subject to change the mood.

Sakura nodded. "I'm going to Fire Medical, then interning at Leaf's main hospital. My mom talked with the president herself. You know who that is right? Tsunade Senju. The Tsunade Senju! The most famous female doctor in all of Fire Country!" She exclaimed happily. "In just five years, I'll be able to do my PHD and then three more years and I'll be Dr. Haruno! Can you imagine?"

Ino grinned. "I can. You'll be a great doctor." She was proud that Sakura had her mind set. If it had been up to Sakura's mother, she would just be shuffled off to some rich family as a trophy wife. Sakura was too smart for that. Wanting to be a doctor was the only thing Sakura fought tooth and nail with her mom about and apparently, she had won the fight.

"So tell me Sakura, is there anyone you're dating or are interested in?" Ino raised a brow, a teasing grin on her lips.

Sakura blushed and looked away. "Well, there is someone I like but I never talked with him before. He goes to my school." She sighed, her fingers fidgeting with her coffee cup. "But word is that he already has a girlfriend."

"You never talked to him and you like him? Why? Is he really cute?" Ino asked, dabbing her finger in her melting whipped cream.

Sakura giggled. "Now that you say it that way, I sound like a little girl don't I? But yes, he's really cute and well to do. A lot of girls like him and were most heartbroken when they learned he might have a girlfriend. His brother even had to hire some personal bodyguards for him so he wouldn't be assaulted on school grounds by those crazy chicks!" At Ino skeptical look she spoke up. "Seriously! They're crazy! There are like five cults at the school devoted to him and his best friend." She snorted, her eyes sparkling merrily. "I wouldn't be at all surprised if they performed the occasional blood ritual time to time in an attempt to gain their favor."

Ino threw back her head and laughed. "So his best friend is pretty cute too?"

Sakura grinned widely. "He's popular with the public. Some of the kids going there have acted in some dramas so their faces are well known." She explained.

Ino nodded. "So besides these totally awesome hot guys, there is no one else?"

Again, Sakura blushed. "Well, there is Sai." She admitted shyly.

"Sai? Who is he? Have you talked with him?"

Sakura smiled happily. "I talk to him all the time! He's a really amazing artist, and he's so serious about his work. When a new art museum or exhibit opens, we always go together."

Ino leaned back in her chair. "So why aren't you dating him then, if you like him so much? Your mother?" She asked, holding her cup to her mouth.

Sakura's pretty face fell a little. "She's not the only one. You see, Sai is like my cousin."

Ino choked on her warm drink and grabbed a handful of napkins to press to her mouth. "W-what?" She exclaimed and then realized that she said that a bit too loudly and lowered her head and voice. "What? You like your cousin?"

Sakura looked around uneasily. Luckily, there were only a few people in the bakery and they sat far away from them. "Ino! It's not like we're blood related!" She hissed. "He's my stepfather's nephew! We're only related through marriage."

Ino felt her heart calm it's self at Sakura's revelation. "Oh gods, I was totally freaking out." She breathed.

Sakura looked amused. "See. That's the same reaction I get from my mom."

Ino grimaced. "Sorry. So, you like this Sai, but your mom is horrified because he's you cousin."

"Cousin by marriage." Sakura pressed with a tongue cluck. She pouted and leaned back in her chair with folded arms. "I like him a lot, but she always finds a way to keep us from seeing each other."

"Does Sai know you like him?" Ino asked.

"I don't know. I think he does." Sakura explained slowly. "I mean there are times when we…you know…" She trailed off, a blush staining her cheeks.

"When you…" Ino coached out from her.

"Held hands."

Groan. Here she was going to tell Sakura how far her relationship had progressed, but the pink haired girl was just too innocent to think that holding hands was scandalous. But it was nice to see that people like Sakura still existed in their world.

"You don't hold hands with just anyone." Sakura continued. "And we tell each other things that we never tell anyone else." Sakura paused, eyes widening. "I mean, I tell him all the things I tell you!" She hastily corrected. "And he tells me things he never tells anyone else. He has a hard time making friends because he's so quiet. Ino, do you think it's crazy that I like him?"

