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Notes: haha...yay. I finally got the chapter up! Schools out, and I'm happy! It's been over a month since the last chapter...I'm sorry! I was really busy though. Well, anyways, once again I'm trying to sit here and figure out what I'm gonna do when this story ends...I even added on a part because I don't want the end to comeeeee gets shot. Yes. Alright, I'll stop bugging you and let you read (for those of you that actually read this.)

Chapter Nineteen

"Itachi-san!" Mai grinned, smiling dumbly at him. She immediately sensed his annoyance and slipped over to Kisame, "He doesn't like me, does he?"

He shrugged, "I'm guessing it was your comments about Kirei that did it…but then again he doesn't particularly like anyone."

"Not even Kirei-san?" Mai questioned curiously.

"In some ways," he nodded, "Itachi has this thing for being alone. Though, it seems he has an easier time tolerating Kirei than anyone else."

Mai rushed to her next questioned, "So, what caused you to come here anyways?"

"I'd rather not talk about it, especially not with you," Kisame growled.

Taken back a little, Mai questioned about Itachi, and was told to go ask him about it, thus she did.

"Itachi!" Mai slipped next to where he was standing outside, he gave her an annoyed look, she ignored it. "What made you decide to come and join Akatsuki anyways…?"

He eyed her suspiciously, "I didn't have much of a choice."

"Why did Kirei come with you…?"

"She didn't have much of a choice either. It was either she came with me or I killed her."

Mai stepped back in appall, "Maybe that's enough questions…"

Itachi almost grinned, "It is."

"I may not have much of an…entertaining past, compared to yours, but there was a lot of death in my past too…" she looked up and stared at Itachi in the eye. "And all that pain was because of you, my village was one of the many you destroyed on your little rampage with Kirei after you left Konoha."

Itachi remained utterly silent, and Mai took this as a sign to continue.

"Most people would expect me to be upset about this, but because of you," Mai grinned, "Everything has fallen into place just as I wanted. In my village, I wasn't allowed to become a ninja, but because my parents died in the destruction of the village I could then do whatever I pleased! I was found, and taken in by Danzou-sama and look where it got me. After all that sneaky training in that stupid village, I'm finally the ninja I wanted to be. All thanks to you," she smiled finishing her boasting, lifting a finger to poke him.

He grabbed her wrist, and twisted it behind her back, Mai gasped in pain. "Now," Itachi whispered in her ear, "I would suggest that you don't try touch me, next time, it'll hurt much worse." He pushed her away in disgust.

Mai stumbled and composed herself carefully glaring at Itachi, it slowly turned into a smirk as she trudged inside in defeat.

> >

"Sasori, Sasori!" Mai grinned running up behind him, "Where are you going?"

"Somewhere I'd rather not talk to you about, considering your not even supposed to be here."

Mai smirked and continued with her questioning, "Why are you always in that…thing…? Why can't I see what you really look like?"

He didn't answer and just trudged out, Deidara following him nimbly.

The girl turned around and trudged back to the couch, which she threw herself on in boredom. "Geez, you people really are no fun," she said to no one in particular.

"If that's so…" a voice said, making her jump, "then why don't you just leave."

"Itachi, Itachi, Itachi," she repeated, shaking her head. "I'm on a mission, I have a job to do. Do you just leave and abandon missions you're on? Hm?" He didn't reply. "Exactly," she continued, "Now I have a job to do, and no one is going to stop me from doing it and receiving an advancement."

"What exactly is this job that you're on, maybe I could help get you away from here faster," Itachi questioned, pointing out once more that he didn't really want Mai there.

"Now, come on, you know I can't tell you that. It wouldn't be a 'secret' mission if I did." Mai stood up from where she had been laying down. "I like you, you're different from everyone else," she added, brushing past him.

Itachi held back his anger, closing his eyes in frustration.

> >

"Sasori…that girl is extremely annoying, hmm?" Deidara said in frustration. "Couldn't we just…throw her out…hmm?"

"Really, Sasori, she's only going to cause more trouble," Itachi added.

Sasori closed his eyes and leaned against the wall, "Leader has told me directly that we can't throw her out, they're planning to use her for something. He told me that the only reason we would be able to throw her out is if she tries to sneak in there."

