Eyes are Windows
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Author's Note: Thank you to everyone who's followed, favorited, and/or reviewed and sorry for the extremely long wait (a whole year!) I've just been completely nervous about writing Itachi and that's been the biggest reason I put this off but no more of that I shall press onwards!
Chapter 2: A Sasuke Sighting
Sleeping outside underneath the stars sounded romantic at least that's what girls like Ino and Sakura would blab about during their useless flower arrangement class together. How romantic it'd be to be on a nighttime mission on Sasuke's team with nothing but the stars to guide them or some such nonsense.
Though at this point having Sasuke with her would have at least meant that she got a decent night's sleep.
Dropping her hands uselessly from her ears she sits up from her sleeping bag to glare at the source of her frustration a lumpy red sleeping bag with the loudest set of pipes she'd ever had the displeasure of hearing.
Kicking off her own orange sleeping bag she counts to ten slowly before whispering to herself, "No Naru, it would not be okay to kick him while he's sleeping."
Pulling her shoes to her the ninja slides them on easily before standing up with a sigh as she decides that a walk was in order. First, however she looks over a nearby rock holding a familiar frog, "Hey don't bother with watch tonight I'm staying up."
The frog simply gives a thumbs up and disappears as it's way of saying that it heard her, "Guess he's not a talkative one or maybe he's tired, I know the feeling." The ninja shrugs and walks off not at all worried about leaving her sensei defenseless because she knows better.
It wasn't immediate but the further she got from their hastily made camp the more his snores faded away and the blonde was blessed with silence, "Okay I know it was my fault for not falling asleep before him I know better but…"
Her voice trails off as she kicks the dirt.
"It's Sasuke's fault… ever since three days ago."
When she ran into Itachi her mind has been running through all the information she had regarding the two of them, things that Sasuke said deliberately or not as well as her encounters with the older Uchiha himself.
Then there were the memories from her childhood that she did her best to pick through and the info from both Jiraiya and granny Hokage but still her mind couldn't piece it all together, she was missing too much but she had drawn some conclusions which or course were just full of questions themselves.
He left Sasuke alive but killed everybody else meaning he either really hates his younger brother or he cares about him.
The stationary blonde's heel digs into the sand absentmindedly as her thought continue.
If he hated him, he could leave him alive and tormented with what he'd lost. If he loved him and couldn't bring himself to kill him unlike the rest of his family, then that fit too… but then does that mean he didn't love anybody else in his family?
That seems unlikely.
'Stop it you're just running around in circles and keeping both of us awake.'
"They're my private thoughts furball if you don't like 'em but out."
He snorts, 'I'd love too but you're being to loud, I thought you were bad when you obsessed over one Uchiha now your twice as bad because you have two.'
"I do not I'm trying to figure out this Itachi thing because it might get Sasuke back and that's all I want." Sure, helping Itachi in the process if he's not an evil bad guy would be fine but Sasuke was first and foremost her focus.
'Whatever you say but do us both a favor a knock yourself out, neither of us have gotten any sleep lately.'
"That's stupid that Ero-Sennin's fault he's too loud!"
'I suppose that's why you too get along so well then.'
"I don't snore." Naruto exclaimed and she could practically see the fox roll his eyes at that, "What? I don't!" The ninja kicks at the now loose sand in frustration causing it to waft into the air and make her sneeze in response.
A sneeze or three later she musses about the fact that Gaara must have a very strong nose to not sneeze when using his sand attacks. 'Are you sure you're not like those two females that you always complain about?'
"You mean Sakura and Ino?" What do they have to do with anything?
'You spend just as much time thinking about the males of your species as they do, perhaps even more.'
"Are you calling me a fangirl!?"
Suffice to say neither the human girl nor her spirit tenant got any sleep that night.
The next morning a well-rested Jiraiya and a worn-out Naruto were for once actually doing what she came with him for, training.