She looks so torn and confused, Ino thought. "It's not crazy to like someone. Even if he's your cousin by marriage. You're right. He's not blood related to you."

Sakura's jade eyes darkened and her eyelashes lowered a bit. "But no one in my family would approve of us getting together. My parents, and grandparents and aunts and uncles. They all see the same thing my mom sees. Sai and I…"

Ino wanted to say screw them, but knew that wasn't going to help the situation. Sakura was really concerned about what people thought of her. It was one of her major insecurities. What her mom thought and said was important to her too and try as she might, Ino could never break that kind of hold Sakura's mom had on her childhood friend.

"Are we hopeless?" Sakura peered up at her with vulnerable eyes making Ino's chest tighten with emotion.

"Sakura, love is never hopeless." Ino finally said. "And you're smart, if you want to be with Sai, I know you'll find a way. Don't give up because of what people say. But before you go all out, you have to make sure that this guy Sai is worth it. I'm not going to lie, it sounds like it's going to be a hard road for you."

Sakura looked down at her hands. "I think he's worth it." She looked up, a certain light shining in her pretty jade eyes.

XOXO

Itachi sat impassively in his plush leather chair, half listening to the meeting he was in. In the large room with the shiny horseshoe table, an employee was babbling on and on about their current stock prices and how well and unwell the various businesses in the vast Uchiha empire were doing. He felt eyes on him and looked to see his father watching him, irritated by his disinterest. So Itachi straightened and paid more attention, lest he get an earful later about his heir responsibility and what not.

"After careful and deliberate consideration we have decided to test a new skin care product in our smaller stores." The nameless man clicked through his power point presentation efficiently and a picture came up of a tall red headed woman. "This is Sami Haruno, owner of Illuminated Skin Care. We have a short term contract with her to test the market with her all natural product. Sales of this product will determine if we wish offer a permanent contract." He said hurriedly and then clicked on to his next slide. "Developers of Senji River Front have…" Itachi lost interest again, but made sure that he pretended to look like he was paying attention. He knew all of this already but made a show of coming to these meetings to keep his father placid.

After it ended, he was roped into following his father into his private office with a senior member of the board. Itachi grew wary. If he could help it, Fugaku Uchiha avidly avoided being in the same room with this one such member. His Uncle, Madara Uchiha.

A tall imposing figure, Madara Uchiha was his father's uncle, brother to his late grandfather, Izuna Uchiha. Itachi had seen pictures of the two growing up and thought that Sasuke looked so much like their grandfather. He had died ten years ago from bone cancer and it had devastated his father. Itachi knew his grandfather and uncle had a fierce rivalry when they were growing up and it only continued when they were older and building the Uchiha Empire. He became head of the clan despite Madara being the oldest because he had secured a male heir first. Itachi and Sasuke's father, Fugaku.

Madara's first wife had been found to be infertile and they divorced ten years after marriage. His second, much younger wife was the one who gave Madara his two sons, Obito and Shisui. He didn't know who the two got their personalities from. Madara was so serious, conniving, intelligent, and ambitious. Their mother was a beautiful, quiet woman, a docile gently bred elitist that had no interests Itachi cared to explore other than take care of the house and play her part of wealthy matriarch. Obito was a young man that had a good sense of humor and never took a lot of things seriously. He was smart, but clumsy and made friends easily and was loyal to them. His best friend was a laid back, absent minded closet porn freak who came from a well-known military family, Kakashi Hatake.

Shisui was the youngest heir to Madara Uchiha and the person closets to Itachi after Sasuke. If Obito didn't take after Madara, Shisui was the polar opposite of his father. Good hearted, cocky and the biggest flirt in Fire Country, Shisui was the epitome of flamboyant playboy. He's what kept Itachi from getting to serious and always looked on the bright side of things. He had no problem spending the clan's money but Madara found it difficult to get him interested in the business that made that money.

