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Sakura leaned against a tree as she surveyed the field before her, its grasses swaying in a spring breeze. Counting her own slow breaths, she focused her chakra - along her throat, wrists, anywhere that could produce a scent. She had been doing this same exercise ever since hitting puberty. With a careful siphoning of chakra at all times, a person could cut off production of the smell that told the world who and what they were.

To a beta, it was no big deal. Their instincts weren’t particularly difficult to cope with and smell only indicated who they were - Sakura thought of Shizune, whose scent was like fresh oranges and cinnamon. And alphas loved when others could smell them, often going out of their way to force their scent glands to overproduce(Gai-sensei was a common offender of this without even realizing it.)

But to someone like Sakura, to an omega, your scent could land you in all sorts of situations - which was why she’d hidden it. They were nearly impossible to find, being one to every hundred people, and most would have dropped out of ninja academy the moment they’d found out - why continue on a difficult path when any alpha would be thrilled to coddle and care for you?

She could never have lived like that, owing herself to another person. It simply wasn’t in Sakura to roll over and offer her neck to be bitten, her body to be used. Only the death of all current alphas would free the omega, who could easily be taken by another right after. Not a life for her, to be sure.

The Hokage’s apprentice smirked. After muffling her scent for years, chakra control had come easily to her - how could it not, when her independence depended on it? Until becoming Tsunade’s student, she had been worried that someone might realize how she had learned it, but had long since understood that no one in their right mind would suspect Sakura Haruno of being something so docile as an omega.

It was a beautiful day and the clearing ahead of her made her want to roll around in the grass(some instincts were harder to ignore than others). Intending to do just that, Sakura dropped to the ground and tugged off her boots. Leaving her bag and headband with them, she stepped out and wiggled her toes against the grass, closing her eyes for a moment to feel the sun on her face. After the long winter it was heavenly.

She walked ahead with a faint smile on her face, letting the wind blow pale pink strands of hair into her eyes.

“What a gorgeous afternoon.” She murmured to herself.

She startled when a voice yelled from her left. “Oi, pinkie!”

Her brow twitched at the nickname and she turned towards the offender to give them a thorough cursing.

Except the man walking out of the trees was wearing a black cloak with red clouds on it. Sakura was on instant alert, but the silver haired alpha watching her expectantly didn’t seem to think anything of it. Come to think of it… She wasn’t wearing her hitai-ate, so he wouldn’t realize who she was - and they were about half a day’s travel from Konoha, too far for her(yet too close for him, as far as she was concerned).

“You hear me?” He said, crossing his arms.

“How could I not?” She growled, hands on her hips. She wanted to attack, so badly, but she was no match alone. Logically, if she could get away without fighting and alert the village, she should.

“Aight,” He continued, talking over her. “So I can’t fucking figure out where I am and I swear to Jashin-sama that I’ve been in this same damn field like eighty fucking times in the last hour. Can you tell me where the fucking road is?”

As she opened her mouth to answer, he cut her off. “And your hair’s fucking pink.”

Rude. Not only a horrific criminal, but he was rude too.

“Really?” She asked, feigning surprise. “I had no idea. I thought it was blond you dipshit!”

She glared at him. He glared back.

“Be that way, motherfucker! How often do you expect me to see someone walking around with fucking pink hair, huh? Fucking one in a million!”

He paused and looked a bit closer at her, eyes narrowed. “Hold on, have we met before?”

“You would remember someone with pink hair, wouldn’t you?” She sniped, covering up the way her heart dropped into her stomach.

Sakura stared with wide eyes as his roved over her.

“Well, the asshole said that the Konoha bitch had pink fucking hair.” He said, still squinting. “But she apparently punched through a goddamn mountain. You don’t look like you could crack a fucking egg.”

That jackass! Her inner self screamed in rage. Does that alpha bastard want us to crack his SKULL like a goddamn egg? Huh?! Kick his ASS!

Unable to stop herself, Sakura growled and yelled, “You utter jerk!I’ll show you a fucking egg!”

And she tightened her fist, glove creaking around her curled fingers, and shoved it into the ground. It split apart and sent the rude man flying backwards and onto his ass. When his face popped back up he appeared both impressed and infuriated in equal measure.

“You bitch!” He spat. “I swear to Jashin I’m gonna kick your ass twelve different ways to Friday!”

Inwardly, Sakura groaned. There went all of her well-meaning attempts to avoid conflict. Inner Sakura - who too often voiced the omega part of her brain - crowed with victory.

Let’s kick HIS ass girl! And then FUCK him twelve different ways to Friday!

Sakura neglected to voice her scandalized reaction to her own brain. Instead she shifted her weight, feet splayed evenly on the grass as she gathered chakra into her fists. She could smell the alpha’s rage from where she was standing and she gave him the meanest look she could muster.

“Maybe I’ll kick your ass instead?” She said.

When the man lurched at her, scythe swinging for her, Sakura ducked to avoid it. The metal went whizzing over her head, nearly taking a chunk of hair with it. Realizing he was also a close-range fighter, she continuously pummeled the ground to keep him at a distance. That way if he came too close he would lose his footing.

After a while of this, she realized her mistake - his stamina was incredible. She could only maintain this for a bit longer, but it seemed he could go all day and - from the manic grin on his face - he meant to.

Sending a burst of chakra to her feet for speed, she dashed directly at him. He was caught off guard by the sudden frontal attack and her fist landed in a direct hit on his chest, sending him to the ground.

Sakura panted for air, backing away from him. She had put everything she had into that punch, which should have shattered his collarbone and likely broken some ribs. A good thing too, since there wasn’t much left in her. A hand wiped sweat from her brow, pink lips tightening as she observed his body.

His scent hadn’t weakened at all.

It was a clear indicator of health and - although he should be dead - he smelled like a man in total and perfect health.

“What the-?” She gasped.

The man’s body was twitching and rising like something out of a zombie film, face stuck in that same horrific grin. Sakura stepped back as he came forwards, stretching with indescribable popping and grinding sounds.

He whistled. “That’s some fucking punch, pinkie!”

What could she do? She couldn’t keep this up - and this bastard seemed to have some kind of bizarre regenerative power. Run? Yes, running would probably be best at this point.

“Thinking ‘bout running?” The alpha said. “I fucking would. But I’m not alone, and you’re out of chakra. We’d fucking catch you.”

Shit.

Out of the corner of her eye, Sakura saw movement as three more black cloaks zipped out of the trees. One of the men had a head covering that prevented observation, while a second had… blue skin? And the third looked uncomfortably similar to Sasuke. ‘Uchiha Itachi… Shit.

Then the smell hit her. All alphas, every one of them. A stifling cacophony of masculine scents rushed into her lungs, making her knees buckle before she steadied herself. The silver haired man smirked as if he knew what she was thinking.

“Yeah, we’re fucking hot.” He said smugly. “Even betas love the smell.”

“As if.” She said, immediately attempting to steady her breathing and block it out.

“Well, it’s a fucking shame, but you attacked Sasori. There’s nothing for it but goddamn revenge, bitch.”

Sakura frowned furiously and continued backing away, trying to keep her eye on all four of the alphas closing in. She had a few meters between them, but it was not nearly enough. She was barely in time to dodge another attack from the silver haired man, and tried to maintain her distance from them.

Hindsight, it was the attack from the shark-man that had her fucked.

The wrappings had slid from his oversized sword and he hefted the thing with ridiculous strength - she had to shush her Inner Self at that - and rushed at her in tandem with Hidan. When she managed to sidestep his sword, she could’ve heaved a sigh of relief as she managed to put a few more meters between them.

She stared suspiciously for a moment as the blue man did the same with a waiting expression. All the air whooshed out of her lungs as her knees legs buckled and she felt her chakra slipping away. One of her hands clutched at the red fabric covering her chest, her gasping.

“The Samehada drains chakra,” Blue-man rasped, “and it looks like your time is up.”

“No hard feelings, huh, pinkie? It’s just business.”

What to do, what to do? Fear coiled inside her gut like one of Orochimaru’s snakes, tightening its chokehold around her frantic heart. She was going to die. She couldn’t believe it - never had the life of a shinobi seemed quite as fleeting as it did now. And she was totally drained of chakra.

No you’re not! Inner yelled. Stop covering your scent! Redirect those reserves, make a few clones, and get the hell out!

‘But they’ll know!’ She argued with herself, chest clenching.

Either you take a chance to live and let them know, or you DEFINITELY die. Live girl, live!

That was true… As blue-man closed in with that vampiric sword of his, Sakura ignored every habitually-forged instinct that told her otherwise and felt a burst of chakra flooding her veins. At the same moment, her scent glands swelled to life for the first time since her maturity, allowing her sweet scent to meet the open breeze.

The hesitation from the members of Akatsuki was instant, but it wouldn’t last long - at this point, she was fighting for her life in a totally different way. A groan slid free of the silver haired man as he inhaled with all his might, and Sakura’s hand darted through seals. When her three clones appeared they all took off in opposite directions, and she lunged for the forest with all her might. She was fully aware that these were her absolute final reserves and she had to make them count.

As she jumped through the trees she realized that only the blue-man had followed her. The other must’ve gone after the clones - not taking any chances on letting her get away. Her foot left a tree limb just as that blasted sword skewered it and it was apparently just close enough to drain her because only a second later she slipped and her chest crashed against a tree limb.

Sakura scrambled against it to pull herself up. Her back pressed against the trunk as she wheezed. Her creamy limbs acquired a slight tremble from sheer exhaustion and she pressed a hand over her mouth and stared at the man watching her from a nearby tree. She could smell herself, fear and adrenaline - she couldn’t imagine what it was like for an alpha to be near.

But he was just looking at her, dark eyes glancing from place to place on her body.

“Well?” She choked out, pushing against the tree as though it might allow her to disappear into it.

He was startled from his observation of the pulse on her neck, and obviously holding himself back with great effort. He shrugged. “I’m surprised. Omega, huh?”

They may be the worst kind of S-Rank criminals, but at least you got the best of the worst! Inner crowed inappropriately. Better than some weakling! Or someone ugly!

That was little consolation to the shaking Sakura as three more pairs of feet thudded onto the trees. The silver haired alpha was nearly salivating, rudely sniffing every chance he got - at least the others were more subtle in their scenting.

The wait killed her. The world narrowed down to tunnel vision, her pulse beating a heavy drumbeat in her ears as they watched her. Her fight-or-flight response was urging her to move, but she had no strength for that. Yet she couldn’t stand the mixed messages her instincts were screaming at her. Submit? Run? Kick their asses?

“This changes things.” Itachi said in his smooth voice.

“C’mon, I’m sure Sasori would understand! We can’t fucking pass this up!”

“I must agree with Hidan, for once,” The alpha with the head-covering said in an impossibly deep voice, “An opportunity like this happens once in a lifetime. Would any of you rather add a beta instead of her?”

There was immediate refusal from the other men.

“No fucking way.” Sakura grit out, “I’m not going anywhere with you.”

She glanced down at the forest floor. It had to be far enough to kill her. With a heave she let her body drop and clenched her eyes shut, fervently hoping this would work - better to die than to play omega to the Akatsuki.

A hard body interrupted her fall, arms propping her up. She protested, “No!”

It was Itachi holding her, and his eyes were riveted to her neck. There was only one thing on his mind and Sakura struggled with all the feeble might left to her, heart nearly bursting out of her chest. No, no, no! No way!

But nothing could stand up to him as the alpha’s warm hand gripped hers too tightly to break, nose gently nudging her chin upwards. Breaths fanned over her neck, drawing goosebumps forth as soft lips pressed against her pulse. He was drawing it out, the jackass, and she would-

Itachi’s teeth sank into Sakura’s long white neck and she cried out, body jerking. They were working into her flesh, so far and piercing that nothing could break them free and then she could feel the foreign liquid in her, that awful hormone that chained omegas to their alphas. It sent warmth into her body and softened it, pink hair splayed over his black cloak as her head lolled to the side. It felt so very wrong for her body to relax around an unfamiliar, dangerous male but she had no control over her lax muscles. Her brain felt dizzy and numb, vision blackening as his mouth worked to soothe the mark with a hot tongue.

She was barely sentient but vaguely noted the feeling of being passed to an even larger body, and the feeling intensifying as yet another set of teeth pierced her wrist, then another in the soft flesh on the inside of her elbow.

“You’ve got to be kidding.” She heard in the blackness of her fuzzy vision, face pressed to someone’s stomach - alpha scent was around her so thick, tingling over her senses. Large hands were rolling up her shorts and a mouth was just above the inside of her knee. She groaned.

“I know.” A rough voice breathed into her ear. Lips brushed beneath it, a tongue barely peeking out.

“C’mon, I can fucking pick where I wanna put it! I fuckin love this spot.”

The doubting voice grumbled but then someone’s teeth were in her skin, alpha hormones pumping into her bloodstream, and Sakura fell from consciousness.

Chapter Text

Sakura stirred awake in a comfortable bed, feeling loose and relaxed, surrounded by a light and soothing scent that reminded her of the beach. Her plump lips parted with a breath and she curled her body around the source of both the scent and a tantalizing warmth that seeped through her muscles and into her bones, its pulsating cradling its way around her heartbeat.

“Mmmmm…” She sighed quietly.

A huge hand tangled into her hair and calloused fingers dragged soothingly against her scalp. Then she remembered dark, fuzzy vision and deep bites of teeth and shot up, her eyes opening.

She was shoulder-to-shoulder with the shark-man… whose lap her head had been in. She gasped, “What?”

“Nope, it wasn’t a dream.” He said in his raspy voice, shoulders rippling as he stretched. He appeared unconcerned by her proximity, not worried that she might hit him.

Or it merely appeared that way. His expression was blank, dark eyes zeroed in on her features and waiting to see what her reaction would be. There was something… weirdly vulnerable about it, for a moment.

She slid away, wrapping her arms around her knees. Her brow creased in thought. What to do now? She could venomously reject and berate him - after all, they were alone in the room so it would be one-on-one. But…

I wouldn’t recommend it. Inner said. You’re already bonded, so you’re stuck with him. Rejecting him would kill something in him just like theirs would you.

True. The occasional omega came through the hospital back home and every now and then came one who had tried too hard to reject an alpha they’d already bonded and mated. It had messed their hormones up to the point where they could never again maintain a healthy relationship - and the alphas themselves were even worse off, ranging from overly aggressive to suicidal. Was this really worth that?

Sakura’s bright green eyes slid over to the alpha. She supposed… She couldn’t really subject anyone to that, no matter who they were. Curse her soft heart! Dammit!

Her gaze fell down to the white bedsheets. She said softly, “I’m Sakura.”

“Kisame.” He answered, unsure. “The others are - well - they’re not here right now. Sorry about that. They should be.”

She frowned.

YES, they SHOULD be here! Fucking alphas, really! They should ALWAYS be there when an omega wakes after the bite! No excuses!

“Yeah.” She agreed. Then she looked down at herself and realized she was in the same dirty clothes she had run away in and wrinkled her nose in distaste. “Where can I get a bath?”

Suddenly realizing, Kisame sheepishly scratched his head. He was much less scary than she would have expected from an S-Class missing ninja. “Yeah. Um, in here.”

He led her through a door to her left and into a connected bathroom, hovering for a moment. His eyes darted to the window. She raised her eyebrows. “I’m not gonna run. You guys made sure of that when you bit me.”

He didn’t seem impressed.

Sakura sighed. “Fine, leave the door open so you can listen. But no peeking!”

Really? Really? I’d say YES peeking!

Kisame was the one to raise their eyebrows now, but he stepped into the next room and left a towel on the side of the tub. She ran hot water in the tub, disrobed carefully, and stepped in. Hands grabbed a cloth and scrubbed dirt and sweat from her body. How the hell had they not thought to do this already? There was no telling how long she’d slept, drugged up on hormones and covered in a mess.

She turned towards the open door to mention this to Kisame, who was reclining on the bed belly-down and watching her hungrily. She glared halfheartedly. “Doesn’t that constitute peeking?”

“Not if I look at safe territory.” He answered offhandedly, biceps flexing as he shifted. They were oh so very visible under the short-sleeved mesh shirt he was wearing and very distracting. Ninja were always in shape but… damn he was ripped… and huge.

“…Which you seem to have left.” He said. She flushed and dunked her head to wet her hair.

The situation was just barely on the better side of awkward, and tension still remained that would likely take time to ease. But Sakura had never been a person to wallow or to waste her time - so she would just woman up and move forward. It appeared that Kisame was doing the same, sans woman-ing up.

She rinsed shampoo from her shoulder-length hair. “Whose room is that?”

“Yours.”

“What?” She asked, jaw dropping.

“It’s yours.” He repeated. “We figured we could just take turns staying in there with you. You don’t want to be around all of us all the time. And you need somewhere to keep stuff.”

That was… oddly touching, that they had thought of that. Well, she clenched her jaw, Kisame had been good enough to think of it. She couldn’t really tell since three of her alphas weren’t here. She made a split second decision.

“Until they make it up to me, only you get to stay in here. They should’ve been here when I woke up.” She propped her arms on the side of the tub, resting a dainty chin on them. She narrowed her eyes. “If they want the perks of being an alpha then they need to deal with the responsibility.”

Kisame’s face went slack for a moment before he composed himself with a laugh. “Who would’ve guessed the blue guy would be your favorite alpha?”

“Who would’ve guessed he would’ve been the better alpha?” She shot back. “The others obviously have faulty instincts.”

Sakura paused, noticing the mark on her wrist. Upon further exploration she found silvery crescents over her elbow and inner thigh as well, each with a faint scent. On closer inspection, her leg smelled metallic - which was very odd - and the inside of her elbow gave the impression of chocolate. Her wrist made her think of the ocean as she inhaled, nose pressed to her skin.

“The wrist was me.” Kisame noted. “Kakuzu bit your elbow, Hidan your leg. Itachi picked your neck.”

“An odd place.” She commented, tracing fingers over her thigh. “He must’ve been the perv with the pale hair.”

“That’s him.” A look of discomfort briefly crossed his features. “I don’t really know what the omega is supposed to do. I never thought I’d have one so I didn’t exactly brush up on it. You don’t… bite us, do you?”

WHAT? Not unless you ask nicely! Inner Sakura leered.

Sakura said wryly. “I’m not going to bite you. I’m supposed to… Well…”

To say it out loud was kind of embarrassing…

“What?”

“Irubmyselfonyouuntilyousmelllikeme”

Kisame’s face twisted in confusion as he sat up. “What was that?”

Sakura pressed her knuckles against her eyes and huffed. “I’m supposed give all of you my scent. By… physical contact.”

His face lit up like a kid on Christmas morning - it was totally out of place on such scary, stern features. “Really? So you what? Rub yourself against me? That’s a real thing?”

She glared at him weakly, red spotting her cheeks. “Yes, I do. Geez, it’s like that’s never happened to you.”

Kisame’s brow crinkled. “It’s not like women line up to touch a man who looks like a shark.”

“Lucky for you,” Sakura piped in, feeling guilty, “an omega’s vanity instincts aren’t like a beta’s.”

A moment of silence hovered between the two. After telling Kisame to turn around she exited the bathtub and dried off, receiving an oversized shirt to wear. With a moment’s hesitation, she tugged on her back shorts, loathe to go without. She almost wished she had worn a bra, as her bindings would be too cumbersome to deal with right now.

When she entered the - her - bedroom, she was pleased to note that it was furnished fully, with a chest of drawers, mirror, desk, and chairs. Across from the bathroom was a door that she assumed led into a hallway. Her eyes glanced back at Kisame, now lounging back against the pillows with a forced air of nonchalance, arms behind his head.

“So, uh, when do I get that scenting thing?” He asked, shifting.

“I guess… now?” Sakura said nervously, looking at her feet.

She wasn’t a particularly experienced person, in the past avoiding most contact to prevent anyone from learning that she was an omega. As a result, Sakura had never been a girl - woman now, at the age of 19 - who was very confident in her femininity. Sure, her instincts would try to force it on her, but that did not mean it reached her physical presence or personality. The only thing she thought might be considered attractive about her was her scent. So now, faced not with a boy of her age but a fully grown male alpha was… a bit frightening to say the least. And Kisame seemed to be one of those whose instincts weren’t obvious on the surface, but would surely catch her off guard.

But to Kisame, laying back and watching her, Sakura looked divine. She had the kind of appearance found in especially vain betas with none of the cruel edge, wide emerald eyes set over a plush mouth that begged to be touched. She was slim, almost breakable, but there was no mistaking the swell of her breasts against the blue shirt that fit her like a dress, nor the curve of her rounded hips. And - oh god - she smelled of sweetness, ripeness, and everything that the alpha in him itched to devour. He wanted to put his hands all over her and follow with his mouth.

Sakura slowly moved towards him, breaking Kisame from the strange reverie he seemed to be in. Her heartrate sped as she placed a knee on the bed, pulling herself over his huge, warm body. She put hesitant hands on his shoulders and leaned in to rub her cheek against his. Her nose ghosted down the side of his neck as she pressed her face to his collarbone, her hair tickling his chin. Sinuously, like a cat, her form undulated against his muscular torso, sending a wave of heat rushing through him.

A hand cupped her jaw, urging her face towards his, and Sakura’s pulse raced through her veins. When they were forehead-to-forehead his lips touched hers and his other arm slid around the enticing indent of her waist.

Kisame’s lips were warmer and less rough than she would have expected, softly pressing and curving against hers with a quiet sound. Her own, nervous or surprised by the moment, relaxed and parted with a tiny sigh. Her hands slid to his neck for her thumbs to touch his pulse, laughably small against the bulk of his massive shoulders. When her body rubbed against his once more he surged against her, the hand on her cheek tangling into silky pink hair and tugging until her back arched. Her breasts pressed against his chest as he leaned into her, mouth sliding against hers.

Sakura felt as though she were being swept away, surrounded by heat and firmness and an intoxicating scent that made her mouth water. The mouth against hers opened and a smooth and curious tongue traced circles into her lower lip. She found that the angle, the tugging in her hair and the palm kneading her lower back coaxed her lips into budding open in invitation. Kisame’s tongue dipped into her mouth to rub and twist against hers and a rush coiled in her stomach as a groan vibrated from his throat and into hers.

She slid against him again, spine curving backwards as the hand in her hair kept her face turned up to his. The other hand traveled to her side, sweeping up and down and pausing for a thumb to work small, firm circles into the side of her breast - her sigh was louder at that. Her hands fell to his impressive chest, feeling the solidness of it. While his lips and tongue tasted her a flush had settled into her cheekbones, her hazy eyes hidden under her lashes.

Kisame was in heaven, reveling in the softness settled above him. Sakura tasted as sweet as she smelled, and every voiced breath of hers rendered his brain less capable of thought. He could die here, he thought, or at least spend eternity like this. His lips parted from hers with a wet sound. His nose ran along the side of her neck, lips pressed to her skin.

Both of his hands held the sides of her ribcage, thumbs massaging so close to the underside of her breasts. His tongue dipped into the hollow of her throat, tasting. Sakura tilted her head back instinctively, pressing herself closer to the source of the smell, of the seductive, masculine heat.

Then the door banged open, startling her into awareness.

There stood Hidan, flabbergasted by the sight before him. Kisame’s mouth remained on her neck, intent on ignoring him. “What the fuck?”

Chapter Text

Hidan’s eyes were glued to where Kisame’s lips touched her neck. Slowly a sound started in his chest, that deep inhuman growl that alphas were somehow capable of producing. He glared.

“Are you seriously fucking her without us? You shithead!” He said.

FUCKING? Does this REALLY look like fucking to you, asshole!

All too aware of her seat on Kisame’s lap, Sakura tugged away slightly but his hands around her were unyielding. She pushed on his shoulders.

“We’re not banging!” She yelled at Hidan. “And screw you, I am not participating in gangbangs for the rest of my life, you asshole!”

Forcing chakra into her hands, she managed to separate Kisame’s lips from her neck. He blinked. Hidan was still snarling in the doorway, hands on his hips.

“He doesn’t get to go first! I’ll kick his ass if he does!” Hidan continued as though he hadn’t heard her.

Great, one of THOSE alphas.

Kisame watched in amusement as the silver haired alpha started moving forwards, fingers still splayed and pressing into Sakura’s ribs. Just as it seemed like he was going to let a fight happen he spoke the perfect words.

“It’s a freaky omega smell ritual.”

The sentence hovered in the air.

“Freaky?” Sakura sputtered.

“Ritual?” Hidan brightened.

He strode up to the side of the bed, arms crossed and looking expectantly at her. “My turn.”

“Your turn?” She demanded. “Maybe if you’d been here when I woke up?”

“What? You were fucking sleeping!”

Sakura pulled away from Kisame. “Really? Because what if I’d woken up and Kisame wasn’t there, huh? Newly bonded and all alone because of shitty alphas who didn’t care? Huh? And then been depressed for months? I’ve seen it happen, jackass!”

He was dumbstruck. “How was I supposed to know?”

“Try following the instincts that aren’t telling you to growl at everybody.” She said icily.

She moved towards him, instantly covered in that strange scent that reminded her of steel, or perhaps blood. She slid her cheek against his, once. Then backed away grumpily. She crossed her arms.

This wasn’t how she thought her eventual bonding would happen. Truth be told… She had been waiting hopefully, holding out for the day Sasuke came home. She would have taken him aside, shown him her secret, and he finally would’ve noticed her… how could he not at that point, being an alpha himself? But that possibility had been cut short by this.

Instead here she was, taken by the enemy. She couldn’t help her instincts in this situation, she knew that, but it didn’t stop her from feeling ashamed. What would her team think? Naruto and Kakashi, both alphas who had never bonded, could never understand the pull of it, the futility. She certainly hadn’t. And they would kick into gear when they saw her, so aggressive, and suddenly her precious teammates and her alphas would be killing and hurting each other-

The thought sliced her heart open in her chest.

Don’t go all depressed on me now! Inner Sakura admonished. You’re not some helpless little girl! Kick ALL their asses and MAKE them get along! There’s a reason alphas don’t coexist without an omega between them - you could get anything you wanted from these meatheads!

She was right, Sakura reflected.

Besides, just because you have to let them sniff around you all the time DOESN’T mean you have to roll over and bang them yet! Make them WORK FOR IT, girl!

Easier said than done, she thought glumly. The other two would be rolling in any moment now, four different sets of pheromones in the air, and they would want to touch her and smell her and her life would consist solely of gangbangs and- Oh god, she wasn’t ready for this! Her too-easy reception of Kisame’s kiss was proof enough that her brain could only control her body to a certain extent. She couldn’t punch holes in her alphas!

Except one, her mind suggested as her gaze snapped over to a frowning Hidan.

His cheeks were twitching as he fumed. “Kisame’s was better than mine.”

“Kisame was here when I woke up.” She sniffed. She was not letting that go anytime soon.

Hidan growled again, furiously throwing off his Akatsuki cloak and cracking his knuckles at Kisame. “I’m gonna kick your fuckin ass dude!”

A matching rumble from Kisame - who couldn’t be expected to take that attitude from another alpha for much longer - had Sakura on edge, scooting away to the other side of the bed. Her still-damp hair clung to her cheek, mussed from the grip he’d had on it.

Then more bodies in the doorway interrupted the developing fight. Itachi nonchalantly observed the position of the two alphas in the room as he entered and immediately put on a bored expression, looking away. The other… Kakuzu?… had removed the head garment and cloak, revealing stitched up scars that intrigued the medic in her. She pointedly ignored the way her omega side puffed in pride at the number of ass-kickings the scars attested to him dishing out.

It also seemed that she was doomed to a lifetime of men bursting uninvited into her room.

“Already fighting?” Kakuzu said.

“I come home and fucking shark face is already tryin to go at it!” Hidan accused.

Itachi’s head whipped around so fast she thought he might get whiplash. “Really?”

“That’s not what happened.” Kisame said. “He’s just pissed because she’s mad at everyone but me.”

Hidan’s grimace proved him right. Itachi’s eyes fell on Sakura and - still wary of his Sharingan - she averted her gaze somewhere less threatening. Kakuzu? Yes, Kakuzu.

Except he was also staring at her. She felt suddenly very small, alone in a room with four men who were each at least a head taller than her.

“Why are you angry?” Kakuzu asked.

Kisame saved her from answering, but his victorious face wasn’t helping matters in the least. “You weren’t here when she woke up.”

At the responding silence Sakura interceded righteously. “You have no idea what happens to omegas who wake alone after being bitten! How would you feel having to deal with a suicidal omega for months? Huh?”

Hidan said, “Yeah, well we left Kisame with you so fuck that, you weren’t alone! That doesn’t mean you get to cheat us out of your weird smell thing!”

“It’s not weird!” She argued, embarrassed.

“Smell thing?” Itachi asked dangerously, catching onto the same fact Hidan had moments ago.

“It looked way more fun when you did it with him,” Hidan purred smugly.

“You already had yours.” She said. And then she said the one thing she knew would make them sorry. “You need to be better alphas.”

The room froze. Every eye was on her, unable to process the accusation. She could’ve sworn that the temperature dropped several degrees - even Kisame looked scandalized.

“I can show you a better alpha.” Itachi said, dark eyes narrow and mouth downturned. He was beside her in an instant, long hand in her hair and pressing her head against his side. Sakura’s heart fell.

“What is this smell thing?” He asked Kisame, fingers curled in pink strands firmly. His scent was pushy, forcing against her lungs - he must have been overproducing on purpose, and it was sharp and deep like wine.

Kisame lifted a shoulder at her betrayed expression when he answered, “The omega covers you in their scent. Hidan’s pissed because he just got a measly brush of the cheek.”

“Yeah, because she really needed to scent the inside of your mouth.”

He snickered at the grumble, enjoying the way his fellow alphas darkened further. Sakura had been right, they had latched onto whatever led to contact, and she had insulted their masculinity and now they had something to prove… Great, just great. She should really learn to think harder before speaking.

“You were going to deny us something so basic?” Itachi’s hand urged her face towards him

Her eyes went anywhere they could not to meet his, from his raised eyebrows to his straight nose. Her mouth tightened. “You weren’t here.”

She turned her head away, but the mattress dipped as Itachi settled beside her, chest pressed against her shoulder. Her ear was tilted to his mouth by his hand in her hair.

Warm breath puffed against her. “We’re here now.”

Two more bodies settled around her, Kakuzu in front of her and Hidan behind. At the unrelenting grip in her hair Sakura realized her mistake.

The other alphas weren’t like Kisame. Even he, in his own subtle way, was insistent but the others were downright pushy. She felt trapped between them, with no escape route. Her eyes darted to the door and then to Kisame, looking put-out on the other side of the bed.

Hidan pulled her tense body against his, heat seeping from his hands and onto her abdomen through the large shirt she wore. Now she really, really wished that she had taken the extra time to bind her breasts because Kakuzu’s eyes were dropping, mesmerized, and he was leaning forwards and she thought she might pass out.

His face rubbed against her collarbone, inhaling. She had no idea how appetizing she looked then, crushed between three alphas with her drying hair held against the top of her head to reveal a long, delightful neck. Her eyes blinked rapidly, trying to process what was going on, but it made her lashes flutter. Her arms were captive between her and Kakuzu, preventing her from reacting when Itachi’s tongue dipped inside her ear. Her breath caught.

“T-this isn’t… the same thing…” Sakura said, wriggling against Hidan’s grip.

“Isn’t it?” Itachi’s voice brushed against her. “As long as we smell like you, we’ve succeeded.”

