A/N: Yo people, it's been a long, long while. And I know this isn't a whole lot, but hey, you guys deserve at least SOMETHING. On that note, I'll probably start updating this again every once in a while. It will still take me quite some time due to other matters, but I'll update it. And on that note, Chapter 45 (the one after this one) will probably be of epic length. Sorry that there's little new material in this chapter, but I had to write it nonetheless, eh? Anyway, I hope you still enjoy this chapter. I was too lazy to spell check it and make lots of paragraphs this time, so just bear with that for a bit. That's all for now.

Now on with the story!


Chapter 44:

Itachi's vision momentarily spinned around before it returned to the clear state of the normal world, just as he had left it. That is, with only one difference, Kakashi was on the verge of collapsing and fell down on all fours.

"What's wrong Kakashi? You still want us to keep our eyes closed?" Kurenai asked when she heard Kakashi fall.

"No...Don't...open them yet..." Kakashi panted, his body was tired and so was his mind.

"What happened? You suddenly fell down after he stopped talking!" Asume stated.

Kisame jumped from the street towards Itachi, landing perfectly next to him, "My, my...You didn't experience a mental collapse after going through that jutsu? However, Itachi-san...It's dangerous to use those eyes too much."

"He's right...I stressed them more then I usually did...Perhaps I should've just killed him...It seems that that would have been best for my own sake..." Itachi thought as his eyes twitched, still suffering from the after-effect of such a powerful jutsu as Tsukuyomi.

"Is it...Sasuke that you're looking for?" Kakashi asked as he looked towards Kisame and Itachi.

Itachi's eyes fell out of their cooling down process and were as straight and sharp as usual, "No...We're after the Fourth Hokage's legacy..."

"These guys...what are they..." Kurenai muttered as all three of the Konoha jounin gasped.

The wind blew through Itachi's hair and he stroked his bangs out of his face as he silently stared at the trio, awaiting there next move.

"You're after the Kyuubi within Naruto, aren't you?" Kakashi stated, making Asuma and Kurenai gasp, "I know that you two aren't the only ones running around...Your organisation was called...Akatsuki, wasn't it?"

Itachi's eyes momentarily widened and he noticed Kisame was surprised too about the fact that Kakashi had knowledge of their secret organisation.

"Akatsuki?" Asuma repeated.

"Kisame..." Itachi said fierce, Kisame instantly coming to attention, "We're going to take Kakashi-san with us...Let's have the other two...disappear..."

Kisame readied his Samehada and charged towards the jounin, ready to take Asuma and Kurenai out.

"Konoha Strong Whirlwind!" Water rose up and a person kicked Kisame away from the Jounin, causing Itachi to narrow his eyes at the figure.

"Who the hell are you?" Kisame asked as he gracefully landed next to Itachi.

"Konohagakure Noble Green Beast, Maito Gai!" Gai said as he struck his infamous nice-guy pose and his teeth sparkled in the sunlight.

"Look at yourself, perhaps you meant to say a dodo..." Kisame said as he raised his sword up behind his arm.

"Don't underestimate him..." Itachi whispered to Kisame.

Kakashi collapsed just then and Gai picked him out of the water, throwing him over his shoulder.

"Don't look in Itachi's eyes, Gai! You'll get trapped in his jutsu!" Asuma remarked.

"I already know that. I took into consideration how to counter the Sharingan while I was fighting Kakashi.You two, open your eyes already!" Gai exclaimed.

"B-But..." Kurenai protested.

"When fighting a sharingan-user you just have avoid eye contact and keep your eyes on his feet and predict his movements by that alone."

"He figured out a way to counter genjutsu of the Sharingan...Impressive, but countering my Sharingan won't be enough to beat me..."

"It's true that that makes some sort of sense..." Kurenai said as she opened her eyes.

"But you're about the only guy who can do that, Gai." Asuma said as he opened his eyes as well.

"You're right. Anyway, get used to it for now." Gai said.

"What are we going to do?" Asuma asked.

"Kurenai, you take Kakashi to a medic squad as fast as possible. Then, while we wait for the ANBU reinforcements I have arranged..." Gai said and got into his fighting pose, pointing with the back of his hand towards the two Akatsuki members, "We'll fight them."

"Interesting, you've got a lot of guts..." Kisame said and got ready for battle as well.

"Kisame...We're going to leave it at this..." Itachi stated, surprising all present on the battlefield.

"But..." Kisame protested.

"We didn't come here to start a war. Unfortunately, fighting right now is nonsense...We're leaving."

"Just when I started getting excited..." Kisame placed his Samehada between his arm and his side, "I guess it can't be helped..."

Kisame and Itachi simultanously jumped off, leaving the four Jounin from Konohagakure alone.

"What are we going to do now?" Kisame asked once they reached a more secure part of Konoha.

"It's obvious...Find Naruto-kun before they find him...I'll dispatch some Kage Bunshin..." Itachi stated and with that, he started dispatching his Kage Bunshin.

"Unfortunately, Misu Bunshin have smaller range then Kage Bunshin...not to mention they need water to be created..."

"Isn't the water density in the air enough to create them?"

"Yeah...But they need a lot more chakra to be created...Your Kage Bunshin should be enough to handle the job."

"Yes...Let's hurry..." Itachi stated.

It didn't take long before word arrived that Naruto had left the Village along with Jiraiya and the two Akatsuki members did not hesitate a moment to follow their trail.

They were heading towards Otafaku and Jiraiya and Naruto had stopped near a traveller's shrine in order to have lunch and say their prayers for a safe journey.

Kisame and Itachi rested upon a small mountain, gazing down below upon their target and his guardian.

"Perhaps you can fight him evenly, but I can not...He's too strong."

