The next day found the original members of Team Seven getting ready to spar in their usual training grounds: a grassy field surrounded by trees. Sasuke Uchiha was wrapping his wrists with bandages so he could practise his version of Rock Lee's ‘Primary Lotus’ move. Naruto Uzumaki was making sure the nine tailed demon fox wouldn't aid in his fight, since it was just sparring and he wasn't in real danger. Sakura Haruno, the team medic with intense strength, was putting on her battle gloves, and the team leader, Kakashi Hatake, was reading his usual perverted Icha-Icha Paradise novel.
"Hey, has anyone seen Ameji?" Naruto asked once he was finished with his conversation with the demon fox.
"I saw her yesterday, but not today yet. How about you, Sasuke?" Sakura turned to the Uchiha who was barely paying attention.
"No, not yet, but yesterday she was at my house talking with Itachi," Sasuke shrugged, not showing his curiosity of to where his brother ran off to. He hadn't seen him at breakfast either...
Kakashi laughed and decided to have a little bit of fun with his former students. "I heard that they were madly in love and are running away together to Suna." The three teens stiffened and Kakashi smirked. "Oh, poor Sasuke, not even knowing that his brother was a slave to love. Don't be sad, it happens to the best of us," the Jonin sighed dramatically.
"Ameji wouldn't leave like that without telling us!" Sakura protested. 'Yah, she would also at least tell us if she was in love! Right?' her inner Sakura questioned.
Sasuke sighed and pouted. "Maybe they did. My brother wouldn't say anything at all. He probably wouldn’t even leave a note."
"Why would they abandon us? We have to go get them back otherwise Granny will mark them as rogue ninja!" Naruto yelled eager to go set things straight with his 'little sister'.
"They might be getting permission from the Hokage. We should go check," Kakashi said, amused at his teams panicking. He knew for a fact that the two were at the Hokage tower, but only because he saw them on his way to the training grounds. He followed as the younger ninja ran through the village, where they spotted the two ninja talking to the building guards.
Sakura and Naruto pounced on Amejisuto while Sasuke tried and failed to pounce on his brother, who moved just a few inches out of his reach. "Why are you doing this to us? And why did you choose Ameji?" he whined pathetically, making the older brother cringe.
"What's going on?" Amejisuto gasped as two older ninja wrapped themselves around her legs childishly, preventing her from moving.
"Don't leave us! You're too good for him!" they cried, refusing to let go as she tried to shake them off. They were almost as bad as the weights that Rock Lee and Guy wore on their legs and arms at all times.
"Sensei, could you please help me?" a slightly frustrated Amejisuto called to Itachi, feeling awkward and crowded since her personal space was invaded without permission. The older Uchiha nodded and took out two kunai knives, silently threatening to chop the invaders off. Sakura and Naruto backed away slowly after letting go of their teammate's legs.
Sasuke's eyes widened as his teammates words clicked in his mind. "Sensei!?" he stared in shock at his brother. Kakashi couldn't hold in his laughter any longer. He started snickering, which was really creepy.
"Kakashi-sensei, what's so funny?" asked Sakura.
"Such gullible students. How many times have I taught you to see through deception and not let your emotions affect your judgement?" he said, making the others realise he was just messing with them and turn red with embarrassment.
Amejisuto inched close to Itachi. "Do you have any clue what they're talking about?" She whispered.
Kakashi overheard her and smirked under his mask. "I told them you two were lovers and ran away to Suna."
Amejisuto choked on air, blushed and moved away from the raven in embarrassment. "Why would you tell them something like that?"
"Because their reactions were priceless. Instant complaining and pouting, mostly from a certain Uchiha," everyone looked at Sasuke, who looked away in embarrassment. Itachi shook his head and sighed.
"Well anyways, why are you calling him sensei?" the rosette inquired.
"I was feeling like a weak link on our team, and since everyone was trained by a Kage or Sannin, I decided I would ask the only person that matched or even exceeded their skills," she pointed at the ex-ANBU captain, "The legendary Itachi Uchiha."
Sakura nodded in understanding. "I was once the weakest member and then asked Lady Tsunade to train me as a medical ninja. It's a good idea to train with someone super skilled."
Naruto seemed a bit sad. "I never knew you felt that way, Ameji," he sulked, feeling bad that he hadn't noticed his friend's distress. Sasuke sighed and looked away.
"I guess it wouldn't hurt to train her. She's better than most people," he said to Itachi.
"Kakashi, we’re about to see the Hokage to get permission of me taking her on as an Uchiha apprentice and off of Team Seven. Do you give your approval?" Itachi asked.
The copy ninja waved his hand and smiled. "Go ahead, take her away and make her a stronger woman." With a nod, the older Uchiha gave a signal for the young brunette to follow him, and they disappeared into the building.
"Something about what he said reminds me of a man requesting a woman's father for permission to marry," Sakura laughed.
"There's some major rules about training someone not in the Uchiha clan. I don't remember most of them, but I can't believe that he would go through all that trouble," Sasuke mumbled.
"Jerk, it's called being nice and training someone who asked for his help," Naruto rolled his eyes.
"Like you would know, idiot. You had to beg Jiraiya for a week and do your ‘sexy jutsu’ every few hours to keep him interested," the spikey-haired boy shot back.
"Guys, kiss, make up, and let's go train," the only female team member left interrupted their soon-to-be fight, and ran back to the training fields with the boys following her.
"Not a couple!" they both shouted at the same time.
"Sure, sure," Sakura laughed. "But it would be awesome if you were. You two are the cutest!"
Kakashi followed them silently, wishing that the days when they cared if he was there or not could come back.
The most recent Akatsuki meeting was finally over and everyone separated into their own teams. Most left to do some extra missions or spar outside. The leaders slipped away after watching everyone leave.
"Pain, do you really think it's a good idea to try to persuade a pacifist to join the Akatsuki?" Konan asked the orange haired man as they walked through their hideout - a series of underground tunnels that Orochimaru got his summoned snakes to carve – heading towards a main office.
"Itachi Uchiha is the most powerful ninja in Konohagakure. Maybe even one of the most powerful ever, and he’s still extremely young. We must have him," he answered.
"But Zetsu reported that he's surrounded by family and even has an apprentice now! It would be almost impossible to get him alone."
"No, he will have times when he is away from everyone. We must strike then."
"It won't be easy," they were interrupted by the man with the orange mask walking in. His voice was about an octave lower than when he was around everyone else and acting like a hyper little kid. "The Uchiha clan has strict rules for apprentices, especially if they hail from another strong clan. The chances of him being alone will be extremely rare. Unfortunately, I was the one who created this law. I never thought it would backfire badly enough to give us trouble."
Konan and Pain narrowed their eyes. "Please explain, Madara."