Of course, he'd choose a day when she was tired but that didn't stop her from pulling out all the stops as they battled, "Ha, missed me!" The young ninja taunts as she dodges before turning right back around and countering, "Take this, RASENGAN!"
Instead of her attack hitting her intended target though he dances out of the way in time and behind her to land a kick straight to her back, the Rasengan dissipates as she hits the ground with a resounding crack.
Naruto groans but doesn't get up instead she turns her face from the ruble to complain, "No fair! Why are you still so fast?"
"Because I'm amazing and in my prime!"
She snorts at that and pulls herself up, "Yeah sure… alright mister 'in your prime' lets go again! I'm not stopping until it's your face meeting the ground!" Newly energized she charges only to have him jump back and hold up a hand, "Wait a minute, you've been moving slower than normal since we started, I think we should take a break and let you get some rest."
"No way you just want an excuse to be lazy and write your porn!" The ninja glares and readies herself for another attack.
He doesn't seem concerned just offended, "I'll have you know I'm just looking out for your well being and for the hundredth time its romance! I'm a romance author."
Naruto ignores the first half of his tirade, "Its pure smut is what it is."
That said she clones herself and launches at him, he dodges effortlessly while continuing on as if he'd not heard her and without concern for her ongoing attacks, "I had just thought that perhaps we'd check out the town nearby and relax oh and I had heard of someone matching Sasuke's description had been there recently but well if you're not interested."
That stopped her cold, "Sasuke, for real? Why didn't you say something sooner!? Wait, are you just pulling my leg because you want to be lazy?"
Seeing as the girl had stopped attacking he took his sweet time in making himself comfortable sitting down and leaning back against a tree but just as she was about to lose it and yell at him he answered her, "My intel is always reliable, but I can't say it was him for sure, but it could be."
That was enough for her.
"…Alright, you win let's go. Which way to the village?"
The white-haired man stared at her tired ruffled form and wondered if he should have maybe withheld the information for another day, it wasn't like he hadn't done so before for her sake.
"Now hold on I'm starting to rethink this." This info was only a couple of days old and if accurate it might be too much for the girl, it was his duty to protect her after all.
"What? Why?" Her arms waved around her frantically as they were wasting time and if Sasuke was there and he was stalling she might miss him. And if it turned out he was joking about the Sasuke sighting she was gonna bash his head in… when he got drunk next time, that would make him sorry.
His expression turned serious, so she stopped flailing as he spoke.
"Because if it is him and he's still in the area then Orochimaru could be close by as well and I can't go bringing my exhausted student near something so potently dangerous."
"I get that but…"
She stared him dead in the eyes and simply said, "It's Sasuke."
He drops her intense gaze and rubs the back of his head with a sigh, "I figured you'd say that, well come on we better get a move on."
Naruto grinned and the two of them headed to the town where Sasuke was possibly sighted.
It was a town like any other town that they had been to countless times but still the possibility that Sasuke was there or even had been there made it different.
Only two other times since the young ninja's travels had she heard of a Sasuke sighting, the first time turned out to be a look-alike and not a very good one. Had Sasuke known someone had made a mistake like that he'd probably off the informant himself, really his face was too pretty to mix up so how it happened the blonde would never know.
The second time it had been Sasuke, but they only just missed him.
Hopefully, the third time was indeed the charm like they say.
"Let's split up we can cover more ground."
Naruto gave the older ninja the stink eye knowing exactly where he wanted to look for Sasuke at, even before she saw where his eyes were focused.
"I don't think you'll find him in the brothels or in the woman's bath."
"You never know he might want to have a good time it's better to be thorough."
"I think you're forgetting that he's not you."
"I think you've forgotten that he's all grown up and a man with needs and desires."
"Ew… are we talking about Sasuke or yourself? Either way that's gross, fine go do whatever I'll look for him on my own."
He giggled, "Don't mind if I do!"
She watched him in disbelief and slight revulsion as he pranced off toward the woman's bath, must be too early for the brothel then but what did she know about it.