"Even if we fought him together, we'd both die...Or if we're lucky, we'd kill him in the process of being killed ourselves...Either way, if we fight him head on, we'll die..." Itachi stated, going over the possibilities of just how he could fight Jiraiya.

"His caretaker is one of the Legendary Sannin...Kirigakure's Seven Shinobi-gatana and Konohagakure's Uchiha clan seem petty and small before him..."

"Yeah...Even if we increased in number, the results would be the same..." Itachi stated and then narrowed his eyes upon the white haired man, "But...Every enemy has his own weakness..."

"Then...what would be the weakness of the frog tamer of the Legendary Sannin?" Kisame questioned Itachi, who in return gave Kisame his ice cold emotionless look.

"The one thing that is the weakness of Jiraiya of the Sannin is his libido..."

"What are you talking about, Itachi-san? How can that be..." Kisame abruptly shut up and a devious smirk crossed his face.
"The problem is finding a woman that could fit that could fit the tastes of a pervert like him..." Itachi stated as he turned his gave upon the landscape below again.

"Hm...Going back to camp and getting Kayoko-chan would be too much trouble...And there's no real guarantee that in that town there are any well shaped women,with at least C-cupped with a seducing look in her eyes and an equally seductie outfit to match...Also, we don't know what Jiraiya-sama likes in woman, blondes...brunettes...red heads...black heads...any color of the rainbow heads..." Kisame mused.

Itachi turned around again and stared silently at Kisame, who was feeling awkward due to Itachi's stare, "What?"

"I think it takes a pervert to know a pervert's taste, Kisame...And fortunately, you and I both know a certain person that is pervert..."

"Hm, You talking about birdbrain, aren't you? Well I never thought that he'd take an interest in women...Then again who knows what he might have done with those two hotties from five years ago..." Kisame rubbed his chin, being deep in thought to ponder about his new thoughts.

"Kisame..."

"Yeah?"

"I'm not talking about Dorimaru..."

"Huh? Then are you talking about Arashi-sama, because I'm sure that he keeps Neesan..."

"Arashi-sama isn't it either..."

"Then who?!" Kisame said mildly frustrated.

Itachi rose to his feet and silently stared at Kisame, letting it all sink into his brain.

"..."

"..."

"...Me?" Kisame said hesitantly.

"Yes you, Kisame..." Itachi replied as he closed his eyes.

"Itachi-san...I'm not a pervert..." Kisame retorted.

"Even not when I have a C-cupped, well-shaped, seducive looking woman under the full control of a genjutsu, ready to do litterally anything on my command?" Itachi raised an eyebrow at Kisame, who looked stunned for a moment.

"...Well, I guess there might be a pervert hidden somewhere deep within me after all." Kisame grinned widely, obsession clearly visible in his eyes.

Not long after that Itachi and Kisame were going through the lodging town of Otafaku, having gained a slight momentum to find a beauty that fit mainly Kisame's tastes.

Naruto and Jiraiya were just departing from the shrine as the two Akatsuki members raced as fast as possible towards the town, so they should have a couple of minutes to find a nice lady to fall victim to Itachi's genjutsu.

They lingered in the shadows, conceiling their presence. Which was a futile effort because with Kisame's panting and drooling, even an first years student at the Ninja Academy could detect them.

"Hehehe...This lodging town has a lot of good catches...hehehe..." Kisame said as his eyes wandered uncontrollably over the female population of the small town.

"...Kisame..."

"Hm...How about that brunette, no...Her melons aren't big enough..."

"Kisame..." Itachi tried again to gain the attention of his partner in crime.

"Oh, that blonde over there as a nice rack! But...she doesn't have a pretty mug really..."

"...Kisame." Itachi narrowed his eyes at the blue sharkman, feeling slightly agitated.

"Oh! What about that redhead? She...Oh wait never mind, all she got is a pair of legs...not the whole package..."

"Kisame." Itachi said once again this time radiating enough intent to kill that a small rat near them actually ran itself into a mouse trap.

"Hm? What is it, Itachi? I haven't found the right woman yet." Kisame said as he turned around.

"May I remind you that we don't have much time left...?"

"I see...But so far, I haven't seen a girl yet that has the entire package..." Kisame replied and turned back around to find a girl.

"How about that one?" Itachi pointed towards a lady with long dark hair, who was wearing a sleeveless one piece dress, which was quite short as well.

Kisame's mouth dropped open and he started to drool enough that you'd think he was using a Suiton jutsu from his mouth, "Those legs! That nicely formed ass! That rack! And oh my god, that face!"

"...I take it that you like her..." Itachi said and as Kisame vigorously nodded, causing some drool to fly around, Itachi formed a handseal and faded out of sight.

He had to wait a few moments, for the woman had entered the store, but that did not matter, as he had to draw her attention for a moment and had yet to figure out how to do that exactly without drawing too much attention.

He looked around to see if he could find something for use. He took on step and accidentally placed his foot upon a small stone.

He lifted his foot up, look at the stone and then in the direction of where the woman would out of the store, a small smirk forming on his face.

Itachi held his foot ready and waited for the woman to come out of the store once again.

When she finally did, Itachi kicked the stone with precise aim and with some force.

As the stone hit the foot of the woman, she turned her head, looking directly at Itachi, even though she could not see him due to his Genjutsu.

Itachi activated the Sharingan, gaining control over the woman with his genjutsu and forced her to walk back towards where Kisame most likely was suffering from dehydration.

Kisame kept his eyes fixated on the lady Itachi had chosen for them to use as a distraction as Itachi hid himself in the shadows and dropped out of his genjutsu, "Kisame..It's time to find them."

Kisame stopped drooling, straightened up and wiped the last bit of drool out of the corner of his mouth, "Yeah, I guess so...Have you sensed their presence in this town yet?"

