Disclaimer: Naruto is a Japanese manga created by Masashi Kishimoto. All characters in this story are copyrights of Masashi Kishimoto, Shonen Jump, Studio Pierrot and Viz Entertainment.
The Lazy Uchiha
Chapter 54: The Evil Midnight Bomber
In a shack somewhere in the Land of Hot Water, a familiar blonde could be seen experimenting with various clay sculptures. Thanks to one of his fellow Akatsuki members, his arms were successfully reattached and he was back in business, ready to involve himself in his most exciting art. Their Leader, seeing that he needed further time for recovery, had him set-up in one of their many safe houses around the shinobi nations and the Land of Hot Water was the excellent location. Bordered next to the Land of Fire and Land of Rice Paddies, it also served as a buffer nation between the Land of Lightning and Land of Fire. His location just happened to be near a lavish resort that he has been partaking in occasionally.
His partner was gone. Killed by one Sasuke Uchiha. It had saddened him that someone of such notoriety in the art world would be defeated by one of those red-eyed bastards. The loss of Sasori of the Red Sand, his comrade, friend and mentor would be a loss he would never forget. While there were many occasions that they would disagree on who had the superior art and their thesis behind their trade, no one could deny that man's love for it. He felt that it was an insult that such a man was replaced by that idiotic fool wearing the mask.
Tobi? What an idiot.
At least he did not have to deal with that childish ingrate until a later time. His focus was on recovery, mourning the loss of his master and contemplating his future. As he molded the non-explosive clay in his hands within his private shack deep within the forest that outlined the nearby hot spring resort, Deidara's mind rewound back to that moment were his anger was most focused. Hate was a strong word, one that held a special place in his heart that only few have touched. Shisui Uchiha damn near came close, but his ideals of the future were that much more clearer and more believable than the goals of Akatsuki. Only Pein's strength and those weird eyes trumped Shisui's strength and his own eyes. Orochimaru was one. Yes, he truly hated that son of a bitch. Yes, many of the members of Akatsuki were downright scary – he, himself, was tame compared to others – but Orochimaru was one sick fuck. Dedication to your craft was commendable, but what he does to people and his experiments made his stomach turn. In a tie for second, was that damn blonde Jinchuriki He still owed him for punching his face like he was kneading bread dough on a counter top. Next, that asshole that killed his master. The younger Uchiha brother was such an ass that if he saw him right now, he would not hesitate to shove his fist up his poop chute, deposit a clump of C1 clay and blow his punk ass up.
And now he beat his head against the wall trying to get that visual out of his mind.
Last and not least, the douche bag elder brother, Itachi Uchiha. Twice he had encountered the shinobi, and twice he was humiliated by the man. First at that resort in the Land of Lightning and again at the Land of Rivers hideout. Getting his arm crushed by Gaara of the Desert, he could deal with that. Getting his arm cut off by Itachi Uchiha, he could not deal with. What was it with Konoha ninja and chopping off arms? Who did they think he was – Orochimaru? Next time he saw Shisui, who had cut off Orochimaru's arms, last he remembered – he was going to ask him if that is some penchant for his former village.
Being by yourself after a traumatic event tends to work on the mind, as Deidara realized after a week or two. But he welcomed this change of mind. Most folks tend to get obsessive – again, he welcomed it. Some of his thoughts turned to his more... terrorist ways; something he was well known for back in the Land of Earth, Stone and Iron. In recent times, he had a desire to create explosions; not for art, but for the sheer enjoyment of blowing something up. And why not do it to places with a lot of people?
Deidara snickered with glee, quickly assembling various clay sculptures in preparation for his latest scheme. "So he says to me, 'You want to be a S-rank villain, right?' Hmph 'And I go, yeah, hmph, what do I got to do?' And so he says, 'well you got bombs... blow up the Comet Club. It's always packed full of vacationing ninja and you'll go down in S-rank Ninja history!' And I go, hmph, 'Yeah, baby! Hmph, because I'm the Evil Midnight Bomber what bombs at midnight!' MwAhahahah- Ogh!"
He choked while laughing and quickly went for a glass of water. He sighed.
"Hmph. It's been a long time since I said that." His hands licked off the clay from each other. "I'll need to practice it and work on the delivery."
A tick mark appeared on Tsunade's head as her patience began to run thin. Unfortunately for a certain raven-haired shinobi, he was quickly becoming the focus of her ire. "Where is that brother of yours? He is never this late. Kakashi, I can understand, but Itachi at least has some respect for my summons." The Uchiha youth merely sighed and shook his head.
"I do not know, Lady Hokage. I have not seen him since last night."
A bout of nervousness found it's way into Sasuke. He was out at the training grounds relaxing between his own private workouts and watching Naruto, with instruction from Kakashi and Tenzo, work on his chakra nature manipulation using that ridiculous and psychotic, albeit effective, training method using Mass Shadow Clone Jutsu when he was summoned via hawk by order of the Hokage. He had arrived promptly, but was now forced to wait and suffer through her growing impatience as they waited for his brother to make his grand entrance. And the problem with that, he had no idea what happened to him. The last he saw of Itachi was early yesterday evening when he took off with Washimaru, Hiryuu, and a couple others he did not recognize for a boys night out.