Kisame showed up whining, "We could just feed her to Zetsu, right? Zetsu wouldn't mind."

"Not at all, hmm?"

"There's nothing I can do, alright?" Sasori said shaking his head, "Trust me. I want her gone too."

> >

"Kirei!" I heard Sakura calling my name, I turned around to see her running toward me. "We have a mission, we have to go gather some teammates."

I followed behind her anxiously, "What's the mission for?" I questioned. This was the first mission Tsunade-sama was sending me on, it had to be good. I could just feel it.

"Actually it's just a rescue mission, and we need to leave as soon as possible, so actually, I need you to go pack and meet me at the gate as soon as you possibly can while I go gather the rest out our members."

"How long is it?"

"We are to be back here in three days."

I nodded and rushed back to my apartment, I didn't know who we were rescuing but…for there to be two medic nins in the team, it had to be dangerous. I felt myself itchy with excitement, I didn't know the last time I had actually gone on a mission…or even if I went on missions in the first place. None-the-less I couldn't wait.

I shoved the necessary things into my bag -- shuriken, kunai, medicinal herbs, food -- and rushed back out of the apartment and to the gate, only to find that I was the first one there. I stood there in silence waiting for someone to show up.

Voices began to tatter in my head, something I was trying to hear, yet wouldn't come. The world seemed to spin around me causing a sick feeling to erupt in my stomach.

> >

"I'm glad I have a friend on my team."

"Where's your next mission Kirei?"

"God, I hate being stuck on watch duty…"

"This necklace…what does it mean?"

"Come with me or I'll ki---"

> >

"Kirei? Are you alright?" Sakura asked leaning in front of my face, I jumped backwards and heard snickering.

Frowning, I answered, "Yeah…I'm fine…"

That voice…those words…they had seemed so familiar, so real. What were they from? Had I heard them from somewhere? And the voice…why had it made me feel so alarmed yet so happy and joyful at the exact same time?

Sakura offered me her hand, I grabbed it reluctantly and she pulled me up. "This is Moeru Kirei," she began the introductions. She nodded to a boy with a dog stuffed in his jacket, "That's Kiba and Akamaru," she nodded to a boy with sunglasses and a large collared jacket, "Shino," she told me, and then she pointed out the guy I had seen when I was walking with Temari and Kankuro, he had the wild looking hair and the lazy aura, "Shikamaru."

Her smile disappeared and was replaced with a stern look, "Shikamaru," she said.

He sighed, "Alright, let's get going before Sakura kills us all…"

She shot an extremely angry look at him.

I wasn't exactly sure where we were going, but we were following scents that Akamaru and Kiba were picking up, in all truth I didn't even know who we were going to go rescue.

After a few hours, Shikamaru came to a stop, "That's all for today," he slid down and leaned against a tree, "Well pick up where we left off tomorrow, we should find them by then and have them back by the third day."

We all pulled out sleeping bags and such and started gathering supplies so we could eat dinner. It was odd how well I remember how to do these things considering I didn't know if I've ever even been on a mission.

When preparations for the night were finished and we had all eaten, Shikamaru had written everybody's name on a piece of paper and put them in the back of Kiba's hood.

"Anyone want to pick out the watch shifts?" he asked.

Sakura stood up and went behind Kiba and shook up his hood a little bit, she reached her hand in and pulled out a piece of paper. She unfolded it carefully and grinned, "First shift goes to…Shikamaru!"

He sighed and rubbed his forehead, "How troublesome…"

Kiba was second shift, I was third, Sakura fourth, and Shino fifth. Shikamaru took his place my a tree and watched the rest of us get ready for bed. I guess in some ways I was extremely lucky, I was directly in the middle of all the shifts, so hopefully that meant I would get a good night sleep.

> >

Dreams haunted me for the first part of the night, the same voice that I hadn't been able to identify was the one that I had heard the loudest and the clearest, there were other voices came in my dreams as well…each one sounded as familiar as the next.

"Kirei," Kiba whispered hoarsely, "It's your shift, wake up Sakura in an hour and a half."

Yawning I climbed out of my sleeping bag, "Alright, get a good sleep though, alright?"

He nodded and headed toward his sleeping bag as I made my way over the tree that everyone had been leaning against while they had their shift.

