The Secret of Life... Orochimaru and Kabuto are having tea one day when Orochimaru suddenly decides he wants to try something new. This, inevitably, draws our heroes into the confusion as would be expected in any good piece of Fan Fiction... Sasuke+Sakura, Neji+Tenten, Naruto+Hinata.

---------- The Secret of Life ----------

It was quiet, a little bit too quite. Sasuke silently noted this as he lay on his bed in Orochimaru's Top Secret base, staring up at the pale ceiling. Even the faintest of sounds could be heard echoing throughout the whole building, including the usually near inaudible sound of tea being poured from a teapot.

Sasuke closed his obsidian eyes. Orochimaru was having his morning tea now, which meant that in another fifteen minutes, he would interrupt and demand that the freakishly pale sickly old snake ninja train him for a while. And, as usual, Orochimaru would agree quietly and not another word would need to be said. Kabuto, however, would probably call him down for not being respectful of Orochimaru -- which Sasuke in turn would disregard... as usual.

It felt strange; he'd been with these people for almost three full years now, yet he felt not the slightest connection to them. He had gotten no closer to either of them than he had been from the start, he still didn't trust them, he still didn't like them. It was so much different from the bonds he had inevitably formed when he was in Konoha.

The raven haired Uchiha shook his head negatively and shut his eyes. He couldn't think about his old home -- he would never be going back, he had broken those bonds. And, that's why he had to forget about them. He was an Otonin now, and that wouldn't change...

... Right?

-----

Orochimaru breathed a relaxed sigh as he leaned back in his recliner, sipping the hot green tea quietly. Kabuto drank his own tea as he sat in a smaller more simple metal chair a few feet away. This was the daily routine, which meant that the accursed Uchiha would burst in any minute now and demand something of Orochimaru. Kabuto cringed mentally; he hated the way that boy ordered Orochimaru around like he owned the place...

"Kabuto..." Orochimaru suddenly spoke, his smile fading into a serious frown. Kabuto raised his head in surprise as his master lowered his head a bit and sat his tea down. "You know, every day it's the same thing. Life has become so... repetitive," he mumbled, and Kabuto couldn't resist nodding once in agreement.

"Hai, Orochimaru-sama," he whispered in reply. Orochimaru narrowed his eyes a bit. "However, we must endure this for just one more week -- then you can take Sasuke-kun's body and we can focus on your ambition," the white haired Medical Ninja added with a half smile. Orochimaru's face only darkened(not literally).

"But, I think I want to try something new," he said suddenly, making his subordinate part his lips in surprise. Orochimaru closed his eyes for a minute before crossing his arms. "Starting today for the next week, I want to make the best out of life..." he added, uncharacteristically. Kabuto seemed pleasantly surprised by this.

"Orochimaru-sama, does this mean--?"

"No, I'm not going to marry you." Orochimaru cut in with a negative frown. Kabuto laughed somewhat uneasily at the uncalled for subject and rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly.

"Not that, I mean... can I...?" Kabuto began to ask, causing Orochimaru to close his eyes and snicker slightly.

He then cracked his eyes back open to sneak a glance at his lackey, "Yes, you can do what you want for the next week, as long as it doesn't involved betraying me or my cause."

Comical tears swelled in Kabuto's eyes as a crooked smile formed on his lips. "Orochimaru-sama!" he called, visibly happy for probably the first time in his life. "Orochimaru-sama, arigatou! You are too kind!" he added, before finishing the rest of his tea with one gulp and sitting his mug down on the table. Orochimaru turned his eyes to the telephone on the stand nearby.

"And, I'm going to start my new way of life... by ordering some take-out..."

Kabuto watched patiently as Orochimaru lifted the receiver to his ear before beginning to dial the phone. He began fiddling with the cord as a ringing sound began to filter into his ear from the little speaker thing. Finally, the ringing stopped and was replaced by a deep male voice. The exchange was as follows...

