The Q&A portion of the AN will be at the bottom for anyone that left questions after last chapter. If you have questions after this chapter, you may ask them in your review and I'll probably respond as long as they're good questions lol.
In the meantime, thank you all so much for reading this story. I had a good time writing it, and if you feel like it, stick around for more things I'll write in the future ;P Because I'm definitely not done yet.
Sasori had to admit that the amount of henchmen Orochimaru had managed to bring along with him was somewhat astonishing. There were at least 30 men altogether—the snake sannin included—and Sasori was surprised that their old member had even made an appearance at all.
…that meant that he must've been done playing around—and that didn't bode well for any of them.
Scattered to either side of the base, Itachi and Kisame were fighting off large packs of ninja—yet with the two alone there was still room for the remaining shinobi to sneak through and directly attack the base. Immediately Sasori waved his arms and twitched his fingers, sending the pair of puppets he'd already summoned towards the ninja not being handled by Itachi and Kisame. He managed to get a few before suddenly another chakra signature was bearing down on him.
Whipping around in shock, Sasori quickly locked eyes with Orochimaru—who had somehow managed to soundlessly sneak up on him—and then jumped back a few feet to safety. Orochimaru, however, did not attack and simply remained still, a knowing and humored smirk residing on his relaxed face.
"I must say that I find this situation fascinating," the snake sannin drawled, twisting a lock of his long black hair around his finger. "Of all people you've all become captivated by a powerless girl who can't defend herself against the weakest of opponents. Why is that?"
For some reason Sasori felt offended. Skylar? Powerless? Well…maybe—but the odds were against her in this world—she had no chakra. But still—who the fuck was Orochimaru to make any remark on Skylar when he'd only been fucking around with her for his own gain? And—wait…
"What are going to gain from this?" Sasori finally responded, hunched in a defensive stance and his puppets hovering near him protectively. Orochimaru scoffed.
"A test subject," he answered, and when Sasori lunged Orochimaru laughed again.
"Ah—did I touch a nerve?"
"For a bastard who's got his own shit to worry about you sure are poking into our business a lot," Sasori growled in response, hanging back as the snake sannin easily defend against two of his puppets.
"And for an organization that plans to reform the world you sure made a mistake in taking in that girl."
Foolishly angry beyond words, Sasori became serious in his advances and Orochimaru finally put some effort into avoiding his jabs. However, after a minute the puppet master realized that the snake sannin really wasn't fighting back. He began to wonder why when the answer suddenly caved next to him. No, seriously—the base had begun to cave in. Orochimaru had been buying time for his henchmen to damage the base and lure Deidara and Skylar out.
"Fuck," Sasori cursed, watching as the rock structure of the base shook and caved in, smoke and debris billowing into the air. And then, in the midst of it all, a white bird suddenly cut through the smoke and took off into the sky.
"There they are," Orochimaru smirked happily, and immediately diverted his attention from Sasori, taking off after his prey.
"Itachi! Kisame!" Sasori called as he started after the sannin, and they responded immediately.
"We'll be done here in a minute! Go ahead and we'll catch up!"
Inside the base no words were spoken. The only sounds reaching their ears was that of the base shaking dangerously, but Deidara and Skylar were too tense to say anything. At this rate, the base would collapse around them.
"God fucking dammit," Deidara finally hissed, nearly losing his footing at the explosion that rocked them. He had no idea what Itachi, Kisame or Sasori were doing out there—but clearly they weren't doing something right.
Getting the feeling that the structure around them wouldn't last long, Deidara quickly turned to the girl he was shielding and pulled her up from her position on the floor. Protectively wrapping one hand around her waist, he pulled a handful of tiny clay creations from his pocket and just then the ceiling around them caved in.
"Hold onto me!" he commanded as he tossed his creatures in the air, Skylar simultaneously holding onto him for dear life. The tiny bugs quickly latched onto the large boulders falling towards them and ignited, clearing a path for Deidara as he quickly spawned one of his typical birds and burst out of the area.
The entire time Skylar remained tucked into his side, her head buried into his cloak and eyes squeezed shut, and when she dared to open them again she found that she was soaring straight up into the sky and away from the base that was now only a pile of rubbish and smoke. The destruction below captivated her, and suddenly she couldn't turn away from the sights that were getting farther and farther away. She could spot Itachi and Kisame on opposite ends of the base, streaks of red staining the ground around them and only a few remote sound shinobi left standing to continue the battle.
And then there was Sasori. For some reason he wasn't battling anyone, but was following them, running on the ground in the direction they were heading. Furrowing her brow in confusion at the sight, Skylar was just beginning to contemplate why he would be chasing after them when Deidara's tight grip on the bottom of her ribs suddenly pulled her back into reality.