A pen Tsunade was holding snapped between her powerful fingers and she bellowed out summon for one of her aids. "Genma! Get your ass in here!"
Almost instantly the bandana-clad Jounin appeared in front of her desk next to Sasuke kneeling on the ground. "Your orders, Lady Hokage?"
"Hey, it's the senbon chewing prick." Genma gave Sasuke a bird hand sign. "Is that the hand sign for the medical jutsu that you practice on yourself? You know, the one where you shove that finger up your bu-"
"Enough!" Growled the angry Sannin. This is why she both enjoyed and despised the Uchiha brothers. They were the two most dependable ninja on her active roster, but they were insufferable when they start bantering among themselves or with their close associates. "Keep your mouth shut, boy, or I'll tie you up and throw you to the wolves you call yaoi fan girls" That put the fear into Sasuke. "Genma. Find Itachi Uchiha and bring him here. Tie him up and drag him if you have to."
The senbon chewing Jounin snickered. "He'll probably just let me do that so he wouldn't have to walk." That made the Hokage reconsider the order.
"Such methods are not required, Lady Hokage," said the familiar voice from the doorway. Tsunade glared at Itachi.
"Genma. Leave." The man was gone before the words exited her lips. "You! You're late. Extremely late. Explain."
Itachi's mind flashed back to the happenings of the last twenty-four hours and the excuse that he could possibly use. He had departed with his two best friends, Washimaru and Hiryuu, along with members of Washimaru's new squad for a night of celebration. They had bar hopped for several hours until their only option became various strip clubs and dance halls that dotted the red light district. And of course, someone decided to slip Itachi an energy drink and shit pretty much hit the fan from that point on. High off his enemy, caffeine, he had located Might Guy and Rock Lee eating dinner at a family restaurant and managed to switch out their water with Sake. Of course, the restaurant was destroyed in the ensuing drunken rage of Konoha's Green Beasts, but that was what normally happened when you get those two hammered. And he highly doubted that he should tell her that he spent the rest of the night and into the morning at various strip clubs and dance halls dancing 'Gangnam Style' with scantly clad women until he passed out and spent most of the day sleeping in a random dumpster until he she summoned him.
"I apologize, Lady Hokage. You see, a young lady needed assistance in tracking down a cut-purse that had stolen her jewelry that was a memento from her mother. Little did I know that this search would span the entirety of Konoha. Do you know where in Konoha is Carmen San Diego?"
Sasuke palmed his face.
Tsunade did not look amused. "At least Kakashi makes an effort into saying something that is believable, boy." He made to retort but the paperweight that slammed into his nose effectively silenced him. "If you were not such an excellent shinobi, I would wring your neck. So take relief that I find you somewhat useful as a tool if not an instructor."
"Great. Now she's even more annoyed. This is all your fault." Sasuke grumbled, flicking his brother sharply on the ear as he was getting up off the floor. Itachi's reply was to rapt his knuckles against Sasuke's crotch, doubling him over in pain. They both received a pair of scrolls that hit them square on the forehead, once more earning Tsunade's ire.
"Enough!" She growled, thankful that the siblings were done with their ass-hattery and standing at attention. "Now, I have summoned both of you for a mission. S-rank. Long term, deep strike and assassination. Priority One."
"Are we secure, Lady Hokage?" Itachi asked, receiving a nod. He motioned Sasuke to double check the door as he glanced around. "Target?"
She slid a scroll with the seal of the Hokage toward him. "You know who the target is." This caught their attention. "The details of the mission are in this scroll. Once you open it and read it, you are to destroy it immediately. From then, you two are on your own until you require assistance as the last time." She picked up a stack of papers and looked through them as she continued to speak. "According to Jiraiya, the time for that jutsu is almost up and that your target has already acquired a new replacement. Details of that are also in that scroll and your better judgment on the status of the replacement is in your hands, though you are to take into account the best interest of the Leaf before all else."
Itachi could feel the anticipation bleeding off of his brother. "What of the status of Team Seven during our departure?"
Tsunade shook her head. "Until your return, Team Seven will be disbanded and will fall under the command of Jonin Yamato. They are in good hands, Itachi."
"When do we leave?" Sasuke asked. Finally, we get to remove that bothersome cyst. Old Man Hokage will be avenged.
She looked out the window for a brief moment. Tsunade knew they would be gone for an extended period of time once more. She sighed. "I want you both gone by tomorrow evening at the latest. Take this time to finish any personal business. Other than that, you are dismissed."
The Uchiha Brother's stood in silence as the elder closed the door behind them. For a long moment they stared at the wall in front of them before they turned to themselves and nodded. No words were spoken, but the hidden message that passed between their eyes was as clear as day to those who understood them. They were about to embark on another black ops mission; one which could change the face of the shinobi world as everyone knew it. Unlike their previous three year assignment hitting the Sound where it hurt the most, they were now going to find and assassinate one of the most powerful and most feared figures throughout the Elemental Nations.
