Disclaimer: I do not own any wrights to Naruto or Shadow Skill. I merely use their characters and themes for entertainment purposes.
Tsunade had called the meeting with the people that were going into the Akatsuki strong hold. After she was told Sasuke had escaped from Orochimaru and returned and then passed out she immediately went to the Hospital to treat him herself. Along the way she had been told the severed head had been checked and to her and everyone's surprise in the village it turned out to be Orochimaru's. Most could not believe it but the evidence spoke for itself. Sasuke had fought and killed Orochimaru. When Sasuke regained consciousness a few hours after his treatment he told the Fifth Hokage everything that happened. Tsunade was shocked to see such a young shinobi take out one of the strongest shinobi in the world on his own. Then again another had taken down the Eight Tailed Beast not more than two weeks ago. For a moment she was actually frightened by the shinobi her own village was producing.
When everyone was gathered at the Hokage Office Tsunade began, "Alright people here is the plan. We now know the location of Akatsuki's base thanks to Uchiha Sasuke. It is at the Ryo Temple at the Stone Cliff Country Boarder. You all have been selected to assault the strong hold and take out Akatsuki by any means necessary. You are to stop them from freeing, using, or summoning any Tailed Beast and rescue Garra of the Desert and Uzumaki Naruto. Up to the entrance of the Temple you will be accompanied by several Anbu incase any member of Akatsuki escapes or if you are too late. You know your targets and your goals you leave immediately." The large group of shinobi left the gates of Konoha heading to the west. As they traveled Jiriaya took the lead each mentally preparing for the fight of their lives.
A day after the assault team left Shizune was making her rounds at the hospital when she came to a floor with several nurses in a panic. Wanting to find out what was wrong Shizune reached out and grabbed one of the nurses and demanded, "What is going on?"
"One of the patients cannot be found," answered the panicked nurse.
"Which one?" Shizune had a feeling she already knew whom it was.
"The patient in room 321," the nurse said, "Uchiha Sasuke."
"Do not bother searching for him," Shizune said. "He is not even in the village anymore much less the hospital." The nurse was confused but Shizune ignored them leaving the hospital to inform Tsunade.
In her office the Fifth was talking with the Third, "Does it get any easier sending so many out to possibly just die?"
"No it doesn't," The Third answered. "Every time you send them out you want to join them. Keep them safe, especially the young ones."
Tsunade was about to voice her agreement when Shizune burst into the room, "Tsunade-sama, Uchiha Sasuke has left the hospital!"
The two elder shinobi became silent for a few seconds before Tsunade said, "Thank you for informing me Shizune." Her assistant bowed and exited the room after no longer being needed. "We were both expecting this," Tsunade said to her teacher. "How long do you think it will take him to reach the others?"
"He is about a day behind them," the Third said. "But he is traveling on his own at his own speed. And even with his injuries he should be traveling faster than Jiriaya's group. They can only move as fast as their slowest person." He then thought for a moment, "I would say he would reach them by either the third or fourth day."
"So just before they enter combat then," Tsuande concluded. "Do you think he will be of any help?"
"Possibly," the Third answered, "He is quite strong and smart but will be more fatigued then the rest. There really is no way to tell at this point."
At the Akatsuki base the nine members were gathered together beginning the process to summon the last Tailed Beast. Kugi and Zetsu returned with the news that they were unable to kill Orochimaru because his Sound Four interfered. They told that even though they killed them quickly it was enough time for Orochimaru to escape. When they went looking for him the witnessed the battle between Orochimaru and Sasuke. Concluding that they needed to get back and warn of the impending attack the two returned. When they came back Akatsuki wasted no time preparing the summoning.
"Everyone into your places," Aoba ordered. The eight other members moved to the eight stone spheres and began doing the same hand seals in synchronization. Aoba himself stayed where he was and began chanting in a language no one could understand.
On the floor Naruto was still immobile and could nothing but watch as the Akatsuki began the ritual. "From what I have over heard it will take at least three days to complete the process," Naruto thought. "The seals under me keep me from summoning my chakra, even the Language of Martial Arts wouldn't call up enough to break the paralyzing jutsu. All I can do is hope that someone comes fast enough to stop this."
