Chapter 1: Prologue: The News
Sakura Haruno was just an ordinary girl. There was nothing extraordinary about her. No super strength, no amazing powers, she was just Sakura, a senior at Konoha High School. Standing at about five-foot two, Sakura had short pink hair and beautiful green eyes. A small eyebrow piercing adorned her left brow and drew more attention to her beautiful face.
Sakura’s life was absolutely normal, a father on the controlling side and a dutiful mother. School was just reaching its first big break and everything was as it should be. That was, until the test came out positive.
Now Sakura and her boyfriend, Sasuke Uchiha, were sexually active just like many other couples. Sakura was on the pill so they hadn’t been using condoms, but she must have been distracted for something like this to have happened.
Her hands shook violently and the small stick fell to the floor. No. No, no, no, no, no. She couldn’t be, it wasn’t possible. There had to be some mistake, maybe a false positive?
“Forehead? You alright in there?” the voice of Ino Yamanaka, her best friend, called through the door. When Ino got no answer she pulled open the door and spotted Sakura clutching her knees to her chest and rocking back and forth by the bathtub. “Sakura?”
Wide, fearful green eyes stared up at the blonde and she looked to the small stick on the floor. Picking up the stick Ino noted the plus sign and tossed the stick into the trashcan. Without another word Ino enveloped the smaller girl in her arms and rocked with her. “Shhh. It’s going to be okay,” Ino repeated over and over, trying to calm the girl down. “You’re going to be okay. I won’t let anything happen to you,” Ino swore.
Sakura could only sob loudly and cling to her best friend. She was pregnant and she knew this would be hard. Not only would her father go crazy, Sasuke probably wouldn’t want the child. She still held hope in her heart that Sasuke would want the baby, but she didn’t put much stock behind it. Stupid rational mind of hers. She needed to make plans, but for now, she would just pour out all of her tears onto her best friend’s shoulder.
Later that night Sakura sat on the couch opposite her father’s chair. She fiddled with her hands nervously and Ino grabbed them in support.
Taking a deep breath to prepare herself she spoke. “Father?”
The man facing her nodded for her to continue.
A long silence filled the room before her father reacted. With six words he tore Sakura’s world apart, “Get out of my house, slut.”
Sakura barely registered what happened until she heard a loud SMACK! Refocusing her eyes she noticed Ino standing over her father. “How dare you, you pathetic piece of shit. Turning away your own flesh and blood like that,” Ino spat venomously. Without another word to the fuming man she turned to Sakura and grabbed her hand. “Where is your suitcase? I’m not letting you stay here.”
Sakura was still in mild shock and could only lead Ino to her suitcase and her room. The two girls set to getting all of Sakura’s things. Precious items, clothes, makeup, shoes, toiletries, the works. Once they had finished Ino pulled out her cell phone and hit speed dial. A short conversation later she sat with Sakura, not saying anything.
Sakura was determinedly not shedding a tear. If this was how he wanted it then so be it, she would leave his house. Sakura assumed Ino had called one of their friends and was proven correct when she heard raised voices downstairs and a large thud.
A spiky head of blonde hair appeared in the doorway and Sakura launched herself at her other best friend. Naruto could only hug the small girl to him and move out of the way so that Kiba and Sai could make it through the door with a few boxes.
Ino, Kiba and Sai set to work on packing the remainder of Sakura’s things while Naruto and the girl sat on her bed, not speaking. When the three finished Naruto handed Sakura back to Ino and helped the other boys load her things into his truck and Ino’s car. With everything situated they took off to Ino’s house.
Ino walked in and directed the boys to put Sakura’s things in her room as they would be sharing.
Suddenly a middle-aged blonde woman with a beautiful smile and brilliant blue eyes peeked out of the kitchen. With a raised brow she asked, “Moving someone in, Ino-chan?”
Ino nodded firmly to her mother, “Sakura. I refuse to let her stay in that man’s house.”
Sakura could no longer hold in her tears and with a heart-crushing wail she fell to her knees and sobbed. Ino’s mother Aya rushed to the girl’s side and wrapped her arms around the girl.
Sakura had been like another daughter to Inoichi and Aya. They both knew that her father was strict and controlling, so they often let her do what he wouldn’t. Aya said nothing, just held Sakura as the girl bawled her story out through hiccups, coughs and the occasional wipe of the nose.
With every word Aya grew more and more angered. Sakura was his daughter! How dare that pompous piece of shit! Oh that man was going to get a piece of her mind one way or another. First she needed to take care of Sakura.
Aya nodded to her silently tearful blonde daughter and they helped move the girl to Ino’s room where they tucked her into Ino’s bed and returned downstairs. Sakura had fallen asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.
Ino sat down at the dining room table across from Ino with a serious look on her usually smiling face. “We need to call your father.”
Nothing could have prepared Inoichi for the phone call he had just received. The utter fury in his wife’s voice floored him. Aya didn’t get angry, it just didn’t happen. She called, told him he needed to come home, and hung up.
With worry written all over his face Inoichi knocked on the door of his boss, Morino Ibiki. The man’s voice boomed for him to enter and Inoichi closed the door softly behind him.
Now Ibiki wasn’t a horrible man. He didn’t eat children, feed prisoners to other prisoners and he certainly wasn’t heartless. People just generally took one look at him and ran the other direction in fear. He was used to it, but it still kind of bothered him. He had never been the same since his wife and unborn child had been killed.
“What is it, Yamanaka?’ Ibiki questioned.
“I need to go home, sir,” Inoichi simply stated.
Ibiki noticed the worry on his subordinate’s face. This was odd. Inoichi was usually calm and collected, but now he seemed fidgety and nervous. “Why is it that you need to leave the station?”
Inoichi sighed, “I honestly don’t know. My wife just called and said I needed to be home. She sounded angry, Ibiki. Aya never gets angry.”
Ibiki raised a scarred brow and gestured to the phone, “Call her, I want to speak with her first.”
Inoichi paled slightly but dialed the number anyway. When the ringing began he handed Ibiki the phone and took three steps back.
“Yes?” came the strained voice of his wife.
“Mrs. Yamanaka? This is Morino Ibiki, I have with me your husband who has requested to leave. May I ask why?” Ibiki politely spoke.
All was silent for a moment before Aya spoke, “He has requested to leave because I told him to come home. We are having trouble and I need to speak with my husband. You have ten minutes to let my husband leave, and if he hasn’t I’m coming to get him. Is that understood, Chief of Interrogation Morino Ibiki?” Aya’s acidic tone had Inoichi’s eyes wide in shock and Ibiki’s were just wide.
Ibiki, fighting the urge to argue with the woman that had just ordered him around, but the look on Inoichi’s face kept him from it. “Yes, Mrs. Yamanaka.”
“Good,” and with that she hung up, leaving Ibiki with the dial tone in his ear.
“You may leave, Inoichi,” he stated as he looked at the phone with a perplexed expression..
Inoichi sighed in relief and thanked the larger man before making a hasty exit to his car. What could have his wife in such a state?
Inoichi could only sit still in his chair at the dining room table, unable to move from shock. Sakura was pregnant? And her father kicked her out? He loved Sakura; she was practically his other daughter! That was it; she wasn’t going back there again, ever.
Before he could state his opinion Ino spoke up, “She’s staying with us. I got the boys to help me move her stuff to my room.”
Inoichi smiled at his daughter; Ino didn’t have any siblings, so Sakura was incredibly special to her.
All three blonde heads turned when they heard a small thud and a mumbled curse. Sakura peeked around the corner of the stairs and smiled at the trio. “Hi,” she mumbled sleepily. Sakura made her way to the kitchen and poured a glass of milk for herself. After finishing her glass of milk she put it in the sink and plopped down at the table.
“Are you alright, honey?” Aya asked sweetly.
Sakura’s eye glistened for a moment before she composed herself. “I will be,” she stated determinedly. “I will be.”
Sasuke Uchiha sat in the living room of his parent’s house watching some trashy TV show. When he got bored watching that, he channel surfed until his mother poked her head into the room.
“Sasu-chan, how is Sakura-chan?” she asked pleasantly. Mikoto had always had a soft spot for the pink-haired girl. She was always respectful, but never a bore to have around.
“I assume she’s fine, Kaa-san. I haven’t spoken with her today yet,” he replied with boredom in his tone.
Mikoto harrumphed before grabbing the phone and dialing Sakura’s cell phone. If Sasuke wasn’t going to call Sakura then she was!
Sakura had just made her determined statement when her phone started to ring. She answered without looking at the caller ID, “Hello?”
“Sakura dear? It’s Mikoto. I was just wondering how you are, sweety. It’s been so long since we’ve gone to lunch or hung out,” came Mikoto’s sweet voice from the other side.
Sakura’s green eyes filled with tears and she choked up, unable to answer.
“Sakura? Honey, are you alright? Do you need me to come over?” Mikoto’s worry seeped into her motherly voice.
“Mikoto, I…. I need to speak with you and Sasuke. It’s important,” she finally managed to get out.
“Of course, dear. Not a problem at all, you can come over now if you like.”
Sakura wiped her eyes and agreed verbally before hanging up and turning to Ino. “Will you come with me? I should go myself, but I just don’t think I could handle it.” A small sob escaped her lips and she chided herself for her weakness.
Ino just hugged her best friend and nodded. Aya and Inoichi’s eyes softened at their daughter’s love for her best friend. Ino pulled away and wiped at Sakura’s tears. “Let’s go, shall we?”
The pinkette nodded and they departed the house.
Mikoto skipped to the door and opened it with a smile. “Oh! Ino-chan, I wasn’t expecting you. Please, come in!” She quickly led the girls to the living room and kicked Sasuke off the couch so that they could sit together.
Sakura sat in the middle seat flanked on her left by Ino and her right by Mikoto. Sasuke had resigned to sit in the arm chair on the other side of the living room.
Worried brown eyes searched Sakura’s face. “What’s wrong, my dear? Why have you been crying?
Sakura held back her impulse to burst into another round of tears and took a deep breath. “Mikoto, Sasuke, I’ve just recently found out some very important news.”
Mikoto’s curiosity showed on her lovely features and Sasuke incline his head toward his girlfriend slightly.
Sakura wrung her hands nervously and nearly jumped out of her skin at Mikoto’s excited squeal. “I’m going to be a grandmother!” The petite woman smothered Sakura in hugs and love that brought tears of joy to the girl’s eyes.
“You’re not angry?”
“Angry? I’ll admit I’m a little disappointed that you’re so young, but angry? No, you’re so sweet and such a dear, Sakura. You’ve been like a daughter to me, even before you and my Sasuke started dating.”
Speaking of Sasuke, Ino had been watching his expression the entire time and she was not pleased. His countenance had gone from shock to anger to disgust. His cold voice cut through his mother’s happiness. “Get rid of it.”
Sakura froze and Mikoto looked horrified at her son. “W…what?” Sakura’s fearful voice asked.
“I will not have some bastard child of mine in this world. Get. Rid. Of. It.”
Mikoto’s own expression had gone from joy to anger and she and Ino got up simultaneously. Both women walked in tandem and slapped the boy across the face. They started yelling at him and smacking him more when Sakura spoke up.
“Stop,” she said quietly and the two women turned back to her. “He has his own opinion, but I will not be killing this child. I don’t care if it isn’t even alive yet, I am keeping this so called bastard child and he will just live with the repercussions.” She stood and looked Sasuke straight in his black eyes before stating with venom, “It takes two to tango, Uchiha. I was not alone in this, but you can damn sure bet you will have nothing to do with this child’s life.”
Sakura turned to Ino and Mikoto and smiled at the two before hugging them tightly. “Mikoto, I would be honored if you would remained the child’s grandmother. You’ve always been more of a mother to me than my own has and it would just mean so much to me.”
Tears travelled down the older woman’s cheeks and she nodded happily. “Of course I will, dear. I won’t abandon my grandchild.” Sakura was about to reply with a thank you when she yawned loudly. Mikoto giggled, “You should get home, dear. I’m sure it’s been a taxing day for you. Be sure to keep me informed and we should do lunch sometime!”
Sakura sleepily nodded and was lead out by Ino.
Mikoto turned viciously on her son and slapped him once more, for good measure. She then said, “Your father would be so ashamed of you,” and marched upstairs to her room.
Sasuke held his cheek for a moment before kicking the stone wall. “Fuck!” he cursed as he hopped around on one foot.
An evil cackled sounded in his head along with something that sounded eerily like, “Karma’s a bitch, ain’t it?”
Chapter 2: Chapter One: Four Months Later
Four months later
Sakura sat at Ichiraku’s with Mikoto and Ino, looking at baby names.
“Oooh, look at this one, Forehead! Aiko is such a pretty name,” Ino gushed.
“I don’t even know what the sex is yet, Pig!” Sakura replied with a smile before digging into her second bowl of ramen.
Mikoto laughed at the two girls as she ate her ramen. She was still severely disappointed in her son and couldn’t believe he’d do something as despicable as that. She looked at her watch and interrupted the two teens, “It’s time for the doctor’s appointment girls.”
Sakura and Ino turned to Mikoto and grinned excitedly, they loved seeing the sonograms. “Let’s go!” They called out together.
Sasuke sat at the mall with his friends, just chilling and eating some grub when a young woman walked by with a stroller. She was constantly cooing at the sleeping infant in the stroller and a large happy smile covered her face.
A grimace covered his features and he looked away only to see a small memorial with a picture of a serious-looking man on it. The man had dark hair and somber eyes. The memorial plaque read:
Killed in the Shooting of Konoha
Beloved husband, father and hero.
Sasuke thought back to what his mother had said. She had said his father would be ashamed of him. Was she right?