Words could not describe the anticipation they felt. The kid gloves were about to come off and the world would soon witness the last of the Uchiha cut loose.
"It's that serious, huh?" Twin pairs of onyx eyes glared at the senbon chewing Jonin leaning up against the wall nearby. They both knew he heard nothing inside; the seals that protected the Hokage's office prevented noise from echoing beyond the walls but not vice versa – ANBU would have killed him if they suspected him of attempting to listen in despite the seals. Genma swirled his senbon left and right, eying the younger brother. "I got a bone to pick with you, kid. Just because you were gone for three years and come back thanks to Lady Tsunade's good graces, don't think that you can act like an uppity little prick around me."
Sasuke blinked. "You know I'm only joking with you, Genma. Didn't know you were such a sour puss." He flinched when Itachi elbowed his side.
"Stop being an uppity little prick, little brother. And Genma, you know he was only joking, right?"
Genma sighed. "Whatever. So, taking off for a while, again?"
Itachi nodded to his brother and the shorter-haired Uchiha two-finger saluted the pair and disappeared with flourish of flames. Two lazy eyes stared at each other for a moment. "It seems that way. This time under most favorable circumstances."
"Anything you can share? Rank?"
"Classified, sorry." He made a few steps and slouched on a nearby bench, hands shoved into the pockets of his shorts. "I do have a favor to ask of you. And before you inquire, there are only two people in Konoha that could accomplish this and I have not seen the other since my return. So, that leaves me with you. And I would prefer that it was you."
Genma crossed his arms. "I'm listening."
"Naruto Uzumaki is my student, and I'm sure you're well aware of that being that you were his proctor during the Chuunin Exams before the invasion three years ago." He nodded.
"I remember him. I seen his training a few days ago. Hatake and Yamato is really putting him through the wringer. It's practically insane. What does this have to do with him?"
Itachi nodded. "As you know – officially," he added with finger quotes. "The Third's law concerning him is still in effect. Unofficially for those in the know, it is no longer valid since Naruto knows everything about his lineage and the power and history he carries with him. I'm sure you're also fully aware of Akatsuki, correct?" He received a nod of acknowledgment "I need you to help in his training. According to Kakashi, the boy is close to developing his own jutsu based on nature manipulation and in the mean time he is being shown the basics concerning sealing jutsu."
"I think I get it." Genma pulled the senbon from his mouth and stashed behind his ear. It was distracting him from thinking. "You want me teach the kid about real sealing, right? Why can't Hatake do that? That Sharingan he has helped him learn so much over the years." The look he received from the Uchiha silently said – Are you serious?
"You and I both know that Kakashi's mastery of seals is good, but not great. The Sharingan allows one to copy jutsu, but it takes lengthy study, practice and repetition in order to perform said jutsu. Just because you copy a jutsu does not equate being able to instruct others in it's usage. Also, anyone who has even a salt grain of brain cells knows that Lord Jiraiya of the Sannin is the best seal master of this village. You, Genma, are the second. And unlike Jiraiya, there is only one other who knows the jutsu of Minato Namikaze."
It suddenly hit Genma at what the Uchiha was getting at. "He's too inexperienced to know the Flying Thunder God Jutsu. Even as the container, without the proper seal knowledge and experience, he'll kill himself and everyone around him using a space-time jutsu of that level."
"It's his birth right, Genma. He has the right to learn the technique that made his father the most feared ninja in the ninja world."
Genma sputtered. That he never knew. "W-What-?!"
Naruto groaned loudly as he sat himself down at Ichiraku's and planted his face on the counter. He was so hungry right now he could eat Old Man Teuchi and Ayame out of business, but couldn't pay for all of it or want to lose his favorite source of ramen. It was all Kakashi and Yamato's fault and their crazy training. Despite his legendary stamina his body hurt, his feet hurt, his his arms hurt, his brain definitely hurt and he could have sworn he broke both of his wrist from all that damn writing his clones and himself have been doing.
At least the chicken scratch he called handwriting upgraded good looking chicken scratch.
"You look like someone that made the mistake of training with Mighty Guy."
"Oh, hello Sasuke." Naruto didn't even bother lifting his face off the counter to greet his teammate. He decided that the Itachi approach to life would benefit him until his ramen showed up. "Sakura coming, also?"
The sharp-eyed genin nodded to Teuchi that he wanted his usual. "I talked to her earlier. She is on double duty at the hospital tonight and cannot make it. She sends her regards and to not over-work yourself."
"Now sweet," Naruto muttered. An idea suddenly popped in his head. "Hey, can I borrow those eyes of yours so I can copy down all these seals scar-face wants me to work on so I don't have to kill myself every time I practice them?"
"Please...?" He nudge the Uchiha with his elbow and tried to tempt him. "I'll give you personalized autographed edition of Pervy Sage's new book... just for you! Come on, Sasuke, you know you want it!" The fact his voice turned sing-song just disgusted the Uchiha.
"I would rather die."
Naruto grumbled. "It would have pissed off the Fox if he saw me with those freaky eyes. Oh yeah, he wants me to tell you that he wants to rip your head off and use your blood as ketchup for when he eventually devours us."