After three days of travel the group stopped to make final preparation. They were just two hours away from Ryo Temple and were checking to make sure they knew everything they had on them. It would not do well to reach for a weapon and suddenly they find out it was not there. It was at this time that Sasuke finally caught up to the group. He made no greeting except to walk right to Juriaya and ask, "I am going after Itachi." Everyone there already knew to expect this so no one objected.
The only statement that was made from Isalia, "He's all yours kid. But you are still injured so I'm coming as back up. I'll only interfere if some tries to interrupt." Sasuke nodded, it was good enough for him as long as he could finish his brother off he did not care who was there.
After the rest Jiriaya announced, "Alright. Let's get a move on we cannot waist anymore time here." Everyone silently stood up and once again ran in the direction of Ryo Temple.
While they were running a small plant moved following their movements. In the Akatsuki base Zetsu, not missing a single seal, said, "More than a dozen people are heading this way. We only got a few minutes until they arrive."
"Then we must stall them yeah," Deidera said.
"We'll use our real bodies to fight them," Kugi said. "Just remember to leave enough chakra to maintain control of the spheres."
"I'll go first, yeah," Deidera said. "I can hold them with my lucky numbers." With that Deidera's eyes suddenly became pure white and her normal smirking face became totally blank.
In another room Deidera's real body blinked as her mind entered. She then made a few hand seals and disappeared form room. She reappeared out side the cave and made her way to intercept the assault team. After a half an hour she spotted them and began a few hand seals. "They're strong, yeah, so I should use number 11 to start." A clay bird came out of her hand and flew off in the direction of her enemy.
While they were traveling Neji had his Byakugan activated so to keep an eye on every angle. He was in the middle of the formation when he spotted a strange looking bird coming toward the group. Focusing on the bird he noticed it had an explosive note inside of it. "Everyone get down!" he warned. Everyone immediately dropped just as the bird reached them and exploded in a huge explosion.
After a few seconds everyone stood up clearing the dust the bomb produced. "Gai, Lee," Jiriaya said, "There is your target." The two green clad shinobi nodded and jumped in the direction the bird came from.
It did not take Lee and Gai long to find their target. In fact she was standing in the open waiting for them. "Only the two of you, yeah. Must not think very much of me, yeah."
"Quite the contrary," Gai said, "Because of you status you have the honor of fighting Konoha's two Green Beasts." He struck his pose along with Lee. Whispering he said, "Remember Lee, we hit and run and divide her targets." Lee nodded and dashed off towards Deidera.
Seeing the direct charge from what she assumed was the son of the older one Deidera smirked bring another clay figure, in the shape of a spider, out and threw it at him. "Here's my number 2," the clay spider raced toward Lee and when it was about half way to him Lee changed directions. To his surprise the spider split apart and while one continued on the other veered off towards him.
Seeing that he did not have time to dodge Lee pulled out a kunai and tossed it at the clay spider. The impact caused the spider to explode far enough away so he was not be caught in the explosion but close enough for him to be hit by the shock wave. "Almost got me there," Lee thought. "I should use the smoke to get away." Using his speed Lee dashed for cover before the smoke cleared.
Gai had moved long before the spider split. But just like Lee he threw his own kunai and caused an explosion. The difference for him was that because he was further away he was not affected by the shockwave. "I have to get closer," he thought as he also moved from his spot.
Deidera had lost sight of Lee because of his closer proximity to the blast. But she was able to see Gai move just fine. "I'll use my homing ones this time, yeah," she said to herself. Two clay figures came out of her hand and took the shapes of two four winged birds. "Here you go, yeah." The clay birds flew away at incredible speed homing in their target.
Gai was alter enough to dodge the clay bird that came at him almost as fast as he could more. However because he jumped to avoid the first one he had to through a shuriken to stop the second. Like before it caused an explosion, but this one was twice as large as the first and the shockwave hit him. The result was him flying back and twisting in mid air causing him to have see the other coming at him giving him just enough time to cover up as the first bird impacted against his arms. Thanks to the plates he had in his Jounin Flak Jacket he would survive but for the rest of the fight he was out.