"Oh, fuck," he cursed, veering the bird to one side as an array of kunai shot into the sky, missing them by barely an inch. With Skylar still pressed tightly into his side, Deidara chanced a glace over the edge of his bird and scowled when he finally picked up on Orochimaru's chakra signature pursuing them on the ground below.
Why did he have to be so damn persistent?
"Brat!" Sasori's voice suddenly invaded his head, the ring on his finger activated. "Watch—"
But his words were cut short when with an anger filled hiss a long white snake suddenly flew out of nowhere and latched onto one of Deidara's forearms. He grunted in pain at the bite, feeling the snake's venom invade his blood stream and feeling its fangs rip through flesh. But before he could detach the snake from his arm it suddenly tugged him off-balance, causing his grip on Skylar to falter, and he had just enough time to stare at the teenage girl in shock before the white snake suddenly whipped him off the side of the bird.
He cursed loudly as his bird got farther and farther from him, trying to pry the snake from his arm—but it wouldn't budge. He knew at the very least that even if he wasn't on the bird, he could still control it and kept it flying safely, Skylar still aboard. However, before he could even blink the snake still digging into his arm suddenly twisted and with tremendous force flung him into a nearby tree. His head cracked against the trunk and he felt his vision flicker. 'Don't black out' he told himself, his body sinking to the base of the tree, but his body wouldn't obey him and right before losing consciousness he managed to see a blurry Orochimaru speed past him.
Oh, how he wanted to punch the grin off that bastards face.
Skylar was sure she was going to start hyperventilating soon. She had just watched Deidara get pulled off his own bird by one of Orochimaru's creepy white snakes, and now she was alone. Alone on a creature she couldn't control, hundreds of feet in the air.
The entire world was crashing down on her.
However, the bird stayed afloat, much to her surprise, and with a deep breath and a boost of courage Skylar decided to take a peek over the edge of the bird. As she did so, she had just enough time to see Deidara get whipped into a tree near the ground before suddenly the bird veered again. Having heard the cracking sound that Deidara's body had made against the tree and knowing that the harsh sound meant nothing good, Skylar immediately dove for the neck of the bird and held on tight as the creation fell out of Deidara's control.
Eyes squeezed shut and jaw clenched tight, Skylar held on for dear life as she felt the bird plummet towards the forest below. Her hands were full of the soft clay around the bird's neck, wind whipping through her hair, when finally the bird made impact. Leaves and branches scraped up her face and arms as Deidara's creation crash landed in the trees, and when the bird stopped abruptly—Skylar's strength unable to keep her from falling—she flipped off the bird and tumbled into the grass below. The world was still spinning around her when she finally opened her eyes, but Skylar knew better than to stick around in one spot for long and quickly scrambled to her feet.
Thinking that having no chakra might work to her advantage, she ran a little ways before ducking behind a tree for cover, trying to silence her loud breathing so she wouldn't be detected. However, it seemed her thoughts were truthfully only wishful thinking because after a few moments something slick suddenly wrapped around her ankle, and when she looked down to see that it was Orochimaru's signature white snake, she nearly burst out in tears.
"It's cute that you think you can outrun me," Orochimaru's voice piped in as he appeared in front of her, and Skylar squirmed in pain as the snake continued to wrap around her, constricting her legs and keeping her immobile. She was stuck.
"Why are you doing this to me of all people?" Skylar spoke boldly, trying to be brave and also trying to buy time as she craned her eyes up to meet Orochimaru's narrowed ones. He smirked in what she could only guess was amusement and took a step towards her. Skylar inhaled in shock and tried to back away when he reached for her chin, but the snake around her legs kept her grounded.
"You're unique and you're a way to get back at the organization that betrayed me," Orochimaru responded simply, his rough fingers grazing her jawline, and Skylar scowled.
"Though," he suddenly continued, his grip turning painfully tight and causing Skylar to wince. "I have no idea why I'm explaining myself to someone who is about to become my next favorite test subject."
Skylar opened her mouth to reply—because as long as she was feeling brave she might as well curse the bastard out—when without warning Orochimaru breathed a laugh and jumped away from her. Skylar wondered why when all of the sudden one of Sasori's puppets appeared in front of her. Said red head was on the other end of the field approaching the two with a dangerous frown on his face.
"You really are impatient, Sasori," Orochimaru chastised playfully. "Your precious little pet and I were in the middle of quite the conversation."
"Shut up," Sasori hissed and the puppet which still remained at his side bounded towards Orochimaru. Immediately sparks flew and weapons clashed, but a hiss around Skylar's ankles drew her attention from the fight.
