General Summary: Itachi and Sakura centric. They were two lives that never should have met. The only thing holding them together is pity, except neither side needs it. (Written years ago-changes in Naruto haven't been adapted in)
Every morning she debates killing him.
When her eyes open; he is already awake. His onyx eyes stare up, unseeing at the ceiling. She lays her head upon his shoulder and her fingers run down his arm, her mind knowing exactly where to pressure chakra to stop his blood from flowing.
His skin is unnaturally smooth, but it is almost expected that it be so; his hair no longer growing back because of all the fire ninjutuses he has used. Her fingers rub his elbow; she knows how to slow his body's chemical nerve system until his heart finally stops beating.
She stares up at his face, his eyes still staring at the ceiling, and presses her forehead to the side of his well-formed bicep, as her fingers intertwine around his wrist. She deliberates snapping it off; he would never throw another kunai again.
He glances at her then, just as she is about to make up her mind.
"Are you ready to rise?" He asks in a smooth, musical tenor.
She squeezes the wrist gently, always masking her chakra's presences, and slips from under the blanket separating them. There is only one bed in the small house, one kitchen, one bathroom, one hallway, and one front room that they use as a flower shop. She tells him that each room, besides the front, is painted blue; they're really all grey, but she likes the idea of blue.
She tugs at her pajamas, the only memory of her old friends. The pants are neon orange; her shirt a black tight nit top, which once upon a time had a mask attached to it; and on her feet are toe-socks, because "Uglie's feet get cold." She doesn't need to but she straightens out the old worn clothing, as if to remind herself that she holds some form of dignity left inside.
The weight of the bed shifts and she glances backwards. His feet dangle off the side of the bed, while his hands message his temples. His black shirt has no imprint of a fan; though she always checks, just to make sure.
Her feet graze the floor and she walks around to his side. She slowly grabs his hand, leading him through the house. It makes her feel like a teenager again, trying to tug along a new boyfriend who doesn't want to be there. But, love is not the reason she does such things.
He does not like to seem weak; he would rather stand all day in one spot than find his way along the wall or use a cane. Whether it is because of vanity or how he was raised; she doesn't know. She likes to think it is the latter, because she might kill him in her anger if she found otherwise.
That being said, he doesn't like to be seen dragged around in public. When they go out she wears a tiny bell around her wrist. She tells him that it was her grandmother's bracelet, given by her grandfather the night he left on his first merchant ship. He never made it home. She tells the man it is for good luck, he readily disagrees with her. The bell is really just a cat bell she bought at a flea market, which dangles from a metal chain she found on a mission when she was a genin.
She likes to think he enjoys the outings, but she doubts it. She doesn't believe that a vile, murdering man can enjoy a fresh field of flowers, the smell of rainfall, the scent of pine, or the highland breeze of a haven far away from the shinobi world.
He also knows he will usually get a haircut. She tells him that it would be harder for him to manage, or that the way it grows looks ragged. The truth is she doesn't want anyone to recognize him, and cutting his hair seems to do the job. While he is at the barber he also gets shaved, because she's scared she might cut him…and not stop.
She gathers a set of clothes and leads him through the first doorway. She leaves the clothes on the counter, in the exact spot every day, in the same order every day; shirt, underwear, pants, socks. Then she leaves the room; she'd probably drown him if she had to help him bathe. The door shuts behind her, but it doesn't lock. She likes to think he trusts her not to go in, but it is more likely he wants it more accessible so that if something were to happen he could get out quickly.
She puts on a kettle of water, tea for him and coffee for her. Afterwards, she turns to the cabinet and closes her eyes. She can poison him easily. The aconites were right outside her door; the purple flowers sprinkled her flower box. If she got him to eat enough he probably keel over right then in there. There was also the Tung Oil Tree whose pink petals had been replaced with the Tung nut. That would be the one to use to kill him. His reflexes would be affected and she would easily be able to escape.
She opens her eyes and sets the pot on the stove. She places bread in the toaster, which always turns the bread black no matter the setting, and then sets out the only set of plates in the house. She grabs two eggs from the small refrigerator. With a flick of her wrist the stove flickers to life, as though barely hanging in there, like she was. She cracks the eggs together on the flat surface, almost putting too much of her strength into it.
She opens them and the yolks break as they hit the pan, the yellow pooling into the innocent white. Like two broken lives, the two eggs invaded each other's sides and filled the bottom of the small pan. They cook that way, suffering in hell together. She cuts them with a spatula and flips them separately.
The toast pops and the burnt smell floods the small space she works in. Only two plates sit on the counter; only two people eat in the house; she doesn't want other people around. They would let it slip. They would notice the weapons on the ceiling, out of reach of the blind man.
She places one piece of toast on each plate then she puts one egg on top. She becomes angry again about the cracked yolks. After a year she is still unable to make an over medium egg she enjoys. On the table the two plates go, on a table only big enough to fit two comfortably.