Kakuzu’s mouth left her clavicle, cheek pressed over her hearbeat. Then he nipped the skin through her shirt and Sakura jerked back into Hidan, who appeared to be safer territory at the moment.

Itachi mouth descended, finding the mark he’d given her and tasting the skin. His thumb stroked the corner of her mouth, tugging at her lower lip.

“Relax.” Hidan said through his sloppy kisses at the nape of her neck. “You’re too tense.”

“Easy for you to say.” She shot back.

True, it was one thing to have her guard coaxed down by the comparatively nonthreatening Kisame(and wasn’t that the surprise of the century?) but now there were three alphas around her, all asserting themselves at the same time. One one side, her brain was saying alpha, dangerous! and on the other, her instincts purred alpha, mine! It was confusing and frustrating, dammit, and there was no way her muscles would loosen with all of that going on in her head.

Then clever, horrible Kakuzu reached up and the wide pads of his fingers quested up the side of her neck before massaging below her ear, right where her skull gave way to flexible neck.

For a second all Sakura could feel was that one spot, burning and pulsating, and then her body gave out and slumped between the men. Air whooshed from her chest and her head rolled back against Hidan’s shoulder, eyes going lidded.

“The fuck was that?”

“Omega pressure point.” Kakuzu’s voice came from its place against her heart, still paused to feel it thudding.

“Well, fuck yes.” He murmured against her shoulder.

Itachi’s hand slid to join its twin in her hair as he leaned against her and grazed his mouth over hers - she’d forgotten how he was when he bit her, how he seemed to enjoy dragging things out, allowing her to anticipate what he would do. Just like now, where his lips pressed persistent kisses against the corner of hers, tongue barely slipping between plush peach when they softened for him. His chest expanded against her shoulder with every inhale, fingers digging pleasurably into her scalp.

Hidan’s hands stroked down to her hipbones, kneading and squeezing. “I wanna see that fuckin move you did to Kisame.”

Sakura twisted her body against Kakuzu’s like an overgrown feline, torso rising against him and the swell of her breast grazing his chin.

A groan vibrated against her collarbone and he pushed right back against her, his mouth touching her skin through the noise.

Hidan was all over her back, nuzzling her hair and trailing open-mouthed kisses along her neck. It felt like his shoulders were surrounding her, they were so close and so wide against hers.

There were too many sensations to handle all at once, too many hands and mouths and smells. She felt dizzy, a warm ball of fuzz spinning in her stomach. Itachi’s lips curled against hers at the small sound she emitted. She pulled away from him and opened her eyes.

“That’s it. You smell like me. You c-can stop now.”

Hidan whined. “What? C’mon, you had just started having fun.”

Kakuzu was glaring halfheartedly at her from his vantage point against her chest. Inner Sakura cackled. I guess SOMEONE is a boob guy.

She broke free of their arms by squirming out like a ferret, observing them from a cozy place against the headboard. Kakuzu looked especially grumpy, brow furrowed. Itachi sighed in displeasure, lips flushed and swollen from their kiss. And, of course, Hidan had crossed his arms like a kid being denied candy.

“I don’t know exactly how far you thought you were going to go,” Sakura ignored Hidan’s crude remark, “But I just met you. Instinct is one thing, but it can’t force me to have sex with you. Especially when-well…”

“What? You a prude?” Hidan asked. “Was the last guy really fuckin bad? Because lemme tell ya, there will no comparing what we do to that-”

Kakuzu stopped him before it could get worse by shoving him off the bed and ignoring his snarls, like a cat proudly tormenting the obnoxious neighbor dog.

“No way!” She screeched at him. “Besides, I wouldn’t have any basis for comparison, and-”

“There is no way you are a virgin.” Kisame dropped his earlier pout, interested. “No way in hell-”

Itachi interrupted, displaying that these four clearly had a problem with letting each other speak. “It makes sense, Kisame. How else would she be unbonded at her age?”

“I’m not that old!” She complained.

“No.” Hidan agreed. “You make Kakuzu look like a goddamn grandpa over there.”

Immediately wiping that image away with mind soap - because really, Hidan, his face had just been in her chest and she did not need that nightmare - she was pleased to see Kisame hurl a pillow at the silver haired man. She also didn’t like the way that a few of them - namely Kakuzu himself, not to mention the drooling Kisame - seemed far too pleased about her virginity. She sniffed. Men.

“And there’s no way in hell that my first time will be part of a damn gangbang, which is what the four of you appear to expect,” She said harshly, “with all of this talk about taking turns or who goes first.”

She glared. She also ignored their expressions at hearing the word ‘gangbang.’

Itachi propped himself back on his hands, reclining in thought. “Then I suppose we should decide who actually does go first.”

He ignored her immediate protests. “With our logic. And our words - real words, Hidan. We should try not to fight.”

Even if I know I would win. His thought went unvoiced.

“It should be me!” Hidan said from the floor, chin propped on the bed as he argued.

Kakuzu scoffed. “So you can rut her like an animal? I don’t think so. The point is to make it good.”

“I would be so fucking good! I’m more sexual than any of you bastards!”

“Sexual is not the same as sensual.” Itachi said. “And I must confess that I don’t find you very erotic at all.”

Oh yes. Sakura could imagine that Itachi was nothing if not erotic. But this conversation about her deflowering was happening totally over her head and she felt like any moment she could start throwing punches. That’ll show them a nice, sweet omega!

Kisame, who had been blessedly silent as those cases were made, spoke up. Thank god, she thought, maybe he would berate the others and make them shut up.

“Well… I have the biggest dick. So there’s that.”

Chapter Text

Birds chirped merrily overhead as Kakashi’s shoes scuffed across the road. Hands in his pockets, he sighed deeply in frustration. This was all wrong, so very wrong.

He was actually about to be on time for a meeting with Tsunade, whereas he would’ve usually popped in through the window about half an hour late. But that wasn’t what was so wrong - Sakura had been missing for two days now, and he couldn’t help feeling worried for her. Her being able to take care of herself wasn’t about to stop that, and it certainly couldn’t prevent Naruto from tearing apart the village to find her. Jiraiya's apprentice had resorted to throwing rocks at Tsunade’s window to get her attention and she had finally relented by summoning Kakashi this morning, which would be the third day of the kunoichi’s disappearance.

His knuckles rapped against the Hokage’s door in false nonchalance and he entered when bid to.

She stood at the window with her back to him, arms crossed and her shoulders set in a stressed line. Speaking to Tsunade was always very strange for Kakashi as she was one of the only female alphas he could remember meeting. There was something about her that distinctly discouraged nonsense - which was one of his subtler skills, he’d admit - and as an alpha who found the female form very pleasing he was never sure how to behave near her.

“You called?” He asked.

Tsunade turned, frowning, and leaned against the windowsill. “I’m sure you know why. Sakura has not returned to the village. Two days ago I sent her out to collect some medicinal samples for research. It was an easy job, far below her capabilities, and she should have returned by now.”

Her lips thinned. “As her teacher, I would give her the benefit of the doubt and allowed her to return in her own time. I know what she can do. As close to the village as she was sent, I anticipated nothing that she could not handle.”

“What has changed?” Kakashi asked in growing unease.

“Jiraiya has just informed me that the Akatsuki were spotted not too far from where Sakura was sent. No one else in the area could have delayed her like this.”

Uh-oh. Bad, this was very bad!

“Scenario one, Sakura has been killed by them.” Tsunade said angrily. “Which would not accept unless there were a completed autopsy on a recovered body. Scenario two, they have captured her and currently hold her prisoner. In which case she will be retrieved.”

Silence.

Kakashi said quietly, “There is a third option.”

“That is the one I fear most.” She confessed. “I summoned you today not only because you were part of her team, but because I knew I could trust you with this information. How long have you known?”

“Since the day I met her.”

It was true. Kakashi was perceptive - he did not merely observe with his nose. He had to admit that Sakura was stupendous at suppressing her scent, but that was not the only indicator of an omega. There was a certain length of limb, a softness around the eyes, and a wariness of others that could give them away if one knew what to look for. A medic of Tsunade’s caliber certainly would.

And there was a special shot, designed for alphas traveling incognito on missions where instinct had no place. It inhibited production of the hormone injected by an alpha’s mating bite, removing the urge to claim any omega that happened across. They would be no less pleasing to be around, but the matter could be solely in the realm of the alpha’s self-control rather than being a biological imperative. The herbal components of it weren’t easy to come by, so it wasn’t on the general market, but if a jounin instructor found themselves training an omega they could request it. It simply wouldn’t be professional otherwise.

However, many alphas enjoyed unleashing themselves on the world and he could imagine that a group of S-ranked criminals like the Akatsuki would see no need for inhibiting themselves in such a manner.

“You had the shot?” Tsunade asked. He nodded. “Our own training was taxing on Sakura’s chakra reserves, especially at the beginning. It was only a matter of time until she would’ve slipped, even if I didn’t know already. How many Akatsuki members are confirmed alphas?”

“Itachi Uchiha’s file listed him.” Kakashi said, then thought back to his other encounters. “And his partner, Kisame Hoshigaki. The two involved in the Kazekage’s abduction were alphas as well. I would not be surprised if there were more.”

“If Sakura engaged in combat with them, there is no doubt that her chakra would end up depleted. In that case, they would have discovered what she was.” Tsunade said. “She may very likely have been bitten. In which case I really don’t know what to do. Her mates will be enemies of the village.”

“But no matter what her brain dictates, there’s no helping it if they bit her.” Kakashi said quietly. “She would never be the same after their deaths.”

“No.” Tsunade agreed. “But I must choose between acting as her friend or as the leader of this village. Speaking as the Hokage, it is likely that the Akatsuki have stolen one of my kunoichi. They are enemies that must be neutralized and she is an asset that we cannot lose. She has up-to-date intel on the inner workings of Konoha and the strengths and weaknesses of a number of its shinobi. On top of that, she is a close friend of the kyuubi vessel and would be easy bait to lure Naruto out. Can we risk that?”

He wasn’t forced to answer that question, since the Hokage continued to speak. “However, speaking as her mentor, there is a high likelihood that she would take her own life at such a loss. There must be some middle ground.”

Tsunade pinched the bridge of her nose, considering the situation. Kakashi himself was conflicted. Yes, it was in the life of a shinobi to sacrifice, to choose between happiness and duty. But he couldn’t just abandon Sakura in such a way - for him to allow his students the hope of Sasuke’s return, after all he had done, but to condemn Sakura for a situation that she could not help… It would be the worst kind of favoritism. At a loss, he waited to hear what the Hokage would say.

“As of now,” She said. “We must expect possibility three as the most likely. Here is what we must do. You will receive a double dose of the shot and lead a team of betas to retrieve Sakura. You understand the situation, and I leave it to you - your team will be notified that this is a highly classified mission, and you will not inform them of the specifics until you are closing in."

"Naruto will want to join the team."

She grimaced. "He will not join you. He is too emotional for this situation, too invested - and as an alpha he would try to kill the Akatsuki, who are looking for him. Even a shot would not prevent him from making poor decisions and running off on his own."

Kakashi agreed, but knew what kind of reaction the blond-haired teen would have. "He'll raise hell. How do you know he won't follow us?"

Tsunade smiled slowly. “Naruto will be delivering a sealed message to Sasuke Uchiha.”

 

That afternoon saw Kakashi met at the gates of the village by a mismatched group consisting of TenTen, Shino Aburame, and Shikamaru Nara. They were a good fit for the mission with each being unlikely to gossip and able to remain less emotional where Sakura was concerned - and their skill sets lent themselves well to a situation where restraint and subterfuge would be very necessary. When Gai had learned that Kakashi was borrowing one of his students he tearfully wrote him a guide to all of her likes and dislikes, imploring him to “treat her gently for me, my rival.”

The plan was to begin the search within the area where Sakura had been assigned to gather samples. From there, if the worst case was indeed true, Kakashi was to catch her scent and track her from there. He was to inform his team of the situation as soon as her scent became identifiable as that of an omega.

Of the young shinobi following him, only TenTen was visibly curious. Yet while Shikamaru’s face gave nothing away, Kakashi was certain that the gears in his mind were at work and closing in on possible reasons why Sakura might be missing. As usual Shino could not be deciphered in the least.

“Do you think Sakura is okay?” TenTen asked.

“Okay… Likely.” Kakashi pondered aloud. “Certainly alive, if my guesses are correct.”

Shikamaru grumbled, “And when do you plan to share those?”

“Soon enough.”

They arrived to the particular forest regionin question, where the plants Sakura were gathering had a tendency to grow. With his back to the others, Kakashi very slightly lifted his mask to allow fresh air to meet his nostrils - his mask had the advantages of being both very stylish and blocking unpleasant smells from his sensitive nose. He breathed in… Yes… There were traces that suggested people had been here, but he could scarcely make out a single person’s aroma - this close to Konoha, many shinobi surely trained or traveled here.

He summoned Pakkun and pulled a handkerchief from one of the pouches on his hip. “We’re looking for Sakura. Can you tell if she was here?”

“Hmmmm… Not here, but nearby. Let’s go!”

They followed the ninja dog as he rapidly sought their friend’s presence and led them through the tall trees, twisting and turning. It appeared as though he were leading them in a circle, but closing in on its center. After a while of traveling like this Pakkun halted. Ahead of them the trees abruptly thinned and laying innocently at the foot of a tree was Sakura’s pack.

“She left her things here.” TenTen said. “Why would she do that?”

And then they saw the craters in the clearing just ahead. Kakashi spoke up, “Let’s make sure she isn’t somewhere in there.”

They fanned out, peering into the holes and shifting rubble, but nothing turned up the missing kunoichi. He almost wished she was there if only to make their decisions concerning her much easier. But that thought made him immediately feel guilty. He hadn’t begrudged Sasuke the difficulty of trying to retrieve him. He certainly shouldn’t do that to Sakura.

Then he smelled it.

It was the edge of sweetness that Sakura’s scent had lacked for as long as he’d known her - the complete opposite of the musk that tended to surround an alpha’s odor. He’d never been more glad to have avoided encountering it before, as it was alarmingly appealing… Like flowers… Or plucking a ripe peach from a tree and sinking your teeth into it-

Yes, he was very thankful for the double dosage Tsunade had injected him with.

At that point their fears had been confirmed - there was no way that an alpha, Akatsuki or not, could smell that and not pursue. It would be less consuming now if she had indeed been bitten, but if she were to lose those alphas her biology would produce it all over again.

Shikamaru was the first to notice it aside from him, stiffening. As a beta he could detect the omega flavor to the scent and even find it pleasant, but it would not rattle his instincts in quite the same way it would an alpha.

“Is this what you neglected to tell us?” He asked as their team gathered around. “You’ve gotta be kidding me. Of all the people…”

“Yes, it is an unexpected development, but that is why the three of you were so necessary. I won’t sugarcoat things - the Akatsuki were spotted not far from here. If this battlefield is any indication, they ran into Sakura. And judging by the scent…”

“Not good at all.” Shikamaru said, eyes widening slightly. “I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”

“So that means… The Akatsuki- they’re not… alphas, are they?”

Two sets of eyes and a pair of shades watched his every expression. TenTen looked almost pleading, hoping and praying that he could prove her wrong. He could see the way Shikamaru’s brain had hit overdrive, working itself to the limit with the information it had to try and find a solution - exactly why he was chosen, because if anyone besides Tsunade could figure something out it was him. Even Shino appeared taken aback, if the imperceptible slackness in his jaw was anything to judge by.

Kakashi scratched his nose. “Unfortunately, all known members are.”

There was outcry at that.

“We’ve got to do something!” TenTen cringed. “We can’t just let them run off with her and-and…”

She didn’t finish the thought. Kakashi neglected to mention that Sakura was likely being treated a thousand times better than any other captive would have been - if she could even be considered a captive.

Instead he said gently, “That is why we are retrieving her. After that the Hokage will decide how to proceed. We should continue on.”

As they followed the tracks, not to mention the smell, Shikamaru ran beside him. “I don’t doubt you, but… Are you going to be okay?”

“What do you mean?” He knew exactly what the chuunin was insinuating.

Uncomfortably, he said. “Won’t this be even more difficult for you? Y’know… Don’t make me say it.”

“I’ve had an extra large dosage of the shot we use on missions.” Kakashi continued darkly, “I was chosen because I already knew Sakura’s secret… You can trust me to control myself.”

Where Sakura was concerned, yes… But he wasn’t so sure how the alpha in him would respond to the Akatsuki themselves - especially not if they really had bitten her.

Chapter Text

Somewhere between Itachi saying, “You make a compelling argument, but can you actually prove it?” and Kakuzu crying, Sakura punched a hole through the wall.

Comments such as Hidan’s, “Dude I’m way fucking bigger than you,” led to her utterly destroying the dresser after which Kisame’s, “I didn’t think omegas could do that,” was just the icing on the cake for her poorly-aimed punch to stab the wall right beside the man’s head.

She later found out that no, Kakuzu was not producing tears because of the size of his dick but because he’d thought about how much money it would cost to repair the room.

If anyone were to accuse her of hiding right now, Sakura would vehemently deny it. But there was no denying that she was indeed sitting in the corner of someone’s closet. She couldn’t be sure who it belonged to since she had simply picked a room while exploring the house the Akatsuki had brought her to.

It was a sprawling, one-storied affair full of twists and turns. Looking out the window one would see the steadily rising trees indicative of a valley as well as the telltale shimmer in the distance that spoke of the inside of a field of genjutsu.

Hidden by a rack of clothing and comfortably nestled into the dark space, Sakura finally managed a clearer head. The time after waking had swept her away in a sea of distraction, but being separated from the sources of her trouble she was able to consider exactly how fucked she was - after all, it was rather hard to remember to fear men arguing about the sizes of their dicks.

Sakura had no idea what to do. She could hardly lay back and simply accept what had happened! She loved her village with all her heart, and her team, and these people planned to kidnap Naruto! They were the enemy! By all rights she should poison them all in their sleep.

But she felt so afraid, deep in her gut, of doing that to herself. It was hardwired into her to never accept attacks on them after being bitten, and everything in her wanted to give in and wholeheartedly accept the new bond. Fear and guilty desire - now weren’t those the makings of a healthy relationship?

‘Plan, Sakura, plan…’ She urged herself. ‘Don’t just let things take you by surprise…’

Well… Even if she could ignore her instincts, killing the Akatsuki was a feat beyond her. So she could count that out and stop worrying about it. She had no intentions to consummate the bond anytime soon, so that could go too.

It all boiled down to a question of whether or not she was opening to forming any sort of connection to these alphas. As far as Sakura was concerned, she could either take in stride whatever she was capable of and interact peacefully or claw and heckle them every chance she got. The first option would give her some measure of soothing while the second would exhaust everyone involved.

But she was a ninja, she reminded herself. Why should she make any decisions until she knew all of the factors involved? It appeared option one would serve her best in this case.

She sighed, rubbing at her eyes. What a mess.

A faint sliding sound indicated someone entering the room. Uh oh! They would certainly find her and… she would feel very embarrassed if caught in this place. Light, almost noiseless footsteps tapped over to the door of the closet, followed by a thump - already Sakura could smell a very distinctive aura of grapes, and wine, but dry and masculine.

The door slid open and there knelt Itachi, on eye level with her. He didn’t seem particularly taken aback to find her here, but rather curious. A slight crease rested between his eyebrows, one of the few signals that he had no idea what was going on. She stared right back, unmoving, hands curled over her knees.

“Sakura…” He began. “Why are you in Kisame’s closet?”

“It’s comfortable.” She said, eyes trained right between his eyes - the least threatening feature on Itachi’s face. His lips were suspiciously high on that list.

He asked, “How can this be comfortable? It is rather cramped. And Kisame overfills it with clothing.”

She glanced overhead, astonished that Kisame would be a clothing hoarder. True, he had stuffed the rack to excess, but that wasn’t something Sakura would seek to accuse anyone of after seeing Ino’s closet. She swallowed.

“It’s more cozy than cramped.” Sakura defended herself. “And it took a while for anyone to find me.”

“Are you hiding?”

“I’m resting.” She said firmly. “This is a very restful spot, unlike the bedroom people keep barging into.”

“Ah. Restful? I would like to judge that for myself.” With that Itachi slid in beside her, shoulder-to-shoulder, and darkness fell again when he closed the door.

Silence. It lasted for such a long time that she wondered if he had fallen asleep and the tension that followed his arrival slowly ebbed away until she was as at-ease as she could imagine being while crammed into a closet with an S-Ranked missing ninja. He was so tranquil that the only indications of his presence were the feel of his shoulder against hers and the occasional inhale. Not counting his scent, of course.

At long last he said, “You are avoiding us?”

“Why wouldn’t I?” She answered. “Don’t forget that you are Akatsuki and that I am a Konoha shinobi. We’re not exactly on the best terms. And you want to kidnap my teammate - I could never forgive that.”

There. It was out in the open. Now it remained for her to find out how Itachi would respond to that.

It took him a while. “You should know better than anyone that we mean no bodily harm to yourself. Any unwilling reluctance you have to hurt us is even stronger in ourselves. As for the second point, we are a group of shinobi following orders. Same as you.”

He continued, “Akatsuki does not recruit volunteers. We will not reap the rewards that our leader seeks. I doubt anyone aside from him actually cares about finding jinchuuriki.”

What? No way could that be true!

“Why would you stay?” She asked harshly.

“Security. Where else could these individuals find safety? Not in a village. We remain to avoid an even more dangerous existence.”

Sakura was coming to realize that Itachi was an alarmingly reasonable person, and she didn’t know if she liked it or hated it. Her chin rested on her knees. The omega part of her was purring at the close proximity to one of her alphas - the same dangerous complacency that she had suffered from earlier.

“The unstable element at hand, however, is you.” Itachi murmured. “You know that we would pursue if you try to run, but I still cannot decide if you would attempt it anyways. Alphas rarely have a choice in cherishing omegas, but you have more freedom of action in this situation. I would not be surprised if you had the willpower to destroy us at the cost of your own health. Do you have any intentions of rejecting this bond?”

“I can’t make that decision yet.” Sakura said, disturbed. “It’s too soon to tell. But I will tell you this - any one of you that tries to force this bond too far will feel all of my wrath. I’m not a toy. I can’t deny the bite once it’s happened, but I sure as hell can decide the other steps for myself.”

“You’re all very scary,” She clenched her hands, “and you could kill me if you wanted. But now you can’t. I will hold myself hostage against you if that’s what it takes to maintain my own decisions. None of you control me.”

At length he retorted, “No, but that makes us no less persuasive. Do you mean to ignore us?”

“I will interact, but I mean to reconcile my own misgivings before anything else.” Sakura smirked, “I know next to nothing about any of you. What if you aren’t fit alphas?”

Another silence. “An upsetting accusation. Surely you would not cast aside your current opportunity for happiness?”

“Itachi,” She said seriously. “My future involves a family. Considering what you’ve done to yours, how could I trust you near my children?”

For some odd reason, the spike in the alpha’s scent wasn’t indignation or satisfaction… Unexpectedly, it was a deep sorrow, the kind that few people ever carried. It spoke of longing and regret - not emotions that she had thought to encounter in this mass murderer.

“I would never.” Itachi shifted beside her, voice nearly indecipherable. “…That tale is for another time.”

The door opened yet again and by the heavier steps she guessed it was Kisame. This was… perhaps even more awkward than being discovered by someone who didn’t own this closet. Kisame shuffled around for a few tense minutes - tense for Sakura at least, Itachi seemed wholly unconcerned - and eventually left.

Itachi pressed against her with his shoulder, the strands of his hair tickling the side of her face. “Sakura, don’t you find me attractive?”

Great, just great. She had made the most vital choices of the moment, but if this alpha continued to try persuading her she didn’t know how long her good intentions good last. Damn instincts! Damn Itachi and his soft hair! Damn that horrible shrieking voice in her head that was all too pleased at her current position.

His hand smoothed over the back of her neck, fingers kneading the skin in small circles. She could just barely make out his features in the blackness but she was overly aware of his body.

“Did you hear nothing I said?” Sakura asked.

Itachi purred, “I am not behaving so poorly. You want to be wooed, do you not?”

“Not what I said.”

“How else am I to prove that I am a fit alpha?”

Sakura shifted. “I thought you had more self control than this.”

“I am most definitely controlling myself right now.” He said, nose sliding over the side of her neck.

“Is this the only reason you followed me into a closet?”

“No.”

“You realize now you have to come out of the closet.”

“You should know that I was never really in it.” His mouth curled. “You have little cause to doubt me on that count.”

The mark Itachi had left on her neck throbbed and Sakura raised a hand to soothe it. When her fingertips brushed it, Itachi froze - now the shivers race down his spine instead of hers. He buried his face in her shoulder, gripping the back of her neck tightly.

“What the hell was that?” She asked, unable to stop the slow victorious smirk on her face.

“What did you do?” He demanded softly, against her shoulder.

“I just touched the mark you left.” Totally helpless to resist doing it again, Sakura stroked the tiny crescent marks more firmly, delighting in the way Itachi couldn’t help melting against her.

Ha! Take that, stupid alpha! Inner crowed in triumph. You’re not the only ones with a fancy pressure point to use as leverage.

He drew in a long, shuddering breath. “That doesn’t happen when I touch it.”

“I need some kind of advantage, don’t I?” Sakura asked. “It wouldn’t be fair if only I had such a weakness.”

His mouth pressed against where her fingers were touching the mark, effectively halting further experimentation. An arm looped around her and squeezed.

“That does not aid my self control, Sakura.” Itachi protested, eyes lidded.

She relented, but when the two finally came out of poor Kisame’s closet her mind was racing. She wanted nothing more than to try it on the others, preferably from safe hiding places where they would have no idea what was happening. Why not claim some sort of revenge for those bites?

Inner Sakura howled with laughter.

Chapter Text

This was the fifth day since Sakura had woken up in her new bedroom, and it had been oddly… peaceful, if a bit bizarre. She spent a lot of time exercising in her room, loathe to allow herself to fall out of shape and lose her edge. Every now and then her personal space was invaded, as expected, but after watching her punch Hidan hard enough to break his spine the others were more wary.

While Kisame and Hidan were metaphorically up her ass all the time and Itachi sought her fairly often, Kakuzu was an entirely different story. He was the one who hovered on the edges of her vision, seemingly unable to decide whether or not to approach, like a stray animal that wanted to come closer but couldn't be sure if it were safe.

Sakura stood in the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil for her tea when she smelled him nearby. She turned and although unable to see him called out.

"Hello?"

After a few seconds he furtively shuffled into view and halted at the counter. He looked very much like he wanted to say something but dithered for a moment, hands in his pockets.

"Sakura." He said finally.

Silence.

"Yes?" She prodded.

His odd eyes wavered around the room, fingers tugging at the messy dark hair that had fallen over a shoulder. It didn't appear that his unvoiced thoughts were pleasant and Sakura couldn't help feeling uneasy.

"Do you have your wallet on you right now?"

She pawed at her hips over another stolen shirt. Nothing turned up, as she was fairy sure that she didn't have any pockets. Then she tried to remember when she had last seen it.

"Uhh, I think I dropped it in the woods somewhere... I'm not sure the last time I saw it."

He choked, turning away from her. She was relieved that at least his shoulders weren't shaking - he wasn't crying this time.

"How can you not know?" He asked, dumbfounded.

"Well, it wasn't really important at the time." He had to steady himself with a hand on the counter. "I've never really been one to agonize over money."

He began rattling off questions that he had no answer to, about her net worth, loans, and investments. It was when Sakura confessed that she did not know the exact amount of her savings that he spun around to glare at her fixing her tea.

"I don't understand how you can sleep at night."

"Well-"

"You need help. Lots of help, or you're doomed."

He then led her to his room and proceeded to remove a box from beneath the bed. She knelt beside him, sipping at green tea and raising her eyebrows at the display.

"Sakura." He said very seriously, staring directly at her. "I am going to give you twenty dollars. I recommend you sew some of it into your clothing. Just in case. And you should invest the rest of it."

She blinked. "How am I to invest in the middle of nowhere?"

"I make bets with Kisame. He is more hotheaded than Itachi, but less of a sore loser than Hidan. You could make a fortune off of him if you are patient."

"How much have you made?"

The number made her jaw drop. "How is that possible? Wouldn’t he catch on?”

“He doesn’t stop to consider it.”

And she guessed that there was no way he would say anything and lose that source of income. “But where does he get that kind of money?”

Kakuzu scoffed, and removed twenty one dollar bills from the box without letting the total contents become visible. “He likes to arm wrestle at bars.”

Ugh. Kind of weird.

He gently handed the cash to Sakura. Self conscious, she folded the bills and placed them in her pocket. After that she sat back on the floor and steadily surveyed Kakuzu, who slid the box back into its home.

He didn’t seem to have anything else to say, but immediately appeared uncomfortable again, eyes diverted. Sakura remembered that although Itachi and Kisame had been mentioned to her before, she knew very little about the other two. And she had no idea why Kakuzu would suddenly be so reticent when just now he’d been so vocal when talking about finance.

“Um,” Sakura began, “are you… okay?”

She couldn’t help feeling weird asking such a question of one of the Akatsuki. Kakuzu startled a bit, eyebrows shooting up before furrowing again. He stood and shrugged.

“Perhaps?” He said, and it came out like a question. “I don’t… Well, this is… an odd situation for me.”

“Not just you.” She said dryly.

Then his eye flickered downward not once but twice. It took a moment for her to realize what that meant and she glared.

“What the hell are you staring at? Huh?” He shrugged again.

Sakura stood up and her hands unconsciously rested on her hips. “Here I am, thinking that maybe you have some kind of actual communication problem or that there’s something wrong and- ugh! Is that really what you were doing the entire time? Huh?”

“To be fair,” He said with a twisted mouth, “it’s hard not to. Until I can actually-”

Sakura displayed the beautiful power of interruption she had observed in the four alphas. “You don’t want to finish that thought. Or I swear to god-”

“Kakuzu, what the fuck-”

Hidan stopped at the door in confusion - something that seemed to be becoming a habit of his. He looked back and forth between an enraged omega and the defensive alpha.

“What’s going on?” He asked suspiciously, violet eyes narrowed dangerously. “Kakuzu, are you bothering her?”

“Since when did you-”

“No, I was just leaving.” Sakura sniffed. “Some people can actually look me in the face when they talk to me.”

“What?” Hidan demanded.

Kakuzu’s held his palms out, placating. “Don’t take it so poorly, it just means-”

“What?” Hidan asked louder and angrier - appearing to take some sort of grave offense. “Goddammit Kakuzu, we haven’t even had her for a week and you’re already being a fucktard! I swear I will kick you-”

“Yeah, right.”

It was the slightest thing that set it off - Kakuzu’s upper lip curled and his teeth gleamed. A furious growl, angrier than any other Sakura had heard(and she’d heard many) ripped its way out of the silver haired alpha’s throat and he leapt at the other man. Sakura jumped out of the way so she would not be caught in the middle.

It was… Well, this looked nothing like an actual fight between shinobi. It was more like two animals clawing and trying to tear each other apart with their teeth. She hadn’t seen a scuffle like this before. Those between Naruto and Sasuke hadn’t even come close to this in sheer killing intent and now seemed more like baby alphas testing each other’s limits.

And as exasperating as this somehow was, it set Sakura very much on edge. She could’ve sworn that she actually saw Hidan take a chunk out of Kakuzu’s arm and screwed up her face in disgust.