I looked around cautiously and heard nothing but the sound of a stream nearby and bugs chirping. I sighed, it was going to be hard to stay awake through this.

As easy as it was to almost drift off to sleep, every little sound still caught my attention, every little chirp of a bug, every flutter of the leaves, all the movement of my teammates.

> >

"Now you two, we're giving you guard duty for the night, no goofing off and no sleeping."

"But it's his birthday today!" I protested.

"You don't get the day of because of somebody's birthday, that's just not the way it works."

The same voice from all the times before spoke up, "It's no big deal, Kirei, but try to understand that it's important that we don't let our guard down on this shift so we can keep everyone in the village safe."

> >

My eyes shot open. I don't remember where those words were from, but it was like I was trying to remind myself in the faintest way that I can't let down my teammates, and I guess it worked because I didn't dose off for the rest of my shift.

> >

When morning approached, we were all up and ready to leave….except for Shikamaru.

"And you call yourself a captain…" Kiba sighed. "I really think I would be a better captain then you."

He ignored the comment and we all headed out, I took run next to Sakura in hopes of getting some information about the mission out of her.

"Who exactly are we going to go save?"

"A few of the younger ninja from the village, a group of Genin, they decided to go out by themselves, they haven't been back for three days now, Tsunade-sama is afraid someone might have kidnapped them."

Kiba jumped into the conversation, "Yeah, but who would want to kidnap a bunch of Genin?"

"That's what Tsunade-sama would like to know too," Shikamaru replied. "I think that it could be someone from a rival country trying to draw us out, so we can't get caught up in this and get injured. Either that, or it's a warning."

"We should be fine," Shino said, pushing up his glasses, "Considering we have two medical ninja in this group, both of whom possess the Fifth's super strength."

Akamaru barked and Kiba halted, the rest of us followed in pattern.

Sakura looked around her gingerly, "Where exactly are we…?"

"Rain Country," I replied, clicking my tongue in boredom. Then I paused for a moment when the thought dawned on me, how had I known that? I don't think I've been here before…

Shino pulled out a map, "Yes, we are in Rain Country."

"Which way is the scent coming from Kiba?" Shikamaru questioned.

"Their scents are coming from the cave…but," he paused, "There is a few other scents that are--"

We were ambushed as a group of ninja jumped out from behind us, one came toward me, he punched, I ducked, and I countered. Pulsing chakra through my leg, I pushed him away. It felt so natural.

I felt a warmth on my chest, the activation of something. I saw the hand seals on my enemy, and my owns hands started creating seals before I could even tell them to.

What seemed like a shower of ice flew towards me, my hands seized moving and a barrier formed around me. I pushed forward, and started hand seals for myself, "Gokakyuu no Jutsu!" I shouted, destroying the person who had once been before me.

I jumped backwards and landed on my feet lightly, looking at my teammates around me. Sakura rushed over to heal a cut on Shino's head, and I hurried over to Kiba whose leg seemed to be badly injured.

Concentrating my chakra to my hands, I placed them over Kiba's leg and imagined each piece of it healing, and after a few seconds, it was true.

Kiba nodded his head and gave his thanks before apologizing for not realizing that the enemy was behind us sooner.

Shikamaru didn't answer, but instead headed toward the entrance to the cave, he stopped and turned to face me. "Why did you use an Uchiha Technique…?"

I didn't know the answer.

Sakura spoke up for me. "The Moeru Clan and the Uchiha Clans are both fire clans, they both use similar if not the same techniques, also think about another reason why Kirei might use that technique…"

Shikamaru didn't respond, and only continued into the cave, before I followed the rest of the group, I grabbed a stick from the woods and blew a flame onto it.

Now the only thing that was ahead of us was saving the genin, I closed my eyes and concentrated on being strong and doing well before quickly rushing into the cave behind everyone else.

Preview for Next Chapter:

Sasori smirked at her, "That's right, and you want to know what will happen next time you try to enter it or do something to displease us?"

Mai didn't reply.

"If that happens," Deidara started, "We have permission to either throw you out or kill you, and you can probably guess the one we'll choose."

Yaay! See you next Chapter! I'm sorry the update took so long! ...and review please...?