"Such a pleasant guy, that Demon Fox." His sarcasm just rolled over their heads. Early that morning he delved into Naruto's mind-scape and came face to face with the Nine-Tails Fox Demon. They had a very cordial conversation involving it wishing to do some sort of unsavory things he could not quite understand due to the clone of Naruto sitting at an equipment station censoring the Fox. At least he confirmed that Naruto's mind was indeed a sewer after casual observation. "Remind me when we're old men to laugh at him when he's stuck in there and we're out here."
"Who are you talking about, Sasuke?" Ayame inquired as she brought them their bowls.
"No one in particular." She shrugged her shoulders and he waited until she was out of ear shot to retrieve the blonde's customary second bowl. "We got of mission." That got Naruto's full attention, enough to pull him away from his bowl.
Sasuke shook his head. "No. Itachi and I. We're heading out again. Long term. Don't know when we'll be back." Naruto frowned.
"Is it like the last time?"
"Does Sakura know?"
"I told her before coming here."
The two sat in silence, only the slurping of noodles and the sounds of people milling about filled the air. The two looked as they were both in deep thought as their minds tried to figure out what to say, or what the other was planning to say to the other. But most of their attention was centered on the hot steaming bowl of broth, noodles, leaks, ginger, chashu pork and seaweed.
"When do you leave?" It was Naruto the spoke first. His voice held a little sadness knowing his best friend would be gone and he may not ever see him again.
After another long bout of silence, Sasuke finished his bowl while Naruto was starting his third. The black-haired shinobi casually pulled out his favorite brand of cigarettes. Out of respect to the owner, he made sure he blew his smoke away from the counter. Seeing Naruto's sour face at seeing his habit, he decided to change subjects. "So, is the smut reader teaching you anything useful?" The grin on Naruto's face could have blinded anyone. Did his teeth just shine?
"I'm soooo close to getting this new jutsu down pat!" he exclaimed with a wave of his arms. "But Kakashi-sensei has me split my clones between working on that and practicing writing down seals." He stuck his tongue out at Sasuke while waving his limp hand. "It sucks."
Sasuke rolled his eyes. "Using seals should be in your blood. You're an Uzumaki, after all." Interesting how a little research could bring such a treasure trove of realization. His brother confirmed it just before Team Yamato returned from the Land of Grassy Fields. He blew out a stream of smoke that looked like a tiny fireball jutsu. "You have an even greater pedigree than Itachi and myself, so you need to keep working hard to live up to it. Only one person in this whole village could lay claim to being related to the First, Second and Fourth Hokage and the last descendant of an entire village. Be lucky you have it so easy, Naruto."
If the blonde was feeling the weight of those words, he did not show it. He paused in thought before moving his eyes onto his fifth bowl. "What about you?"
"The Uchiha name is soiled by the number of traitors throughout the years. Madara, Shisui, the entire clan down to my own father. We can't even walk down the street without getting a nasty look. Shoot, they might as well put our family name right next to the word traitor in the dictionary." He took a long drag of his smoke before snuffing the end and flicking it away. "But we will overcome this stigma. Adversity is just another way of building character." With that he paid his freight along with a generous tip and made his way to leave. "I have errands to run. Team dinner at the compound tonight."
Naruto's fist clenched, his chopstick snapping in his strong grip. He quickly finished his bowl and left more than enough to cover his bill. The weight of Sasuke's words finally sunk into him, and it made him sick to his stomach. He had seen it when they were together, the looks that were mostly directed toward him were more focused on his partner. Eyes that portrayed the hatred of one person upon another. All for what? Something that was outside of that person's control? Sasuke knew how he felt during his academy days, and that made both of them kindred spirits, or whatever it was called. That alone fueled his desire to become recognized by the people and he knew that if he wanted to earn the title of Hokage, he could not waste his time here stuffing his face.
Dinner was a somewhat quiet affair with Sakura taking a break from her second shift at the hospital to attend. Besides the expected bantering, everyone enjoyed the sound of Naruto explaining and complaining about his latest training and some sort of prank he pulled on Yamato involving a rubber band, paper clip, duct tape and a banana cream pie. Sakura felt sorry for the pie; it probably tasted good.
But as their blonde and pink-haired teammates departed for the night, the Uchiha brothers were gone. By midnight the Hidden Village within the Leaves was miles behind them and the pair was fast approaching the border country of the Land of Hot Water under the guise of night. They were lucky. It was a new moon and the world was practically pitch black for those that were untrained for this environment, but they were Uchiha and they had an advantage over those who did not possess the correct equipment or special eyes that could pierce the darkness. Their plan was simple – the border between the Land of Fire and Land of Rice Paddies was considered contested territory with Konoha in the majority control thanks to their previous clandestine operations. This time they would enter the Land of Hot Water and move into the Land of Rice Paddies via connections at the Hot Spring resort near the Hot Water/Rice Paddies border where the infamous Comet Club was located. From there they would enter the Land of Rice Paddies, re-establish their network of informants from Jiraiya's network and strike at Orochimaru's eastern hidden base.
