Sand Trails Ch 2: No Man’s Land

Shikamaru closed his eyes and sighed. The food would still be as wonderful, he reminded himself. Maybe if he just kept his head down and closed his eyes? No, he would for sure get a rap over the head by either Itachi himself or Sasuke. That was bad manners. He grimaced, it would also be rude to Mrs Uchiha, which was the last thing he wanted.

He opened his eyes and looked around. They were all looking at him expectantly. The subject of their scrutiny groaned. “Well, you know how this is going to go.” They all nodded. One side would be the older boys, the other would be for them. Itachi and Sasuke would be sitting across from each other next to the parents. It was going to be a staring contest from hell.

“There’s isn’t anything we can do for now.” Naruto opened his mouth. Shikamaru shook his head. “No, we can’t. We do something here, now, we insult the house.” Naruto snapped his mouth shut and Sasuke breathed a sigh, nodding thankfully.

Again, priorities were clear. Do not bring grief to Mrs Uchiha.

Five minutes into the meal–with Mr and Mrs Uchiha making polite conversation with the elder boys, Sasuke and Ino–it became obvious that Shikamaru had been completely right. The older boys kept smiling politely, leering around their food making veiled barbs… Anything they could to rile them up. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door, and Mrs. Uchiha blinked. She smiled. “Your missing guest?” she asked, gesturing to the empty chair at the end of the table.

Sasuke sent his suddenly pale best friend a look. “What?” he asked, leaning over to whisper.

Naruto swallowed at the level look Itachi was sending him, speaking volumes of his curiosity even if the emotion was missing, and said four syllables that made Sasuke tense. “Sakura-chan,” he muttered. “I invited her, too. I forgot all about it; she said she’d be a little late because she was tutoring a student.”

Itachi excused himself from the table to address the knock at the door. The ‘kiddies’ had looked tense, Naruto had gone white. This was going to be interesting.

He opened the door to find a girl standing with her hand raised about to knock again. “Yes?”

The girl looked up with a start. She looked up, he looked down. She’s actually cute… for a 16-year-old. Was that pink hair? Itachi blinked. She must be one of Sasuke’s–Oh. Itachi grinned down at Sakura. “Hello Sakura, are you here for dinner?” This was going to be too easy.

She blinked a few times at his ‘shark that just smelled a shit-ton of blood’ grin. “Uhm… Yes?” she ventured, then added, “Naruto said it would be okay. If it isn’t, I can just-”

“Come in.” Itachi smiled down at her. “If you are invited, you are invited.” He shifted away from the doorway and held out a hand to show her in. As she walked in through the threshold he closed the door with a quiet click.

While she sat down with her friends at the table, he went back into the kitchen to grab the plates and utensils she would need.

Returning to the table he kneeled beside her and touched her elbow. When she looked at him, Itachi raised an eyebrow. “Excuse me,” and he placed the dishes in front of her. “Would you like anything to drink?” He paused to look her in the eye.

Once again, she took a minute to reply, casting Naruto an unreadable look that nonetheless made him blush with embarrassment, all the while looking about ready to murder Itachi. Thankfully, both Shikamaru’s and Sasuke’s hands on either of his shoulders stopped him from doing anything stupid. Sakura sighed and shook her head, then smiled brightly at Itachi. “Sure! Do you have any juice? I like apple,” she answered sweetly, her diplomatic, deal-with-flirtatious-boys-that-I’m-not-really-interested-in smile firmly in place.

Itachi nodded once and strode to the kitchen. Damn, that did not go as planned. He had noted the fake sugar smile she had given him. As he took out a glass and poured out the apple juice he formulated his thoughts. What did he know about this pink haired girl?

Absolutely nothing.

Placing the juice container back into the refrigerator, he shrugged. He had been planning on talking to pineapple head about Sakura anyway. This surprise bonus had just given him the opportunity to place a face to the name. He would have to fix that first impression though.

Striding back into the dining room he noticed that the chatter had resumed, at least between his parents and Sasuke. Naruto was trying to whisper something to Sakura without Itachi’s friends over hearing. Which was comical at best as the table really wasn’t that wide. And Shikamaru was sitting between them.

This time when Itachi presented the glass to Sakura he made sure he kept a bit more distance.

Sakura smiled in thanks and took it, their fingers brushing. She lifted a brow but shrugged it off and turned to pinch Naruto, who jerked away with a stifled yelp. “Be nice!” she hissed, just loud enough for Shikamaru, Naruto and Itachi–those nearest–to hear.