"Yeah never in a million years will Sasuke ever be like that. I don't care how grown up he is, it wouldn't happen." She shuddered at the mental image that popped into her head, "No bad mind don't picture it…"
Pushing away the creepiness that was that thought in its entirety the leaf ninja started her search.
More than an hour and serval shops and restaurants later she was beginning to think that this was all a fabrication on her perverted sensei's part, no one that she spoke with had even seen anyone resembling the Uchiha.
"Well, this day was a total bust might as well grab a bite to eat and then call it a night early for once."
No sooner did she make this decision as she stepped outside of the weapons shop did, she come face to chest with someone familiar.
Looking up from the unwelcome red cloud pattern she saw him, Itachi.
She backed up slowly as he remained rooted to the place the smaller ninja had bumped into him at, "Not the Uchiha I was looking for…"
He looked faintly amused at her words, "No I imagine not."
Well this was awkward but there was no way that he didn't know who she was this time, so Naruto positioned herself in a defensive stance.
"Not hiding behind a transformation jutsu this time?"
Did that mean what she thought it did?
"I can easily see through such a simple trick." She should've seen that one coming, Kurama was not amused by either of their eye puns.
Her posture relaxes some at the knowledge that maybe they weren't going to fight each other, "If that's true then why didn't you attack me back then?"
"…I was on my lunch break." It was said with no amount of jest; it was as if he stated the sky was blue.
It left Naruto dumbfounded, "Maybe you really are crazy."
Itachi smiled slightly no it was more his lips turned up but not in a smirking fashion but not quite a smile either so a half-smile, "You doubted it?"
"I still do." The younger ninja voice was sincere.
He tilted his head in confusion, "Why?"
Good question but she had no need to think on it because she knew the answer.
"Because I saw through you that day too."
Itachi did his best to not let his puzzled expression slip through but some of it did, "I'm not sure what you mean."
"I saw you bandage that kid's knee someone evil or insane wouldn't do that. I think the Itachi that attacked me the first time we met wasn't the real one at all, I don't know why but I think you're pretending to be the bad guy."
His perplexed tone changed to an emotionless one, "Did I pretend to kill my family too?"
That made her pause, it was the part she kept coming back to the missing piece that would make sense of what happened that night… it was still very far out of reach.
It wasn't like she could just ask him, 'hey, why did you kill your family?'
Or could she? It might not be a smart thing to do but now that the thought had entered her mind it wasn't leaving so taking a deep calming breath, she asked, "Why did you do it?"
"Kill them? Do I need a reason?" His eyes were cold almost dead as they stared her down, it dared her to keep questioning him and who was she to say no to a challenge?
"No… but I think someone like you would have one."
"Someone like me… do you know many people like myself?" The half-smile made a reappearance but only for a second, had the smaller ninja blinked she would have missed it.
"Gah," her gloved hands flew up to the top of her head where she mussed up her hair in aggravation before stopping to point at him, "you're just as frustrating as Sasuke! I meant you don't seem like the type to not have a reason is all." Her arm dropped to her side again as soon as she remembered who she was pointing fingers at.
He seemed unperturbed at her emotional outburst.
"Speaking of my younger brother you seem to be looking for him, how is that going?"
"I think you know how it's going now stop trying to deflect, why did you do it?" She was wondering if her stubbornness was borderline stupid considering how she was pushing it and Kurama was unhelpfully agreeing with her assessment.
"Perhaps you should ask Sasuke when you find him."
"I'm asking you."
She held his gaze.
He didn't look away, but the older ninja was quiet as he seemed to look into her very soul and then he dropped it to turn away. He was leaving? No, his back was to her, but he wasn't walking away. Suddenly his head turned just enough to make eye contact again, "Perhaps we shouldn't keep blocking the doorway it's bad manners."
Maybe he really wasn't sane but then again, she was the one following after him, but not before bowing in apology to the weapon shop owner who wasn't looking at them to happily. They had been disrupting his business after all.
They didn't go very far just a little way off to the side away from the surrounding storefronts but not the best place for a fight should one break out, still too many people though if he was really a villain then that would hardly matter to him.
