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Sehnsucht - Chapter 9 :iconrheehemoth:Rheehemoth 0 0
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Sehnsucht - Chapter 8 :iconrheehemoth:Rheehemoth 0 0
Literature
Sehnsucht - Chapter 7
Chapter 7 - Paperwork
Itachi was head first in a massive pile of mission reports that had just come in today and yesterday. There was at least 10 more for him to go through and a few of them required more attention than normal but he was having a few issues. The medic's reports in them had some jargon and explanations he didn't quite understand. He was fairly certain that from the context he had figured it out, but still wasn't 100 percent sure. As intelligent as he was, he still only had a basic understanding of medical ninjutsu, and it was mostly due to lack of exposure over the years that his knowledge hadn't increased. In the last month since he had taken on the job, he had learnt a few things, but he was still uncertain about some procedures. Judging from how much the hospital had changed, things were very different.
Conveniently enough, Hitori walked in just a few minutes into him frowning faintly at one report and she bowed respectfully. He raised his head to look at her
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Literature
Sehnsucht - Chapter 6
Chapter 6 - Job Titles
"Come on, Hitori. You're usually faster than me!" Sakura called out from the other side of the training ground as Hitori tried to dodge every kunai and shuriken her friend was throwing at her.
They had finally gotten a chance to train together, and they had been here for two hours already. They always focused on keeping their evasion ability sharp, since it was so important for medical ninja to be able to avoid mortal injury at all costs. Stamina was a massive factor, and since they had both spent their weapon stores by throwing them at each other, they were both getting a decent workout.
"That's all I've got left." Sakura shrugged after a massive fuuma shuriken landed with a heavy thud in a tree behind Hitori, as she jumped high to dodge it.
"Shall we work on taijutsu?" Hitori suggested and saw Sakura nod in answer.
The younger woman grinned darkly, and charged at her with her full speed and Hitori groaned even though she had made the suggestion. For the
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Literature
Sehnsucht - Chapter 5
Chapter 5 - Crows
One month later
Hitori and Haruko were sitting in the barbecue restaurant and they had just ordered. There were a couple of other newer members of ANBU with them as well. Inuzuka Kiba had tried out only last week and gotten in successfully; his tracking skills would definitely come in handy. Akamaru was in attendance as well, of course. There was another girl, thankfully, in amongst the testosterone with her. Her name was Ryuka and she was nice enough, but they didn't really click as well as Hitori did with Haruko. Since Hitori had been in ANBU for a few months now, she didn't feel like a such a rookie any more.
The four of them had just returned from their last mission, which was a simple get in, get the information and get out deal which they completed without any trouble. Haruko had captained the mission, being the most experienced member of their team, and even though Hitori disagreed with a few of his decisions, she had kept her mouth shut and lucki
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Literature
Sehnsucht - Chapter 4
Chapter 4 - Loyalty
All of the shinobi who tried out for ANBU had been summoned to HQ today to find out whether they had been accepted. Hitori watched as two were knocked back and the one before her walked out with their mask, showing that they had been accepted. She was called into the office last and immediately noticed that there was another mask on the table. Standing in front of the desk, leaning against it casually was the same authoritative figure with the dark red cloak and black mask from the try out day.
"Sokkenai Hitori. You did well on the test and have been accepted into the ranks of the Konoha ANBU. Congratulations." He handed her the mask, and she bowed as she accepted it with both hands.
"Thank you for accepting me. I will work hard." she spoke before she rose back up to her full height and the black-masked man nodded for her to be on her way.
She placed her mask inside her vest pocket so that it would be hidden while she made her way back to her apartment, pract
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Literature
Sehnsucht - Chapter 3
Chapter 3 - Identity
It was a few hours before the try outs for ANBU started and Hitori was sitting in her apartment, attempting not to cry or wet herself with nervousness. Although she felt better after the encouragement from both the Hokage and Sakura, she still wasn't sure if she would pass. She hadn't been told anything about what she would have to do for the test, whether it was like the Chunin exams, and she would have to fight or if it was more like the Academy with general tests of skill and knowledge.
After she finished her tea, that she had made in an attempt to calm herself down, she placed the cup and saucer in the sink and began to get dressed in her usual clothing. First was her bindings, which were always annoying, a mesh undershirt and black tank top, that zipped up at the side. Over that was her vest, which had pockets for various syringes, bandages and other medical necessities. Her black pants were cropped just below the knee and her various holsters for senbo
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Literature
Sehnsucht - Chapter 2
Chapter 2 - Home
Although Konoha had been his home for many years, he still felt strange walking through the gate for the first time in so long. Even when he had been away with Akatsuki for so long, Konoha was still his home. That fact had not changed, and a very small part of him had always hoped he could live out the rest of his days in the village he grew up in. Said village was on edge with his arrival, but as he walked in with Hatake Kakashi, Haruno Sakura, Uzumaki Naruto and Sai, the people around them seemed to relax. He was in cuffs, but it was more or less a formality. Tsunade had already told him that her plan to clear his name was sorted out, and she needed him here to iron out the creases. However, the tension was still thick in the air.
He supposed that he was lucky to still be alive after all this and shouldn't expect much, but his heart didn't listen, no matter how hard he tried. When he had awoken in a facility belonging to Madara, he knew that he had to escape e
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Literature
Sehnsucht - Chapter 1
Chapter 1 - Inception
“Sokkenai Hitori. You have been summoned.” the ANBU operative spoke in their usual commanding tone, showing no emotion. They disappeared in a whirl of leaves immediately after she nodded in understanding.
Hitori stood up from her small table, where she had been reading a book and enjoying a cup of her favourite tea. So far, today had been uneventful, until now. She had returned from month long, arduous mission that took her in the far north of Cloud Country, escorting a Fire Country noble to their in laws house. It wouldn’t have taken so damn long if they didn’t want to stay in hotels and inns every single night. If the weather was too hot or too humid or if it was raining, they had to stay put until it cleared. Since Cloud was a much colder climate, she tore her hair out when they got further up north and were only able to travel in the middle of the day when it was warmer. But unfortunately that choice was removed from her hands. S
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Literature
Burning Lies - Chp 10
Chapter 10 - Pyre
The Whitebeard Pirates had left the next morning after stocking up on any last minute supplies. The townspeople had been kind enough to provide them with a lot of them for free, though their Captain had insisted on giving them a small sum of money in return, simply so they weren't depleting their own supplies for nothing. Most of their stores on the ship were filled now, and it would last them for at least several weeks.
Once they had made way, Lyanna had gone below deck and made sure that she had packed all of her things together. It would only take until tomorrow morning for them to arrive at the next island where they were dropping her off. After that, her contact would take her onward for a time and she would make her own way from there. It was time for her to return back to reality.
Meanwhile, Ace pulled the knot as tightly as he could and he felt an arm over his shoulders. Marco gave him a smile, but his eyes seemed to give another message. Slowly, he led
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Mature content
Burning Lies - Chp 9 :iconrheehemoth:Rheehemoth 1 0
Literature
Burning Lies - Chp 8
Chapter 8 - Combustion
Lyanna and Ace woke up together with a start at the sound of a massive crack of thunder. It boomed in their eardrums and Lyanna put her hands over her ears. Instinctively, Ace was ready to pull her into his arms to protect her but he realised immediately that it was just the sounds of the storm. She looked at him and they heard the wind picking up outside. It seemed the storm had gotten worse gradually through the night and was still picking up in intensity.
She leapt out of the bed after hearing a huge crash and ran out to see the door to the inn off its hinges against the bottom of the stairs. Swearing, she yelled to Ace and he followed her over. They picked the door up and placed it back. He used his Devil Fruit ability to melt the hinge against the door so that even though it wouldn't be able to open, the wind couldn't blow it open again. At least it would lessen the damage inside.
Once they were done the innkeeper had come out and thanked them and Lya
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Literature
Burning Lies - Chp 7
Chapter 7 - Blaze
The next morning when Ace woke up, he decided to take Lyanna to breakfast. She had been very understanding last night, and not only allowed him to ask her strange questions, but didn't pry or pester when he didn't feel comfortable telling her the reason why he asked her strange questions. He felt that he should at least thank her for her patience with him. Also, he was hungry.
Once he was ready for the day, he bolted to the inn she was staying in, trying to avoid the rain that had let up for a few hours this morning but started up again. He reached her room after nodding politely to the innkeeper, and knocked on her door. He waited for a minute before he knocked again then heard the innkeepers voice call out to him.
"Are you calling after the pretty young lady staying in that room?" The older man called out to him, and he headed down the small stairs and over to the counter.
"Yes, I am. I wanted to get breakfast with her. Has she left already?" He asked politel
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Literature
Bleeding Skies: Chapter 15
Chapter 15 - The Destroyer
It had been three days since Team Natsu with Mystogan and Shio had beaten Black Kraken and they were currently occupying three rooms in a larger towns' inn. After the Rune Knights had collected their criminals, they had gone to stay in a nearby town which had a few rooms available at the resort there. They were planning to make their way back to Magnolia at a casual pace. Shio was walking through the marketplace, more or less out of boredom, as well as uncertainty. Although she knew that this was the right thing for her to do, she still wasn't sure if she should leave now.
Mystogan had given her a piece of paper yesterday that detailed the current whereabouts of most of the other Black Kraken members. He had taken it from the second level office where they had found the leader and there was still a bunch that needed to be taken care of. He had already checked off most of them for her, but there was one that was only a day away from their location here.
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Literature
Burning Lies - Chp 6
Chapter 6 - Burn
The Moby Dick had docked at a nearby island after seeing that a huge storm was brewing ahead of them. Instead of pushing through, Whitebeard had suggested they dock for a few days to wait for it to die down. If they went out in the storm and ended up damaging the ship, it wouldn't be worth the extra time they would make. So they had made port on the command of their Captain.
They had arrived late in the afternoon and everyone was partying in the tavern. The last time they had made port for more than a few hours to get supplies was when they were picking up Lyanna, and it seemed that the men desperately wanted to live it up for a few hours. Since they weren't going anywhere, they may as well enjoy themselves. Said woman was sitting on a table, right in the middle, showing Marco, Ace and a few others how to play a new card game that she had learnt. Unfortunately, she was also terrible at it, since these guys were fast learners, but she had fun losing anyway.
Once
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Mature content
Bleeding Skies: Chapter 14 :iconrheehemoth:Rheehemoth 0 0
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Chapter 9 - To Save You

It had been a full day since she sent word to Konoha of her precarious situation. It would take at least half a day to arrive, but she wasn't expecting anyone to arrive for at least another few hours. She felt the prickles of chakra on the edge of her senses, and waited cautiously to see if it was one of her allies coming to help her. She didn't even breathe as they got closer at an alarming rate, and she began to worry if it was just a shinobi passing through the area and not someone there to help her. If they were just on patrol, they wouldn't be able to do anything for her since medics didn't patrol, and she would have to stay here until someone arrived.

Unfortunately, it wasn't a familiar chakra and she readied herself to fight again. It seemed since they had tracked her down, they were just trying to wear her out, sending someone occasionally to see if she was tired enough to take down yet. They had found out the hard way that she was still capable of defending herself. She wasn't even using chakra to dispatch them and no longer had the strength to wield her ninjato. They zipped into sight from the trees and headed straight for her, sword drawn. The steel glinted maliciously as she took a defensive stance.

A few more chakra signatures appeared and there was two that she finally recognised one, which belonged to Haruko. She knew that it was the group coming to get her, and she flared her chakra out as best she could, depleted as it was. Someone flew ahead of the group, but she couldn't place who it was. She recognised their chakra signature, but just couldn't figure out who it belonged to. It was such a strong signature with intensity that surprised her.

She finally began to get the upper hand in the brief skirmish and dodged a wide arc from her opponent's sword, and spun on the spot and feeling her kunai slice through the soft flesh of his throat. He gurgled and dropped his sword just as the first shinobi in the rescue group appeared from the brush. The enemy hunter fell heavily, arterial blood seeping into the ground beneath him and she sighed exhaustedly and looked to her ally.

It was a tall male, with a slim, but strongly built figure. A long black ponytail appeared from the back of his weasel mask as he turned behind him to watch his companions arrive and her jaw dropped behind her own mask.

"Commander Uchiha?" she watched his head turn towards her and saw his Sharingan eyes and she stared directly into them without fear.