Pizza Guy: "Yeah, bub, Konoha Pizza Parlor. Whaddya want?"

Oreo: "I want 2 large pizzas with everything -- no anchovies."

Pizza Guy: "Of course you don't want anchovies, no one ever wants anchovies. What's your name and address?"

Oreo: "The Grass Country. For directions, just look for a looming dark castle of evil with black smoldering clouds overhead. You can't miss it."

Pizza Guy: "Okay. Your name?"

Oreo: "Orochimaru."

After answering the final question, Orochimaru smirked in satisfaction as he sat the phone back on its cradle. He then leaned back in his recliner once again as Kabuto adjusted his glasses and mimicked Orochimaru's relaxed smile.

"That went well, considering the whole dark castle of evil bit," he mumbled and Orochimaru snickered evilly.

"Of course."

It was about then that a familiar Uchiha teenager stepped into the room, wearing a training outfit and a routine frown. "Oi, Orochimaru, it's time for my training." Sasuke declared firmly, and a little less than politely. Kabuto wrenched slightly as if pained by the boy's words.

"Please stop disrespecting Orochimaru-sama, Sasuke-kun. He is your master, you know. And you his subordinate?" he reminded with a tiny shrug.

Sasuke threw a quick glare at Kabuto, making him shut up instantly. Orochimaru smiled nicely to try and remedy the moment, "Now, now, Sasuke-kun; I promise I'll train with you later! It's just that I'm a bit busy now," he explained.

"What?" Sasuke narrowed his eyes a bit as the snake Sannin rubbed his head. "Are you trying to tell me no?" he asked, undeniably coldly. That icy demeanor was beginning to perturb Kabuto.

Orochimaru began to glance around, slightly nervously. "Well, not exactly; I'm just asking you to wait," he replied as Kabuto braced for impact. Sasuke was very demanding, and frighteningly convincing at that.

Swallowing his anticipation, Orochimaru smiled secretly; really, he just couldn't wait to be inside the boy's body(no pun intended). "Eh, well, it's just... Look, if you want, I'll teach you a new Jutsu to make up for it later! Right now, I'm waiting on my pizza to get here and--"

"Fine." Sasuke interrupted abruptly before turning around. And that was all he said before walking eerily quietly out the door to train by himself for a while. Orochimaru looked at Kabuto. Kabuto looked at Orochimaru. Orochimaru and Kabuto blinked, shrugged, and continued their conversation as though Sasuke had never entered the room...

-----

Meanwhile, in Konoha...

Tsunade frowned negatively as she scanned her amber eyes over a hapless sheet of paper that was contained in her hands, a very very awkward feeling of confusion washing over her.

"It... can't... be," she whispered more to herself than anyone before surveying the text once again to make sure she'd read it correctly. Her eyes rolled up toward the sky as she fell back in her chair, unconscious.

-----

Sakura was most certainly surprised when she entered Tsunade's office only to find the first female Hokage fainted in her own chair. However, nothing could prepare her for the conversation that ensued when Tsunade came to several minutes later...

Tsunade arose with a start, causing the damp rag on her head to fall off. Cold sweat was forming on her forehead, and a horrified expression was on her face. This puzzled Sakura to no ends, but she could only blink a few times in curiosity as Shizune entered the room a minute later with a nice mug of green tea for Tsunade.

Upon seeing the older female, Shizune gasped slightly. "Tsunade-sama, what happened?" she asked in concern as she hurried over to sit the tea on the monstrously strong woman's desk. Sakura smiled slightly and waved her right hand as if fanning her face.

"She's okay," she informed, causing Shizune to sigh in relief before placing her right hand against her chest to calm herself down. She'd never known Tsunade to just up and faint before(well, unless she was drunk).

Tsunade cupped her forehead as she prepared to speak finally, "Sakura, go get Naruto, Kakashi, and Sai. Be sure to bring your ningu; bring plenty of kunai, shuriken, senbon, smoke bombs, flare grenades, and anything else you can think of. You have a mission."

Sakura's eyes widened at Tsunade's words, her lips parting only slightly to speak. "What... kind of mission?" she asked, almost apprehensive of the answer. Tsunade's frown hardened and her eyes darkened...

"Pizza delivery."

-----

A little while later...

Sakura, Naruto, Kakashi, and Sai were all gathered at the entrance to the village, exchanging words in preparation for their highly dreaded mission. They were currently waiting for the ordered pizzas to be brought to them so they could set out, so they were killing time with useless conversation. It wasn't too long, however, before Neji, Tenten, Lee, and Gai walked in the entrance they were about to leave through, apparently just coming back from a mission of their own.

"Hi, guys, what's up?" Sakura asked with a small smile. Tenten waved cheerily as the four stopped walking to converse with Team 7(minus Sasuke, plus Sai). But before anyone had a chance to say another word, a familiar face arrived, brandishing two square boxes that most likely contained their mission objective(the pizzas, that is).

Yamato smiled as he shrugged his shoulders, "Hey, I've not had any missions or anything lately. Need some help on your mission?" he asked, directing his gaze toward Kakashi; Kakashi sort of inched a bit closer to the gate, hoping not to respond. He had never had a very close relationship with Yamato(contrary to Yamato's opinion).

"No thank you," Sakura said with a sweatdrop as she took the pizzas from him, "We'll be just fine; besides, it wouldn't be good to take too many people -- it might make us suspicious."

Yamato frowned slightly before looking over at Team Gai, his eyes momentarily pausing on Neji. Neji disliked the look that this unfamiliar man was sending him, but tried his best to ignore it. "Hey, Sakura, who is this?" he asked.

"Sorry about that, let me introduce you," Sakura laughed a little before pointing to each member of Team Gai individually, "That's Maito Gai, that's Lee-san, that's Tenten-san, and that's Neji-san."

Yamato's eyes, once again, paused on Neji. Sakura then looked over at Team Gai. "Guys, this is Woody-- er, Yamato-taichou," she said with a faux smile. Yamato grinned in a way so that his teeth gleamed like Gai's usually did. Gai frowned slightly.

Casually, Yamato strolled over to the Hyuuga prodigy and smiled in a near... seductive way. "Hello, Neji-kun. Can I buy you some lunch? I'd like to get to know you and your team," he said, seeming to purposely keep his speech low. "It would be my pleasure."

Neji raised an eyebrow at the creepy man, before taking a small step back. "Er, no."

A minute or so later, Yamato stepped forward again. "I insist," he persisted. Neji averted his eyes from those creepy ones of Woody's.

"No," he repeated. And then was when he was met with a stare of something much, much stronger and more terrifying than Killing Intent ever dreamed of being. A force only Yamato possessed, a stare that he had used to his advantage many times until now, always to get what he wanted...

The glare of Raping Intent. Dum, Dum, Dum.

A chill rolled down Neji's spine as he urgently reached back and grabbed onto Tenten's hand to begin running off down the street. Tenten blinked in confusion, but didn't complain as Neji called back at Woody, "No, I'm straight!"

It was then that Rock Lee suddenly popped up running alongside his teammates and looked at Neji. "It's strange that you are straight, when your name means screw!" he pointed out, nodding his head sagely. Neji frowned and thwacked the bowl headed idiot on the back of the head and beginning to run faster.

"Why don't you go with him!"

Yamato stared after Neji and Tenten in befuddlement before closing his eyes and turning to walk back in the direction he'd come. Sakura, Naruto, Kakashi, and Sai all exchanged confused glances before turning to exit the village. They had a mission to complete, after all...

-----

Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away(or on a road leading into Konohagakure rather)...

"How much farther is it, Itachi-san?" Kisame asked cautiously, watching as Itachi lowered his head only slightly before closing his eyes. He, however, received no answer from the traitorous Weasel. "Itachi-san?" he asked again. Itachi glanced back at the blue dude from the corner of one of his Sharingan eyes.

"This is a proposal of war, Kisame. Remember that, we are about to launch an attack on Konoha. How can you be so unconcerned?" he asked quietly, causing the shark man to lower his head.

"You're right, but... I like war!" he responded, "I'm kind of anxious, that's all. Hmm... Why do you think we were chosen for this mission?"

"It doesn't matter, Kisame," Itachi replied quietly, "it doesn't matter at all..." After speaking, he frowned a bit as Konoha came into view ahead.

The place where it all began... and would all begin again.

-----

Tenten breathed a sigh as she lowered her chocolate eyes to the hand that Neji had grabbed minutes ago. Neji had finally stopped tugging her along behind him, and they were now walking at a more normal pace down the sidewalk...

"Um, Neji?" Tenten asked carefully, nibbling gently on the inside of her bottom lip. Actually there was something she wanted to talk to him about, it had been on her mind for a while now. "There's... something..."

"Sshh." Neji shushed her as he stopped walking, his eyes being drawn instantly over to the entrance of Konoha. They had managed to walk all the way around in a great big circle... It wasn't that important now, however.

Tenten did as instructed and closed her mouth; she would have to save it for another time. Neji narrowed his ivory colored eyes as two rather suspicious looking men walked right in the front gate, both adorned in black cloak like garments with red clouds embroidered into them. One of the men was blue and bore much resemblance to a shark, while the other looked kinda similar to Sasuke...

Neji closed his hand into a fist. It must have been Sasuke's brother; he recognized the other one as Kisame. He vaguely remembered fighting a copy of him several months ago. Regardless, these two were dangerous(though, oddly enough, Neji felt as though he had nothing to dread).

Upon realizing that they were being watched from afar, Kisame looked over at Neji and instantly froze. For some odd reason, he felt that he should be afraid of this boy. Like a sudden stroke of Déjà vu, like he was about to die and he had no control over it. Kisame paled a bit, causing Itachi to stop walking as well.

Neji approached closer, after asking Tenten to stand back. He aimed a glare at Uchiha Itachi and frowned deeply. "Beat it, Sasuke isn't here," he informed sternly, bringing Itachi's attention to him.

"A Hyuuga... Mind your own business," he replied coldly. Kisame waved his hands as if to stop Itachi from angering the younger male. Itachi glanced at him briefly. "Kisame, fight him. I must continue with the plan," he commanded.

Frightened, Kisame stepped forward; he knew he had no choice. Still, he didn't really want to die, and something told him that if he were to fight this boy then he probably would(... Shades of an Omake series...)...

And, while Kisame drew Samehada in preparation to fight with Neji who dropped into his Jyuuken stance, Itachi began to run around terrorizing the locals of Konoha through the most unimaginably horrifying methods; such as reversing signs, taking candy from small children, and stealing everyone's left shoe!

-----

Over at Oreo's...

Sakura and company had just arrived at Orochimaru's humble abode with the two pizzas in hand. Apprehension rose between them as they stared quietly at the almost taunting doorbell. Thunder crackled overhead as the dark castle of evil seemed to glare at them with malice thick in the air.

Slowly, very slowly and nervously, Naruto raised his hand and allowed his right index finger to press the little button. They heard the doorbell chime to the tune of organ music. So, they waited for a little while until the sound of voices could be heard from inside...

"Hey, Sasuke-kun, answer the door!" Kabuto's voice called demandingly.

"If you give me one more order, I'll slit your throat with your own medical scalpel." Sasuke's voice replied eerily coldly.

The team exchanged confused glances as the sound of someone prancing to the door followed the voices directly. And, as the door was flung open to reveal an utterly terrifying and mind numbing sight, everyone's jaws dropped simultaneously. Because, Orochimaru, the cold hearted and malicious snake man, the dark embodiment of EVIL itself, was standing there before them...

... Adorned in a bright pink tutu, with a huge smile plastered on his face. He looked like he had just been interrupted from practicing ballet; they didn't know or care if ballet was one of his pastimes, so they settled for remaining silent as he dropped the money in Kakashi's hand. He then took the pizzas from Sakura before prancing back inside, leaving the door standing wide open.

Blink, blink.

Confused looks were exchanged and dead silence fell over what felt like the whole Country of Grass. Sakura was the first that opened her mouth to speak, "Um... guys... what was... that?" she inquired.

Kakashi shook his head to clear it before slipping Icha Icha Tactics -- which he had previously been reading -- back into his pocket. "Let's just... go find Sasuke, okay? That's our mission... Uh..."

"... Yeah." Naruto and Sai agreed in conjunction and so, the group of four set off inside a few minutes later to search for their ex-teammate, now afraid of what Orochimaru may have done to him...

-----

... And what they found wasn't a pretty sight. Or rather, it was a very pretty sight, and that's why it was so very, very disturbing to those who were now scarred for life...

Orochimaru and Kabuto, having just finished eating two or three slices of pizza apiece(and apparently gotten drunk), were dancing around Sasuke, tossing flower petals over his head and wrapping bright pink and red ribbons around him respectively. He was sitting on the floor, now looking kind of like an Easter egg basket and his eyes were narrowed dangerously.

Not able to hold it in this time, Naruto then broke out into uncontrolled laughter as Kakashi's eye widened into a saucer. Sakura paled and Sai just stared at Sasuke in complete and utter dumbfounded confusion.

Sasuke gritted his teeth angrily, his fists clenching tightly. This had gone on too long, far too long. Orochimaru, the man who he'd been training under these past three years, was completely off his rocker. Standing and drawing his own Kusanagi sword, he waited to get the right timing...

... Before spinning around and impaling Orochimaru through the chest.

Orochimaru fell over dead.

And, while Kabuto was distracted by this sudden event(though he looked very very confused, perhaps implying that he indeed was drunk), Sakura quickly ran over, jerked out a kunai and jabbed it between the medical ninja's eyes. Kabuto fell over dead as well, effectively leaving both Orochimaru and his most trusted side kick dead on the floor.

Or were they?

Orochimaru reached up toward Sasuke, realizing that Kabuto had already died. He frowned sadly when Sasuke asked, "What made you go insane?" He seemed genuinely curious about that.

"I just..." Orochimaru coughed. "... I was just seeking to unravel... the secret of life..." he croaked, before his eyes fell closed and his head lolled over lifeless. Kabuto, on the other hand, was really, genuinely, truthfully dead.

Turning to look at his former companions, Sasuke's face held a look of dumbfounded bewilderment. A long silence formed between them as he scratched his head for a minute before standing. Walking over, he snatched up a slice of the pizza to see if it was poisoned. Surprisingly, it seemed just fine; so, taking a bite, he shrugged and turned to walk out the door.

"What are you waiting for? Let's go," he muttered. Naruto, Sakura, and Kakashi all exchanged confused glances.

"What do you... mean?" Naruto asked slowly. Sasuke glanced back at them over his shoulder before closing his eyes and taking another bite of the pizza slice, pleased to find no anchovies anywhere near it.

"I have no reason to remain here any longer; Orochimaru is obviously dead, so I'm going back to Konoha." Sasuke responded simply before continuing to walk. Sakura's lips curled up into a happy smile as she rushed over to walk with Sasuke. The remaining three looked at each, shrugged, and followed after Sakura...

-----

Back in Konoha...

Neji breathed a sigh as Kisame fell to the ground lifelessly. He straightened his posture then and relaxed his Byakkugan. Looking back at Tenten, he frowned a bit; while he'd been finishing off Shark Buddy, Itachi had been running around wreaking havoc in Konoha. Even now, there were many children crying because they'd lost their candy and many people upset at having to walk home wearing only one shoe...