Hearing the first explosion Lee turned just in time to witness the second. "GAI-SENSEI!" he called out, but it was no use he saw his mentor crash into the ground even before Lee had a chance to try and catch him. Forcing back his tears Lee thought, "No more holding back." With that thought Lee undid the bandages in on his arms, "Hachimon Tonkou Dai-Roku, Keimon! Kai!" chakra then began to surge through body and then he dashed off in the direction of Deidera.
"What was that?" Deidera wondered as she felt incredible chakra explode from the area. The answer she got was a powerful kick to the chip sending her hurling into the air. Before she could even register what happened a series of blows followed that were stronger than anything thing she ever felt before.
Lee was just finishing the combo that would lead into his strongest move. After punching Deidera and sending attaching his bandages to her, Lee pulled her back up performing, "URA RENGE!" slamming his fist and foot into Deidera's body sending her crashing into the ground below. After the Taijutsu technique was performed the effects of the gates wore off causing Lee himself to crash into the ground below.
A few minutes after Gai and Lee left the group continued on. Another few minutes of traveling they came close to a river with Kisame standing there waiting for them. Neji wasting no time activated the Raijin and his Byakugan and attacked.
Kisame saw the attack coming. He was more than surprised to see the Raijin in the hands of the young Konoha shinobi. For a moment he forgot he was part of Akatsuki and remembered that it was every member's of the Seven Legendary Swordsman of Mist to face the Raijin. He brought Samehada up and blocked the strike. The shark man could feel his sword trying to absorb the chakra of the Raijin, but it was just to much and the lighting blade remained firm. Jumping back Kisame thought, "So this is what it feels like to fight that sword," he smiled, "This should be fun!" He charged his opponent and the two began a swinging and blocking, countering and pairing. After the first few exchanges Kisame could tell this person was not an experienced swordsman. His cuts were very basic and lacked fluidity. What made up for it was the precession and flexibility of the user. On more than one exchange Kisame came close to scoring a hit only to see the other bend over backwards to avoid the hit.
Neji was cursing hit lack of proficiency with the sword. He was only able to avoid the deadly shredding of the Samehada because of his Byakugan. As he moved in for another swing Kisame blocked and countered once more. This time instead of countering with another swing of the sword Kisame grabbed Neji and slammed him into the ground. Neji quickly rolled out of the way to avoid the Samehada. But not before hitting Kisame in the leg at some of his Chakra Holes. "Combine Gentle Fist and Kenjutsu and I should be able to win this." With renewed confidence Neji attacked once again this time after having his sword blocked he hit several places of Kisame's arms with his free hand.
Kisame felt his arms burn as Neji continued to use Gentle Fist whenever the two would get in close. Because of that Kisame decided to keep his distance. Jumping onto the river Kisame put his hands in the water and used, "Goshoku Zame!" the water then took the shape of five sharks and surged towards Neji.
Neji seeing the attack deactivated Raijin and placed the handle in his clothes. When the sharks were close enough Neji performed, "Hakke Kaiten!" the spinning mass of chakra blocked the five sharks attack kicking up water several meters into the air. That was when Kisame thought would be the best time to attack, under the cover of the water. Unknown to him however was the Byakugan's ability to see through any object. And because of this he was prepared and waited until Kisame was at just the right distance. Then when Kisame was less than two meters away Neji said, "Hakke Rokujuu Yonshou!" he then struck Kisame closing all of his Chakra Holes forcing them closed making Kisame pass out because of the pain. When he was done Neji was breathing very hard, "I need to see if I can catch up to the others."
After catching his breath and eating a Soldier Pill Neji dashed to find his comrades. Along the way he caught witness to another fight involving Sakura Temari and their opponent. See this he paused to see if they would need assistance.