Orochimaru's snake had turned angry at seeing its master's battle and was looking just about ready to pounce on her when the puppet in front of Skylar turned around. A blade flipped out of a compartment in its arm, and with one swift motion the snake around her legs was cut in half, dropping dead to the ground. Skylar was amazed that somehow she hadn't been sliced open in the process and turned her attention to the puppet master who had saved her. Feeling her stare, Sasori peeled his attention away from Orochimaru. The look he gave her was stern, and she knew it meant 'hide again', so she did.
Except…where was she supposed to hide? Was she supposed to run back towards the base, not knowing if any sound ninja were left and waiting for her? Was she supposed to run farther into the forest and get lost? Where was she supposed to go? All that was around was trees!
But she had to hide somewhere, so after managing to sneak a little closer to Sasori she ducked behind another tree and watched their fight with anticipation.
Where were Itachi and Kisame? Had something happened to them? Why hadn't they shown up yet?! And Deidara! Oh god, if that dumbass was dead she would—! She would…fuck! She would do something! And if any of them died because of her, well then—
"Skylar," Itachi's voice interrupted her thoughts and she blinked in shock when the Uchiha suddenly materialized in front of her. Immediately he knelt down and gently took her face into his hands—his touch much more welcomed than Orochimaru's.
"Are you alright?" he questioned in concern, searching her eyes with his red ones as he took note of all the tiny bloody scrapes on her skin. Skylar nodded, glad that he was here but also wanting to cry because the fight going on behind them seemed never ending.
"I'm fine," she said, and then with determination added in, "—go and finish Orochimaru."
Itachi seemed surprised to hear that come from her lips, but nonetheless nodded in agreement at her statement and with one final loving ruffle to her hair set after the ex-Akatsuki member.
"Two against one is hardly fair," Orochimaru commented when Itachi joined the fray, but the two Akatsuki members could've cared less. They wanted this fight over Skylar to be done once and for all, and they would do whatever they had to to make it finally end.
So, the fighting between the three continued, Orochimaru surprisingly holding his own despite it being two against one, when all of the sudden the atmosphere around them shifted. Something powerful and overbearing pressed down on them, and Skylar nearly hissed when the bracelet on her wrist began to resonate with power.
It couldn't be…
"Even the almighty leader has fallen for her charms?" Orochimaru teased but Pein didn't smile or laugh. He was never one for being playful and in this moment he seemed more serious than ever—so serious that it actually scared Skylar a bit.
He had returned all the way from Ame? For her?
Something didn't seem right…
Moving in silence, Pein padded around the forest floor until he was standing directly in front of Skylar. And once the teen was behind him, he swiftly raised his hand.
"Shinra Tensei," he declared quietly, and Skylar had just enough time to see Itachi and Sasori's eyes widen in shock before they were blasted back along with Orochimaru.
"What are you doing?" She immediately screamed at him without thinking, jumping to her feet. Dark eyes unwavering, Pein turned to face her, unaffected by her yelling.
"Those are your members! You need them for your plans, so why are you—!"
"Skylar," he interrupted her, his voice calm, and Skylar blinked when something was suddenly placed on her forehead. Instantly a wave of power rushed through her, and she wasn't sure whether she was supposed to be scared or not of the new feeling. Questioning, she looked up to Pein, wondering what he'd done, and to her surprise there was a sympathetic look in his eyes.
"What…," she started, suddenly feeling scared at the unfamiliar look, and Pein took a step back away from her.
"You were never meant to be here," he told her quietly, but there was a quality in his voice at the moment that told her he was attempting to be gentle with his words.
"Your world and our world are two separate places, and I've come up with a solution to keep you safe and where you need to be." He nodded at her body, and Skylar looked down, taking a shaky breath when she noticed that her hands were starting to fade out of existence—her feet as well.
"Pein…," she responded breathlessly, a sinking feeling filling her, and the Akatsuki leaders eyes lightened with sympathy.
"This is the only way," he told her gently. Skylar felt tear build up in her eyes for no reason.
What was he talking about? She…she wasn't…was she? But how? When had he had the time to—
"I found an ancient scroll when I was in Ame," he explained, regaining her attention. "I knew that you had overheard the meeting and also knew what would happen once we put our plan in action. So this is the answer to your problem. A seal—and you will never return here again."
'And you will never return here again.'
The words hit her like a brick, the truth of what he was saying crashing into her brain violently, and, unblinking, the tears finally fell from her eyes.
This was it…
This was the extent of her relationship with the Akatsuki—it could go no further. They were different people and had different paths, and Pein's plan to save them both from future trouble was probably the best option available to her, but still—
Pein stepped out of her line of sight and she looked up to find Itachi and Sasori running back towards the two. Orochimaru was nowhere to be found, having fled the area after the Akatsuki leaders attack, but none of them noticed—their attention instead turning towards the teenage girl that seemed to be fading right in front of their eyes.