"Not yet, but that is where she comes in...I'll control her and have her walk around town, while we scout the area to see if we can find them..." Itachi pointed towards the woman and Kisame glanced at her, momentarily drooling again.

"You know Itachi...I was thinking...How about ehm...We...I mean, I take advantage of this situation and ehm..." Kisame grinned towards the hypnotized woman.

"...Kisame...We don't have the time for foolishness."

"Hey, I have time for a quickie..."

"Kisame..."

"Alright, alright..."

"Then...Let's have her head out and find those two..." Itachi stated and took full control over the young woman.

It wasn't long before Itachi found the large white haired Sannin and his new student and once he noticed the two of them headed into an inn, he send in the young woman to seduce the infamously perverted Jiraiya.

A single wink from the woman was enough to drive both Jiraiya and Naruto wild and as expected, Jiraiya decided to leave Naruto alone to go out with the woman.

Itachi kept the woman under his control, but he couldn't just blindly follow Kisame to the inn where their target was staying.

"Kisame..." Itachi said, picking up the attention of his partner in crime.

"What is it?" Kisame replied.

"It's time...I'll still control the woman in the back of my mind, but I can not make her do anything more difficult than smiling, nodding and winking. Well...And some other things like that...We need to move quickly..." Itachi stated.

"Then quit yer yapping and let's grab that Kyuubi kid." Kisame said.

As the two of them headed towards the inn to catch Naruto, Itachi quickly threw a glance at Kisame, "Kisame...Even though I'm sure that he will not find out fast enough that the woman is under my hypnosis, there is a chance that he will track us down fast enough."

Kisame snickered, "He's one of the Sannin...He won't be this easily dealt with. However, we might have luck on our side. Though somehow I know things will become troubling for us..."

"We'll just take Naruto-kun with us and head back to the closest hide-out...That's all there is to it..." Itachi stated.

"But..." Kisame said.

"There's no reason not leave them behind...They'll catch up sooner or later..."

The two members of the Akatsuki landed on the rooftop of the inn where Naruto and Jiraiya were staying.

"Discretion..." Itachi said but before he could say anything else, Kisame bashed through the door, "Is not the fastest way to do this..."

"Yes..." Itachi replied and walked passed Kisame and down the stairs.

"Why are we walking if we need to hurry up?" Kisame asked after a couple of staircases.

"Would you want to have anyone intercept us before we even got close to Naruto-kun?"

"Hmmm...But, do we even know where he is? We didn't see him enter one of the rooms so..."

"I saw the number of the keys Jiraiya-sama gave to Naruto-kun..."

"And..."

"One more floor down..."

The remainder of their small journey remained in silence until they were only a few feet away from the room.

"Kisame..." Itachi whispered as soft as possible, "Don't instantly show yourself...Your face imposes fear."

"Once we're out of this place, you're going to hear me rant all day why my mug is beautifull..." Kisame stated.

Itachi ignored the comment by his blue skinned partner and knocked on the door where Naruto resided.

When there was no answer, he knocked again and this time he could hear Naruto's voice come from the other side, "Okay!"

"Hai, hai...I'm opening it already..." Naruto stated.

As the door opened, Itachi shadow was casted over the rather surprised blonde shinobi and he stared with his sharingan into Naruto's crystal blue eyes, "Pleasure meeting you...Kyuubi no Jinchuuriki."

"But...To think that this little boy contains the Kyuubi within him..." Kisame stated as he stepped into view from behind Itachi.

When Itachi noticed the shocked expression on Naruto's face when Kisame said that, he decided that he'd better get straight to the point, "Naruto-kun...You are coming with us..."

Naruto gritted his teeth and clenched his fists as he stared at Itachi.

Unfazed by their targets behaviour, Itachi commandingly stated, "Let's go outside..."

Noticing that the two of them were dangerous to say the least, Naruto obediently stepped out side the room and in front of the two of them.

"Hmmm..." Kisame mused, "Itachi-san...It would by annoying if he moved around...Perhaps I should cut off a leg or two..."

Naruto's face turned from determined to shocked as Kisame grabbed onto his blade, Samehada.

However, Itachi didn't even hear Kisame's proposal as something else bugged him in his mind, "Someone's coming...Who is it?"

Kisame waited another moment for a reply from Itachi but got none other than silence, which Kisame took as a 'Yes' or a 'I don't care' from Itachi, "Then...I shall."

"Is it Jiraiya-sama...No...It's someone else...Hmph...Didn't expect that..." Itachi thought as he silently loosened his arm muscles.

"Long time no see..." Itachi said when Kisame was about to swing down his blade.

"Hmm?" Kisame halted and slightly turned his head around, "Looks like someone has found us..."

"Sasuke." Itachi said without going through the trouble of turning around to face his little brother.

"Uchiha Itachi." Sasuke said, spitting Itachi's name out like it was venom to his entire being.

"Uchiha...Itachi?" Naruto repeated as he shook in fear when he heard the name.

"Looks like my name imposes fear even more than Kisame's face...I'm surprised though that Naruto-kun has never heard of me before..." Itachi thought as he stared at Naruto.

"Oh...The Sharingan...And he's very similar to you..." Kisame said with a grin on his face, "Who is he?"

"My...little brother." Itachi stated, figuring there would be no use in lying any longer about the existance of one more Uchiha.

Itachi saw Naruto gasp and he had to say that he was slightly amused by the young blonde's reaction.

"I heard the entire Uchiha clan was killed..." Kisame stated the obvious, "By you..."

"Uchiha Itachi! I'm going to kill you!" Sasuke threatened.

"Is that so, Sasuke...? However, right now..." Itachi thought as he finally turned around to face his younger brother.