Isamu had just launched into the air and began flapping his wings at an incredible rate making gale force winds rain down of on the two girls. Temari for her part was having trouble opening her fan to counter the wind. And Sakura could not hit Isamu because he was out of range of any of her jutsus. "Temari divide his targets." Temari nodded and dashed away from Sakura.
With Isamu's bat ears he easily heard Sakura's voice over his own wind. Thinking up a plan he decided that Temari was the more of a threat because unless he could keep her from opening her fan than she would be able to match his wind with her own. So after checking to see which direction Temari went in and to make sure his back was not turned to Sakura he flew quickly after Temari.
Temari had moved no more than a hundred meters when she was picked up by another blast of wind and slammed into a close by tree. She looked up and saw Isamu smiling at her causing her to cringe. "I really hate bats!" she thought. "Damn it Pinkie where are you?"
"If you're hoping for you're friend to save you then don't be she has not moved since you split up," Isamu said.
"You find you're targets by sound just like a bat?" Temari asked.
"Yes," Isamu smiled again causing Temari to flinch. "I have the same hearing as a bat." He was expecting to hear her hear speed up like before indicating fear, but this time however her heart actually slowed.
Temari smiled, "That's what we wanted to hear."
"What?" Isamu asked. His questioned was answered when he noticed a small microphone sticking out of he collar. Then he heard the most ear splitting whistle coming from both in front and behind, "AAHHHH!" he screamed in agony as he griped his extremely sensitive ears.
Back with Sakura she was blowing on a high frequency whistle into her microphone, "The plan actually worked." When the two though of this they were not sure if it could work. They had to know just how bat like Isamu was. And when Sakura heard his confession that was all she needed and started blowing the whistle. "Not going to waist this!" She then charged towards Isamu still blowing into the whistle at full blast. In a matter of seconds Sakura was right behind the Akatsuki member and jumped flipped forward and slammed her heal into the back of his neck.
When Temari saw what her partner was doing she took her fan and swung it and at the very moment Sakura hit the back of his neck, Temari hit the front. The end result of the duel strike was the death of the Akatsuki member. "Well that worked out better than I thought," Temari smiled.
"Yes," Neji agreed coming up to the two young women, "It was an excellent strategy to use your opponents strength as his weakness." The two nodded in thanks, "Now we must catch up to the others."
Zetsu had been observing all three fights and reporting to the others, "All three have failed and are either dieing or dead."
"We just need a few more minutes to complete the ritual," Kugi said.
"Then we should seal the entrance," Jubei said. "I shall go, we cannot afford to loose anymore chakra or else the summoning will fail." Jubei then left the temporary body and awakened in his real one. He calmly made his way to the entrance of the cave just as the Jiriaya's group came up to it.
Kakashi seeing his target went to the front, "I guess it's my turn then." He then revealed his Sharingan in preparation for the fight.
"No it's not," Jubei said. He then began forming hand seals very quickly.
Kakashi recognizing the seals became wide eyed and warned the group, "Get back he's going to collapse the cave!"
The others were surprised but listened anyway and jumped back as far as they could just as Jubei finished the hand seals saying, "Doton: Iwa Yado Kuzushi." The entrance of the base then began to shake as several of the boulders started to fall from the ceiling. With his job complete Jubei left the now collapsed entrance to continue his part in the ritual.
Outside the closed entrance Kankuro was furious, "Now what do we do?"
"First you calm down," Jiriaya said. "Then we start digging."
"Kuchiyose no Jutsu!" Kakashi said slamming his palm into the ground. After the smoke cleared there were several dogs of various breeds sitting in a circle. "Start digging." The dogs barked and got to work soon followed by the everyone else.
Inside his cell Garra was about to break free of his paralyzing jutsu and chakra dampening jutsu. Over the time of his imprisonment he had been able to gather small bit of chakra, enough for him to form and move his third eye around in order to observe his surroundings. He had used the eye to watch the ritual and saw the actions that led up to Jubei leaving and then coming back. After that he dispelled the eye and used the sand to start to break some of the seals under his body. It took a few minutes until broke the chakra dampening seals. That was all he needed, now that he had access to all his power he was able to fully break the paralysis jutsu. "I need to get to Uzumaki."