Of course she was, his father had been an honorable police chief. Sasuke could already feel the regret but he repressed it. There was no way he would feel bad for what he had done. His pride was too precious.
A black-haired woman peeked her head through the door of Sakura’s check-up room. “Hello, Sakura,” she said before stepping inside and closing the door. The woman looked at her clipboard and smiled up at the teen, “Here for another sonogram, eh? Well let’s get this thing started, shall we?”
Sakura gasped as the cool gel was spread over her noticeable baby bump. “I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that.”
Mikoto and Ino laughed quietly at Sakura’s statement and looked up at the monitor. A black and white image came into view and small tears sprung to the eyes of the three women. There showed an image of the fetus. When asked if she wanted a picture she smiled and nodded excitedly.
“Do you want to know the sex of the baby?” Shizune asked as per protocol.
Sakura grinned and nodded again. She had always wanted to know the sex of the baby so she could pick the perfect name.
A soft smile spread over the tech’s face and she turned to Sakura. “It’s a boy. You’re going to have a boy.”
Tears streamed down Sakura’s face and she grabbed Ino and Mikoto’s hands. She could only smile throughout the process of getting cleaned up and ready to leave. The pinkette wrapped Shizune in a hug before she left.
All was once again right in her world as she and Ino were driven by Mikoto to the Uchiha household for lunch. They were laughing and discussing baby names when Ino’s cell phone started blasting “What the Hell” by Avril Lavigne.
“Yeller?” the blonde called into her phone with a smile on her face.
“Ino, you, Sakura, and Mikoto need to come by the flower shop. We have something very important to discuss,” her mother’s distressed tone wiped the smile right off Ino’s face.
“Sure thing, Mom. We’ll be right over.” Ino hung up and turned to Sakura and Mikoto who were still talking about baby names. “We have to go. Mom wants all of us at the shop, says it’s important and not the good kind of important.”
Sakura’s face scrunched up in worry and Mikoto’s eyes betrayed her own as they got ready to leave.
What could it possibly be now?
Aya would have been wringing her hands in worry for Sakura had the current person in her company not been present.
Sakura’s father sat across from her at the Yamanaka dinner table above the flower shop while they awaited the arrival of Sakura.
The sound of the door chime accompanied by Ino calling out to her mother greeted the two adults.
“I’m in the dining room, Ino-chan.”
Ino walked into the dining room with Sakura and Mikoto in tow and immediately stiffened.
“What is he doing here?” she seethed, her blue eyes shining in rage.
“I’ll just cut to the chase,” the man said. With a sneer he handed Sakura a slip of paper, “This is your boarding pass and flight information. Your flight leaves tomorrow afternoon. I will not risk any more shame brought on my family just because you couldn’t keep your legs closed.” The disgust he felt was palpable.
Sakura was in shock. She couldn’t move, she couldn’t speak, she could hardly even think.
Mikoto slid forward silently and stared straight up into the foul man’s eyes. “You are a despicable piece of filth. You do not deserve a beautiful daughter such as Sakura,” she spat on his face. “You are worthless and trash.”
Aya stood from the table, her expression barely readable and spoke curtly, “Get out of my shop and out of my house.”
Sakura’s father sneered at her, “You can’t kick me out! That’s against the law!”
Aya’s smirk was as cold as her cobalt eyes. “This is a privately own store and home. I am well within my rights to shoot trespassers. You are trespassing on private property.” She sent a glare at him that could freeze hell over and walked to a cabinet. She returned to her previous position holding a .380 pistol. “I repeat, get out of my shop.”
The disgusting man ran out the door but not before one more sneer in Sakura’s direction.
Said pink-haired girl couldn’t take it anymore and burst into tears. Mikoto caught her before she could fall and slid gracefully to the floor with her, holding her close to comfort her.
Mikoto cooed at the small distressed girl while brushing her fingers through the soft pink strands.
Once Sakura had calmed down enough Ino picked up the flight information, determined to throw it in the trash when a small vulnerable voice stopped her.
“Ino, no.” Sakura looked at the three women and gave a heavy-hearted sigh. “He’ll never stop. He might even do something extreme, like tell the authorities you kidnapped me. I can’t let that happen. I love you too much,” she said, obviously heartbroken. She gathered her composure and said steadily, “I’ll go.”
Mikoto and Aya were both saddened and surprised by Sakura’s bold and mature statement.
“Are you sure, Sakura?” Aya asked carefully.
Sakura nodded, her visage full of determination.
Ino teared up, knowing she wouldn’t be able to go with Sakura. The blonde launched herself at Sakura and sniffled into her shoulder, “Forehead, you better skype me everyday and keep me updated and send me pictures and-and call me and-and—“
“I will, Ino-pig. I will,” Sakura cut her best friend off and hugged her tightly, her own tears gathering once more in her emerald orbs.
Mikoto and Aya sniffled at the sight and smiled at each other. The two girls really were best friends.
Ino pulled away and both girls dried their eyes with small laughs. “Well, let’s at least find out where you’re headed,” she said with a bittersweet smile. She bent down to pick up the flight information and nearly dropped it once she saw the arrival location.
“What is it?” Sakura asked worriedly. “Where am I going?”
Ino’s voice betrayed her shock as she stuttered out, “A-Ame?!”
Mikoto’s eyes grew and a small smile worked its way onto her face. “That won’t be too bad then,” she stated cheerily.
Sakura turned to the older woman with a curious expression. “What makes you say that?” she asked warily.
A bright grin spread its way across Mikoto’s lips before she replied, “I know someone you can stay with.”
One thought was present in the other three women’s minds: Who ya gonna call?
A loud and lively meal was suddenly interrupted by the song S.E.X. by Nickelback blaring from a cell phone.
A light-haired man with surprisingly magenta eyes answered said cell phone. “Hai? What the fuck is it you need?” he asked rudely.
“Now, now HIdan. We’ve talked about your cursing when you speak to me,” the calm voice of Mikoto came from the other end of the line.
Hidan paled a little and stuttered an apology, “S-Sorry Mikoto-san. What is it exactly that you’re calling for, ma’am?”
“Thank you, Hidan-kun. Would you please hand the phone to Itachi for me?”
“Sure thing, Mikoto-san,” Hidan replied before handing the phone to the Uchiha.
“Yes, Mother?” Itachi asked politely in his smooth tenor tone.
“I need you to do me a favor.” Itachi’s brow rose at this. “You remember when I told you of the incident with your otouto’s girlfriend?” Itachi made a sound of confirmation. “She has to go to Amegakure and I need you to give her a place to live. I know you have room in that giant house that you and your friends live in. I can even talk to that Pein boy if necessary, but mark my words Itachi-chan. She will be staying there. Am I understood?”
Itachi stood and walked to the main office of the house. “Yes, Mother. I will have you speak with Pein just to be sure though.” He rapped his knuckles on the dark wooden door and waited.
A sound of acknowledgement allowed him to enter and he held the phone out to the orange-haired man behind the oak desk. “It’s my Mother,” were his only words of explanation.
Pein took the cell phone and spoke in dulcet tones with Mikoto. “What is it Mikoto-san?”
“I need you to allow a girl to stay with you in your house. She is pregnant and her father is a useless piece of shit. She is being sent to Ame. She will have money enough to keep herself afloat, but I expect her to be well-fed and clothed. Are we in agreement, Pein-kun?” Mikoto’s voice was hard, offering no room for argument.
Pein nodded an affirmative before replying into the receiver, “Of course, Mikoto-san. There is no problem with what you have mentioned.”
“Thank you, Pein-kun. This means so much to me. I’ll be sure to send you all some good sweets before long.”
They ended the conversation and Pein handed the phone back to the raven-haired man standing in front of him. “Inform everyone and have a room prepared for the girl,” he ordered.
Itachi nodded with just the barest hint of a smirk on his features. Nobody refused or disobeyed Mikoto. It just didn’t happen.
He returned to the dining room and informed the rest of the gathered men of the new developments.
Mikoto smiled as she hung up the phone and turned to Sakura. “You have a place to live, and you will be provided for. You’ll be well looked after, my dear.”
Sakura hugged the older woman tightly and couldn’t help the sobs of relief that escaped her. She could only babble how grateful she was through the tears.
Ino sniffled again, “I guess we should start packing then?”
“Just her suitcase. The rest of your things can be mailed to you, alright Sakura-chan?” Aya asked.
Sakura merely nodded from her embrace with Mikoto. She finally pulled away and went to pack with Ino, but not before saying something that brought tears to Mikoto’s soft brown eyes. “You have no idea how much this means to me and how happy I am that you are my okaa-san.”
The two teenagers ascended the stairs to pack Sakura for the plane ride leaving the two older women to discuss with each other.
“So there’s going to be a pregnant chick living with us, un?” a blonde asked from the other side of the table.
Itachi nodded once.
A man with a blue-tinted complexion smirked, showing off pointed teeth. “Well this ought to be interesting,” he said before chuckling deep in his throat.
Chapter 3: Chapter Two: Ame, Airplanes, and Introductions
The characters marked by a * are property of another writer, she's just letting me borrow them for this story.
It was a tearful morning indeed at Konohagakure National Airport where three women could be found saying their goodbyes.
Sakura smiled warmly as Aya and Mikoto fussed over her.
“Do you have everything?”
With a laugh Sakura hugged both women. “I have everything I need. No need to worry, Kaa-san,” she said, addressing both of them as mother.
The two older women sniffled and kissed the pink-haired girl on either cheek.
“Alright, alright. Everyone outta the way,” Ino shouted before she fiercely hugged Sakura. “Promise you’ll keep in touch?” she whispered softly.
Sakura’s eyes glistened with unshed tears and she hugged the blonde just as tightly. “Of course I will, pig.”
Aya glanced at her watch and sighed wearily. “You should head to security, Saku-chan. It’ll take you a while to get through and by that time it won’t be long before you board.”
Sakura gave them all one last hug before heading to security with only her backpack as a carryon.
“Don’t forget to call when you land!” Mikoto called after her to which Sakura raised her arm in acknowledgement. She didn’t dare look back for she knew she would only burst into tears.
She shuffled into the security line and awaited her turn.
The three women stood watching as Sakura’s form disappeared through the doors that lead to the security section.
Ino wipped the tears from her eyes and turned to Aya and Mikoto. “Let’s go get some ice cream and go shopping. I need a pick-me-up,” she declared.
Her mother’s blue eyes were soft as she agreed and turned to Mikoto who was still wiping her own eyes.
“That sounds like a splendid idea, Ino-chan,” Mikoto said with a smile. “Plus, we can buy clothes and toys for the baby,” she added.
This brightened up the smiles of both blondes and they piled into the car before leaving the airport. They would be ok. Sakura was just a phone call away and Mikoto said she was in good hands.
Sakura reached the little table that lead to the conveyer belt at security. She pulled her laptop out of her bag along her cell phone and iPod out of her pockets. She took off her shoes and set the items in two plastic bins. She pushed the bin onto the little conveyer belt and stepped into a cylindrical tube with a door.
She looked to the woman operating the machine with confusion clear on her face.
“Just place your hands on the yellow circles indicated on the glass and your feet on the indicated spots located on the floor. This won’t harm you or your baby,” She said with an encouraging smile. “This will only take a moment,” she added.
Sakura did as told and within a few seconds, was allowed to exit and gather her things.
While she was trying to put her cell phone and iPod back into her pockets so she could grab the rest of her things a snooty voice called, “We have tables you can do that at you know.”
Piercing green eyes glared up at the red-haired bitch that owned the voice. “Thank you. Amazingly enough I can see that, but for me to be able to do so I must first gather my things. Again, thank you, oh omnipotent one,” she spat sarcastically, gaining no small amount of triumph from the shocked look on the girl’s face.
As Sakura walked away with her things the security guard pushed up her glasses and glared after her.
Sakura looked from her boarding pass to the gate numbers and smiled when she reached gate twenty-three. She set down her things and waited patiently for the call to board.
“Flight 3098 to Amegakure please begin boarding. Flight 3098 to Amegakure please begin boarding.”
Sakura picked her things up once again and showed the flight attendant her boarding pass. The woman waved her through and she went through the little hallway to find her seat.
She was delighted to find that she had a window seat on the small plane. She didn’t very much like being in puddle jumpers. With a sigh she send Ino a text telling her that she had made it on the plane before turning off her cell phone and iPod.
Sakura then proceeded to twiddle her thumbs until they were taxiing out to the runway. She managed to drone out the flight attendants’ speech about safety and the demonstrations. Sakura couldn’t wait until they were going to take off, that was her favorite part of flying.
Verdant eyes widened in anticipation as she watched the outside scenery begin to zoom past. Her heart leapt from her chest when the plane left the ground and a bright smile lit up her face.
Now, just to combat those few hours of boredom until she landed.
Deidara, unable to take the prolonged silence that had reigned since they pulled up at the airport asked, “When does her flight land?”
Itachi glanced at the flight information and responded without looking at the blonde. “Three minutes from the current time.” He moved to stand and roused Kisame from his sleep. “She’ll be here soon, Kisame.”
The taller blue man nodded and stood stretching his muscles. “Do we even know what she looks like?”
“Pink hair, green eyes, fairly petite,” Itachi replied calmly.
A blonde brow rose and the owner spoke, “You’ve seen her?”
Were Itachi anyone but who he was those dark brown eyes would have rolled. “She was my otouto’s girlfriend,” he merely stated.
“Is that her?” Kisame asked. He had his long muscled arm outstretched and pointing to a small pink-haired woman who was dragging a suitcase behind her and searching the crowd.
Her hand drifted up to tug softly at her eyebrow piercing and Itachi nodded. “That’s her.”