A heavy breath escaped her and she was so relieved that help had finally arrived. She felt his red and black eyes on her as her head dropped and her shoulders slumped in exhaustion. He walked over and checked that all three of her squad members were still alive, and they were, obviously due to her abilities and training. She would be surprised if they all made it home alive though, herself included.

"You said they were poisoned?" he spoke just loud enough for her to hear.

"Mmm. I managed to neutralise the worst of the poison's effects, but after treating all three of them and fighting, I didn't have enough chakra to treat the damage it had already done. Instead, I treated myself as best I could so that I could guard them until someone came. The bounty hunters haven't given up yet. We didn't get far enough inside our borders to deter them." although she spoke confidently, internally she was concerned that she might have done the wrong thing. Maybe she should have exhausted herself to treat at least two of her squad, and they could have carried the third and her back to Konoha. "I just hope I did the right thing," she blurted out quietly, but he still heard it.

He stared at her for a moment, and she made eye contact with him for a long moment before he looked her over, checking her for injuries. Although her injuries were minimal, it was her exhaustion that was doing the most damage. Her chakra was severely depleted and she had no more soldier pills left, and hadn't been able to sleep for 2 days now. She knew that he would be all too aware of her situation, and when the other three people, Haruko included reached them, he quickly ordered them to grab one of their comrades and head straight back to Konoha. They had two fresh medics with them, who would work on her cell members while they travelled.

"Head straight to the hospital. I will make all necessary reports." his soft, deep voice commanded respect and obeisance.

They nodded simultaneously and leapt away into the trees, each of them piggybacking one of her squadmates. Hitori sighed silently in relief, but Itachi seemed to notice and watched her for a moment.

"You made the right decision. I would have done the same thing in your position." his words surprised her, and she stared back speechlessly for a few seconds, before she managed an appreciative nod.

She still had her doubts, but his subtle praise erased the vast majority of them. She supposed that his legendary track record was enough to back him up, let alone his brilliant mind, which was more than likely the only reason that he was still alive after everything he had been through. Despite her best intentions, she would still get in trouble later for disobeying orders. Reprimands be damned, so long as they all survived the trip home.

He gestured for her to fall into step with him, and they took off at a reasonable pace, and Hitori suspected that he was taking it easy on her behalf. Regardless of her exhaustion, getting home faster would make her feel much better and she pushed harder. He kept up with no worries, and she knew that he would probably be able to go twice as fast as she could without breaking a sweat and she smirked under her mask. Even just being in proximity to such an prodigious shinobi was unreal.

Just by observing, she wasn't surprised that he could not only survive years in the Akatsuki, as being among their ranks was legendary in itself. She also knew that he was promoted to an ANBU Captain at the mere age of 13, which was simply astounding. Her invitation to ANBU happened just after she turned 19 and at 13, she was doing D-rank missions.

He truly was a legend in human form.

Unfortunately, she had got into this mess because of her orders, and her temper was getting the better of her in her tired state. He had ordered her to stay back and only engage if she absolutely had to, like a good medic should do. However, their mark on this mission would have easily been able to be taken out through 'traditional' kunoichi methods, saving them the massive shit fight they had ended up in with his hired rogue shinobi guards. When he had given them the assignment, that was what she had immediately assumed they were required to do and why both her and Ryuka were assigned. She hadn't complained, or gotten upset. She knew that was part of being a kunoichi, and knew that she certainly wasn't above such duties. Obviously the information he had received was outdated by the time the mission was approved and they arrived at the compound. Hindsight was always clearer, so she brushed the train of thought away on that reasoning and just tried to focus on keeping up the pace.

After a few hours of silent travel, she stumbled and almost lost her footing and her Commander slowed to a stop. He hopped down until they were on the ground, and she followed him, wondering what the problem was. She hadn't sensed anything, but he might have gotten an inkling of something that she had missed.

"Rest for a few hours. We will continue once you've regained some chakra." he sat down at the base of the tree, leaning his back against its huge trunk.

He always spoke like he was making a simple request, but she knew that he wouldn't let her get away with it if she ignored him, so she walked over to a smaller tree about 3 or 4 metres from him before he tilted his head toward her. She stopped what she was doing, expecting him to speak.

"Here, please. I must keep an eye on your chakra levels." he gestured to the empty space next to him, and she was glad her mask hid her raised eyebrows. She thought she heard him huff faintly as she thumped down heavily next to him, barely able to stand any longer.

"Are you alright?" he asked her, just loud enough for her to hear him. He still had his head tilted back to lean against the tree. His knees were bent and he was resting his forearms on them, letting his hands dangle over.

It took her a moment to realise that he had actually asked that, as her first thought was that she was going mad from fatigue. His tone held a whisper of something that she couldn't quite put her finger on. It wasn't so blank and emotionless as his voice usually was, but she just didn't know what was different this time. She was far too tired to analyse it anyway.

"I feel like shit." Hitori hesitated after the fact, wondering if she should have said it so crassly, but it was too late now.

He lifted his head and turned to look at her, she stared into the holes on his mask that revealed his Sharingan eyes. She definitely heard him huff amusedly this time, and she could swear from the slight crinkle that appeared around his eyes, that he might have been smiling.

Unable to keep conscious any longer, she took a few controlled breaths and willed herself to sleep…

When she jolted awake, the sun was low in the sky. Her head was against something considerably softer than the tree trunk she had fallen asleep against. She glanced to her right and saw empty space, but when she looked to her left she saw a familiar black figure that she had apparently fallen asleep on sometime in the last few hours.

Uchiha Itachi looked down at her with amusement in his Sharingan eyes and her jaw dropped comically under her mask. She had slept on her Commander's shoulder, and he clearly hadn't woken her up to move her or told her off. She was grateful that he let her sleep, but it certainly didn't stave off her embarrassment at the situation. There was no doubt in her mind that if he didn't have the composure of a statue, he would be wetting himself laughing.

As much as she wanted to jump up and run as far away as possible out of sheer embarrassment, she knew that would only make it worse. Instead she sat up and blinked slowly, trying to pretend like she hadn't really realised yet. He probably saw through her facade, but she kept it up anyway.

"My apologies for sleeping so long, Commander. You should have woken me." She stood up slowly, feeling the aches in her body began to set in. The shot of adrenaline would make her feel shit for the next few days and it was already setting in.

Luckily, she had regenerated enough chakra to pick up the pace a little on the way home. She was glad for it, since the embarrassment running through her was enough to make her want to bury her face in her pillow and scream. The poison still in her system wasn't giving her too much trouble but the constant upkeep had drained her. Although she felt slightly nauseous, she ignored it as best she could. She felt dried blood on her ears as well as from her nose, and it was all she could smell.

"There was no need. Are you well enough to continue travelling?" He replied softly, his voice holding no clue to his thoughts.

"Uh, yes. Of course. Thank you." She dusted herself off, mostly because she was trying to avoid looking at him. Her awkwardness was well merited but she was pushing it aside in favour of getting home without a tense silence.

It surprised her how well she actually slept. The afternoon sun had helped to keep her warm, as well as someone's body heat, no doubt. With him around, she hadn't even thought about her safety being at risk. She knew that his abilities were almost mythical in their skill level and that she had nothing to worry about with him there. She wondered idly about the bounty hunters, but presumed they had given up since they had travelled much further inside the Fire Country border.

As they continued, Konoha got gradually closer and Hitori, although she had rested, became increasingly more exhausted. It had taken them at least another 6 hours of travel time to reach their hidden village, and by this time Hitori was practically dead on her feet. She was mentally whinging about Itachi looking perfectly calm and not even the slightest bit tired the entire trip back, but wasn't surprised about it.

The front gate of their village came into view and Kotetsu and Izumo were waiting for them, obviously hearing that they would be on their way from the other members of their team.

"Commander. We were starting to get worried since your team was back hours ago." Kotetsu walked over to them and nodded respectfully.

Hitori was preparing a comment about it being her fault that they took so long, but her nausea hit her harder now that she was safely inside the village gates. She coughed weakly to try and cover it up, but blood rose in her throat and it splattered on the ground beneath her. Then everything around her turned to black, and she felt the ground underneath her a second later…

Itachi hadn't been fast enough to catch her before she landed heavily on the ground just inside the gate, but he wasted no time in hoisting her into his arms and headed straight towards the hospital. It seemed like she was completely drained and exhausted, but he had to be sure that there wasn't any severe wounds, or if the poison was still affecting her. He could feel that her chakra was still very low and she wouldn't have been able to heal herself on the trip back since she needed to keep her muscles flooded with chakra just to keep going forward.

Once they made it into the village, she must have not been able to stay conscious any longer. Her body must have just given up on bothering to keep awake since she was in a safe place where she would be looked after. It was quite common to see shinobi making it to the gate and passing out, having done everything they could and expended every ounce of energy they had to make it that far. Kotetsu and Izumo were used to seeing it happen, for obvious reasons.

The front doors of the hospital were open and he headed straight in, not bothering to remove his mask. He was wearing the same weasel mask he always wore, and felt a little bit strange in it. Sakura caught his eye when he headed in and immediately came over to him, obviously being prepared for Hitori to be admitted. She led him through to the emergency section, where there was an empty bed waiting for her right next to her comrades who were unconscious but okay. Itachi carefully laid her back on the bed with Sakura's help before stepping back to let the medic do her job.

"Did the poison create any problems for the others?" he asked Sakura, referring to Hitori's teammates and she shook her head.

"No, Hitori did most of the hard work for us. She broke it down so that it wouldn't do any more damage, but she wouldn't have had the chakra to heal the damage already done for the three of them. We are just working on that and once they have rested up, they will be fine." Sakura pulled her hair back into a ponytail before she stood over the dark haired woman and began to work.

"Is she alright?" he asked, giving her a brief moment to assess her a little more fully before she answered.

"She's practically in worse shape than the other three. Signs of dehydration, malnutrition..." Sakura frowned and narrowed her eyes at her friend. "But she was keeping herself stable enough to keep going. Her exhaustion will take the longest to recover from. It feels like she was forcing herself through with adrenaline, and it's just as much of a blessing as it is a curse."

Itachi sighed silently at her unconscious form, knowing that she had obviously pushed herself far too hard. Regardless, he had to commend her for her tenacity and courage. He was all too aware of how nervous and out of place she had felt in ANBU so far, but this mission had all but proved that she was a brilliant operative. Her determination and self-sacrifice had kept her team alive.

"How long does she need to rest?" he asked as calmly as he could, knowing that he would have to get her removed from the active duty roster until she had recovered.

"Not entirely sure. The damage from the poison and general wounds will be sorted out within a week, but as I said before, her exhaustion is the worst part of her condition." Sakura's hands stopped glowing green, ceasing her chakra output before she looked over to Itachi, making eye contact with him. "I would give it three to four weeks, just to be sure."

The Uchiha nodded slowly, and thanked her before she ducked off to get a few different things for Hitori's treatment. He was trying to figure out how on earth she was suffering from dehydration and lack of nourishment when the others were out cold. They had taken plenty of supplies and rations, and he knew that Hitori had a good supply of soldier pills with her at all times in case of emergencies like the one she had.

Unless...she had given her rations and water to her teammates and let herself suffer. He sighed once again, audibly this time, when he realised that was more than likely the case. For their bodies to get rid of the poison, they would have been burning with fever and needing extra food for energy. She was loyal to a fault, just like him, and he knew that he didn't have a leg to stand on for when he would discuss the matter with her later. He knew that she had done exactly what he would have done, especially when her teammates weren't in serious enough trouble to destroy their bodies like they were supposed to if they were killed in action. Especially since they were inside Fire Country borders. She wasn't the sort of person to just let her comrades die without putting up a fight, and he admired her for that.

A small flash of pride surged through him, and although it was strange and unexpected, it wasn't unpleasant. He supposed that during his time as Commander, she had been the person he had spoken to the most. She had been the first person aside from Team Seven and the Hokage herself who actually spoke to him like a real person. Every other time he was talking to anyone, they spoke to him like he was nothing more than a machine. He supposed that in some capacity, they were right. He was a machine, who just did whatever he needed to. But Hitori didn't treat him like that.

He sighed and sat down in the small chair near the bed, and figured he would stay for a while and head home later. He had eaten just before he had received the note from her, and although he hadn't had anything since, he really didn't feel hungry at all. Making a mental note to ensure that he forced himself to eat later before he went to bed, he watched as Sakura came back into the room with a small container filled with a few bits and pieces and a stand for her IV.