“B-but Sakura-chan! Did you see the look he gave you?” the boy whined, only to be pinched again.

Sakura straightened and then stood, bowing to the Uchiha parents. “Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to eat with you and your family. I’m very glad. And please, let me know if any of my friends are a bother.” Her smile turned slightly menacing as she turned her gaze first to Sasuke, then Naruto and finally Shikamaru, and they all shrunk back while Ino snickered. “I’ll make sure they straighten their behavior out!”

The eldest Uchiha male lifted a brow, and then nodded. “Of course, Miss…?”

“Haruno Sakura. I apologize; I should have introduced myself to start with.” She flashed another semi-sincere smile.

Itachi chuckled and headed back to his seat. She was… interesting. She hadn’t given him doe-eyes upon command, and she had command over Naruto. In fact the whole group other than Ino.

Once seated, he shifted to make eye contact with Kisame who was sitting to his left. Kisame nodded towards the newest guest. Naruto’s sweetie? The tall boy mouthed. Itachi nodded. Kisame grinned. Itachi lifted a glass and as Kisame mirrored his actions, the sound of clinking glass was heard as they cheered each other.

Shikamaru looked over at the sound, noting the grins on both the older boys faces. Oh, not good. Itachi sensed his gaze and looked further down the table at him. Shikamaru could feel his face drain of blood. Damn, they were up to something. Itachi’s gaze slid one seat down to Sakura and back to Shikamaru. His grin widened and an eyebrow went up. Shikamaru groaned inside. Oh, not good, not good. When Itachi went back to eating and talking with his parents, Shikamaru looked at Naruto on his left. Naruto was seething.

Sasuke had gone a little green but was keeping up the conversation that his mother had locked him into. After a moment Naruto was also pulled into Mrs Uchiha’s conversation with Sasuke. Something about a class project. Shikamaru felt a poke at his shoulder, and he turned around to see Sakura looking at him.

“What’s with the eyes?” she asked, Ino leaning over to hear her whisper from Sakura’s other side.

“What eyes?” Ino asked, looking confused.

Sakura rolled her eyes. “The looks I’ve been getting from everyone since I stepped into the damn house,” she retorted.

“Oh, those eyes.” Ino shut her mouth and averted her gaze.

Shikamaru rolled his own eyes. “Sakura, the only ones that have been giving you eyes was Itachi,” he ticked off finger, “Naruto, of course, and …” He trailed off. Because Mr and Mrs Uchiha were ALSO giving Sakura glances. “Uh what?” He stalled out. Ino caught his eye and jerked her chin to the other side of the table. Kisame was still giving Sakura glances and the other older boys were too. Ino was actually looking a little pissed. Sakura didn’t normally steal the show. But why were the parents looking at Sakura?

“Get it now, genius?” Sakura asked crossly. She sighed. “So what’s up? Why is everyone staring at me so weird?”

Her voice had apparently raised a bit, because Hidan, across from her, and Deidara, across from Shikamaru, burst into quiet snickers. Hidan had a hand on Dei’s shoulder, leaning heavily on the blond as they slowly died from their laughter. At the end of the table on Hidan’s other side, Kakuzu rolled his eyes and muttered something about idiots before pointing at Sakura.

“Don’t waste your food, Haruno,” he said. “It’s a waste of money.”

Sakura’s eyes narrowed dangerously on him, but he remained unperturbed, so she smiled brightly. That actually made him still, as if he were wondering if she were bipolar. It just made Hidan and Deidara laugh harder, until Kisame elbowed the blond hard in the ribs because they were drawing attention to themselves.

“Ow!” the blue-eyed blond yelped, straightening to glower at the blue-skinned male beside him. “What was that for, un?”

“Do you have something you wish to share?” Uchiha Fugaku asked, tone that of a teacher patiently scolding gossiping students.

Both boys–after a look from Itachi that promised death–shook their heads quickly, and Kakuzu only sniffed and took a pointed bite of rice.

Shikamaru sighed. Kakuzu’s comment had reminded him that the food on his plate was still there. He shook his head and dug in. It was bad manners to leave even a grain of rice. Whoever did leave rice behind was insane anyway. Mrs Uchiha and her rice balls. Mmmmmm.

The rest of the group bent their heads to their plates and the dinner calmed down to quiet talk and requests to pass such and such plate. Shikamaru almost relaxed. A peaceful dinner was the best. Now if only he could ignore the pointed looks and snickers from across the table.