Sakura pulled at her eyebrow piercing a little as she glanced around the room for Itachi. It had been years since she had seen him. The only time they had ever really been near each other was when she would tag along with Naruto to visit Sasuke.
A small frown crossed her face as she thought of the boisterous blonde. She hadn’t really gotten the chance to say goodbye to him. She’d have to call or text him sometime. Speaking of calling she needed to call Mikoto, Ino and Aya.
Someone calling her name stole her from her thoughts. “Sakura-san.”
She looked up to meet gorgeous dark brown eyes identical to Mikoto-kaa-san’s. “Itachi-san?”
The man nodded and grabbed her suitcase much to Sakura’s protests. “It is how I was raised, Sakura-san. Besides, you look tired from your flight,” he reasoned quietly.
The two reached two more and Sakura glanced at them curiosly. “Kisame-san and Deidara-san?”she inquired. At their shocked looks she explained, “Mikoto-kaa told me about all of you.”
She didn’t catch Itachi’s interested expression when he heard Sakura call his mother as her own. He would have to speak with his mother.
“Just call me, Kisame. No need to be so formal.”
Sakura smiled brightly at the big blue man. “Then the same applies for me.”
Deidara decided to put in his two cents, “Likewise, un.”
A fairly long car ride later Sakura and her escorts arrived at the large mansion-style house.
Her eyes grew wide when she saw the beautiful Georgian style home.
“We all work for the owner, Pein, and pay rent to him,” Deidara explained before moving to open the door.
Once inside the house Kisame, who had grabbed her suitcase when they exited the car, motioned for her to follow him.
Sakura followed the much larger man to a relatively normal sized room decorated in copper and blue. She smiled happily and thanked Kisame when he set the suitcase on her bed. He was about to leave the room when she grabbed his arm.
Dark navy eyes turned on her and she spoke determinedly, “I wish to see Pein.”
Aforementioned eyes widened slightly and he nodded. “Follow me then.” Kisame led her down two hallways to an office door where he knocked twice.
“Enter,” a deep voice called.
The blue-skinned man pushed the door open and bowed slightly to the pierced man behind the ornate oak desk. “She wished to see you,” he stated before sliding to the side.
Pein peered down at Sakura and made a dismissal motion with his hand at Kisame. Said fish-man exited quietly.
“Pein-san?” Sakura asked hesitantly.
She bowed fairly low, considering her slightly protruding stomach. “I want to thank you for letting me stay here,” she said before returning to her previous standing position. “I know you only did it because Mikoto-kaa-san asked, but I would still like to thank you. You didn’t have to allow me to stay.”
Pein’s grey eyes softened just the tiniest bit and he nodded. “You are very welcome, Sakura-san. When Mikoto-san told me of your situation it wasn’t just about being a favor, it was about helping someone in need. Despite what you may hear about Akatsuki, the group of people I lead, we aren’t bad people.”
Tears sprung to her eyes and she wiped them away. “I apologize, my hormones are making me cry a lot lately.”
His face once again stoic Pein just waved her apology off, “It’s understandable. I assume you have been showed to your room?”
“Oh yes! I wanted to thank you once again; it’s a beautiful room. If I may ask, who decorated it?”
Pein pushed a small light blue button on his desk and called into the microphone, “Konan, would you please come to my office?”
A pleasant feminine voice replied from the speaker, “Certainly, Pein.”
Moments later, Sakura was stunned into shock by the beautiful woman who strode through the door. She had hair the color of the cloudless summer sky and keen silver eyes. A white origami flower adorned the bun that her hair was kept in. Konan smiled warmly at Sakura and extended her hand.
“I am Konan. We’ve been anxiously awaiting your arrival, Sakura-san.”
“Sakura, Konan is the one responsible for decorating you room,” Pein intoned.
Sakura beamed at Konan and shook her hand. “It’s beautiful work. Thank you so much, Konan-san.”
A small blush dusted Konan’s pale cheeks and her smile grew larger. “Thank you, Sakura-san. Would you mind too terribly if I just called you Sakura? You could just call me Konan. I hope we don’t have to be so formal with each other.”
“Of course, Konan,” Sakura replied. Confusion crossed her face and she turned to the orange-haired man behind the desk. “Mikoto-kaa said there were two more girls here, but she didn’t tell me who they were. Will I meet them with the rest of the Akatsuki?” she queried.
Konan’s laughter was light and happy. “Yes, you can meet everyone in the Recreational Room. We tend to just call it the Pit.”
“The Pit? Sounds rather ominous,” Sakura commented.
Konan just grinned and linked her arm with Sakura’s. “Let’s head down there shall we?’
Sakura nodded in affirmation before smiling at Pein and nodding her thank you once more.
As they made their way down the many hallways to the Pit Konan got to know Sakura a little better.
“How far along are you, if I might ask?”
Sakura snickered, “You can ask, it’s fine. I’m about four months.” She rubbed her protruding stomach with a gentle smile. “I’m having a baby boy.”
Steel eyes were warm and soft as the taller woman gazed at Sakura. “You’re going to be a brilliant mother, Sakura. I hope we can become good friends,” Konan said quietly.
They came upon a door with a large sign. Written in bold letters it read: THE PIT.
With a cheery smile Konan threw the door open, “Here we are!”
They were greeted by an abundance of noise. The racing music of Mario Kart sounded from their right and the smacks of air hockey from their left.
A silver-haired man with a cursing problem and a man that resembled Itachi marvelously were betting on the two people playing Mario Kart.
Deidara and Kisame were fiercely trying to win a game of air hockey against Itachi and a man with a bizarre bi-color complexion.
Konan called out to everyone and the commotion stopped. The games were paused and the blue-haired woman smiled. “This is Sakura. She will be living with us,” she said. “Introduce yourselves.”
The silver-haired man waved half-heartedly, “The name’s Hidan, bitch.”
Konan glared at him and was about to reprimand him when Sakura stopped her. “Mikoto-kaa told me about him. It’s ok, Konan, I was expecting it.” Konan calmed a little but still sent Hidan a scolding expression.
The man next to Hidan spoke, “Madara Uchiha, I’m a distant relative of Itachi’s.”
“Zetsu,” spoke the bi-colored man. With a gesture to his skin he explained, “I was in a lab accident.”
Sakura nodded slowly and turned to face the only people she didn’t already know the names of.
The two girls stood, one taller than the other and spoke in tandem.
“Akira*,” the taller, blonde girl spoke. Her cobalt eyes reminded Sakura of Ino.
“Satsuki*,” said the shorter, silver-haired one whose grey eyes twinkled in a way reminiscent of her old mentor, Kakashi.
“Pleasure to meet you, Sakura-chan,” they said together.
Sakura smiled at the two and nodded. This wouldn’t be so bad. She could get used to these people. They might even help her. Yes, she would be all right. After all, the worst is over right?
Chapter 4: Chapter Three: Skype, Strippers, and Necklaces
Early the next morning the sound of keys jingled in the lock of the front door. It swung open to reveal a tall man with a mask covering the lower part of his face and a shorter man with red hair. The house was still and quiet, unlike the earlier evening where everyone spent time getting to know Sakura.
“Well that’s a first, ne Sasori?” the masked man remarked.
Sasori nodded, “Quiet, for once.” He then left the other man standing there as he went to put his things in his room.
The taller man, Kakuzu just scoffed and made his way to the treasury room to count the money they received.
Long elegant fingers followed closely by dainty wrists appeared from under a navy coloured duvet. A long yawn sounded and Sakura stretched her body, turning it every which way.
“Mmmm, I wonder what time it is,” she said to herself. She turned to glance at her alarm and groaned loudly. It was only 6:07 a.m. and now she wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep. “Might as well get some breakfast then.” A small kick accompanied her statement and she smiled down at her belly. “I suppose you’re hungry too,” she added.
Sakura stretched once more and got out of bed. She looked down at what she was wearing and shrugged. Happy Bunny pants and a Cocoa Puffs t-shirt were perfectly appropriate breakfast attire.
Once she reached the kitchen she began to search the cabinets for food. Upon finding a blue cardboard box she let out a sound of triumph. “Strawberry, perfect.” She unwrapped the Poptart and put it in the microwave. She set the time to thirty-five seconds and pushed start.
Sakura then rushed to grab a glass and fill it with milk. She was just putting the milk back when the microwave went off. “Dang! Almost had it,” she mumbled to herself. She grabbed her glass of milk and her Poptart and sat at the table. She then ripped the Poptart apart piece by piece and dunked them in the milk before eating them.
“I can honestly say I have never seen someone eat like that before,” Kisame’s amused voice stopped her happy munching in its tracks.
Sakura turned slowly to her left and stared wide-eyed at the tall shark/fish/man/thing. Swallowing what was in her mouth she asked, “Just how much of that did you see?”
“You race the microwave?” was his answer.
She smacked her palm across her face. “Damn,” she muttered. Kisame’s deep laughter echoed throughout the house, waking other members up.
Itachi trudged through the hall to the kitchen with a scowl fixed firmly on his handsome face. If there was one thing Uchiha Itachi was, a morning person was not it.
He walked through the doorway and ignored the other two present. Moving to the coffee machine he hit the on button and waiting those agonizing few moments for the rich, bold, beautiful liquid to brew.
“Itachi isn’t even human until he’s had at least two cups of coffee,” Kisame stage-whispered.
Sakura could have sworn the Uchiha’s eyes turned red as he sent a fierce glare at Kisame. She also could have sworn she heard Itachi mutter something along the lines of ‘shut up, fish-face,’ but there was no way the Itachi she remembered would do that. He was too calm and collected.
Kisame just laughed and proceeded to mock Itachi. Sakura shook her head and smiled, they must be best friends. She and Ino were the same way. Thinking of Ino caused a sad look to cross her face.
Konan walked in at that moment and looked worriedly at Sakura. “Are you ok, Sakura-chan?”
Sakura shook her head again to clear it. “Hmm? Oh yeah, just thinking about my friend,” she said absently.
“Why don’t you call her?” Konan suggested.
A bright smile lit up Sakura’s face and she jumped up to hug Konan, “Thanks, Konan!” She left older woman standing there as she ran to get her laptop.
“I’m amazed she never loses her energy,” the blue-haired woman commented.
Ino was laying on her purple bedspread, checking her facebook while listening to her new Breathe Carolina CD when an incoming call showed up on Skype. She nearly squealed when she answered. “Sakura! OhmygodyoucalledandI’msohappyandImissyou!” she said so fast Sakura almost didn’t understand.
The image of the pink-haired threw back her head and laughter sounded from the speaker. “Oh, Ino. I’ve missed you too.” A smile lit up both of their faces and small tears pricked at their eyes.
This was going to be harder than they had originally thought. Sakura was going to be gone for an undetermined amount of time and Ino still had school to attend, but they would manage. They were best friends, and best friends don’t give up on each other.
“So what’s it like there, Forehead?” Ino asked excitedly.
Sakura grinned widely at her childhood nickname. “This place is huge, Pig. A lot of people live here too. Itachi, Konan, Pein, Kisame, Satsuki, Akira, Zetsu, Madara, Deidara, and two others I’ve yet to meet.. They’re all so different, but they’re pretty cool. There’s even someone here that looks almost exactly like you. Another person has your eyes. I’ll never be able to forget you here, Ino,” she said still smiling.
Ino smiled back and raised a brow. “Someone that looks like me?” she asked with a curious tone.
Sakura nodded excitedly, “His name is Deidara. Your hairstyle is even the same. He’s into art and so is his best friend, one of the two I haven’t met. He’s just as vain as you are, which makes it even funnier.”
The blonde scowled at that last bit but just shrugged it off afterward. “Do you want to see mom?” she asked.
If possible, Sakura got even more excited. “Of course I do!” she shouted happily.
A smirk covered Ino’s features, Sakura didn’t know that Mikoto was also over visiting today. She unplugged her laptop and sprinted down the stairs with it.
“Kaa-san! Sakura’s on Skype!” she called. As she reached the living room she situated the laptop on the coffee table and reveled in the happy shock on Sakura’s face at seeing Mikoto.
“Kaa-san!” the girl on the screen shouted.
“Sakura-chan, my dear,” Mikoto replied with tears in her eyes.
“Hello Saku-chan,” Aya said.
Ino smiled at their little family and thought it would be perfect if her father was here and even better once the baby had arrived. She silently left the room and grabbed her laptop charger, she had a feeling this conversation would take a long time.
“I’m serious!” Sakura called through her laughter. “They’re worse than Naruto and Kiba when they’re playing games! Constant curses flying and trash talking. I was amazed. I mean, how can a game of Mario Kart get so serious?”
The other three women on the screen were in tears of laughter. “What did you say their names were?” Ino asked.
“Satsuki and Akira. Satsuki is short with silver hair and Akira is the one who has your eyes, Ino. They’re so funny because they’re best friends,” Sakura replied.
A knock sounded at her door and she called for the knocker to enter. Kisame’s navy head popped in through the crack and he grinned as usual. “Sorry to interrupt your conversation, but Konan wants you down for lunch. Something about health is what she said. Plus you still need to meet Kakuzu and Sasori,” he said.
Sakura smiled a little sadly. “Konan’s right, I need to eat. Thanks, Kisame,” she said before turning back to face her laptop. “I gotta go eat. I’ll talk to you all soon right?”
“Of course you will,” was the unanimous response.
She smiled brightly and said, “Alrighty then, I can let you go. I love you all and miss you!” They replied in a similar fashion and she ended the call. After shutting her laptop she decided to get dressed before going down for lunch.
She went over to her suitcase, which had been moved to in front of her closet yesterday since she hadn’t gotten around to unpacking last night. She pulled out a pair of white shorts and a red tank top. She pulled them on and left her room. Time for lunch!