Momentarily, the two of them had their eyes closed, Itachi knew that Sasuke was having flashbacks of that faithful day so long ago as well.

When they opened their eyes again, Itachi had his same cold deadly look in his eyes as he always had and found out that Sasuke showed no fear of him, "Interesting...Looks like he has at least progressed enough not to be afraid of me...However..."

"Like you said...I hated you, detested you and just to kill you, I have..." Sasuke said as lightning like chakra gathered in his hand and began to chirp, "I've survived!"

"Sasuke!" Naruto let out.

"Chidori?" Itachi narrowed his eyes at Sasuke's attack, surprised to find his younger brother possessing the only original move of the Copy Cat, Hatake Kakashi.

"I'm going to...kill you!" Sasuke yelled and slammed his chidori against the wall before roaring loudly and charging towards Itachi.

"Die!" Sasuke cried out and pushed his attack forward, aiming to strike Itachi down.

"Naive..." Itachi thought as he quickly molded some chakra in his hand and smacked Sasuke's attack against what once was Naruto's hotel room and had now turned into nothing more than dust.

Itachi grabbed onto Sasuke's wrist and numbed his hand with his chakra.

Just then Naruto formed a handseal and started molding chakra, an event not left unnoticed by the two Akatsuki members.

"His chakra is filling up the space..." Kisame stated, "I see, this the Kyuubi's chakra..."

"You...!" Sasuke was about to punch Itachi.

"You're a bother..." Itachi broke Sasuke's wrist with one simple movement and his little brother cried out in pain.

"Sasuke! Damn it!" Naruto said and began flashing through handseals as fast as he could.

"Too slow." Kisame said and swung his Samehada down.

"Damn...Damn! Why isn't it coming out?!" Naruto cried out.

Kisame rested the blade over his shoulder, "My blade, Samehada...It can shave...and devour Chakra."

Kisame's blade moved and made crunching eating sounds as Naruto gasped in amasement and shock.

"It would be annoying if he used his petty techniques." Kisame stated, "Perhaps we should cut off his arms before doing it to his legs."

Kisame grinned and held Samehada ready to attack.

Naruto tried to mold chakra again, but it was futile and Kisame decided to state it for him as he raised Samehada above his head, "Futile."

When he brought down his blade however, smoke popped into existance in front of Naruto and Kisame's attack was blocked, "What?"

"You two...Don't know me very well..."

"Jiraiya the man!" Jiraiya said and posed dramatically, "Does not allow women to simply seduce him with their beauty! When you become great like me, women will go crazy over your beauty!"

Itachi stared at Jiraiya as he was stuck in his dramatic pose, "Looks like things have become a bit harder now..."

Jiraiya sheepishly grinned and let out even more sheepishly 'Ah...ah...' sounds while everyone present remained silent.

"Yeah, right! You were excited over a simple wink from that woman!" Naruto pointed accusingly towards Jiraiya and Itachi mentally nodded, "Naruto-kun does have a point, Jiraiya-sama..."

"I don't think you should be showing off like that right now, Ero-sennin!" Naruto yelled.

"Come on, now. Don't call me that in front of people." Jiraiya sheepishly grinned and rubbed the back of his head.

"Shut up'tebayo!" Naruto yelled and turned around to point at Itachi, "More importantly, these guys aren't just chumps, Ero-sennin! Ero-sennin!"

"Stop calling me Ero-sennin!" Jiraiya cried as he raised a fist up in the air.

Kisame snickered, "He is Jiraiya-sama, one of the legendary Sannin, after all...Even if you are an 'extreme' lover of women...I knew we couldn't keep you away that easily..."

"What?! They even know Ero-sennin's true identity?!" Naruto called out.

"Er...It's not really my true identity or what-not..." Jiraiya replied.

"It seems like you have dispelled the genjutsu from that woman." Kisame stated the obvious and Itachi mentally sighed, "Kisame, stop saying useless things already..."

Jiraiya stared at Itachi for a moment and then placed the woman against the wall, Itachi thought, "...Looks like we'll need a plan and fast too..."

"You're a disgrace to all men, using your eye to hypnotize a woman to seperate me from Naruto..." Jiraiya said and faced the two Akatsuki members again, "So you're after Naruto, after all..."

"...No wonder Kakashi-san knew...I see. You were the source of that information." Itachi stated and waited a moment before continueing, "...'Take Naruto-kun with you'...Our organisation, Akatsuki, has ordered us this and classified it as urgent."

Just then the frog popped out of existance and Kisame straightened up, Jiraiya glaring towards the two of them, "I can't hand Naruto over to you."

"We'll see about that..." Itachi stated, "Trying to take him out would be useless...We'll have to stop his movement and then escape with Naruto-kun..."

"Very well, I will get rid of you two here." Jiraiya stated and straightened up.

"Don't interfere..." Sasuke threatened as he slowly stood up again.

"The person...who is going to kill him..." Sasuke barely managed to bring out as he stood up, "Will be me!"

Itachi stared at Sasuke for a moment and then decided he should let him know what his desires were, "Right now...I have no interest in you."

"Shut up!" Sasuke called out and charged with his fist at Itachi.

"You leave me no choice then..." Itachi thought and spun around, kicking Sasuke in his guy and sending him flying across the hallway until he finally crashed against a wall.

"Sasuke!" Naruto called out, "Damn it!"

"Naruto! I told you to not interfere!" Sasuke replied.

"Still more...?" Itachi wondered as Sasuke slowly got up again.

"I told you before...I've lived up until now...for this moment...For this day!" Sasuke activated his Sharingan again and charged at Itachi with a loud roar.

"Sasuke...Do you think that you'll intimidate me with that roar of yours...?" Itachi thought amused as Sasuke charged at him.