They had spent the night hidden in an niche at the base of a mountain, away from the eyes of travelers, the skulking eyes of Jashinist and the occasional patrol of Hidden Cloud ninja. At the moment, those were their biggest threat considering the tension between the two villages. While they did not display their affiliation as per their regulations or flaunt who they were, their combat style and penchant for using fire jutsu could easily identify them as Leaf ninja or the most observant could label them as the last two loyal Uchiha. But Itachi spent most of his time as an operative working this country and knew all the nooks and crannies that would get them by. And after a brief chance to catch shut eye and recuperate, they entered the Hot Spring Resort as a pair of traveling salesmen from the Land of Rice Paddies.
Evening had settled throughout the huge tourist city, formerly known as the Hidden Village of Hot Water. Not only was it famous for being a former shinobi village, but the hundreds of hot springs that made it a popular tourist attraction. Ever since the destruction of the famous Hekireki Ontou – Thunder Hot Springs – by rogue shinobi, the former Yugakure's popularity has grown bringing hot spring fanatics from all across the Elemental Nations. That is, much to the displeasure of the Land of Lightning and benefit of the still existing Hot Water Shinobi that openly defend the city. Ironic how the once hidden village closes shop and suddenly becomes a huge tourist attraction raking in hundreds of millions of ryou every fiscal year, dwarfing your former hidden villages monetary income exponentially
The city was openly patrolled by Hot Spring shinobi and by order of the Hot Water Daimyo, the city was neutral territory and a first ever accord with all of the Elemental Countries was signed agreeing to this pact. The only shinobi allowed to operate in this city were the Hot Spring Shinobi who founded it. They acted as the police force of the city. Popular rumor suggested that the various ladies that worked in the pleasure houses, specifically Lady Blossom's, were the city's equivalent to Konoha's ANBU and Kumo's Kinkaku Force, but that was just hearsay and fairy tale brought up by old men and drunks with nothing better to do.
With the status of the city, it made for a perfect cold war setting. One could not openly operate in such conditions with Hot Spring shinobi constantly patrolling day and night and prying eyes watching every suspicious move. Foreign shinobi openly displaying their affiliation were kept on constant surveillance while most of the general population – civilians and tourist – were typically ignored. And that is where a spy would place himself, blending in with the common rabble and hiding in plain sight. So as the sun set off in the distance and the city's night life came out to play, no one really paid attention to a couple of rich-looking brothers walking down the main thoroughfare ignoring the looks of women, and some men, thrown their way.
"Did we have to go with the business suits, Aniki?" Sasuke grumbled just low enough for Itachi to hear, hiding the fact that he was adjusting his collar while nodding to a pair of very attractive women in more common kimono's. He was not a fan this sort of clothing, preferring the more typical shinobi style.
Itachi rolled his eyes. "Consider this a lesson in espionage, little brother. The most dangerous mission is the one that you must complete without utilizing a single jutsu and not break your cover."
"Right.. that will be the day."
"Trust me, Sasuke. Everything will work out fine."
Famous last words.
The Comet Club. Found right in the heart of the entertainment district of the city, this establishment was the mastermind of a retired shinobi from Hoshigakure, the Village Hidden in the Stars. At first it had started off as a simple club to bring in patrons and allow them to bask in the shinobi theme of his establishment, but soon the level of sophistication began to rise and the demographic quickly changed to the upper middle class and more high class clientele, the latter possibly being hidden shinobi with an unknown affiliation. Active ninja, missing ninja and even a few S-ranked criminals could be found in this particular club and were welcome with open arms as long as they opened their wallets. Anyone with a recent bingo book may or may not find someone here. Yet, no one paid heed to any of them, or at least dared to.
The unwritten rule of the Comet Club – Leave your shinobi business outside. No one wanted to catch the wrath of the owner. Retired be damned; the Mysterious Peacock Method of the Hidden Star was not to be reckoned with.
The club was adorned with various authentic or replica collectables from all over the Elemental Nations. In one corner one could find a picture of 'The Valley of the End' where the status of Hashirama Senju and Madara Uchiha stood after their famous battle. In another hung half-sized replica swords of the Seven Swordsman of the Mist along with individual mask from the infamous Undertaker Squad donated by anonymous shinobi. To many Rock ninja's distaste, several of the famous tri-prong kunai of the legendary 'Yellow Flash' Minato Namikaze of the Hidden Leaf were on display in various trophy cases, all of them real blades found on the battlefield in the Land of Grassy Fields. In one section various marionettes stood in combat poses in the garb of Sand ninja, a tribute to the Hidden Sand's puppeteer brigade. Various other articles from minor villages dotted the walls and trophy cases, most of them being more legitimate than replica, but the Hidden Cloud seemed to be absent in terms of shinobi presence in the establishment. What they lacked in shinobi articles, they made up in other areas. Their best example being a large picture of a hulking tanned skinned man with platinum blonde hair and a very well trimmed goatee in some sort of urban pose showing toughness. Around his image were several gold discs indicating album sales, each personally autographed by him. Killer B was a famous figure within the Land of Lightning.