Sasuke finally took a deep breath and spoke more loudly, mind whirling as he calculated. “So… Sakura. I was wondering if you could help me with something later…”

She looked up from her meal, peering around Shikamaru and Naruto. “Huh? Like what, Sasuke-kun?” she asked, brow quirking.

“Um… Just something,” he replied vaguely, then appeared to cave. “Um, you know that one time that you were talking about clay and–”

“Oh!” she said, straightening with a grin. “Yeah, I remember!” she declared, not noticing Deidara’s brow quirk curiously. “I can totally help you with it!”

“Fangirl,” Ino teased, winking at Naruto, who gave her a wan smile.

Sakura turned and scowled at her. “Shut up, Ino Pig.”

“Never, Forehead,” the blonde retorted, straightening.

Sasuke coughed, distracting them from another one of their famous cat fights. “So… Tonight? After dinner?”

Itachi raised an eyebrow, and head of the table conversation shuddered to a halt. The entire Uchiha family as now looking at Sakura. Sasuke noticed and twisted in his seat to see his mother looking at him expectantly.

Itachi was laughing inside. So he would be talking to Shikamaru about the pink haired girl while Sasuke was talking with the girl herself. At least he didn’t have to make arrangements to meet her after all. He would just have to make sure that his conversation with Shikamaru did not last as long as whatever ‘clay’ project Sasuke needed to talk about was over. He knew couldn’t depend on Sakura falling into a fan girl role. Her response to Sasuke was proof enough that she already had an idol. He looked at Sasuke, it was just a little sad that she had picked duck-butt head. He turned the term around in his head. Itachi had heard Naruto use the term before and thought it quite fitting.

Mother spoke then, and he looked up in interest. “Clay?”

Sasuke blushed a little. “Just this stupid extra credit thing I somehow got talked into…” He paused to glare at Naruto, who coughed and then glared back.

Fugaku sighed. “Just don’t make too much of a mess, Sasuke,” he advised, and glanced at Sakura.

She realized that she hadn’t answered and shifted in her seat. “Well, actually, Sasuke-kun… I… I can’t.”

Sasuke’s head snapped up while Itachi smirked, Naruto fidgeted, Kisame quirked a brow and Ino choked on a sip of her OJ. Sakura ignored the varied reactions and hastened to say, “I promised aunt Tsunade that I’d watch TonTon, and… I don’t think you guys want a pig running around your house.”

Sasuke, strangely, didn’t look disappointed. “Oh, I see,” he said. “Well… I could come over with the stuff. It IS due tomorrow, Sakura. If I don’t do it tonight…”

She blinked. “Well, I guess that’s okay.” She turned and smirked at Ino. “You can find your way home alright, can’t you, Ino-chan?”

Ino’s eyes narrowed, but she smiled almost sweetly. “Sweet dreams,” she replied and winked.

Naruto groaned. “Okay, okay, we get it. You two love Sasuke-teme and hate each other. Can you stop with the arguments already?!”

Sasuke glared while Sakura pinched Naruto again and Ino’s glare promised death in the near future.

Dinner ended quickly after that. And while the older boys sat around chatting to the parents, the younger ones took the dishes and started the chore of cleaning up. Due to practice, they formed a line along the kitchen counter. Naruto grabbed the plates from the table, Ino washed, Shikamaru dried and Sasuke placed the dinnerware back into the various drawers and cupboards. Luckily for the dishwashing team the older boys had not followed through with their threats of aprons. While they were busy washing and cleaning up, Sakura was…

Well, she was talking. Sort of. Okay, so she was really just kind of sitting there, listening to Mikoto chat with Kisame about fish, Fugaku and Kakuzu deep in conversation about sales and Deidara and Hidan snickering over something or other. Which, of course, left Itachi, whom she’d almost forgotten, until he sat next to her on the sofa and offered another glass of apple juice. “Thanks,” she said, voice soft. The atmosphere–despite the noise–seemed to demand it.

Itachi shrugged, “See it as a peace gesture.” When Sakura swung a questioning look at him, he smiled at her. “It looks like we started off on the wrong foot.” He held out his hand. “My name is Itachi.”

She blinked a bit, and then smiled despite her reservations. She had heard a lot about Itachi, most of it from Sasuke though some from other sources, and all of it said he was suave, handsome… and completely scary. As of the current moment, she was completely unintimidated, so she took his hand. “And I’m Sakura. It’s nice to meet you, Itachi-san.”