Garra then followed the path he found earlier with his eye to the chamber where the ritual was being performed. As he got closer he could feel the release of large amounts of chakra and the chanting of the leader's voice. When he came in Garra watched as the Akatsuki members finished the hand seals ending in one he had never seen before. Thinking quickly Garra commanded the sand he was able to collect and sent it towards the strange writing and the seals under Naruto.
Aoba was just finishing the last part of his chant when Garra's sand broke the pattern on the floor. When he saw what was happening screamed, "NO, DO NOT BREAK THE PATTERN!" But it was too late as the sand had already reached Naruto and broke several of the runes and seals.
The breaking of the seals and runes caused an imbalance in the chakra in the room. Worst yet was that Aoba had completed the summoning ritual and now not only was charka flowing at an uncontrollable fashion but it was not making a constant drain and re-infusion back in the spheres and Naruto making both begin to surge in power. "We must leave here at once!" Aoba ordered.
"Why is that?" Asked a scared Zetsu.
"The result of the imbalance has caused the spheres to crack," Aoba answered. "Soon the Tailed Beasts will be loose. And not only that the Nine Tails is also being pulled here as well."
Outside everyone was in the middle of digging when a sudden surge of chakra blasted the forth from the once collapsed entrance. Without any warning everyone was blown back, but most were able to recover enough to land safely and catch those that did not recover. When they looked up they saw about half a dozen people coming out of the entrance. Everyone immediately went on guard; that is until another wave of chakra caused everyone to be blown away from the cave. This time it took a few seconds for everyone to recover.
When Sasuke woke up he saw Itachi standing not far away from him. He was about to attack when Itachi spoke, "I do not believe now is the time for our fight Sasuke."
"And why is that," came Sasuke's cold response. His answer was a primal roar coming from the cave.
"That is why," Itachi said.
"What happened?" Jiriaya asked.
"Garra interfered with the ritual and caused an imbalance," Itachi answered.
"Then how do we stop it?" Jiriaya asked again.
"The only one that could tell you that is now dead," Itachi gestured to the body of Aoba with a piece of sharp rock stuck through his chest.
Jubei came up to the three and said, "I would recommend we leave here if I thought I would do any good." Jiriaya was about to ask why when the most horrifying sight he ever witnessed came.
The mountain that housed the cave where Akatsuki was based burst open in all directions. What came out was not lava but something or some things far more dangerous. Each one of the Tailed Beasts that Akatsuki took slowly exited the resulting creator. The only thing on everyone's minds was, "Oh Kami."
After near endless silence after the violent actions just minutes ago the Tailed Beasts continued to surround the crater as if they were waiting for something else. Or perhaps a better statement is someone else. For from inside the crater a figure emerged. All of the Tailed Beasts observed the figure as he walked out, almost as if wondering whom or what it really was. When the figure came into sight of the humans they were surprised to see that it was Naruto. Only his feral features were much more pronounced and there was a red aura around his body. But what surprised and scarred those from Konoha the most was the nine foxtails made of chakra flowing behind him.
Naruto calmly made his way out and to the humans. When he was less than two meters from them he looked at them then turned and looked up at the Tailed Beasts. The silence was broken by a entirely dual grumbled and smooth voice from Naruto, "Leave, return to your layers, you will be sent back later by Darkness."
"And what of you Kyuubi?" the Eight Tailed Dragon asked.
"I can not at this time," Naruto/Kyuubi answered. "I may join you later or I may not. I do not know at this time."
"Very well," the Dragon spoke. And one by one the Eight Tailed Beasts left surprisingly silently.
Next Naruto then approached the humans, or at least one human. "Hinata-chan," Naruto/Kyuubi said. "I must leave. I do not know if I can return this time. If I am able to return then I will." Hinata not trusting her own voice could only nod. In reality she could even fathom what had happened to Naruto, but something in the back of her mind told her that if she did not let him go something very bad would happen. And not just to them but to a lot of other people. After her nod Naruto/Kyuubi wrapped Hinata in his arms and tails and then pulled back. Not saying another word and a burst of red chakra later he had vanished.