Itachi blocked Sasuke's fist with his left hand and then used his right hand to hit him with one swift blow that send him back across the room, "...Is that all...? Or is there more...?"

"Not yet..." Sasuke barely brought out.

"He can't even form handseals any more..." Itachi thought as he looked at the damage he had done to Sasuke's wrist earlier.

"This is my battle..." Sasuke said, though the words seemed to be even harder to say than the last few.

Itachi narrowed his eyes at Sasuke, "Very well..."

Kisame noticed Jiraiya was about to step in, but he blocked his path, "You heard him...This is a battle between the two of them."

Itachi calmly walked over to Sasuke's partly broken body, "You said you lived to hate me...detest me...and lived up until this day to kill me...Yet you are this weak...It's been over five years and you have yet to master the normal form of the Sharingan...You're pathetic, Sasuke...Over the years your hatred has only become weaker...I can feel it...It has become a dull blade...I shall sharpen that blade once again for you to wield..."

When Sasuke noticed Itachi had stopped in front of him, he gritted his teeth and glared at him.

"Why haven't you become strong...Sasuke..."

"Bring it on then!" Sasuke jumped up and was ready to attack Itachi again, however, Itachi's knee was faster than Sasuke and mercilessly connected with Sasuke's stomach.

As Sasuke coughed up blood, Itachi hammered his neck with his elbow, "Why..."

He kicked him up again, "Why are you..."

Itachi's leg brutally hit Sasuke's ribs, "This pathetic...?"

"What would you do if Kayoko saw you like this...?" Itachi mused as he gave Sasuke an uppercut.

"What if Okasan saw you this weak...?" Itachi continued his beating on Sasuke, "Don't you want revenge for her...for everyone else...?"

"Why did you let your hatred dull like this...? Why..." Itachi thought as he punched Sasuke in his stomach.

"He's not going easy on him at all." Kisame grinned as he watched Itachi use Sasuke as a punching bag.

As Sasuke's body fell down on the grind and lie motionless there, though Sasuke was still conscious, Itachi picked him up and smacked him against the wall.

"You are weak..." Itachi told his little brother, "Why are you weak?"

"It's because you lack..." Itachi said and moved his head next to Sasuke's ear so he knew that this would stay with him, "Hatred..."

"Once more...I'll show you the results of...my hatred..." Itachi thought as he moved Sasuke up to eye-height.

Itachi momentarily closed his eyes and then opened them, activating his Mangekyou Sharingan, "Tsukuyomi..."

Sasuke watched himself fall endlessly until he stood as his young self in their old home.

"Is this...Could it be..." Sasuke said and shivered in fear as he looked at his own hands.

"That's right...This is our house..." Itachi stated.

"Father! Mother!" Sasuke called out as he saw his parents in front of him again, about to be slain by Itachi by one strike from his katana.

"You are weak..." Itachi said as he closed his eyes, "To still react like this...You are still a helpless child..."

"For the next twenty four hours..." Itachi stated, his eyes still closed.

"Stop..." Sasuke cried.

"...You will wander around hopelessly within that day..." Itachi opened his eyes again and a sinister smirk crossed his face.

"STOP IT!" Sasuke cried, a cry that was loudly echoed through the halls of the hotel where they truly were as well.

Itachi smirked, "Unfortunately, I can't do more than this...Controlling the time too much in Tsukuyumi would be a big mistake when still having to face one such as Jiraiya-sama..."

As Itachi recited the phrases he had told his little brother that faithful day, Sasuke screamed out even more in the real world.

"Being cruel as usual." Kisame sounded satisfied and amused at the same time, "He used Tsukuyomi on his little brother..."

"Itachi..." Itachi heard his voice being called out from the outer rims of the illusion he had created for his little brother.

As Itachi spitefully watched that faithful day over and over again along with his little brother, he slowly moved out of the illusion, though never taking his eyes of the Uchiha members of the council that tried to strike him down.

"Itachi." He heard his name again and slightly turned his head, glaring from the corners of his eyes at the presence behind him.

"And what does the moon godess want this time...?" Itachi asked.

"Leave this boy to me...Right now you aren't controlling the time nor space very well...And you have more pressing matters to attend to...Like saving your life from certain death..." Tsukuyomi said and pushed Itachi's head with one finger.

"Saving my life from certain death...?" Itachi wondered as he found himself back in the hallway, Sasuke's body limp in his grasp.

He could faintly hear Naruto yell something at him and soon the footsteps came closer.

Itachi turned around and instead of noticing Kisame rushing towards him, or rather after Naruto, he saw Jiraiya place his hands on the floor and within mere seconds, the entire place was covered with what appeared to be a gigantic intestine .

"What's this?" Naruto wondered out loud.

"Ninpou: Gamaguchi Shibari." Itachi heard Jiraiya calmly say and Sasuke was pulled into the wall of intestines.

"Well...Isn't that a rather interesting technique..." Itachi thought as he carefully pulled his arm away from Sasuke's throat.

Kisame let out a sound of surprise as he watched his feet slowly sink into the meat as well.

"You're out of luck, Itachi, Kisame. You're inside my stomach now." Jiraiya said and smirked at the two Akatsuki members, "I summoned the esophagus of a gigantic frog from the Myouboku Mountain's rock inn."

"You two are wanted criminals anyway. I'll turn you two into food for this rock frog, no?" Jiraiya said and smirked wider.

"What is this?" Naruto wondered again.

"Naruto! You just stay where you are...Don't worry, this is my technique." Jiraiya stated.

"Kisame...Come." Itachi quickly ordered.

Kisame pulled his feet out of the meaty ground and moved forward, only to find his precious Samehada stuck too.

He quickly pulled it free and started running towards Itachi.