Both Obito and Shisui had high degrees and were well traveled but it seemed like they didn't plan on settling down and providing Madara with grandsons anytime soon which irked his Uncle to no end and often had the three of them coming to blows. Madara would try and cut them off, but those two always had back up money and rich girlfriends that provided them with everything they wanted. So he gave up after a while but Itachi had not doubt that he was quietly fuming, planning and plotting to get his two sons to heel to his ambitions and take over the Uchiha's Clan Business.

But his father was going to hold on to his position, whatever it took. He was just as ruthless as Madara and there was no stopping him. Many times Itachi disapproved of his father's methods. So much so that he felt like being a part of the company was tainting him. Slowly, he was moving away from his heir responsibilities, slowly taking himself away from the company. He didn't work as often as he did when he first graduated from Mist University. He didn't make important decisions if he could help it and secretly started investing in places his father knew nothing about. But he feared the more he diverged from the path his father had laid out for him, the more Sasuke would suffer.

Unlike Itachi, Sasuke craved any and all attention their father gave him. For some reason, his younger brother felt like he was lacking in so many ways and was in silent competition with Itachi. He saw it all the time, even the classes Sasuke was taking were the exact ones Itachi took when he was in high school and he had plans of gaining his Masters in business and land management like Itachi did as well. All, to please their father. It was another reason Itachi disliked him.

"Hold my calls." Fugaku sternly snapped at his secretary and closed the door to his office with a flick of his wrist.

"Something the matter Nephew? You seem more sour than usual." Madara sat first, leaning comfortably in the posh leather chair in front of his father's desk. He was a fit man with a thick mane of long black spiky hair that didn't have a hint of silver in it despite his age. He was fair skinned with dark black eyes like most of the Uchiha.

His father was a tall man with a stern face. His hair was short and sometimes fell into his eyes. It always looked like he had a permanent scowl and many were intimidated by his voice alone. "We have a problem. The tenets of Tano Street are refusing to move. Our plans for demolishing that disgusting little town are being put on hold, costing us valuable time and money."

Itachi waited for his father to sit in the head chair, arranged in a U shape before sitting himself.

Madara frowned. "What's the problem?"

Fugaku sighed impatiently. "Money, what else?"

"Did you offer them fair compensation for their homes and land?" Itachi asked, already knowing the answer.

Fugaku shot him a glare. "They should be grateful that we are even offering them compensation! Their shanty village is worth stones!"

Madara sighed loudly, "So? What are you going to do about it? Offer them more?"

To that, Fugaku snorted. "No. If they are not going to move willingly, then I am forced to take other actions. Don't go to Tano or Main Crossroads anytime soon. There will be some unrest, but the problem should be taken care of. All those damn protesters will be put back into their pathetic places."

Itachi suppressed a scowl that was threatening to crease his face. A trickle of unease worked its way through his gut. The last time his father 'handled' protesters, a few people had gone missing and there were some suspicious fires. Like the clan needed that kind of shadow again, Itachi thought, but didn't say anything. He knew it wouldn't do any good.

"Then we'll leave it in your hands Nephew. If you'll excuse me." Madara left without a word and Itachi stood, wanting desperately to escape his father's office before he started bringing up questions. The main one, "when are you going to get married?"

"Please excuse me father, but I am meeting with a representative from Osai Construction." A lie, but his father didn't need to know that.

"Oh? Tell me how it goes then." He dismissed him and Itachi bowed respectively before leaving.

He walked back to his office, taking out his phone when he felt it vibrate. Shisui had left him a voicemail but he would have to get back to him. He really did have a busy schedule but it had nothing to do with the Uchiha Clan.

XOXO

Shisui Uchiha walked quietly behind two teenagers on a date. He had been stalking them for two hours and found it vastly amusing and got a kick of adrenaline from it. His little cousin was being dragged place to place by an energetic bubbly blonde and Shisui was smirking. Sasuke was so…so…whipped! He thought he'd never see the day! It had been a year since he first saw them together, acting the same way but he guessed things would never change.