He was the one talking about manners though so maybe there was nothing to worry about.
"I told my brother that I killed them to test myself, to prove my strength."
Naruto wasn't sure what was weirder that he'd answered her or what he said, "Well that makes no sense."
"Doesn't it? The Uchiha clan was a formidable one."
"Sure, some of the ninjas were but you killed kids and old grannies too that doesn't seem to fit the whole test your power thing. If that's what you really wanted, you'd have challenged the Hokage or tried to take out the Anbu or something along those lines because that would make sense."
He didn't agree or disagree his face was a complete blank slate for some time.
"That is why I said, 'that's what I told my brother.'"
Right he did say that, "Then what's the real reason?"
"The reason is my own, but I've indulged you enough I do have a mission to complete and as you can see it's not my lunch break this time."
Just like that the atmosphere changed and he attacked, Naruto was surprised, and barely managed to dodge though her cheek did sustain a small scratch.
"Wait," She held out her hand as the universal sign to pause, "why are you trying to capture me?" He didn't seem to know or care what it meant though because he didn't halt in his attacks.
"The time for talking is over I'm afraid."
So, Naruto started to run and there was also plenty of dodging as well while trying to lead him away from the populated areas he, of course, followed close behind. Even though she was busy not getting maimed because he was seriously trying to hurt her, she was also aware that he wasn't pulling out all the punches.
It was like he was trying to avoid harming the buildings and people nearby.
Itachi Uchiha was one big old contradiction and one that she wanted to figure out but first, she needed to survive this battle.
Quickly the blonde reached into her jacket and pulled out her ever-present summoning scroll. Ducking out of the way the younger ninja used it.
Not waiting she ordered the small toad to find Jiraiya and tell him that Itachi was here, it quickly poofed away to relay her message and to get out of dodge.
With that out of the way and the surroundings less clustered she decides to go on the offensive, but he is more than ready.
None of her blows land, he dodges and blocks like the super ninja she'd always heard him to be, but he didn't find many openings to do her any real damage but enough that it was obvious who was getting worn down.
That meant it was time for her first signature move, with a fast-practiced motion there was twenty of herself but Itachi wasn't phased and he made quick work of her clones.
Soon enough it was just the two of them again.
That was bad enough as he wasn't winded at all and she was doing her best not to pant when a certain unwelcomed fish crashed the party, "Having fun without me? Oh, isn't that the jinchuuriki girl?"
So not fair she sent that toad after Ero-Sennin a while ago so where was her back up?
As if hearing her complaint, he appeared, "Hey Itachi and you-whoever you are two on one is not fair to my darling student so just for that I'll take you both on."
"Are you serious right now?" Naruto shouted before grumbling about how he can just show up all of a sudden acting all heroic like she's a damsel in need of rescuing when she was doing just fine without him!
At the same time the blue-skinned Akatsuki member was ranting about his name and swords or something but Naruto wasn't listening focused on her own mini-rant.
"That's enough for today." Itachi declares towards his partner being the only sensible one of the bunch.
"Oh, come on I can take him!" The shark-like man shouts.
"Then do so alone."
Then he was gone in a whirl of leaves of all things.
"Hey, don't leave me here, damn it Itachi!"
He too vanishes.
"Well looks like we scared them off."
Naruto flops down onto the ground exhausted, "What in the world took you so long I sent you a message ages ago and fish face showed up before you!"
"Message? What message?" Naruto frowned, "I sent a summon…"
"Well, I didn't see any summon I just happened to sense your fight and came running as fast as I could." She doubted that or he'd have made it much sooner.
That's when a familiar toad appears beside the sage and relays said message.
Naruto considers making toad stew that night.
Author's Note: Review, maybe? I really suck at action scenes I'm sorry. I've posted two new Naruto stories recently titled 'Identity Crisis' and 'Blood of the Undying' and I've recently updated my other Naruto fic 'Extra Ordinary' too!