A/N: Full Summary can be found in Snapshot's Chapter 8.
Red eyes looked over the whole village of Konoha as the owner of the eyes stood still on a pole, eyeing a certain apartment of someone he knows all too well. The clouds gave way to the moon as it lighted the man who was clad in a black cloak, designed with red clouds and a straw hat resting on top of his head. He raised the tip of it, a ring on one of his fingers, and completely pulled off the head gear. Long raven hair tied to a ponytail swayed with the wind like silk, his bangs blown away from his face to give a good look at his complexion and facial features. A forehead protector of Konoha was around his head, only there was a slash across it, meaning he was a missing nin from that village. His name: Uchiha Itachi.
"Guarding your little brother Itachi?"
He look down to where his blue-skinned partner appeared on the ground, right near the pole. "Not entirely," he answered and gave one last look before jumping down beside Kisame. "Let's go, I'm pretty sure an ANBU squad has spotted us by now." The two Akatsuki members then disappeared in the shadows, leaving behind scattered leaves, courtesy of the night wind.
Chapter 1: Eighteen minus Ten
"A-rank solo mission?"
Tsunade gave a nod and threw the scroll to the ANBU captain before her. "You'll be thanking me for giving you this mission Sasuke, and you have at least a week to accomplish it." Sasuke raised a brow and untied the scroll, reading its contents. His eyes shot wide and brows began to knit together, onyx orbs shifted to red as he clutched onto the parchment of paper. "Since when?" he asked. The fifth hokage just gave a smirk. "He was spotted last night, watching over you as you slept."
"What the-" he got cut off when the office door burst open as Naruto came in, panting and sweating. Tsunade, Shizune, Sasuke and even Ton-Ton, turned to the blonde newbie ANBU who glared and pointed an accusing finger at Sasuke. "You made Sakura wait for you!" With a sigh and a roll of his eyes, Sasuke turned back to Tsunade. "When do I leave?" Again, Naruto cried out in frustration and attempted to charge at Sasuke, who crouched down, causing Naruto to head toward Tsunade's direction, who pushed herself and the chair she sat on to the left, expertly avoiding the kyuubi vessel's attack, causing the blonde dead-last to hit the glass window, face first.
"I'm glad that window is chakra enhanced." She muttered and faced Sasuke. "Now."
"W-wait a minute!" but Naruto's cries were heard by deaf ears when Sasuke disappeared in a cloud of smoke. The newbie ANBU then confronted the fifth. "What is the meaning of this you old woman?" It resulted to a hit on the head but Tsunade answered his question none the less. "His brother."
His blue eyes widened. "You're sending him to go alone?"
"If he was able to come back from Sound on his own after a fight with Orochimaru, he can handle."
"But that snake homo sannin is weaker than Itachi!"
"I know that Naruto," Tsunade fixed the papers that scattered on her desk. "But as what you told me after Sasuke conversed with the Kyuubi," she eyed the blonde. "Sasuke has great potential, if he was able to get rid of the nine-tails temporarily, then he can at least win, if not kill, against Itachi." She turned to face the window. "I didn't promote him as ANBU captain of the best ANBU team for nothing." Her eyes tuned to the closed door and she gave a small smile. "And this is a solo mission I assigned to him, therefore, no one can go with him unless I order someone to."
"No wonder he wasn't at the bridge…" and she let go of the door knob and ran out of the hokage tower. She was given a chance to advance to ANBU level, but she refused it and remained as a jounin, wanting to teach a team like her former sensei instead of being part of an assassination squad. "Why didn't you inform the rest of the team Tsunade-shishou?"
She continued to run downtown, her head turning in every direction, looking for her ex-teammate. Her eyes caught sight of his back, and she decided to yell out his name. "Sasuke!" the said eighteen year old stopped in his tracks and turned his head slightly, looking over his left shoulder to see who had called him. But he already knew who it was anyway. With a sigh, he turned his whole body to face the girl, waiting for her to reach him.
"What do you want now Sakura? I only have a week to complete this mission."
Sakura took a deep breathe in and gave a determined look at her crush. "Here." She said, extending out a fingerless gloved hand towards him. Sasuke looked down at her clenched fist, seeing a necklace. "Kakashi-sensei and Naruto have one as well, so do I." he looked at her for a second before taking the object from her. He saw his name engraved on the silver tag, below it was his clan's insignia. At the back was written "Team 7" vertically, similar to how his name was on it.
"It's sort of, a good luck charm, or a kind of encouragement when one of us go on a solo mission." She tuck a stray strand of pink hair behind her ear, a blush adorning her cheeks as she avoided his gaze on her. "Um… just remember that when you feel alone or giving up, look at it and you'll remember us. You'll remember that you have a home to come to, so don't ever give up." She nearly jumped when he pulled her to a hug, causing her emerald eyes to go as wide as saucers.
He has never hugged her before or anyone for that matter, nor has he ever started physical contact with anyone unless it was needed or necessary. To her, this was a first. "S-Sasuke..?" he closed his eyes and took a whiff of her strawberry scented hair, letting his left hand run down her long pink locks. "Sakura…" She didn't know why he was doing this affectionate gesture, but her inner self told her to just enjoy the moment, because these things never last that long. "Thank you…" he whispered, and a second later, he was gone.
fell to her knees and stared at where the man who captured her heart
was once, absent-mindedly clasping her hands in front of her chest
and lowering her head. "Why did it felt like it will be the last
time I'll see him again? Like it will be the first and last he's
ever hugged me that way? Why does my heart… hurt..?"
He raced through the trees, jumping from branch to branch as he fixed his eyes on one direction. "He passed by here, I can feel it…" he thought, his hands clenching tight, the silver necklace was secured around his neck and hidden inside his ANBU uniform. "This is it, this is the day that will finally settle who among us is better…" he jumped down and stopped at a clearing. "It's too quiet…" he observed, eyes closed and ears picking up any faint sounds.
Although he was out of Konoha's borders, he was still in the forest near the village, and it would usually be filled with chirping birds and scurrying land animals and bugs. Yet somehow, not even the fishes in the small river a few feet away from him seemed to be active. "He's here." And to answer his assumptions, he jumped away, right in time to avoid a direct attack from Kisame's weapon.
"He's a sharp one Itachi." The blue-skinned Akatsuki said, eyeing Sasuke who still concealed his identity with a wolf mask. "What else would you expect from an Uchiha Kisame?" came the murderer of the Uchiha clan's voice. "If you haven't noticed yet, his hair is spiked up to the back, his katana has the Uchiha fan charm attached at the end of the handle, and his chakra is pretty much familiar."
"Itachi…" the ANBU hissed, removing his mask and glaring at the two with sharingan eyes. Three commas were swirling the pupil and narrowed dangerously. "Long time no see." The older Uchiha eyed the younger one and quirked both eyebrows. "I can say that you improved, a lot may I add. How old did you become ANBU?"
"That is none of your concern you sick bastard…" he growled in response, trying hard to not charge head on at the S-class criminal. "Ouch, is that how you treat your brother?" Sasuke took out his fuuma shuriken, his weapon of choice on long-range attacks during solo missions. "I no longer consider you as my brother after what you did!" and he jumped in the air, throwing the four-star shaped weapon towards his brother with full speed and force. Itachi just looked bored and jumped up, evading the weapon, only to see Sasuke smirk and pull on a string.
Itachi looked behind him to see the large Chinese star coming back towards him. Kisame intervened by stopping the swirling shuriken with his samehada. "Hmm… he takes after you."
"No," Itachi murmured and turned back to Sasuke who now held onto a mini scythe. At the end of the handle was a black chain, attaching the weapon to a kodachi as he positioned himself to attack. "He takes after Shisui…" he could remember the days he spent with his little brother and best friend, and he vaguely recalled Shisui teaching the seven-year old Sasuke the attack he used earlier. "I guess I'll have to do this quick…"
He took his hat off and ran towards Sasuke, blocking the kodachi with his kunai. "Is this all you got little brother?" the smirk on the ANBU's face earned a questioning look from Itachi as Sasuke tried to scratch Itachi with the scythe, which was blocked by another kunai. At this, he muttered the words: "Caught you." And Itachi turned when he sensed someone try to stab him with a katana. "Damn, kage bunshin." And he quickly jumped away, causing the Japanese sword to pierce right through the clone Sasuke.
gotten better, not in the way I expected, but his chakra control is
flawless. How did he get this far..?" he continued to study his
little brother, looking for any signs of movements that he could
possibly predict. "He almost had me there…" he thought,
taking a vile from his pocket discreetly. "I guess I have no
The clouds seemed to have caught her full attention as she blocked out the battle cries Naruto kept yelling whenever he would give an attack to their former teacher, Kakashi, who still read the orange book while fighting against Naruto. She sighed and pulled her knees up to her chest, hugging them closer to her. Unlike most jounins, her sleeves were folded up to the elbow, and her forehead protector remained on top of her head. "Why am I having a bad feeling..?"
Her ears picked up the sound of a falcon that cawed, and she raised her head to see the bird flying in circular motions above her. Raising a brow, she got up as the falcon flew down to her raised arm, catching her two companions attention. "What's up Sakura?" the pink haired jounin didn't answer Kakashi and just took out the piece of paper that was attached to the falcon's leg. Opening it, her eyes widened when it came from the Hokage and what the message says. "Sakura..?" Naruto asked, but she dropped the paper and ran towards Konoha's hospital instantly. Kakashi picked up the article and crumpled it soon after. "Naruto, we have to get to the tower, now." And they too, took off.