The kettle whistles and she allows it to blow for five seconds before turning. She knows that during that time a blind man struggles to open a door and if there is sound he will open it himself and she will not have to aid him.
She makes her coffee and his tea the same way, as always. She always struggles, debating whether or not to put her special white compound in his cup that would stiffen him blue. She puts a tablespoon of sugar in each, and then a tablespoon of creamer in both.
It was odd how they both preferred their drinks the same way, she didn't care though, and it just made things easier. After stirring she turns to see the man sitting across the table, dry. She wonders if he remembers who he is.
When she had met the dying man he had questioned her endlessly.
"Do you know who I am?" he had asked.
"No," she had answered. But I know what you are, she had wanted to growl, a monster.
After that she had taken him to see the 'medic' in a random cave she found abandoned. There 'she' would leave him. She would return after putting on perfume and lighting a cigar. She healed him, the gaping chidori scars and the horrifying lung disease. Then the 'medic' left and she returned after drying from a bath. She never wanted to dress up again, so they went far away from the cave, with 'medicine' the 'medic' had taught her how to make. He had accepted it, never questioned it; not that he had a choice.
She is scared he knows who he is though. He could easily apprehend her and slit her throat. Why would he spare someone like her? He didn't even spare his own blood. She keeps weapons on each of the ceilings, just in case he remembers.
She places the cups on each side of the table, one before him, one before her. Knowing he has her attention now, he immediately takes his medicine; he does not like to be reminded. She smiles and congratulates him, almost like a small boy, but she wonders if he'd notice a different pill if it was the same size.
They both eat in silence, finish their drinks listening to the birds just beginning to emerge from their slumber. As if on cue she takes the dishes while he stands. He follows the soft padding of her footsteps to the sink. She washes all of the dishes, while he dries them.
At the last cup is in her hand she notices his anticipation. He knows the routine. Today is the day she reads to him. Something, she truly believes, he misses more than killing and ruining innocent lives. She wonders what he used to read; murder mysteries, shinobi code, she silently scoffs at that one, or maybe a romantic novel. She stops her guessing, and hands him the cup in her hands, then watches him.
His body is still muscular, like the day she met him. His dark eyes have a grey look to them. She wonders what he would do if she healed them. For years she has been reading medical journals on the eyes, when they settle down to sleep for the night. She thinks she can do it. She doesn't try though.
For some reason she doesn't want to leave this small world of peace. That is what she tells herself. It's not because she loves him. If that were the case she would kill him, or herself. She would never betray her village for the murderer beside her. At least that is what she forces herself to believe.
The man's left hand searches for a place the put the cup. His hands are gracefully searching for the cabinet handle. They are large and calloused hands, but they barely graze the wood. He has absolute control, even now, even blind. He continues the search, and she continues watching.
This is why she stays. This is the reason she does not kill him. Never before has she ever been so needed. Never before has she been given the note of significance in someone's life. When they thought she had died, there had been many people stepping up to replace her, many succeeded.
Now she is important, at least to one person, who cannot find their way in life.
She stays to help the man, because she has his full and undivided attention. He is no longer great. He is no longer able to depend upon himself.
She reaches out and gently tugs his hand to the other corner of the cabinet where the handle is, he forgets this one is on the opposite side than the others. He puts the cup away then turns to her. He smiles awkwardly and quietly tells her 'thank you' with the greatest sincerity and embarrassment.
Because she pities how the once mighty man has fallen, she stays.
She smiles at him; she notes that it's cute how he cheeks turn slightly red. She wants to touch his face and feel the smoothness, but prevents herself from doing so. She almost lets out an audible sigh, wishing she could reach out and touch him; but she laughs at such childishness. Yet, she still wants to.
He allows her to lead him through to the living room.
He hears her pull the adventure book from the shelf and a blanket from cabinet, and then they both go outside, because it is impossible to sit down in the room full of flowers. He hears the heavy material flap in the air, then the shifting of grass as it rests on top. She sits on the grass and he feels it by his hand being dragged downward. He sits as well. He leans in close as she opens the book and she leans back into his chest. He wonders why he stays.
He could get up and leave, nothing was stopping him. He knew his sight had been failing him for years now; he had been training for it.
She begins to read. He closes his eyes. He loves the sound of her voice. No, he does not love. If he loved her he would kill her, so he does not love. The voice is pleasant, it does not squeak; but it rings with grief, as though she had experienced many sorrowful incidents in her life. He understands it, he knows better than anybody what sorrow does to someone.
The voice is determined and carries authority, as though she once was an advisor or once gave people orders. She won't say where she came from. He asked once and she almost burst into tears, he had quickly changing the subject. She did not ask about him. He soon realized that she wanted him to do the same. He is curious, but she wouldn't give him the information anyways.