Mechanically, the pink haired woman worked, green chakra flowing from her hands into Hitori's body for roughly 20 minutes. When she was done, she placed a needle into the vein on the inside of Hitori's elbow, and ensuring it flowed correctly before she moved onto the next task. Itachi continued observing silently as Sakura injected her with something, and left a few bottles of pills on her small bedside table. She picked up Hitori's chart and pulled a pen from somewhere in her hair and began making notes with lots of medical jargon on them, explaining Hitori's treatment. Itachi did see a few notes that were clearly directed at Hitori too, knowing that she would read her own chart.

"I've given her an antidote for the poison, since we have them in supply currently. Luckily she left enough in their system for us to identify it, which is handy. She must have known she wasn't going to be conscious long enough to let us know when she got back." Sakura spoke in an impressed tone, and pointed to the small bottles. "These are just a few vitamins to help her feel better once she's woken up, but she won't be up until maybe mid-afternoon tomorrow."

"Thank you, Sakura." Itachi didn't feel strange calling her by her first name, since they were friendly enough, and she had insisted on it since they saw each other once a week for medical sessions.

"Are you going to stay for while?" she asked after giving him a smile. Once he nodded, she put her pointer finger up in a 'Just a minute' gesture.

After 2 or 3 minutes, she came back with a book in her hand and gave it to him. He took it carefully and read the cover before looking back up at the medic with a raised eyebrow, silently asking her why she gave it to him.

"Hitori leant it to me, and I figured it would give you something to do while you sit. I've already finished it so go nuts." she shrugged and kept speaking, "My shift finishes in two hours, so I'll come and check on her before I go." she smiled at him again and swished away, closing the curtain behind her.

Itachi turned the book over to read the blurb and it seemed the book was the first of a trilogy of crime stories, involving murder, assassination, revenge, betrayal and so on. He couldn't say he was entirely interested at first, but decided that Sakura was right; it would give him something to do. So, he opened it and went through the first chapter and was hooked already.

By the time Sakura had come back, he had already read 4 chapters, and he hadn't realised how much time had passed. He finally dragged his head out of it when Sakura began to chuckle softly.

"You like it that much?" she was smiling as she checked that Hitori's IV bag was still going okay, and injected her with another syringe filled with some yellow concoction before she continued healing her. "I was hooked after the first chapter. She said she would give me the second book when I finished that one, but I finished it within a week and haven't had anything to read because she was away."

"It's...not what I expected." He offered and Sakura seemed to take his lack of criticism as a good thing and chuckled softly again.

"Well, it's good that you are enjoying it. Anyway, I'm heading home. Hitori has Miho looking after her tonight so she'll be fine. Coming?" Sakura gestured for to him to join her on her way out.

"I'll stay. Thank you." he declined, but Itachi didn't actually feel like leaving. He was still concerned about Hitori's well being, even though he knew that she was in good hands.

"Alright. Just don't stay too late, okay? You need to rest after going to help her. You're not that out of shape, but you shouldn't push it. Night." the medic waved goodbye and he nodded in return before she strolled out.

He didn't mind staying, and he still didn't feel like eating anything. He certainly wasn't tired. Maybe the adrenaline of being somewhat out in the field again hadn't exactly worn off yet. Even though he probably wouldn't admit it aloud, it was exhilarating being out there, racing through the trees because lives depended on him. Especially because he was trying to help someone who had treated him very kindly and even made him smile since he got back. That was why he didn't mind staying for a little longer to keep an eye on her.

By the time he had finished another 3 chapters of the book, the nurse Miho came to check on Hitori, and smiled at him before she changed the saline solution since the bag was almost empty and examined her with chakra. She injected a few things into the IV line, some of the vitamins Sakura left that would help her recover from exhaustion. Once she was done, she scribbled a few things down on her chart and Itachi paid her no mind, nose back in his book until she spoke to him.

"Commander Uchiha, it's so late at night that it's early. Go and get some rest. I can have someone contact you when she wakes up." her soft voice was just loud enough for him to hear.

"I'm fine. Thank you." he nodded to her in thanks and she shrugged and disappeared after she finished updating Hitori's chart.

He had met Miho once or twice when he had come in for his appointments with Sakura. She seemed nice and Sakura had said she was competent and experienced, but Itachi had a feeling that he wouldn't rest even if he went home.

After another hour or so, he glanced at the page number, his photographic memory filing the image away for later and he sunk down a little further in the chair. Crossing his arms over his chest, his closed his eyes, intending to rest as best he could whilst in the wooden monstrosity that was the hospital chairs. While he dozed lightly, he took in the sounds of Hitori shuffling in her sleep, as well as the few night nurses checking on everyone occasionally. He was able to shut his thoughts off, at least for the next few hours until the sun finally rose and the hospital began buzzing with more staff arriving.

Sakura appeared from behind the curtains and sighed at him with a frown on her face.

"You slept here?" she asked incredulously, although she already knew the answer.

He did not deign that with a response, being far too out of it to think of anything eloquent anyway. Even though he wasn't tired last night, he was definitely tired now. He must have fallen into a deeper sleep at some stage, but not enough for him to actually get any proper rest. Sakura groaned and rolled her eyes at him, but didn't berate him any further, more than likely aware that he wouldn't listen anyway. The damage was already done anyway.

She walked over to Hitori's bedside and her hands glowed green with the flow of her chakra. Carefully, she focused while she examined their mutual friend and Itachi tilted his head to either side, stretching his neck that was sore from sleeping on a wooden chair. He didn't even want to think about how stiff his back would be when he got up, but decided to deal with that when Sakura wasn't in the room.

"She's doing fine. Her body is responding well now that she has gotten the antidote and once she is up, she'll be able to do anything else she needs on her own. Aside from that, she just needs lots of rest, water and food." Sakura informed him, and he nodded slowly in response.

"Don't you have to go ANBU headquarters today?" She asked suspiciously, wondering whether he was skipping work to be here.

"I will go later in the afternoon." he replied evenly to try and stop her from arguing with him, but it failed miserably.

"Right. Then I order you, to go home and rest."

His only response was to stare blankly and raise an eyebrow as if to say 'You cannot order me to do anything'. Although he wasn't entirely correct, he sort of hoped that if he tried it anyway that she would just let him have his way. When she placed her hands on her hips, he knew he was in for it.

"Don't you dare look at me like that. I don't care if you are the ANBU Commander. I am the Head Medic and you are in my freaking hospital. Also, I can make sure that you aren't allowed to work if I sign the right papers and ensure that the Hokage personally enforces them." she smirked darkly at him and he felt his expression fall at the mention of the Hokage.

As brave as Uchiha Itachi had been in his life, he wasn't sure he was ready to go toe to toe with the Hokage over such a small issue. He knew that Sakura was exaggerating to intimidate him, but such a thing was certainly within her power. Sighing softly, he decided to let her win this round and nodded his agreement to going home.

With a triumphant smirk, she removed her hands from her hips and began writing on Hitori's chart before she placed it back in it's holder and she nodded in satisfaction.

"Well, I'm going to get a new saline bag for Hitori, and I don't want to see you here when I get back." she spoke in a firm tone, but he could hear her teasing lilt to it.

"As you command, Head Medic Haruno." he quipped back, a tiny smirk on his face, rising to her level of dramatism as best he could. Although they weren't exactly close, they were friendly enough to engage in simple banter.

She laughed softly with a grin and gave him a nod and patted him on the shoulder. "Get some rest, Itachi."

After she left, he set his mind to the task of getting up out of the horrid chair. He knew it was going to hurt and that he would be walking like he was made of wood on the way home, but part of being a shinobi was getting used to sleeping wherever you could, whenever you could. Dealing with the discomfort in your body after waking up just came with the territory. A quiet, pained groan rumbled in his throat as he levered himself up as best he could.

He felt like he was 70 years old and rolled his shoulders forward and back a few times to loosen up a little before he made the short trek back to his apartment. Satisfied that he had done all he could, he glanced at Hitori for a long moment then he let her be and went home. When he got into his bedroom, he stripped off his shirt, weapon holsters, and everything else unnecessary. He was so stiff he had to sit down on his bed to take off his pants, leaving only his underwear on to sleep in.

Feeling too exhausted, he crawled up the bed and got under the covers and tried to convince his brain that he definitely needed to go to sleep. Luckily, he was just tired enough to win that mental argument within roughly 10 minutes or so and he drifted off to a much needed deep sleep...
Sehnsucht - Chapter 9
A story about Uchiha Itachi and Sokkenai Hitori. The famed ‘Clan Killer’ cheats death with the help of Team Seven, and becomes ANBU Commander in Konoha. Sokkenai Hitori is a girl trying to find her way and her place in the shinobi world. Opposites come together as Hitori helps Itachi find a new reason to live, and he helps her feel like she belongs.
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Chapter 8 - Concern

It was late in the evening and Itachi heard the abrupt noise of a thud, a clink, and someone swearing from outside his apartment. It seemed to be a female's voice he could hear, and he assumed it was Hitori. He had been living in the apartment across from her for the most part of three weeks now, and she had been away on a mission for most of that time. She was right when she had said that it was just right for one person. The apartment was less than a quarter of the size compared to the house he lived in as a child in the Uchiha Compound.

As he stood up from his seat and opened his apartment door, he saw Hitori in her doorway, and a splatter of blood on the floor as she unsealed the chakra lock on the door to let herself in. From the way her shoulders slouched and her feet scuffed the floor, he guessed that she was either injured or exhausted but the blood suggested injury. It may not have been her own though.

"Sokkenai. Are you hurt?" He asked her quietly and she slowly shuffled her feet to turn and look at him.

Her face was pale and haggard from exhaustion but it was the way she looked like she was struggling to breath that worried him. He felt his dojutsu activate naturally and he watched her every movement to analyse what was wrong with her, or if she was just exhausted. She was hunching over slightly, and had a hand over the left side of her ribcage. Immediately, he suspected that she had broken her ribs, and sighed mentally at her stubbornness.

"I'm fine. Sorry if I disturbed you." She bowed her head respectfully and went to turn away but he spoke first.

"Why are you not at the hospital if you are injured?" His voice became deeper and firmer, signalling that he was speaking to her as her Commander.

"I am a medic, Commander. I am perfectly capable of healing myself. The wounds are superficial." She explained and took careful, shallow breaths intermittently, which she couldn't hide from his sharp eyes.

"Must I order you to go and get treated?" He said with a hint of exasperation. She sighed, knowing that she was busted.

"It's only cracked ribs and a few scratches. I would prefer to heal myself in my own home rather than give the medics at the hospital extra work. Kisuke's cell just returned knocking on death's door. They are busy enough already." She began to get short with him, but despite that being a bad idea to do with her superior, he actually found it somewhat amusing.

"Then as your Commander, I will ensure that you treat yourself before you rest."

He practically marched over to her door and ushered her inside. She made her way in slowly and he could swear that she was rolling her eyes at him, even though she had her back to him. He closed her door softly and walked over to her after she sat down at her small dining table with a pained wince. She stripped off her vest with a grimace and unclipped her weapon holsters before she pushed her shoes off with her opposite foot.

Hitori closed her eyes, took a deep breath and sat back to begin healing herself as Itachi stood authoritatively nearby and supervised. As she healed her wounds, he looked her over to check just how badly she was injured. Most of it seemed superficial as she said, just a bruise or graze, but there was a few deep cuts and one on her thigh that looked like a kunai stab wound. Her right eye was puffy, but that quickly went down with her healing herself. He noticed that she had rather long eyelashes, coupled with softly curved eyebrows.

Occasionally, she would pull a face or shuffle in her seat, but he watched as a laceration on her arm slowly shrunk and disappeared. It left a pink line behind, the only sign she had been hurt at all. The stab wound on her thigh got smaller as well, but left an angry red line in its wake. Her grazes and bruises didn't change though, as she obviously focused her healing on severe injuries. Superficial things would fade with time. No need to waste chakra on them.

Although it had been roughly five minutes by the time she finished, it didn't feel like that long. He had been watching her the entire time and only shifted when she opened her eyes, signalling she was finished. Sitting up straight, she rolled her shoulders backward a few times before she opened her eyes and stood up.

"Done." She spoke offhandedly and he nodded in confirmation.

"Your ribs?" He asked as he examined her once more.