“Sakura,” Itachi shook her hand, careful to not linger too long on her fingers. It would not do to undo the peace he just accomplished. She had a good grip. Firm and confident. Eye contact as well. “So what is this clay project that Sasuke mentioned? And why does he need the extra credits?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. I think it was Naruto that needed them, and so naturally, he had to drag anyone and everyone into it with him. I really don’t know for sure, though. I don’t have the same class as they do. Most of my classes are advanced, and Naruto has a habit of dumbing Sasuke down, or just making him go to the same classes as the idiot goes to.” She shrugged and grinned slightly. “Personally, I think Sasuke appreciates it. Means he has Naruto to stand behind when a horde of rabid fangirls come running.”

Itachi snickered. He couldn’t help it. “Sasuke has girl troubles does he?” He gave Sakura an amused glance. “And he doesn’t know how to simply tell them that he is not interested? He can certainly find the vocabulary to tell me to leave him alone. Then again,” Itachi leaned back on the couch, “I’m a permanent irritation in his life. The fangirls, not so much.”

He looked at Sakura, “Are you one of his fangirls as Ino said?”

She huffed. “No, not really. I mean… I used to like him a lot when I was younger, but… I guess, I grew out of it. I think I… like someone else…” Her gaze strayed toward the kitchen when Naruto yelled for some reason, but then she shook her head and said flippantly, “Though it could just be my imagination!” He was an idiot. Another thought struck her mind, and she added, “He looks up to you, you know. He doesn’t act like it, but I can tell.” It was very clear who she was talking about.

Itachi slanted another amused look at Sakura, then closed his eyes and shook his head. “I’m aware that he still looks up to me. I am still taller.” He glanced over and at Sakura’s flat glare, he relented. Raising his hands in a mute gesture of surrender he went on, “Sasuke has always looked up to me. I know that. He’s chaffing at the bit now though. I may have raised the family standard a little too high for comfort.” Leaning forward, elbows on knees Itachi looked back into the kitchen where Sasuke was stacking dishes.

“He looks up at me because I’m the older brother who did everything right.” Itachi shrugged, “However, now he resents me because I have done everything right. And now as you say it, he hasn’t been doing everything just as right.”

Sakura gave him an exasperated smile. “You’re wrong.” He blinked and looked at her, and the smiled vanished as she continued seriously. “He looks up to you because you were always there, when your father was busy with the company, and your mother had her cooking at the restaurant. You were the person that calmly told him he was being a stupid little kid, or smiled just for him when he accomplished something.

“He doesn’t resent you. He hates the fact that you never tell him you’re proud of him anymore. Yeah, it’s a little stupid. He’s a grown guy, but really, he’s still only a kid. We all are. And maybe, just maybe, life shouldn’t be such a competition between you two, huh?” She gave him a bland smile. “That’s the stupid thing between brothers.”

Itachi blinked. Then looked over to the kitchen. They were almost done in there. “Hnn. I will think on that. Thank you Sakura.” Itachi nodded to her and stood. “No promises on stopping the competition, but…” Itachi suddenly grinned. “I will try something.” Itachi wandered over to mother asking if there was anything out of the kitchen she needed. She asked for tea as he knew she would. Kisame cheerfully asked for cookies. Itachi kicked Kisame in the shin, but shrugged and said he would look.

By the time he arrived in the kitchen, the younger group had finished washing the dishes and had put away the left-over food. Sasuke was still stacking dishes into the cabinet when Itachi loomed over him. The younger Uchiha twitched and looked up. “What do you want?”

This time when Itachi heard the animosity he didn’t react in kind. Instead, he gave his brother a measuring look and reached up to take down a tea-cup and saucer. Glancing down as he closed the cupboard door, Itachi said, “You held up the dinner conversation well.” The older brother then took the china to the tea set, poured a cup and left the kitchen. Taking Sakura’s advice didn’t hurt. And if he took her advice, perhaps he would also gain her trust.

Itachi presented the tea to his mother and told Kisame he didn’t find any cookies. Returning to the couch with Sakura, he blinked. “Did you want anything?” She was giving him big eyes.

“Did you just…” She looked past him into the kitchen, where Sasuke was staring at the counter top, face completely blank with shock. “Did you actually listen to me?”

Itachi shrugged. “It doesn’t bother me to compliment the kid. But you are right, I haven’t done that for a while.” He looked over at Sasuke who was still giving blank looks to the counter top. “You know though,” he mused, “that reaction is worth the advice.” They both looked at Sasuke again. Itachi began to chuckle.