Konan looked at Itachi and he nearly sighed. “She probably just wants to change her clothing, Konan. Kisame said she had still been in her nightclothes. Just give her a second,” he said calmly, but if you listened carefully you could detect a bit of exasperation.
“Give who a second?” Sakura’s voice came from the doorway to the hall. She smiled brilliantly and hugged Konan before sitting down. “I can’t believe you made me lunch! Thank you so much.” She dug into her lunch with an ‘itadakimasu’ and ignored everyone for a solid ten minutes.
Konan couldn’t help giggling into her hand. Sakura was so cute sometimes. Little did anyone know, Itachi was thinking the same thing.
His otouto’s ex certainly was cute. No wonder Sasuke dated her. Itachi’s eyes closed and he tried to reign in the disgust directed at his brother. Their parents had raised them better. Fugaku-tou-san would have been so ashamed.
Laughter brought him out of his thoughts and he turned to see Deidara and Kisame arguing over a piece of yakitori. They were so engrossed in their fight that they failed to see Sakura’s evil smile. Just when Itachi thought the pink-haired girl was going to reach for the chicken a long pale arm snatched it up and brought it to a pair of full lips.
The blonde attached to the arm bit off a piece of the chicken and ripped the last piece in two before distributing it to Sakura and Satsuki.
Kisame and Deidara looked appalled and started yelling that Akira had stolen their yakitori.
Her cool reply was, “I didn’t see either of you eating it. There’s no point in wasting perfectly good yakitori. Besides, at least I can share.”
Both grown men pouted and Konan couldn’t stop laughing. Madara was out on a job and Zetsu was in the garden. Sasori walked into the dining room area and observed the scene with a bored expression.
Konan jumped immediately to introductions. “Sakura-chan, this is Sasori. Sasori, this is Sakura. She will be staying with us.”
Sasori nodded and said a quiet, “Hello.”
“Hiya!” Sakura replied happily.
“Come on, Kakuzu! Just fucking buy it! We need a new goddamn pool table!” came the disgruntled voice of Hidan.
“Only if Pein approves,” Kakuzu replied with an irritated edge to his voice. It would seem that the other man had been pestering him for some time.
As soon as they popped into view Konan was speaking, “That’s Kakuzu, he generally controls all the money that has to do with the business and the house. Kakuzu, this is Sakura.”
The masked man nodded in the pregnant girl’s direction and went into the kitchen to get food.
“Hey, Hidan?” Sakura called.
“I didn’t ask last night because I was tired, but what’s that symbol on your necklace?”
“That’s Jashin’s symbol. He’s the god of my religion. Pain, blood, and death are the main focuses of Jashinism. There still is a sense of spirituality though,” he explained.
Everyone’s jaw hung slack as they stared at him, aside from Sakura. Even Itachi and Sasori looked shocked.
“What the fuck are you all looking at?” Hidan demanded.
“We’ve never heard you speak for that long without cursing before,” Kisame replied.
Sakura beamed at Hidan. “Thanks for explaining it to me,” she said. She turned to Konan, “So, what are we doing today?”
Konan smiled brightly at her, “Shopping.”
Akira and Satsuki had managed to close their mouths and Akira grinned.
“We are sooooo going!” the blonde exclaimed.
Satsuki groaned and buried her face in her hands. “Not that I’m not excited to go shopping, but you’re going to make us go to your store aren’t you?”
Akira merely grinned evilly at her best friend and cackled.
“What do you guys mean?” Sakura asked.
“We’re going to Victoria Secret. It’s Akira’s favorite store, since she gets to shop for her job,” Konan explained.
“I’m a stripper,” Akira said plainly. “I get paid damn well for it too.” She winked at Sakura and stood from the table. “I’m gonna go get dressed. I can’t go to the mall like this!” She gestured to her gym shorts and sleeveless shirt.
Satsuki sighed, “So unabashed. Sometimes it amazes me we’re friends.” She too got up and left to change.
Konan smiled at Sakura’s slightly shocked expression and pulled her to her feet. “Let’s go get ready, alright?”
Sakura merely nodded and shook her head. Akira really was like Ino. Maybe a bit less abashed and vain, but like Ino nonetheless.
Chapter 5: Chapter Four: Shopping, Subway, and Blackmail
Once Sakura had picked out all the pieces and accessories she shoved Satsuki into the changing room with them and waited excitedly. Akira and Konan wandered over to the pregnant girl and stood by her.
“What did you buy, Akira?” Sakura asked, gesturing to the Hot Topic bag in the much taller girl’s hand.
“Hair color, a new eyebrow ring, new tongue ring, a couple shirts, and a bracelet,” she replied.
Sakura stared at her with a bemused look. “You have an eyebrow piercing When the girls all met up again outside they were dressed to impress, even Sakura looked adorable in her maternity clothes.
The pinkette was wearing a cute, white, flowing summer dress with strawberries along the bust and at the edges of the dress, which reached just below her knees. Comfortable white flip-flops adorned her feet and a strawberry clip held up her hair. The dress cut straight across her chest and showed the beginnings of a tattoo on Sakura’s right shoulder blade. She twisted from side to side and watched the edge of her dress whirl out before falling back into place.
Konan looked stunning as usual in her silver, silk shirt that drooped in the front and her skinny blue jeans. A set of silver and sky blue bracelets jingled on her arms and she walked in the comfort of silver ballet flats. Her hair was up in its usual bun, but her customary origami flower was a silver color this time.
The shortest of the group, Satsuki was wearing a nice black and white ensemble. Black skinny jeans with a white tank top and black shrug hugged her body tightly. An assortment of neon colored bracelets covered her arms and she rocked white, peep toe wedges with a black bow on the front. Satsuki’s silver locks lay flat down her back and her bangs were held back by neon green and purple barrettes to keep them from getting in her gunmetal eyes. She had a pair of black, rectangular framed glasses perched on her nose as well.
Akira wore a very short pair of black shorts that matched her black tank top. The shorts revealed a tattoo of barbwire staff lines covered in notes on her left leg. A hot pink mesh half shirt covered her tank and matched well with the pink streaks that shot through her blonde hair and the pink buttons on her shorts. Since she wasn’t tall enough at 5’5” she donned a pair of black, four inch, peep toe pumps with hot pink crisscrossed stripes. Her blonde hair curled down her back and around her shoulders while her bangs covered just above her left eye. A pair of silver-framed glasses adorned her pale face.
Satsuki pouted and crossed her arms. “Were the heels really necessary?” she grumbled.
“Of course they were,” Akira said with a wicked smirk. “Whassa matter, Midge? Feelin’ small?” she mocked at the woman’s 4’9” form.
Satsuki merely glared at Akira and stuck her tongue out.
“What’s Midge mean?” Sakura asked, wanting to learn more of her new friends.
Konan spoke up to explain, “It’s short for Midget, which is one of Satsuki’s nicknames from Akira.” She leaned in to stage whisper to Sakura, “They’re all based on her size.”
“I heard that!” the short woman shouted indignantly.
Konan giggled behind her hand and straightened up. “We should go. By the time we get to the mall all the good parking spaces will be taken,” she said reasonably.
“Not if I drive!” Akira exclaimed with a glint in her eye. “We’re taking my car this time.”
Sakura didn’t quite understand Satsuki and Konan’s expressions but she figured Akira must drive a little on the wild side.
Said blonde moved to a covered vehicle and snatched the neon green rain cover off. The car revealed was a black 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4. There was a small bit of kanji in white on the bottom right corner of the hood that read ‘Okinawa’. She turned to the others. “Unfortunately there are only two seats in my car. Sakura, you can ride with Konan in her car. You two had better get their within a minute of me or there will be consequences,” she said.
Sakura stared in awe at the car. “How did you get this?”
Akira merely shrugged. “It was a gift,” she said after which she shared a look with Satsuki.
Sakura noted the look, but said nothing. “Well, I suppose we’ll meet you there then.” She waved and walked with Konan to her silver 2011 Porsche. “You all have ridiculously expensive cars don’t you?”
Konan laughed lightly and replied, “We get paid well.”
They got in the car and followed Akira as she sped out the driveway. Konan and Sakura talked avidly the entire ride while Akira and Satsuki sang loudly to the music in their car. When the four reached the mall they zipped into two parking spots side-by-side and got out, locking their cars.
“You ready, Sakura-chan?” Konan asked with a smile.
A grin was Sakura’s reply as she went to catch up with Satsuki and Akira. The first store they stopped by was Victoria’s Secret. Sakura was dragged around the store to look and laugh at the clothes. They would each take turns pointing out cute bras or hilariously designed underwear.
Konan made sure they stopped at New York Company so she could shop and the other three waited in front of the dressing room to see her choices.
The first outfit she came out in was a silver, silk, halter-top paired with a sleek looking black pencil skirt.
For kicks the girls had brought dry erase boards and wrote scores on them. Akira gave the outfit a ten out of ten. Sakura and Satsuki gave the outfit a ten as well and Konan smiled. This continued for the next two outfits until Konan came out in a getup that had the girls laughing.
The woman herself looked down and wondered how this outfit had gotten in with her other clothing. She wore a leopard print skirt paired with a bright purple camisole and pink leggings.
As a joke Sakura stood and applauded. “Beautiful! The coordination of that outfit is just too beautiful for words!” Behind her the other two women were leaning against each other and trying to breathe through their laughter, which had doubled at Sakura’s statement.
Konan laughed too and went back into the dressing room to change into her original clothing. She came out and they all went to the cashier to purchase the outfits that had looked good on her.
The cashier, a feminine-looking man whose nametag read ‘Haku’ had winked and said, “The outfit really was too beautiful for words,” before they departed. This had sent the girls into another fit of giggles as they left the store.
The next store they went to would keep them occupied for quite a while. Hot Topic was one of Sakura’s favorite stores. She could buy all of her band tees here and find other cute clothes. Even if it was a bit expensive she could even find some kick ass eyebrow rings.
Once they entered the store Satsuki ran straight to the wall with panda shirts, domo shirts, and penguin shirts. She giggled and picked a few out before meeting up with Sakura at the skinny jeans.
Sakura heaved a sigh, “I wish I could still wear those. I love skinny jeans.”
Satsuki patted the taller girl on the back and grinned. “How about I let you design an outfit for me. Anything you want and I’ll wear it. Would that make you feel better?” She suggested in a kind voice.
Jade eyes lit up in happiness and Sakura nodded fervently. She then moved all around the store searching the racks and walls for something cute that would fit Satsuki. Sakura thought she looked an awful lot like a panda in that black and white.
Konan was content to browse the nail polish and accessories while the rest of the girls shopped. She wasn’t much for Hot Topic, but she did enjoy looking around.
Akira had been browsing eyebrow and tongue piercings for a while and had decided which one she wanted to get. While she was going to the cashier to ask for help in getting them she got sidetracked by the hair color.
Akira nodded and pointed to her right brow, the only one not covered by her blonde bangs. “I lost my last one, which is why you don’t see me wearing one.”
Sakura nodded and was going to ask about the girl’s tongue ring when someone cleared their throat. She turned back to see Satsuki standing outside of the dressing room and smiled.
The small girl looked so cute in the panda dress paired with black ripped skinny jeans and her wedge heels. Sakura had picked out a few black and white bracelets along with a wideband bracelet that said ‘I heart Pandas’.
“I actually like this outfit. It’s great, Sakura-chan!” Satsuki said with exuberance.
Sakura grinned when the other two women complimented the outfit as well. They purchased the outfit and left the store. The pinkette’s stomach growled and they giggled before deciding that lunch was in order.
Satsuki headed straight for the Chick Fil ‘A and ordered her food. Konan, Sakura and Akira chose to have Subway for lunch. They ordered their sandwiches and met Satsuki at the table.
They had let Akira choose the table, which meant they were in the middle of the room. Sakura shook her head in amusement, the girl loved attention. Now that Sakura had looked around she realized a lot of people were looking at them. She heard somebody to her right ask, “Who are they?”
“That’s the Akatsuki girls. That blonde one is said to have killed people and there’s a rumor that her uncle is a crime boss. The one with the blue hair is the leader’s girl. The small one with the silver hair is the sweetheart of the group, but she packs a punch if you talk about the blonde. I’ve never seen the pink-haired girl before, but she’s gotta be like them too,” someone at the same table answered.
Sakura raised a brow and laughed, now she had things to ask the girls. She was just about to when Akira’s phone went off.
All eyes on me when I walk in,
No question, that this girl’s a ten.
Don’t hate me cause I’m beautiful.
Don’t hate me-
“What the fuck you want, Hidan?” She called into the phone.
“Bitch, Pein wants you all back at the house. Something about a fuckin’ vote or some other bullshit.”
“Later then, Dickface,” Akira said and shut the phone. She picked up her trash, ate the last of her sandwich and stood up. “We gotta go. Something about a vote and Pein wants us back.”
The other women nodded and finished their lunches. They set out to the cars and Sakura decided to ask a question.
“Could I ride with you this time, Akira? Not that it wasn’t fun with Konan, I just wanna see how your car rides,” she babbled.
Akira just smirked and nodded. Satsuki jumped for joy and got in Konan’s Porsche.
Sakura got belted in and smiled; the car truly was very nice. “Hold on now,” Akira said with a shit-eating grin as she whipped out of the parking lot and onto the road.
Sakura whooped and grinned widely. This car rocked!
Itachi was sitting in the library reading a book when he heard the girls pull up. He decided, for some reason he had yet to decipher, to meet them outside. He walked out of the library and through the front door into the brilliant sunshine. He watched Akira and Sakura get out of Akira’s car and shook his head slightly. The girl would never change.
He noticed Sakura start to stumble and quickly caught her and grabbed her bags. She started to protest but stopped and smiled as a thank you. Itachi inclined his head and helped Sakura into the house.