Casually as could be, she lifted up her shirt and whacked herself with her other hand to show that she had healed the damage. The only thing left was a bluish-purple tinge to her skin. It took him by surprise, but he didn't look away, although he felt like he should have. Regardless, she had made her point. She let the material fall from her hands and walked toward her fridge, he stepped aside to let her past. After she grabbed out a container of soup, she poured its contents into a pot and turned on her stove to heat up her meal.

Abruptly she turned to him with a partially hidden frown on her face. It seemed she really had no patience for him today.

"Is there anything else I can do for you, Commander?" Although she was speaking politely, her body language betrayed her.

"Are you alright?" He softened his voice as best he could.

His question seemed to surprise her and her frown dissipated instantly. He could see the cogs turning in her head and she dropped her shoulders and sighed. Shaking her head, it looked like she realised what she was doing.

"I apologise. I am merely frustrated at how our mission went. My abilities as a medic should not have to stretch to those who make idiotic decisions that put the cell in danger." With her thumb and pointer finger, she rubbed the bridge of her nose.

"Is that why you were unable to heal your wounds earlier?"

"Yes. I had to focus on getting the rest of the cell well enough to keep moving. I knew I could look after myself once we were home safe. My bleeding had stopped and I had no mortal wounds to be concerned with."

He nodded slowly and she stumbled over her words for a moment as she figured out what she wanted to say. She chewed her lip in uncertainty before she bowed and finally spoke.

"I am sorry I was so brusque. You are my Commander and-"

"There is no need." He cut her off but she did not rise. "I am more than aware your anger was not directed at me." He moved to lean against her counter and crossed his arms over his chest.

"I must still pay obeisance and apologise for my rudeness."

Itachi stayed quiet until she straightened up and he couldn't help but huff faintly at her expression. She seemed exhausted in more ways than one, but was still concerned about how she had spoken to him. This break in his composure made her relax and she looked to one side and smiled.

"I assure you that you did not upset me." He allowed a teasing hint to appear in his voice and she relaxed enough to laugh softly. Instinctively, he felt the corners of his mouth turn upward at the sight and he decided to leave her be to eat and rest. "Get some rest, Sokkenai."

Itachi pushed away from the counter and she smiled at him once more before he left to her to her own devices. He pulled her door shut and felt her chakra flare for a brief second as she sealed it behind him. After he went back to his own apartment, he returned to his files and his cold tea.

The shadow of a smile on his face did not fade until much later…

Hitori had been summoned to HQ after having two weeks leave after her last mission. She was bored out of her mind and hoped that Commander Uchiha had something for her to do. Since he had seen her while she was injured, he had forced her to stay at home and told her that if he saw her at HQ during that time, she would have to wait longer to get assigned to a mission. There was no way that she would be able to sneak in there without him finding out, so she had spent most of the time off reading her book, and she had gotten to train with both Haruko and Sakura once each, which was good.

She bowed before she entered the Commander's office and put on her professional expression. Since they had become neighbours, Itachi had become much more friendly with her when he saw her, even going so far to tease and joke with her, which surprised her. But she was glad that he was comfortable enough to be like that with her. He made for pleasant company and let her ramble on about whatever she wanted to while he listened silently. She had helped him with the medical reports a couple more times, but he had actually brought them to her apartment, since she hadn't been allowed in HQ for the last fortnight.

"Sokkenai. Come in." his voice was firm and serious, which was normal for the times when it was strictly business between them. "I have a mission for you. It's not going to be easy, but I believe you'll be a good choice for the medic in the cell."

"Thank you for trusting in my abilities." she nodded in appreciation, glad to know that she must be improving if he was assigning her to something more difficult. Regardless, if Uchiha Itachi said it was difficult, then she might have her work cut out for her.

"This is A-ranked, but I expect if you follow the plan I have set out, you'll have minimal issues. Your Captain has the details, and you leave first thing tomorrow morning."

"Thank you." she bowed once more, and went to turn away, but his voice stopped her.

"Don't be so nervous." he looked at her with a raised eyebrow, clearly able to see through her facade. "You'll do well."

He gave her the faintest hint of a smile, and she couldn't help but feel a little more confident. She took a breath and nodded a few times before she gave him a smile and bowed again and left his office. If he had faith in her, surely she couldn't manage to stuff everything up too badly...right?

                     ####################################################

Their four man cell had set off at sunrise this morning and they were heading for the southern part of the Hot Water Country that was north of Fire Country. It was only small, but it did hold its own hidden village. Their team consisted of the Captain, whose name Hitori didn't know and hadn't worked with previously, Kisuke, who she had met but not worked with before, and Ryuka, who she had worked with a few times before.

On the way, the Captain explained that they were going to assassinate a cult leader who had gone mad with power and began to abuse his followers and physically harm them. He had also been ordering his followers to steal food and supplies from nearby villages. They were to kill the leader and take out any others that threatened them completing their mission. He told them about the mission plan the Commander had given them and broke down what their role was.

Ryuka's doton jutsu would be good for breaking into the compound that they were living in, and she would be followed by Kisuke and the Captain while Hitori stayed back to provide any long ranged support she could and be ready to heal and help them fight their way out when they killed their mark. The reports said that the majority of his followers wanted out now that he had started on his power trip, and just needed an out, so they wouldn't put up a fight. Some of them still believed in the cause though, and would make things difficult.

They travelled into the night, and stopped to rest just after midnight until sunrise before they set off again, only a few hours shy from their target. They kept up the pace and reached the large compound just before midday. It had been abandoned during the Fourth Shinobi World War, along with a lot of other villages in the country and had been a big part of the battlefield. As a result, the country was still recovering from the fighting that occurred here. It's people and economy had been slowly stabilising since.

Stopping so that they could both analyse and finalise their plan, they were a few hundred metres from the compound and they tested out their comms before they were ready to go in. They took a breath simultaneously, and headed for their target, Ryuka in the lead ready to smash the doors in with doton jutsu. Kisuke was close behind, ready to back her up along with their Captain after she blasted through.

Hitori stayed back and tried to use her jutsu to peek inside, but she was still too far away. Her range was a big weakness at the moment, and she definitely needed to work on it before she stepped up for jonin. When they were only a hundred metres away, she finally looked inside and found the place wasn't guarded by the followers, but there was armed shinobi instead. She hissed at the other three through her wireless radio to let them know, but they didn't slow their pace at all as the Captain told them to push forward. From where she was, she could see at least 20, but there might have been more further in the compound.

She had a bad feeling gurgling in her stomach, and readied herself for a real shit fight while cursing under her breath, and even more colourfully in her mind.

After Ryuka barged in, from a distance Hitori tried to disable as many of the hired guards as she could without rushing in like she was ordered to. Taking Genma's advice into account, she knew that she couldn't overstep with this Captain; he was far too stern. Kisuke and the Captain disappeared in the fray and Hitori concentrated on their chakra as best she could whilst trying to help, making sure that she would know if any of them got seriously injured. Charging a handful of kunai with raiton chakra, she began tossing them at anyone who came within range of her, only landing about two thirds of them. Unfortunately, they didn't all disable or kill their targets, some of them only grazing or giving decent slashes.

On closer inspection, the guards seemed to be rogue shinobi, meaning that they had minimal use of their chakra and probably didn't know much jutsu at all. They would have received a small amount of training, but not enough to make them fully lethal against hidden village trained shinobi. However, their numbers were the biggest issue they were facing. Ryuka, Kisuke and the Captain were yelling at each other through their radio, and Hitori continued to tell the Captain to let her get closer to help. Their mark having hired help wasn't in their original plan, so she argued that they should be able to ditch it to come in and assist. They were only expecting a few fanatic civilians to try and stop them, not a force of rogue nin.

From her perch in a tree, Hitori saw a strangely coloured cloud forming on Kisuke's right, and moved to a different spot to see if someone was creating it, or if it was an after effect of a jutsu. Her eyes went wide as she realised it was an enemy creating a poison cloud, and decided that disobeying orders or not, they might not survive if she didn't get in there now. If the poison was lethal enough, seconds were going to be the difference between the four of them dying or getting through this.

Leaping down from her spot, she ran in at full speed and when she was about halfway, the enemy released the poison cloud, hitting Kisuke first, then Ryuka and the Captain shortly after. The three of them continued fighting at full efficiency and would be able to keep going for a few minutes, which is all they needed to finish this. Hitori ran straight through the worst of the fray and headed for the back of the compound, as she could now peek ahead to see that was where their mark was.

The two guards at his door posed little threat and she left one of them gurgling with his throat slit, bleeding out on the stairs, and the second was clutching his stomach were she had sliced him deeply with her ninjato. Kicking the door in with minimal effort, she saw a horrible sight. The man they were supposed to kill had three girls tied up on his bed, all completely naked. The poor girls began screeching loudly for help as soon as they saw her. He was sitting on her left in an armchair, apparently waiting for her.

"If you kill me, the group of well paid bounty hunters watching this compound will come after you and kill you. If you let me be, they will not chase you." his voice was as narcissistic as she expected it to sound, and he stood up and began to walk over to her.

She left no delay in closing the gap between them and crouched down, then drove her ninjato between his ribs on an angle upward into his chest cavity where his heart was. He was dead within seconds, and she reefed the blade back out of him and the girls screamed. She swung the blade through the air, ridding it of any excess blood before she placed it back in its sheath. Although she wanted to take her mask off to ease the girls fears, she couldn't risk it.

"I am here to help you. May I come over to you and release your bonds?" she spoke evenly, and softened her voice as must as she could to try and calm them.

The one in the middle nodded slowly, and she rushed over and untied them, and checked them over for severe wounds. They were mostly unharmed aside from some cuts and bruises from being beaten by him, but they would heal in time. No need to waste her chakra on them when she had three cell members that would be dying from poison shortly. They explained that they had been kidnapped from the local villages as she checked them out. Hitori sent them on their way after they grabbed their clothes from the floor and haphazardly threw them on. Hitori didn't waste any more time focusing on them, as her comrades seemed to have stopped fighting, by the feel of their chakra. She couldn't sense anyone else that was alive, or well enough to fight around them and knew that she needed to get back and start breaking down the poison in their system. They ran into the room and saw that she had already completed the job, and she could feel that Kisuke was beginning to feel the poison's effects judging by his chakra.

Their Captain began to rummage around, to see if there was any evidence of any illegal activity that they needed to put a stop to. Ryuka helped while Hitori began metabolising the poison in Kisuke's body. It was a tough poison, but luckily it was slow acting, so she had time to stop any permanent damage from occurring. She waited, still healing as best she could until she had enough of waiting for the other two.

"We need to get behind Fire Country borders. I can't heal all three of you when you've all been so badly poisoned. We won't all make it home." she spoke in a low voice, directing her words at their Captain, who seemed not to care. "If we get behind our borders, I can send word and get us picked up."

Still, he continued his task, even though Ryuka had stopped, and Hitori could feel that she was beginning to get faint. Gesturing her to come over, Hitori changed to healing her, since this was the most critical time in dealing with poisons. If she was able to break down the majority of it, or at least the active ingredients, then it wouldn't affect them anywhere near as much and would be taken out of their system when they got back to Konoha.

"Captain!" Hitori shouted angrily, and he finally stopped to look at her.

"You've already disobeyed orders today, Yami. Do not press me further." his voice was much deeper than hers, but she didn't care about pissing him off or being reprimanded for her actions. She was trying to get them all home alive.

"I will fucking press you if it gets us all home alive! I will not let my teammates die for your arrogance!" she held nothing back, and kept up healing Ryuka as best she could. Her aggressiveness even surprised her, but she didn't care if it meant they would leave.

"Fine. Let's move out." he replied after a quiet moment that dragged on for too long.

As they headed back towards the Fire Country border, she swapped between them, breaking down the poison from within their body as best she could on the run. Her chakra was running low just after they crossed the border, and their pace had slowed significantly. All three of them had already began to feel the effects of the poison, and they had already had some blood seeping out from their noses and ears. If she didn't keep up healing them, it would cause them to hemorrhage and die slowly. She gave them all an injection that was an antidote for most poisons with the hemorrhaging effect, and hoped that it had the same lethal ingredient, which would buy her more time. However the antidote wasn't completely correct, although it did ease her workload somewhat.

Not to mention the bounty hunters they had sensed on their tail. She just hoped that they wouldn't cross the border, but she felt a prickle on the edge of her senses and knew they weren't alone.

Kisuke went down first, and the Captain attempted to hoist him onto his back, but was much too weak himself and the two of them fell in a heap on the ground. Ryuka was barely able to stand, and Hitori was doing much better, since she had only come across a much smaller portion of the poison, but she was just as exhausted from healing the three of them.