“C’mon!” She yelled at them. “Take a break! You don’t have to fight over such a stupid-”

“I’m defending your honor!” Hidan screamed back from where he had managed to get himself pinned under Kakuzu.

“I’ll defend my own goddamned honor!”

This made her slightly nervous. Kakuzu, likely feeling vengeful over the missing part of his flesh, was on top of Hidan and looked like he wanted to take it out of the man’s neck - and he was taller and wider than the other man so it certainly looked like he was capable of it.

Feeling curiously vindictive, Sakura’s fingers twitched towards her elbow. Her jaw clenched, shoulders set. Well, if the two of them wanted to roll around like a pair of damned animals in heat then she would embarrass them accordingly! She curiously stroked over Kakuzu’s mark on the inside of her elbow and the effect was instantaneous.

From above Hidan he stiffened, face going lax. At a more firm press against the mark his body gave out and slumped across the other man. Noises came from him as Sakura tortured him through her own skin.

“Kiss and make up you jackasses!” Sakura crowed.

Cheeks going pink, Hidan threw Kakuzu off of him as though burned. “No fucking way.”

Sakura crossed her arms and narrowed her gaze. “Well you know that’s what it looks like when you do that.”

“How the fuck did you do that?”

Sakura said teasingly, “You’re not the only ones with some pressure point.”

“That looked-” Hidan began just as Kakuzu was up and lurching towards her.

Sakura’s eyes widened. She had forgotten what it was Itachi had said… That it… didn’t help his… self control… Oh shit!

The alpha’s body hit hers hard in a nigh-tackle as he leaned down and hefted her body up - her back hit his bed as he dropped her and laid himself over her. Behind him, Hidan’s earlier rage had evaporated completely into glee.

Pressed under Kakuzu, Sakura’s chest heaved with surprise at the unexpected tackle - her hair was splayed around her, brushing her shoulders, and she wriggled away from the strong thigh nestled not-so-innocently between hers. The alpha wanted to taste so badly, eyes clouded and vision foggy from the lightning-strong pleasure that had just struck him, that he leaned in and pressed his mouth hungrily to her neck.

“W-what the-?” Sakura gasped. She supposed this could be considered her fault, but any other misgivings were quickly being sucked away by Kakuzu’s lips on her pulse.

“My turn!” Hidan demanded, pushing beside her without totally dislodging Kakuzu. “It was totally fuckin weird but it looked way awesome-”

As Kakuzu’s mouth closed over hers and their lips slid pleasantly over each other Hidan’s callused fingers slid down her leg and hooked beneath her knee, effectively halting her attempts to alter her position. The pads of his fingers sought the mark and he huffed in disappointment when nothing happened.

“It’s not working.” He whined.

Kakuzu ignored him, his mouth working against Sakura’s. His hands gripped her by the curve of her waist, pulling her up to him more securely, her breasts crushed against his unyielding chest. His thumbs rubbed into her, separated from skin only by the shirt she wore, and inched upwards.

Then Hidan, showing uncharacteristic genius, grasped Sakura’s hand and his hand pushed hers into touching the mark on her thigh. He seemingly dissolved into a puddle beside her, pressing his deeply inhaling nose against her shoulder as he urged her fingers into massaging that wonderful place. His tongue licked a stripe up the side of her neck.

Sakura couldn’t tell if this was bliss, or simply too much sensation. Her body felt tingly and she might say warm if it were not for the actual warmth above her, pulling all of her achy and needy skin into its embrace. Then there was the face nuzzling her shoulder, the nearly pornographic moans, and the devastating knowledge that Hidan was actually getting off on this.

Given the very different assaults on the respective nervous systems of the two alphas, Hidan soon stiffened against her, slumping into Sakura’s side with a pleased groan. Kakuzu’s palms slid over her breasts reverently as his tongue slipped between her swollen lips, testing and savoring her flavor.

Sakura sighed into Kakuzu’s mouth, arching against him. It seemed like her omega side was working very, very hard right now to push her closer to her alphas, making every touch feel blessedly perfect on her body - inside her, a little happy voice was singing and dancing.

The gentle squeeze of Kakuzu’s hands was one thing but when Sakura felt something hard press against her hip the spell was broken and she twitched. She wrenched her mouth away and gasped for air.

“No way.” She panted, emerald eyes slitted over flushed cheekbones. “Thats-”

She cut off with a small noise as Kakuzu’s mouth simply returned to her collarbone. Hidan’s lips smoothed over her shoulder, followed by a gentle lick. For once, the silver haired alpha was silent - he appeared to be lost to a post-orgasmic high, expression relaxed and dazed and his eyes unfocused.

Sakura cruelly grazed her teeth against the inside of her elbow.

Kakuzu’s enjoyment was cut short at that and his full weight on Sakura as his muscles gave out forced the air from her lungs. Both of the alphas smelled - if she was being totally honest - incredible right now, satisfied and full of all of the softness their scents usually lacked. It was almost enough to cause her to demand something highly inappropriate, to be frank, but then the corners of Hidan’s mouth twitched.

He purred, “Your turn now?”

Sakura’s face burned. She shoved Kakuzu off of her and sprinted out of the room.

Chapter Text

When Naruto found Sasuke it was not quite as he’d imagined it would be. For one, all of the youthful and mysterious swagger that the Uchiha had been known for had developed into an obnoxious, full-blown arrogance that made him ache to throw punches.

And secondly, Sakura was not standing beside him. He’d found the missing teammate… and lost another. He couldn’t believe that it was taking this long to find her - if anyone wanted to be found, it would have to be Sakura, and Granny had sent out Kakashi of all people. This was ridiculous!

So forgive him if he wasn’t quite so frozen as he stared at the man standing at the top of the cliff. Sasuke blinked lazily, reveling in the sudden silence, then-

“Hey BASTARD, how’s it going? Enjoy your little vacation?”

Sasuke’s surprise manifested itself as a long and slow sigh. He’d never really been one for gaping and shrieking, anyways.

“It was hardly a vacation.” He drawled. “Aren’t you the one with the tan? Spend all your time watching your sensei ogle girls at the beach?”

The two shared a glare. More astonishing silence and Naruto wasn’t even yelling yet, but his eyes were bright in rage and his fists clenched hard enough to pale his knuckles white.

Sasuke broke it. “Where is Sakura? I almost expected to see her first.”

“She’s-away.” He gritted. “Not that you would care.”

“Hn. I guess I don’t.”

Naruto’s voice finally rose. “Well you should! You were such an asshole to her, to all of us!”

And suddenly the air between them filled with the same horrific tension that had been present those years ago, before Naruto had left Konoha to train with Jiraiya. How dare Sasuke say such things? How dare he throw their friendship right back into their faces and take more care with revenge for a long-gone past than those precious people right in front of him? And with Sakura gone… there was no way Naruto could roll over and allow the bastard to be so callous when anything could be happening to her right now.

A strange new coldness washed over Naruto. Sakura wasn’t here… He-he couldn’t act like a child. He had to be an adult now, which meant that pummeling bastards into the dirt had to wait until he had found her. After all, the sooner he dealt with Sasuke the sooner he could help search for her.

Simply put, he had no time to deal with this cruel man his best friend had grown into. This was something for Team Seven to do together.

“I don’t need to explain myself to you.” Sasuke said. His brows knitted themselves together.

Naruto removed the scroll and hurled it at the dark-haired man, who easily caught it in a slender hand. He sighed again - and god, his scent’s fluctuations managed to be so offensive that Naruto wanted to stuff his nose with tissues to block it out. Bad enough that he could see and hear the proof of Sasuke’s infuriating apathy, but to smell it was even worse.

“It’s sealed.” Sasuke observed. “And from the Hokage. Where did she get my blood?”

“Not blood. Your scent was still there.”

The other alpha clearly did not like the thought of that, if his flat stare was any indication of it. “She has no real business with me. I’ve never given the impression that I wanted further contact with Konoha. I’m guessing you know what it says?”

“Sasuke, just open the damned scroll.” Naruto glared. No, he didn’t know what it said, but he very desperately wanted to - and the anticipation was killing him! Anything important enough for Tsunade to say to Sasuke had to be a huge deal.

Agonizingly slowly, Sasuke slid the seal of the scroll over his wrist - right where there was a scent gland strong enough to release the seal. He smirked at Naruto’s barely-concealed impatience, dragging the revelation out as long as he could. Naruto could have thrown something at him right then.

Sasuke unfurled it and began reading, face smooth and unreasonably pretty for an alpha. Naruto could tell the moment he was taken aback because, for once, the man’s face actually went slack for a moment.

“H-h”

Lemme guess, ‘hn’? Naruto offered snidely in his head.

Sasuke reread the scroll again, very clearly shocked by its contents and hardly believing them.

Suddenly his gaze snapped up to Naruto’s and his glare was so fierce and full of wrath that it was his turn to pause. “Did you know? Did you know?”

“What are you talking about?” He demanded.

Sasuke dropped down from the cliff, landing silently on his feet. He approached Naruto fervently. “About Sakura? Did you?”

Naruto didn’t back down, not even when the bastard was in his face and they stood chest-to-chest. “Her disappearance? Yeah. Now don’t you feel bad for being such a dick?”

Sasuke hissed, “Did you know she was an omega, you idiot?”

His eyes bugged out of his head. What… What the fuck? What the everlasting fuck? An omega? There was no way that was true! Sakura had always been so-so… strong and capable, not to mention totally unwilling to take anyone’s shit(at least, once the bastard had left). But… maybe that explained why he had always liked her so much? There had always been a definite pull that he couldn’t describe - although he’d imagined it was because he liked watching her fly into rages and pummel things. It was possible…

His chest ached. Why hadn’t she told him? That wasn’t the kind of thing someone could keep secret without repercussions! Why would she have wanted to keep their team in the dark on something so important? They were best friends, dammit!

And… oh god, she had been rejected by an alpha for years! Sasuke had been so cruel to her and so blind and he’d tried to stop him, but who knew how that had felt for an omega?

Sasuke looked like he was about halfway through a heart attack, his face drawn up so tight that it might crack and shatter - and served him right! His eyes had widened, horrified at the realization of what he’d done. What he could have had. What he had thrown back into the face of someone that he might have pursued relentlessly had things been different.

He gripped Naruto’s shoulder crushingly, nails digging in. “Naruto, who is looking for her? Who?”

“Kakashi-sensei.” He breathed out, tense.

“This is very bad. So bad.”

“You think I don’t realize?” The blond haired alpha snarled.

“No!” Sasuke snapped. “The Hokage said that the Akatsuki are suspected of her disappearance, you idiot! At least half of them are alphas!”

“No. Oh, no…”

Goddammit.

Chapter Text

Sakura woke up very comfortably, pressed against a gigantic body that was as hard as steel. She sighed and unthinkingly pressed closer, burying her face into the pleasant warmth surrounding her. It snuffled and flexed against her, which alerted her to the fact that it was a person in her bed.

She inhaled… It was Kisame. And, upon cracking her eyes open the slightest, she realized that her bedroom was totally dark and only the barest of lights could be discerned dancing along the furniture. She tilted her head up. Kisame was still asleep, unaware that she'd woken. Hmm… He must've sneaked into her bed after she'd fallen asleep, still very embarrassed about the Kakuzu and Hidan fiasco in the former's bedroom.

It had been… eye opening, to say the least. Over the course of her limited experience with males, Sakura had never been in the presence of one while he-well-ahem… She could barely even think it to herself. Even the memory of Kakuzu pressing into her hip was enough to set her face ablaze. And while she knew what it was like to enjoy affection - the casual hug, or a cuddle from a pet - the touch of a fully grown man was a different thing altogether, something that shot lightning from her torso down into her gut. It felt too… intimate? Vulnerable? Or perhaps she liked it too much and was used to denying herself the things that she wanted?

Whatever it was, the men around her held a weapon that was far more dangerous to her than any jutsu, making Sakura feel very out of her element and - dare she say it - desiring of what these men had to offer. Add to that her own logical misgivings towards growing too close to these alphas and it made for a very bizarre knot of sexual tension in the pit of her stomach.

How did one deal with a fully grown man? They wanted so much, and the things that their eyes demanded from her were both thrilling and terrifying. What if she tried and they laughed at her? She still felt very much like a little girl, almost like something that alphas of their ages should still be play-wrestling with, not tussling in a bedroom. If she so much as placed a hand on them she expected it to break off into a cloud of ash.

Well… She had an unconscious one right in front of her now… And it wasn't like he wouldn't want her to touch him anyways, so…

With wide and hesitant eyes Sakura placed a hand over Kisame's heart, pausing to feel its drumbeat. It was pleasant, so much that she leaned forwards and pressed her ear against it to listen, her eyes drooping in relaxation. She breathed in his scent, all sea breeze over something undeniably male that made her hands smooth up over his shoulders, assessing and enjoying their width.

She stretched against him in the darkness and ran gentle fingertips down Kisame's bare bicep, gingerly exploring the skin and muscle. It was nothing like checking a patient at the hospital, all cold and businesslike. This was warm and personal. This was a body that she wanted to touch.

Sakura's nose trailed along his neck and the steady, drowsy pulse, giving in to instinct for just a moment and allowing herself to fully scent this alpha as he had her, letting herself appraise him as a potential mate. There was no harm, no danger of giving out too much invitation in this moment. She could take her time and use all of her instinct to simply enjoy the firm sensation of his body under her hands. It wasn't that of a child to be sure, totally matured and in its prime - ready to kill, defend territory, to fuck-

Like those hypnagogic, stream of consciousness thoughts, Sakura neither followed nor attacked that train of thought. It would do her no good right now, only fluster or break up the beautiful feeling of letting herself be an omega for a moment. She could be embarrassed later. In fact, she was sure that she would.

Her instincts were difficult to interpret around her alphas, Sakura thought. On the one hand they were utterly, destructively dangerous and made her body want to bolt away in any and all directions. But on the other, she wanted to poke and prod and test them, to make them pounce in the same way that she feared they would.

Would this get any easier?

That thought also slipped away into the back of her mind as she ran her lips against Kisame's adam's apple, delighting in the way he unconsciously pushed into the touch instead of tensing - clearly she was not an enemy, not considered a threat to him on any level. And while she knew that she could certainly do him a great deal of physical damage, she didn't think that was what his subconscious was thinking at all. Rather, he must consider her something close, something that was supposed to be draped across his body while it was at its most vulnerable.

And wasn't that telling of his true intentions?

When Sakura's mouth opened against his skin and a curious tongue emerged to taste, Kisame's arm surrounded her and tugged her closer, her head resting comfortably in the crook of his neck. She abandoned her efforts and relaxed against him.

If anyone were to say that she was purring, she would deny it.

It was later the next day when Sakura was chatting casually with the mass-murdering, s-rank criminals Itachi and Kisame that Sakura had her first real scare since arriving.

The front door of the building led down a long hallway, through a door and into the kitchen. Between the counters and appliances stood a table, sturdy enough to handle large men leaning and thumping fists on it every day. A window allowed golden evening light into the room.

She sipped at a cup of green tea, idly listening in as Kisame shared his bar-related exploits with Itachi, who had an uncanny ability to "hm" or "ah" in all the right moments. She swore he could've done it in his sleep.

"And then the guy's hand started to bruise up all blue-"

"Ah."

"-and then his girlfriend actually picked up one of the kegs-"

"Hm…"

"-and after that his buddies all took off and he just dropped the money right there."

"Ah… I see."

As Kisame finished the tale with a grin and leaned back with a satisfied stretch, Sakura caught Itachi's glance. His face was smooth, impassive, but the corner of his mouth barely twitched. She covered a laugh by coughing.

A faint change in the room's scent captured Sakura's attention. Her brows lowered. It was like… earth… and something altogether unpleasant, like sour wine, and she immediately hated it. Two people approaching, but who?

Her eyes flickered uneasily between the two alphas beside her, who seemed unperturbed, but she couldn't stop herself from feeling ruffled. It didn't matter that Itachi and Kisame weren't reacting, two unfamiliar alphas were coming closer by the second and Sakura wanted at least one of them gone already - dear god, who could possibly smell so horrible to her?

Sakura stood as though to refill her teacup just in time to have Kisame between her and the door when it opened, and two excitable alphas burst into the room with scents going haywire.

First came- holy shit - the blond haired man responsible for kidnapping the Kazekage! And while Sakura had her own misgivings about being anywhere near him the terrible scent was emanating from the man behind him.

He wore a bright orange mask. His voice was high pitched and childish. He skipped like a young girl. But Sakura wanted him out. She didn't know why, but just being near him, being able to smell him made everything omega in her want to be away from him. And for this to be in her mind when the Kazekage's kidnapper and Itachi Uchiha were in the room, the latter giving her no unease, meant that something was terribly off about him.

They both froze on the opposite side of the room. Bright cerulean eyes burned into her from under a blond fringe.

"It's true." He breathed. "I thought it had to be some stupid lie, but dammit Uchiha, your little termite was beside himself."

"You saw Sasuke?" Itachi asked offhandedly, as though it didn't matter to him in the least.

Sakura stiffened as the scents of the new alphas reached across the room towards her as though they could grasp a hold of her, forcing her to experience them.

The blond man - What was his name again? She could've sworn she knew it… - let out a short burst of laugh. "The brat tried to kill me, demanding to know what horrors I inflicted on his teammate."

"You walked away from a fight? You?" Kisame chuckled. "Unusual."

"Well, I could hardly waste the time when I thought there was a damn omega here." The blond said seductively, aiming the sentence at Sakura.

To his utter bafflement, her emerald glare was rooted to the other man. She didn't even spare him a glance.

"That is Deidara and Tobi." Kisame said.

He appeared unaware of her growing distress, but Itachi was now watching her carefully. She could only imagine how worried she smelled right now.

Sakura spoke up. "Why are they here?"

"I live here, yeah!"

Sakura ignored him. "Itachi, I know you don't expect me to allow them to bite me."

Well, the one in particular. He was still bouncing in place as though he hadn't noticed her ire. Itachi stood and approached her. His eyes implored her not to feel at odds, but hers were averted. He stopped right before her and murmured to her, too quietly to be overheard.

"I won't share. I know that I won't. But without all of your bonds fully consummated, your biology still allows you to add more alphas. And until then, until you have that nuclear group solidified, others will still pursue you."

She paled, but he continued. "You don't have to let anyone bite you now. But for this time, you will be stuck evading them. I can help you, but I am not always here."

Sakura said loudly, eyes having never left Tobi, "He will not bite me."

Kisame looked confused. "Huh? Do you know him or something?"

"No, and I don't want to. Ever."

Deidara guffawed at the alpha's expense as Tobi bounded towards Sakura. She angled herself to keep Itachi between them, loathe to come into any sort of contact with him.

"Aw, but omega-chan, Tobi is a good boy and a good alpha! You will want him! He can cook and will rub your feet all the time!"

"No!" She barked, surprising the others with its intensity. "You will not!"

"Really?" He whined, leaning around an icy still Itachi, who stared at Sakura.

"Really! Stay away from me!"

"Can you make me?" He asked, and he suddenly wasn't cute anymore. It was alpha and something that the others were clearly unused to, judging by their expressions of bemusement. Itachi himself was not so interested, still seemingly counting every eyelash on Sakura's face.

Sakura was not amused at all. In face, this was a nightmare, and nothing had ever been less funny. She clenched her hands into fists. "I swear to god, you had better stay away from me. I will punch a hole through your face and if you ever try to get your rotten teeth on me, no one will find your corpse."

In less than a blink, Tobi was around Itachi and stalking towards her, every muscle screaming of danger, and she was backing away. And although she couldn't see his face, Sakura could hear that this alpha was growling at her, and it was the kind of growl that indicated a real problem.

Sakura had never been growled at in her entire life. Perhaps it was because the subconscious still recognizes an omega, but it was something that she had never experienced and never wanted to again. It hit her like a slap, burning its painful way through her nervous system to her brain and heart, choking her up and seizing every last one of her muscles in a full body bind.

Alpha's didn't growl at omegas. It just wasn't done. Instinct urged them to smell, to touch, to mate - but never to actually attack, and the fact that this one was doing so proved that there was something genuinely wrong with this man.

He stood right in front of her almost close enough to touch and at the rumbling her shoulders instinctively drew up, her chin lowering as though to avoid looking at him, or even to protect her neck.

At the noise Kisame instantly shot up from his chair and shoved his way between them, his bulk totally blocking out her view of Tobi. He was drawn up to full height and more enraged than she had ever seen him before, and the room smelled like a full-out war zone.

"You will never," Kisame snarled, "and I mean never, growl at her."

Sakura couldn't see Itachi but she could see Deidara, whose face was frozen in offense at an alpha who dared to growl at an omega in front of her mates.

Tobi didn't say a word, but the growling had stopped.

Itachi slowly came to her side again and he had never looked scarier. His face could have been carved from stone, an unrelentingly frowning mouth totally frozen. But his eyes… they had glinted red, as though only the force of his will were currently keeping his sharingan leashed. He was pissed, and simply stood beside her, their shoulders touching.

And god help her, Sakura dashed from the room, instincts yelling for her to get out of there. But she didn't want to go to her room - too open, too exposed, where someone could find her too easily - so she did the next best thing.

She crawled into Kisame's closet, stealing his blanket and wrapping herself into a tight fortress of fabric. She said no word some time later, when Itachi squeezed in beside her, but offered no protest when he managed to determinedly wriggle into her cocoon. He didn't speak, but was just there, pressed in tightly beside her in a safe, dark place, and every now and then shifted against her - almost as a reminder of his presence.

Sakura ended up falling asleep there, swaddled into a blanket and wrapped around her alpha.

Chapter Text

    Hey guys! I know it's been a while since the last update, forgive me please! It might take me a bit to get back into the groove and find the voice for this story again, so bear with me. Thank you so much for reading!


 

    When Sakura woke up one morning feeling more lethargic than usual, she thought she might punch a hole through the wall just on principle. She was blessedly alone as she had hidden herself in Itachi’s closet the night before, hoping his scent would both cover hers and deter the two new alphas in the building from seeking her out. She supposed that it had worked, thankfully, and she was safe for the time being.

Unfortunately, her physical state was about to be less than stellar. She cursed her biology upon noticing her slow physical responses.

A few times a year a mated Omega would typically enter a heat period, coming with all of the bells and whistles one might expect. That wasn’t ideal in the least, but Sakura wasn’t fully mated. Instead of a fully blown heat, an unmated or partially mated Omega would experience a time of severe sluggishness and low physical capability. It was nature’s way of trying to find them mates by making them easier to catch.

This was made especially shitty because there was one particular alpha in the vicinity that Sakura would do anything to avoid being bitten by, and she now would have a much more difficult time of it.

She stretched in the cramped, dark space and rested her head against the wall. Only days ago and her main concern would have been avoiding her own alphas, but after the shocking encounter with the masked one, she had realized that her mates were not that bad. Sure they were awful criminals but they were fairly normal alphas - nosy, argumentative and horny - but she was growing more and more confident that they would never lay an aggressive hand on her. The other one? If his teeth were on her she would expect an attack rather than a mating bite.

Oh, when would her life get easier?

Swallowing her pride and resolving to ask for help, Sakura fought her way through racks of Itachi’s clothing and into his neat bedroom.

Itachi blinked at her from his bed, where he’d been reading a book. She refused to believe he didn’t know she’d slept in his closet, though, as he had one of the strongest noses she’d seen in an alpha. Sakura paused at the closet door, staring at him with a red face.

Hot Damn! Inner Sakura whistled. She shushed herself internally.

“I-um. I’ll just-”

She cursed herself. He was only shirtless! She’d seen countless bodies in her time at the hospital-

But none of them were Uchiha Itachi, sex on legs-

She was absolutely not following that train of thought! She had more important things to worry about! She shut her mouth with a clack as he lifted his blanket and glanced at the place beside him pointedly. Sakura hesitated.

Well… It would surely be warm, at least?

Pretending it wasn’t her idea and that she wasn’t pleased in the slightest, Sakura slowly walked over and slid in beside him. Itachi sighed at the distance she left between them and reached over, looping an arm around her waist and dragging her closer. His face pressed against her neck and he breathed in her scent. She rolled her eyes and let him drape her across him, his hands at her hips. Although that didn’t stop her from smacking them when they squeezed her.

“Itachi.” She said warningly into his ear.

“Allow me this.” He said, lips following the paths traced by his nose. “You know it’s instinct, Sakura.”

Of course, checking that nothing was wrong with her was certainly an alpha instinct, Sakura knew, but it hadn’t been that long since she’d seen Itachi - and the hands on her lower back, much too low, were not necessary. She went to pull away but his grip was iron on her body and no amount of wriggling around or pushing on his shoulders was able to break her free(although it didn’t help that his bare shoulders were startlingly firm beneath her hands). A small whine clambered out of her throat and he pulled away far enough to look at her.

Dark eyes bored into hers curiously. “Usually you can get free. Is something wrong?”

“Yes,” She said, frowning desperately. “I… Well, I need help. Very badly.”

His eyebrows rose. “What is it?”

She swallowed. Honestly, she had no idea how he would respond, but she didn’t feel like she could turn to any of the others - whose reactions might be even more extreme.

“Well…” She started, eyes downcast. “You know that Omegas have heats-”

Itachi sat up so fast their noses nearly collided and she fell beside him.

“What was that?” He demanded, and she could swear his eyes were a bit wild. “Are you starting a heat? When?”

And he pulled her flush against him, smelling her neck even more fervently. His hands were holding her still as he assessed her.

“Itachi-”

“Sakura, we aren’t prepared for that. There’s so much left to-”

“Itachi!” Sakura insisted, “I am not starting a heat. Calm. Down.”

After a pause he seemed to slump. “Oh.”

A few seconds passed and he seemed to realize how he had overreacted. His mouth twisted as he frowned at himself. A lesser man might have blushed. Sakura could almost have sworn that the slight glimmer in his eye had been excitement, that he’d wanted her to go into a heat. Well.

“It’s not a heat. It’s just similar to one.”

And there was that tiny glint again, nearly impossible to see as he feigned calmness.

“Oh?” He asked, and she wasn’t sure how she felt about that undertone.

“Itachi,” She said, “you know that only fully mated Omegas have heats. That wouldn’t have been possible.”

He shrugged, and she had the impression of a pouting child.

“Anyways, as I was saying before you interrupted me… Instead of heats, there’s sort of a… I guess a weak period.”

Itachi was suddenly very concerned. “A time of weakness? Is this about to begin for you?”

“Yes.” She answered, “I won’t… Well, I won’t really be able to look after myself very well. That’s why I need your help. I will not have that alpha bite me. Absolutely not. And for the next few days I don’t know that I’ll be in any condition to defend myself.”

Itachi frowned deeply for a few moments, eyes on her face. “Sakura, you know the only way to really prevent another bite is to-”

“I know that.” She interrupted.

Was… was it worth it? Sakura couldn’t say at this point that she really didn’t want to have sex. She refused to live the rest of her life a virgin, and she had no real benchmarks to make her wait any longer. That being said - was it too soon? And, being so in out of her depth with so many alphas, there was no way she would let any of the others be there when it happened.

Then who? Who did she trust enough?

“What are you thinking about?” Itachi asked. The blanket was pooled around his hips, pants dipping tantalizingly low. He leaned closer.

Sakura’s mouth was dry and she thought her heart might have stopped. “What if I wanted to erase the possibility of more alphas?”

The room went silent. One could have heard a pin drop in the sudden stillness. The powerful muscles in Itachi’s shoulders had tensed and a tongue swept across his lips. There was no denying the look on his face at that moment. She could only imagine what it was like for him, his alpha instincts constantly screaming at him to finish the mating process, the way her scent must be affecting him.

“I would have been the first eventually.” He offered, resting his chin on her shoulder. He rubbed his cheek against her neck, chest rumbling comfortingly. “If that is what you want to do, you would need to complete your bond with each of us. I could tell the others and-”

“And have everyone listen from the doorway?” She cried out in embarrassment. “No way!”

“No, we would be guarding the door.” He pulled away to look at her, eyes already darkening in anticipation. “Protecting you from anyone who might want to stop you from bonding. Usually they would be in the room-”

“Absolutely not-”

“But we know how you would feel about that.”

For now. The words went unsaid.

“There is no way we would allow the door to be unguarded.” Itachi said. “It would be unacceptable. But I would agree that if you want to avoid more alphas, this is the best option.”

It’s also the option that gets you laid.

At her continued silence he ran a hand through her hair, nails pleasantly dragging along her scalp.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to lower your guard for once?” He asked softly. “You would have at least a short while when you didn’t need to censor your own instincts. Say whatever else about us, but your own alphas would only take care of you.”

“Okay.” She said quietly. She could hardly believe that she was doing this, but denying herself was so hard - especially in such an unfamiliar environment, with an insane alpha nearby who would dare to growl at an Omega.

Itachi rubbed his face against her once more, as though to reassure himself, and stood. He said, “I’ll tell the others.”

He paused at the doorway. “And Sakura?”

“What?” She asked, emerald eyes wide.

“I will be first.” A tiny smile stretched his lips out. And then he was gone.

Could she really go through with this? With another thought of Itachi’s lips on hers and Kisame’s dangerous bulk, she realized that she could. It was no more “fraternizing with the enemy” than she had done thus far, and she knew deep down that Tsunade would encourage her to do anything necessary to avoid the growling alpha.

And who knew what Ino would encourage her to do?

Sakura took brief stock of her condition. She only noticed slow reflexes so far but soon her speed would diminish enough that even a civilian might be faster. Her strength would be comparable to a child’s but worst of all, alpha scents would have an extreme affect on her. One whiff of a pleasant smelling alpha and she would be fighting the urge to roll over and bare her neck. Her every thought would be clouded by instinct.

Her mouth twisted into a nervous, angry grimace and she cursed. She thought she might be able to hear growls and fistfighting in the distance - likely Hidan trying to insist that he should be first. Like hell.

“Itachi-”

A head of bright blond hair strolled through the door, vaguely reminiscent of Naruto.

“Well.” Deidara froze in the doorway, nostrils flaring as he recognized her scent. “I was wondering when I would run into you, yeah.”

“Now you did, so you can leave.” Sakura said rudely.

The blond alpha continued leaning against the door, smirking at her. His scent was overproducing, pushing against her with little finesse. From his flushed cheeks Sakura deduced that he clearly enjoyed either hers or Itachi’s.

“So you stay with Itachi at night, yeah?” He asked brightly, blue eyes sparkling. “Are you banging already? There’s no way you and Kisame are-”

Bristling at the commentary on Kisame, Sakura glared. “There’s nothing wrong with Kisame!”

“If you don’t mind giant blue people, yeah.” He chuckled.

“I actually don’t.” She grit her teeth. “In fact, I think he’s much sexier than you. He’s much stronger than a scrawny alpha like you.”

“Scrawny?” Deidara demanded. “I am not!”

“Compared to Kisame?” Sakura hissed. “How dare you insult him in from of me!”

That bastard had no idea what an angry, insulted Omega would do!

Deidara inhaled again - very crude, considering he hardly knew her at all.

He started laughing. “Oh this is hilarious! You’re not even fully mated to those jerks!”

Inwardly apologizing to Itachi, Sakura hurled his bedside lamp across the room. “Not for long, asshat! In fact, I’ll be boning the alpha you insulted, soon enough!”

“I doubt it.” The blond chortled at her expense.

He froze at a very large, very blue presence right behind him. With the light of hell in his eyes, there stood Kisame, giant as always and very angry.