Sasuke was a quiet child, cocky and confident that didn't think much about the opposite sex before. He never showed any interest in girls which made him a bit concerned seeing that teenage, hormonal boys always thought about girls. But he guessed Sasuke and Itachi were cut from a different stock of men. Both brothers were always guarded when it came to women and never got into relationships. Itachi was the same age as Shisui but he only got involved with maybe two women…maybe. Shisui didn't really know. Shisui on the other hand had too many to count. Currently, he was involved with three pretty things.

"You like these stores? Every stand we've visited sell the same things. Cheap and defective." He heard Sasuke drawl which earned a prompt slap on the arm when he flicked over a wooden doll.

"Shut up or I'll ditch you." Shisui saw her smirk. "I see about ten girls who would pounce on you as soon as I leave."

Sasuke looked around suspiciously, thoroughly wary. He was out of his element, Shisui thought, busying himself with a rack of sunglasses when Sasuke's eyes swept his way.

"Are you looking for something particular? You said you wanted to shop. Shopping means buying things and so far you've only…browsed." Shisui smiled at the resignation in his little cousin's voice.

"He's so whipped." He muttered to himself jovially.

"Talking to ourselves are we?" Shisui jumped at the voice, rattling the small booth he was at. He found himself peering into dark grey eyes filled with mirth. "Jumpy aren't we?" She murmured, stepping close. Her short black hair sparkled in the sunlight like polished ebony.

"A-Anko. What are you doing here?"

She smiled that smile that made his blood run hot and the light breeze caught onto her seductive smell. Anko always made him feel like he was alive and he wanted her every time he saw her.

She was dressed in a provocative low plunge black shirt and skin tight black jeans, with black combat boots and a long tan trench. His eyes wandered down her luscious frame with unhidden appreciation and desire. She let him feast on her for a while before she held up a few plastic bags in front of her.

"Shopping. What are you doing here? It's not exactly your scene pretty boy." She lifted an eyebrow.

"I like to…explore." He said slowly, a wolfish smile appearing. She smiled back, a knowing super sexy smile that promised so many things. So many dirty, naughty things.

"Mmmm. Don't I know." She replied back saucily before stepping away. "See you." She passed him, a little sway to her hips that made him lick his lips.

"Anko! Wait!" He called out, catching up to her. She turned to look at him, still walking. He slipped his arm around his waist, his fingers stroking her waist. "Do you…"

"Shisui, I know you too well. How many do you have right now? Don't lie." He felt his mood slip a little in disappointment.

"Three." He admitted truthfully.

She stopped and he pulled her closer to him. He managed to nuzzle her neck before she twisted from his embrace and grasped his wrist, pushing his hand forward painfully. Shisui winced and Anko pulled him close with her other hand. For a moment, he felt euphoria…she was going to kiss him but her lips stopped mere millimeters from his. He could feel her breath on his face, smell her perfume. "You know the rules." She whispered before letting him go. She took a few steps backwards, her dark smoldering eyes burning into his and then turned from him. He watched her get lost in the crowd and his heart sank. Yes, he knew the rules.

A child jostled him from behind and Shisui remembered the reason he was here. Cursing, he jogged ahead, hoping to catch Sasuke's trail. Luckily the exchange he had with Anko didn't detour him far from his little cousin. He spotted them at an ice cream stand. Sasuke was trying to get away from the strawberry cone the blonde was pushing into his face playfully.

All of the sudden, there was an earsplitting boom and instinctively he shielded his face from the bright flash of fire that followed to the west of where he was. The crowded market place was filled with smoke and people ran every which way in screams and shouts of fright. He looked beyond the jumble of feet and legs to see Sasuke hovering protectively over the frighten blonde. Shisui wanted to get to them, but someone tripped over him and his skull hit the sidewalk. Stars danced in his eyes and his head throbbed. When he opened his eyes he saw that Sasuke and his girlfriend were gone. Panicked, he pushed the groaning overweight male merchant from him and staggered to his feet.