Ryuka found a small clearing that was naturally hidden by a rock cluster, and the three of them collapsed while Hitori did her best switching between them to heal them. She grabbed out her storage scroll, and gave them a soldier pill each, which would help to at least keep them going for a while longer to stop them from passing out too early. When they kicked in, she took the chance to quickly send a message to Konoha, and hoped that it would get there before her comrades began to die one by one.

Kisuke went unconscious around half an hour later, being in the worst shape and Ryuka managed to stay awake for another ten minutes after that. As much as she hated him right now, she was still concerned when their Captain passed out another ten minutes later. She gave them another dosage of the same antidote, but now she had none left for herself. Fortunately, she needed much less chakra for her own upkeep and she would need to keep some of the poison active in her system for the medics in Konoha to analyse. She wouldn't be hemorrhaging to a point of mortality either.

Through the rest of the day, she nursed them as best she could, cursing under her breath every few hours when they had barely improved. She just didn't have the chakra to heal all three of them when they had been injured as well as poisoned. Her medical ninjutsu was passable, but even the most seasoned medic would struggle with the severity of this situation.

Once the sun went down, the skirmishes began. They approached her one by one, every hour or so, testing to see how tired she was. Luckily, they weren't too skilled, but she had a feeling that they would send their stronger members once she couldn't fend them off any more. By the time sunrise was almost upon her, she had created a little pile of dead bounty hunters around her.

Another approached and she felt them try and charge from behind, but it left them very much open. They blocked her initial sword strike, but although they were much bigger than her, her agility and technique was far superior, and she felt blood splatter upon her when she cut him diagonally from shoulder to hip, his ribs exposed from the depth of the wound. Landing with a heavy thud, she grabbed a syringe filled with adrenalin from her cloak and jabbed herself with it.

This was going to be bad later on, but if she didn't use something to keep her going, she was going to end up passing out from exhaustion. She had given the others most of the supplies, since they were in more dire straits than she was. She just had to contend with staying awake, staying alive and not using her chakra as much as she could in these little fights.

She just hoped that a rescue team would arrive before they got the best of her...
Sehnsucht - Chapter 8
A story about Uchiha Itachi and Sokkenai Hitori. The famed ‘Clan Killer’ cheats death with the help of Team Seven, and becomes ANBU Commander in Konoha. Sokkenai Hitori is a girl trying to find her way and her place in the shinobi world. Opposites come together as Hitori helps Itachi find a new reason to live, and he helps her feel like she belongs.
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Chapter 7 - Paperwork

Itachi was head first in a massive pile of mission reports that had just come in today and yesterday. There was at least 10 more for him to go through and a few of them required more attention than normal but he was having a few issues. The medic's reports in them had some jargon and explanations he didn't quite understand. He was fairly certain that from the context he had figured it out, but still wasn't 100 percent sure. As intelligent as he was, he still only had a basic understanding of medical ninjutsu, and it was mostly due to lack of exposure over the years that his knowledge hadn't increased. In the last month since he had taken on the job, he had learnt a few things, but he was still uncertain about some procedures. Judging from how much the hospital had changed, things were very different.

Conveniently enough, Hitori walked in just a few minutes into him frowning faintly at one report and she bowed respectfully. He raised his head to look at her and she handed her mission report to him. It was her medic report for her last mission which she had arrived back from in the early hours of this morning.

"Thank you, Sokkenai." He was the first to break the silence and gave her a nod.

She bowed and spun on one foot to head back out, but he decided to suck up his pride and ask for her help. He knew that he was only going to need it later if he didn't, or ask someone else. If he wanted to ask the Hokage or Sakura, he would have to make an appointment and he didn't want to wait that long. There wasn't exactly any other medics he knew well enough to ask for that favour. Luckily, he was familiar with Hitori and he felt comfortable enough to admit his shortcomings to her. So far, she was the only person in ANBU who was genuinely friendly to him. Of course, she was professional, but so was everyone else. She was just nice enough to ask him if he needed anything or how his day was and he enjoyed that. When he had summoned her to inform her that she would be going on the mission she just handed in her report for, she had been nice enough to wish him a good weekend before she left. Surprising, but pleasant anyway.

"Before you go...would you be able to assist me briefly?" His voice was even, as always, as he tried to hide his slight hesitation.

"Of course. What may I assist you with, Commander?" She spun back the way she came and walked back over to his desk.

"There are a few pieces of medical terminology that I am not familiar with. I was hoping you could make sure I am interpreting correctly." He moved his chair aside and signalled for her to step around the other side of the desk.

After staring blankly for a moment, she did as he asked and stood next to him, hands still linked behind her back. He pointed out two things on the report he was currently tackling and she read through and explained them as best she could so he would understand easily. She didn't oversimplify it, obviously giving him enough credit to understand due to his intelligence, which he appreciated. He nodded and checked off those sections before she went to leave him to the rest.

"Lastly, the correct treatment for a collapsed lung is for a tube to be inserted to inflate it?" He asked her even though he was almost certain he was right.

"That's correct." She nodded once in affirmation and he signed off the report.

He looked up after he placed it upon his stack of completed mission reports that would get filed later. She was watching him rather intently and answered his silent question a moment later.

"Is there anything else you'd like some help with, Commander?" Her voice was polite and professional, but he felt a friendly undertone to it.

Hitori's innocent expression suggested that she was genuinely happy to help him if he needed it, and she waited until he answered. He huffed silently and shook his head almost imperceptibly before he finally replied.

"I'm sure you have other things to do, Sokkenai. Sakura mentioned you were helping with the study of the Swamp poisons." He allowed his tone to become more friendly.

"It's her day off today so I'll help her tomorrow." She finally relaxed a little and tilted her head to the side as if she was repeating her question. Her eyes held a hint of confusion but he brushed it aside.

He almost smiled at her.

"Your assistance would be greatly appreciated. The Hokage obviously had no problems understanding the medical reports, however, I have no such advantage. Most of it I have figured out through context or research but it is taking up too much time for me to do so."

Itachi stood up, feeling Hitori's eyes upon him as he walked around, grabbed the chair on the opposite side of his desk and pulled it next to his own. He gestured for her to sit and got a little amusement from the abrupt bewilderment in her eyes before she sat down with an awkward thud. He grabbed a file from next to him once he sat in his own chair and passed it across to her. She opened it and read through it before she gave him an explanation.

"It seems that the poison created a block on the chakra flow. The hardest thing to do in the field is to get it going again without the machines we use in the hospital. We use a bleeding method, but in the field we have to try to force our own chakra through the blockages. It's hard to do and never fully successful. Most of the time the patient can get maybe up to half of their normal flow." She explained and he nodded along, taking in the information as best he could. He was aware of the in field method but not sure how the hospital method worked.

"How is it done in the hospital here? You mentioned machines?" He asked and she was continuing to relax more, being comfortable talking about medical procedures with him.

"We basically suck their chakra out with a machine, and force it back in as fast as possible once they are almost emptied out. It's success rate is much higher. Sometimes it has to be done more than once, depending on the severity but I don't think we've had a failed operation here in awhile. Not since the technology has improved." She smiled at him after she finished speaking.

"Thank you. I have a few more here that I just need clarification on, if you don't mind." Itachi barely hesitated but her eyes narrowed just enough for him to know that she noticed.

"Of course. Throw them at me." She had an amused glint in her eye that he certainly didn't miss.

"Something funny, Sokkenai?" He replied, knowing that he was asking a loaded question. For some reason, he just wanted to see what she would come out with.

"No, Commander." he stared at her as if to say that she could drop the formalities. "Um, just the fact that the great Uchiha Itachi needs my help. Never thought I would see the day." Hitori purposely kept her voice even, but he was much too perceptive to miss the tension in her jaw to stop herself from laughing.

"No need to tease, Sokkenai." He replied with a hint of a smile on his face and she chuckled softly. He was somewhat surprised at how comfortable he felt having such banter with her. Her friendly nature made it quite easy, but he got the feeling she wasn't always like this.

"Tease you, Commander? I wouldn't dream of it." She averted her gaze toward the paperwork in front of her and pretended to busy herself with it to stop herself from laughing.

Itachi didn't bother retorting and simply shook his head at her and pulled out the others he wanted her to check over. For the next two hours or so, he learnt a lot about medical ninjutsu. She explained everything as best she could and had the patience to happily answer his multitude of questions and help him understand some of the procedures. Most of it was simple enough to wrap his head around, but the level of skill and control required for medics was certainly impressive. Even though Hitori was only good at dealing with severe wounds and trauma, her abilities suited her position well. If she trained hard enough and developed her proficiency, she may even become Head Medic of ANBU one day.

Once they were all done, he thought that maybe he should do something to show his appreciation. That was the normal thing to do...right?

"Sokkenai, may I buy you lunch in thanks for your assistance today?" He asked as he straightened out the files before placing them in the complete stack on his right.

When she didn't reply, he turned to look at her and saw that her eyes were wide as saucers. If they weren't attached, they would have fallen out of her head by this stage. She had made a conscious effort to keep her mouth closed but she hadn't seemed to be able to keep her eyes normal simultaneously.

"I'm sorry, what?" She asked after a moment, blinking quickly.

"I asked if I may buy you lunch to thank you for helping me." He repeated himself and couldn't keep the amused lilt from his voice.

"Uh...s-sure." He stared briefly until she explained why she was so surprised. "Sorry, I...I don't have many friends, so I'm really not used to anyone except them asking me to eat with them. Truth is, I'm not an overly social person."

"If you are uncomfortable -" Itachi suggested but she cut him off, waving her hands in denial.

"No, no. I'm just...not used to it. But I'm appreciative nonetheless." she smiled reassuringly and he finally nodded.

Hitori awkwardly stood up as he did and she followed him out of HQ until they came to the area of the village that had the most restaurants and food stalls. She had been shuffling her feet and had stayed two steps behind him the entire walk but now he slowed down enough so that she was forced to walk next to him. He was almost a foot taller than her, but she was walking behind him on purpose, probably just because he was her superior. Now it seemed like she was being closer to her true self. Her friendliness didn't seem completely forced; it was probably only something he would notice.

"Choose whatever you like." He offered and pulled one of his hands from his pockets to gesture to the many places around them.

"Uh...how about…" she spun on her heels to look around and chewed her bottom lip as she tried to chose. Her bewildered expression still hadn't faded much either. "That tea shop has nice sandwiches...and good tea."

Itachi knew that she was choosing with him in mind as well, but he gathered that she would also enjoy it so he didn't call her out on it. He nodded in agreement and they headed inside and sat down at a square table near the door. One of the waitresses came over with two menus and offered to get them some drinks to start.

"Could I please get a pot of the green mountain tea?" Hitori asked, and Itachi was glad to see that she was regular enough to know straight away.

"I'll get the same, please." He asked for a lack of knowing anything else and she gave him a funny look.

"Have you been here before?" She whispered to him with a furrowed brow.

"No."

"Then how do you know that you'll like the tea you ordered?" She looked at him like he had grown another head and he resisted the urge to huff at her.

"You and I seem to share a similar standard in tea. I think it will be fine." He answered nonchalantly and half shrugged at her. He was referring to a moment they shared in the HQ kitchen where they both turned their nose up at the cheap tea bags they had available.

The waitress returned a moment later with their tea on a tray and she unloaded it before giving asking them if they would like to order any food. Hitori asked for a ham sandwich and Itachi asked for the chicken sandwich. The waitress nodded and disappeared again to keep looking after her other tables.

"May I ask, are you still living at HQ?" Hitori asked out of the blue as she poured her tea into her colourful cup.

"I am. Why do you ask?" He was doing the same thing she was, and inhaled through his nose to smell the tea. It seemed Hitori definitely had good taste in tea.

"Hmm…" she glanced off to her left and her gaze turned inward as she was lost in thought. Suddenly she nodded. "I'll see what I can do."

"What do you mean?" Even he couldn't stop the confusion from appearing on his face.

"There is an apartment across from mine that's just been vacated. The shinobi died in action so there isn't anyone in there. It's not too big or expensive and it's only a block away from HQ." She didn't look at him while she spoke, she was too busy tracing pattern on her cup with her finger.

"I'm sure I can find somewhere shortly." Itachi sipped his hot beverage, pleased to know that it was a good choice.