"Pein!" Sasori barked, angry at the Akatsuki leader because what the fuck was he doing?!
"Leader-sama," Itachi added in in shock, watching as Skylar's limbs faded away ever so slowly, thick tears beginning to stain the skin on her cheeks. "What…?"
In that moment Deidara and Kisame appeared, the younger's arm slung around the sharkman's shoulder. There was blood dripping from Deidara's head, staining his blond locks, but he didn't seem to care. Instead both of them focused their attention on Skylar, at a loss for words.
They could guess what was happening but damn they really didn't want it to be true.
"This is the only way to truly keep Skylar safe," Pein spoke quietly, looking over to the girl that was now only a floating torso, legs and arms having disappeared already. He estimated that at most she only had a minute left.
Skylar realized too that she was fading fast, but her mind couldn't keep up with the pace that her body was disappearing. She was leaving them for good—and she selfishly didn't want it to be happening because she really needed time to prepare for something like this but she had no time so she was absolutely fucked! This was their goodbye…and—
"Yah!" she suddenly yelled, her fists clenched at her sides as she leaned into the scream, releasing all the emotions bottled inside of her. The five Akatsuki members present stared at her in shock, but she quickly put herself back together, wiping the tears from her cheeks and plastering a smile on her face.
She had approximately 15 seconds left and she wasn't about to let those 15 seconds slip from her grasp without saying what she wanted.
"Thank you," she said firstly, tears falling from her eyes again even as the smile on her face remained strong. She really wanted to say 'thanks for giving me a chance and telling me that my cooking was good. Thanks for rescuing me the first time I got into trouble and all the times after that. You didn't have to but you did so honestly I'm very grateful.'
Next she wanted to say 'I love you', but her throat constricted so tight with sadness that she couldn't bear to get the words out, so instead she stretched her smile wider, hoping all the hot tears leaking onto her checks wasn't completely ruing the sincerity of her words. But if she had managed to get the words out, she would've said 'I love you. All of you. Very much,' and she imagined that at least one of them would've said it back, but she didn't have time to dwell on the thought for long because at least 10 seconds had passed already.
"And…," she spoke again, voice cracking with sadness and she mentally heard her time with them ticking away.
Skylar looked up to the four Akatsuki members that still remained on the other end of the field, staring at her in unhidden shock. She could tell that that were all struggling to find words to say to her too, and knowing that that were in the same boat she couldn't help but giggle a little.
They really had become some of her best friends.
"Thank you for everything—," she finally spoke again, flashing them one last smile that for once wasn't forced. There was bitter-sweetness in it, but at the moment it wasn't anything short of appropriate.
"—and please be safe."
And that was it. Skylar flickered out of existence right before their eyes, and when said girl opened her eyes to stare at her living room ceiling, the black bracelet Pein had given her broke and clattered from her wrist onto the carpet below.
That was when she knew.
And when Pein turned his back to members and silently stalked off into the forest, heading in the direction of Ame without a word, they knew it too.
It was over.
1. Will Pein ever warm up to her? -he did somewhat unconsciously, but unlike that others who opened up and accepted her, he didn't forget about his position as leader. Also, I suppose you can consider he 'warmed up to her' by the way he fulfilled Madara's request of 'get rid of her' a few chapters back. He sent her back to her world safely instead of using a method (like murder) which would've been easier and much less time consuming for him.
2. Is there going to be a continuation after this story? -Nope, this is it. I wanted the story to end somewhat bitter-sweetly like this because...I suppose I've never had a story that DOESN'T have a happy ending. So here we are. HOWEVER. I give permission to anyone who thinks they know Skylar and the Akatsuki (the way I've made them) well enough to make any kind of oneshot or something like that. No continuations of the story like her coming back, but say, for example, that someone wished something more had happened between Deidara and Skylar. You're free to write something like that. I'm fine with that and I think it'd be cute. Though, if for some reason someone DOES want to write a oneshot like that between Skylar and one of the others, I wish that you'd message me and let me know that basis of the story first.
3. Are you planning on doing another story like this and the others or are you finished writing fanfictions? -The next multi-chapter Naruto fanfiction I plan to write at some point is on my profile page. It's an Akatsuki college-AU with another OC. That's in the works now, but I haven't written anything solid yet. Just ideas. And no, I'm not done with writing fanfictions. I don't know if I'll ever be.
4. When will she reveal what she knows? -She won't, and that's the point. Basically all she really knows is the Akatsuki's plans and how their plans will turn out because she's read about them and knows WAY more than they do. However, she doesn't want to mess up the storyline (which basically Shippuden is about to start after she leaves, since they're about to start collecting tailed beasts), so she stays silent.
Once again, thank you all again, and one final time: