Hi guys! I hope you like this sequel as much as you liked Snake and Fox!

The Link

Prologue: Stars

The stars shone brightly overhead, displaying a milky glow that would have made even a person like Deidara or Kisame stop to admire them. But they had no time for admiring anything because the mission had failed. Failed right to their faces, as if it wasn't enough to their proper Akatsuki pride that their most powerful hit man since Orochimaru had been felled down...and possibly dead. The thought made Deidara's thoughts spin wildly in his blonde head. He's not dead! He can't be dead! But the last they saw of him... HE IS NOT DEAD!

Kisame's rough voice sounded beside him. Was there a trace of pain? Deidara couldn't be sure. "We will come back for him." He said this not because they had to, but because it was going to happen. Deidara twisted his neck for a bit to see the way in which they had come from. Everything was coated in thick shadows that not even his practiced eyes seem able to penetrate.

"Tch, that kid's dratted parents..." Deidara snarled.

"We underestimated them badly, that's what!" Kisame snapped. "And now we've paid for that mistake!"

Deidara bit back his lower lip to prevent himself from arguing some more. They did pay the price and it was heavy. Too heavy for comfort, actually. Hold on, Itachi! We'll come back for you! Deidara swore to the stars.

The dratted brat was bawling very loudly. The noise was finally getting to Itachi's nerves, and it was doing nothing good to ease the white-hot pain that racked his whole being from the inside and ate him alive. The Uchiha forced his dry, parched lips open to release a scream that echoed his agony. The two sounds mixed, his dying scream and the baby's own tragic ode to its dead parents. Itachi never screamed if he could help it, but the pain...and everything else...

Under the wan starlight his red Sharingan eyes had a perfect view of the seal etched forever onto the kid's stomach. Itachi cursed under his breath as he tried to rise – but failed miserably and flopped helplessly beside the infant. The kid's mother had sealed them demon in successfully. It was a drastic measure of course – somehow the kid's parents would rather have their child bearing the monster's burden than let them have it. Itachi could never understand why people thought like that.

Itachi turned on his side and lay flat on his back. He could feel his blood flowing freely out of him, to be sucked up by the soil and used by the grass. The kid's father was unbelievably powerful. He had never seen a jutsu like that before, not in his whole life. It was painful to admit, but there you were. Tonight, his Mangekyo Sharingan met its match...and lost. Itachi thought vaguely that Orochimaru would have gone chasing for the kid instead and left his fool brother alone...if not for the fact that Orochimaru had already changed. Itachi thought he'd had ear problems the first time he heard the news from Deidara. But no, it was true. Orochimaru was currently mentor to the Kyuubi brat. It was impossible, and yet...

Gritting his teeth, the Uchiha pushed himself up. The baby was still bawling loudly as ever beside him. Gingerly, Itachi pushed himself to his feet and bent to pick up the noisy bundle from the ground. Surprisingly, the baby quieted down when its unusual purple eyes locked in with his Sharingan red. The baby made sucking sounds and extended its small, meaty hands to touch Itachi's bloodstained and muddy face.

Kisame and Deidara left already. They must have thought him dead. Itachi wedged the baby safely in the crook of his right arm before he started the long walk to god-knows-where. Pain erupted from the horrible wound on his side. His left shoulder throbbed as well, if everything his body suffered wasn't enough. It might have been sprained.

He needed to go somewhere. He could not afford the people of the village to find his body there. At least he wanted to die in a quiet place. Itachi trusted his feet would take him somewhere quiet.

It was very nearly dawn when he reached the house. He did not know where he was. His sense of direction crumbled into bits even before he entered this village, wherever and whatever this place was. He slid the doors open and went inside, neglecting to remove his shoes. The hell with not stepping on the tatami floor now... Itachi gave an agonized moan as he reached yet another room...and yet another one...and another one...

And then he couldn't walk anymore. He slumped down against the wall, dark blood staining the floors. Itachi peered down at the baby in his arms blearily. The damn kid was already asleep with his thumb in his mouth. Itachi leant his head on the wall and closed his eyes.