Weird things must take place in the Hidden Cloud.
In the back rooms of the Comet Club, a very familiar blonde whistled as he diligently mopped the floor of the restroom. Several flushes of the lavatory could be heard, but he paid no attention. One by one he checked the stalls, doing enough to make him look busy but just enough to not do a good enough job. A 'not a shinobi' person in a business suit casually washed his hands and made his way out. At the exact moment the restroom door closed behind him, Deidara put down the mop and began his preparations
"So the man says to me, if you really want to do it good, you gotta do it right," he muttered to himself. With a screw driver he popped open a service door in the wall the size of a locker and began pulling out several duffel bags filled with his special clay. "And I says; sure, what do I gotta do? And he says to me; you do it the old fashion way. None of this chakra crap. But I says; wait, but how can I make my art without chakra?! And he says; you're a smart kid, you should know this. You make your C4 bombs, but only smaller and you use a mechanical timer with electric detonator. No one will be able to detect it and when the clock strikes twelve.. BOOM! And I go; YEAH BABY! Because I'm the evil midnight bomber, that bombs at midnight! BWAHAHAHAHA!"
"Umm... is the restroom out of order? I can wai—URK!"
Deidara lowered his arm after throwing the kunai currently embedded in the man's neck. He caught the body before it hit the floor, quickly dragging him over and tossing him into a utility closet. "Hmph. That will teach you for interfering in my business. Hmph."
His attire as a mild mannered janitor was quickly exchanged for the uniform of one of the many civilian servers that worked the establishment. In other words, he wore his typical shinobi uniform provided by Akatsuki and wore a cloak and hood that did not have red clouds. With his pouches of explosive clay hidden under his 'disguise', Deidara attached his anti-genjutsu eye piece and adjusted his hair and hood to hide his little device before exiting the lavatory and meshing into the throng of men and women patrons. The number of witness would soon grow as the night moved on and that brought a sinister smile to Deidara's visage.
First, I will attach my bombs to the support structure of the building. Then I will target some of the 'not shinobi' patrons. Seriously, hmph. How do these stupid rogues and low rank and file call themselves shinobi wearing those obvious get ups? No wonder why their villages do not even bother hunting them down and killing them off. They would end up dead before they need to lift a finger, hmph.
He made his way through the club, occasionally filling the role as a waiter in this establishment. He would reach a support column, covertly apply his C4 device and casually make his way. Keeping in role, he took orders from patrons to gain access to the employee's only sections to deliver his special treat. The other employee's paid him no heed believing he was meant to be there given how active he was in attending customers and the professional attitude that he brought. He was so focused and on task that he bumped into a well dressed patron, nearly knocking both of them down.
"Watch where you're going! Hmph." He grumbled, completely out of character that he wanted to portray. The man said nothing so he moved on.
True art waited for no man.
Getting into the Comet Club was easier than the last time they were in the area. Unlike the time before when they had to bullshit their way in and grease some palms, they were on 'the list'. That was to be expected considering who their contact was and what city they were in. Even if the local Hot Water ninja had eyes and ears everywhere, their contact just knew things they did not. Given their own skill level at blending into their surroundings, being identified immediately by first name and using a family name unique and well known only within the Hidden Leaf came as a stark surprise, but they did not show it. And much to many hopeful patrons, the club was full and only these two drop-dead handsome gentlemen were allowed in.
The steady rhythm and bass beat of the dance floor speakers vibrated throughout the spacious and well decorated club. Sasuke could not help but slightly bob his head to the rhythm of the music, getting accustom to the club vibe and in the mood to party. With a nod from Itachi, the younger Uchiha went off and did what any good youngest child of a rich merchant mogul would do – he partied like a rock-star, stole everyone else's bitches, made it rain in the club and didn't give a damn who he pissed off. And as mentally disgusted as he felt doing this, it never failed to get him what he wanted. That old pervert Jiraiya was probably the greatest genius and bravest man in the world and he did things like this openly while regular joes like him had to be a bit discrete in their identity
No matter the result, Sasuke always got what he wanted.
Itachi played the role of the annoyed older brother, scoffing at his siblings antics and portraying himself as the sophisticated aristocrat who had more money than you and could afford to hire a private ninja army to make sure you're never seen again. His aloof yet regal demeanor made both men and women become wary and curious of his person, though he merely acknowledged a person's presence with a simple nod or casual greeting.
"Watch where you're going! Hmph."
He dusted himself off and glared at the retreating server, his eyes fading into his Sharingan and blasting the fool with a quick flick of the black flames of Amaterasu. At least, that was what Itachi was thinking as he commented about the rude and careless behavior of the servant staff loud enough for a few of the other waiters and waitresses to hear. He was quickly consoled by a few others and offered drinks complimentary of the house for the actions of one.
"Again, we apologize for the rude behavior of one of our servers, m'lord," said a beautiful woman in her mid to late thirties as Itachi sat at the bar in the VIP section. She wore typical attire for someone of her profession – tight, posterior accentuating pants, a white buttoned long sleeved blouse, a black dress vest and a bow tie around her neck. "Is there anything I can get for you? On the house."