Where did they go? He desperately scanned the people, calling out Sasuke's name. A loud scream made him turn and he saw them there, huddled next to a building as people ran passed them. The girl was clinging to Sasuke's waist and he held her close. He was saying something to her and she was nodding along. Beyond them, he saw huge flames crawl over the old buildings of Main Crossroads. His eyes burned from the smoke and he put his arm over his nose and plunged ahead, through the scrambling wave of panicked people.

"Sasuke!" He called out and his cousin turned to the sound of his name.

His eyes widened when he saw him. "Shisui?" Sasuke called out. "What are you doing here?" He asked when Shisui reached his side. "Do you know what's going on? Where did that explosion come from?"

"From West Crossroads, next to Di Ribbons." Someone, an older woman said with black soot across her white withered face. "There were these men with suits that came with black cars yelling something about clearing out the plaza."

That sounded familiar. Something similar happened three years ago when the Uchiha Clan secured some land in another small village.

"Tell me, what color were their ties?" Shisui asked. The old woman's eyes widened in surprise.

Th-their ties?"

Shisui grabbed the woman's shoulders and gave them an encouraging squeeze. "It's important." Please, he mentally prayed. Not…

"Red. They were red." She said. Shisui closed his eyes and blotted a curse that threatened to escape his lips.

"Why would the color of their ties matter? Do you know who started this fire Shisui?" Sasuke demanded.

Shisui ignored him and grabbed his cell from his pants pocket. Itachi was on his speed dial but there was no answer. "Call me back as soon as you get this." He hurriedly left a message, careful not to mention Itachi's name. "We need to get out of here. We have to go to the south exit." Shisui told the small group. He grabbed the old woman's fragile hand. "Please try and keep up." He told her.

She smiled and when she did, she looked years younger. "I still have some life in me young man. Don't worry." She assured, giving his hand a squeeze.

He led them through the thinning people, toward the South entrance of Main Crossroads. It was clogged with civilians when he got there, so he had to take a breath of patience and wait until they pushed their way through.

"Who are you calling?" He turned to see Sasuke talking to the blonde.

"My mom, she said…she said…" Her voice faltered and tears streamed down her cheeks. The small sliver slide phone in here hands shook. It was on speaker and all they heard was ringing.

"Call her later." Sasuke said, closing her phone but she slid it open again and jerked away from him.

"No! She's here! Somewhere here in Main Crossroads!" She cried and pressed redial. "I have to make sure she's okay!"

"Come on. Once we've cleared the crowed you can call again. But we have to move! The fire is spreading!" Sasuke said, grabbing her phone from her. Shisui pulled out his and tried to call Itachi again.

"But Sasuke—!"

"He's right! Come on, we're almost out of here!" The old lady pulled on Sasuke's girlfriend's arm. "Maybe she's out there waiting for you." She coached. The blonde sniffled and then nodded in consensus. They all managed to squeeze through the people and make it outside to the street. In the distance he could hear the shrill sirens of a fire truck and the police.

"What is it Shisui?" Itachi final answered and Shisui turned from the group.

"Itachi, did your father or my father call on The Enforcement?" He asked in a hiss.

The Enforcement was just a fancy title for the clan thugs that were hired if they needed muscle for something. Only his Uncle Fugaku and his father, Madara used them.

"Why? Where are you?" He heard the concern in Itachi's voice. Shisui tossed a glance over his shoulder to see that Sasuke and the old woman were dealing with the frightened blonde.

"Main Crossroads. Sasuke and his girlfriend are with me." He said in a low voice.

"Sasuke and Ino? Are they alright? Are you?"

Ino, so that was her name. "We're at the South entrance. There was a fire."

He heard Itachi curse. "I'm coming right now." And he hung up.