"It's fine. Just come and see the landlady when we're done. I can't make any promises anyway. She might already have someone moving in." Hitori shrugged but gave him a half smile anyway and he nodded in agreement. "It's not a huge place, and it doesn't have it's own laundry facilities, but it's close to everything, and not overly expensive. The apartments are big enough for one person to live in comfortably."

The timing was perfect as the waitress returned with their sandwiches and they ate heartily. Itachi was impressed with the freshness and quality; he decided that he would be happy to come back here again. He had been cooking all of his own meals so far, but they hadn't exactly been anything decadent since he had been using the kitchen in HQ. So this meal was a nice change from the ordinary.

Once they were finished, he went to pay the bill, despite Hitori protesting and attempting to at least cover half of it. He simply gave her a stern look and she pouted and leant back in her seat, crossing her arms over her chest in a huff. He certainly used his title to his advantage to win that battle. By the time he returned from the counter, she had relaxed a little and stood up to walk with him.

Hitori lead the way to her apartment building, as Itachi memorised the way with his Sharingan on. When they got there, she knocked on the first floor apartment on the left. A middle aged woman opened the door with a no nonsense look on her rather round face. She had short, ringlet curled black hair, dark eyes and eyebrows that were clearly drawn on and made her look like she was permanently surprised.

"Hitori. What is it?" The woman asked in a clipped tone and Hitori didn't seem bothered by it.

"I've got someone who wants to rent the apartment across from mine." She pointed towards Itachi who was standing on her left. Hitori's tone had completely changed to match the older womans' and he gathered that she was used to this treatment.

He bowed his head politely and the older woman didn't return the gesture. Instead she looked him up and down, giving him a good once over to see if he was going to be a good tenant. After a moment before he could introduce himself, she finally spoke.

"Who the hell is he?" She asked Hitori who made a shocked noise.

"Mizuho! This is the ANBU Commander, Uchiha Itachi. Be more respectful! Tsk!" Hitori rolled her eyes and the landlady didn't seem to be bothered by her abrasive outburst.

"Ahh… ANBU Commander, hey? Well, at least I don't have to worry about you not being able to afford the rent." The landlady smirked and took a slow breath in and out whilst staring at him intently before she nodded. "Rightio. He can have the room."

"He'll move in right away." Hitori answered for him and he glanced at her for a moment while the landlady disappeared into her apartment. She didn't look back at him so he waited silently.

"Here are the forms you need to sign. They have all the information on them. Bring them back and I'll give you the key. Your deposit is one months rent up front and rent is due on Mondays. Don't be late, or you'll regret it." She handed him the forms, her voice not changing to anything nicer since they arrived. If anything, she sounded meaner.

"Thank you kindly." Itachi bowed his head and took the paperwork from her. He was surprised it was this easy, but maybe his title of Commander held more weight than he initially realised.

"See ya." Mizuho shut the door and Hitori smiled at him.

"Well, that was easy. And now you have your own place." Hitori turned to face him and shifted her weight from her toes to her heels.

"Thank you for your help. It seems I am in your debt once more, Sokkenai." He gave her a shadow of a smile and nodded appreciatively.

"Meh, you bought lunch." she waved at him, trying to tell him not to worry.

"I think that lunch doesn't really cover it. You've given me a place to live." he smirked faintly and raised an eyebrow.

"Okay. You can pay me back by not calling me by my last name. Seriously. No one else does. It's weird." she shrugged and shook her head.

"Would you call me by my first name if I asked you to?" He asked her in reply and enjoyed her dramatic groan.

"You are my superior. It's different!" Her tone was amused, but exasperated, knowing that she wasn't going to win this one.

"And if I ordered you to?" He knew this would get a reaction out of her.

Just as he expected, she groaned again and threw her hands up in the air, rolling her eyes as well. Mentally, he allowed himself to have a chuckle. She was so dramatic and it was quite funny. Her abrasive outbursts seemed to be a fairly normal thing once she became comfortable.

"I suppose I'd have to!" she chuckled softly, "I'm going up. Thank you for lunch." she bowed quickly and spun towards the stairs on one foot.

Waving at him over her shoulder, she headed up the stairs, walking up them lazily with her hands in her pockets as she mumbled to herself. He shook his head at her antics and headed back towards HQ. Once he had gathered his deposit money and filled in the forms, he would come back and get the key to his new place. Tsunade had offered to assist him by paying for a deposit on an apartment which would be helpful as well. He had been paid well so far and he only had to buy necessities such as clothes and toiletries with his paychecks. Although now that he had got most of what he needed, he wouldn't need to spend much more on those things.

It was a strange feeling having a new home in his village. He hadn't been entirely sure if he wanted one yet, since the Uchiha compound had been the only place he had lived in before. But he supposed that he should start to settle in more. It had already been 4 months since he got back. After living in the cell at HQ and the hospital for almost a month while he was being cleared, he had been sleeping in the small cot beds since he didn't have anywhere else to go. Normally they were only used if the ANBU members were simply too exhausted to go back to their own place after a mission, or if they were waiting for orders.

As he headed back to his office and sat down, beginning to fill in the paperwork, he decided that this was a good thing. He would sleep better and have access to his own bathroom and kitchen. Since he hadn't spent any money he had made since his return, except for a few clothes, weapons and other necessities, he would have no problems furnishing his new place.

Now he was starting to feel like he was truly part of the village once more.

He was alive again…
Sehnsucht - Chapter 7
A story about Uchiha Itachi and Sokkenai Hitori. The famed ‘Clan Killer’ cheats death with the help of Team Seven, and becomes ANBU Commander in Konoha. Sokkenai Hitori is a girl trying to find her way and her place in the shinobi world. Opposites come together as Hitori helps Itachi find a new reason to live, and he helps her feel like she belongs.
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Chapter 6 - Job Titles

"Come on, Hitori. You're usually faster than me!" Sakura called out from the other side of the training ground as Hitori tried to dodge every kunai and shuriken her friend was throwing at her.

They had finally gotten a chance to train together, and they had been here for two hours already. They always focused on keeping their evasion ability sharp, since it was so important for medical ninja to be able to avoid mortal injury at all costs. Stamina was a massive factor, and since they had both spent their weapon stores by throwing them at each other, they were both getting a decent workout.

"That's all I've got left." Sakura shrugged after a massive fuuma shuriken landed with a heavy thud in a tree behind Hitori, as she jumped high to dodge it.

"Shall we work on taijutsu?" Hitori suggested and saw Sakura nod in answer.

The younger woman grinned darkly, and charged at her with her full speed and Hitori groaned even though she had made the suggestion. For the next half an hour, they used every technique and every combination they had within their arsenal. Being medics, they were able to heal themselves as they went, though Sakura had a massive advantage being able to heal any damage almost instantly. Hitori was nowhere near as proficient in that regard, and they eventually had to stop so she could fix up the worst of the damage. Sakura helped to speed up the process before they went at it again.

Since they sparred and trained together fairly often, they knew each other's' attack patterns and strategies quite well, and constantly had to think outside the box to try and take the other off guard to gain the upper hand in the fight. Fighting against Sakura meant that Hitori didn't have to hold back her strength as well, though Sakura had to make sure she didn't shatter the earth beneath them or her friends skull.

Around midday, they stopped to collect their weapons and ate their picnic lunch, which Sakura had brought along. As always, it was delicious, and Hitori was as jealous as ever of her ability to heal, cook, and just generally be amazing. Once she had finished eating, she still had plenty of time to go to her next appointment for the day.

"I've got to go. Got that ANBU meeting today. They are finally announcing the new Commander. Then I've got to head off first thing tomorrow for a mission." she stood up and dusted herself off, before extending a hand to Sakura to help her stand.

"How interesting." her tone suggested that she knew exactly who it was, but Hitori didn't press her. "Miho should have your extra stuff too. The batch was completed yesterday. Thanks for training and hanging out. I'll see you soon, okay?"

"Yeah, thanks again. Take it easy." Hitori strolled towards HQ and waved over her shoulder at her friend.

It was a short walk and it seemed that mostly everyone had already arrived. They didn't have much space on the ground level floor, but everyone squished to make space. She found Haruko in the crowd and stood with him, since he was the only person she actually knew and could see from here. They chatted quietly until the familiar black-masked figure appeared in the doorway with a few more people trailing behind. The first one she recognised was Hatake Kakashi. Although he had retired from ANBU a long time ago, since he was being groomed for Hokage, Hitori guessed that he was here for politics sake. Behind him, a slightly shorter man with long dark haired pulled into a ponytail.

Haruko and her were right. It was Uchiha Itachi.

Kakashi and the black-masked man walked to the front, while Itachi hung off to the side as the entire room went dead silent as they waited for one of them to speak. The Copy Nin spoke up first.

"As you all know, we have been looking for someone to be given the position of a full time ANBU Commander. This will allow the Hokage much more time to focus on the relations we are developing and improving with the other hidden villages." His single dark eye looked over the crowd evenly.

"I have been looking to retire from ANBU for a while, due to laziness and old age, and both Hatake and I are glad to announce that we have found a new Commander who will taking over both my role, and the Hokage's involvement in ANBU." the black-masked man rebounded off Kakashi and Itachi stepped forward next to them.

"This is Uchiha Itachi. I'm sure that a small number of you have worked with him previously or remember his flawless career as an ANBU Captain. There is no one else in Konoha with a better record and more knowledge of ANBU than him, and he will have no problems ensuring that we are running at 100 percent. From now on all training, team selection, mission assignments will be completed by him." Kakashi gestured toward the younger man, who bowed his head in greeting.

"I look forward to working with you all." Itachi's voice was deeper than she expected, and although it was so quiet, everyone in the room would have heard him. It seemed that despite his apparently introverted nature, his reputation alone would command attention when he spoke. Not that she was surprised by that fact.

The crowd mostly dispersed as the veterans and Captains went over to greet their new Commander and Haruko nudged Hitori goodbye as he did the same. She disappeared into the crowd and headed outside. She still needed to get her gear together for the mission tomorrow. Since it was an assassination, she was expecting to need a lot more medical supplies, and she had planned to go by the hospital and pick up a few things. Sakura had asked Miho, her assistant, to put a special poison together for her, and she strolled towards the massive white building to pick it up.

Miho was in the triage area tending to someone, but saw her immediately and gestured that she wouldn't be too long. Hitori gave her a thumbs up and waited near the seating area. Once the patient was admitted and Miho came back out from the examination room, she shuffled past to where Sakura's office was, and brought out a bag filled with loads of medical supplies. It was way more than she expected, but she was grateful anyway.

She thanked her and headed back towards home. Once she arrived, she got out her ANBU standard issue gear, and began packing her cloak with all of the supplies she thought she might need on hand. The others went into a small storage scroll that would live in her cloak pocket until she needed to use it. After she had all of her gear laid out, she cooked herself a good dinner with plenty of protein to get her through the next few days and spent a good hour or so in the shower lost in her thoughts.

Hitori was not in the slightest bit surprised that the new Commander had ended up being the Uchiha. Haruko's suspicions were usually always or partially correct, and he had definitely kept up his reputation with this guess. She was however, incredibly glad to know that she was working underneath someone like Uchiha Itachi. Aside from his brilliant intellect, near perfect mission record, and being a natural born leader despite his soft spoken nature, he was a loyal and honourable shinobi. It was the exact sort of person she wanted to take her orders from. Someone who she could trust to have Konoha's best interests at heart. Despite the reputation he had, he seemed like one of the most humble people she had ever laid eyes on. She had also heard he had quite a pacifistic side from growing up during the Third Shinobi World War. From a distance, she gathered that he was the sort of person who never considered himself as important; only those he cared for were important.

Since she had few friends and no family, she hoped that she was even half as self-sacrificing as the Uchiha. Her career as an ANBU operative had only just started and she supposed she deserved a bit of credit for blending in so easily thus far. She would never get up to his level, but she still wanted to be the best ANBU agent and medic she could be. Now that she had successfully gotten into ANBU, her next goal would be to master her second release and go for the jonin exams at the end of the year.

Her skin had pruned before she finally emerged from her shower and she dried herself off. Until it was late enough for her to go to bed, she curled up on her lounge with a pot of tea, with a good book in hand...

Itachi was sitting quietly in the waiting room at the hospital for Sakura to finish her current appointment. He had arrived a little earlier than expected but at least he wasn't late. Since he had arrived back in Konoha, he had spent the first few days in ANBU HQ, and then been admitted to the hospital for the following three weeks. The only time he returned now was when he had appointments with Sakura. Although he had desperately needed the rest, spending so long in here had driven him mad.