"One dry martini. Shaken, not stirred." He was not ordering a drink. The barista smiled.
"An excellent choice for someone of such high esteem. Welcome back to the Comet Club," She set down her towel and leaned into the man's ear. "Itachi Uchiha."
"The club has changed in the last two years, Natsuhi. How is the young Hoshikage doing?"
The last question made the woman roll her eyes as the Uchiha referenced her son with finger quotes. The barista was a one time enemy of Team Seven, Natsuhi the Fallen Star, from the Village Hidden in the Stars several years ago. She was once an exiled shinobi on a covert mission appointed by her former Star Clan leader to monitor the activities of the village and prevent a lethal forbidden training method from being utilized on the current generation. Team Seven, minus Sakura, had been an instrument in discovering the conspiracy behind the village leader's assassination and the reinstatement of her kunoichi status. In more recent times, she had retired as an active ninja and had opened the Comet Club in the Village of Hot Water as a business venture to stimulate the Hidden Star revenue. In truth, this club brought a wealth of information into the hands of the Hidden Star and to Natsuhi in particular. She had hit all the critical vices – alcohol, gambling, women and sex. And while open soliciting was not allowed in this club, that did not stop a few of the professionals working in the red light district from coming to her establishment and procuring a few customers for a girlfriend experience.
It helped that they gave Natsuhi a cut of their profit and any information they spilled.
"Sumaru is doing well. The village had grown since we last spoke and our ninja have improved. We might even be considered a minor village in a few years." Her eyes shifted to the other Uchiha near the dance floor that was making a spectacle of himself and surrounded by women. "He should be careful of the tanned bimbo with the white dress."
"She's from Cloud. He would not let her get to close to him." They watched as he said something to the voluptuous blonde and she suddenly yelled something at him, turned and stomped away in a huff. "See?"
"Good boy. He knows better than to let cougars like her get what they want." She pointedly ignored Itachi's sarcastic eyes. "So, what brings you to my lovely establishment?"
"First things first, Natsuhi." He placed a small palm sized brick of clay with some sort of electronic device attached to it. She raised a questioning eyebrow. "I picked this off the server that bumped into me earlier. Now that I know what to look for, you have these planted everywhere. Any idea who?"
"What is it? I never seen something like this before." She picked it up to study it.
He casually leaned against the bar, crossing his legs and acted as if he was having a deep conversation with her. "The clay is very familiar. It is a chemical composition of various common clay minerals combined with wax and oil to make it very malleable. It is also infused with chakra using a special kinjutsu from the Hidden Rock making something as small as this a very big deal." Her eyes took on a look a familiarity after that tidbit of information. "Something you know that I don't?"
She sighed. "I should have known." She toggled a switch, much to Itachi's shock, and displayed what she assumed was a timed detonation. "It's set to midnight. Clearly the work of the Evil Midnight Bomber."
"The Evil Midnight Bomber that bombs as midnight. He's a foreign ninja turned terrorist from the Land of Earth. Word is that he got into it with the current Tsuchikage and stole a kinjutsu that was highly classified before joining some anarchist group and becoming a terrorist." She continued despite Itachi palming his face in disgust and realization forming in his mind. "Last that was heard of him was several months ago when he infiltrated the Hidden Sand and defeated their Kazekage and kidnapped him. They say he joined some organization of S-class criminals called Akatsuki and travels with Sasori of the Red Sand. His name is-"
Natsuhi blinked. "No, his name is Dei-"
"I'm quite sure that his name is Mid-boss." She looked at him with a gaze that demanded explanation "Obviously you do not understand nor could comprehend the level of annoyance someone like him can bring forth into one's life. He is an important figure in the Akatsuki organization, yet he somehow failed in his capture of the Kazekage, Gaara of the Sand. Someone of such mediocrity cannot truly be nothing more than a mid-level accomplice in the grand scheme of Akatsuki. Truly, someone such as him is only a mere stepping stone and a means to gauge the readiness of the heroes before they face the one true evil in the world."
After a moment, she thought of only one response to his explanation "What the fuck are you talking about?"
"Nothing." He picked up the device. "You're plan?"
"I have it covered." She waved over a server and handed him a note. The young man in black cloak looked over the note, glanced at the device, then nodded. He bowed and disappeared in a wisp of smoke. "It is always nice to have a literal army willing to work for low pay and generous tips."
Itachi snickered. "And it does not hurt that they are from your own village."
"Seriously, Itachi. You would think a retired kunoichi like me would not hire ninja from my a ninja village? Please." She procured a warm bottle of sake and a pair of cups. "Now, let us get down to real business while my people take care of this little distraction."
Deidara was on top of the world. A successful infiltration of the Comet Club and all of his precious little gifts were delivered with only a few hiccups and now it was only a matter of playing the waiting game. As he slipped out of the back of the club he dawned a pair of black box-framed glasses, a big fake nose and a big bushy blonde mustache and thick eyebrows that matched his hair. Now it was time to enjoy the town.
He cheered as he successfully scooped up a goldfish with the paper net. "Yeah baby! Hmph."