Little did he know, three devious women saw the exchange and grinned evilly. That was too cute to pass up. Good thing Akira had gotten pictures. Catching blackmail was her specialty after all. Now you didn’t think Akatsuki was all good, did you?
Chapter 6: Chapter Five: Meetings, Memories, and Cravings
After the meeting, which had been about getting a pool table, ended Sakura turned to Itachi, who had been sitting next to her the whole time.
“I wanted to thank you for helping me earlier, Itachi-san. That was very kind of you,” she said with a smile that could melt Jack Frost into a puddle of happy.
Itachi nodded and was about to speak when he noticed a football hurling through the air straight toward Sakura. Moving swiftly he pulled her onto his lap and shielded her body with his own.
The ball bounced off of his back and harmlessly onto the floor. He sent a red-eyed glare around the room and located the culprits. Deidara and Madara were standing, one at each end of the room, with pure shock on their faces. Itachi’s cold stare remained on them for a few moments more before turning back to Sakura.
“Sakura? Are you alright?” he inquired quietly.
The small girl, who was shaking like a leaf, nodded slowly and buried her face into his neck. Her arms wrapped around his middle while she tried to calm down. Sakura wasn’t worried about herself, only what could have happened to her unborn child.
A sound none of the Akatsuki had ever heard before came from the couch of the Pit. “Are you two out of your minds!?” Konan’s enraged voice screeched. “You two fucking morons could have severely injured Sakura and her baby. I have told you time and time again to only throw the ball outside. Get out of my sight before I decide to maim you.”
The two men scrambled out of the room and the rest of the occupants stared at Konan. The woman’s expression slowly returned to one of worry and she walked over to Sakura.
“Sakura-chan? Are you alright, dear?” she asked tentatively.
Sakura lifted her head to reveal wide emerald eyes and giggled. “I’ve never heard you curse before, Konan-chan,” she said.
Scarlet blossomed on the older woman’s cheeks and she sheepishly laughed. “I suppose I got a little carried away there.”
Later on, a bit before dinnertime, Deidara and Madara managed to apologize profusely to Sakura. She had merely smiled and nodded at them, giving her forgiveness.
December was coming, and though it didn’t get very cold in Ame, extra clothing would be a necessity soon. Things such as this were discussed at the dinner table over steaming plates of rice and meat.
“I very much want some sushi smothered in chocolate and surrounded by strawberry pocky right now,” Sakura abruptly said.
All heads turned to look at her and the expressions were an intriguing mix of amusement, shock, and disgust.
“Well,” Konan started. “That’s surely an odd craving.”
Sakura blushed a little and nodded sheepishly.
Konan looked to Kisame, who just so happened to be the Akatsuki’s proclaimed chef and asked, “Is that possible?”
Dark eyes shut in concentration and an odd look crossed his blue features. Opening his eyes Kisame replied, “I suppose I could whip something up,” before standing from the table and setting to work.
Everyone continued to talk and laugh for the following five minutes while Kisame focused on making Sakura’s food of choice.
Once he was finished he walked back into the dining area and removed the lid from the plate with a flourish. “Bon apetite,” he said in a hideously inaccurate French accent.
Seeing the nearly seven-foot man with blue skin that was wearing a heinously pink apron that said ‘Kiss the cook’ was too much for poor Sakura and she collapsed into a fit of giggles. She was followed shortly by a few snorts and full-blown laughter from Deidara.
Kisame, who was highly amused, frowned with mock anger. “Fine then,” he sniffled, “See if I ever do anything nice again.” He stormed back into the kitchen, but left the snack for Sakura on the table.
Once her giggles were under control the young woman chowed down on her delightfully disgusting looking snack, much to the mild disgust of the other occupants in the room. An odd craving indeed.
Throughout the next few days she got to know the members of Akatsuki better. She learned that Zetsu had a green thumb and that his favorite plant was the venus flytrap, Madara gained a child-like personality when confronted with orange, swirled lollipops, Deidara had a certain proclivity for pyrotechnics, and Sasori enjoyed making and selling puppets.
Akira loved to read and Satsuki loved to write. Sakura had witnessed several moments in which Akira was editing Satsuki’s work and they always made her laugh.
Sakura sat on the red leather couch of the pit next to Satsuki who had just put her notebook down. Sorry You’re not a Winner by Enter Shikari, or better known to them as the “Clap Clap Song,” was blasting through the iPod stereo and Akira was singing along while she and Satsuki clapped at the correct times.
The small girl turned to her best friend and held out her notebook. It was common knowledge that this meant it was editing time. Akira never failed to correct everything and make honest remarks. The only bad part was that the edits always came out sounding bitchy.
With cobalt eyes scanning the lined pages the blonde rattled off mistakes. “You misspelled coincidentally. There should be a comma here. That’s a run-on sentence. It’s spelled y-o-u-apostrophe-r-e, not y-o-u-r. I told you, there’s a difference between possessives and contractions.”
Satsuki’s groan of frustration resounded in the room and she furiously worked to correct the mistakes before returning to the actual stories.
Sakura’s soft laughter at the two always earned her a smirk and a raspberry blown in her direction. Those two never failed to make her laugh whether they were arguing, playing video games, or trying to kill each other at air hockey.
Speaking of air hockey, there were weekly tournaments held in the pit. Akira, Deidara, Kisame and Hidan always warred for the title of champion. This past week’s winner was Akira who never failed to rub it in the boys’ faces when they came into contact.
The pinkette spent most of her time with the three women, learning more about them and just spending time with them. She was starting to learn what each member did for the Akatsuki monetarily as well.
Konan sold high-priced origami items. The items were custom ordered and crafted with more care than a midwife holding a newborn. She made roughly ten to thirty thousand yen per item. Some more detailed items ran all the way up to one hundred thousand yen. She also ran a class for children and adults to spend quality time and learn to make beautiful origami structures.
Kisame and Itachi ran a dojo that taught both armed and hand-to-hand combat. They generally had anywhere from ten to twenty students per class. Kisame tended to handle the armed combat while Itachi dealt with the hand-to-hand. Many students were awed at the sight of Kisame’s large sword Samehada. Some students swore that while Itachi sparred he was so concentrated that he was rumored to be able to anticipate the attacks before they were used.
As Sakura had learned earlier, Akira was a stripper, but apparently that wasn’t all she did. Both Akira and Satsuki were still in college but they managed to retain their loyalty to Akatsuki. Sakura had been told that Akira handled the shadier deals Akatsuki made and Satsuki never let her go alone. Said silver-haired woman worked in a library part-time, but also helped run the Orphanage of Amegakure.
Konan had confided in Sakura that both she and Pein had been orphans when they were younger. They had seen the unfailing kindness in Satsuki and couldn’t help but ask her to help with the orphanage.
Kakuzu was in charge of all the Akatsuki funds. Being a naturally cheap bastard, he was the perfect man for the job. His begrudged partner Hidan also worked at the strip bar Akira worked for. No, he wasn’t a stripper, Sakura had learned after her innocent question threw the Akatsuki members into hysterical laughter. He co-managed with Kakuzu, bartended and helped bounce, while he wasn’t watching the strippers, that is.
Sasori owned a puppet store that also repaired toys. Deidara, with his love for making his explosions, put on fireworks shows and rigged explosives for deconstruction. Zetsu ran a successful plant nursery that boasted some of the most exotic plants in all of Rain, Leaf, and Mist. For some reason, she had yet to learn exactly what it was that Madara did for the Akatsuki.
One fine morning, the seventeenth of December to be exact, Sakura was watching the rain drizzle on outside. Thankfully Ame was still tropical and it didn’t snow in the winters. In fact, the lowest the temperature got was the high sixties on the Fahrenheit scale.
A tap on her shoulder brought the rosette out of her mundane thoughts and she turned to the beautiful visage of Konan. The older woman had a concerned look on her face when she asked a question.
“Sakura-chan, what are we going to do about your education? I’m sure you don’t wish to enroll in high school here.”
Big green eyes blinked once, then twice. “I honestly hadn’t thought about it. I suppose I’ll just take online classes.”
Konan smiled and nodded. “Brilliant. I’ll go ahead and get them set up, you can begin them tomorrow, alright?”
Sakura nodded and Konan left. Once she was gone Sakura turned back to the rain. She could remember rain like this once in Konoha. She had spent the entire time out in the rain with Ino, just playing and singing and laughing. A small, wistful smile crossed her face.
Ino and Sakura were sitting in Ino’s living room doing pretty much nothing when they heard a distinct pitter-patter. The two teens grinned at each other when they both got an idea. Heedless of their clothing – a pair of jeans and a brightly coloured t-shirt for each – they sprinted out the door and into the spray.
It hadn’t rained in Konoha for nearly three weeks and the rain was never this perfect. Warm, torrential downpour had drenched the streets of Konohagakure in mere minutes.
The girls were running around in the rain and laughing with pure childish joy. They started at a full on run to the park just around the corner of the street and grinned at each other. Each took a seat in a swing and started singing at the top of their lungs. Every song they knew they sung, or tried to sing.
After they finished with the swings they spent ten minutes on the tire swing. Both had to stand still for a few moments to regain their balance before heading to the rest of the park. They climbed, slipped, slid, ran, and moved every which way around that park until they were exhausted and the clouds became darker.
Knowing it was time to leave they smiled sad to know their fun was about to end. They walked back to Ino’s house hand-in-hand and just enjoying each other’s presence. Only true friendship could afford them this comfort. Neither had an insatiable urge to fill the silence, regardless of how talkative they were. Times like these made Ino and Sakura realize and appreciate their friendship that much more.
Sakura remember that the next day they were both confined to bed with colds, but neither regretted the decision to play in the rain.
Thinking back on her earlier visit with Konan Sakura realized just how much school she needed to catch up on. A heavy sigh slipped past her pretty pink lips and her shoulders slumped a little.
“Something on your mind?”
Sakura nearly jumped straight out of her skin and she turned around to see the source of the voice, one very amused Itachi Uchiha. “Was it necessary to scare me half to death?” she asked, grasping at her heart as her chest heaved with shocked breaths.
The man merely shrugged and awaited her answer with patience. He watched with dark, observant eyes as she lapsed into silence to think.
Once Sakura figured out how she wanted her words to come out she looked back up at the handsome man before her. “Fanciful memories of times past and worry for the future,” she said vaguely. Unconsciously her hands drifted down to rest on her enlarged abdomen and she rubbed it softly.
The motion didn’t escape Itachi’s gaze and he nodded softly. “It shouldn’t be worry, Sakura, only anticipation,” he said and then he was gone.
The lack of honorific shocked Sakura a little but she pushed it to the back of her mind. Anticipation, he said. Perhaps she would look forward to the future and just take life one step at a time, like he suggested. Fearing the future would only hinder her life and that of her child’s. No, she wouldn’t fear, only anticipate. Yes, that would do.
Chapter 7: Chapter Six: Sake, Singing, and Christmas Eve
A week later brought the joy and anticipation of Christmas Eve. If you were to look outside you would find many a person running around trying to finish up last-minute Christmas shopping or strolling down the decorated streets with smiles on their faces.
I’ll now bring your attention to a bundled up pink-haired girl accompanied by three other women and three men.
“I still don’t understand why I have to wear all of this. It’s not even that cold outside!” the girl complained through her scarf.
“It is merely to ensure the warmth and safety of you and your child, Sakura,” stated one of her companions neutrally, a man with dark hair and eyes.
She pouted at him and resisted the urge to stomp her foot like a spoilt child. Konan hid a smile behind a fake cough at Sakura’s childish behavior. A laugh escaped when Sakura stuck her tongue out at Itachi’s unsuspecting back.
“I’m thirsty, how bout some sake?” Kisame suggested from near the rear of the group.
Konan glared proverbial daggers into the big blue man. “Sakura is pregnant, Kisame. She’s not allowed to have alcohol.”
Kisame frowned and imitated Konan mockingly after she had turned back around. Akira and Satsuki laughed and a chuckle escaped Hidan.
“How about coffee?” Satsuki suggested. Before Konan could say that Sakura shouldn’t have too much caffeine she spoke again, “We can just get Sakura milk or hot chocolate, whichever she chooses.”
Sakura grinned at the thought of hot chocolate and nodded her agreement. Her grin turned into a little smirk directed at Konan. “Thanks for lookin’ out for me, Mom,” she said with amusement.
The older woman blushed a little but sent her own little smirk back at Sakura. “Someone has to make sure you’re doing what you’re supposed to.”
“Ne, let’s go to Ongaku. It has coffee, hot cocoa, sake, and karaoke,” Akira said with a grin. Sakura had been dragged to many a Karaoke night with the Akatsuki and she knew they enjoyed it.
“Fuck yeah!” Hidan spoke up for the first time in many minutes.
They all headed for the karaoke joint with smiles and laughter. They paid what they needed to at the front and went to their room. Three of the four walls in the small room were lined with comfortable red and black couches. The other wall housed a large seventy-two inch TV screen and an expensive karaoke system. Two microphones lay on either side of the table in the center of the room along with two menus.
“The fries here are fantastic,” Akira mentioned off-handedly. “What do you guys want to drink? I’m getting melon soda.”
“Same!” Satsuki chimed in.
“Sake!” Kisame and Hidan answered simultaneously.
“Coffee will be fine,” Itachi said politely.
“Coffee as well,” Konan repeated.
“I’ve changed my mind! I want melon soda,” Sakura said with an impish grin.
Akira nodded while writing the drink orders down and smacked Hidan on the back of the head. “Come help me, asshole.”
“Bitch, why you always so abusive?” Hidan grumbled loudly as he followed her out the door.
The others laughed and proceeded to look through the songs. What should they sing first?