"It's useless! No one has ever escaped from this before..." Jiraiya stated.

Itachi started running too and Kisame soon caught up with him as the wall of meat started to move and chase after them.

"The wall of meat is closing in on us." Kisame stated as the wall of meat kept drawing closer each moment that passed.

He stopped a moment to turn around and slice some of the meat away, but when more meat just kept on racing towards them, Kisame continued running after Itachi, "The wall is faster than us...At this rate..."

Itachi closed his eyes for a second and channeled more than half the chakra he had left towards his eyes, "Amaterasu!"

When he opened his eyes again, the build-up chakra released a sound due to the pressure and a mere second later, black flames blew a large hole in the wall in front of Itachi and Kisame.

Not wasting another moment, Kisame and Itachi jumped through the hole and started to rush away from the inn as fast as possible.

As they jumped over a small river, Kisame looked at Itachi and asked him, "Why must we retreat? You could've..."

Itachi interrupted Kisame before he could finish his sentence, "Right now there is no need to hurry with Naruto at his current level. Also...I must rest myself somewhere for a while."

The two of them landed on the water and jumped again, "I foolishly used Tsukuyomi...and was then even forced to use Amaterasu..."

Itachi deactivated his sharingan and narrowed his eyes as they continued making their way out of the lodging town.

"But...We're in a shitload of trouble right now..." Kisame stated.

"Yes...I know...However, Arashi-sama probably understands that we had no choice but to retreat, since we were facing Jiraiya-sama..."

Kisame chuckled, "There's no need to worry about Arashi-sama right now..."

Itachi turned his head towards Kisame and looked him straight into his eyes, "What do you mean?"

"That you should worry about the present future rather than the future that is a bit further away then that..." Kisame grinned widely.

Meanwhile, at their camp, the local lumberjacks were slowly losing their jobs.

"Aaaah!" Kayoko let out as she cut down another tree with her katanas, "Where the hell is that bastard?!"

"I wake up to find those assholes gone!" Kayoko lashed out against another one of the trees.

"I think they're out to get breakfast for us already and then they don't show up for over 5 hours!"

"They're seriously pissing me off right now! Aaaaaaaah!" Kayoko cut down another bunch of trees.

"...Maybe I should fly out and search for Itachi-san to warn him..." Dorimaru thought nervously as he tried his best not to end up in one of the trees that Kayoko decided to cut down.

"We're back..." Itachi said as he and Kisame landed in the centre of their camp site.

"Oh crap, looks like I thought of that a bit too late..." Dorimaru thought and decided to partly hide behind a tree, not wanting to see what followed.

Kayoko slowly turned her head around to face Itachi, her presence being a mere shade of herself as flames of anger erupted from her body.

"YOU BASTARD!" Kayoko yelled and lashed out at Itachi with her two katanas.

Itachi momentarily narrowed his eyes in surprise before quickly spinning his body around, avoiding Kayoko's first katana and then grabbing a hold of her second one and forcing her to point the blade at her own neck, "What's all this about, Kayoko?"

"You..." Kayoko said in a threatening tone to Itachi and her facial expression showed at least an equal amount of anger.

That was untill her stomach loudly grumbled, causing everyone present to sweatdrop.

"Oi...Kayoko...You..." Itachi said hesitantly, not sure what to say right now.

Kayoko sheepishly grinned, "I'm hungry, can we eat?"

Itachi sighed, "Very well...I'm hungry as well...Kisame?"

"Yeah...I'll be back soon then...And er...I suggest someone is going to start up a fire with all that chopped down wood over there..." Kisame said and then headed off to fetch them some lunch.

Itachi walked over to a tree and slumped down against it as Kayoko sheathed her katanas again.

She crossed her arms and gave Itachi a sharp look, "Where the hell have you two been?"

Itachi closed his eyes and after being silent for a moment or two, he replied, "Don't worry about it...It's none of your concern..."

Kayoko's eyes sharpened as she took out one of her katanas and stabbed it into the tree, barely an inch away from Itachi's head, "You went away for more than 5 hours and you expect me to let you off without an explaination? Where the hell have you been, Itachi?"

"...Information gathering for Akatsuki..." Itachi lied as he opened his eyes and stared into Kayoko's eyes.

Kayoko withdrew her katana from the tree and placed it back in it's sheath before dropping down next to him, "What kind of information?"

"Regarding the Kyuubi's jinchuuriki...That's all I can tell you." Itachi said and closed his eyes again.

"And that took you five hours?" Kayoko raised an eyebrow at Itachi.

"That's correct...It's not like you can get information about him at just any random place..." Itachi replied, "Also...People asking questions about other people are suspicious so..."

Kayoko slowly nodded, "You know...You look somewhat tired too..."

"Hmmm...Is that so...Well, I guess I didn't sleep very well last night..." Itachi replied, "Just what is she trying to get at with these questions...She's better off not knowing what happened a few minutes ago..."

"Ah...I see." Kayoko replied and nodded, "You suck at lying, Itachi..."

Itachi gave Kayoko a casual look from the corner of his eyes, "What makes you think I'm lying?"

"You lack yawning...Why do you lack yawning...It's because...YOU'RE LYING!"

"That line...It sounds familiar..." Itachi stated as he closed his eyes and put on a scornful expression on his face as he pondered.

"Don't change the subject!" Kayoko jumped on top of him and shook him back and forth, "You and Hoshigaki went out to assasinate some Daimyo or something, right?! There was a big bloodbath and I missed out on it, right?!"

"The truth is..." Itachi managed to bring out and Kayoko stopped shaking him, "The blood spilled was..."

Kayoko nodded and Itachi placed his index finger a bit more than a nail's length away from his thumb, "This much..."