“What was that?” The alpha rasped, glaring.

“You think an Omega would actually find you desirable, yeah?” Deidara asked cruelly. “No way, yeah!”

With a flash Sakura was across the room and pushing herself against Kisame, pushing her way under his arm and staring hatefully at Deidara. She rubbed her cheek against his sculpted side, pointedly breathing in his scent just to make sure that asshole knew how much she liked it. Her tiny pale hand slid over his bulky chest, nearly groping him.

Sakura ignored the way her body was already becoming more sluggish. She rubbed herself against Kisame again, just because she could.

“While you’re being an asshole, I will be in his bed.” She cut verbally, enjoying the way Deidara had quickly grown surprised.

He had obviously not expected her to nearly climb Kisame. Well, that was his mistake. Anyone who discounted Kisame was clearly missing out.

“Kisame.” She said, fully worked up but quickly losing strength. “Carry me.”

He gladly did.

Chapter Text

Sorry about the wait guys! I hope you enjoy!

And just as a warning... adult content ahead, my friends.


"He is such an asshole," Sakura said before they were even out of earshot. "I can't stand when other alphas say things like that to you. It makes absolutely no sense!"

Kisame's arms tightened around her. From where her head lay on his chest Sakura could feel a muscle tensing, then relaxing into a shrug.

"It makes some sense. I'm not normal looking, so I'm not really that much of a catch."

"You're thinking like an alpha. Or a beta." Sakura said, glaring at him. "All based on looks. Try thinking like an omega. My instincts are hardwired to be attracted to larger and stronger alphas - you are both of those. You smell amazing. And unlike some that I've met, your instincts aren't broken beyond repair."

The smile on Kisame's face made the corners of his eyes crinkle. Oh god, if he cried then Sakura would probably stab herself.

"I guess it's a good thing I'm with an omega." He said finally.

Outside her bedroom door they happened upon a glaring match between Kakuzu and Hidan. As soon as they smelled Sakura their attention snapped to where she rested against Kisame's chest.

To them she looked… Well, different. Kisame's bulk only emphasized how small she was in comparison, how long and slender her limbs were. Her pupils were just beginning to dilate and overtake the bright green in her eyes, softening them in a manner at odds with the frown line between her eyebrows. She appeared somewhere in the realm of frustration, nervousness, and anticipation - a combo that would need alleviation soon.

"Where's Itachi?" Sakura asked. Kakuzu gestured at her bedroom door.

"That's bullshit." Hidan said angrily, eyes flashing. "Why the fuck should he get to go first?"

"Because I said so." Sakura said.

"It's not fair." He whined.

Sakura pointedly ignored him as Kisame placed her on her feet. As they touched the floor her knees buckled slightly and she grasped the man's arm to prevent herself from falling. An arm wound its way around her waist to steady her. She neglected to notice the way her other alphas' eyebrows rose at the uncharacteristic weakness. After all, it was one thing for her knees to buckle, but another thing entirely for her to actually let someone carry her.

Sakura shrugged herself free of Kisame and fumbled with the door handle to her bedroom as the three men crowded around behind her. Their scents were becoming extremely distracting, filling her brain with sensation rather than thoughts.

What was she doing again? Door, right. She held her breath.

"I can do it myself," She snapped at the overly pale hand that reached around to open the door, presumably Hidan.

But that forced her to take another breath and she nearly threw up at the unwelcome sourness that invaded her lungs. That could only be one person in this building, someone she desperately wanted to avoid.

She tugged the door open, slamming it behind her with all the strength she had left, and leaned heavily against it. Was there a lock? Oh thank goodness, there was.

Her slight form buckled and slid down to the floor, her head lolling against the wood. She could still smell her alphas beyond, but behind her...

"Sakura!" Itachi said in alarm, rushing over to her.

He knelt and cupped her face with a long hand, bringing her to face him. The dazed expression on her face surprised him. He'd never seen her look so, well, omega-like. Sakura leaned towards him while inhaling deeply, eyelids dropping, and the change in her was mesmerizing.

Itachi held utterly still as her nose skimmed the line of his jaw like a softly bristled paintbrush, the smallest sound echoing in her chest. She had never been quite so obvious in scenting him before, and it sent a rush of heat into his stomach. He found his earlier excitement, which had been fraught with tension, relax into something closer to what he saw in her. Something languid, more animal-like than he would normally feel comfortable with.

"Are you alright?" He murmured.

"Mmhmm." Sakura wrapped milky arms loosely around his shoulders, bumping her forehead on his shoulder. "Itachi..."

The sound of his name on those lips, in that voice...

Though Itachi was not a short man, he had none of Kisame's bulk yet that didn't prevent him from easily lifting her in his arms and placing her body on the blue sheets of her bed with the utmost care. She immediately stretched out and rolled, skin bestowing smooth fabric with that wonderful, ripe smell. It had him unthinkingly placing a knee on the bed, then the other, before he moved in her direction with gleaming dark eyes.

Sakura froze. There was a flush high on her cheeks and down her neck that couldn't look more appetizing. He was very quickly losing the ability to use his precious brain and Itachi was torn between discomfort and relief in regard to that.

"Sakura?" He asked, the mattress dipping beneath his hands. "Do you still want-"

"Yes, yes!" She said automatically.

But the lack of clarity in her eyes still gave that small part of his mind cause to doubt and he reached over and pinched her nostrils with thumb and forefinger. After a moment or two she frowned and though it made little difference to her enlarged pupils, Sakura seemed to consider the situation.

She had already committed hadn't she? It was insane how much of an effect her nose really had right now and Sakura could hardly imagine what it would have been like during an actual heat. This moment, or at least what she expected of it, had been on Sakura's mind multiple times daily ever since that fateful day her alphas had bitten her in the forest. At first she had expected something vastly different She had expected to wake up surrounded by them, still in the forest, with the alphas overcome by instinct and ripping her clothes off. Instead? She had an alpha in front of her who hadn't forced himself on her, who had in fact treated her with care and surprising dignity. He had protected her from that masked man, had taken the time to listen to her potentially offensive misgivings, had returned with well-thought responses. He had asked nothing of her except her own continued existence.

Her existence. Something his little brother had seemed to begrudge her.

Sakura blinked quickly to prevent tears from appearing. Her chest ached and a fierce smile pulled at her lips. What better alpha could she ask for?

She nodded seriously at him. He released her nose and that beloved, rich smell reached down her nose and through her chest to ignite in her belly. The world narrowed, not a haze but a hyper awareness focused entirely on the scent in her nostrils and the alpha leaning towards her slowly with a smirk spreading across his handsome face.

"Perfect." Itachi said, face ever closer.

Then Sakura returned the same smug smile that was on his face and leaned away. He paused, waiting. Frowning.

"What?" He asked.

"What?" She parroted teasingly.

They stared at each other. What was going through the other person's mind? Well, Sakura had a certain feeling that she shouldn't make this too easy on the alpha.

She ducked away and stumbled across the room with a laugh when he followed. "Sakura, what are you doing?"

"Making you work." She responded cheekily. Gods, he smelled divine and he looked it, too. He had the kind of perfectly symmetrical faces that she supposed were an Uchiha thing. His expression was exciting her as well, but she wasn't too sure if that was an Uchiha thing.

"Really, Sakura?" Itachi asked in a low voice. "Is that really something you want to do?"

He approached slowly, matching her backward pace with every step. Sakura was slow right now, without her usual reflexes, but he humored her. Her back soon hit the wall and he kept stalking towards her. Sakura moved, trying to dart under his arm but it caught her around the waist and he tugged her close to him, back-to-front, and she couldn't help the squeak that left her mouth when she felt something stiff against her backside.

Her face burned.

"Sakura." He said, relishing the taste of her name. "Can you feel that?"

Well, um, yes. She was trying to ignore it – despite the circumstances – in the hopes that her embarrassment would be short-lived.

Her pink hair brushed his chin as she nodded, wide-eyed.

His hands squeezed her hips. "It's for you, you know."

She nodded again, more slowly this time. Itachi's lips touched the side of her neck in a tender kiss, running up to the point beneath her ear and applying more pressure. It sent a shock down her body and she slumped, relaxing back into him.

Itachi did it again. And again. He tormented that place until thought was well and truly gone from her head, including any form of embarrassment. Exactly what he wanted – charming as she wore it, embarrassment had no place between he and Sakura.

He spun her to face him, walking her backwards to the bed while fully supporting her weight in his arms. She went with him, eyes fixed on his mouth. She licked her lips. When her knees hit the mattress and she dropped to its softness he leaned in and pressed their lips together. Sakura pushed closer, closing her eyes and parting her lips when she felt his tongue on them. It dipped into her mouth, rubbing against hers, tracing twisting patterns. His hands pushed on her shoulders, urging her to move back onto the pillows and he followed, their kiss growing more heated.

His teeth gently dragged on her lower lip, hips pressing hers into the soft bed. Itachi's fingers slid down the sides of her arms and left goosebumps in their wake, traveling down her side and to the hem of her shirt. Her movements paused but he didn't lift the garment, merely resting his hands there, barely touching the skin beneath. Sakura reached up and tugged the tie from his hair, tangling into the softness and pulling. A sound bubbled in his throat at the sensation and he let his weight push her farther into the bed.

This was... Not so terrifying as Sakura had expected. He was taking his time and, to be honest, Sakura couldn't help her growing impatience. She pulled harder on his hair, delighting in the moan it dragged out as his mouth disengaged from hers and teeth nipped at her neck. Itachi's hands slid farther beneath her shirt and caressed her sides. They stopped just short of her breasts and Sakura's breath caught. Itachi laved his tongue over his mark on her neck. Fingers inched up higher. Finally his hands gently covered her breasts, thumbs teasing her nipples. Sakura's grip tightened in his hair. His mouth moved down her neck and when the collar of her shirt interfered he brought it up and over her head.

Sakura couldn't help the way she flushed at being exposed and her arms instinctively moved up to cover herself.

"No," Itachi held her wrists to the bed, uncovering her. "don't hide. Don't you dare."

A lungful of air made her chest rise and their eyes met as Itachi kissed her collarbone. He didn't release her wrists, but made his way downwards with open-mouthed kisses. They paused in the hollow between her breasts, a wickedly pleased look on his face. Sakura's focus was closing in again, the chocolate-dark smell emanating from the alpha on her making her feel drunk, head dropping down to the pillows.

She couldn't stop the breathy sound that escaped her lips when a tongue swept over her nipple, a large hand releasing her wrist to roll the other between the pads of fingers. His black hair tickled her feverishly warm skin, his mouth wet against her. He moved down yet again, tongue sneaking into her navel, and even farther down until he met the top of her shorts. Flushed, panting, Sakura looked at him in confusion. What was he doing all the way down there?

She didn't realize until another smirk graced his face that she'd said it aloud. "You'll find out."

Sakura gripped the sheets, heart jumping out of her chest and sound catching in her throat when he settled a shoulder under her knee and bit the inside of her thigh. Then that mouth kept moving... closer... and, oh that's what he meant.

A cruel, teasing kiss was placed between her legs as she looked on with eyes the size of saucers and his deft fingers hooked under the waistband of her shorts. He had a look on his face that had anticipation buzzing in Sakura's ears.

And in the worst possible moment came yelling outside the door that sliced through her pleasant haze like a kunai knife. Add to that a distant and familiar shriek outside and an explosion that rocked the ground beneath them, and the alpha and omega on the bed shot up like twin thunderbolts.

Sakura swayed a bit with the momentum. "Shit."

Itachi looked at the door suspiciously. "Yes. Shit."

She couldn't help feeling utterly disappointed.

Chapter Text

It’s been a while guys! So like… my email was filtering AO3 into junk and I had no idea that people were still reading and commenting on this story. Cue huge facepalm. You all have honestly been so kind about this story and have said such nice things when in reality I have like nonexistent writing skills. I’ve literally just been going into manic episodes where I word vomit on a page, read it once, then over excitedly uploaded while on a caffeine high that overcame my good judgement that said EDIT THIS GIRL. So that’s how this story happened and I’m way flattered that you guys are enjoying things like pacing that are so far over my head(I am a compulsive world-builder though, and those comments light up my life dude). This wasn’t a story with a great big awesome plan to tell a complete story, but just me writing what I wanted to read - BUT I have an outline now for some pretty neato stuff that I can’t wait to include! A/B/O is my favorite genre of fanfiction and I have lots to incorporate. I’ll do my best to update again soon!!!!




    As the noise from the explosion settled, Sakura tried to compose herself with a deep breath and then cursed, since it only filled her impressionable nostrils with the dark and lingering scent of Itachi. Desire was a scent that fit him well, it seemed, and her head tried to sag sideways to bare her neck. Dammit.

    “I’m about to look really stupid.” She warned him, dilated eyes blinking against her stupor, and dashed into her bathroom. She emerged only seconds later with tissues stuffed into her nose and an embarrassed flush on her face.

    The tiniest twitch of Itachi’s mouth betrayed his amusement but somewhere in there Sakura thought she sensed… he was impressed?
    Itachi led the way as the two burst through the door, nearly ramming into Kisame’s broad back. The tall alpha was flanked by Kakuzu and Hidan, with all three snarling at the sour and orange-masked alpha. Tobi’s hands were raised, palms out in a gesture of peace.    

    “What was the explosion?” Itachi asked as he slid past Kisame, inky eyes trained on the possible threat.

    Even the tissues in her nose couldn’t ease the sharpness of Tobi’s unpleasantness. It crept around the soft material, turning her insides around until she thought she might hurl. Sakura lingered behind Kisame and leaned on his bulk for support, glaring at Hidan when he snorted at the bathroom tissue in her nose.

    “Deidara.” Tobi answered, his voice uncharacteristically deep and serious. “He was defending himself.”

    “Against?” Kakuzu asked.

    Suddenly Tobi was at Itachi’s side, murmuring something into his ear. Sakura couldn’t catch what he said, but this was decidedly weird.

    “Why the fuck can’t you tell the rest of us?” Hidan demanded, hands on his hips.

    Itachi’s head turned towards the pale-haired alpha as Tobi finished speaking. His face, usually so impassive, gave hints of surprise in the thinning of his lips. His sharp jaw set, shapely eyebrows drawn, and he took in one long and slow breath through his nose.

    “It seems,” he said slowly, “that our leader no longer has any need for our services.”

    He glanced at Tobi, something else lurking in his eyes. Yet Sakura felt, despite the mask covering the man’s face, that his attention was locked onto her. She continued to keep her distance and glanced between the members of the Akatsuki.

    What the heck did that mean? And more importantly, what did that mean for her? If the leader had decided that he no longer needed these shinobi in his organization did that mean that her alphas were no longer members of the Akatsuki?

    Well. Not-Akatsuki didn’t equate to no longer enemies of her village so she wasn’t totally sure how much that actually mattered for her friends and comrades back home.

    “Kisame,” Itachi said heavily, “You need to take Sakura away.”

    Immediate clamor met his statement. Hidan was in the Uchiha’s face, even Kakuzu arguing, and all four scents met in a clash that was a mockery of what the mixture should have been in Sakura’s nose, had they all met in different lives.

    “What the fuck!?” Hidan screeched. “Something’s not right upstairs in you, man! You seriously-”

    The quieter voice of Kakuzu played like an undercurrent. “-and you actually think it could possibly be a good idea to send her away from us, like-”

    “She’s safest with us!” And Hidan’s yells cut off into a snarl that twisted his face further and further into an expression that wasn’t quite right on a human face, that looked like it belonged on an enraged animal.

    “She’s not safest with us!” Itachi’s hiss was only a short ways away from becoming a growl itself, and Sakura had never once heard her youngest alpha produce that noise - and that itself worried her more than anything, because if he had reason to be that worked up then they should all be worried.

    “He’s coming for us. We are the ones putting her in danger right now. If we’re so greedy that having Sakura is worth risking her safety then we don’t deserve to be her alphas!”

    Hidan’s jaw worked to grind his teeth while the growl tapered off. Violet eyes darted between Itachi and the pink haired omega tucked against her bedroom door.

    “But why Kisame?” And it was so forlorn, his eyes on her so desperate that Sakura couldn’t rationalize the tightness in her chest away as part of the faux-heat wrecking her body.

    Freedom! Right? Not so long ago she would have been overjoyed in this same situation, but Sakura didn’t know what to think or how to feel. She would still have Kisame with her, but her own body didn’t want her to part from her alphas - the hair was standing straight up on the back of her neck, her throat so aching to let out a whine that it felt like swallowing sandpaper to suppress it. She knew instinct was a powerful thing, but she’d never felt it so strongly that the physical behaviors her body tried to perform actually caused her pain not to follow. But the scariest part? She didn’t know if her reluctance to leave was tied in to that physical compulsion or if it was her own heart screaming at her.

“Kisame has the largest chakra reserves and the greatest access to fresh chakra. He is the most suited to a long fight. Whoever takes Sakura away must last through a thousand fights if necessary.”

And Hidan’s style relied on his ability to die and return to life. Between his regenerations

Sakura would be vulnerable to attack. At any other time she could defend herself just fine but right now, like this? Even in her haze she had to admit that.

No one could argue with that logic. Snuffling hard, Hidan approached and engulfed her in his arms. His face buried itself in the crook of her neck and his cheeks rubbed harshly against the skin there. He turned away before she could catch a look of his face and Kakuzu was there suddenly, doing the same. Sakura couldn’t keep her eyes from growing wet but she could blink the moisture away. Damn it. Godammit. This was the worst possible timing to part from any of her alphas, she inwardly screamed. She was in a physical state that could only be eased by their proximity and this. was. the. opposite!

Itachi’s hand clasped the back of her neck and he touched their foreheads very gently to one another. Deeply sorrowful black washed away into a tide of crimson and his warm hand squeezed. Breaths mingled for only a moment and he was gone, Kisame steadying her as she slumped.

The other alphas were gone all too quickly and Kisame was also disinclined to tarry. He brought himself to eye level with Sakura and held her by the shoulders to stop her swaying.

“We’ve gotta go.” He rasped. “Alright?”

One must forgive her if she gave herself a pulled neck muscle from resisting shaking her head wildly. The same arms that had carried her only some minutes ago raised her up again, but held her much tighter to his chest. There was no way harm could come to her there she felt, and even Inner Sakura was silent in her agreement at that.

Kisame took off with Sakura in his arms, out through a side door, across the grass of the clearing in which the sprawling house was situated, and into the forest. She wasn’t sure how long he ran, sandals clapping against dirt and tree roots, because time was falling away from her fast. Although the tissue in her nose prevented her from becoming overly distracted by his scent she was still entranced by the heat emanating from him and the strong, flexing grip that cradled her. Her vision slid between his arms, the sword he’d hurriedly strapped to his back, and the dense green foliage around them that sometimes popped against her cheek.

The passing trees likely only took seconds to bypass but it felt like minutes. She was giving in to the giant grip on her insides that was trying to turn her body closer towards Kisame, like a child with a doll. She ran her face back and forth across his chest frantically, unsatisfied with the scent until it matched her own.

If her mind hadn’t calmed to a tranquil crawl that matched the slowing beat of her heart, the explosions in the direction they’d left would have caused her great anguish. As it was she was held tightly by the alpha who reeked of her own scent and so her physical cravings were content for the moment.

In this faux heat stage, sometimes called a preheat, her needs were entirely physical. She smelled of all her alphas and the one holding her smelled of her. She was comfortably warm and squeezed securely by one of her alphas. She could hear his heartbeat. The taste of Itachi still lingered on her lips. Her field of sight was more than half overtaken by Kisame in this position. The farther into preheat she drifted, the less her logical thoughts mattered. Her brain was choosing to ignore those receptors firing off in reaction to the circumstances. Her omega needs for security, comfort, and tenderness were met on a basic physical level.

If only the motion of running didn’t jostle her from her stupor every now and again, she might have started purring. It was like an orb rising up from her chest to the inside of her contracting throat, startled away by the bumps. She had never purred in a full waking state, but she had also never been a partially mated omega in preheat held by her alpha before, either, so anything was possible.

Suddenly the rocking stopped. Something whizzed past them and embedded itself into a tree as Kisame halted to avoid it.

“Don’t move.”

That voice. It was… It was so familiar to her. A sound from the other side of a closed window. The cadence of it stretched slowly like syrup. There was no scent to identify it with the tissues in her nose, but gods the voice was so familiar!

“I could say the same to you.” Kisame said. His body was tense, on high alert, but his voice and face gave nothing away. Pale eyes stared straight ahead into the trees. A nerve ticked at his temple.

“Except I’m not moving.”

“Neither was I when you said that to me.”

“Doesn’t matter. You couldn’t have moved when I said it anyways.”

Sakura turned her head from it’s home on Kisame’s chest and tore her gaze away from him with great difficulty. The information passed slowly from her eyes to her brain the way one’s did after too much drink, coming rather in sequential images than a smooth pan. The forest lay before them, noontide sun filtering through the thick overhead canopy and fanning out in slashes of golden light on brown and green. The figure before them was in the speckled light, brows furrowed and dark eyes narrowed. Thin lips frowned. A shadow stretched along the ground from his feet all the way to Kisame.

It was Shikamaru, she realized.

His eyes met hers. Worry, loathing, and compassion warred in his. His arms were held up, position matching the missing nin’s. A bead of sweat dripped down his face from the strain of holding his jutsu.

“Sakura.” He said softly. “It’s going to be okay. We’re here for you.”

She didn’t respond.

“You say that like she’s been tortured or something.” Kisame’s lips were twitching, moving into a snarl at last.

Shikamaru obviously didn’t like that, if the breath he sucked in between his teeth was any indication.

“You look like a rabid dog snapping over a bone he’s stolen. Sakura belongs in her village, not out in the wild surrounded by criminals she barely knows!”

Her body succeeded in wringing out a pitiful whine at that, curling further against the missing nin. Shikamaru’s eyes widened at that, having never heard such a desperate sound come from the powerful kunoichi. Add to that, he’d never heard a distressed whine from a pre-heat omega before, ever .

The whine caused the alpha’s snarl to migrate down and closer to the territory of a growl. Then it stopped. Kisame, though unable to move, could still drop his eyes to the precious creature in his arms and speak. It was as quiet as possible to avoid being understood by the konoha shinobi ahead of them.

“You probably want to go don’t you?”

The whine returned, more distressed than before. Kisame’s face looked so fondly on her then, his eyes crinkling in the corners despite the animosity in the opposing shinobi.

“I can’t believe you don’t want to. But Sakura, I’m a target too. If you’re near me, you’ll be nearby when I’m attacked.”

“I don’t want to.” She said, pressing her face back into his chest. “I don’t care!”

“Maybe right now. But after this heat thing is over, you may not.”

Perhaps it was the preheat that made the thought of being alone unbearable to her, but maybe it wasn’t. She just-

Kisame’s neck strained from pulling against Shikamaru’s jutsu, trying to bring his face closer, maybe to talk into her ear or to nuzzle into her neck, but the Konoha nin held out.

“I think you should go back to your village, and have the chance to-to not be with...us. I really hope you want to but… You should get to choose, once everything’s over.”

“Hey leaf boy!” Kisame called out, eyes shining. “I’ll let your village have her.”

Shikamaru didn’t appear convinced. His suspicion persisted, but Kisame was not a shinobi meant for deception. He was a fighter, not a liar. His sincerity was written in every line on his face and in the tone he used.

The shadow laid out between them tightened, shortening as the shinobi approached one another. Shikamaru’s had raised his arms to match Kisame, as though carrying someone invisible. Their feet scuffed the grass and dirt below. Their figures distorted the light that darted down between the trees. Face to face, the alpha and beta sized one another up. The alpha held his omega, calm somehow, even though every part of him must have been roaring its rage at the prospect of losing her. Of having her stolen from him.

The beta took his observation like it was nothing. He was sharp and unshaken by the scent and asserted presence of the alpha before him. His logic and his instinct were totally in tune, no resisting impulses from the animal inside, and the harmony in that brought out the strength in his nature.

They stood close enough that Shikamaru’s outstretched arms were beneath Sakura and ready to take her. To an outsider it appeared as though a voluntary exchange were taking place. Unknown to the beta it was. Sakura’s weight dipped from Kisame’s arms and into the Shikamaru’s. With her safely transferred to him, the beta stepped away to be mirrored by the alpha whose eyes never left Sakura.

Once out of contact with her alpha, another whine ripped its way out of Sakura. A violent tremble started in her body.

One step back. Another. The distance between them grew. Shikamaru turned and with a look over his shoulder, ran and kept his jutsu for as long as possible. The shinobi went in opposing directions, farther apart, until the shadow had reached its limits and snapped.

Shikamaru was much smaller than Kisame, not as warm and not what she wanted at that moment. He kept her protectively close to him.

“It’s okay Sakura.” He said. “It’s okay. We’re gonna get you back home and we’ll figure this out. Tsunade-sama will know what to do.”

Maybe. Things were not so easy to solve as he made it sound. They traveled for a few minutes that felt like forever to her, until they were met by three chakra signatures. Shikamaru paused and three figures came out of the trees.

Her sensei took one look at her slender form curled up in Shikamaru’s arms, looking small and smelling of foreign alphas over her own fruity scent, and strode forward.

“Stay back!” Shikamaru barked.

He froze. Another inhale. Pre-heat.

As he made to come forward again Tenten and Shino blocked his path, a syringe in the kunoichi’s hand. The silver haired jounin strained to keep still for it, the gaze of one eye never straying from the omega.

Tenten’s mouth was a firm line, a deeply uncharacteristic crease between her eyebrows. She finished administering the shot, but neither she nor Shino made any attempt to move from between the alpha and omega.

“You need to stay back.” Shikamaru said tightly. “You’ll only make her feel worse.”

Even if he could control himself. The words went unsaid.

Chapter Text

Kakashi clenched his teeth, hands coming up to cover his nose even over the mask, and he took a step back. Then stepped forward again.

“Fuck.” He said, then gripped a kunai and sank it into his arm, crimson dripping down onto the forest floor. She smelled like peaches. It was covered in the smell of other alphas, but undeniable and still open and inviting in its fragrance.

“I’ll go on ahead. I have to stay away.” Kakashi said at last. “I’ll send Pakkun to tell Tsunade.”

    Comrades or not, the betas couldn’t help letting out sighs of relief at averting a possible altercation. They made good time even with Sakura in tow, heading towards the village with haste. The base Akatsuki had taken her to was a few days’ travel and the entire way Kakashi remained scarce, a shadow at their peripheral but never quite rejoining them.

    Just like falling ill, when the first descent has the greatest effect, the first wave of preheat rendered Sakura incoherent for the journey. Their youth and unfamiliarity with omegas made it difficult, but the betas made her as comfortable as they could by staying close to her and keeping her warm and fed. Discussion of her was avoided, for they couldn’t be sure how much she or the nearby Kakashi would hear. As a result, meaningful glances were often exchanged.

    The gates of Konoha loomed by the time Kakashi returned to their sight, coming within a few metres of the group as they approached. He looked haggard, as though he’d foregone sleep.

    Twelve Anbu flashed into view before them, cutting off their path into the village. The shinobi at the head of the group greeted them.

    “Welcome back. We’ll be taking Sakura-san from here. Hokage-sama’s orders. She wants an immediate report.”

    “Where are you taking her?” Questioned Tenten, who was currently carrying the omega.

    “Her home. She needs protection now more than ever. Hokage-sama is seeing that she has it.”

    They all knew that Anbu were trustworthy but perhaps Sakura was bringing out protective instincts in the three betas, for they found themselves more reluctant to trust these Shinobi than the normal faith they had in them. But Tenten passed her off to the Anbu captain and they went off.

    Kakashi lingered for a moment, observing the Anbu, but Shikamaru called for him. “There’s no way I’m making this troublesome report on my own. Let’s go.”

    And there was now no acceptable excuse for him not to continue on, so he did, hoping things would turn out all right.

    “Report.” Tsunade said, hands clasped on her desk.

    They described their journey, easy despite the destination. They had been in the stages of carefully scouting the perimeter when the explosion went off and were preparing to attempt to extract Sakura when they had received the signal from Shikamaru. Three tiny chakra flares - in combat with enemy ninja. Two tiny chakra flares - enemy ninja encountered. One tiny chakra flare - Sakura was found.

    “Which member did you encounter?” Tsunade asked Shikamaru.

    “Hoshigaki Kisame. I bound him in my shadow possession jutsu, pulled her away from him, and held him as long as I could while I retreated.”

    “Did he pursue?”

    “No.”

    Tsunade’s nails tapped the desk for a solid moment or two and it was frankly quite irritating. Kakashi wished she would just get on with the mission report and send the others away so that they could speak more openly.

    “Why do you think he did not follow?” She finally asked.

    “I’ve been thinking about it,” Shikamaru said slowly, “but I don’t have enough information to do anything but throw out wild theories. He said something to Sakura, but it was so quiet I couldn’t make it out… And I don’t know enough about what happened at that base to even guess at his motivations.”

    “And the explosion?” She asked Kakashi.

    “I only saw confirmed members of the Akatsuki, no outside attackers. It could be an infiltration, or it could be something from inside.”

    Tsunade stopped tapping her fingers and rose, turning to look out the window behind the desk. “Was she bitten?”

    Silence.

    “How many bites?” Her voice was harsh, deepening. The alpha female’s body was so straight and tense that Kakashi thought she might snap.

    “I-I really don’t know.” Shikamaru said in a hushed voice. “She was so far under when I found her that it just seemed like-like an invasion of privacy to-”

    “So you decided not to check for the sake of the village ?!” She turned and roared at him, “We need to know how many S-ranked  shinobi are now bound to one of our top medics! I understand that you care for her as a friend but the village comes first! And that is something that I need to know !”

    Shikamaru took the tirade with braced shoulders, looking small and ashamed of himself, while Tenten and Shino avoided looking at either the beta or the alpha Hokage. Kakashi, however, was unafraid to look and quite perceptive himself and so noticed the way Tsunade’s harsh words came from shaking lips. How her brows were sternly drawn but her eyes were blinking furiously. The woman was worried sick.

    “I’m sorry, Hokage-sama.” Shikamaru said.

    “You are all dismissed.” She said. “Except for you, Kakashi.”

    The other shinobi exited, Shikamaru with a lingering look at the silver-haired jounin.

    “We have to keep an eye on her.” Tsunade said with clenched fists. “We cannot allow the Akatsuki to use her to extend their reach into Konoha!”

    “They need to be killed.” He rebuffed. “Sakura doesn’t deserve to be tied to them for the rest of her life, under surveillance like a criminal.”

    “She’s not being treated as a criminal!” Tsunade snapped.

    “I don’t understand why a team of Anbu took her who-knows-where from the moment we were in sight of the village.” He said. “Why no one was allowed to speak to or see her-”

    “She’s in preheat , Kakashi! More than half of the shinobi in this village are alphas - it was for her protection! She’s been taken to stay in her home under guard so that my Anbu can keep her safe until the preheat has passed!”

    Tsunade slammed a hand on the desk and her voice cracked, the lines around her mouth becoming more prominent and her shoulders straightening.

    “I am an alpha. I cannot speak with her until this has passed. You cannot either. None of us can.”

    “So you’re locking her up and leaving her alone?! It could be days!” He said.

    And his heart ached for her. Trapped, in pain, confused…

    “The worst thing for her now is to leave her alone.”

