Trapeze

Chapter 21

Disclaimer: 21 chapters... and you still need to know?!

Thanks to YukiKitsune95, Silent-Himitsu, Fernlight, Animefreak1145, and Kyoichi Amaya for reviews.

SURPRISE! I reward all my loyal reviewers with a quick update! Wow... It seemed to take me forever to reach 20 chapters in Acrobats. This one has been a breeze... O.o HEATED FLUFFLES! ;3

vvv

"Bend you knee more, and raise your leg." Itachi said again. I tried, but my scar refused to bend to my will. Grimacing I put my leg down again and bent over panting, "I- I ca-...can't..." I gasped. Itachi didn't say anything, he just stood a few feet away from me, arms crossed. He stayed there for a few moments until it was apparent that I wasn't going to try again. Allowing a small sigh to pass his lips, Itachi walked over to me and gripped my shoulders, "Lie down." He ordered softly. I blinked at the demand, "What?" Itachi pressed downward on my shoulders, "Lie down on your back." He repeated. I frowned and held my stance, "Why?" I asked. Itachi shot my an irritated look, "You can't recover if you can't even lift your leg. Now lay down so I can help you." His reasoning made sense, so I did what he asked, still cautious, my arms crossed over my chest as I shot suspicious looks at him.

It had been a month since Itachi offered to help me recover. Since I was already a jounin we focused mostly on trying to build my right leg's strength back up, as well as a few taijutsus that didn't require much from my right leg, but hadn't got very far. Both of us were very careful not to reveal the secret training, lest someone found out and stopped us while probably spreading a false rumor that something more than training had been taking place. I made sure that I was never in Itachi's presence without Tenshi or Shisui, to try and stomp down on the rumors that still circled the village. Apparently when the head of a powerful clan like the Uchiha was discovered kissing a nobody like me, gossip was inevitable and lasted for a long time. The gossip was almost as bad as when Itachi caught Yakkaina cheating on him.

Itachi knelt beside me and gripped my shoulder in one hand. Peering into my orange eyes with his own dark ones, he said seriously, "It will hurt." I suddenly knew what he was going to do and my eyes widened. Gulping I nodded hesitantly. Before I could second guess myself, Itachi grabbed my right ankle and yanked it towards me so that my leg had to bend, my thigh pressing against my chest. I bit my lip to repress the scream building in my throat and would have shot upwards if Itachi hadn't held me down; instead I clawed at his arms. Tears sprang to my eyes and I could hear Itachi saying through the blood pounding in my ears, "Breath." I absently followed his order took a deep gasping breath.

After a moment of extreme torture, Itachi finally released my ankle and I shot up, my hands digging into my thigh as I glared through my tears at Itachi, but I stopped when I realized he actually looked apologetic for having to do it. He quietly pushed my hands away and replaced them with his own warm ones, his fingers gently massaging my throbbing scar. I blushed fiercely and refused to meet Itachi's gaze. I tried ignore the fact that my scared leg quit throbbing under his gentle ministrations. I shouldn't be relishing in the soothing feel of his hands, but I did. I bit my lip and tried to shove my rolling emotions away, but for once they wouldn't leave. After much internal debate I whispered, "Itachi-sama... you shouldn't- If someone found us... It's not that- I mean... um..." Itachi paused, his hands still on my leg. He looked at me, one eyebrow raised. I just blushed harder, if that was possible, and turned my gaze away. One of his hands reached to grip my chin and forced me to look at him, "What is really bothering you, Tora?" He asked.

I held his dark gaze for a moment, then glanced down at my lap, "I'm no one, Itachi." I said with surprising venom. I didn't even know why I was angry. I had no clue how he would react, but anger wasn't it, "Do you really believe that?" Itachi snapped back, making me look at him again. He was giving me the infamous Uchiha glare, I shivered. I opened my mouth to say yes, but stopped. If I was no one then I would still be stuck out on the streets, barely scraping by. When I didn't answer Itachi repeated his question, slowly I shook my head. "Then what is really bothering you?" Itachi asked again. I looked at him again, my expression dead serious, "Why do you really help me?" Itachi gave a small sigh and sat back, "Did you know Shisui and I were talking about you the day we first met?" He asked. I blinked and thought back to the day I had ran into Shisui while walking on my hands. That day seemed forever ago instead of only four years. I raised an eyebrow, "And that is relevant why?"