On his left, he heard a commotion from the emergency triage, and saw a short female who was helping her much taller comrade walk toward the nearest nurse. She had her arm around his waist and her hand was glowing green with healing chakra. They both had ANBU masks on, and he didn't recognise either of them. They had probably been sent on their mission before he had started his job or just after, which would be why he hadn't met them yet. So far, he had only met roughly three quarters of the ANBU operatives, since some were on missions in far away countries, or just long term jobs that they wouldn't return from yet. There was a few teams returning this week, and he would meet them when they turned in their mission reports. He had been dealing with everything fairly well, and the biggest hurdle was just getting used to knowing who worked well together, each shinobi's abilities and specialities, and the missions suited them and their skills. However, once he knew everyone, he would only have to account for a few new operatives every few months.

Abruptly, the man went limp and he fell straight to the floor, taking the woman partially with him. Somewhere between him falling and some orderlies helping him up, the woman's mask had been pulled off, and it landed on the floor with a clunk. No one paid attention since there wasn't many people in the room, but he watched carefully. He saw her turn toward him to pick up her mask and examined her face as she prepared to put it back on before anyone saw.

She had a oval shaped, finely structured face with a feminine jawline. Her eyes were big and appeared to be a silvery-gray colour from a distance. Her cheekbones weren't too high, but they were evenly pronounced without making her look gaunt. Although her mouth seemed small, her full lips fit perfectly in with the rest of her face. Even though her brow was knitted together in a concerned frown, in the back of his mind, he acknowledged that he thought she was rather attractive. He also faintly recalled seeing her somewhere else before, but couldn't place his finger on it.

The other two members of their cell came into view, dragging their feet tiredly. They both sat down and once the taller male was given a bed, the woman sat next to them and let her head roll back after she replaced her mask. One of the doctors came out to speak to her a moment later and she stood up and began to explain the treatment she had given her cell, and Itachi realised that she was the medic. A cut on her arm was disappearing as she spoke, and it seemed that now her teammates were in good hands, she was treating herself. A good medic should always put themselves first, but now she could heal her more superficial wounds.

After the doctor left her, she sat back down and rested her head on her nearest comrades shoulder. In turn, they rested theirs on her head and they both relaxed. Itachi watched quietly, until one of the nurses called his name to tell him 'Head Medic Haruno' was ready for him. He thanked her with a nod and headed to the second room on his right. The first room on the right was a small break room and there was a few staff relaxing and eating in there as he passed before turning into Sakura's doorway.

"Hey Itachi. How are you?" Haruno Sakura asked from behind her desk as she jotted down various things in someone's file.

"I'm well, thank you. And yourself?" He replied politely.

"Busy as always, but not too bad." She gestured to the seat in front of him and he pulled it out and sat down. "So, any migraines or headaches since I last saw you?"

"One migraine, but I was able to preempt the worst of it with the medication you gave me." He answered evenly and watched as she closed the file and grabbed another from her pile, which he guessed was his own.

"Did you have an aura beforehand?" She waited until he nodded, "How long did it last?"

"Roughly 5 hours, but it was tolerable so long as I was in a dark, quiet space."

"Okay then. And how about your illness? Any coughing fits, fevers, or vomiting?" She was scribbling madly in his file, and he had no idea what she was writing.

"None since we last met." She nodded and continued writing.

"Okay. Let me just have a quick look at everything and I can probably send you on your way."

Sakura stood up and came around to his side of the desk, and she took a seat in the chair next to him. Placing her fingers on his temples, he felt her chakra wave through his body as she examined him thoroughly, from his head to his toes. She lingered on his eyes and torso the most, and pulled away once she was done and gave him a smile.

"Everything seems okay. We will do another big healing session on your eyes and then give it another week before we do another session for your illness. Your body will need to rest in between so we will book for about an hour the same time next week?" She half asked, half told him and he nodded in agreement in response.

"Alright. I'll make all my notes for what I want to work on for each session and if you need to see me before next week, just pop in."

Smiling at him again, she stood up and opened her door. He thanked her and said goodbye before he headed out and turned right to leave the hospital. He went right past the ANBU agents that were still in the same spot as before. Chances are they might have even fallen asleep, since it wasn't entirely uncommon. For a moment, he considered going and speaking to them, but if they were asleep, he would prefer to leave them that way.

Instead, he headed back to his room in HQ which was as quiet as ever and took a seat in the tiny wooden chair at the tiny wooden table. Aside from a single cot bed, it was the only furniture in the room, and he sighed slowly.

Although he was back in Konoha, had a job, and was creating a new life for himself, he still didn't feel like he was truly home..

Itachi made his way up to his office early in the morning, since he didn't really have anywhere else to go. He figured getting an early start on the few mission reports he didn't get a chance to go through yesterday might make his life a little bit easier. Maybe he would take the afternoon off and head over to the training grounds, get out of HQ for a change. He had barely left the building since he started his work here and he was slowly going stir crazy. The trip to the marketplace every other day and to the laundromat every week had barely held him over. So far with his healing process, Sakura had banned him from intensive training, only allowing him to do basic target practice and simple jutsu. He hadn't wanted to undo her hard work, so he had listened and stayed away from the grounds to stop himself from pushing too hard.

There was only a few shinobi there, shuffling around and he asked for two cells of shinobi to be summoned as he had two missions to assign. They would arrive in the next 15 minutes or so, so he busied himself with tidying his desk until they got there. Wasn't any point in starting his other work until that was out of the way.

The Captain of the second cell arrived first and once their team had assembled, he called them in and handed them the mission log and gave them any extra information. Once they were dealt with, he called in the first team and did the same with them. Now that was over, he went through the few reports he missed out on doing yesterday.

As he was halfway through the second report, he heard a knock on his door. It was the cell that he had seen in the hospital two days prior. He gestured for them to come in and came out from behind his desk since he had yet to meet them. They took off their masks and introduced themselves one by one.

"Commander Uchiha, I am Daisuke Haruko." He bowed, being the first to introduce himself since he was a Captain. He had fluffy brown hair, and brown eyes and looked to be maybe 2 years younger than he was.

"I am Harata Ichirou." Harata was a smaller man, but with a rather muscular build and amber-brown eyes. Itachi recalled from his file that he was in his mid 20's.

"Kenji Masaru." His face was slightly feminine looking, with slicked back, black hair.

"I am Sokkenai Hitori. It's good to meet you, Commander Uchiha." She gave him a small smile which took him off guard, but he didn't let it show. He had already seen her face before and remembered abruptly that she was the girl who had smiled at him at the laundromat and the same girl from the emergency room.

"It's good to meet you all and thank you for coming to see me. I look forward to working with you." He turned to Hitori who looked like she was holding the mission report. "Is this for me?"

The others bowed and left as she handed him the reports and lingered for a moment. He decided to prompt her to see why she was hanging back.

"Is there something you needed, Sokkenai?" His voice was as soft and polite as usual.

"Uh, sort of. I've only been in ANBU for the last few months and I'm not quite used to writing medical reports like this. If you have any problems or if there is anything I can improve upon, I would appreciate it if you let me know." She gave him a slightly awkward smile, but didn't hesitate making eye contact with him. It surprised him as she was the first to do so from everyone in ANBU that he had met so far. Even the ANBU veterans hadn't been brave enough to look him in the eye like that.

"Of course. Medical reports are important and I am glad to hear that you wish to improve them if you can." He replied evenly and she nodded in affirmation.

"One more thing." She looked at the floor and had a silent moment while she thought of what to say. "I just wanted to say that I am glad that you've been given this position… I am happy to know that I am working under such a loyal and honourable shinobi."

Finally, she looked back up at him and her smile was much more natural this time. For a moment he lost his train of thought at the sight. She had a contagious smile, even by his standards and he had to admit that he was actually flattered by her words. It gave him the feeling that he had made the right choice by accepting the job and wondered whether anyone else in ANBU felt the same way.

"Thank you. Your words are well received. I'm glad to hear that at least one person aside from the Hokage and Kakashi is pleased about me being Commander." He replied after he finally snapped out of it.

"Ah, Kakashi just wants to avoid the extra work. And I'm sure it's not just me," she said with a soft chuckle and bowed her head. "I'll let you get back to work."

Sokkenai Hitori headed out of his office but although she was gone, her kind words were etched into Itachi's mind like a tattoo…
Sehnsucht - Chapter 6
A story about Uchiha Itachi and Sokkenai Hitori. The famed ‘Clan Killer’ cheats death with the help of Team Seven, and becomes ANBU Commander in Konoha. Sokkenai Hitori is a girl trying to find her way and her place in the shinobi world. Opposites come together as Hitori helps Itachi find a new reason to live, and he helps her feel like she belongs.
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Chapter 5 - Crows

One month later

Hitori and Haruko were sitting in the barbecue restaurant and they had just ordered. There were a couple of other newer members of ANBU with them as well. Inuzuka Kiba had tried out only last week and gotten in successfully; his tracking skills would definitely come in handy. Akamaru was in attendance as well, of course. There was another girl, thankfully, in amongst the testosterone with her. Her name was Ryuka and she was nice enough, but they didn't really click as well as Hitori did with Haruko. Since Hitori had been in ANBU for a few months now, she didn't feel like a such a rookie any more.

The four of them had just returned from their last mission, which was a simple get in, get the information and get out deal which they completed without any trouble. Haruko had captained the mission, being the most experienced member of their team, and even though Hitori disagreed with a few of his decisions, she had kept her mouth shut and luckily nothing had gone wrong. They had all come back without any injuries and they were perfectly on schedule, which was a rare commodity, especially with ANBU.

One of the older members came in, looking like they were trying to find someone but saw their group first. Hitori only knew him as 'Gruff' because he had a gruff voice. Terrible nickname, but she had no idea what his actual name was, and didn't really have the courage to ask, so she went along with the nickname instead.

"Have you guys heard the news?" he spoke quietly, but even his whisper was just as rough as his normal voice.

"What news?" Kiba asked him quickly, his ears practically perking up at the sound of gossip.

"We are getting a new ANBU Commander. They are taking over control from the Hokage and the old ANBU Commander." he replied, his eyes still wide from the news.

"Who did you hear that from?" Hitori piped up suspiciously.

"Genma." he answered her and the four of them nodded since Genma was a fairly reliable source.

"Do you know who it is?" Ryuka asked as she leant her elbow on the table and her chin on her hand.

"He wouldn't tell me that much. Or maybe he was bluffing and didn't actually know." Gruff crossed one arm over his chest, and brought the other to his chin thoughtfully.

"Isn't it obvious who it's going to be?" Haruko purposely kept his voice casual, but Hitori thought that she might have a good guess. His suspicions were normally fairly good.

"Go on then, know it all. Who's it going to be?" Hitori nudged him in the ribs with her elbow and he glared at her.

"Uchiha Itachi. The man is a fucking legend. He knows how ANBU works, and not only that, his intellect is second only to Yondaime. He's the most logical choice to take on the role. Kakashi will be Hokage soon so it can't be him. It has to be the Uchiha." Haruko lectured their group and watched their various expressions as they took in his educated guess.

He was right. The logical thought would be that the man who just got pardoned and was now a Konoha shinobi again would be the obvious choice. Uchiha Itachi had only become an ANBU Captain when he was 13, and had more experience in the field than probably anyone else in the village aside from maybe Kakashi, and the Hokage herself. Not only that, he had a brilliant understanding of how plenty of organisations worked outside of Konoha, and that extra intelligence would make his mission plans formidable.

"That may actually be quite plausible." Gruff answered after they were all silent for a moment.

"Well, if anyone is taking full charge of ANBU from the Hokage, I want it to be someone who I know is a loyal shinobi. Not someone who uses their own splinter factions, or some old fuck who is so old school they don't even understand my job as a medic. I want to take my orders from someone who fights for our village." Hitori spoke and shrugged. "At least we know that Uchiha Itachi isn't going to turn out like that."

"What do you mean 'turn out like that'? He killed his clan!" Kiba hissed to her in a whisper, not wanting to start a scene in the restaurant before they'd even eaten.