    Tsunade’s lip twitched into a mockery of a grin. “Sakura won’t be alone. I am sending my calmest, most trusted beta to care for her. He doesn’t know much about omegas, but believe me… I have studied and treated more omegas than any other medic alive. She is in the best possible hands until we are able to see her.”

--------

    The first thing Sakura noticed when thoughts began filtering in was that her body ached. Her throat felt strained and dehydrated and there was a dull ache in her stomach and hips. Then she noticed where she was - in her home, back in Konoha. She lay in her bed, tangled in pillows but whoever had brought her there hadn’t even bothered to place her under the blankets. Mid morning light filtered through the gauzy curtains and its glare on her white walls made her clench her eyes closed for a moment.

    The armchair in the corner, the wooden bookcase, the robe hanging from her closet… all were still there exactly as she’d left them. Almost as if she were never gone. With the smell of four alphas still strong on her this bedroom felt further away than her life from the past weeks. The room smelled… blank. She’d been away for long enough that her scent had faded and the emptiness made her anxious. Squashing it as best as she could, Sakura rose on shaky legs and went for her door.

    The door opened up to a short hallway that had a bathroom door and the kitchen and den at the end of it. The one bedroom house that she’d moved into after becoming a chunin had always felt perfectly cozy to her, but walking out of the hallway its expanse felt vast to Sakura.

    Why had she woken in her home? Why was no one there? Wouldn’t Tsunade want to see her as soon as she returned, demanding to know the exact details of her time away? And if she was feeling more sentient now, presumably finished with the preheat, why did her hips and throat still ache the way they did?

    Uncaring of her state - the same shirt and shorts she’d left the Akatsuki wearing, and reeking of alpha and the dirtiness of travel - she opened her front door to hopefully search for answers. The dark wooden door swung open to reveal a bird mask that made her jump in shock.

    “Sakura-san.” The Anbu greeted her, blocking the doorway. Similar chakra signatures hovered nearby, and she caught sight of another mask as the wearer turned the corner around the privacy fence.

    “W-what’s going on?” She asked in a hoarse voice, gripping the doorway to keep herself steady.

    “Our squad is here to guard your home for the duration of your pre-heat, Sakura-san, on the direct orders of Hokage-sama. We are expressly forbidden from allowing entrance to anyone not sent by Tsunade-sama.”

    “It’s over, though!” She argued hotly, eyes flashing. “I’m fine now.”

    “After questioning the squad sent to retrieve you, Hokage-sama has evaluated your condition and approximated at least two and a half days remain, Sakura-san. We cannot allow you to leave. Thank you for your cooperation.”

    With that statement the Anbu turned her back and continued to stand like a statue in front of Sakura’s door. Gaping, the pink-haired kunoichi considered trying to push through but thought better of it.

    Her mouth tasted bitter as she locked the door and stumbled back inside. Two and a half more days? How much more could there possibly be to the pre-heat? She knew only the basics of the condition, but without any plans to take a mate - for they only began in partially mated omegas, becoming full heats after complete mating - she’d never bothered to study the details. She knew she was smart but never felt dumber than in that moment, in a condition that she hadn’t taken the time to learn about.

    Her heart sank. She entered her kitchen and sat in a chair, eyes stinging and feeling utterly alone. Still in pre-heat with almost three days remaining, she could hardly face the thought of being locked in her house with so many questions. She… she wouldn’t cry dammit!

    Sakura’s stomach cramped and hunger crashed over her. “Shit!”

    Did she even have food in her house still? Everything would’ve gone bad, but maybe she still had rice or oatmeal left? She stood and went to the cabinets over the counter. Up on the top shelf she luckily still had oatmeal, but it was just out of reach. She stretched, raising up onto her tiptoes.

    A leg gave out and she slipped, banging her forehead against the counter on her way down and crumpling to the floor. Sakura curled up against the counter, clutching her forehead, and burst into tears. Here she was locked in her house alone for days , still dirty, exhausted and sore, starving, and she couldn’t even reach the damn food - and now her gargantuan forehead would look like a bruised horn. She wiped at the tears, sniffling. If all of that wasn’t bad enough, everything just smelled wrong on top of it!

    She thought she heard a noise, but was distracted by another ache in her stomach that could either be cramps or hunger. When it came again she held still and quieted down. Another sound.

    Someone was knocking on her door. What. the. Heck.

    Sakura’s legs were like jelly and totally useless at helping her so the omega was left to make her way to the door with a slow crawl, dragging herself with weak arms and legs. She pulled herself up by the door handle with sheer force of will, pitiful breaths of exhaustion at doing the simplest of things. She felt embarrassed, frankly.     Leaning heavily on her door frame once more, Sakura opened her door.

    A man stood there whom she had never met before, wearing a jounin uniform. His hitai-ate covered his forehead and cheeks, topped with messy brown hair. Wide, calm eyes stared at her and he wore a backpack. Numerous shopping bags hung from his hands. Sakura’s inhale was automatic and she relaxed unintentionally.

    He was a beta, smelling of sandalwood and a tranquil mood.

    “Good morning, Sakura-san.” He said. “My name is Yamato. Hokage-sama has entrusted me with caring for you for the next few days.”

    W-what? What the heck did that mean? Care for her?!

    “What does that mean?” She asked.

    “Food.” He held up the bags. “And ensuring that you feel supported. May I come in?”

    Sakura’s lips thinned, but she stepped aside reluctantly to allow him in. Just because this man was a beta didn’t make him any less dangerous than an alpha if he decided to try his luck - this guy was tall and broad, and could definitely deal some damage - but her shishou would never send someone she didn’t feel was fully capable of controlling himself.

    After her accident only minutes ago she could understand the need to make sure she didn’t accidentally injure herself, but she had no idea what “feeling supported” was supposed to mean. She closed and locked her door but remained leaning on it, watching in bemusement as the beta set bags of groceries on her counters.

    “How long have I been here?” She asked him.

    “Since early this morning.”

    It was roughly 11am by the clock on her wall. So she’d been in there for hours alone at least.

    “Why did they just dump me and leave me?” She demanded, cursing herself for the tears welling up again.

    Yamato spun around with furrowed eyebrows, his calm shaken by her statement. He glanced over her. “The anbu just left you? You’ve been alone this entire time?”

    Her lips trembled. “The anbu at the door wouldn’t let me out.”

    “I’m so sorry, Sakura-san, they shouldn’t have done that!” He rushed over frantically. “We were under the impression that they attended to you first-I-I’m so sorry! They haven’t done anything to-”

    If Sakura could’ve stopped herself from breaking down again she would have, but her body seemed like it didn’t want to obey her that day, and she wobbled on her feet. Yamato caught her before she could fall, looping an arm around her waist and bringing her to the sofa with steady footsteps.

    “Don’t worry Sakura-san, I will take care of everything. I’ll-I’ll run a bath, and god they didn’t even bother to feed you-”

    He was gone in a flash, the taps in her bathtub squeaking as the sound of running water began. The beta returned quickly, helping her to her feet and into the bathroom to sit on the toilet cover. Clothes and a towel were fetched and he hovered awkwardly at the door.

“I’ll um-I’ll just be outside. Call me when you finish.” And then the beta was gone, his scent growing fainter as he moved out into the kitchen.

Sakura wiped at her eyes, torn between annoyance that she was alone in the room and relief for the privacy to think about what the heck was going on. She removed her dirty clothing - her shorts and an old shirt of Hidan’s that regretfully no longer smelled of anything but sweat and travel - and carefully maneuvered into the hot water. She soaped up and rinsed the journey out of her hair and from her skin. Hands smoothed her wet hair to her scalp and out of her face as bright green eyes gazed ahead without focus.

So she wasn’t supposed to be left alone? It was a comforting thought compared to the notion that Tsunade had thrown her into house arrest with not a word. That being said, she had no idea what her shishou thought about everything. Konoha had obviously sent out a team in search of her, but now that she was partially bound to four members of the Akatsuki she was at a loss on what would happen to her.

Sakura was loyal to her village, dammit! She would never do anything to jeopardize the wellbeing of Konoha and she knew deep down that the Hokage knew that as well. But still… she couldn’t deny having grown fond of the four alphas. She should hate them for biting her. She should curse their existence. But when she thought of them she could only remember the comforting scent, and the sensation that when she was with them nothing could ever harm her. Maybe it was the hormones from the bond, maybe it was the preheat, but she didn’t hate the four of them. Love them? No. But Sakura knew that love was the most powerful force in the world, the driving power that made the Will of Fire burn in the people who still loved those who had left them behind. She knew that she was capable of loving them if she had the chance.

If she ever saw them again.

Partially mated sucks Inner Sakura commented, But ya know… You still have the chance to be with someone else. Until you have them back.

That was true, but Sakura wanted a family. A true pack in the way that alphas, betas, and omegas could all coexist harmoniously through their bond with the omega who was the one binding them all together. There was no chance of that if she tried to mate with someone who could never live under the same roof as her alphas.

Sakura finished with her bath and sat on the edge of the tub to dress herself. She called for Yamato with a voice that came out quieter than anticipated, but somehow his head poked through the door only moments later.

“You’re finished, Sakura-san?” He asked.

She nodded.

The beta entered the bathroom and helped her to her feet gingerly. His touch was light and his hands were shaky as he brought her to the kitchen table and sat her down. It was laden with steaming food - rice, fresh eggplant, soup… She didn’t remember the last time she’d had such food not out of a restaurant.

“I-um, I wasn’t sure what you liked, but Hokage-sama debriefed me on everything and told me that as soon as you came up you needed to eat.”

“Thank you.” She said with wide eyes and dug in ravenously. She ate like an animal, with table manners more like Naruto that would have embarrassed her immensely at any other time. When she came up for air she noticed Yamato sitting across from her with wide eyes.

“I-oh-I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be so-”

“Oh no, no, it’s okay, really-”

“Are you not going to-?”

They awkwardly paused.

“I’ve already eaten.” Yamato said, scratching the back of his head. “I just didn’t realize how hungry you would actually be-I feel bad… You shouldn’t have had to wait for so long.”

Sakura fiddled with her chopsticks. “This is going to sound, um, really bad, but. So. What did shishou tell you?”

“Oh don’t worry, I don’t know anything!” He reassured her.

What.

“I mean when she told you what to do for the preheat?”

The beta’s mouth opened and shut with a clack. He looked confused. “What do you mean?”

“Yamato-san, I don’t actually know what is going on with this thing!” Sakura exclaimed. “I feel dumb enough as it is, but I’ve never experienced a preheat and I don’t know what is going to happen to me!”

“Oh.” He said.

Dark eyes moved from point to point on the table. He was professional enough not blush, but she could smell it on him that he was abashed.

“Well.” He began in a voice pitched suspiciously higher. “It’s not an actual heat so you won’t need… you know… It’s mainly just instincts taking over a partially mated omega so that they can do things to-to try to speed up the process. Hokage-sama told me that there are four phases, so to speak. Right now you’re on what she called a plateau, when you’re the most lucid. I’m supposed to time it to try to figure out how long the rest of it is going to take-”

“So what happens next?” She asked, red-faced.

“It’s a slow descent for a while and then a period of. Well. pretty much disjointedness. She said you won’t remember much of it, and then you come back up and plateau again.”

Sakura’s shoulders sank in horror. “How many times?”

“Um-three. So from Hokage-sama’s estimation you have… twice more… to go…”

Two more times? Two more times to totally lose herself? She sniffed hard, clutching the chopsticks in her hand.”

“Don’t cry, Sakura-san,” The beta leaned forward imploringly. “I’ll be here for the rest of it and I-I can explain everything so you know what’s happening. You’ll have everything you need.”

Except for her alphas.

“I didn’t mean to be so obtuse.” He said. “I just figured that you knew.”

Sakura’s nose crinkled. “Just because women can become pregnant doesn’t mean that every female knows everything about every trimester of pregnancy. Just because I’m an omega doesn’t mean I know everything about a heat. It’s something you don’t learn until you need it.”

And she’d never thought she would be in this situation so soon.

They were silent as she devoured the rest of the meal under the beta’s frighteningly intense observation. Sakura wiped at her mouth with a napkin.

“Is it normal to be so hungry ?” She asked. “I could literally eat twelve of these right now.”

“If you can, then you should! You won’t want to eat later.”

More chewing. More bowls devoured. Any other time she would worry about gaining weight, but the more she ate the more the cramps in her stomach eased their grip on her. Once finally sated, she sat back and met eyes with the man across from her.

“Aren’t you curious?” She challenged.

Yamato’s eyes left hers and he stood to clear the dishes. “I’m not sure what you mean.”

“You know what I mean. Aren’t you curious about what happened to me?”

Facing the sink with a down turned head, the beta took a moment. “I am here only to care for you during your preheat. I’m not here to get information.”

“That’s not what I meant. I mean are you curious about what happened. Not if my shishou is.”

He turned, leaning his hip against the counter and crossing his arms. “The way I see it, Sakura-san, is that anyone would be curious. You have plenty of people waiting for answers, ready to tell you exactly how you live your life. I am just here to make sure you don’t starve, hit your head, or become depressed from loneliness.”

Well. Maybe she liked this beta after all.

Chapter Text

Thank you guys so much for sticking with me! I know this one’s a bit short but there will be juicy things soon! I have some plotline stuff that needs to happen but don’t think I’ve abandoned Sakura’s alphas! I hope you enjoy!

 

Also: Come over and see me at butnuggetsupreme on tumblr! Say hi, chat for a bit and feel free to geek out over whatever! I just kinda throw out random posts but its also fun just to chat with people about my stories or whatever else comes to mind! I'm gonna try to keep news, status updates, and stuff like that over there to satiate your akasaku cravings!

 

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 Sakura did not know what to make of this beta bustling around her house cleaning.

After she had eaten Yamato began with the dishes and quickly moved from place to place with her cleaning supplies. Her feet itched to follow him around as he worked but her forehead throbbed, reminding her of what happened the last time she tried to overexert. So she stayed at her table, head turning back and forth to track his movements. It was awfully nice of him, but Sakura wasn’t really sure why he thought it necessary to scour her living space this way.

“Um, Yamato-san?” She asked, throat still rough. “Not that I don’t appreciate it, but you don’t really have to-um, why are you cleaning my house?”

He glanced at her from the shelf he was dusting, nose twitching like he might sneeze from the particles coming from it. “Hokage-same told me I should. Once you’ve gone under you’ll want to and it’ll be a disaster if you start trying.”

“And why exactly would that be a ‘disaster?” Her eyebrows arched upwards.

“Well- she said that when an omega is under any kind of heat or preheat,” he was suspiciously avoiding her eyes as he continued, “that the part of the brain preventing you from overexertion stops functioning the same. The omega follows their instincts fully, using all the chakra and physical force available to them to make themselves comfortable. Hokage-same believes that you would likely destroy most of your possessions.”

If that was the case, no wonder she felt totally drained .

“Oh.” She said in response, fingers traveling along the surface of her table. “But right now it wouldn’t hurt anything-”

“You should save your strength, Sakura-san.” He said, a duster in his hand. “You’ll need it.”

So she merely sat and watched him bustling around her home, feeling appreciative but quite useless. The scent of him was less bothersome than she might have imagined. It was woodsy and clean but, most importantly, nonthreatening. If anyone else were in his place she might have taken issue with it but-

She also didn’t particularly want to be alone at the moment. So she rested on her sofa wrapped up in a crochet blanket, trying not to think too hard about what was about to happen to her.

Slowly the cold began to set in. Chills ran along her spine, gooseflesh prickling on her arms, and Sakura clutched her blanket closer to her with a shuddering breath. A grumble tried to crawl out of her throat, held back by sheer force of will.

Her eyes glanced around the room, at the window and the doorways. It seemed to stretch on forever in that moment, the large expanse of the floor and the emptiness in the air. It exacerbated the cold, making a tense knot shuffle around in her gut.

It felt wrong somehow. Something wasn’t right.

She didn’t like where she was sitting. She couldn’t see all the exits at once. Anyone could sneak up on her in here with ease, to hell with the Anbu outside - useless wastes of space incapable of defending such a large space properly .

Sakura cut off the uncharacteristically bitter thought with a frantic shake of her head. What was the matter with her? Surely she was safe, the Anbu knew exactly what they were doing and Yamato-san was just across the room from her.

But it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t warm enough or safe enough.

Her dissatisfaction broke free in a rumble - not the growl of an alpha, but a deep and upset sound created by the omega’s ‘purring’ muscles - and Yamato froze like a deer in headlights.

“Sakura-san?” He asked carefully. “Is everything alright?”

She took in a harsh breath through her nose. “I-I don’t feel well.”

A look of Oh shit flashed across his face and he threw his book aside. He was at her side in a moment, hands flailing as though unsure of what to do. Lips pressed firmly together, Sakura waved him off and rose. Well, attempted to, for her knees refused to support her and she resigned herself to another close encounter with the floor.

Yamato caught her by the elbows. “Whoah, be careful!”

His scent spiked with a sour edge of worry, a quality that made the hair on the back of her neck stand up in concern. She knew everything was fine, it must be hormones, but there must be some kind of ingrained omegan response to the scent of anxiety. It made her feel like she should be worried too.

“I want my room.” She gasped, a bead of sweat trickling down her temple despite the chill. “I hate it in here-”

With a sound of attempted calm he helped her down the hall and into her bedroom, the smaller space immediately allowing Sakura to feel like she could relax. It smelled empty but she could make do.

When the male tried to follow her into the room - trying to care for her, the tiny rational part of her brain supplied in vain - a nasty and strangled hiss tried to escape her. It was stifled and made less violent by slamming her mouth closed but the noise hung suspended in the air between them. Only an alpha could growl, but the muscle responsible for omegan purrs was capable of sounds with as much devastation behind them and that hiss clearly alarmed Yamato.

Yamato blinked and raised his palms out in front of him. “It’s okay, Sakura… It’s yours. I won’t come in. I’ll be right outside listening for you. It’s fine, do whatever you need-”

The words seemed to calm that inner monster responsible for her outburst and the intense pressure in her throat collapsed to allow air to flow freely once again. She should be ashamed of herself for behaving that way with Yamato but she couldn’t deny the relief she felt as he gently closed the door with comforting murmurs.

She turned around.

Empty. That’s all she could think as she surveyed the pristine room. Nothing soft, nothing warm, nothing that smelled of home. She threw her closet open and began snatching spare blankets from the shelves, suddenly full of energy. Later she’d wonder where the fire in her nerves had come from but right now she wanted only to get every single soft item in this room onto her bed. She soon had a mountain there.

Emerald eyes cast a suspicious glance around the room. They landed on the single window. She couldn’t see any Anbu but she knew they were there and furiously yanked the curtains closed.

The room lay in murky darkness pierced by the barest light filtering through the curtains from the streetlight outside. With a frown she threw herself onto the enormous pile atop her bed, shoving the fabric until it was exactly where she wanted it and she felt secure in the midst of a valley of blankets.

She didn’t know how long she remained there. The sounds of pedestrians outside slowly died down until silence loomed outside. She breathed far more heavily than necessary, but couldn’t shake the idea that her room didn’t smell right

A pair of voices distracted her, catching her full focus with the volume and tone they carried. An argument, she thought, someone was outside her house locked in a heated argument. The voices sounded familiar to her, but very few things were actually reaching the plane of conscious thought for her in that moment.

The accompanying smell, however, had her lip raising into a sneer.

Alphas. Her inner voice said. Why the fuck are there alphas outside our house?

She wholeheartedly agreed. The scents were young, pushy and overactive, and nothing like the scents she was used to. It made her own scent turn so sour she could actually smell it herself and her upper lip raised into a sneer.

“-you can’t just lock her up like that!”

“Under the orders of Hokage-sama-”

“-if you think you’re actually getting in you obnoxious asshole-”

“And there’s no way you’re gonna take advantage of her after all that you’ve”

Fire sprang to life in the deepest recesses of her belly, a volatile beast whose head rose from resting into a wary ire. Its talons kneaded the muscles inside her like a cat’s claws and it clambered forcefully upwards, tearing her from the inside out in its feverish need to escape.

Its burning head came up within her, reaching her chest and then the inside of her mouth. The monster smoldered, its embers shaking her shoulders with its strength, and opened its gaping maw in tandem with a fierce snarl that revealed her teeth.

When the monster roared inside her, that purring muscle in her throat felt like an earthquake and the vicious rumble that escaped her was more akin to an alpha’s growl than anything she thought herself capable of. It tore through her and filled the house with its volume and the scents outside fluttered in response, growing stronger while the voices went silent.

A renewed scuffle took place outside as the Anbu apparently removed the intruders from the vicinity.

Sakura could hardly remember this the next time she returned to normal consciousness, but Yamato greeted her exit from the bedroom with an especially haunted gaze.

“Um, Yamato-san?” She asked, grasping the doorway heavily to keep herself from falling.

He rushed to aid her into the kitchen, sitting her at the table and rummaging through cabinets.

“Who was outside?”

His mouth twisted downwards. “It was just Naruto-san making trouble, Sakura-san. He doesn’t understand the necessity of your seclusion.”

He doesn’t understand what’ll happen if he finds you like this. The words went unsaid, but Sakura knew it was true. As hard as it would be to resist an omega who wasn’t fully mated it was far, far more difficult when said omega was in preheat. Of course Naruto would try to force his way in, not realizing how precarious the situation would be if he were successful.

Sakura felt mildly thankful for the Anbu for once.

“I thought I heard arguing.” She said.

Yamato shrugged, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that he was keeping something from her. The way he avoided eye contact, busying himself in the kitchen rather than facing her, raised her hackles in suspicion.

She didn’t pursue the subject. She likely wouldn’t get a satisfactory answer anyways.

They passed the time idly, books and tv doing little to alleviate Sakura’s aches and pains. She asked Yamato small questions about himself, what he did for fun and what books he like - small things that wouldn’t make her dwell too hard on her own terrible situation.

Sakura soon began to feel the telltale chill once again and steadied her racing heart against dread of what was coming.

Just once more . She thought. Once more and it’s finished. Things can go back to-

Well, things couldn’t really go back to normal now, could they? She had no idea what her village, her shishou, would do with her once they found out she’d been bitten. What was Tsunade thinking right now?

Traitor, spy, enemy… her mind unhelpfully supplied.

No, she couldn’t let herself think that way. It would only make things worse for her if she went into the situation with such a pessimistic outlook. She had to have faith. Her shishou had to know she would never betray her village. She was a medic, for crying out loud! If anyone could understand the plight that hormones had put her in, it was her shishou!

Her bedroom was still a disaster from the frantic nesting she’d engaged in before, but the space welcomed her with its mess of fabric and spots to burrow into. Without the need to fix everything like last time she was able to clamber into the middle of the mess just like before, cocooning herself into the knitted materials.

The outside light cast a slim beam through the curtains, the air conditioning unit filling the room with a gentle thrumming. Her legs slid amidst the sheets absently, face shoved into a pillow.

She inhaled and all that felt right before suddenly seemed wrong.

It was so empty in her room. It smelled empty.

Moisture welled up in her eyes and she inhaled again, getting no relief from her trouble, and she tried to gather some scent from the pillows and blankets. Yet nothing was there. The clean aura that would normally make her feel perfectly fine was agonizing in that moment and the more she tried to catch anything with her nose the more liquid that spilled from her vibrant eyes.

She rolled over onto her side, arms curled up before her and she caught a vague whiff from her wrist. Her face nestled into the skin marred only by vague pale crescents and she sighed - it smelled salty and fresh, like the ocean, and she pressed deeper against the marks to get more of that scent.

It smelled so good. She wanted the whole damn room to smell like that.

Sakura rubbed her wrist against her pillow in a frenzy. She wanted that scent everywhere, wanted to spread it over every inch of the room. But it wasn’t doing much…

An agitated hiss left her lips. It wasn’t enough. The scent lingered on her skin but didn’t stick to anything! It made her feel desperate and upset, curling her toes and crumpling her tear-soaked face into a half sob.

She brushed her face over the mark wildly, growing more bothered the longer she failed at spreading the scent. It was wrong! Wrong! The mark smelled so good but it wasn’t enough , dammit!

Her tongue peeked out of her mouth and laved over the mark, trying to coax more from it by any means necessary. She rolled around the dip in the hill atop the bed, a whine ringing through the empty room and echoing across the house.

Steps answered the call, slowly approaching her bedroom door and pausing. A knock came through and she stilled with her face pressed into her wrist.

“Sakura-san?” That caring voice asked, making her sob hard another time with its kind lilt. “Are you okay?”

“Y-yamato!” She answered, forgetting the honorifics in her state.

The door cracked open cautiously, a face revealed. He looked like he’d seen a ghost, pale and nervous as though he were entering a bear’s den rather than a kunoichi’s.

“What’s wrong, Sakura-san?” He whispered from the door.

His scent grew strong enough for her to dwell upon, sandalwood embracing her with its tranquil aroma. He suddenly didn’t seem so threatening - he was a beta , her mind supplied. A beta was meant to keep alphas and omegas calm, to support them while they were in berserk mode and he smelled very good-

“Come in.” She said.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.” He said, watching her through the crack in the door warily, hunched in on himself. “You’re not in a state to-”

“Come in.” She told him again, voice barely carrying through the blankets.

“Sakura-”

“Yamato!” She snapped, hanging onto her composure by a thread.

That monster was sleeping, but only just. It might wake if her discontent rose further, might turn violent just as before-

Yamato’s bare feet padded across the floor and the door swung shut behind him, but he didn’t approach. That sandalwood caressed her, the beta hormones relaxing her and causing her head to loll back against the pillows.

He dawdled by the door, hands shoved into the pockets of his black pants. He’d removed the jounin vest during his stay, but the bare light in the window glinted against his headband.

“What’s wrong?” He asked in a hushed voice.

“I-it…” Her breaths trembled as they tried to draw in enough to form words. “It smells wrong.”

“I can get an air freshen-”

“It smells empty!” She sobbed. “It smells terrible! I hate it!”

“Oh, please don’t cry Sakura-san,” he urged as he stepped closer, hands flapping around in his panic. “It’s going to be alright-”

He stopped by the bedside, hands hovering in the air and a look of sheer terror on his face. He must’ve never been around many omegas, must never have smelled what preheat was like, much less one that had proved as disastrous as this one had.

The sandalwood wasn’t as pleasant in her nose as the salt on her wrist, but Sakura inhaled it deeply nonetheless, rude in her obviousness.

Without her permission a pale hand shot upwards and gripped him by the wrist with crushing strength, vibrations in her chest from the sound she was making. The streetlamp washed over his face, his neat and handsome countenance, and really he was attractive-

“Sakura-san.” He said warningly, eyes wide. “What are you doing?”

“There’s no smell,” She cried, “it’s empty-”

“Let me make you a cup of tea.” He said, tugging on his wrist.

She didn’t relinquish her grip. She felt like the earth would break open if she did, and she would be left alone and adrift.

And it would still be so empty.

Another tug and a whine crushed her lungs with pressure, causing his resistance to halt in its tracks. He didn’t want to make her worse, that would be obvious if she were in her right mind. But she wasn’t in that moment.

She yanked on his arm, hard.

Yamato crashed down onto her, barely catching himself on his arms and holding himself above her. Alarm etched itself into wideness of his eyes, the curves of his gasping mouth, and tense jaw. His hands fisted in the sheets, knuckles bone white.

His warmth seeped into her skin. That scent surrounded her on all sides, enveloping them in an aura of tranquility and peace at last.

Sakura’s nose brushed against Yamato’s neck and he trembled with the effort it took to remain still as she buried her face in his neck. Pink strands of hair tickled, her own scent of peaches soaking into the fabric of his clothing and his tanned skin from the sheer amount of scent the omega was producing-

And within moments she was out like a light, curled up beneath him and finally resting. The beta heaved a sigh of relief and realized her grip on him hadn’t weakened at all, that if he wanted to go he had to wake her up. He took a cautious sniff and then gulped.

When Kakashi-senpai got a whiff of him he would be a dead man.

Chapter Text

Want news and status updates? Want a place to flip out together over anything and everything? Want to request fic and book reviews and recommendations? Want to hear about some crazy headcanons? Or just want to delight in a spot of inappropriate humor? Come and see me at butnuggetsupreme on Tumblr!

 

(Also, no worries for her alphas will soon return! I just have to make sure to do some fun story stuff to get us there! I’ll probably write Kisame’s experience of that whole preheat wildness at some point too, and just post it to my tumblr or something~)



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    The Hokage arrived at Sakura’s residence before the omega even had an opportunity to shower.

    Sakura felt grimy and disgusting and dearly wanted to get cleaned up, but the insistent pounding on her door allowed for no refusals. She huddled on the sofa wrapped in one of her blankets - that smelled very clearly of sandalwood, bringing a cringing flush to her cheeks.

    She simply had to apologize to the man opening the door for her shishou, somehow, for she couldn’t believe how her instincts had gotten the best of her. She had behaved so.. So inappropriately! He was a comrade, not a human sized pillow!

    “Sakura!” Tsunade boomed, but stopped short at the threshold.

    Her nose twitched and those powerful hands clenched into fists. Amber eyes fixated on the doorway to her bedroom and then back to Yamato. The man straightened, still as marble under the laser focus of his Hokage.

    “Hokage-sama.” He said.

    “I know this isn’t what I think it is…” She said warningly.

    His head shook frantically. “Certainly not! I-”

    “I think it was my fault, Shishou.” Sakura interrupted. “I don’t remember much, but everything smelled wrong… I think I must have tackled him or something…”

    She let out a sheepish laugh, cut off by the clearing of Tsunade’s throat and that fierce glare resting on her.

    “Yamato, you are relieved.” She said. “And take a damn shower before anyone sees you.”

    He nodded sharply and with one last awkward smile at Sakura he was out the door, the only remnant of his presence the scent seeped into the rooms.

    Tsunade stalked over to Sakura’s bedroom door and slammed it shut, finally heaving a sigh. She approached Sakura and rested her hip against a nearby chair.

    She looked at Sakura with a guarded gleam in her eye, lips pursed in thought, and had her arms crossed. It was as though she had a million things to say but no idea what to start with, like she was scared that the omega would break into tiny pieces if she started off the wrong way.

    “Sakura.” She murmured. “What happened? I sent you to gather herbs.”

    She licked her lips nervously. She’d not had to tell this story yet and wasn’t particularly looking forward to it. How could she justify any of it?

    Truth be told, she couldn’t.

    “One of the Akatsuki members passed by. I engaged him- but the others were nearby as well. I ran out of chakra and-”

    Sakura swallowed down the feeling of despair that threatened to envelop her at the stern expression on Tsunade’s face. Her eyes dropped to the ground before she continued.

    “I used my last reserves to make a clone to escape. It wasn’t successful. They found me before I could get away-”

    “And they bit you.” Tsunade finished.

    She nodded.

    “Show me every single bite.” Tsunade said, joining her on the sofa.

    The Hokage’s nostrils flared at the proximity but she was otherwise unaffected by Sakura’s scent. The omega held out her arm first, Tsunade examining the bites at her elbow and wrist. She rolled up her sweatpants to reveal Hidan’s mark on the hollow behind her knee and then, with her muscles taut with tension, slowly turned her head to reveal Itachi’s bite on her neck.

    At the final bite Tsunade sucked in a whistling gust of air, eyes clenching. She could smell the alpha on the bite, Sakura realized, and must recognize Itachi Uchiha’s scent.

    “Uchiha?” She ventured.

    A tight nod confirmed the Hokage’s worst suspicion. Silence fell. Tsunade released Sakura’s wrist and rubbed her face wearily.