... Unfortunately, they couldn't find their way home, because all the signs had been reversed!

Konoha had truly and undoubtedly been devastated by this threat -- this threat known... as the Akatsuki. They could only hope that someone would come along and save the day in true super hero fashion...

And, as if on cue, Sasuke and the others walked in through the front gate. The aforementioned Uchiha had his hands stuffed in his pockets and a frown on his face. Neji turned to him and narrowed his eyes.

"Uchiha, I don't know why you're back, but your brother is here. He's terrorizing the village," he explained. Sasuke quickly glanced around at the damage that had been done by his fearsome elder brother, before sighing heavily and turning to walk off in the direction his brother had before. Sakura walked close behind him, as Neji and Tenten began to follow as well.

Kakashi flipped Icha Icha Tactics back open to continue reading as Naruto yawned and folded his arms behind his head like a pillow. "I think I'll go ask Hinata-chan if she wants to get some ramen," he mumbled before turning to head in the direction of the Hyuuga compound.

Meanwhile, Sasuke approached Itachi with care. "Uchiha Itachi." Sasuke spoke the name of the one he'd waited to kill for many years now, and very slowly, Itachi turned around to face him in response to hearing said name.

"Foolish little brother." Itachi regarded the younger Uchiha carelessly, causing Sasuke to frown a bit and activate his Sharingan.

"I have waited for this moment. I will never forgive you." Sasuke spoke in over dramatized manner, seemingly having fallen into a script, "Finally, I shall attain the revenge I have sought after for so long."

(It was then that a choir of Sunanins popped up, led by Gaara, Temari, and Kankurou. Gaara quickly said to the audience, "This is for a refresher to those newbies who are puzzled by Sasuke's urgency to kill Itachi..." Following the three sand siblings as they broke into song, the choir then began to sing also though horribly off-key...)

A weasel in the dark
That's just what he was
Trying to condemn the heart
of the brother he once loved

Slaughtering the family
The friends that he once knew
And running off just to be
One of the Red Moon few

"Foolish little brother,
Always hate and loathe me
Live on without honor
Be miserable and lonely."

Some variation of these words
Was the phrase Itachi'd said
Something profound must have been heard
Because it stuck in Sasuke's head

So with the death of his kin
Sasuke vowed to take revenge
On his brother, who had murdered
Their clan and their friends...

Off he goes now, on a journey
He lives his life, sad and lonely
Itachi's death was and is
His only reason to still live

Joining up with the snake sannin
Sasuke does it all for thus
He plans to see his brother crawling
At his feet upon the dirt

It really is a sad truth now
To think back to his home
The friends he made, he had betrayed
All to make this a good song

So there's only one thing left to do
Only one good reason why
Before Sasuke's really screwed
Now, Itachi must die!

Itachi narrowed his precious eyes and glanced at the choir of ninjas. "Stop that accursed racket," he warned, but it didn't matter(the song was already over after all). Interruptions over, Itachi looked back at Sasuke as a gust of wind blew, ruffling the Uchiha siblings' hair a bit. The long minute of silence was abruptly shattered when Sasuke ran in to try a good and basic right punch.

Itachi avoided the simple attack by spinning and attempting to backhand his younger brother. However, Sasuke ducked at just the right moment and followed up a minute later by using Chidori Nagashi. Itachi clenched his teeth as he was knocked back by this attack he had never witnessed before...

... Right into a fully charged Hakke Kusho from Neji that sent him flying into the air. Jumping up at the right minute, Sasuke grabbed Itachi in his Hayabusa Otoshi move to drive him headfirst into the ground. Sasuke then flipped neatly to his feet as Itachi crumpled over, his neck having snapped like a fine twig upon impact.

However, mystically, he wasn't dead yet. Within a second or so, he coughed before beginning to speak. "How... could this happen?" he asked, unsure of how he had been beaten by one weaker than himself.

