Here's Chapter 2! I guess a whole bunch of people loved the first one and I hope this is up to par. I hope no one minds that Sasuke is really, really OOC in this story. But remember, he's sick! So just enjoy!

Kabuto was rough in his examination of the boy, who struggled against his bounds while he whimpered for his "Master", a title Orochimaru had beaten into his broken brain, to make it stop. First, Kabuto drew blood. It should have taken only a few minutes, but a useable vein impossible to find in the arm. Which lead him to the tender foot. But thankfully, the boy, being unable to see exactly what he was doing, felt nothing but a tight pinch, which in turn melted into the rest of his pains. The hard part came when Kabuto, with no help from Orochimaru, who stood none but a few feet away, tried to look into Sasuke throat. The boy was having none of it and turned his head from side to side until Kabuto finally grabbed his chin and forced the short tab onto the boy's tongue. Sasuke's breathe was the smell of vomit and bile. His throat itself was not the healthy pink it had been none but three weeks before; it was red, with even redder veins and broken sores through-out. Along the tonsils were yellowish white circles that appeared to go back even farther down than he could see. His teeth, Kabuto could see, were beginning to rot.

Sasuke had lost twenty-two pounds since the time they had placed him under the jutsu. His ribs were clearly visible, his stomach collapsed in. They had been trying to feed him, but it was difficult to keep the boy still enough to force the tube down his throat. Of course, Orochimaru had told Kabuto to avoid that, though this concern was more for the sake of physical appearances.

"Well?" the voice was a hiss, was soft and full of mocking concern. He had gotten used to the idea of the boy being useless.

Kabuto, sighing and trying his best to not let it known that he was horrified of the old man, looked up from the boy. "If we could incubate him, I think we could save his body. But the jutsu-"

"The jutsu, which was your idea, wasn't it, Kabuto?"

"My lord, none of the scrolls said anything about this," he pushed his glasses farther up the bridge of his nose, giving him a small moment to catch his breathe. "All any of them said was that the jutsu would make him reliant on you, sir. Not a single one of them said anything about this," he motioned towards the small, frightened boy, who now had tears streaming down his sunken cheeks.

Itachi found him on the side of a small dirt road. The sun was high and there was no breeze to push the heat along. At first, they had assumed the still figure to be a beggar left for dead by rogue ninja or some petty bandit. It was not unusual for this country; in fact, the only reason they stayed on the road at all was because of the heat, which was allowed some movement when it was safe from the confines of the woods. Itachi, who knew of Sasuke's defection to Sound, assumed that he was still with Orochimaru, relatively safe given that it would be another three years for any of his plans to come to fruition. It was only when they had come up to the figure that they saw that it was a small child of what looked to be about nine or ten. Its young age gave the two pause, which was enough time for a quick shiver of panic to grip Itachi's spine, which was enough time for him to bend down to look at the child's thick, disheveled hair, to see the oddly regular bruise on its neck.

Sasuke was unconscious, seemingly asleep. He was curled on his side, his hand gripping the dirt of the ground as if it were a bed sheet. His face was contorted into a grimace of pain that was made all the more horrible by the way his bones jutted out and sunk into his now fatless face. Kisame knew not to say a word as Itachi carefully lifted the boy, who looked paradoxically younger given his haggard appearance, into his arms. Sasuke, wearing nothing but what looked like an over-sized and tattered nightshirt, began to moan in his sleep.

"Shh," Itachi held the poor child closer to the warmth of his own body, "go back to sleep. Brother's here now…" He turned to Kisame. "Kisame? Does the next town have a hotel with private baths?"

"I would think so. It's something of a tourist spot. We have enough money for a few nights."

"He needs clothes," Itachi said, though this was more to himself than to Kisame, though both of them were already calculating the costs of the hotel, the clothes, and the extra medicine the boy surely would need. They had expected to stop in the next town for a quick stay. Though they hadn't any assignments and were fairly well supplied, neither enjoyed the humidity of the small country, which sat uncomfortable close to Grass. Kisame was still thinking about the money situation as they headed towards the town. They had only been expecting to spend very little on the actual rooms, maybe a little here and there on the tea houses and bars they preferred. It did not occur to Kisame to question Itachi's keeping of the boy. He knew Itachi did not hate him. He had already settled on this act as being perhaps more about who had done this to Sasuke than anything else. Orochimaru was, after all, Orochimaru.

Itachi kept by his side, his eyes trained on his brother's face. Sasuke looked small and pitiful in Itachi's arms. His mouth was gapped slightly open, showing stained teethe and pale gums. His brows were apt to furrow together, his voice to whine and whimper unintelligible words, his hands to grab at his brother's cloak. Itachi would comfort him best he could given the heat. They walked at a brisk pace, afraid of what attention they might draw if they ran. All the while, the two men thought of what they would need to care for the boy until they had figured out what to do with him.

It was barely evening when they finally reached the town. The hotel they found was spacious and expensive, far more than either had thought to spend. But to Itachi, the privacy Sasuke desperately needed would be worth the cost. The suite was large, complete with a sitting room and one large bedroom. The bathroom would be large enough for Itachi to wash Sasuke in peace, the bed large and comfortable. It was fortunate that Sasuke slept through the transfer to the bed, though even in his sleep he appeared confused at the new setting. His hands searched the sheet as if for something to hold on to, finally settling on Itachi's hand before snuggling into the thick, soft blankets. Itachi, with his free hand, stroked his hair away from his face. He felt Sasuke's fever, the sweat and grime that had accumulated on his dried skin. The child still wore that night shirt.


"Yes?" He stood near, by the door, ready for the list of chores that was sure to come.

"Will you go find him some proper clothes," in his quiet anger, it was not a question, "and medicine. Something for his fever. My wallet is in my bag."

Kisame nodded and left. He would leave and find the items and give Itachi a little time to collect himself. He looked back, to see Itachi still holding on to the small, thin hand, his other running through the child's lank hair.

Ok, so, I don't think I did too great with this chapter. It's more of a filler than anything. It should pick up a little next chapter! I would really like a few suggestions on what you would like to happen. Please, nothing too graphic or anything.