Several minutes of complete silence past until the snapping of a twig behind the group broke the trance everyone was in. When they turned around they saw a limping Gai carrying a limp Lee in his arms. "Hinata, Lee needs you help."
Hinata responding to her name ran to the injured duo, "Set him down carefully." Gai obeyed and after a scan with her Byakugan she said, "I can stabilize him but he needs full treatment back in Konoha."
"Then we had better head back," Jiriaya said.
Everyone got up ready to leave when Sasuke stopped and started to look around, "What is it Sasuke-kun?" Sakura asked.
"I can't find Itachi," He answered. Everyone began looking for any signs of the surviving Akatsuki members and could not find any. "I have to find him!"
Sasuke was about to leave when Sakura grabbed his arm, "There has been enough for today Sasuke-kun. Let him go."
Sasuke was about to protest when another voice stopped him. "You'll get another chance Sasuke-san," Hinata said. "Please let us all just go home." Sasuke nodded relenting to his friends. He could wait, and if he was being totally honest he was just too tired to fight.
The trip back to Konoha was slow and silent. Everyone was trying to figure out what to do. So much had been done and so much was left undone. Everyone was perplexed on how to actually describe what they witnessed. When they finally arrived Tsunade ordered a complete debriefing. The group then relayed the events that happened from the time they left to when they returned. Those that fought gave their individual accounts and the results of their fights, but Tsunade was not really listening to that part. She stopped listening completely soon after when she learned about Naruto. After the debriefing everyone was ordered not to tell anyone about the details of the mission, only that it was complete and that Uzumaki Naruto would be listed as missing in action.
After that everyone got back to their lives as best they could. Garra and his siblings went back to Suna and he began his training to be Kazekage in a few years. Isalia and most of the Saville tribe went back to Plains Country though a presence always remained as part of the treaty. Neji surprising many asked to join them and with Tsunade's permission he became Konoha's representative to the tribe. Sasuke thinking about his personal life got up the nerve to ask Sakura to be his wife, she of coarse accepted and the two have been planning their future ever since. Jiriaya went back to traveling to gather more material for his books. Lee was hospitalized for a few weeks but went back to active Anbu duty after his recovery along. Everyone else that was part of the strike force also went back to their normal duties. And finally Hinata moved back into the Hyuuga Compound not wanting to sleep in her and Naruto's bed unless he was in it.
One day Hinata was returning home from her duties at the hospital. It was mid September and the air was just starting to cool off from summer. Hinata was about to enter the grounds when her father came out to her. "Hinata, Tsunade-sama wishes to see."
"Did she why Father?" Hinata asked.
Hiashi shook his head saying, "All she said was that it was necessary for you to come to her office."
"Very well Father," Hinata said, "I will see you when I am done." She left with a bow and made her way to the Hokage Tower.
When she entered the Tower she found it almost completely empty as was mostly the case at this time of day. Hinata made her way up the stairs to the Hokage Office, and as she approached he heard voices from the other side, "After I found it he was there waiting for me. It took along time to finally get it out because it was part of me not just in me like last time."
"And how much to you retain this time?" Tsunade's voice asked.
"A little bit more than last time," the first voice said.
To Hinata it sounded too familiar to be true. He hesitantly opened the door and on the other side was a person wearing black and dark red with blond hair talking with the Fifth Hokage. When the door squeaked the figure turned to her and Hinata gasped when she saw the smile that was always meant so much to her, "Naruto-kun?"
"Yes Hinata," Naruto said. "I was able to come back. And know here I am." Hinata did not say anything she just ran the short distance and pulled her husband into the strongest kiss she could manage.
When they pulled apart Tsunade said, "Now that you're here Hinata we can re-plan the ceremony for your marriage here in the village next month." Neither of the two listened to the Hokage as they just stared into each other's eyes a sight both missed more than anything in the world when they were apart.