Akira and Hidan finished filling all the glasses and put them on the tray that an employee had so kindly let them use. They placed an order for four plates of fries and took off back to the room.
Akira, who was in front of Hidan, pushed open the door only to find Kisame and Sakura singing ‘I Just Can’t Wait to be King’ from the Lion King movie. A blonde brow rose before she shook her head. Nope, so not going there.
Hidan pushed in behind her and set the tray on the table. He plopped down and drank his sake. Akira took her spot and waited for the song to finish.
The next song to pop up was ‘Raise You Glass’ by P!nk and the microphones were passed to Satsuki and Akira. It was customary for these two to sing the song. Several other songs were sung by the time the fries got to their room and it only took five songs to finish off three of the four plates.
Sakura suddenly grabbed the device that helped choose the songs and transmit the data to the machine and typed in a few letters. The song she had chosen popped up not two songs later and she took a deep breath before singing in a nice, but not perfect voice.
Otona ni natte iku koto no imi
Nante wakaranai mama da yo
Dakedo itsuka no ano ko ya aitsu Imagoro doko wo mezashite Aruiteru n darou
Yoake ga hayaku natta kono goro Kaze no nioi ga kawatta yo
Natsukashii you de mada minu you de Kodou ga hayaku natte ku Itoshikute setsunai
Ano umi e to tsuzuku michinori mujaki ni Warai korogete hashiri nukete itta Tooi natsu no hi
Ima mo mune ni nokoru osanaki bokutachi Sono saki ni matsu mirai no koto nante Shiru sube mo naku
Nokotta mono wa nokoshite mono de Guuzen nanka ja nai yo
Uchuu no ishi ga aru to shita nara Tashika ni hataraita n darou Yasashikute toutoi
Are kara dono kurai nanika o motomete Mitsukete wa mata ushinau koto bakari Kurikaeshita kedo
Koko ni aru egao ga oshiete kureta yo Bokutachi wa ima mottomo eien ni Chikai basho ni iru
Ano umi e to tsuzuku michinori mujaki ni Warai korogete hashiri nukete itta Tooi natsu no hi
Are kara dono kurai nanika o motomete Mitsukete wa mata ushinau koto bakari Kurikaeshita kedo
Koko ni aru egao ga oshiete kureta yo Bokutachi wa ima mottomo eien ni Chikai basho ni iru
She finished the song, ‘Fairyland’ by Ayumi Hamasaki, and sat down.
“Fitting,’ a slightly buzzed Kisame noted. The other occupants of the room made varying motions or sounds of agreement.
Sakura nodded and set the mic on the table.
“We should be leaving soon,” Konan said, glancing at her designer watch.
With a grin Satsuki jumped up. “You know what that means guys.” She grabbed the song-choosing device and quickly chose a song.
‘Anyway You Want It’ by Journey showed on the screen and everyone bunched together around the two microphones. They belted out the lyrics and played air guitar during the solos and just went all out during that particular song. It was a tradition, you see, for it to be sung every time they went to karaoke. Everyone had to sing and dance or act like they just didn’t have a care in the world. It never failed to raise the spirits of them all and end the night in a perfect way.
Once the song finished they gathered their things and made their way out of Ongaku and onto the streets. Hidan and Kisame were leaning against each other and singing at the top of their lungs into the night air. They weren’t drunk, just having a good time. Akira and Satsuki walked arm-in-arm just staring at the stars all the way home. Konan walked slightly behind them and began folding a piece of origami paper into a shape. Itachi and Sakura walked at the back of the pack in silence, content with each other’s presence.
They had gotten past honorifics and were fairly good friends now. You would often find them in debate over some philosophical matter or a matter of history. Sakura had started her online classes the day after Konan had confronted her about them and she was on her way to catching up in her studies.
The one thought that rang out firmly through the minds of the little group was simple; tonight had been the best Christmas Eve ever.
Christmas and New Years were fun and busy affairs. The Amegakure New Years Festival was a magnificent event and everyone was dressed to the nines in beautiful clothing, be it Western or traditional Japanese.
Konan and Pein had opted to go the traditional route and wore impressive kimono that complimented each other greatly. Konan’s was a light orange color with grey accents and a grey bird design. Pein’s was a light grey color with light blue accents.
Satsuki donned a cute yukata that went very well with her small form and matched, in color, with Akira’s Western-style dress. The yukata was black and white and managed to reach just above Satsuki’s toes, much to the girl’s accomplishment. The pattern on the yukata resembled a cascade of rose petals falling from above to pool around her feet. Akira’s little black dress hugged her body until her hips where it flared out dramatically before reaching just above her knees. The upper part of her dress cut square across her breasts and angled back toward her neck before drifting off into long, tight sleeves on her arms.
Hidan and Kisame decided to just go simple with black dress pants and white button up shirts that were slightly open at the top.
Sakura, on the arm of Itachi, was in a cute dress with a bolero jacket while he had on dress pants, a button up shirt, and a vest. Sakura’s dress was white at the top and faded through blue into the dark black color of the night sky. A pattern of glistening stars stretched sparsely down her dress until where it stopped, just below her knees. She paired the dress with a cute black bolero. Itachi’s dress pants sported a dark charcoal color as did his vest, which looked quite sharp with his white dress shirt and loose red tie.
Deidara, Madara, Sasori, Kakuzu, and Zestu had left before everyone else and were making sure everything was in order before enjoying themselves during the festival.
Konan had gone ahead and designed elaborate origami pieces for each of the girls to wear in their hair.
Sakura’s was dark blue with silver accents and in the shape of a thin, pointed star. Akira sported a white rose that matched Satsuki’s perfectly and Konan had made herself two small orange birds to adorn either side of her hair.
Alas, no, she didn’t make anything for Itachi or Deidara’s hair, much to Sakura’s apparent disappointment and the rest of the organization’s laughter. Deidara had scowled at her and Itachi’s brow had risen ever so slightly. Sakura’s sheepish grin just brought more laughter and it took a few moments for everyone to calm down.
The first few days of January were spent mostly with Sakura glued to a computer. She had piles of note cards and notes stacked neatly around the desk as she studied and learned the material.
Her government test was in a few days and it was the last test she needed to pass in order to be completely caught up. She studied day and night, though not for much of the night as Konan would kick her off the computer and send her butt straight to bed. That was, of course, after a fierce scolding about keeping herself and her baby safe and healthy.
Along with government she studied vocabulary, mathematics, and music. Although not very talented, she was quickly learning to play the guitar well. Luckily she had an endless source of help, the Akatsuki.
Itachi was well versed in every subject, but specialized mostly in History. Hidan was, surprisingly, very good at math and excelled in Calculus. Akira, being a complete grammar nazi, would always be there to help with any grammatical or writing needs. Satsuki was a major help with music since she was able to play a myriad of instruments including, but not limited to, violin, guitar, piano, snare, and flute.
Being forced to take a single money related class had her heading to Kakuzu in order to gain the help she so needed. With him being such a cheap bastard he knew many ways to save, spend wisely, and invest money.
Although it wasn’t a class, Deidara was teaching her to sculpt, giving her something to do in the spare time she wasn’t studying or learning. Zetsu was introducing her to the many medicinal plants and herbs that thrived in his garden and their purposes. Sasori, a large fan of classic literature, gave her a book to read every week to ensure that she was enriching her mind and staying ahead in her reading. The majority of the books he had her read were college level books that he knew professors would require her to read and understand. Madara was gone most of the day or doing paperwork so Sakura didn’t have very much contact with him educationally.
She couldn’t wait for her test. Sakura knew she was ready and that she would do well, it was only a matter of waiting now.
Chapter 8: Chapter Seven: Escorts, Exams, and Visitors
By mid to late January Sakura could be found studying leisurely in the Pit or reading pregnancy books. That is, if she wasn’t pacing a hole in front of the window that showed the mail box by the road. She had yet to obtain her Government results and they were the deciding factor of her educational future.
If she didn’t pass that exam she wouldn’t have enough credits to pass. There wasn’t enough time to take another class so her only hope was that she had passed this test.
On one of the rare days when Sakura had nothing to do, a knock came at Sakura’s door. Slowly shutting the pregnancy book she lifted her head and spoke, “Yes?”
Itachi’s voice came from the other side of the wood. “You are needed in Pein’s office.”
“Just a moment and I’ll be there. Thank you, Itachi,” Sakura called before slowly getting up and making her way to the door. She opened it and to her surprise, Itachi was still there.
Seeing the question on her face Itachi said lightly, “I wish to escort you, if you will allow me to.”
A light blush crept to her cheeks and Sakura smiled before nodding at him. It was slowly becoming harder for her to get around by herself and, being a little clumsy, it was better not to take any chances that could endanger the baby.
With a small smirk Itachi held out his arm and, once Sakura had hooked her own arm with his, escorted her through the halls and to Pein’s office door. Once they stopped, Sakura turned to Itachi and smiled at him. She nodded her head in thanks and gave him a light kiss on the cheek before entering the office.
For a moment, Itachi was standing there with a slight look of near shock, but just for a moment. He quickly recovered and with a very, very small smile he walked back to the Pit to finish his book and observe his housemates playing their games.
Sakura bowed quickly to Pein and smiled at the older man. “What was it you needed of me Pein-san?”
Pein shook his head lightly. “I told you, it’s fine if you just call me Pein,” he said and when Sakura nodded he continued, “You have been separated from your family for a long time and while I hope you have come to think of us as family, I understand how difficult that must be. Konan took the liberty of setting up something with Mikoto-san a week or two ago and we have managed to get three people here to visit you.”
Sakura, stunned at the fact that they would do something to thoughtful for her, couldn’t speak. Konan, who entered through a door to the right, spoke up.
“Mikoto-san, Ino-san, Aya-san, would you like to see Sakura?”
Three figures emerged from the same door and tears of joy ran freely down Sakura’s face. She nearly leaped at the tall blonde with a shout of “Ino!”
Ino just barely caught the girl and very nearly fell. Sakura was pregnant after all. Once Sakura and Ino had thoroughly been reacquainted, said pregnant girl then hugged both Mikoto and Aya simultaneously. She turned her head and kissed either woman’s cheek with a giant grin on her face.
Once the hug fest was over with the four women were left in Pein’s office to catch up on all the happenings of the past few months. Pein and Konan managed to slip silently out the door and into the Pit where they sat watching Hidan and Kisame try to kill each other in Mario Kart.
Itachi, who had abandoned his book, was partnered with Kakuzu in a match of pool versus Deidara and Madara.
Sasori and Zetsu were discussing the use of plants for paint versus the paint bought at stores.
After eight races, in which Kisame and Hidan won fairly evenly, the door to the Pit opened once more.
“This is the Pit,” Sakura explained. “It’s basically our recreational area.”
Ino looked around with appraising eyes and a smile crossed her lips. “You never told me your housemates were so cute, Forehead!” When Sakura’s face heated with a blush Ino laughed loudly.
Itachi’s small nod and “Hello, Mother,” caught the eyes of the other occupants in the room. A chorus of “Mikoto-san!” and “Mikoto-ba-san!” rang out and the older woman smiled at them all.
“Hello, boys,” she replied with another motherly smile.
Cobalt eyes surveyed the room and Aya nodded to herself. Sakura was well taken care of. She noticed Sakura and Ino talking to a small girl with silver hair and a girl that looked surprisingly a little like Ino. Now that she thought of it, that blonde boy over there looked like Ino as well, even more so than the blonde girl. Aya shook the thoughts from her head with a smile. This was unimportant; the important thing was that they were there with Sakura for a few days.
Ino linked her hand with Sakura and the smaller girl dragged her to two other girls who looked similar in age to them. Sakura introduced the as Satsuki and Akira.
Satsuki had silver hair, silver eyes, and naturally tan skin while Akira had blonde hair, lighter than her own, and eyes that would match Ino’s perfectly had they not been a shade darker.
The quartet discussed all the things they had done with Sakura and everything else that came to mind. Shopping had managed – unsurprisingly – to become the main topic of choice.
“We should take you shopping,” Satsuki suggested.
“If we do I call riding with Akira!” Sakura stated loudly and with a grin.
Akira only smirked and said, “Wicked.”
Ino looked questioningly around the small group and Satsuki came to the poor girl’s rescue. “Akira drives like a maniac and Sakura happens to enjoy it.”
“Ah. That’s not really surprising; Sakura has a lead foot too,” Ino said with a smirk at the pink-haired girl.
Sakura scowled at the blonde and smacked her arm. Ino leaned back and put her hands up in surrender. “What? It’s true!”
Akira and Satsuki laughed at the two best friends and shared a smile. It was good to see Sakura like this. Sure she had smiled and gotten closer to all of those who lived in the Akatsuki house, but it wasn’t the same. Satsuki and Akira knew this, there’s nothing like being with your best friend. The world seems brighter, nothing bad ever happens and everything is peaceful.
Seeing Ino and Sakura gab together was heartwarming. The bond of best friendship is so astounding some cannot fathom it. Sure if you’re at long distances you can call or Skype your best friend, but it’s not the same. Being face to face with one of your most precious people is so much better than only speaking to them over the phone or Internet. As much as you may wish it were so, you can’t hug a computer or phone the same way you can hug a real person.
Yes, seeing Ino and Sakura together was mesmerizing, and Itachi agreed. He had been watching the quartet – mostly the pinkette – for a while now and it made him glad that Sakura’s spirits were lifted, if only for now.
Nearing the beginning of February, around January thirtieth, Ino, Mikoto, and Aya had to leave, much to the disappointment of one very pregnant teenager.
They were currently at Amegakure National Air Port, being seen off by Pein, Konan, Itachi, Kisame, Hidan, Satsuki, Akira, and of course Sakura.