"STRIKE!" He shouted as the bowling ball smashed into the pins down the lane. He pumped his arm in celebration.
"Winner, winner! Chicken dinner!" a booth manager cackled handing Deidara a ticket for a several course chicken dinner at a local establishment. The blonde danced around with the ticket.
"Here comes the wind up.. and the pitch...!" Deidara dropped his leading leg, his body twisting forward as he whipped his arm in a wide throw. His hand released the seamed ball with everything he had and it shattered the bottle down range. "Winner!"
One particular note about the city was it's location. Known for the hundreds of hot springs spread throughout the valley, the city itself sat on top of some of the largest meaning that several corners of the city were large wooden boardwalks. These were just more of the many attractions for the city night life as the heat from the springs was enough to counter the cold night air like tonight. The lights from neon signage of the many clubs and restaurants reflected off the calm hot water, the steam creating a prism like effect that bathed the water in an aurora color only seen at certain times at night. It was around two minutes to midnight that Deidara returned to a bench near the water front a distance away from the Comet Club, arms full of various food, candies, prizes and cute stuffed animals to keep him company as he waited for the nights climax.
"Doo doo- doo-doo doo! Doo-doo, doo doo! Doo doo- doo-doo doo, I'mma waiting for the bang! Hmph."
The wooden bench creaked as someone sat down on the other end of the bench. Deidara chose to ignore the person, not even bothering to glance over thinking they were just going to get up and leave after a few seconds, especially when he hit them with a little killing intent. When they stubbornly failed to leave him, he glanced over seeing a black-haired, blue eyed young man in one hell of an expensive business suit relaxing next to him and gazing at the Comet Club. There was an air a familiarity, but he pushed that feeling to the back of his mind. His eye saw no genjutsu to hide, dissuade or charm him.
"Nice night we have here," the young man said. His eyes roamed over the prizes and the food the blonde stuffed into his mouth. "Seems like you have been enjoy yourself."
"Not very talkative, are you?" No answer. He snorted. "Did not expect so from someone like you. Oh well, then I shall just allow you to listen to how awesome I am." That got a glare from Deidara.
While the young man did his best to ruin Deidara's night, down below under the board walk and rising from under the water was a frog man. No, not some sort of weird hybrid of man and amphibian, but a man in a wet suit and respirator that allowed him to breathe underwater. The eyes of the man flashed red revealing the six-pointed red and black of the Sharingan. The younger of the two brothers quietly swam from his position under the board walk until he was directly under the location of where Mid-boss and his brother were sitting. Through the thin spaces between wooden boards he could see and hear his brother speaking all sorts of ill will about shinobi, the horrible clubs and their disrespectful servants and how many bitches that were all over his jock. He knew that when he referred to bitches, he was not only speaking of women.
What and idiot, Sasuke thought as he raised a thick looking water tight bag and stabbed a kunai into it to hold the opening above water. Why do I have to do this? That chick Natsuhi's people could of done this. But nooo... Aniki insisted that it would be me. Asshole! As he mentally bitched about the burden of being the younger brother, he careful placed a crap-load of familiar explosives above him against the bottom of the boardwalk. After the last piece of clay explosive was sticking to the treated wood, he closed his bag, grabbed his kunai and disappeared once more into the depths.
"...and that's when I gentlemanly informed him that his attire was terribly atrocious, and asked how my son was doing." He openly laughed in that annoying snobbish manner and touched Deidara on the arm, once again earning a glare that was pointedly ignore. "You should have seen the look on his face when he realized that it was I that slept with that whore he calls a wife and fathered his only child. I mean, seriously. They are both from the Land of Lightning and have that dark complexion and those typical eyes that you see from the more northern territories. He should have known something was wrong when his child was light skinned, dark haired and had my more dominant blue eyes. I mean..."
Deidara was working on a record, now. The man would have been dead ten times over by now, but there were too many witnesses and according to his watch he had a few seconds before awesome time.
"Well, look at the time." The man stood up and dusted off his pants. "It has been fun talking with you, Mid-boss." He flickered away with a murder of ravens.
Deidara's eyes widened. "Wait! Wha-"
"DAMN YOU ITACHI! I'M BLASTING OFF Agaaaaaiiinnnn...!"
As Hot Water shinobi responded and surrounded the gigantic smoking portion of missing board walk, Itachi watched as Mid-boss disappeared into the night sky, but unfortunately not out of their hair. At that moment Sasuke climbed out of the hot water spring and quickly divested himself of his wetsuit and show his perfectly dry business suit. A quick flick of his shoe sent it back into the water and he adjusted himself to look as dapper as possible. He gave Itachi an expectant look.
The elder brother took off the annoying blue contacts and nodded in the direction of their inn. "We leave in two hours. Orochimaru and his new host awaits us."
End of Chapter 54
The Evil Midnight Bomber is from an old saturday morning cartoon show episode. He was known for talking to himself by repeating what someone told him and narrating his own words as if speaking in third person. He was told that blowing up the Comet Club would make him the greatest super villain, but was foiled by the main protagonist of the series.
Any questions, comments or concerns? Thanks for reading.