Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto

"talking"

'thinking'

The Uchiha Secret

by chairomori

Chapter 9

-ooooooooo-

"Sasuke-kun!" Sakura's scream was replaced with surprise as the kunai hit a log.

"Well, Naruto, I guess we got here just in time!" A voice mused.

"Don't be so cocky! We never would have made it if I hadn't dragged you away from those hot springs, ero-sennin!"

"Naruto!" Sakura gasped in relief. "You're here!"

"Yup." Naruto grinned. "And I'm totally gonna kick butt! Especially with my new technique!"

'How inconvenient,' Shisui thought bitterly. "Kisame, let's get out of here."

"Whatever, but you've got some explaining to do," Kisame grumbled.

The two glanced at Naruto as they disappeared into smoke. "We'll be back for you later, Naruto-kun."

"Damn it! They got away!" Naruto cursed. "Sakura-chan, are you okay?" He went over to help her.

"I'm pinned to a tree. What do you think!?" Inner Sakura shouted. "Um, yeah. But what about the others?"

"All three of them have been hit with Tsukiyomi." Jiraiya answered. "We'll have to get them back to Tsunade."

"Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go!" Sakura argued.

"Just a second. I believe we have some clients to get. Naruto, help Sasuke into the house. I'll take the other two. Can you walk, Sakura?"

"Y-yeah. I think so," she muttered.

As the trio gathered everyone into Jime's house, they noticed its unnatural emptiness.

"Wait. Where is everyone? Weren't Maya-san, Jime-san, Aoi, and Chii here?" Sakura wondered. "Where could they have gone?"

"Probably hightailing it out of here."

She looked at Jiraiya. "What to you mean?"

"Naruto and I weren't just going on a training trip. We were actually headed back to Konoha to look up some info. It was suspicious the way that Maya was so wary of us. Apparently, she was a spy for one of the other villages. The scroll I found in the bird house contains detailed information on Konoha – probably from a long-term mission. As for 'Ko' as she called him, she must have wanted to keep him as some kind of bargaining chip in case they were discovered. She wasn't very smart though. Most likely, she's a lower level rogue ninja."

"What about he others?"

"Her husband was probably in on the whole thing as well, although it's relatively safe to assume that the two children were clueless."

"So what do we do now, ero-sennin?" Naruto pondered.

"Search the drawers and cupboards for anymore info we can find. I'll try to find any secret stashes in the walls. Then we'll set off for home."

-ooooooooo-

"This is all I could find," Naruto held up a Leaf hitai-ate and a shirt with the Uchiha crest.

"It must have belonged to him," Jiraiya nudged his head toward Itachi's direction. "Let's go then." He made the necessary hand signs and summoned a large load to carry everyone back to Konoha.

-ooooooooo-

A week later.

A fully recovered Itachi slowly trudged towards the Uchiha district, taking care to avoid meeting anyone. Upon arriving, he found it was eerily abandoned, dust and cobwebs everywhere, birds roosting in corners. He made his way through the entire compound.

"So it's true then. They're all gone," he said aloud. As he turned, he saw someone else was there. Sasuke.

"What are you going to do?" Sasuke asked, avoiding his eyes. There was an awkwardness between them, which was expected, given the circumstances.

"I can't do anything at the level I'm at now. I need to rebuild my strength first. Then, I'll find him." There was no question who he was referring to.

Sasuke quietly agreed. "I have to get stronger too. But al least now . . . I share the goal with someone else."

Itachi stared at him. "That was probably the corniest line I've ever heard."

Sasuke face-faulted. "You just ruined the moment."

"Whatever, otouto."

-ooooooooo-

Afterward

Two years ago, I started this story thinking I'd promptly finish it in a few months and begin a sequel. Two years ago, I had grand plans for this fic, involving long chapters, intricate characters, demons, bloodlines, and adventure. Two years ago, I completely lost interest in this plot, and I planned to discontinue this story at four chapters.

A year later, I vowed to complete this story no matter what – despite the lack of inspiration and time. I planned to complete that vow this summer, as I have. Even though numerous plot holes such as the demon, Shisui's and Maya's motives, Naruto's new eyes, and Itachi's future riddle the story, I will leave it up to my readers' imaginations to fill them in.

I've feel I've grown a lot as a writer and this fic and plot doesn't portray it; therefore, contrary to my prior plans, there will not be a sequel to this fic. Originally, I planned to have an almost entirely different turn of events which would inevitably sew together these gaping holes; however, as I do not plan on writing a sequel, nor will I, they will remain unfilled.

I'd like to thank all those who have read this story and those who have left reviews. Ironically, I didn't receive very many until after I became irritated and posted the discontinuation sign – go figure. Anyway, for those few of you who are still reading this, I appreciate you guys sticking with me despite the flagrant errors I've made in this fic and the utter lack of good quality it possesses.

At long last, it's finally time to lay The Uchiha Secret to rest. I'd like to say a final good riddance to this story and good bye to all my readers.

Good Bye and Good Riddance,

chairomori