    “Do you understand how an alpha’s bite works?” She asked, continuing on at the answering quiet. “Their venom enters your bloodstream at the location of the bite and soaks into the tenketsu closest, thereby altering the chemical makeup of that chakra point forever. Dead or alive, that tenketsu will never revert to how it was before.”

    Tsunade pinched the bridge of her nose, sighing yet again. “Sensor types will recognize their chakra signatures. Those who are familiar with them will smell them on you. Did they…?”

    Sakura shook her head, shoving aside the memory of how close she and Itachi had come to consummating the bond.

    “That’s fortunate.” She said, the relief visible.

Sakura tried not to dwell too hard on that, or on her disappointment that it had been interrupted.

“You should begin suppressing your scent again.”

“What good would that do? People can still smell alphas on me-”

“It will help you in dealing with those who’d want to bite you. They’ll know you’re an omega but at least your scent won’t send them into a frenzy.”

She grit her teeth.

“I’m taking you off active duty-”

“Shishou-”

“Silence!” Tsunade bellowed. “It’s the safest option! I won’t jeopardize your life or those of your comrades by sending you out into the open! Your duties will be in the hospital until further notice!”

She went for the door, stopping before the exit.

“Shishou-”

The door slammed.

So she now had the chakra signatures of all of her alphas, literally under her skin? Other shinobi would definitely sense that, would perhaps even attack based on those signatures or try to use her to get to her alphas. The prospect was frightening, she had to admit, but…

She couldn’t deny how comforting it was to be able to smell them on her. To reassure herself that they were out there somewhere.

    More pounding on her door interrupted her musings. She made for the door with droplets of water dripping from her hair, a grim set to her face, and a ready fist. She was tired of being hounded after such a trying time, dammit!

    She flung it open and a blur of orange and yellow were on her in a flash. Arms crushed her to a shaking body, moisture gathering where a face was pressed into her hair. The hands on her back clung to the material of her shirt as though she would disappear if they let go.

    “Sakura!” Naruto cried, squeezing her close.

    He was… actually crying.

    “I can’t believe you were gone, that you never said anything to us, or that-”

    A sob choked off the end of the sentence. The alpha scent around Naruto was far denser than she could remember - perhaps suppression interfered with her sense of smell - but rather than making her uncomfortable it felt supportive.

    He smelled like family.

    “I’m fine.” She managed to get out with what little air his embrace left her. “Naruto you’re killing me-”

    He stepped back but did not release her. Trembling hands clutched her by the shoulders, that tearful face observing her. His blue eyes were wet and shining and he sniffled. Then his eyes went wide, riveted to her neck.

    “Sakura.” He said, crushed.

    “It’s fine.” She told him.

    She didn’t think she could handle it at that moment, revisiting the events of the past few weeks, stirring up the memory of her alphas when part of her was screeching about their absence. She couldn’t answer Naruto’s questions, try to defend her alphas, or even talk about them to anyone.

    She didn’t want to hear the judgements her comrades would pass on her or them.

    “Why didn’t you tell me?” He asked in a hushed voice, face an image of concern. “Why did you keep it secret, Sakura?”

    She shook her head, saying nothing. His grip momentarily tightened before Naruto released her and stepped back. He smiled at her and it was a sad expression, full of understanding and self-deprecation.

    “That’s not a fair question, is it?” He scratched the back of his head. “I-I was angry at first… when I found out. But then I realized I probably wouldn’t have told anyone either… If I was an omega.”

    She hung her head, listening. She’d never considered what her concealment would do to others, only the repercussions on herself. They were greater on her, certainly, but it didn’t alleviate the vague guilt that Naruto’s sorrow brought up in her.

    “But what hurts is that you didn’t trust me enough to tell me… and that’s my fault. From now on I’m going to be the kind of person you can trust! No matter what!”

    A smile spread across her face without her permission, so wide that it nearly hurt, and she pulled him into an embrace of her own. Naruto really was a one of a kind guy, she thought to herself, and it was amazing to see how the same person could drink expired milk one day and then say something that emotionally perceptive the next.

    He was a hard guy not to like.

    “Thank you, Naruto.” She told him. “But nothing has to change. I’m the same as I ever was.”

    A filthy lie, but the blonde perked up at it.

    “Let’s get ramen, yeah?” He said, swinging an arm around her and dragging her towards the street.

    “Wait, my wallet-”

    Which was somewhere in the forest still. Kakuzu would be crying right now-

    “My treat, Sakura-chan!” He cried out. “You’ve been missing forever so I’m gonna buy you all the damn ramen you can eat!”

    She stumbled down the street alongside him, laughing helplessly. As they walked along she surreptitiously began drawing in her chakra, shoving it against her scent glands to get her smell under control, hoping that Tsunade-sama’s idea would work as well as she hoped.

    Many people ignored her as they passed, except for the shinobi. Curious glances, occasional leers… She wasn’t sure how people already knew, but if anyone tried them she would kick. Their. Ass.

    They huddled into Ichiraku’s, Naruto calling out for two bowls of tonkatsu and immediately scarfing his down. She waited for hers to cool, surveying the young alpha as he inhaled the searing food.

    “-and Kakashi-sensei hasn’t been talking to me much, but I guess that’s because I accidentally spoiled one of the scenes in his book, but I’m pretty sure he was on the team sent to find you-”

    Oh god. Oh god. That meant that her sensei knew she was an omega now too! Kicking herself for thinking other shinobi would find out and not Kakashi, she rubbed her temple at the thought of trying to deal with him. He would be positively insufferable now.

    A breeze ruffled her hair.

    “Sakura.”

    She froze, face as taut as ice. A glare overtook Naruto’s face as she heard someone sit on her other side, but not just anyone-

    Sakura turned and there was Sasuke, leaning one arm against the counter and staring insistently at her. White shirt, blue waist wrap, purple rope belt, and an arrogant sneer on that miserably pretty face of his. He was close - perhaps too close - and she’d never seen him from this distance, feeling like she could count each individual eyelash.

    “Sasuke?” She whispered, eyes wide as saucers and jaw open. “What are you doing here?”

    “Aren’t you glad to see me?” He asked nonchalantly in that cruel baritone, pointed chin resting on his pale hand.

    He was sizing her up, dark eyes roving up and down, looking at her like he’d never seen her before. And for the first time she could really smell him, more than when she’d been suppressing her scent for so long.

    Where Naruto smelled clean, like climbing to the top branch of a tree and inhaling above the treeline of the forest, Sasuke smelled darker and drier. It was almost the winelike scent of Itachi but with something sour on the edge, bitter-

    She never expected him to smell like that. It made her toes clench, fingers spasming over her chopsticks. She’d be lying to call it unpleasant but there was something to it that made her...

    Tense. Vaguely anxious. She didn’t like the way his scent made her feel.

    “I’m back. For now.” He said. “Orochimaru had nothing more to teach me.”

    Naruto snorted. “Sure he didn’t.”

    Sasuke’s dark eyes shifted over her shoulder, a piercing glower aimed at Naruto. His mouth twitched like he might smile, but it didn’t look like a nice smile.

    “At least I haven’t been vacationing at the beach instead of training, loser. I don’t care to talk about that, though. Sakura, where were you ?”

    His focus snapped back to her. It was like being watched by an animal that was waiting, gauging its moment to strike. He looked almost like he was holding his breath, having not given in to that alpha instinct to sniff rudely at an omega. He was unreasonably perfect still, but Sakura didn’t remember him being quite this cold before.

    “I-I’m afraid I don’t remember much.” She lied, verdant green dropping to the counter. “For obvious reasons. It isn’t important, really.”

    His eyes narrowed. He knew something, but she didn’t want to find out what. She just wanted things to go back to normal-

    And this wasn’t what she thought things would be like. In her wildest childhood dreams she never thought the first time he acknowledged her as an omega it would be while interrogating her about being kidnapped by the Akatsuki- or being bitten by the brother he wanted to kill . She was so screwed.

    “I’d say it’s pretty important.” He said.

    She moved to follow Naruto’s example and bury herself in the bowl of ramen, but Sasuke leaned in close, far too close for comfort.

    “Why didn’t you tell me?” He whispered, a thousand meanings behind the words.

    There was something… lost about the way he said it. Yet there was also the implication - that she should have just told him and he would already have bitten her, but...

    She’d wanted to prove herself first. She had to be a shinobi first, omega second. If she had told Sasuke long ago she might never have trained with Tsunade-sama, might never have learned to be strong...

    She didn’t want to give that up.

    Sakura shrugged and ignored his proximity in favor of her ramen. His eyebrows twitched at the dismissal, face twisting for a moment before smoothing out once again.

    “You used to chase me around all the time.” He said, turned to fully face her. “I remember how desperate you were, Sakura- chan . If you’d told me, things would have been different. You could have retired early from-”

    “Pfffft!” Naruto let out loudly, finishing off his ramen with a slurp. “And never have trained with Granny Tsunade? Fat chance of that- Sakura’s a certified badass now.”

    “I’m sure she’s a strong omega.”

    She didn’t like the way he lingered on the word ‘omega,’ as though it were a caveat upon his statement. Sakura didn’t want to be a strong omega. She wanted to be a strong shinobi, regardless of that.

    She didn’t say anything.

    Sasuke tilted his head at the lack of response, hair brushing into his eyes. They fell to her wrist - the unbitten wrist - where a dark bruise had purpled overnight. She had no idea it was even there until he spoke.

    “You’re hurt.” He said.

    “Hm? Oh, I must’ve ran into something. It’s no big deal-”

    A slender hand caught the wrist, her chopsticks clattering to the counter. She stopped breathing. A thumb stroked softly over the bruise, holding it up and examining it.

    Until it he was leaning in, lips falling open, tongue peeking out like he was about to lick her bruise .

    A rolling hiss snapped out of her in an instant, shocking Sasuke out of the act. She snatched her hand away, popping up to her feet. Her lips were a thin line, angry, and her jaw was tightly clenched.

    Don’t do that. ” Sakura snarled, brows drawn over emerald in a mask of fury.

    As Naruto began yelling at him and she moved to stalk away, she registered that Sasuke looked not surprised but… grim. She’d never recalled seeing him like that before, and she couldn’t shake how odd it had been that he hadn’t actually tried to smell her.

    And wasn’t that odd?

 

Chapter Text

I KNOW. IDEK, ‘goes two years without an update and then gives three in a week’ should be written on my headstone. As always, enjoy, for this one is a doozy! Be sure to let me know what you think and come see me at butnuggetsupreme on tumblr! Let’s chat!



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    As Sakura stalked away from Ichiraku’s, pursued by the sound of a certain blond possibly dumping a bowl of ramen on an undisclosed victim, she made a beeline for the grocer’s. She was uncomfortably aware of how long she’d been gone and knew that all she had left was whatever Yamato-san had brought.

    Poor guy. She didn’t mean to put him in such a situation, remembering how awkwardly he had greeted her the next morning while noticeably huddled up on her living room sofa. She resolved to pay him back somehow for being so kind to her.

    Sakura fled the grocer’s with brown bags full of food, hair flying everywhere and hoping she could somehow make it home without another altercation. She didn’t think she had it in her to deal with Sasuke again, not with how oddly he was acting before.

    How dare that jackass shock her like that, dredge up the past, and then try to lick her damn wrist? What kind of an ass did something like that?! No apology for leaving, no acknowledgement of the way he knocked her unconscious before leaving Konoha and left her laid out in the street where god-knows-what could have happened, and no explanation of why he’d bothered coming back if he was gonna be such a jerk still.

    He left to kill Itachi, though. She thought, rummaging for her key at the front door. And now you’re the best way to find him- but Sasuke didn’t even catch a whiff of you. There’s no way he’d smell Itachi on you without saying something about it, right?

    Too many questions, all shoving each other around in her brain with no answers in sight. Between Sasuke, Tsunade all but running out her door, and wherever the hell her alphas were it was a wonder she could still function.

    She needed help. Someone level-headed and intelligent, who wouldn’t judge her for anything, who could help her think this through. And in a moment’s notice she had just the guy for the job.

    When Shikamaru answered his door and saw her he looked both immensely relieved and like he might already have a headache. He stood in his jounin uniform, arms crossed with a line between his eyebrows.

“I meant to come and find you, but you beat me to it.” He drawled.

“I’m sorry for the trouble I caused.” Sakura said, gaze falling to the ground between their feet. “Yamato-san told me you were on the team sent to find me-”

She glanced over him, hoping there were no injuries to make her feel even guiltier than she already did. He smacked her lightly on the shoulder.

“You didn’t do anything wrong.” He told her, eyes trained on hers with a serious expression. “No one in their right mind would blame you for-well…”

Silence fell at that. Sakura cleared her throat, forcing good cheer into her voice.

“Are you free for a bit? I was hoping we could chat?”

They left the Nara residence, winding carefully through the streets of Konoha towards one of the parks. She followed the path he chose, knowing it would be a shortcut thanks to his famed laziness, and was heartened to find that he’d brought her to her favorite spot.

A little green space sat in the midst of the village, framed by tall trees that made it feel isolated and private despite the sounds of people on the other side. A tiny pond lay in the midst surrounded by vegetation and stones, the sun peeking above the treetops to the clear water within. It was thankfully empty.

Shikamaru settled with his back against a boulder, arms crossed expectantly while Sakura lowered herself to the grass nearby.

“So.” She said. “You were on the mission.”

He nodded once, sharply. “I found you. Hoshigaki was trying to escape with you-”

He cut off his sentence. Escape? Sakura couldn’t remember much of those events due to the preheat but she was fairly certain that if Kisame hadn’t wanted to let Shikamaru take her she wouldn’t be in Konoha right now.

“-escape. Yeah. I used my shadow possession to get close enough to take you away from him.”

“And the journey back?” She asked with a dry mouth.

Shikamaru flushed. “You were really out of it.”

She wanted to ask what he meant, wanted to know every sordid detail of the hell she put him through, but felt too ashamed to ask… Ashamed and embarrassed, for judging by how Yamato-san smelled earlier she was something of a clinger during preheat.

“Did you fight him? Is there any word on them?”

Shikamaru shook his head. “Nothing. I don’t know what to tell you, Sakura, but Hoshigaki didn’t even resist my jutsu. He didn’t pursue either. None of them did.”

She couldn’t help the pang of hurt at that. Part of her wanted them to fight to keep her, but Itachi Uchiha was a hellishly reasonable man and likely knew where she would be safest - in Konoha.

That doesn’t mean they won’t come for you when they’re ready . She thought.

“Don’t worry about them. You need to focus on you, Sakura.” Shikamaru said, shifting his weight on the grass. “They can figure themselves out. They’re grown men who attacked an omega at least a decade younger than the majority of them-”

Yet apart from when they bit her, it didn’t feel like she’d been attacked.

“-so your priority should be taking care of yourself.” He finished.

“I was so angry at first.” She began, avoiding Shikamaru’s gaze. “After I’d been bitten by them. But I couldn’t be un-bitten, right? And it didn’t feel worth it to destroy myself for the sake of destroying them- but that’s selfish of me isn’t it? Shinobi die every day trying to eliminate threats to their village-”

“Shinobi also bide their time before acting recklessly.” Shikamaru said softly. “You cannot un-bite someone, but you can’t un-kill them either.”

“They didn’t treat me like a prisoner.” She told him. “It was like they had the brain power of a four year old, skipping straight from biting me to treating me like I was practically family. I didn’t feel like they were hurting me.”

And it didn't. That was the confusing part for her. How could she match up her own experience of them to the knowledge of who they were and all that they had done, both to her and to others? And Tsunade-

“The Hokage is treating me like a criminal. Which I guess I seem like with the way I’m talking about them.”

“The Hokage has to think of the entire village.” He said. “And until you’ve figured yourself out there’s no way she can either… It’s possible she doesn’t want to put you in any further danger. She isn’t supposed to choose favorites but you are her student…”

True. If Sakura weren’t her student she imagined how different her reception would have been upon arrival to the village.

“And she’s an alpha. She doesn’t understand bonding the same way that you do.”

“I just don’t know what to do-”

She dropped her head into her hands, clenching long fingers into pink softness. That beast inside her was sleeping, but only for the moment, and she could keenly feel the heat from it trying to roast her from the inside. It burned at the glands where she’d begun suppressing her scent again, licking at the bite marks on her skin from the inside out.

She wanted to move forwards but she couldn’t seem to stop looking back.

Sakura didn’t realize she was crying until the beta placed a hand on her shoulder, unmoving but firm in solidarity.

“First you need to stop blaming yourself.” He murmured. “Try to come at the situation from a place of peace. If you can do that I think you’ll find a way to ignore the background noise and learn what actually matters to you. I can’t do that for you, but I can tell you that hurting yourself over what you did or didn’t do will only destroy you.”

She wiped away the moisture.

“Heal.” He continued. “Rebuild your strength and your faith in yourself. I believe the Hokage will see that and find faith in you as well.”

“Thank you.” She sniffed. “How the hell are you so smart?”

“I believe ‘clever in the affairs of others, but obtuse in his own’ is how my father put it.” A laugh followed, then drifted away into the treetops.

They remained in that park for a while, idling by the pond and saying little else. It was nice to just be near someone, she thought, without having to constantly justify herself. Being able to relax even if for just a bit was something she hadn’t experience in a long time.

The next day Sakura returned to her old post at the hospital. She healed injuries, checked over patients, and did mountains of paperwork while fending off questions about her absence. Of that she spoke as little as possible.

Whenever she returned home for the first few days she could manage. It still smelled somewhat of Yamato-san, but as his scent faded she could hardly stand to be home for too long at a time. It pained her, for she previously loved passing hours away buried in books inside her haven but the lack of scent - as she’d grown accustomed to while surrounded by alphas - made her itch to be elsewhere.

So she trained. Sakura couldn’t let herself get out of practice, so every day after removing her hospital gear she beelined straight for one of the outer training grounds to pummel trees for a few blessed hours.

She had to heal right? This seemed the best way to start.

She’d been at it for a bit, blasting her way through the training ground while watching birds flee from the trees as they fell. It was a picture of devastation, but with each mark on the earth the marks on her body stressed her out a little less.

Sakura stretched the muscles of her hands, aching from having punched trees for the last half hour.

She had to build up the stamina in her hands to make them strong enough to handle the chakra she subjected them to, but it didn’t make the experience of punching rocks and trees any more pleasant for her.

Wispy clouds traveled in the cornflower blue sky, dancing east with the wind that ruffled the tops of trees before they fell to her blows.

Sakura needed to see Shikamaru more often, she thought. Growing up, he’d seemed like the kind of guy who would leave you out to dry if it was too much work for him, but her experience with him had truly begun to change her mind.

He was far more perceptive and considerate than she had given him credit for. She owed him - maybe she could treat him to lunch once she’d been paid-

A twig snapped behind her and she shifted on her heel, fist moving faster than her eyes could and connecting with a hand.

She thanked the stars that she hadn’t put chakra into the blow, for it was her sensei that caught the punch and she would feel even worse than she already did if she broke his hand.

His hand was large enough to cover her entire fist when his fingers gently closed over its surface. His scent - still quite strong as she hadn’t been suppressing long enough to dilute it - hit her across the face like a loaded barrel.

Maybe it was him sneaking up on her like that, maybe it was the shock of smelling him for the first time, but her lungs greedily sucked down that scent without her permission. It was warm and spicy and she was embarrassed to find that he smelled so good that the beast inside her raised its head and shook - the sound that escaped her mouth make her entire upper body vibrate with the force of it.

A matching rumble answered her before his visible eye widened enormously and Kakashi released her hand as though electrocuted. He was across the clearing in an instant, fists shoved in his pockets and posture tense, closed off.

“Oh my god.” She whispered in mortification, wishing the earth would open up and swallow her whole. “I am so sorry-”

“I can’t sneak up on you anymore.” He said sheepishly, keeping the distance between them.

She couldn’t believe she just did that. She was about a millimeter away from purring at her sensei! She wanted to bash her head against a tree until it bled just to clear her brain of the memory of it! The only small blessing was that no one was there to see it - and, oh god, he made a sound too… She was turning into some kind of freak, ruining her damn sensei and making him totally lose it and-

“Tsunade says you’re usually in the hospital now.” He said, totally glossing over what had just happened.

The only evidence of her mishap was the faint vibration still thrumming along Sakura’s torso, and try as she might it simply wouldn’t stop. Her sensei had thankfully moved so that their scents both carried downwind, or she might be unable to stop herself making that sound again.

“She’s taken me off missions.” Sakura told him, turning to grab the bottle of water she’d popped beside one of the trees. Sweat trickled from her forehead from the force of her training, the sun’s rays doing her no favors in the growing heat of the spring season.

“Hm.” He said. “Makes sense. Gives you more time for training, right?”

She shrugged a shoulder. Awkward silence fell over them, the knowledge that her sensei now knew of her omega status and that he had seen her in preheat during that disaster of a mission. She hoped beyond anything that he hadn’t witnessed anything too awful. She didn’t know what to say now, unable to lie to her sensei but also unwilling to share anything that would cause her even more humiliation than she’d already caused herself.

“There’s no need to feel uncomfortable.” He told her, silver hair catching the light. “Things can go back to the way they were.”

Not true, at least for her. Sakura didn’t think things could ever be the same as they were before she’d left the village looking for herbs. She was too different now, had felt things she’d never felt before. Even if she wanted to be the same as before, she didn’t think it was possible anymore.

“No, they can’t. I’m not that naive, sensei.”

“It’s worth a try.” He said.

Kakashi leaned against one of the trees, hands still noticeably stuffed into his pockets, and was slouching and tense as though expecting to be attacked at any moment. His eye followed her movements as she took a drink of water, lingering on her throat while she swallowed - the alpha let out the breath he’d been holding.

“I’m sorry you had to come and get me.” She said, wiping the sweat from her forehead and holding the cold water bottle against the heated skin of her neck. “Things were pretty… messy…”

“I don’t see anything messy about it.” He stated. “You were attacked and kidnapped, among-well...  You did nothing wrong.”

Oh if he only knew.

“Were you- did you… see-”

He shook his head, avoiding her eyes. “I scouted ahead.”

He definitely smelled her, though… She could tell, just from the way he wouldn’t look her in the eye when he said that, and the way he pointedly made sure not to stand downwind of her.

“I’m sorry you had to find out that way.” Sakura rubbed tiredly at her face. “I know I should have told you guys-”
    “It was your secret to keep.” He said. “But Sakura, were you-”

His eye glanced at her neck again, darting from spot to spot as though cataloguing which parts of her were unharmed. He stepped closer.

The monster in her smiled at the change in the wind.

“Can I-”

Can I check?

That must be what he was asking. Clinically, Sakura knew why - an alpha considered close friends and family to be part of their pack. It was instinct that made them so anxious over the wellbeing of those around them, that gave alphas the irresistible pull to look over them for all kinds of imaginary injuries.

Sakura wasn’t sure if it was a good idea. After masquerading as a beta for so long she’d had virtually no experience in dealing with her own instincts, and her recent conflict with her omega nature had only made it harder for her.

But her sensei looked terribly concerned for her, that dark eye gleaming with the instinctive need to reassure himself that she was fine. And he had traveled such a long way just to rescue her… She couldn't refuse him that peace of mind if it was something within her power to give.

She gave him a quick nod.

In a flash he was directly in front of her, snapping into motion as if this was the reason he’d been so tense before. His scent clouded around them, filling her lungs again and it was all Sakura could do to remain still.

She let her eyes shut and resolved not to move.

Large hands took her by the wrist, raising up Kisame’s mark for inspection. She could feel a thumb hovering over the mark before apparently deciding otherwise and moving on to the inner elbow.

Her sensei was a wall of heat in front of her. She kept her eyes closed, knowing she couldn’t look him in the eye at this moment and distance - it would be far too intimate and she’d likely have to run away from the village and never see anyone ever again, so great would her shame be if she let her instincts force her to jump on him.

Fabric pressed against Kakuzu’s mark, the sound of air rustling there. She belatedly realized that he was smelling the mark and she had never been so glad that her eyes weren’t open. Part of her thought that might be inappropriate, but inside her that fiery beast was waiting with bated breath for the alpha’s next move, and it felt like his lips touched it for a moment.

It was a lot harder to ignore that he was an alpha at that moment. She could feel the size of his body from the sheer amount of heat that surrounded her, knew that she barely reached his shoulder, that he was just as much a grown alpha as the ones who’d bitten and seduced her with that same quality-

She shuddered and her jaw cracked from the force of her clenching it.

He pulled away from her elbow and the silence of that pause was deafening. She felt like he was observing her carefully, could feel his eye traveling over here - just making sure she wasn’t hurt, that’s it - and one of those hands cupped the side of her neck, likely allowing him more access to see Itachi’s mark.

A thumb pressed into those pale crescents briefly, that hand tightening at what he found there. He seemed to forget himself for a moment, a low rumble interrupting the darkness behind her eyelids before the sound was noticeably choked back. Only willpower kept her in place then, but as that thumb idly moved away from the mark it brushed against that awful, traitorous patch of skin beneath her ear-

Shit.” He cursed.

Sakura would rather have made an embarrassing noise.

The reaction was instantaneous, her muscles going limp and bones melting into goo inside her. Her eyes snapped open soon enough to see her sensei trying to jump back - before he realized she was going down fast.

He caught her against the hard plane of his body, hands supporting her by slim shoulders. She hit him hard, muscles too lax to support herself, but as soon as her face made contact with the source of that scent she couldn’t have stopped herself from rubbing her face in it if she tried.

Her fingers scrabbled to find stability in the material of his vest as her face pressed into his chest, trying to raise up and to get her nose shoved into the crook of his neck. At the feeling of him trying to push her back, to hold her at arm’s length, a pitiful sound reached out to him.

Kakashi froze, hands preventing Sakura from moving in any closer.

    Since he’d only brushed against that spot it didn’t take long for Sakura to recover, her face searingly red. She leapt away from him, nearly tripping backwards in her haste.

    “Oh my god.” She said for the second time, flushing all the way down to her chest. “Oh my god, sensei I am so sorry, oh my god.”

    He held his palms out - she suppressed the urge to stare at them - and stepped away, backing up carefully and watching her like she might starting throwing things at him.

    “I shouldn’t have- it was my fault.” He said.

    “It’s fine.” She said tightly. “Let’s just- forget about that.”

    Fat chance of that. With his scent in the air she was already replaying the feeling of being pressed up against him in her head on repeat. Maybe he would forget easily - she was certain her sensei must be fighting women off every day - but it would take a lot more distracting to take her mind off that.

“Just…” He rubbed at his eye, shaking his head. “This shows how powerful instinct can be. I know what alphas are like and I know that they might have made you feel like they… weren’t so bad or that they cared for you…”

I know what alphas are like.

What the hell did that mean?

“Don’t fall for it.” Kakashi implored. “Don’t let your instincts make you feel anything that you don’t really feel. I need you to try to forget about them-”

Sakura nearly shook her head before she realized what that would look like, what it would seem like to her sensei. It would only prove him right - and so she crumpled down beside one of the trees, knees against her chest with her arms locked around them.

Sakura knew what liars were like. She could tell when someone was telling a lie, but she couldn’t find a single moment when her alphas had seemed anything less than sincere… Her sensei had to be wrong, somehow. He just had to be.

Her toes flexed in her sandals, fingernails scratching at her knees as her hands fisted on them.

“Why is Sasuke back?” Sakura asked.

Kakashi knew she was changing the subject. She could tell from the way he huffed at the abrupt subject change, the way his eye moved skywards before the mask twitched as though from a smile.

“Ahhh.” He teased. “Some things never change, do they?”

She stiffened at the allegation, but let him think what he wanted. If it meant her sensei wouldn’t try to talk about her alphas anymore then she was happy to let him believe she was still obsessed with the bizarre man her childhood crush had grown into-

Or maybe she should direct his ire elsewhere?

“I’d like to know why he thought it was okay to try licking my bruise.

Kakashi froze in shock. “He did what?”

“He tried to lick me, sensei-”

She rose and made to follow as Kakashi turned on his heel and began marching back towards the village, sounds of concern aimed his way.

“Wait, sensei, what are you-”

“It seems.” He said. “That I’ve left some major gaps in the boys’ education.”

I’m going to rectify that.



Chapter Text

It’s a short one, but some things I think we definitely need to see! Next chapter will likely be longer, but here’s an interlude to tide you over!

 

I’m not saying to listen to ACDC while reading this chapter, but I’m not saying don’t. If you get me. As always, I hope you enjoy! Come and see me at butnuggetsupreme on tumblr and let’s be friends!

 

I’m also curious about how the summary for the story is - it’s pretty old and I’m interested in hearing how well it reflects the content of the story. Does it attract or deter you personally?

 

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    The inside of the inn’s bar was filled with smoke and incense, clouding up along the ceiling and seeping into the rooms above with their fragrance. Dishes clattered in the kitchens, glasses and cups banging along the counter and tables, and people crowded around the tables in droves.

    “Itachi, I think you’ve had enough yeah?”

    Kisame pulled the face mask farther up to keep his sharp teeth hidden, a clever genjutsu hiding his very blue coloration. He leaned in, watching the younger man in mild alarm as he poured himself another cup of sake.

    “Goddamn, let the man grieve!” Hidan cried out, slamming his own cup back onto the table. “Although I’ve gotta say, Itachi, you need to take off those stupid ass sunglasses- we’re fucking indoors you twat-”

    Hidan inhaled a mouthful of peanuts from a basket on the table, shifting in his new leather jacket - having foregone a shirt to Kakuzu’s revulsion - and washed them down with a cup of sake as well.

    Itachi acted as though he hadn’t heard either man speak. Cloak abandoned, he sat at the table dressed in a sleeveless shinobi top, the black haori jacket slipping off one of his shoulders as he knocked back the entire cup of sake. Inky hair spilled down loosely around his face, eyes invisible behind the glare of black sunglasses. He poured another.

    “Where the fuck is Kakuzu, let him tell Itachi to stop.” Hidan raised up to scan the room for the man, giving up after a fruitless search.

    “He’s ‘ rebuilding his savings ,’ I believe he said.” Kisame quoted. “Itachi, buddy, maybe this one is enough?”

    “-and you’ve gotta change that stupid outfit-”

    “Don’t let him get you down, Itachi, you look fine-”

    “-look, I’ll even fucking loan you something-”

    “-but I really think you’ve had enough to drink, and I think Hidan might be right about the shades, man.”

    “Hm.” Itachi said dismissively. “Perhaps he is.”

    He made no move to remove them.

    “I’m not drunk.” Itachi added.

    “If you’re not drunk after all that, I’m fucking the Kazekage every Sunday morning.” Hidan chuckled. “But I think fish face might be right, even if you’re grieving because this fucker - oh, I don’t know - let her go .”

    “-it was the only way!” Kisame said hotly.

    “Pffft, yeah, like we can make sure she’s safe if she’s like a gajillion miles away you fucking retard.”

    “She’s in her village -”

    Itachi reached out for the bottle of sake and was met with a resounding ‘ no ’ from both men at once, their hands grabbing the bottle to prevent its removal. He kept reaching past, hand landing on a basket of peanuts.

    He popped on into his mouth, pretending he’d been reaching for that all along.

    “-and she’ll be safer there while we deal with-”

    “-and who knows what the fuck those guys are doing to her where we can’t be there to actually be useful-”

    “-once this is dealt with we can find her and-”

    “-and I swear to Jashin-sama if I have to share one more goddamn bed with Kakuzu’s cold-ass feet I am going to swap and room with Itachi instead-”

    “-it was the only way!”