"Mom! Where are you?!" Apparently Ino had gotten a hold of her mother, but from her expression, it wasn't good news. "Mom? Mom? Mom!" She screamed into her phone and then dropped it and bolted from them.

"Ino!" Sasuke called out to her and followed. Shisui gave a look to the old woman and she smiled in understanding.

"Go. I'm fine here. Thank you for helping me escape."

Shisui smiled. "No problem." He said and left after Sasuke and Ino. They ran around the block, toward the West entrance. Here, the fire was out of control and he could hear the crack and moaning of the buildings as they buckled and fell from the disastrous flames licking the fading evening sky. The police and fire department were already there. The entrance, a tall decorated arch made of thick wood and metal had fire clawing up it. He knew it wouldn't stand for much longer and when it came down, the wall of cinderblocks would fall as well.

"Mom! Mom!" Ino was screaming, looking around in the chaotic sea of people for a familiar face. There were still people spilling from the burning market place. There was a loud groan and the first of the crispy arch fell.

"Ino! Ino! Get away from here! Get away!" They all heard the strangled sound of a woman calling out to the young blonde.

"Mom!" Ino cried out and ran to the people that were trapped behind the crumbling arch of West entrance. He saw a slender woman with fear in her eyes. Her long golden hair was black from the ash and her face red from the heat. She was trying to free herself from screaming middle age man who was insanely tearing through the trapped civilians on the other side of the arch.

"Stay back!" A firefighter yelled at her and caught the charging girl in his arms as she tried to run to her mother. Ino screamed and scratched him, trying to pry his arms from her waist. Sasuke grabbed for her and yanked her from the uniformed fireman.

"Ino! You have to let them get to her!" Sasuke said, shaking her by the shoulders. But Shisui knew…and Ino knew…

"Get back! It's falling!" A policeman yelled and the firemen backed away with their hose. It was like watching two trains about to hit head to head with one another…there was just no looking away. There was a loud popping and the loud roaring of the fire almost drowned out the horrified scream of the many on lookers who saw the last of the arch fall, bringing down the scorched cinderblock wall.

"No! No!" Ino was shrieking loudly, eyes big and round with disbelief and pain. It took everything Sasuke had to keep her in place. She was screaming and crying so loud his eardrums was vibrating. Her heart wrenching sobs was the only thing he could hear. He slowly moved his eyes from her to the pile of wood and stone that had trapped so many under its deadly weight. He could see limbs and hair tangled in the mess.

People…had just died before their eyes. The firemen managed to put out the fire pile that had buried so many but he knew it was too late. They were already pulling bodies from the wreckage, but they were all motionless and dead. The smell hit him and his stomach rolled.

"Don't look. Don't look." Sasuke softly said to her, holding her tighter to keep her standing. Shisui saw the sparkle of tears in his eyes before his cousin buried his face in her hair and rocked her back and forth. Shisui's throat tightened with emotion and he tried to swallow it. His phone was ringing and he numbly answered.

"Yeah?" His voice cracked and he cleared his throat. "We're at the West entrance." Two minutes later he saw Itachi run from his car, his dark blue jacket and hair flailing behind him.

"Shisui! What happened?" Itachi breathed as he neared.

Shisui shook his head sadly. "The Enforcement set the place on fire." He whispered to his cousin. "Ino's mom…didn't make it out." He gave a worried look to the pair, Sasuke and Ino clinging to each other. "She saw it all."

Itachi saw them and pushed past him but Shisui saw his face, pale and guilty. Sasuke watched his older brother approach and stopped rocking Ino. Itachi touched the top of her head and embraced her from behind. When she found out who it was she cried harder and both Sasuke and Itachi shared a look. Sasuke pressed her face in her shoulder and Itachi rested his cheek on top of her head. Shisui watched them, all three of them with dumbfounding attentiveness.

I wondered if she knows, he thought numbly, the smoke stinging his eyes…if this girl Ino knew that she had captured both Sasuke Uchiha and Itachi Uchiha's heart of hearts. He didn't know if he was happy or sad about it…