"That's more than I got out of cutting down these freaking trees!" Kayoko pointed accusingly to the cut-down, obviously non-bleeding trees.

"Kayoko...If we were away for five hours...and you've been cutting down trees all this time...Couldn't you have cut up some animals instead of trees and get us lunch and...by the looks of it dinner and breakfast as well...?"

"Animals excluding birds." Dorimaru stated as he carefully hopped onto a treebranch.

"Excluding birds." Itachi repeated as he looked into Kayoko's eyes, which had gone quite empty and lifeless.

Kayoko held up her katana inside it's sheath and pushed the katana partly out of it with her thumb, "I'm going to kill you for making me realize that..."

"Kayoko...I'm not in the mood right now to run around for no reason..." Itachi closed his eyes and moved away from underneath of Kayoko.

"Who ever said you need to be in the mood for it?" Kayoko asked as she stood up and grinned wickedly at Itachi.

"Well, I guess you're right about that...However..." Itachi said as he stood up as well and opened his eyes again, "Right now, I won't run..."

"What's up with that attitude...? Want to fight for real or something?" Kayoko looked questioningly at Itachi as she loosened her hold on her katanas.

"No...Not at all." Itachi replied, "Let's just get a fire ready and wait for Kisame to return with our lunch...Dorimaru, check up on Kisame and how he's doing with our lunch while Kayoko and I prepare the fire..."

"Understood." Dorimaru stated and flew off.

"There's not much to prepare for a fire, you know..." Kayoko stated.

"The sooner we get it done, the sooner we can eat and the sooner we can leave the Country of Fire..." Itachi stated as he gathered some wood for the fire.

"Leave the country? Something DID happen, didn't it?" Kayoko asked.

"No...It's just the fact that we have to report directly to Arashi-sama and also avoid the possibility of our presence being known to the local shinobi..." Itachi stated as he dropped the batch of wood he had collected onto the ground.

"In other words, something did happen..." Kayoko replied and gave Itachi a blatant look.

Itachi stared at Kayoko for a moment and then set the pile of wood aflame.

"See!" Kayoko pointed accusingly towards Itachi, "Something happened! Tell me already, damn it!"

"It is of no interest to you..." Itachi stated.

Kayoko grabbed Itachi by his collar, "Listen up, you bastard. It IS of interest to me, that's why I am telling you to tell me what the heck happened."

Itachi turned his face away from Kayoko for a moment, smirked for half a second and then faced Kayoko again, a sharp look in his eyes, "Very well then..."

"Today...We were ordered to capture the Kyuubi's Jinchuuriki." Itachi stated and looked straight into Kayoko's eyes.

"...You went to Konoha, didn't you. You'd have to if you planned on capturing him...So what happened? I don't see blonde haired kid around here..."

"We did. However, we didn't have the chance to capture him in Konoha." Itachi stated.

"So you spend five hours in Konoha looking for him or what?" Kayoko raised an eyebrow at Itachi.

"No...Kisame and I ran into Kurenai-san, Asuma-san and Kakashi-san..." Itachi stated and Kayoko's eyes momentarily widened, "Well...We tried to get past them without fighting, but they kept asking too many questions..."

"So they're...dead now?" Kayoko asked somewhat hesitantly.

"No...I took out Kakashi-san using Tsukuyomi, though he's still alive, and Kisame was about to make Kurenai-san and Asuma-san...disappear when another Jounin came to their rescue. He had an interesting way of countering the Sharingan's genjutsu abilities...I told Kisame that we were leaving, spending too much time fighting in a shinobi village isn't not quite a very strategic move...However, as we left we noticed that Naruto-kun and his protecter, one of the Legendary Sannin, Jiraiya were leaving the village...We figured out that they we going to a near by lodging town. We made haste and made preparations."

"...If you made preparations, then why did you...?"

"Fail in capturing the Jinchuuriki?" Itachi added and then closed his eyes, "We were about to capture him when...a bother interrupted us..."

"A bother? Hmph, for you to talk like that about one of the Sannin." Kayoko smirked at Itachi.

"No, I wouldn't classify Jiraiya-sama as a 'bother'..." Itachi calmly stated.

"Then...Who?" Kayoko asked, a serious expression on her face.

Itachi opened his eyes again and looked directly into Kayoko's eyes once more, "Sasuke..."

Kayoko's eyes went open and she gasped for a moment as Itachi just stared at her.

She hung her head down, avoiding Itachi's eyes, "What...happened to him?"

"Is that supposed to be a rethorical question, Kayoko? If you want to look for Sasuke right now, he's probably in a hospital and in a coma..."

Kayoko raised her hand and tried to smack Itachi in his face, but Itachi's reflexes were far faster and he grabbed a hold of Kayoko's wrist.

"What? Had you expected otherwise? That I'd hug him like you did, then tell him to go away because I'm working and he'd quietly leave?" Itachi stared at Kayoko, who looked spitefully at Itachi, "He wanted to have revenge for the clan on me...I told him I wasn't interested in fighting him right now...However, no matter how many times I told him...Even after I've evaded his Chidori and broken his wrist...Even when I had broken his ribs and almost knocked him out...He kept dragging on and on about how he had lived for up until this day to kill me...He drenched in the same arrogance as the rest of our clan did. All that arrogance, yet I only needed to use my chakra to remind him of the past and his hatred for me...Anyone with chuunin level taijutsu could've killed him..."

"You...Don't tell me that you used..." Kayoko said, her eyes trembling with rage, "Tsukuyomi on him...That's why you're so tired, isn't it? You used your Mangekyou Sharingan too much! What the heck did you do to him?!"

"Like I said...I just reminded him of the past and of his hatred for me...However this time, Tsukuyomi will probably leave him unconscious for a few months rather than a few days..."