“I really wish you didn’t have to leave,” Sakura said with a forlorn expression on her face as she hugged the three women.
Ino looked hopefully at Aya in question but her shoulders slumped when her mother shook her blonde head sadly. Ino hugged Sakura again and they held each other like that for a few solid minutes before Aya lightly touched Ino’s shoulder and softly told the girl that they had to leave in order to get through security.
When the younger blonde pulled away there were tears in her eyes as well as in Sakura’s own green eyes.
“Just a few more months, Pig,” Sakura said, trying to comfort the other girl with the fact that she would be eighteen soon and would never again have to adhere to her father’s wishes. The blonde nodded and wiped away her tears before turning and walking with her mother and Mikoto to the security area.
Sad viridian eyes followed the small trio until they disappeared from sight. Sakura stood, rooted to the spot for a few moments longer until Itachi gently touched her arm.
“We should get you home, Sakura. The sooner you do so, the sooner you can keep yourself occupied so that you won’t even realize the time that has passed when Ino-san calls you after they land,” he said softly to her.
Sakura nodded and allowed Itachi to guide her to the small group of expensive or otherwise well taken care of vehicles. Upon her request Sakura rode with Akira, if only to let the speed take her mind off of everything else.
“Let’s take the scenic route shall we?” Akira suggested after she had safely secured herself and Sakura into the sports car. Pink hair shifted in front of her face and then back to her shoulders as Sakura nodded.
Akira started the car and tore out of the parking lot, looping around the city so that Sakura could have some time to her thoughts and the exhilarating speeds that the car reached.
Small pale hands fingered pastel hair and after a while Sakura broke the silence. “I’m thinking of cutting my hair.”
A blonde brow rose but Akira’s blue eyes never strayed from the road. “Is that so? May I ask how short?” she inquired.
Sakura mulled the question over in her mind before deciding, “I think a short pixie cut will do just fine.”
Akira spared a glance to her right and nodded. “It’ll look fantastic on you, Sakura-chan. I just know it,” she said with confidence.
February eleventh brought with it the piece of mail Sakura had been so craving since taking her Government exam.
Zetsu came into the pit with a stack of mail and started calling out names. When he got to Sakura, the girl looked up nervously and accepted the piece of mail. All was silent as she slowly opened the official letter from the college that hosted her online class.
Her eyes fervently scanned the white slip of paper before coming to a stop. Sakura’s hands started to shake and the letter fell through her grasp. Akira, whom the paper had landed by, quickly skimmed the paper before crushing it in her hand.
“I-I can’t believe I didn’t pass,” came Sakura’s small voice from the red couch.
Akira glanced at the girl with sympathy before standing and walking to her. “Don’t worry, Sakura-chan. I know you did a great job on that test and I’ll make sure that this error,” venom laced her voice at the word, “gets itself all fixed.”
“How?” Sakura asked dejectedly.
The grin on the blonde’s face was positively feral as she replied, “Friends in high places, m’dear. Friends in very high places,” before walking out the door with her cell phone already up to her ear.
Giggles bubbled up from the other end of the room and Sakura peered down at the floor to see the form of Satsuki literally rolling on the floor in laughter.
“Just what is so funny?” Sakura asked, slightly disgruntled.
Satsuki sat up and attempted to control her joviality. “I know exactly who she’s going to see,” the small woman said with a large grin.
“Who?” Konan, who had up until now been quiet, wondered.
“That, my friends, I am not permitted to say.”
Not a week later on the seventeenth of February Sakura received two more letters. One was an official letter from the college that had failed her Government exam. It explained how they had gotten her scores mixed up with another student’s.
The second however was not nearly as happy as the first. Sakura hadn’t a clue who had sent the letter as it had no return address, but once she started reading it horror crossed her face.
Tears started streaming down her face as she threw the letter from herself. “WHY?!” she screamed in anguish. “Why won’t he leave me be?!”
The others in the room, Itachi, Konan, Akira, and Satsuki, looked at the girl in surprise.
“Who?” Konan asked.
Sakura ignored her and went on hysterically. “It wasn’t my fault I got pregnant. It wasn’t my fault!” she screamed.
Itachi grabbed the letter and scanned through it before crumpling the edges in his grip. He passed it to the others and went to Sakura.
“Sakura, you need to calm down,” he said gently. “Think of your baby, you have to stay strong for your little boy, Sakura.”
Defeated green eyes pierced his very soul. “What do you think I’ve been doing Itachi?” she asked through her sobs. “I have done ev-“ an ear-piercing scream wrenched through the air and Sakura doubled over in pain.
A dark pool surrounded her small body and jade eyes widened in shock before rolling back into her head.
Itachi picked up Sakura’s limp body and turned to Akira. “Get in a car, you need to drive us to the hospital now!” he shouted frantically.
Akira nodded and they were swiftly making their way to the closest car that could carry more than two people. As soon as they were in Akira started the engine and slammed her foot down on the gas pedal. Time was not on their side.
Chapter 9: Chapter Eight: Happiness, Hysterics, and Tragedy
Okay, I lied to you in the first chapter. There were FOUR main elements to the story. My friend's baby unfortunately didn't survive due to poor hospital conditions and a less than stella neo-natal facility.
The next chapter is in the works, around halfway done and I should be able to finish it soon, probably before I post my Crossover.
Piercing wails of agony rung throughout the Maternity Ward of Amegakure Hospital. Akira winced and heaved a sigh from her hard plastic chair. With a short glance at Itachi she noticed the near pained look on his face. Not moments after arriving they were told they weren’t allowed in the delivery room. They had been at the hospital for nearly an hour now.
Suddenly a small, brown-haired, mouse of a woman poked her head out the door of Sakura’s room. “You two can come inside now. She needs you,” the woman said before abruptly closing the door and returning to the room.
Both Akatsuki members raced into the room after changing into sterile clothing and washing up and nearly ran right back out. Watching a birth? Not exactly the most pleasant thing in the world. They steeled themselves and each grabbed one of Sakura’s hands; Itachi on her right and Akira on her left.
Feeling the need to inform her, Akira spoke,” Satsuki has called Mikoto and they’re on the earliest flight possible. Konan and Pein should be here soon.”
Sakura barely nodded her thanks before she was wracked with the pain from another contraction. Itachi and Akira got the lovely chance to witness first-hand the amazing strength a woman gains when going through birth.
Itachi swore he heard two of his fingers pop and one of Akira’s break. Neither of them showed any signs of pain, they had to be strong for Sakura.
The doctor, a petite woman, spoke in a sweet, lilting voice. “Sakura dear, you’ve only got one more big push left, ok?”
Sweating profusely and red in the face, Sakura nodded weakly and waited for the doctor’s order to push. With the doctor’s signal Sakura pushed harder than she ever had before and her screech of pain was followed by the shrill cry of a newborn baby.
Sakura collapsed against her bed panting heavily and smiled wearily. Itachi bent down and softly kissed Sakura on the forehead with a small smile on his face. Akira just smiled at Sakura before prying her fingers from Sakura’s own.
A few small popping noises drew the attention to Akira who was putting a few of her fingers back into place. Alas, Sakura didn’t just dislocate fingers though. If you looked close enough you could see two of Akira’s fingers on her right hand were bent at odd angles. A nurse rushed to get a splint and some medical tape while Sakura apologized profusely and Akira just shrugged her off.
While Sakura had been apologizing to Akira, Itachi popped his own fingers back into place, thankful that none of his were broken.
The same small nurse from before interrupted the trio with a small bundle wrapped in soft blue fabric. Tears of joy sprung to Sakura’ eyes as she took in the sight of her son.
“Did you ever decide on a name?” Akira asked in a quiet voice.
Sakura kept looking at her son and when his eyes opened to reveal bright green orbs that matched her own she smiled widely. “Hikari. His name is Hikari, because he is the light of my life. I have learned and gained so much because of him,” she stated with conviction.
“Hikari Haruno,” Itachi tested the name out. “Perfect. Although, I imagine this might be a bit of a problem,” he continued, fingering the soft dark hairs on his little head that were threaded through with light pink strands.
Sakura stared at Itachi with a mockingly angry look. “You have a problem with pink hair, Uchiha-san?” she asked.
“Why not at all, Haruno-san,” Itachi relied, copying her purposeful use of his surname. “I happen to adore pink hair.”
Sakura just shook her head and smiled at Itachi before looking back down to her beautiful son.
The midwife came over to the small group with a sheet of paper. “I need the names of the parents as well as the child’s name, please.”
Sakura paused for a moment. She had forgotten all about the birth certificate and the fact that her son’s father would never sign it. Struck by an idea she turned uncertainly to Itachi.
“Itachi,” she started. He nodded slowly, beginning to surmise her question. “Would you sign as the father?” Sakura finished simultaneously hopeful for his positive answer and fearful of his negative answer.
Regardless of him guessing her question shock still registered on Itachi’s normally impassive face. After composing himself quickly Itachi look straight into Sakura’s expressive green eyes. “I would be honored.” They then proceeded to sign the papers and return to cooing at the adorable newborn.
That’s when everything went wrong.
Hikari’s cute little noises stopped, along with his breathing. The trio stared at him in shock before shouting for the doctor. Hikari’s skin was beginning to pale and turn blue when the doctor rushed in and grabbed the baby from Sakura’s arms.
“He’s not breathing!” Sakura shouted distraughtly.
The doctor rushed back out of the room with the baby and into the neo-natal intensive care unit where they began to work on little Hikari to get him back to breathing and diagnose what was wrong with him.
Meanwhile back in the room Sakura was crying again, but this time the tears were most definitely not of joy.
“What’s wrong with my baby? Is he going to be okay? Hikari!” Sakura’s hysteria climbed and both Itachi and Akira did their best to calm the girl down.
A sudden beeping sound had the blonde checking her phone. “Mikoto is here, I’ll go get her real quick,” she said before bolting out the door and leaving Itachi with an emotionally distraught and hysterical pink-haired girl.
Barely a moment later his mother walked through the door with a worried look on her face. Itachi assumed that Akira explained the situation to his mother and was now explaining everything to the others.
Mikoto sat down on the bed and immediately Sakura latched herself to the woman’s side, bawling her eyes out and speaking incoherently. Mikoto, like a true mother, rubbed Sakura’s hair and cooed and the girl while trying to calm her down.
This continued on late into the afternoon until Sakura had fallen into a fitful sleep due to her emotional exhaustion.
During the early evening the petite doctor from before walked into the room wiping her eyes hastily. She gestured for them to wake up Sakura and once they had the doctor’s red-rimmed eyes glistened.
“We did everything we could, but we just didn’t have the facilities to save him. I am so sorry, Haruno-san,” she said in a choked professional voice.
Mikoto’s beautiful brown eyes narrowed to slits. “Does Konoha have the facilities for this sort of thing?” she asked coldly.
The doctor nodded confusedly before bowing lowly to the group and apologizing again and leaving the room.
Sakura, who had sat stock-still the entire time began to shake. Her shoulders shook, her hands shook, and her feet shook until finally her whole body was shaking the hospital bed. Her shaking gradually stopped until she was deathly still.
Neither Uchiha wanted to speak and they didn’t have to because not two minutes later the small teen let out the most heartbreaking, gut wrenching, bloodcurdling scream either of them had ever heard.
The waiting room heard the scream, as did the entire maternity ward along with the majority of that floor of the hospital. Nothing was as sorrowful as the sound of a mother losing her child. It tore through the hearts of all the Akatsuki and the medical staff.
Akira, who had been the only one in the waiting room who had seen the beautiful child sobbed silently into Satsuki’s lap from her position on the floor. Nobody but Itachi would understand. Nobody else had seen Sakura with the baby. It was so captivatingly magical that this just couldn’t be real.
Tears were brought to the eyes of everyone associated with Sakura Haruno in that waiting room. Not every tear fell, but they were all present to witness the most heartbreaking moment nature could ever have brought forth.
Over the next three weeks Mikoto stayed with them at the Akasuki base to help with Sakura. At first the girl seemed to have lost the will to live. She wouldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, and wouldn’t speak to anyone. For that first week she was completely unresponsive and must have lost fifteen pounds.
By the middle of the second week she had started coming to meals and speaking again. She interacted with everyone and even agreed to play a few video games with Kisame and Hidan.
Once the end of the third week had come around there was still a sadness to her eyes and a sorrow in her voice, but Sakura was nearly back to normal. Mikoto had to leave but Sakura took it fairly well.
“Thank you so much for being there for me kaa-san,” she said to the older woman before they left for the air port.
Mikoto teared up a little but hugged Sakura fiercely. “Anything for you, my precious little girl.”
It was now a week since Mikoto had left and Sakura had finished all of her required classes for school so she was researching colleges and technical schools that she could go to next.
All in all she was healing well. She had put weight back onto her slight frame, which had gained subtle curves from the pregnancy, and she was learning to cook from Kisame.
One time when they were baking cookies Sakura had accidentally gotten some flour on Kisame’s face.
The blue man had stopped, gone cross-eyed as he looked down at the flour on his nose, and then grinned evilly. He grabbed a handful of flour and chucked it at the girl’s face.
White powder had rolled off her shocked visage and she blinked rapidly. They each grabbed a bag of flour and took positions at either end of the large kitchen. At first it was carefully aimed handfuls of flour but it wasn’t much longer before they just ran toward each other and dumped their bags of flour on each other.
Pein had walked into the kitchen and sighed at the sight of the two rolling around in the flour laughing and making flour angels. They never had gotten around to finishing those cookies.
Regardless of her progress though, every occupant of the house could still hear Sakura cry herself to sleep every night since February seventeenth; a night that would be ingrained into their minds for the rest of their lives.