    “-and I will throw a tantrum right here at this table if we don’t start making moves, or so help me-”

    Itachi swiped the sake and drank from the bottle.

    “Itachi!” Kisame cried. “Stop drinking and help me!”

    “I must confess,” he said between sips, “that while I agree wholeheartedly in laying low until we can strike, it is only the sake that prevents me from heading for Konoha at this very moment.”

    Hidan slapped the table with an expectant glare.

    “See!?” He demanded. “At least one of us should be nearby, the others can fucking lay low or whatever stupid shit-”

    “Ah. Here he is.”

    Their gaze followed Itachi’s finger, pointing at the door to the inn where Kakuzu had just entered. The man had seemingly adopted an entire new identity - a genjutsu over his scars, a tailored pinstripe suit and long hair slicked back - and slinked over to their table. He unbuttoned his blazer as he settled in beside Itachi, reaching for the bottle of sake.

The Uchiha slapped his hand away, meeting the older alpha’s snarl with a tranquil expression on what they could see of his face. Kakuzu leaned in, a long strand of hair falling into his face as a rumble started.

Hidan and Kisame looked ready to jump in until Itachi pointed down at the bottle with a single finger.

“I’ve drunk from this.” Itachi said quietly.

Kakuzu made a sound of disgust and waved down a staff member for another bottle, with dark mutters.

“So did you actually make anything- I don’t fucking see any money-” Hidan started in on him.

“Hidan, if people see you with money they will take it from you.” Kakuzu said, knocking back a cup. “Rest assured, my funds are both safe and private .”

Well .” He harrumphed. “We were just saying that one of us should be in Konoha-”

“There’s no ‘we,’ Hidan!” Kisame interjected.

“Because all that’s going to happen if we ‘lay low’ is that that fucking psycho is going to go after her to draw us out, and then it’ll be our fault if we can’t protect her!”

“Saying this causes me more pain than being stabbed, but you do have a point.” Kakuzu grimaced. “But we can’t all be too close or Konoha will be suspicious-”

“Anyone who gets close enough to watch over her will be killed!” Kisame said. “And then what use are we to her? As a whole, we’ll become weaker.”

“Not necessarily.” Itachi said, leaning back with the bottle cradled against his side.

All eyes landed on Hidan.

Yes. ” He said. “Fuck yes, I’ll fucking do it, fucking finally you asshats-”

They rose to their feet, Itachi wobbling dangerously before delicately fixing his haori with his precious bottle clutched close. Kisame steadied him with an incredulous face.

“I think we’re gonna need a good night of sleep first.” He told the Uchiha.

A solemn nod. “I would like to throw up as well.”

As they rounded towards the back of the crowded room towards the stairs, making their way up to their reserved rooms, Kisame gestured at Kakuzu.

“So how exactly have you been earning out there?”

Bounty hunting, gambling, theft, extortion, any number of things could be-

Itachi stumbled on the stairs ahead of them and fell onto Hidan, getting shoved back onto his feet along with colorful curses.

“Astrology readings.” Kakuzu said.

“Which are bullshit!” Hidan called back. “You got mine totally wrong-”

“Considering the orientation of mercury within your chart I’m hardly surprised that you think so-”
    Kisame let out a strangled yelp and the smell of him filled the stairway - his body hit the floor like a ton of bricks.

“And you said I had too much.” Itachi said mildly, eyebrows raised above the round sunglasses.

Kisame groaned, facefirst in the stairs. Hidan turned around and craned his neck to check him out, grabbing Kisame by the arms with a ‘fuck it’ thrown in for good measure. As though nothing were wrong and he were simply strolling through the market, Kakuzu bent over to grab him by the ankles and kept moving.

“And you were being such a pansy earlier, you fucking hypocrite, telling him he couldn’t have anymore while your ass can’t even hold more than that midget-”

They made it upstairs to a symphony of Hidan’s complaints and Kisame’s pained moans, Itachi teetering into the room first. They dumped Kisame onto the bed, hovering over him in curiosity as the alpha curled up with constant shudders.

“Dude you reek .” Hidan told him.

In a moment of shock they realized the moans weren’t from pain. They unfortunately realized that when the man’s hands started fumbling with his belt buckle in a frenzy.

“Fucking hell.” Kakuzu snarled, jumping away. “I’m not staying for this shit.”

“Oh my god she’s touching the fucking mark, you asshole, why the fuck-” Hidan slapped at the man’s hands in a vain attempt to make him stop. “No, stop! You tell her to touch mine!

“Oh my god.” Itachi whispered in horror, looking on as Kisame managed to get a hand into his pants.

Kakuzu grabbed Hidan by the collar of his leather jacket and yanked him towards the door, face pale.

“Wait-” Itachi made to follow.

“Oh hell no, you’re not throwing up in our bathroom.” Kakuzu denied.

With a final chorus of Hidan’s “ You fucking tell her-” in synchronization to Itachi’s panicked gag the door was slammed closed.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------

   

    Between bouts of self-loathing and outward fury, Kakashi thought long and hard about the best way to deal with Sasuke.

    The young man obviously thought his departure from Konoha for two years would have no lasting repercussions - that he could parade around the village as though he’d never left, that they would treat him like a king for gracing them with his presence, that his childhood admirer would fall for him all over again.

    He must have been excited to hear about Sakura, thinking that not only was she an omega, but one that loved him desperately. Kakashi would have thought the same, only…

    He licked me, sensei.”

    Sakura had looked lost when she said that, eyes full of sadness and affront. Those weren’t the eyes of a girl in love but the gaze of a grown woman realizing that her love wasn’t the man she’d always thought he was. Childhood impressions were as thin and fragile as paper - this Kakashi learned the hard way - but it didn’t make it any easier to watch his precious student understand it.

    He considered violence, especially at first. The alpha in him responded in worryingly powerful ways to the omega, as evidence by his vast stupidity at believing he could still check on her the way he had with all his whiny brats, and that part of him hungered to plant a fist in Sasuke’s face.

    For god’s sake, he tried to lick her! Not only was that far too familiar for an alpha that had never been involved with her romantically - mutually, at least - but to assume he could do something like that after all he had said and done was to add insult to injury. That was the kind of thing mates did, not sulky alphas who had rejected the omega for years.

    Kakashi had to admit how hard it was to smell four strange alphas on an omega he had trained since the age of twelve, and how hard it was for him - as an alpha - to smell them on an omega he considered under his protection.

    Yet the faintest scent of peaches on her skin smelled terribly good alongside alpha scent and that thought sent him scurrying straight for the hospital for another shot.

    Still, he had to deal with Sasuke somehow… and possibly Naruto, lest the well-meaning alpha do something stupid out of sheer ignorance. So when he told the two that he was going to treat them to BBQ it was well worth the hit to his wallet…

    He arrived late, but just in time to hear their charming complaints and an “I’m not letting him skip out on the bill…”

    “Yo.” He said, ignoring their protests as he joined them.

    “You’re late again, sensei!” Naruto cried out, looking about five seconds away from a tantrum.

    “Ah well, you see I had to-”

    “Ugh, save it !”

    “Well then, shall we order?”

    After ordering an alarming amount of food - in fact, way more than the three could eat - he listened to the dialogue between the two boys, still not sure whether or not he had a good grasp on Sasuke after his time away.

    He’d certainly grown up, the pointy little boy growing into a suave adult, but his… misanthropic tendencies hadn’t altered in the slightest and that kind of attitude was cute on a kid but not so much in a man. Orochimaru must have taught him a lot, but like Kakashi, had seemingly neglected personal development in favor of ninja arts.

    “Wow, sensei, this is so much food!” Naruto crowed with stars in his eyes.

    Sasuke glared down at their food as though it had personally wronged him, as suspicious as ever.

    “Now, while we dig in, I’d like to have a little chat.” He said coolly. “It seems that I was somewhat lax in your training-”

    Sasuke snorted while Naruto began inhaling food.

    “What gave you that idea?”

    He ignored the Uchiha’s snarky little reply.

    “You are both alphas and given recent discoveries it appears I haven’t imparted exactly what that means-”

    “Well duh, sensei, it means that we smell the best!” Naruto sprayed sauce across the table and got a flick on the ear from Sasuke.

    The Uchiha glowered at Kakashi, dark eyes ripe with trouble. “I don’t need lessons from you -”

    “AH, HERE ARE MY COMPANIONS.” A great bellow came from the entrance, heralding the gut-punching aroma of pine on a tidal wave.

    Dread overcame Sasuke’s face.

    Kakashi knew that look well. He’d felt it on many occasions but right at this time it filled him with sadistic glee to move farther into the booth to allow Might Gai to join them. A small curse came from the Uchiha and Kakashi didn’t regret his choice to forego violence. Not at all.

    “Ah, you see I won’t be responsible for all of the teaching today-”

    “Thank you Kakashi for bringing me out tonight and for ordering such a bounty. We’re all growing men after all!”

    Gai’s full belly laugh was the only noise at the table.

    “Anyways. I hear you boys wanna learn how to be alphas. It’s a noble undertaking and one I feel distinctly qualified in aiding. You see Neji was a handful as a boy too, but now he’s the very picture of power in tranquility.”

    Well, not how Kakashi would put it… but judging from the horrified expression on his former student’s face this would be well worth it.

    “We don’t need-” Sasuke griped, cut off by another good natured laugh.

    “Au contraire, young man! Being a good alpha is the journey of a lifetime. You are full of youth and don’t yet understand the meaning of instinct. But fear not! I will help you!”

    A piece of pork fell out of Naruto’s mouth.

    “Now the most important thing is to understand exactly how an alpha should treat an omega. Young Sasuke here made a beginner mistake-”

    This would be a long night. Kakashi was going to savor every moment.

Chapter Text

    Hey guys! I really hope you enjoy this one! There’s a lot going on so forgive me for any errors! Also come and say hi at butnuggetsupreme on tumblr! Let’s be friends! I also want to give just a teeny dubcon warning for this chapter, just to prepare you!




    Sakura was more shocked than she’d care to admit when Ino came banging on her front door Friday. She’d just gotten home from the hospital and had a full evening planned - training, shower, bed, of course - but the pounding on her door as she was gathering her things was so insistent she had to answer.

    The door swung open.

    “What the hell, forehead?” Was the first thing out of the blond’s mouth, standing there with her arms crossed. “How the hell am I not the first to know?”

    She pushed past Sakura into the house, leaning her hip against the kitchen counter with an affronted glare on her face.

    “First we have no idea where you are, then when you get back to the village the Anbu black ops turn me away because alphas aren’t allowed in because, oh I don’t know, you’re an omega !”

    Sakura closed the door with a sigh and turned to face Ino, the blond girl looking dangerously near angry tears.

    “Just because I’m an alpha doesn’t mean you can’t trust me!” Ino wailed.

    Sakura rushed over, hands flapping uselessly until Ino caught her in a death-grip embrace.

    “It wasn’t anything like that!” She assured her. “I promise!”

    “-because I swear I can control myself! I’m not some knucklehead like Kiba or Naruto!”

    “Ino, I believe you!” Sakura implored. “I just… I didn’t want anyone to treat me differently…”

    “It’s not always a bad thing to be treated differently, Sakura!” Ino said. “But if that’s what you want-”

    Ino shoved Sakura in the direction of her bedroom. The pink haired kunoichi stumbled and nearly face planted with the force of it.

    “We’re going out with the boys tonight! You don’t get to put yourself on house arrest just because of one tiny little thing!”

    Hardly tiny, but perhaps Sakura had missed Ino more than she’d thought for she allowed the blond to manhandle her into her room with a “whew, it’s strong in here forehead! You need a damn wallflower,” and watched as the alpha started rifling through her closet.

    She soon had a mess on the floor from Ino’s fervor.

    “I can choose my own clothes-” She started.

    Ino shushed her and threw a pile onto Sakura’s lap. After donning the black dress and sandals she refused makeup vehemently - Ino pinned her down and put mascara on her - and had to slow the blond down long enough to grab her wallet and purse.

    “Slow down!” She said.

    Ino dragged her along the street, chattering about all that Sakura had missed in her absence and pointedly ignoring all those who paused at the residual scent of omega. They padded along, the sun lowering itself towards the horizon ahead.

    “-okay so we have to start with margaritas tonight, since that is the best way to begin-”

    She inwardly retched at the thought of tequila.

    “-and I swear if any of those dunderheads so much as look at you the wrong way I will start a fight, and not in like an alpha kind of way, but I can do that too - but like don’t take it the wrong way, Sakura, but you’re way too much woman for me and I’d like to be able to kick someone’s ass if they-”

    She’d missed this. Before her absence Sakura would have hated the incessant talk, but she had so much more appreciation now that she’d gone without for so long.

    She also appreciated the thought of at least one alpha willing to put some distance between them in that way, having shocked herself with her wroth response to Sasuke’s strange behavior.

    The bar was a tiny little thing, tucked between a pharmacy and a takeout shop, and had blue paper lanterns strung alone the facade of the building. The music was audible from outside and men and women loitered outside - mostly shinobi, like the customer base of the establishment.

    When they entered a cry rang out from the bar, Kiba and Naruto enthusiastically waving them down while Shikamaru rolled his eyes and Tenten tried to shush them. Lee appeared to have already been drinking for a while, Neji attempting to slow him down.

    Sakura squeezed in between Naruto and Shikamaru, already feeling calmer once she had the beta to her right - his scent was tranquil, if a little irritated at the cacophony - and wrinkled her nose at Naruto.

    “Geez, Naruto, when’s the last time you showered?” She asked.

    He reeked of alpha.

    “Oh Sakura-chan!” He exclaimed. “Kakashi-sensei convinced Gai-sensei to give us some tips! He says that your scent is the most-”

    Shikamaru groaned.

    “It’s a little much, Naruto.” She said, waving down the bartender. “It’s important, but you should leave people wanting more instead of wanting less.”

    His mouth rounded into an ‘oh,’ eyes wide.

    The scent blissfully lowered itself into something far more socially appropriate. Sakura wanted to roll her eyes at Gai-sensei spreading this kind of misinformation to Naruto.

    Once she ordered her drink Naruto whooped, Kiba joining in from the other side, and the two downed theirs before ordering another.

    “Maybe they need to slow down?” Shikamaru joked.

    Sakura laughed a little. “Fat chance of that. I guarantee Naruto will be holed up in Ichiraku’s tomorrow at eleven with sunglasses and a bottle of painkillers.”

    “What about you?” He asked with a smile.

    “I don’t really intend to drink all that much.” She said.

    Considering how easy it was for an alpha to lose themselves for a moment - ahem, Sasuke! She thought - or for her to do the same, Sakura didn’t think getting drunk was such a great idea and from the easing of the lines on Shikamaru’s face she could tell he felt the same.

    “Well, you don’t need it to have fun. Especially once they start dancing on the bar.” He responded.

    “Sakura, you smell so good, like even from here-” Kiba hollered.

    Naruto swatted him on the chest. “ No , Kiba! You idiot! You should never comment on smell like that, it’s so rude!”

    She blinked. Pinched herself. Checked the clock to make sure it wasn’t going backwards.

    “-besides, Gai-sensei says that making them-”

    Ah, there it was.

With a light feeling in her chest ,she excused herself for a moment to go to the bathroom.

    As she was washing her hands, she caught sight of herself in the mirror and her eyebrows shot up.

    Much as she wanted to deny it, Sakura even looked like an omega. Suppressing her scent glands throughout her life must have stunted development somehow, but now that she’d spent time with those hormones coursing through her body… It had changed somewhat.

    Tiny changes. Nothing major. She still looked like her, but it was something in the set of her expression - tension gone from around the eyes, jaw held with less extreme tightness, something soft there that wasn’t before. It even affected the way she carried herself, far less tense and poised for motion than before.

    Sakura hadn’t felt those changes happen. And yet…

    Despite the lack of tension she didn’t feel any less prepared to act than before, as ready as ever to react on a moment’s notice. She might look soft but she didn’t feel any less capable of making craters in the ground.

    She turned from her reflection and exited the bathroom into the dark hallway, tugging up the narrow strap of the dress as it fell from her shoulder-

    “Sakura.”

    She halted. Tilted her head. Turned to find Sasuke leaning against the wall with his arms crossed, dressed far more casually than she’d ever seen before in a black yukata. Did he linger in the dark corner to try to look mysterious or was he simply trying to make her nervous?

    She was surprised to find-

    He didn’t fucking scare her.

    “Sasuke.” She said, tucking a pale strand of pink behind her ear. “What do you want?”

    He straightened but didn’t approach, instead pausing at the admittedly short distance, his face so convincingly sincere.

    “I want to apologize for what happened at Ichiraku’s.” He said so lowly she could hardly pick out the words. “I shouldn’t have been so rash.”

    A pause. He was waiting to see what she would say-

    Should she accept the apology, try to make him feel better?

    “Don’t do it again.” She said simply, face as smooth and hard as steel.

    If he was shocked he didn’t show it. If he was trying to scent her then there was no evidence of it. If he had intentions… they were hidden.

    How odd, to see Sasuke so earnest.

    “I was talking to Kakashi, trying to learn what happened… trying to figure out what I could do-” He began, eyelids drooping in a way that couldn’t possibly be accidental in the way it made him so heartachingly beautiful.

    “He said something that surprised me. He told me that you fought Akasuna no Sasori-”

    Her hands clenched at the mention, the scent of dust and wood filling her nostrils and the echoing clack of hollow wood in her ears- sensations of a nightmare, of the nightmare she lived through, the nightmare she slew alongside Chiyo.

    The waking part of her mind remembered all the sleepless nights afterwards, the sounds and smells that hounded her through her life in the following weeks, the way that she rounded corners always convinced he was waiting just beyond-

    But those embers in her belly, the coals waiting to be stoked to ignite, they latched on to the memory and a terrible and fierce satisfaction pumped through her blood as undeniably as arousal-

    She was thankful she smelled of a cruel satisfaction rather than arousal, or she would melt into a mortified puddle on the floor. As it was-

    “I didn’t fight him.” She murmured, eyes bright in the darkness. “I killed him.”

    Another pause.

    “Is that what you’ve told everyone?” He asked.

    The embers sparked.

    “Have you checked the bingo book, Sasuke? That has all that you’ve missed since you left. You don’t know what I’m capable of anymore.”

    “No. I don’t.” He said, but he didn’t seem to have the same meaning in the words.

    He stepped closer, expression falling from the false openness into something far darker, his lips twitching and eyes narrowing at her. Those black eyes followed the strap of her dress as it slipped down again, a hand shifting as though wanting to reach out.

    “It’s alright if Chiyo did most of-”

    “Chiyo and I acted as a team.” She grit out, a furious flush rising to her cheeks. “We combined our skill sets in the most strategic way to defeat an enemy. I don’t like what you’re implying Sasuke, if you need proof-”

    “You’ll have to forgive me if I do.” He breathed out, now so close that she could feel his breath on her forehead.

    She refused to crane her neck to meet his eyes, merely stared coldly ahead.

    “Fine. Tomorrow then.” Sakura said, then slipped around him and out into the openness of the bar.

    She ignored the barest hint of fingers dragging against her arm as she passed, and the instinctive goosebumps they raised.

    “Tomorrow then.” He said.

 

    They met at one of the smaller, more out of the way training grounds in the morning - Sakura catching sight of Naruto and Kiba at Ichiraku’s on her way. It was a warm spring morning, crisp wind ruffling the leaves of the surrounding trees and the sunlight fanning through the branches in jets of gold.

    She arrived full of determination, tugging on her gloves and scanning the area. It wouldn’t be like Sasuke to-

    “Sakura.” His voice came from behind her.

    So typical of him.

    “Sasuke.” She said.

    He walked by her, scent filling her nostrils as though on purpose, and turned to face her with his face a mockery of kindness.

    It seemed believable, but Sakura could smell the arrogance on him.

    A line formed between his eyebrows, eyes glimmering at her like ebony, and concern etched onto the glass planes of his face.

    “I don’t want to hurt you.” He said, and in this at least he was sincere. “I’ll stop if you ask me to.”

    For a moment her chest constricted, heart tight inside, and her lip wanted to quiver. If she still felt as she had so many years ago him saying such a thing would have spun around her head for months… She would have treasured that small phrase, clutched it to herself when things were tough, used it to reassure herself that maybe there’s hope.

    Today, however, the monster living inside her cracked an eye open and took exception to that.

    Sakura knew she looked weak. She looked soft, willowy, nature having wrought her into a shape meant to entice others into protecting and desiring her. Down to the smell seeped into her skin and the expressions her face was prone to, she knew she would never win in a game of intimidation - not against the figure across from her, reeking of a scent nature made to surround and close in upon others, standing straight and poised like a blade.

    It might have embarrassed her years ago, appearing weaker than she truly was. But a true shinobi thrived in the illusory deception of appearances.

    “I’ll stop too, if you ask.” She responded, reveling in how the sound caught on the air like a wisp.

    Let him smirk, if he wanted to. The beast inside her was watching him.

    He blurred, a darting kunai flying straight towards her. She sidestepped. Another, and she sidestepped again. And another-

    He was testing her, face calm and belying nothing of the mystery beneath that was Sasuke Uchiha.

    “Are you worried about calluses?” He asked, flinging two next, suddenly far to the left.

    Her brows crinkled. His eyes flicked down to the black gloves on her hands.

    A helpless laugh puffed out of her.

    Oh yes. I’m so scared of ruining my perfect omega hands-

    “I guess it’s smart-”

    “Are you trying to wind me up?” She asked, not even sweating yet.

    His head tilted. “I’m just making conversation. I know it’s rare for an omega-”

    “To what?” She demanded, crouching low to prepare for whatever he had next.

    “To be a shinobi.” He said. “You don’t have to. I know you’re proud that you were there when Chiyo killed Sasori, but you don’t need to keep going like this-”

    The monster didn’t become angry. It watched, it’s fiery gaping maw closed and ready to open at a moment’s notice. It seemed near to laughing at this point, in stark contrast to her logical mind.

    “-you’re just hurting yourself, pretending you aren’t what you are.” He finished, balanced in a crouch on a tree limb at the edge of the clearing. “There’s nothing wrong with being an omega.”

    She could feel a vein popping out on her forehead, nostrils flaring. Calm down.

    Sakura would never understand him. She would never understand how he could say such things as though they were kind, how he could urge her to give up her dreams as though he was doing her a favor .

    Sasuke didn’t understand omegas. Even Gai-sensei, as traditionally alpha as he was, had shook her hand fervently in the bar last night claiming anticipation at seeing how much stronger she would surely be now-

    No. Sasuke saw her as she used to be, not as she was in that moment.

    The air shifted behind her.

    She let her knees bend, dropping as a kunai whizzed above her head and pivoting in the other direction-

    A handspring backwards put distance between her and the real Sasuke.

    “No.” She responded. “There isn’t anything wrong with being an omega. I so appreciate you telling me, Sasuke, I had no idea.”

    “You’re a rude little thing now, aren’t you?” His lips twisted into a mean smile. “You let Chiyo’s deeds get to your head-”

    If he was shocked to find her dashing towards him rather than away, it only showed in the barest widening of his eyes-

    He should have looked her up in the bingo book before today, as any shinobi would have, then he would have known that his former teammate was a close range fighter.

    Sakura could tell he didn’t expect her to be so quick, to be able to dodge his fists like they were nothing-

    Compared to Tsunade-shishou, they were nothing.

    -or for her to be quick enough that he actually had to block her fists.

    The beast inside her smoldered, quivering with excitement that Sasuke had no idea, that he was blocking her with his hands in a way no shinobi would if they knew.

    “They told me the Akatsuki kidnapped you.” He said, ducking under her fist. “What did they do to you?”

    She spun away from his kunai. “Awfully voyeuristic of you-”

    He paused, his feet skidding backwards in the dirt, a glower overtaking his face.

    “What?” He demanded.

    Sasuke looked totally enraged, his breaths due more to that than the fight, hands clenched into fists and mouth curving downwards.

    “What did they do?” He asked, deep voice full of anger.

    “Can’t you smell it?” Sakura asked, reveling in her ability to bother him this time. “Or did you just assume what I’d smell like? Did you think I was still waiting-”

    “You didn’t have to wait, if you’d told me-” The kunai flew at her. “ Did they bite-

    “That’s none of your business, Sasuke-”

    Of course you were waiting, omega-” He snarled.

    She dashed directly at him, fist humming with chakra. He raised a hand to catch it and she imagined how it must be playing out in his head, how he must have wanted to pull her in by the fist-

    It was a mistake.

    When her right fist made contact with his left hand she could feel the bones shatter, a surprised grunt exhaling from his lips and a look of utter shock on his face.

    She let her momentum keep her moving past, sliding in the dirt and spinning to face him again.

    A shuddering breath left him and when he turned his eyes were red.

    Even Sasuke, in his rage, wouldn’t growl at her but he looked pretty damned angry-

    Lightning crackled to life in his right hand, the left hanging broken and empty at his side and he took off directly at her with the chidori outstretched.

    The monster in her roared to life, bright flame rising from her stomach and into her chest, its eyes trained on the alpha across from her.

    She stomped a heel into the ground and it erupted, rock flying in every direction and slicking a crater into the earth. Sasuke leapt over it, sharingan focused on predicting her moves, and she fumbled blindly behind her-

    And ripped a tree from the ground, bringing it around to meet the deadly light of the chidori. It rent apart between them, wood and chakra exploding outwards.

    The force sent him careening into her, bodies landing hard on the dirt. 

    In that moment she could feel the long and steady inhale he took, breathing in the scent gland at her neck, the bite -

    His chest vibrated with the rumble of a vicious growl and though it wasn’t aimed at her necessarily, her bicep bulged as she took him by the back of the shirt and hurled him off of her body. She lurched forward into a crouch, watching as he rose with heavy breaths.

    He bit you. ” Sasuke growled, his sharingan wild and wroth those few meters away.

    “They.” She corrected, face set into a glower.

    The growl had the monster inside her flowing up into her throat like magma, her own breathing catching on thick and terrible rumbles of her own. It didn’t like that proximity and it didn’t approve of him growling at her alphas.

    They stared one another down, waiting to see what would happen - like two predators in a standoff, patiently biding their time.

    His growl didn’t cut off, its deep vibrations grating on her, bothering her down to her core even if it wasn’t truly aimed towards her-

    Sharp, blinding pain overtook her and lanced in a line around her neck. White-hot, cauterizing pain that emptied her brain of all thought and had her crumpling to the ground with a trembling keening sound.

    It hurt. She’d never felt such pain in her life, even when Tsunade-shishou had made contact with a punch- her entire world narrowed down to the line of pain on her neck.

    Uncharacteristic glee was rising in her, a determined fuck you unbidden on her lips.

    The sound in her throat echoed in the silent clearing.

    The pain in her neck made her want to scratch away until it finally stopped.

    Rage filled her to the core at the sound of that growl, made her want to leap onto Sasuke and tear into him.

    So she did.

    Sakura struggled to her hands and knees, rising back into a crouch and snarling back at the enraged alpha. Chakra was flaring to life in her, far more than normal, making her shudder with the sheer amount-

    The wild fury in her compelled her to knock into Sasuke in a full tackle, punching him square in the face.

    He rumbled beneath her, swinging back as fervently as she.

    He flipped them, hands shoving her into the dirt by the shoulders, rearing back to bare his teeth-

    She punched him again-

    She flipped them, scratching and hissing, fists moving in a frenzy-

    He flipped them again, pinned her again-

    She cracked her forehead against his-

    The pain in her neck dragged up sounds equal parts rumbling vibration to tearful whine and above her Sasuke looked torn between snarling at the growl and burying his face into her neck.

    He leaned down-

    She bared her teeth at him, daring him to come any closer at his own peril.

    He stopped.

    His warm, sweaty weight pressed her into the ground. Knees on either side of her, his chest rose and fell at a flurried pace, and she didn’t remember his body being so big before he left the village-

    Sakura’s emerald eyes spat fire at him, blood trickling from the corner of her mouth. With every exhale another whine echoed, her limbs trembling with exhaustion and the force of so much more chakra than usual.

    His cruel, greedy, beautiful face laid bare above her, Sasuke pushed harder down against her. Sharingan gleamed in the morning sun, dark lashes almost brushing his cheekbones when his eyes narrowed.

    I’m going to kill them.” His deep voice purred above her. “ And then I’m going to find you and sink my teeth into you.”

    The burning, cutting, drowning line of pain in her neck strengthened the force of the whines. The airy, keening sound of anguish darkened Sasuke’s crimson eyes, an awful heat tugging his face into something akin to desire-

    Even she could smell herself - the distress, the rage, the heightened and sharp tang of everything coursing through her. His nostrils flared at the scent, his own fanning around her and shoving against her.

    A desperate groan left his chest and if her neck wasn’t in such pain Sakura would have flushed at the sheer neediness of it, at the sour scent gathering around her into something wanting.

    The bloody glee in her chest snapped into a fierce, protective sensation of absolute killing intent.

    Sasuke leaned down, rubbed his face into her neck, inhaled-

    Lips pressed against her neck, opened slowly, a tongue dragging against her-

    Another groan torn from him, wide chest flush against hers, his body squeezing her in tighter against him-

    Teeth dragged teasingly against her salty skin, digging in lightly as though about to bite-

    Another rattling, tormented groan, hips pressed against her, the heavy scent of desire pooling above her-

    The foreign emotion in her snapped and Sakura raised up a fist with all the chakra she shouldn’t have and hit him in the side with all her might.

    Sasuke’s body flew across the clearing, crashing against a tree.

    “Sasuke, Sakura, what the everloving fuck ?”

Chapter Text

    Ah yes, this is a strange one. I don’t even know how to explain-

 

    Come and say hi at butnuggetsupreme on tumblr!

 

    Naruto stormed into the clearing in disbelief, gaping angrily at the carnage spread across the clearing. Blue eyes glared at his dark-haired friend as though he’d never seen him before, face pale with the kind of agonized betrayal only Naruto could pull off.

    Sasuke coughed up blood, leaned back against a thick tree trunk. He wiped it away, wincing at the way it jostled his torso to raise an arm. Where Sakura’s fist had hit him in the side his shirt was matted to skin with dark crimson liquid, fresh and raw tissue visible.

    Sakura’s body curled in on itself, hands scrabbling at the burning line around her neck, and her whines continued to ring out in the clearing. She cringed on the ground, writhing in agony.

    Naruto’s nose twitched. The aroma in the clearing was unbearable to Sakura - arousal, rage, physical pain - and she let out another low and pained keen.

    She struggled to a seated position, fingers clamped against her neck so tightly that she felt dizzy. Her blood roared in her ears, a sickening satisfaction filling her with pride at the sight of Sasuke’s mangled hand and ruined side.

    That’s what happens when you underestimate an omega.

    Sakura’s ankles wobbled as she continued upwards, rising to her feet. She took an anguished step towards Sasuke.

    Naruto jolted as though to keep her away, as though to protect her from him.

    “Uchiha Sasuke,” She hissed through clenched teeth. “It won’t be in that moment. It might not be weeks. But if you bite me I am going to wait until you have let your guard down and I am going to rip your throat open.

    Good.” His sharingan spun, a satisfied smile on his face.

    She wanted to punch him again. And again. Until more than his side was an open wound. How dare he put his mouth on her, pin her down and touch her that way. She was dangerous and he would do well to remember that.