Sakura found herself grinning widely at the infectious sound. “He looks kinda stupid, standing there, huh?” she asked with a tiny giggle.

Sasuke apparently heard them and glared, turning abruptly away and stomping up the stairs, dragging Naruto along by the ear. Sakura sighed and got up. “Guess I should go now. I have to get home and all. It was nice talking to you, Itachi-san.” She smiled. “Um… See you at school?”

Itachi lifted an eyebrow and smiled. He hadn’t even needed Shikamaru’s help to arrange this, their interaction was surprisingly easy. He stood up himself to escort Sakura to the door. As she was putting on her shoes, he leaned up against the wall to watch her. “Isn’t Sasuke is going over to your house then?” He looked up the stairs towards his younger brother’s room. “I should go get him.”

He caught Kisame’s eye and when the taller boy walked over Itachi leaned over to whisper in his ear. “Sasuke has oreo’s in his room. And he’s going to Sakura’s anyway. How about I escort them both to her house and you can grab your cookies?”

Kisame grinned. “Sure thing, Miz Uchiha,” he said, grinning.

Sakura frowned slightly. “Um… Please don’t do something strange and vaguely testosterone-ish, like pick on him,” she ventured, shifting.

Itachi tilted his head to think about it. Kisame blinked at Itachi. He wasn’t going to pick on the brat? When Itachi focused his eyes back on Sakura, he only shrugged. “You seem to want to go now and Sasuke is currently in his room sulking.” He paused. With Sasuke and Sakura leaving, there wasn’t a reason for the rest of the younger group to stay. “Where do you live Sakura? Will you need a ride?”

“Well, I’d planned on taking the bus,” she admitted. “I hadn’t known Sasuke would be coming with…” She chewed on her lip for a moment, debating. “If you wouldn’t mind, though…” she trailed off, tucking a lock of hair behind one ear timidly.

“Go and get Sasuke down,” he told his waiting friend. “Tell him, I’m going to give him and Sakura a ride to her place tonight. He has three minutes to gather the things he needs or he will miss the opportunity. And tell Shikamaru: he’s off the hook,” he added.

Itachi looked at Saukra as Kisame and Hidan took to the stairs two at a time pounding up the wooden steps.

“I won’t pick on him, but if he wants to arrive at your home at a respectable hour,” he said quickly, distracting her from his mention of Nara, “we will have to leave now.” He glanced at the clock that said 7:30.

He looked to his own parents who nodded in agreement. “I doubt your parents would appreciate a boy following you home unannounced nor without a proper escort.” Itachi met Sakura’s eyes once again, “Do you want to call them to let them know while Sasuke gets ready?” he offered.

Upstairs they could hear as the older boys pounded on Sasuke’s door and the muffled yelling from the other side.

Sakura smiled and held up her cell phone. “I texted them while you were in the kitchen,” she said.

Itachi lifted an eyebrow at that. Smart thinking girl, he thought. Outwardly he just smirked. “Good to see Sasuke has someone with brains thinking ahead for him.” Sasuke had just come down the stairs and was glaring at him again.

The older brother simply shrugged. Slipping into his shoes he turned to nod to his parents, when Mother smiled and Father waved dismissively, Itachi opened the front door. “Keep up Sasuke.” And he walked out of the house.

Sasuke scowled deeply while Sakura just shook her head, exasperated. Men. They just couldn’t feasibly get along for longer than ten seconds, could they? Sighing, she looked at Sasuke. “Ready? Do you have everything?”

He nodded. “Yes. C’mon.”

She beamed. “Okie dokie! Oh, I bet TonTon misses you, Sasuke-kun,” she said as they walked out to Itachi’s… pretty… silver… Camaro? “Oh my…”

Sasuke scowled even more.

He loved his baby. Of course, he had built her from scratch so it stood to reason that there would be emotional attachment to her. Itachi smiled as he trailed his fingers across the shining surface of the Camaro.

She had been junk when he had first seen her. Someone’s mistake on the road had caused so much damage to her body that she was going to be scrapped. He had been tossing drinks back and forth with Hidan in the scrap yard office when the tow truck had brought her in.

Love at first sight for sure. And now she was all his. Every single piece surgically removed and replaced with loving hands. Itachi’s lips quirked at that. Okay, so there had been blood, sweat, and curses mixed in with the love. But then, that’s how he liked it.