Unknown to Sakura, Mikto had been shown the note that Sakura received the night she went into premature labor and Hikari died. Being who she was though, Mikoto had tamped down her anger at the sender and had tended to her distressed and hysterical daughter.
The woman nearing her forties pulled the folded and wrinkled piece of paper from her handbag and read over it once more.
Have you had that bastard child of yours yet slut? I hope it dies, you worthless whore. You are a disgraceful black mark upon this family and so is that filthy bastard child of yours.
Simple, but effective the letter had thrown Sakura into such a taxing emotional state that it had forced her to go into premature labor. Premature labor had, in turn, made Hikari susceptible to any and all bacteria in the area. The child had suffered from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Thus we find Mikoto Uchiha, current head of the Uchiha clan, upon the doorstep of one Hiroshi Haruno, the man responsible for the death of her grandchild. And make no mistake, that man was responsible for Hikari’s death.
Mikoto was going to make sure that the man paid for her grandson’s death dearly. She wouldn’t physically harm him, no that was beneath her, but she would make life nearly impossible for him.
She rapped her knuckled sharply on the door and awaited an answer. Hiroshi Haruno himself answered and before he could speak Mikoto said, with more concentrated venom than the inland taipan, “Welcome to hell, Haruno-san.” She then turned on her heel and walked out of his sight, leaving the man to stare dumbly after her and wonder what exactly it was she meant.
Chapter 11: Chapter Nine: Fights, Flights, and Dreams
Yay a new chapter~! Unfortunately writing Chapter 10, which is really chapter 11, will have to wait. I just recently moved to this site from FF and I have another story that needs to be posted (at least the chapters I have finished.) As soon as I revise those and upload them I'll start on a new chapter for this story and for the other one. :D Thank you to my one commenter, Miyu. XD I knew you'd find me you little creeper.
Sakura sat on one of the red and black beanbags in the Pit. In her hands was a copy of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She had her hair pinned up away from her face and was tapping a pen on her thigh in time to Tonight Alive’s cover of “Little Lion Man” as it blasted through the speakers in the room.
She would occasionally stop to write things down in the notebook that sat on her lap. Setting down the book she waited a moment before calling out to Akira who was participating in a grueling air hockey match.
The blonde, never once taking her eyes from the air hockey table replied, “Yeah, whatcha need?”
“This is your favorite book, isn’t it?”
“Well, yeah, why do you ask?”
Sakura paused, “What’s you’re favorite quote from the book?”
With a slightly bemused expression Akira scored a goal on Kisame before replying in a subdued tone, “ ‘Begin at the beginning, go on until you reach the end, then stop.’ Any particular reason you asked?”
Sakura was about to reply when she was tapped on the shoulder. Turning around she smiled when she saw Itachi, earning a small smile in return. “Yes?”
“I was wondering if I could speak with you privately,” the quiet man said. When Sakura nodded he led her out of the room and to the backyard.
The young leaves swayed in the light spring breeze, fresh green on a rare sunny day. Itachi watched, transfixed, as Sakura closed her eyes and inhaled the beauty of it all.
They stayed silent for a few moments more before Itachi grasped Sakura’s hand in his. “Would you like to have dinner with me?” he asked with the slightest hesitance in his voice, nearly unnoticeable. Sakura’s brilliant smile alleviated any fears he had.
“I would love to have dinner with you, Itachi.”
Itachi looked off to the side in thought for a moment before turning his gaze back to Sakura. “How does that little soba place sound? The one Akira and Satsuki are always raving about,” he suggested.
Sakura nodded, some of her hair falling out of place. She moved to tuck it behind her ear and muttered something under her breath.
“Hn?” Itachi inquired.
With a slight flush to her cheeks Sakura repeated, “ I said I’m going to cut it, it just keeps getting in my face and in the way.”
Itachi mulled over the decision in his mind, picturing Sakura with short pink locks and nodded. “I must admit I think it would suit you better.” Sakura smiled brilliantly in thanks, earning a small smile from him. They sat on a small bench for several moments in silence before Itachi spoke once more. “I am planning on visiting Konoha soon.” Sakura’s relaxed posture stiffened and her radiant smile dropped into a stony front. Seeing this he almost stopped, but decided to persevere. “I was wondering if you would like to go see Kaa-san and Ino-san and her mother again.”
This was a critical decision for Sakura. She could either stay in Ame with her supporting cast of friends, or she could go to Konoha for a short amount of time and face her biggest problems in life. Softly, almost imperceptibly, she asked, “Will it just be the two of us?”
Thinking she may be uncomfortable being alone with him he reassured her. After all, they weren’t quite a couple. “All but Pein-san, Zetsu-san, and Kakuzu-san will be going.”
Quickly realizing that she wouldn’t be doing this alone she slackened her body. “Okay, I’ll go.”
They sat in thoughtful silence once more, watching the clouds pass in a lackadaisical manner. Sakura had shifted to a leaning position in Itachi’s embrace earlier and was starting to squirm a little.
With a furrow in his brow, Itachi shifted his hold on her. “Is there something bothering you?” Color flooded Sakura’s face and she turned away muttering under her breath. “Excuse me?”
Sakura turned to him with an unsure look. “I asked you a question.” Itachi nodded his head as if to say go on. Her face darkened an amount and she asked again, “So does this make us boyfriend and girlfriend?”
It was very difficult for Itachi not to chuckle, knowing that it would only upset Sakura, so he swallowed his amusement and nodded before planting a light kiss on her forehead. “Yes, it does.”
Sakura sighed happily and settled against his chest, once more gazing at the floating clouds.
“Die, bitch, die!” shouted Satsuki as she smashed the buttons on her Wii controller to make Ike attack and kill Kirby and Sheik.
“Bitch, please. You know nobody ever beats me when I’m Kirby,” Akira boasted as Kirby grabbed the Super Mega Rape Hammer (the black one) and chasing Sheik with it.
Sakura decided not to partake in the trash talk, but instead to concentrate on aquiring the poke ball that had been lounging on a platform for the past few seconds. Once Sheik grasped it, Sakura maneuvered her into position.
Satsuki was busy trying to get Ike out of Kirby’s stomach and Akira had flopped onto her side in laughter. Both failed to notice Sakura release the poke ball and Ho-oh appear. Only too late did it occur to them that their companion had not been a part of the previous exchange. They noticed the bird and looked to each other with resignation.
Ho-oh decimated Kirby and Ike, finishing their fifteenth round of Super Smash Brothers Brawl just as Kisame’s blue melon popped through the door. “We leave in ten, ladies,” he chirped before disappearing back into the hallway. The three girls looked to each other before bursting into loud guffaws.
Once they had regained the ability to properly breathe, the trio grabbed their respective suitcases from the wall and moved toward the door. Sakura’s suitcase was a simple black case with her name embroidered in silver across it and a cherry blossom next to it. Akira’s was a lime green monstrosity with her name emblazoned across the front in a myriad of colors and Satsuki’s was simply purple with her name in black and white.
The door shut behind them with a soft click and the lights shut off.
A wailing child, loud snoring, childish bickering and the sweet, dulcet tones of “Remedy” by Seether meshed together beautifully to become Sakura’s background music on the flight. She glanced to her right, then her left and laughed quietly to herself. To her left, Kisame was leaning half in his seat, half in the walkway and drooling onto his plush sushi pillow and snoring loudly. To her right, Itachi was leaning his head back onto his simple black neck pillow and sleeping soundly.
“Attention passengers. Flight 6492 to Konoha will be landing shortly. Please return your seats and trays to their proper upright positions. Estimated time of Arrival, six minutes.,” the voice of a stewardess spoke over the intercom.
Sakura nudged Itachi awake and in his sleepy state he kissed her softly in greeting. A slight blush coated her cheeks and she nudged Kisame awake.
“Don’t eat my pancakes, Mr. Turtle! I promise I’ll give you the baby muffins!” Kisame shouted in distress as he entered the world of consciousness. Sakura smothered her laughter into Itachi’s side and she heard the distinct cackles of Akira and Hidan from the row behind her. Twin smacks followed and the maniacal laughter ceased.
‘Probably Konan and Satsuki,’ Sakura thought. Those two were always trying to keep the two loudmouths of Akatsuki in line, usually with minimal success.
“Don’t mention the b-word until we are out of the airport, Deidara. We do not want a repeat performance of what happened last time,” Sasori’s voice said sternly.
Speaking of loudmouths. Sakura’s interest peaked at Sasori’s mention of the last time they were on an airplane. She would have to ask him what he was talking about later.
Sakura quickly refastened her seat belt and popped a piece of gum into her mouth in order to combat the change in air pressure. She offered a piece to Kisame and then a piece to Itachi before passing the pack to the rest of their group. Sakura bounced in her seat a little, excited to disembark the plane and get her suitcase. She was very much ready to see her best friend and the two women she considered her mothers.
Finally the landing gear engaged the ground and the small airplane was taxiing into the gate. Sakura waited impatiently for the suspended walkway to connect and was one of the first off the plane once they were allowed to leave. She rushed to the baggage claim area and scanned for her black suitcase. Unfortunately, the majority of people own black suitcases, so she wasn’t having much luck.
“There it is!” called a voice from Sakura’s left. She turned to see Satsuki and looked at her questioningly, wondering how she got out of the airliner so quickly. Satsuki noticed the look and shrugged nonchalantly. “It pays to be small.”
Sakura shook her head with a bemused smile and quickly grabbed her suitcase. Soon after, Satsuki’s purple bag appeared. The only problem? Neither of the girls could reach it. They were jumping and reaching out for it fruitlessly when an arm yanked it from the conveyer belt. The owner of said arm then proceeded to loft the suitcase above her head and taunt Satsuki.
“Whassa matter? Can’t reach it, Midge?” Akira, who had grown to 5’8,” teased the shorter girl before setting the bag next to her. At Satsuki’s pout Akira kissed Satsuki’s cheek and then went to search for her own suitcase. She quickly filched it, along with the other luggage pieces that belonged to the Akatsuki.
Once everyone else had arrived at the baggage claim and grabbed their bags, the large group made haste to the rental cars awaiting them. Several sleek, black Ferarri F430 Spiders awaited them. Sakura rolled her eyes at the ostentatious monetary display by the Akatsuki. “Seriously, guys?”
Kisame merely shrugged and grinned widely at her. “When you got it, flaunt it,” he said, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively at her. Itachi sighed at his best friend and put an arm around Sakura, moving to lead her to one of the cars.
To his shock Sakura pulled away. “Actually, Itachi,” she started sheepishly, “I kind of want to ride with Akira.”
The group silenced for a moment. Then the pause was broken by a frighteningly maniacal laugh. Everyone turned to see Akira bent over, cackling into her thighs. After catching her breath a little she smiled smugly at Itachi and walked over to Sakura, slinging an arm around her waist. “Seems like your girlfriend would rather drive with me, Uchiha,” she taunted.
Sakura used her big, round, beautifully bright eyes to plead with Itachi. He caught her gaze, held it for a moment and then sighed. “So it seems,” he stated with resignation before turning to Kisame.
The large blue man sniffled and turned his dark eyes on Itachi. With no small amount of theatrical tears he cried, “I wasn’t your first choice? How could you pick her over me? I thought you loved me!”
Everyone but Sasori, Madara, and Itachi laughed at the display and clapped vigorously. “Good show. Bravo! Bravo!” shouted Akira.
“Encore! Encore!” Konan cheered and soon every member but the aforementioned silent beings joined it.
“Encore! Encore!” they cried.
Kisame’s visage brightened and he sniffled, this time with happiness. “My people, they love me! They really love me!” he shouted before bowing and accepting imaginary flowers.
Itachi sighed once more and pinched the bridge of his nose. Sasori, tired of the intemperance of his fellow Akatsuki members grabbed Deidara’s wrist and dragged him toward one of the vehicles, along with their luggage. “Could you all contain yourselves so that we may leave and arrive at Mikoto-san’s house at an appropriate time?” he asked in exasperated annoyance before stuffing the two black suitcases into the trunk, getting into the car with Deidara and taking off.
Sakura, Akira, Satsuki, Kisame and Hidan stuck their tongues out at the retreating vehicle while the other assembled members shook their heads at the amusing immaturity.
“So, if Deidara is with Sasori, Sakura is with Akira, and Kisame is with Itachi, that leaves,” Konan paused for a moment of thought, “Satsuki with me.” She turned to Madara who looked like he was trying to impale Hidan with his eyeballs. She grimaced in sympathy, “Sorry, Madara. You’re stuck with Hidan this time.” She quickly placed her bag and Satsuki’s into the trunk and the girls took off.
Madara, grumbling the whole way followed in the footsteps of his predecessors and whipped out of the airport parking lot to Mikoto’s house.
Akira and Kisame shared a look and then grabbed the remaining luggage. They quickly and efficiently stowed it away and entered their respective vehicles, giving Sakura and Itachi a few minutes of privacy.
Sakura hugged Itachi tightly and gave him a soft kiss. “I’ll see you soon, okay?”
“Hn,” Itachi remarked. “Sooner than one would think, with that crazy woman driving.” The window to Akira’s Spider rolled down and she gifted Itachi with a pleasant hand gesture. Well, so much for privacy.
Sakura laughed at her friend and kissed Itachi once more before hopping into the vehicle blaring “Remedy” by Seether and taking off in a cloud of exhaust. Itachi raised a hand in farewell and quickly made his way to the last remaining car. He started it and followed Sakura at a slower, but still relatively high speed.
Kisame turned to Itachi with a serious expression and said, “What are we going to do about your brother? He’ll flip his lid once he finds out the two of you are dating.”
A small, sly smirk twitched at Itachi’s lips. “Sakura can handle my foolish little brother.”