    Naruto’s wide eyes glanced between the two of them, horrified at the heavy killing intent and arousal in the air. He almost seemed stuck between who to help first - the writhing and pained Sakura or Sasuke on the ground with his side torn apart.

    “What is wrong with you?” He demanded of them both. “I thought you were sparring, not trying to kill each other!”

    “I won’t be trying if he does that again.” Sakura promised.

    “Good. Do me the favor.” Sasuke jeered. “I might like it.”

    “Oh my god, you absolute fucktard!” Naruto exclaimed. “Did you try to bite her ?”

    “It wouldn’t have been ‘try,’ dobe.” Sasuke said. “If I’d tried, I would’ve succeeded.”

    A cold rage washed over Naruto’s face, something calm and hurt in its intensity, and he placed his hands on his hips.

    “Have you learned nothing, Sasuke?” He demanded. “I know you’re used to girls chasing your empty head all over the village and it might be shocking to hear, but you aren’t as great as you think you are. God you’re such a retard, Sasuke!”

    Sakura had never seen Naruto so angry.

    “I’m going to get that,” He pointed a finger at the sea of red on Sasuke’s torso, “fixed and then I’m going to beat the shit out of you when it’s a fair fight, you asshole. I don’t know what’s broken in you, man, but if I have to chain you down while Gai-sensei beats some sense into that stupid ass head then that’s what I’ll do! Sakura-”

    “Take him to the damned hospital.” She hissed. “My hands aren’t healing the justice they dealt.”

    Her slow steps halted, then adjusted direction.

    “Oh hell no, Sakura-chan!” Naruto howled. “You’re coming too! No way you aren’t injured, just look at you!”

    Her hands twitched on her neck, sweat dripping from enduring the awful pangs slicing at it from the inside out. What the hell was wrong with her!? She didn’t understand why her neck was hurting so terribly!

    “He didn’t draw blood.” She insisted. “I can heal myself-”

    “Sakura.” Naruto said. “Please. If not for yourself, then for my sake? Let’s go.”

    She watched as Naruto padded over to the tree Sasuke rested against, uncharacteristically quiet, and dragged the dark-haired alpha’s arm over his neck. He was careful not to jostle him too badly, taking him by the uninjured side, but a hiss escaped anyways.

    She followed out of the training field, their pace excruciatingly slow.

    Sakura didn’t miss the looks they got on the way to the hospital, particularly those that glanced from Sasuke’s injury to the relatively unscathed Sakura, the calculating eyes of shinobi. She dragged along, biting her lip until it bled to keep the pained sounds within.

    They were halted at the entrance to the hospital by Anbu.

    “Haruno-san, your presence is required by Hokage-sama.” The masked figure said.

    “At least let her get checked out first!” Naruto argued. “She needs-”

    “Hokage-sama is fully capable of dealing with any ailments Haruno-san possesses.” The 

Anbu retorted sharply. “This isn’t a request. Please come with me.”

    “It’s fine, Naruto.” She sighed. “I can heal myself if I need to. I’ll see you later.”

    He looked like he wanted to argue but blessedly held himself back.

    Sasuke’s eyes were glued to her, a million questions burning in them at the appearance of Anbu coming for her. Sakura ignored it, promised herself to avoid him for at least a month after this, and her sandals scuffed against the pavement as she followed the shinobi towards the tower.

    “What does shishou want?” She asked, trailing after the Anbu.

    A shrug.

    She shuddered, fists straining at her sides as another wave sliced at her neck. Don’t show weakness, don’t show them that something is wrong-

    When the Anbu beelined for the stairs down instead of up towards the Hokage’s office her steps stuttered. She lingered at the doorway.

    “Haruno-san…” They said.

    “What’s going on?” She asked. “I thought we were-”

    “Hokage-sama hasn’t requested you for a mission briefing or a meeting, Haruno-san. Please continue to follow me.”

    With every step down Sakura’s neck ailed her a little less, her body growing warmer and more lethargic. There were so many steps in this part of the tower, down towards secret chambers and locked rooms, and Sakura’s feet slowed to a stop yet again.

    When the Anbu turned from a few steps down to regard her, she held out a shaking hand, her limbs heavy like molasses.

    “I’m sorry, I’m coming, I just-”

    They stared at her.

    She caught herself on the railing, knees giving way. The Anbu sighed and strode up, scooping her up and throwing her over a solid shoulder.

    “Wait-”

    “Hokage-sama is waiting, Haruno-san. Time is of the essence.”

    She slumped, eyes drooping as the bouncing of Anbu-san’s steps downwards pushed the sharp shoulder into her gut. She was sore from the fight, exhausted, and wanted nothing more than to just go home.

    Anbu-san stopped before a door, knocked in a series of code. With a flare of chakra and a click, the doorknob turned. The shinobi lowered Sakura to her feet, the door opening and Tsunade watching concerned as the omega wobbled upon landing.

    “Sakura!” She said, steadying the girl with a hand on her shoulder. “What happened?”

    She grimaced. “Sparring.”

    The Hokage led her into the room, slamming the door behind her. It was bare, with a table and chairs and nothing else but a door on the opposite wall. On the door a seal was painted, a very rare and tightly wound one at that, with rope spun around the door handle and more seals attached.

    Tsunade brought Sakura to one of the chairs, then sat opposite with her hands folded.

    “Shishou-”

    She held up a hand, eyes traveling over Sakura’s battered body.

    “Who did you spar?” She asked. “You’re a mess, Sakura-”

    “Sasuke.” She murmured, wincing when the Hokage’s hand slammed on the table.

    “Why would you do that?” She demanded, eyes sparking furiously. “Why on earth would you think fighting a sharingan-user is a good idea, let alone an alpha whose intentions we are still trying to decipher?”

    Sakura glared back, fighting against the thick honeyed sensation dragging her limbs towards the ground to straighten her spine. She was a damned shinobi, not a child, but a trained soldier.

    “Naruto took him to the hospital, shishou, so I’d appreciate a little more faith.” She said.

    A pause. Tsunade’s eyebrows hit her hairline. She held out a hand, glowing bright green with medical chakra, and pressed it against Sakura’s chest. The chakra entered her body, oozing along the inside like cold and refreshing water as her ailments faded. The chakra remained longer than normal, waiting in her system until Tsunade withdrew her hand with a wrinkle in her brow.

    “What’s happening with your chakra?” Tsunade asked. “Sakura, you have far more than you’re supposed to.”

    “I don’t know, shishou, but my neck.” She rubbed at the area where a terrible line of pain had once burned into her. “I don’t know what happened, but it started hurting so badly and- I wanted to kill Sasuke, just for a moment, shishou. I should have been angry, but I don’t know why I wanted to-”

    To tear him apart for daring to try his luck.

    “I want to murder people all the time, Sakura.” Tsunade said at last. “That’s not an unusual feeling when you’re confronted with a twat like that. I’m a little more concerned about this chakra, but even then I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth. You should begin storing that chakra, now that you have enough.”

    She nodded, solemn. Tsunade leaned back in her chair, a gust of wind leaving her as she stretched backwards. Her back cracked with the motion.

    “I don’t want to do this, Sakura.” Tsunade said.

    Her heart faltered.

    “Do what, shishou?” She whispered.

    “Trust.” The woman said. “But I have a problem and I think you can help me solve it, Sakura. It’s Danzou.”

    “What?”

    Tsunade leaned closer over the table and spoke in a fervent, hushed tone. “I need you to listen to me carefully, as I’ll only say it once. Danzou is planning a coup. I received intel that he’s going to go for me first, but as my apprentice you’re only moments behind. I don’t know when or where, but I need you to do exactly as I say-”

    Sakura gulped.

    “I am going to fake my death. Danzou will believe he has succeeded. This is going to give me time to deal with the rest of the council and any associates he has. I am going to give you one job and it’s absolutely vital that you keep it under control and perform it perfectly.”

    Tsunade held out a tiny scroll. “This will bring you into this room. I’ve hidden half of your weapon in the old Uchiha compound with something… alarming. When Katsuyu brings you word of my demise I need you to follow her there. From there, teleport here. I believe from there you will know exactly what I want you to do. It will be… unavoidable.”

    “What are you talking about, shishou?” Sakura asked. “I don’t understand anything you’re telling me-”

    “You’ll understand enough. Follow those instructions, Sakura. Give nothing away, as I’m certain we are being followed by Root - Danzou’s operatives. For the time being, I am going to show you something that will make all clear.”

    Tsunade rose to her feet and went to the sealed door. “This door is keyed into your scent, Sakura.”

    The omega followed, loose limbs and joints making it difficult, her brain fuzzy and warm.

    “It’s perfectly sealed to all manner of evidence. Except one, it would seem. Go in. I won’t be here when you return, so you should go home and rest. Congrats on hospitalizing that asshole today.”

    Tsunade clapped her on the shoulder before striding from the room, anxiety on her face melting away into a mask of calm.

    Sakura waited until the outer door clicked shut behind her and she was alone.

    Half a weapon? What was half a weapon? Why the secrecy, why the sealed room-

    She pressed the scent gland on her wrist to the seal in the center of the door, feeling the flare in response. Then to the tags on the cord, then slipped into the room and shut the door behind her.

    It was so dark she couldn’t see a thing, shadows creeping along the long and narrow room. She blinked away the fuzz, waiting for her eyes to adjust and stepping farther in, her breath held in worry.

    She let out the air, then drew it in again.

    Iron filled her lungs.

    She followed it to the end of the room, trailing lethargically towards a rectangular block, narrowed her eyes in concentration.

    And let out an earth shattering scream that echoed along the walls.

    Hidan’s head. Hidan’s head - with no body - rested atop the block and she resisted the urge to run in terror.

    The eyes opened.

    Her vision went fuzzy and all she remembered was hitting the floor.

 

    She returned to consciousness slowly, as though shaking off a nightmare. 

    “Oh thank Jashin-sama-”

    She shot up into a seated position, wide eyes aimed at the head. Hidan looked far too happy, considering he was just a decapitated head, his lips in a wide grin and violet eyes bright and gleaming in the darkness like blood.

    She inhaled the scent of iron again, filling her lungs and allowing it to relax her muscles - even if just for the moment.

    “What happened to you?” She demanded, scared to approach.

    “Well, I didn’t want to leave you alone right? Because that’s a stupid decision that I didn’t want to make anyways and I thought it would be better to have one of us nearby- and of course they send me since I won’t die, but they fucking cut my head off -”

    The pain on her neck. The agonizing, cutting pain in a line around her neck…

    Something clicked in her head. The foreign chakra in her system that somehow allowed her to make free use of it, the emotions in her that were so uncharacteristic…

    “I felt it.” She realized in a horrified whisper. “I felt them cutting your head off.”

    She felt like vomiting.

    His expression turned to dread.

    “What?” He demanded.

    “My-my neck-” She said, hand touching the skin where the pain hand lanced through. “It-”

    “Oh my god.” He said in desperation. “Oh my fucking god, Sakura, no-”

    The scent of him turned bitter, anguished.

    “I am so sorry.” He said.

    She wanted to laugh at the circumstances. The decapitated head was apologizing to her that she had felt sensations of him losing his head like she had the worse end of the stick?

    She stood, approached the block and stood, her eyes on Hidan’s head. Sakura didn’t think she would ever feel so glad to see a goddamn head . She was a lunatic, that had to be it.

    Her pale, shaking hands reached out to take the head between them. Thumbs stroked his cheekbones, her wide verdant eyes growing wet. She lifted it, hugging it to her neck and a sob escaped her lips.

    “What, babe-” His muffled voice came. “-don’t cry, you can literally just sew it back on-”

    She felt the inhale against her neck.

    God I missed that.” He groaned.

    It was so strange to be so much larger than her alpha, more physically capable than someone she knew capable of incredible devastation. She sniffed, dropped to the floor and held his head in her lap.

    “The others?” She asked.

    “Totally fine.” He answered. “It won’t be long, I promise. I don’t know what you were doing a few weeks ago, but poor Kisame hit the damn floor.”

    She flushed.

    He grinned up at her. “But I wanna know what happened to you today, because it felt an awful lot like you beat the shit out of someone.”

    “I did beat the shit out of someone.” She answered. “And if he tries to bite me another time then I’ll do it again-”

    “He what?” Hidan snarled. “Just wait, as soon as I have my body back I’m gonna kick his ass-”

    “I opened a hole in his side, so-”

    “Damn that’s hot-”

    They paused.

    “I wish I had a body right now.” Hidan said, smiling up at her with those bloody violet eyes, silver hair falling into them. “There’s so much shit I wanna do.”

    Sakura brushed his hair away, pressing their foreheads together, her eyes closing.

    The Akatsuki might have bitten her, but this was a far cry from the helpless rage that Sasuke’s presence had instigated in her. Hidan didn’t make fun of her, didn’t claim she was lesser than she truly was-

    He made her want to kick some ass.

    I must be some kind of madwoman. She thought. Or a sadist or something, but-

    She pressed their lips together, held him close and surrounded him with her body as though she could shield him. He groaned - she belatedly wondered how that was even possible without lungs - and curled his lips against hers.

    “God.” He breathed against her mouth. “If I had hands right now. The shit I’m gonna do to you.”

    Warmth flooded her belly.

    She couldn’t believe she was kissing her alpha’s decapitated head. She couldn’t believe the scent of desire that even she could smell on herself. She was so fucked up-

    But pulling away, looking at the expression on Hidan’s face… A vicious, gleeful smile and eyes darkening- Oh my god, he’s actually into this-

    So are you, you sadistic fuck part of her retorted.

    She couldn’t deny that she was. Knowing she could simply reattach him, that he would be just fine…

    Sakura felt powerful. She felt some kind of bloodthirsty empress on a painting, cradling her lover’s head in her lap, with the promise that she would make him whole again. She could drive him mad with longing, knowing he could do nothing, always with the faith that he would return the favor a hundredfold the moment she placed his head back on his shoulders.

    She whispered against his lips. “Where’s your scythe?”

    “With my body, I hope.” He responded, mouth sliding hungrily against hers, tongue dipping between her lips.

    How could his mouth be so wet without a body attached?

    A wispy, airy sound traveled from her mouth and into his. She missed the rumbles that she knew would vibrate in his chest, the instinctive response that would make her want to push up closer.

    “Damn.” He groaned. “Of all the times to not have a body-”

    “I’ll bring it back to you.” She promised. “We’re going to kill someone.”

    “Mmm. I like the sound of that.”

His tongue curled against hers, mouth open and hot against hers, noses bumping against each other. She was so thankful that at least one scent gland lay at the top of his neck so that she could smell him.

    Teeth tugged at her bottom lip. Her fingers tangled into silvery strands of hair, much softer than expected. With his hair in her hands and warm lips and breath against her she could almost imagine she were somewhere else - even if just for a moment.

    She knew now why Tsunade-shishou didn’t want to trust.

    Half a weapon Sakura remembered, and smiled against his mouth in the darkness.

    She pulled away, lips swollen, and a feral twist overtook her face as she regarded the hungry and flushed expression on Hidan. She pressed her mouth to his ear and murmured.

    “Let me tell you what’s going to happen.”

Chapter Text

Hello!! Here’s the latest - with a lil something something for some of you - hope you enjoy!

 

Come and say hi at butnuggetsupreme on tumblr!




 

 

Sakura sat in that tiny room clutching Hidan’s head for as long as she could, until she knew she had to leave to prevent Danzou’s suspicions. She didn’t like the thought that someone could be tailing her at every moment, watching every move, and didn’t want to draw them into this room.

    Not that they could enter without her scent glands.

    She departed with one last lingering kiss and made her way back home, aching every step of the way to turn back around.

    With each turn she worried she would find Katsuyu.

    She passed the next week trying to behave normally, as though her body wasn’t trying to strain towards the lower levels of the Hokage tower, as though she wasn’t filled with rage at so much as the mention of Uchiha Sasuke.

    As though the name Uchiha didn’t make her think of another Uchiha, or the other alphas she hadn’t seen in such a long time.

    And yet the next time she happened upon Sasuke while shopping, he turned on his heel at the sight of her and walked the other direction with a scowl on his face. Something had happened. She didn’t know what, but it had to be something major to turn him right around and send him running.

    She soon discovered why.

    Sakura scampered through a puddle, splashing her way home with haste and an armful of groceries in soaked brown bags. Rain pounded across the rooftops like a thousand shinobi, heavy thuds that made her want to curl up in the corner of her bedroom.

    She cursed and turned the corner onto her street, trying to keep her footing in the slippery mud before whacking into a hard body. The bags slipped from her grasp.

    “Oops.”

    Deft hands in fingerless gloves caught the bags before they could hit the ground. Her head turned up in shock and she glared at Kakashi-sensei.

    “You scared me!” She accused over the sound of the rain.

    The rainfall must have dampened everyone’s scent, because she should have smelled him before she saw him.

    “No harm done, right?” He asked, hefting up the bags and turning on his heel.

    She dashed after him as he took long strides towards her house, protesting that she could take the bags, really sensei !

    He paused long enough for her to fumble with the key, silver hair matted against his head with the rain - matching her own charming ‘wet dog’ look. They entered, her former teacher placing the bags on her countertops as she scurried into the closet for a towel-

    And turned to find him shaking himself off like an actual wet dog.

The rain outside blocked all sunlight, casting darkness across the inside of her house. She could make out a little of her former sensei, but not too much else.

    “Kakashi-sensei!” She exclaimed, hurling the towel at him like a kunai. “I have towels, you know!”

    His eye crinkled with a grin. “Huh. You do.”

    She toweled off her own hair, huffing at him. He’s just trying to wind you up.

    “You know you’ll get sick if you leave that wet mask on. You should probably take it-”

    She looked up to find it dry, somehow, against all laws of nature.

    “-off.” She finished lamely. “Not that I mind the help or the company, but is something up?”

    He shrugged, flinging his soaked body onto her sofa. She cringed.

    She couldn’t see terribly much aside from the figure of her sensei on the sofa, his shape a lumpy shadow on her now damp furniture. She padded into the kitchen, feeling around for the light switch.

    “Leave it.” He said.

    Her hand froze.

    “It’s nice to enjoy the rain right? We’re so reliant on our technology these days…”

    She squinted at his back, suddenly nervous. Was he usually this weird?

    “What’s going on?” She asked suspiciously, slowly approaching.

    “I just want to talk.” He said.

    “In the dark?”

    “Mahhh Sakura-chan, the dark illuminates what the light hides…”

    He caught the apple she threw at him without even looking.

    “You’re weird, sensei.” She told him.

    “You’re one to talk. I saw your groceries. Who eats oatmeal anymore…”

    She came around and sat on the arm of the sofa opposite, staring him down across the empty expanse of the cushions. It was like a standoff, her perched on the arm with her eyes narrowed at him, while Kakashi lounged on the opposite side turning the apple over in his hands. Her eyes were slowly adjusting, but she couldn’t see much aside from him.

    His head dropped back onto the cushion, a loud sigh exhaled into the air above. He seemed tired, as though he carried an exhaustion that went deeper than physical. His shoulders slumped, visible eye with dark circles beneath.

    “Are you sleeping?” She asked.

    “The body sleeps, but the mind runs free, right?” He answered.

    Did he always talk in riddles?

    A little voice in her answered yes he does. Sensei is strange.

    She didn’t respond to him.

    He threw the apple back to her. “You should eat. Keep up your strength.”

    Now that her eyes had adjusted, Sakura could see that his gaze darted between her neck and face, distracted. He looked like he wanted to scent her again, like something on her neck was bothering him.

    He looked like his instincts were driving him crazy. But Sakura knew better than to repeat last time-

    Although she wasn’t coming up from a preheat this time, was she?

    Shaking off the thought, she took a bite out of the apple and crunched away. Let him start the conversation. If he wants to talk, then he can bring it up.  

    “I saw your fight with Sasuke.” He said at length.

    Her heart skipped a beat. She flushed a helpless, angry blush. She was mortified.

    “I should have stepped in to save you-”

    Save me? What are you smoking, sensei?” She demanded. “I’m not the one who ended up in the hospital. Didn’t you see the crater in his-”

    “He didn’t predict your move because he was distracted,” He leaned forward, shoulders tense. “By exactly what I should have put to an end. You were both in danger-”

    “Then why didn’t you interfere?” She grit out, apple forgotten in her hand. “If I was in such danger despite the hole I punched in him, then why did you stand by?”

    That black eye flickered to her.

    “I could smell Sasuke in the clearing. But the killing intent was all you, Sakura. That fist would’ve found me instead.”

    With dread in her gut she realized he was right. She’d been lost to her instinct, her rage, the shared pain of her alpha being beheaded…  She didn’t respond, knowing there was nothing she could say to disagree.

    “I’ve dealt with Sasuke.”

    Her head snapped up.

    “What?”

    “I dealt with him. And I will continue to do so as long as it takes-”

    “What does ‘dealt with’ mean?” She demanded.

    He sighed once more, eye closing. The silence lasted for so long, with her sensei unmoving, that she wondered if he had fallen asleep. His chest rose and fell, and-

    She tore her gaze away.

    “Young alphas are a lot like dogs, Sakura.” He finally said. “They don’t respond to authority - even if their brains understand the status quo. Their instincts drive them insane, force them to act in ways that their conscious minds may not follow. They have to be socialized like dogs in order to learn how to behave and they will only take that kind of instruction from another alpha who’s established dominance over them.”

    “What do you mean by that?” She asked.

    “Sasuke’s family was gone by the time he matured, so he likely didn’t have any older alphas to fill that slot for him. No socialization - so he’s the equivalent of an overgrown puppy who was never housetrained. I highly doubt Orochimaru cared to do any of those things, so-”

    He cut off his words.

    Sakura didn’t like the sound of ‘establishing dominance.’ Before she might have laughed at the idea, thinking of idiotic alphas and their stupid habits. But after watching grown alphas taking chunks of flesh out of each other… She didn’t particularly want to know what that meant in the context of her sensei finally dealing with Sasuke. It didn’t sound pleasant. Part of her hoped it wasn’t too terrible and a mean little part of her felt a surge of glee at it.

    “But Sasuke isn’t a dog. He’s a person, and he should have known better. His instincts are no excuse for his behavior… I don’t know when he’ll be ready but he will apologize to you for what he’s done. You don’t have to accept it, but it’s important that he does.”

    Sakura curled up tighter on the arm of the sofa, strands of pink falling across her face and the strap of her shirt slipping lower. She’d long since adjusted to the darkness in the room and the darkening storm outside, and she didn’t miss the way her sensei kept glancing at her neck.

    The mark he’d found before must be driving him crazy, she thought. She could understand feeling upset, but-

    It was none of his business at this point. Her choice of alphas was just that: her choice.

    “Sensei-”

    “It smells like blood in here, Sakura.”

    How can you tell that with a mask over your nose?

    She shrugged, tugging at the strap. She assumed it must be the iron scent from Hidan, lingering on her in the way that the scent of her alphas had for days after her separation from them.

    “I don’t know-”

    “Sakura.”

    He was staring at her.

    “I’m not an idiot. I could smell that mark on you before and it’s the same. What are you doing?”

    “It’s none of your business-”

    “Don’t say that Sakura - your safety is my business. If you’re seeing one of-”

    “Take it up with shishou.” She snapped, crossing her arms tightly and curling in further upon herself. “Because I haven’t done anything wrong by her standards-”

    “To hell with that - I’m more concerned about you seeing one of the alphas that kidnapped you and bit you than I am with Tsunade.”

    Kakashi rose, his shape a large shadow in the darkness. He stepped closer, his scent thickening and by instinct she leapt off the sofa and put it between them. He twitched at the motion, as though suppressing the urge to follow. He stopped himself and stood in a tall, taut line.

    “You don’t have to convince yourself that you want them just because of instinct, Sakura-”

    “Instinct has nothing to do with it!” She bellowed.

    “It does!” He retorted. “It has everything to do with it! No matter how well-behaved they seem to be, it’s all because of instinct! And if you’re feeling something then you cannot believe it, because it’s a hormone-riddled lie!”

    Her hands clenched into fists, stomach thrumming with a growing anger as that little ball of fire exhaled steam up and into her throat. She could feel the heat aggravating her further, could smell the spice of her sensei even more intensely as his own anger worked his scent glands overtime-

    She hated the feeling of smelling something so good from the very person who had just made her so furious.

    It was none of his business. He didn’t know what he was talking about-

    “That isn’t true! Even when I can’t smell anything of them, I-” She inhaled deeply to dampen her wrath, but cursed herself for the way it brought more of that scent into her, “I understand what instincts feel like, sensei - you don’t know how I feel!”

    “I do.”

    He stepped closer and she took a step back..

    How would you know?” She cried out.

    “Because I experience it! It’s you that doesn’t understand, Sakura, and I’m trying to help you to-” Kakashi took in a sharp breath. “You know what omega instincts feel like but you’ve never felt alpha instincts! I’m telling you right now-”

    She knew it was her former teacher, knew that she could trust him with her life, and yet when he took another step around the sofa Sakura couldn’t dampen the knee-jerk reaction to leap backwards again. The air felt too stifling, too full of their irritation with one another and she couldn’t filter out the smell of it.

    What then ?” She demanded. “What is it that I’m just not getting, that you think is so terrible that you won’t trust me to make my own choices-”

    He stormed closer, feet padding silently across her floor and bringing him before her, his shoulders a tense line from the effort of-

    Of what?

    This isn’t like him-

    “It’s not about trusting you-” He sounded pained. “I don’t trust them because I know how it feels and I don’t trust myself either .”

    Rain pounded on the roof, slapping across the windows in jagged slants of water. A distant grumble in the sky echoed outside the house, the shadow inside so heavy now that Sakura could hardly see the visible half of his face.

    “I’ve known you since you were a kid, I’ve tried to protect you and to help you-” He jolted forwards again, catching himself with clenched fists. “And I have your best interests at heart, regardless of whether you’re an omega or not - but I smell you and-”

    Eyes wide, pupils blown in the darkness. Lips slack, eyebrows drawn together.

    This was her sensei. Her sensei. He-

    “I’ve had three doses of that injection this week alone and I still can hardly hold myself back, Sakura. I have a mask over my face and still smell you and I have to stop myself from doing the same foolish shit that I punished Sasuke for-”

    He stepped closer, only inches away.

    Sakura stumbled back, her back bumping against the kitchen counter. Her ears felt muffled, as though full of cotton. Her fingers scrabbled against the counter for a steady surface-

    “No-” She said. “You don’t have to say this, you-”

    I do.

    A tormented edge to his voice. A rumble in his chest that she could feel even from the small distance. The large, threatening presence of an adult alpha. Heat leaping out from that tall shadow in the unlit room, blasting her like a furnace-

    A step closer.

    Millimeters, untouching and yet so close that it felt like touching-

    “You need to hear this, you need to understand what they’re feeling because you cannot trust them just because of physical compulsions-”

    “No, it’s not a physical compul-”

    His hands slammed against the counter on either side of her, her stature dwarfed under the looming body-

    It is. You’re a medic, you know what scent does.”

    She could feel the vibrations in his chest, that steady roll that an alpha’s body produced in the presence of an omega. She felt lightheaded at the spice stinging her nostrils, at the warmth that surrounded her and tried to make her droop - felt like she’d taken one of the muscle relaxers they had at the hospital-

    “They aren’t voluntary reactions, Sakura, and they aren’t limited to feral alphas-” He shifted and her heart jumped, “All it takes is a whiff”

    “It’s not”

    I smell you and my mouth waters.”

    Omega scent, check.

    Overproduction of saliva, check.

    Her jaw strained with the force of her clenching it-

    His arms trembled like grass in a storm from the pressure of gripping her counter so hard she worried it might crack.

    “I smell you and I can feel the venom in my mouth, even after the injection .”

    Teeth extend from mating compulsion, check.

    Production of venom for the bite, check.

    Her breaths stuttered too quickly to be of any use, too high for real relief, drowning her in the proof of his words.

    “I have to bite my tongue until it bleeds just to distract myself, to keep myself from pinning you down-”

    Dominance instincts, check.

    Kakashi pressed himself against her, pushing her until the counter dug into her back, leaning over her.

    She felt surrounded. Hemmed in, trapped in a cage on fire, tiny in comparison to the body that easily trapped her on all sides-

    “I have to stop myself from choosing a spot, from-”

    A high, reedy exhale darted out of her lips as a hand tangled into her hair. Its insistent force tugged her head back, craning her face skyward and baring her neck-

    “-to stop myself from agonizing over the perfect places, like here-”

    A long finger tapped near her pulse, high on her neck, just beneath the jaw.

    She tensed, her body screaming at her to stay frozen in the grasp of something much larger and more dangerous, something that had a weak point bared to the world. She saw only the ceiling with her head pulled back.

    “Or here-”

    A tap at the crevice where neck met shoulder.

    The hand in her hair tightened, nails scratching over her scalp as they dragged slowly along, achingly slow-

    Her ankles shook. If she weren’t pushed against the counter she expected that her legs might give out.

    “You retreat and I want to advance-”

    Predator instincts, check.

    His hand lingered over her pulse.

    “I feel that and I want to chase, want to press the advantage that your panic gives me-”

    Sakura swallowed heavily, tense and still as a bowstring. Her narrow shoulders twitched with the effort of keeping from moving, long neck cold from the sensation of too open, too exposed.

    “I see you keeping still for me-”

    Omega danger instincts, check.

    She felt the fabric of his mask trailing over her neck, his nose taking in her scent where it lay on her the thickest-

    “-and I have to stop myself from the urge to reward you for it like some kind of-”

    Alpha adoration instincts, check.

    A face shoved into the crook of her neck, hair tickling her jaw as he caressed the skin with his nose. A faint sound akin to a purr, the rumbles traveling from his chest into hers-

    Stillness.

    The hand released her hair and cupped her shoulder, his head falling to the opposite side. Forehead pressed against the skin bared by the thin straps of her shirt, a long gust of air puffing against her.

    She didn’t move.

    He remained where he was for a long, nerve-wracking moment.

    “It isn’t fun to hear.” He said against her shoulder. “And you’re not to blame for it, but you need to know. You have to be aware of what’s happening to their bodies and you cannot let it trick you-”

    But those weren’t the things that had altered Sakura’s viewpoint.

    Her feelings had nothing to do with instinct, nothing to do with whether or not they reacted to her as an omega-

    They were thoughtful enough to have given her a space of her own. For Itachi to say nothing after discovering her hiding in his closet. For Kakuzu to try to teach her to manage her own finances. For Hidan to lose his head simply to be near her.

    For Kisame to send her far from them to keep her safe.

    “I’m sorry to frighten you and I’m sorry to give you the information this way-” He said. “But you need to be frightened.”

    “I’m not, though.” She whispered. “I don’t think this is about my feelings at all, sensei. I think you’re frightened - of yourself.”

    He released her in a heartbeat. A halting step backwards.

    “I think helping Sasuke makes you feel like you’re helping yourself. And I think you need to have more faith in yourself.”

    Kakashi stepped back again.

    She couldn’t see much of his face, couldn’t see his eyes well enough to read what he felt-

    He turned on his heel and fled out the door and back into the rain.

    Sakura’s heart thudded to life in double-time and her legs gave out. She couldn’t have let her sensei think she was scared, couldn’t have let him think of her as a child unable to take care of herself, but-

    What the fuck was that?

    She couldn’t tell apart the scent of his arousal from hers, so heavily it fogged up the room.