"Shisui had seen one of your performances. He thought you would be an excellent shinobi if someone would train you." Itachi stated quietly. I stared, even back then someone was watching over me. Someone who wasn't Reiko. I looked down at my hands clenching my split skirt, "Is that the only reason why you help me?" I whispered though I really didn't want to know the answer. Itachi reached over and cupped my cheek, turning my face towards him again. His thumb traced my scars tenderly, making me blush. I closed my eyes and unconsciously pressed my cheek against his hand. "No..." I heard Itachi whisper softly and felt his hot breath on my face briefly before his lips were on mine.

My eyes snapped open in astonishment, I think I might have even squeaked, then fluttered shut as the passion on the kiss took over. I gripped his shirt front with one hand to keep from falling flat on the ground while my free arm wrapped around his neck, pulling him closer. I could feel Itachi smiling against my lips at my reaction and for once didn't blush. The emotions I had kept locked up carefully away for years now finally broke through, shooting through my body like small sparks of lightning. I didn't know who pulled away first, but when we separated I was panting for air. I looked at Itachi, secretly satisfied that he was a little breathless too, and asked, "Now what?" Itachi's smile was so soft that I couldn't help but to blush again. He kissed me again, and I was embarrassed to have moaned a little. He pulled away, pressing his forehead to mine, "Now... I don't know, and I don't care." I giggled at that, Itachi didn't strike me as the person to not know or care about something so important.

vvv

It was almost night before I made it home from the hospital. Reiko never questioned my lateness, assuming that my limp was what hindered me. In truth I had arrived late at the hospital every day because of Itachi and stayed late to make up for lost time. Everyone at the hospital thought that my limp was the reason I was late there. I knew I couldn't use the excuse much longer, someone would start getting suspicious. Tenshi tackled me, careful not to jostle my right leg, the minute I walked into the door, "Mama! Reiko-oji is being mean!" I frowned at my daughter then at a very irritated Reiko, "What did you do?" I asked him. Reiko glared at Tenshi, "The question is what did she do." He snapped. Ever since I had brought Tenshi home with me, I had never seen Reiko so frustrated with her. Tenshi was too busy subbing into my fishnet leggings to answer.

Reiko gestured wildly to his niece, "She wanted to visit Itachi-sama, but I wouldn't let her because you asked to keep her here. I turn my back for one minute, and the next thing I know, Sasuke is carrying Tenshi in the door, saying she showed up at the Uchiha compound!" I froze then turned to my daughter, "Tenshi... is that true?" She nodded sadly and I spared her a brief frown before looked back at Reiko, "Then what?" Reiko threw up his hands and started stomping towards the kitchen, "I made her sit on the couch all day and gave her the sternest lecture ever, sue me, but I really can't put her in her room with all those toys, can I?!" I picked Tenshi up and settled her on my hip before following Reiko, "I'm not mad at you Reiko. You did exactly what I would have done." I said. My brother didn't answer, he was leaning hard against the counter, breathing heavily. I knew Tenshi had scared him, she would have scared me too had I been there.

I turned to Tenshi, "Sweetie, you realize that what you did is extremely dangerous, right?" The little devil in her came out again, "It's because I'm blind isn't it?!" She snapped. I opened my mouth to explain that it was dangerous for any four year old, but she spoke before I could, "You and Reiko-oji think I'm weak! Other kids get to run around, but I'm stuck here! You hate me!" She struggled in my arms, hitting and biting until I was forced to put her down. Reiko was staring at her, witnessing for the first time her little attitude, "Tenshi we don't hate you. Those other kids are probably older, no good parent will let a four year old-" He started. "You hate me, you do! You only take care of me because you have to! My friends say that my real mama probably pays you because I'm a freak and both of you are freaks too!" Tenshi shouted over Reiko, cutting him off.