"You heard the announcement. It was on orders from the Sandaime, Danzo and the other elders. Consider the alternative, you fool. Uchihas revolt, kill the Sandaime and take charge after what would end up being a massive shit fight. Konoha is weak, relations with other villages are bad, they take the opportunity to get rid of us for good. I have no doubt that at the time the Tsuchikage would have ordered Iwa to march on us if we were so weakened. Not only that, if ANBU agents did it, the village would be in shambles all the same." Hitori snapped back whilst trying to keep her temper down. She didn't want to argue with him, just make sure he understood the facts.

"She's right, Kiba. It had to be someone inside the clan to ensure there wasn't attacks from the outside, or revolution from the inside." Ryuka backed her up and Hitori gave her a smile in thanks.

"Consider this. Itachi was probably supposed to die with the rest of them, right? The guy was probably desperate to end his pain after killing his family, but there was someone he just couldn't kill."

"Sasuke?"

"Exactly. The guy can't be completely heartless if he couldn't even kill his brother. He probably stayed alive through all his suffering just so no one off Sasuke while his back was turned." Hitori sat back in her seat and pretended to look bored. If her assumption was true, then it was a terrible fate to be subjected to.

"Anyway, my date is here, so eat up kids." Gruff said as he looked to the doorway, finding whoever he was eating with before giving them a nod and disappearing.

Conveniently, their food arrived just after he left and that kept them all quiet for the most part. They had all been there and heard Tsunade announce what had happened and tell them all the reasons behind what the elder of the surviving Uchiha brothers had done. She had to admit that she felt incredibly sorry for him, for going through all of that, but she admired him as well. The fact that he still felt loyal to Konoha after all that the village had put him through, and all that he had sacrificed to keep it safe, was absolutely incredible. Now that there was news of someone taking command of ANBU, it just had to be him. The correlation was undeniable. Even if it didn't end up being true, at least the theory in itself was somewhat plausible.

She kept her mouth full to avoid joining in on the rest of their conversations, having had enough of speaking for the time being. It wasn't that she didn't like being social, it was just that she preferred it in small doses, and she had basically had enough already. The only reason she agreed to come and eat with them was because Kiba was dating the girl who managed the restaurant and was giving them cheap food.

Once they had finished eating, Hitori threw her money toward Kiba and said goodbye before she vaulted herself over the booth to escape. That would keep her social side satisfied for at least a few weeks and her spare time would be spent reading and drinking tea until she felt up to eating out with friends again. Haruko wouldn't pester her to come out for a while either.

There was very few people who didn't exhaust Hitori, and she didn't actually mind giving up her time by herself to hang out with. Haruko was okay mostly, unless he was in a bad mood but usually he kept his distance when he was, making it easier for her. They had known each other for a few years since they had been on a couple of missions together, and had been friends since. She wouldn't say they were crazy close or inseparable by any means, but she didn't mind if he rocked up at her place for some tea, or if he wanted to go out and eat with her.

Kakashi was another whose company she didn't mind, although he tended to avoid most people like the plague, unless they had something he wanted, or he was using them to escape someone else. She had done this for him a couple of times, and they had a few discussions over the years, mostly just when they ran into each other at the cemetery when they were visiting those they lost. They had eaten together once or twice over the years, but never more than that. But his casual air always made her feel at ease, and she appreciated that.

Sakura was the only female friend she had, and they had always gotten along fairly well. They shared common ground in their medical work, though Hitori couldn't hold a candle to Sakura's skill and knowledge. They also shared a temper, but they also held the people around them in high regard, and would do anything for them. Hitori would probably say that she was closer to Sakura than anyone else.

Unfortunately for Hitori though, the people around her were few. But for this reason, Hitori took solace in knowing that she only kept the people around her that she deemed worthy of her appreciation. She also made a habit of frequently visiting the orphanage that she had grown up in, ensuring that the children there had everything they needed and had someone that they could look up to. Although she wasn't sure if she was the best role model, she figured that externally she could pretend just enough to get by. A lot of the kids had already expressed an interest in attending the Academy and she had helped to fund a few of them to go through, the oldest being in his third year now.

As she strolled through the village, she went past the marketplace that was now closed, since it was late in the evening, and past the few small shops on the way to her house. ANBU HQ was on the corner of her street, which was convenient, and there seemed to be quite a buzz from inside. She was curious, but not enough to break her gait. It was more than likely to do with the rumor about getting an ANBU Commander, so she wasn't too phased. She would find out later when everything was official. There was too many people in there for her to feel comfortable anyway.

Keeping her hands in her pockets, and her eyes on the ground in front of her, she strolled back to her medium sized, one bedroom apartment. After making her way slowly up the stairs, she used a small flash of chakra to make the door open for her, since she never bothered with locking it, and used a chakra seal to keep any unwanted visitors out. Considering it was a shinobi village, it wouldn't give some of the more talented people pause, but it was more or less a deterrent. Some of the people who lived in her building were civilians, and they certainly wouldn't get through, not that she needed to worry about that anyway. The only time someone had let themselves in when Sakura had left her a few things in her fridge the day she got back from a very long mission. The younger woman had obviously known her well enough then to know she wasn't going to cook anything that would require a decent amount of effort, and would probably get takeaway.

Once she headed inside, she filled up her kettle and placed it on the slowly warming stove element. She went and grabbed her book from her bedside table and leant against the kitchen counter and read until the kettle whistled. After she had made herself a pot of tea, she moved to the small living room, which had a two-seater lounge and a coffee table. Nothing too fancy. Instead of sitting on the lounge itself, she sat on the floor with her back against it so she wouldn't have to lean over to get her tea. Her rear end would end up going numb eventually, but she would deal with that later. That was future Hitori's problem.

Right now, she just wanted to have some tea and read her book. Only she couldn't focus on her book. The only thing that she could focus on is the strange emptiness that she felt sometimes. She had just been out with a few of her friends, but she still felt lonely, dare she admit it to herself. It frustrated her to no end that she didn't like hanging out with people most of the time, but was very aware of how alone she was at other times. Luckily, she appreciated the time she got to herself and knew how to enjoy her own company. But that didn't stop her from occasionally feeling like she was missing something. It wasn't as if she just wanted a cat, or a new set of kitchen knives. It was just a deep seated feeling that she couldn't properly identify or ignore. Most of the time, she just pretended it wasn't there, but with her ANBU missions lately, she had been getting more time off since some of the missions weren't able to be done by a rookie. It had given her more time to think, and maybe she was just being weird.

Since no one had gotten injured or there weren't any severe complications on her mission, her current group would be back in the active rotation within the next few days and then hopefully there would be something for them to do.

Hopefully the transition with the new ANBU Commander would be out of the clunky stages by the time they got back from their next mission and the novelty would be over…

###

"Sokkenai Hitori." she turned away from Haruko, whom she was having lunch with and looked to see the ANBU behind her. "You are summoned."

She nodded to them and Haruko gave her a nod as well as she looked at him, and she knew that he would take the rest of her lunch to her place for her so she could go straight to the Hokage tower. After a brief sigh because she was so hungry, she got up and power walked towards her destination.

Once she headed up the several flights of stairs to the floor where the Hokage's office was, she saw Sakura in the secretary's seat, rather than Shizune. She tilted her head to one side in confusion, and the pink haired girl waved to her after noticing her.

"Hey Sakura. Shizune not here today?" she leant over and rested her forearms on the desk Sakura was sitting at and the younger woman nodded.

"Yeah, she's running the hospital today. She wants to make sure her medical skills are still sharp so I cover for her every now and then." Sakura explained and shuffled some papers aside. "It shouldn't be too much longer if you've been summoned now. Itachi has been in there for about two hours now, so I haven't had much to do." she shrugged and Hitori narrowed her eyes.

"Has the Hokage been copping flack for letting him back in the village?" Hitori asked, hoping that Itachi wasn't having too rough of a time. The man had been through enough.

"Not as much as she expected. A lot of shinobi heard about his attempts to slow down Madara and Obito in the war even though he was almost dead himself, so most of them have figured out that something wasn't right." Sakura explained with a half shrug.

"Makes sense."

Before Hitori could say anything else, the door to the Hokage's office opened and Uchiha Itachi, the man himself strolled out. Hitori stood up, putting her hands behind her back to appear professional and Sakura gave him a friendly smile.

"All done?" Sakura asked him and he nodded in confirmation. "Itachi, does midday tomorrow work for you? I'll be on my break then so I'll be able to see you." Sakura asked him and Hitori looked away like she wasn't paying attention.

"That is fine." His voice was much softer and deeper than Hitori expected, barely louder than a whisper.

"Well, I'll see you then."

She gave him another friendly smile and he glanced to Hitori quickly. For a lack of knowing what else to do, she decided to be respectful since he was technically a Jonin and an ANBU Captain after being reinstated. It lasted roughly two seconds but she felt him eyeing her carefully for a moment before he returned her polite gesture with a brief bow of his head. He disappeared quickly and silently as Hitori was left standing and feeling strangely awkward.

"What did you bow to him for?" Sakura asked with an amused lilt to her voice.

"He is technically an ANBU Captain and a Jonin. Just being respectful considering he outranks and outclasses the shit out of me." Hitori smirked devilishly and headed into the Hokage's office, leaving Sakura to chuckle softly at her desk.

Hitori bowed as she entered and closed the door behind her and waited until Tsunade had been finished organising her mound of paperwork. The blonde sighed tiredly and finally looked up at her.

"I completely forgot I summoned you. Hang on." She rifled through the paperwork again and found the right one after a few seconds. "Ah, there you are. I have a mission for you."

"Not ANBU?" Since she hadn't been summoned with her code name, it had to be a normal mission.

"No. We need to collect some medical herbs from an area just inside of the Grass border. You can identify them well enough so that's why I'm sending you." Tsunade answered and wrote a few notes down on her paperwork. "You've got two fresh trainees going with you so you can load them up with supplies and teach them how to handle the plants correctly."

Hitori nodded as she gestured her to approach and grab some pictures from her of the plants they needed and how much they needed. She recognised them for poison usage and knew that she would have to make sure the kids were careful collecting them.

"It should only take you a few days and feel free to push the newbies a bit on the travelling pace. They need to increase their stamina anyway." Tsunade was actively encouraging her to be a role model and Hitori wasn't quite sure how she would go.

"You can go to Sakura to collect your mission allowance before you go. You leave first light tomorrow."

Hitori nodded and bowed before she left, and shut the door behind her. Sakura was preparing her envelope with her mission allowance and she handed it to her with a smile. The dark haired woman leant against the desk and checked it, thinking over what she would able to spend each day to make sure her and the two newbies were fed and watered. She hoped to avoid staying overnight somewhere but she would have to play it by ear. Hopefully she would just make the young ones suck it up and sleep outside.

"Thanks. Got some newbies to look after." Hitori mentioned off handedly since Sakura would already know the details.

"Yeah, have fun with that. I know you love kids so much." Her tone was sarcastic and she chuckled softly.

Hitori was already strolling away, her mission allowance in her pocket. She waved over her shoulder and made her way down the stairs and out of the building. It only took her a few minutes to get home and she was proactive enough to kill time by packing her bag and laying out her weapons, holsters and clothes for tomorrow morning. After she made a pot of tea, she took a seat at her dining table and read a book until it was late enough to shower and get some rest.

She had babysitting to look forward to tomorrow so she would need all the sleep she could get...
Sehnsucht - Chapter 5
I thought I uploaded this successfully the other day, but it must not have worked. So here is two chapters in one day!

A story about Uchiha Itachi and Sokkenai Hitori. The famed ‘Clan Killer’ cheats death with the help of Team Seven, and becomes ANBU Commander in Konoha. Sokkenai Hitori is a girl trying to find her way and her place in the shinobi world. Opposites come together as Hitori helps Itachi find a new reason to live, and he helps her feel like she belongs.
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Rheehemoth
Rhee
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
Australia
Meow.
I'm Rhee, I'm 26 and I'm pretty boring.
I teach and study martial arts and I mostly waste my free time watching Netflix and attempting to write interesting stories.

That's about it! :iconretardiloveitplz:

"I will not tell you do not weep, for not all tears are an evil" - Gandalf - J.R.R Tolkien
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nana012 Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2017   Writer
hey sorry to be a bug can I ask you if you do Fanfic request? if not I'll understand
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moonlitinuyasha1985 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2017
Happy Birthday! Kawaii pink cake
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Mercurio2539 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2016  Professional Filmographer
Thanks for the fave!
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moonlitinuyasha1985 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2016
Happy Birthday! CaekCat
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a-Arietis Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2016
Long time no chat buddy. I hope your life is going well and you're happy and everything, yeah, stay cool. 
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