By the time the kiddies had stumbled out of the house, he had already pulled out of the garage, engine purring.

He smirked at Sakura’s wide eyes. “Hop on in.” Itachi popped the locks.

Eyes wide, she nodded and slid into the passenger’s seat – shotgun – while Sasuke got in back. “She’s gorgeous,” she murmured, running a hand over the black leather seat before hurriedly buckling in. “My dad works as a repairman for vehicles, so I see all sorts of pretty cars,” she admitted sheepishly. “I’ve loved cars since I was a little girl because of it.”

“Can we go?” Sasuke asked, irritated.

Itachi arched an eyebrow at Sasuke, but eased the car out of the driveway anyway.

As he changed gears, he tilted his head to Sakura without taking his eyes off the road. “Repair work hm? Did he teach you anything?”

Inside Itachi’s head, the gears were spinning. What started as a laughable retaliation was now beginning to look much more interesting. He hadn’t expected the pink haired girl to know anything about cars, much less appreciate them. And if there was a way to catch Itachi’s attention, it was to compliment his baby. That and there was a nagging little tidbit of information that was itching at the back of his head.

Wasn’t the girl’s last name Haruno?

She shrugged. “A little bit,” she hedged. “I don’t live with him, so I don’t have the chance to learn often. I actually live with my mother.” She smiled. “But I do know how to jump-start a car, change a battery and clean out the exhaust.” Sasuke rolled his eyes and glared out the window.

Itachi hummed. “Which way to your house again?”

The ride passed without much else said. The older brother drifted into silence enjoying the evening drive and only briefly paid attention to what the younger kids said.

“You got your stuff, right Sasuke-kun?” Sakura asked, glancing back at him over her shoulder.

He gave her a look. “Yes.”

She smiled. “Good! Sorry, I’m used to Naruto forgetting all the time.”

“Don’t compare me to the dobe.”

“Did I ever tell you that you remind me of Konohamaru when you scowl like that?” This, of course, caused Sasuke’s scowl to darken.

Itachi snorted. Yeah his kid brother was sensitive. He glanced into the rear view mirror and noted how Sasuke’s face was blacker than the leather around him. The kid was going to bust a vein if he didn’t vent soon.

A thoughtful look stretched across Itachi’s face as the car pulled into Sakura’s driveway. “Sasuke, how long will your project take? I could swing by again to give you a ride home or would you rather take the bus?”

Sakura looked at Sasuke expectantly, and he scowled at Itachi. After a moment, though, Sasuke smirked back. “You can come back and pick me up. We should be done in about two hours; is that good?”

Sakura let out an annoyed huff and abruptly got out of the car, closing the door (almost reverently) and then stalking to the house.

Slinging an arm around the passenger back rest, Itachi twisted around to look at his brother.

“Two hours are just fine. Your posse hanging out at our place until you get back?” Itachi remembered getting a glimpse of Naruto’s face as Sasuke had come down the stairs. The kid hadn’t looked too pleased with Sasuke leaving with Sakura. Actually, it had been a surprise on its own that Naruto hadn’t invited himself along.

“Kick them out whenever,” Sasuke replied, and then frowned. “And whatever you’re planning, I’d think twice before you piss off Naruto. You might be vicious, but Naruto’s the son of the Yellow Flash.” That said, he opened the door, grabbing his things as he slid out.

The Yellow Flash, Minato Namikaze, was a well-known martial artist that had died in a fire just before his son was born, taking down a local badass Yakuza with him. He was legend. He was the person young aspiring martial artists looked up to. He was the man who had everything, and probably would have been satisfied with a kiss from his fiance… but they were never able to get married. She died giving birth to Naruto, and he was taken in by his uncle Jiraiya.

Itachi simply gazed at his brother through the open door. Even though he truly wanted to shrug or sneer, his mind was too busy thinking. He knew about Naruto—it just didn’t enter his plans to force Sakura away from Naruto. He had thought of seducing Sakura to watch Naruto squirm, and then leave the girl once her involvement had finished, but now he was sincerely interested in her.

The older Uchiha settled for swiveling in his seat to face forwards again before dismissing Sasuke. “You are the one who is following Sakura home late at night. Take you own advice. And do not harm Sakura.”

Sasuke sneered at the warning and the veiled implication. “As if. I’m leaving.” The door clicked closed and he jogged up to meet Sakura on the porch. They exchanged a few words, she waved good-bye to Itachi, and they went inside.


Chapter 1 | Table of Contents | Chapter 3


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