"Why...?"

"He is weak...In the five years that have passed by since we left Konohagakure, I've progressed an infinite amount of times more than that he did. I'm surprised that they even allowed him to enter the chuunin exams on his level...Well...It's not like the Kyuubi's Jinchuuriki surpasses him by far...However, I would've suspected Sasuke to be at least able to put a scratch on my hands..."

Kayoko stared spitefully at Itachi for a moment before pulling her hand out of Itachi's grasp.

She walked away from Itachi, not saying a single word for the next few moments, "...Next time you do something like that without me around, I'll kill you..."

"Wouldn't you just stand in my way and try to shield him from it...?" Itachi asked, even though he already knew the answer.

"Yeah...I'll definitely try...You're not going to do something like that to Sasuke again without going through me first..." Kayoko looked over her shoulder towards Itachi.

Itachi smirked for half a second and then walked towards her, "Looks like I've underestimated you a bit...I didn't expect you to have such a resolve about protecting Sasuke from potential 'threats'..."

"Is that how you classify yourself these days? A potential threat?" Kayoko raised an eyebrow at Itachi.

"No...Not at all...However, it's just a reminder that there lies no future for you in Konoha. Nor does it with Sasuke...Don't forget your current place..." Itachi coldly stated.

Kayoko snorted it off and slightly rose her head up, "My 'current' place isn't something that lasts forever..."

"We'll see about that..."

"My, my..." Kisame said as he and Dorimaru came back to camp, "Looks like we have an aweful timing, ne birdbrain?"

"What makes you say that, tunaface?" Dorimaru asked, "Looks to me like we came back with the food just in time..."

"The fire hasn't even been started yet..." Kisame stated and gave Dorimaru a sharp look.

"Ah...My apologies...I forgot..." Itachi said, turned around and ignited the pile of wood they had gathered with a small Goukakyou no jutsu.

He then threw another look at Kayoko, who stared coldly back at him.

"Well then...It's about time to have lunch..." Itachi stated as he stared just as icily back at Kayoko before turning around and heading towards the fire.

"So...You two had a lover's quarrel, eh?" Kisame snickered as he held his fish on a stick into the fire.

"Do you have a death wish?" Kayoko threw a glare at the former member of the Seven Shinobi-gatana.

"It was nothing of the like, Kisame..." Itachi stated as he stared into the fire.

"There's no need to hide it, is there Itachi-san?" Dorimaru asked.

Itachi threw a look at his comrade, who remained silent.

"Hmph...Did you use Tsukuyomi on him as well?" Kayoko snarled, "About freaking time..."

Dorimaru's fierce falcon eyes stared at Kayoko and that was enough of an answer.

"Don't be foolish..." Itachi replied and took his fish out of the fire, "I use these eyes only when I find it absolutely necessary..."

"Tsch..." Kayoko let out and looked away.

After they finished their meals, Kisame quickly put out the fire with a Suiton jutsu before they headed back towards the Akatsuki hideout.

The border however was still far away by the time night fell again and that meant the time had come for them to set up camp once again.

"Then...We'll spend the night here." Itachi stated as they reached a small clearing in another forest.

"I suggest we skip dinner..." Dorimaru suggested as he carefully eyed his surroundings, "Fire and the smell of meat will alert the local wildlife and possible shinobi."

"Even though I hate to admit it, it would be troublesome if we ran into a more than average shinobi squad right now." Kisame stated as he sat down against a tree, "My jutsu would catch the attention of the border guards in no time at all and Itachi-san probably still could use some recovery from today's fights."

"Heh...I could take them all on by myself." Kayoko stated and slightly tilted her head.

"Having our location known isn't the brightest of ideas." Kisame replied and shook his head, "Besides, we have the upper hand as long remain hidden."

"Kisame's right. One less meal won't kill us." Itachi nodded once, "One more on the other hand might..."

Kayoko rolled her eyes, "Geez...What has gotten into you two?"

Kisame raised his hand in the air, "I call fatigue and laziness. Itachi-san and I have been up since very early in the morning after all."

"Tsch..." Kayoko started to mutter to herself, "Weaklings...skipping a meal just because..."

"We'll each take turns guarding. Dorimaru's first, then Kisame, then Kayoko and I'll be the last one." Itachi stated, "Got it?"

"Yeah, yeah...I got it." Kayoko waved dismissively and sat down against a tree, "Let's get your oh-so-well deserved rest then."

Itachi stared at Kayoko for a moment before throwing a look at Kisame, who simply nodded once in reply.

"Then, good night." Itachi said and slumped down against a tree.

"Have fun being on guard, birdbrain." Kisame nodded towards Dorimaru.

"Yeah, I'll be sure to peck your head a few times when it's your turn to guard..." Dorimaru replied as he jumped up into a tree.

Itachi sighed and closed his eyes, entering his resting state.

When he felt that it was his turn to be on guard, Itachi opened his eyes again and stood up.

"...Something's wrong..." He thought as he instinctively activated his Sharingan.

It was far too silent in the forest. Not only that, but something in the back of his mind told him that he needed to be on his guard.

A split second later, several kunai raced through the air and headed towards his chest. Itachi nimbly evaded the attack and casted his eyes in the direction the kunai came from.

The shadow behind the trees that threw the kunai dashed off. Itachi's eye twitched for a moment before he gave chase. A few minutes passed before Itachi had caught up with the shadow, who was now standing in front of him.

"What are you doing..." Itachi raised his voice his eyes slightly widened for a moment before he narrowed them, "Kayoko?"

The young woman's eyes opened, the Mangekyou Sharingan burning in her eyes, "Something I should have done a long time ago."

Kayoko took a deep breath then shouted as loud as she could, "Katon! Karyuu Endan!"