He let the smell of her overlap him. She smells of strawberries, like the wild strawberry field she had taken him to last year. She enjoys taking him places. He likes that. He can't stand being cooped up in the shop for so long and she is the same.
He enjoyed the smells of the different places; the pines especially. They reminded him of home. A home he hadn't been allowed to live in for years. His eyes squint together at the horrid memory. He can see it; all the blood, the wall, the kantana, the screams. He shakes his head slightly, dislodging the vision. He opens his eyes and listens closer to the words.
He enjoys the adventure books. They seemed to be her favorite as well, or maybe she just knew. Just like with breakfast. He didn't understand how she found out his favorite food. Nobody he knew broke the yolk and yet she had made it the same way for all the time he had known her. He hates the slimly yellow mixture squirting out; he enjoys tasting the whites and the yellow together. That was the way they were meant to be eaten. He couldn't believe that she liked it the same way.
He hears the book close and she leans a little more weight on the side of his chest and shoulder. He feels the short hair brush against the sleeve of his shirt. After two seconds she rises and he does the same. He steps off the blanket; his bare feet are greeted by the moist grass. He hears her fold the blanket then feels her calloused hand grab his.
He used to think she was a shinobi by the way her hands felt. He knew that was not the case. She was a hard working woman. She washed; cleaned; prepared food; cut, arranged and sold flowers; fixed the broken house up; and then took the time to take care of him.
When they enter the house, he is ready to work. There is only job she has given him. He spools the yarn they get. It took her two weeks to teach him how to do it by feel. He had needed the task, he couldn't stand not doing anything all day. The people in this town did not use money. They traded everything. His trade was creating yarn. People did not just come to the shop for the flowers.
He hears the rustling of plants and she begins to speak. She explains the flowers arrangements in such detail he can almost see them. Except he knows his knowledge of what each flower looks like is slipping away, for it is becoming harder for him to visualize. He wishes he could see the house itself. She once told him about the walls; he loved the color blue, he wonders if it was closer to an indigo color or Caribbean blue, perhaps a mix of the two.
She sets him at his stool and he begins his pedaling, his fingers sliding over the coarse wool. He hears her set up her vases and the soft shifting as she arranges her flowers. And that is how both of their days begin.
Many people come into the shop, many friendly and happy townspeople. He notices she is outwardly very friendly, but she never invites anyone to stay. He wonders if she is trying to hide something, but he knows that's probably just his shinobi life style tainting her innocence. He thinks she has lost her lover or husband and does not wish to become close with anyone.
When the day ends she takes her bath, and during that time he trains. He goes through his hand signs, completes routines he had learned at childhood, practices throwing a kunai with nothing in his hands. He knows he will one day leave this peaceful world. He knows he will be able to leave it by choice, that the woman that cares for him does not keep him here. At least that is what he tells himself. If he truly could not leave her, that would mean he loved her, and if he loved her he would kill her. He will not allow himself to be held down by anything or anyone.
He removes himself from his stance as he hears the bathroom door open. He makes his way over to the bed and lies on top of the covers, he is always too hot to sleep underneath and he keeps the woman's dignity.
She slips in next to him and the smell of ramen, dogs, and paint fill his senses. The way she sniffs too, makes him believe he is correct in the assumption that she has lost her husband. She pulls a book from below the bed and begins to read silently. He is positive that it is some sort of diary; she won't read it to him.
Contently, he closes his eyes; he has nothing better to do then sleep.
He's already awake, hours before she stirs. He slowly and carefully retracts the arms that circle him, placing them carefully at her sides. It doesn't bother him as much as it used to, in fact it is almost an enjoyable experience. He wonders why he doesn't leave her and he makes himself believe it is because the woman trusts him so much.
She leans on him for simple strength. It has been years since someone has trusted him. Not since his brother had been little. He sighs in regret, wishing things had turned out differently for both of them.
Last he heard there had been a major battle in his home. One of his brother's teammates had died during the fight; he heard it had caused a huge conflict between his brother and best friend. The protégé of the best medic-nin deceased, that had been a disappointment. He wondered if someone else could save his brother from going blind like himself.
His head angles upward and he hears her cry out in her dream. He edges closer to her and lets his hand shift through her smooth short hair. His fingers brush something wet. He sniffs, and then licks, its salt water. He continues to travel his hands through her hair, knowing he cannot comfort her in dreams.
The woman needs someone around, as much as she seems outwardly tough; she is not and he knows that.
The woman has no idea who he is. She trusts a murderous man, who could snap her neck while she sleeps, and for that she is a pathetic creature. He pities that about her, which is why he stays. At least that is what he tells himself.
She curls up closer to him and he can feel her heart beat vibrate through him. He desires just to turn over and wrap his arms around her, then return to the world of peaceful dreams she seems to bring. He scoffs at his desires, but that does not stop him from desiring it.