"Nii-san," Sasuke began quietly as he kneeled down beside his fallen brother's body, "tell me... Why did you kill the clan?" he asked, his eyes narrowing slightly. Itachi coughed again as he parted his lips to give his last words...

"I was... looking to find... the secret of life."

And with these familiar yet cryptic last words, his last breath fled his body and he lay dead at his brother's feet. Sasuke stood and sighed before dusting off his pants. The same answer that Orochimaru had given to him -- the secret of life, huh?

Shrugging it off, Sasuke turned, looped one of his arms under one of Sakura's, and headed off to get some burgers. Sakura wasn't about to complain and just settled for being led off to the restaurant of Sasuke's picking... Meanwhile, Neji stuffed his hands in his pockets before turning to Tenten.

"Hey, Tenten, about what you started to tell me earlier -- we can discuss it over some pizza," he suggested, causing his undeniably cute teammate to smile in reaction. She ran over and threw her arms around one of his to walk off toward the sunset... or the pizza parlor, rather.

-----

"Hey, Sasuke-kun?" Sakura asked suddenly as she and said Uchiha walked quietly down the sidewalk toward dinner(or the restaurant where they would get dinner, rather). "Do you think... that Itachi and Orochimaru managed to find out the secret of life?" she added in the form of a question.

Sasuke seemed to think about his answer for a few minutes. Finally, he chose to respond, "Yes and no." Sakura seemed puzzled by this answer, but merely waited for Sasuke to explain. "The secret of life is something unique to each individual person. I guess it depends on what life means to them."

Sakura blinked as Sasuke explained, "For Orochimaru, the secret of life was knowing all Jutsus, so I guess he didn't find it. For Itachi on the other hand, the secret of life was death, so I guess he did find it," he finished.

Smiling slightly, Sakura then asked a better question, "So, Sasuke-kun, what does it mean to you?"

Sasuke sorted his thoughts as he considered his answer for a few seconds. He had once thought that it was revenge, but now... "I guess..." Sasuke began. He then closed his eyes and smirked as the two stepped inside the restaurant to get those burgers...

"Life is what you make it."

-----

Meanwhile, far far away at the Akatsuki's headquarters...

The members of said organization were gathered strangely around a table, all wearing their cloaks and bamboo hats and all holding a hand of cards.

Slowly, Deidara raised... his head, "Got any threes, hmmm?" he asked, frown deepening seriously.

"No," the as of yet unnamed Akatsuki leader replied, before looking up ominously.

"Go fish."

It was then that Zetsu(the only one absent, other than Itachi and Kisame) ran into the room waving his leaves frantically. This drew the other members' collective attention. The flytrap dude frowned slightly.

"Itachi and Kisame have been killed."

Everyone remained miraculously quiet for the following moments, not a single sound filtering into the dark and evil room. Minutes ticked by on the invisible clock as the Akatsuki leader laid his cards down.

However, it wasn't all too long before a sound was made. The Akatsuki leader laughed slightly, causing the others to do the same...

... until they all broke out into megalomaniacal laughter.

-----

Down in hell...

A chibi Kisame frowned as he fluttered his little demon wings a bit, before speaking in a high pitched voice befitting his small size, "Itachi-san, do you think the others are laughing at us right now?" he questioned.

An equally deformed chibi demon version of Itachi, sitting with his arms folded above a burning pot of boiling who knew what, responded in an equally high pitched voice...

"It doesn't matter, Kisame... It doesn't matter at all."

---------- Owari: The End ----------

Note: This is one of the most nonsensical stories I've ever written, but it sure was fun! Hope you enjoyed reading it, and if by some stretch of the imagination you did, the sequel -- entitled, 'The Meaning of Death' -- is already being conceived and might actually be written in the next week or so... Well, thanks for reading!

Disclaimer & Copyright Information: I do not own Naruto (© Kishimoto Masashi); however, I am the author of this story. If you have comments or suggestions, leave a review or send me an e-mail. Doumo arigatou, for reading my writing!