"Tenshi!" I was shocked that she would even think it was true. Reiko's eye twitched, "Maybe you shouldn't hang around those kids anymore if-" Tenshi shrieked in anger and gave a wild kick. Her foot contacted with my right shin and I jumped back automatically, accidently putting weight on my right leg. It crumbled beneath me and I screamed in pain. Reiko leapt forward to catch me before the back of my head could hit the counter, "Tenshi!" He yelled, but my daughter was already out the door again. Reiko looked torn between running after his niece and staying to help me. I wiped my tears from under my eyes, "I'll be alright, go get Tenshi." My brother lead me to the couch first, proping my injured leg up, before taking off out the door. When he was gone, I threw an arm over my eyes, wondering how this day could start out so perfect and end terrible.

vvv Itachi's POV vvv

I mentally sighed, walking out of the Hokage Tower. I was tired of fighting the elders about marriage. Ever since they learned that I had accidently kissed Tora they were after me to start dating her, some were already suggesting that I marry the poor girl. I was glad that they didn't know about our training, it would be one more thing that they could use against me. I constantly reminded them that the Uchiha clan was in no danger of dying out and that I was only twenty-one, I still had my life ahead of me. But after my father's sudden death by the hands of one of his own clan mates, the elders were adamant that I have a heir in case the same thing happened to me. I would then remind them that Sasuke was perfectly able to take over the clan in case of that very unlikely event. That shut them up... for now.

Soft crying stopped me. I peered down an alley and saw a small figure crouched in the shadows, sobbing. I cautiously started down the alley, prepared for an attack. As I drew closer I recognized the figure as a very dirty and scratched Tenshi. I knelt beside her, "Tenshi...?" The little four year old jerked her head up, her cloudy pale blue eyes searching blindly for me. I reached out and gently touched her shoulder. She leapt forward suddenly and latched her arms around my neck, like I had seen her do to Tora so many times, "Itachi-nii-san!" She sobbed. I stood, still holding Tora's daughter in my arms, "Tenshi? Is something wrong?" She began to cry all over again, pressing her face into my neck, "They hate me now! I know they do. I just know it!" She babbled. I tried to pull away a little to see her face, but she wouldn't let me, "Tenshi, what are you talking about?" She shook her head and didn't answer.

I kept my expression carefully blank, "Come on, I'll take you home." I started back towards the beginning of the alley, but she struggled, "No! They hate me! They don't want me anymore!" I let a frown show through my passive mask, "Tora has to be worried." Tenshi broke down and began sobbing again, "I hurt Mommy! She doesn't want me anymore." I tensed and she cried out, "Now you hate me too!" I barely refrained from rolling my eyes, "I don't hate you Tenshi, and neither does Tora or Reiko. How did you hurt Tora?" The little girl explained all that had happened from when she went by herself to the Uchiha compound, to how she ended up in the alley because her so called Uchiha friends laughed at her and pushed her around. My eyes unconsciously spun red at that and I hugged Tenshi closer, I was going to have a talk with some Uchiha children when I got home.

I thought quickly, I knew that until Tora proved that she didn't hate Tenshi the little four year old wouldn't want to go home, but I also knew that Tenshi didn't want to return home because she thought Tora and Reiko 'hated' her. "Tenshi, do you want to stay with me tonight?" I asked. She dropped the self-pity like a hot iron, "Please Itachi-nii-san." She said, her voice still wobbly.

vvv Back to Normal vvv

A knock woke me from my nap and I wondered groggily if someone had found Tenshi. Grimancing I climbed to my feet, my leg still sore and limped to the door. Opening it I found Itachi leaning against the doorframe, his expression bordering tired, "Tenshi told me what happened." He said as a way of greeting. I opened the door wider, "Where is she?" I asked, glancing around Itachi, trying to find my little girl. The Uchiha waited until I met his gaze again before saying, "She's scared you and Reiko hate her and refused to come home. I promised her she could stay at my home tonight, do you mind?" I sighed and leaned heavily on the door, relieved that she was somewhere safe. I wordlessly nodded. My grip on the door slipped and Itachi caught me before I could hit the ground. He looked annoyed, "You should rest before you faint."

I shot him an irritated look, "You're the one who's requiring all my energy." Itachi helped me back to the couch, "Alright, no training until you've recovered." I opened my mouth to argue, until I saw the smirk on his face. Scowling I crossed my arms, "Baka..." I muttered under my breath. Itachi only chuckled and stood, his expression serious again, "We will cut back though. No need to kill yourself." I nodded then yawned, "If you find Reiko on your way back can you tell him the plans?" I asked. Itachi nodded and left. I fell asleep disappointed that he didn't kiss me.

^o^

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