"What was written there anyway?" the blonde ANBU questioned. Kakashi remained quiet, thinking if he should tell his ex-pupil. When he saw the look on the blonde's eyes, he sighed and spoke. "A team of medical ninjas accompanied by Sasuke's ANBU team found Itachi and Kisame's bodies, they were dead." Blinking, Naruto was about to open his mouth to say "So what" until the next sentence made him freeze. "They also found Sasuke, and he was dying…"
"Then why the hell are we heading to the tower instead of the hospital!"
"It was only Sakura who was ordered to go there, the two of us are called by the Godaime herself."
She paced around the room, not seeming to believe the reports the doctors sent her. "This can't be happening…" she thought, sitting down and wiping the sweat from her brow. She looked up when the door burst open, revealing an angry-looking Naruto and a too-calm Kakashi. "Explain." They said simultaneously. "Good news and bad news…" they nodded, gesturing her to continue. "Good news is, he's still alive." The two gave a sigh of relief and waited for Tsunade to continue. "But the bad news, he is not responding positively to the medicine or drugs injected in his body, therefore, we can't exactly say if he will be alright. The worst possible thing that could happen to him is that he will…" she trailed off, not wanting to continue.
"Damn it! I told you that sending him alone on that kind of mission is not good! What's worse is he fought with two Akatsuki members! As if Itachi wasn't bad enough!" Kakashi pulled Naruto when the blonde was about to tackle the Hokage. However, he himself can't exactly tell if he can still control the anger welling up inside of him. "I'll have to agree with Naruto Hokage-sama, even if Sasuke is the best so far in the ANBU team, he is still incapable of fighting against two S-class criminal on his own."
Tsunade just smirked. "You're wrong Kakashi." The two looked at her with bewilderment. "Sasuke can fight them on his own, and he surprised me when his team and the medics told me that he actually killed the two. Even if he was dying, I told Sakura to immediately report to the hospital to heal him, and this report just came in." she tossed the folder on her desk, waiting for the two to take it and read the contents. "Now, let me finish my sentence, I trailed off because, I can't seem to bear the fact to loose an ANBU captain like Uchiha, and no, it's not to death. Actually, the worst thing that could happen to him is-"
"Tsunade-sama! What are we going to do about this?" Shizune asked, looking frantic when she entered the office. "About what?" the godaime asked. Her subordinate took a deep breathe in and pointed at the door, where Ton-Ton came in, running and jumping into Shizune's arms yet still continued shaking with fear. "What has gotten into Ton-Ton?" Tsunade asked, standing up. "It's… Sasuke…" Shizune answered, glancing at the door as Sakura came in, and in her arms was…
"A cat?" Kakashi raised his visible brow.
"Sasuke?" Naruto asked in disbelief.
"Both." Sakura answered, looking down at the eight-year old looking Sasuke who had orange ears and tail. Although his ears turned to a cat's, his hands and feet were still human, and so was his body. Over-all, he was in his eight year old self with cat ears and tail, and he was snuggling against Sakura who gave a small smile. "You perverted bastard! What are you doing to Sakura?" Naruto yelled, raising a fist at the neko Sasuke who just glanced at the blonde for a second then turned back to nuzzling Sakura's neck, purring like a kitten would. "Argh! I told you sensei! I told you!" Naruto cried, glaring at Kakashi. "I told you giving him a complete set of Icha Icha Paradise on his eighteenth birthday would turn him into a pervert!"
Sakura bonked Naruto on the head. "Idiot, how can he be a pervert if he has a cat mind?" they all turned to the neko Sasuke who continued to rub his cheek on Sakura's neck. Tsunade cleared her throat to gain everyone's attention, including the half-cat. "This is what I was talking about Kakashi, Naruto." She sighed and sat down. "You see, I heard that the Akatsuki have developed an interest with half-human and half-beast projects. Problem is, we'll never know why because Sasuke is the only one who knows, unfortunately, he can't say anything besides cat language."
"…meow…" the neko said, jumping down from Sakura's arms and sitting like a cat and started licking his right hand. They all suppressed a laugh, not used to seeing the anti-social and cold-hearted Uchiha prodigy acting like a… cat. However, Naruto couldn't help but snigger at his rival/best friend. "You look like an idiot teme!" he grinned, pointing at the cat. Neko Sasuke heard it, causing him to stop licking his hand as he stared at Naruto with narrowed eyes and a vein popping at the side of his head. The blonde idiot snorted when Tsunade tried to warn him. "What could this stupid cat do to me? He's completely harmless!" and he continued to mock neko Sasuke, until…
"Ow! Ah! Stop it! Gah! Teme! Don't!"
Apparently, neko Sasuke thought that three whiskers on Naruto's cheeks weren't enough, so he added a few more on the blonde's face, smirking in satisfaction when the newbie ANBU hid behind Kakashi in fear. Tsunade sighed and pulled onto her hair in frustration. "He has a cat mind, but it doesn't mean that his old Sasuke instincts or habits haven't gone completely. He doesn't exactly recognize all of us, but his Uchiha sense will kick in anytime, anywhere. Now, you may all go, I have to bring this neko back to the hospital for further check-ups. We have to come up with a cure for his full report regarding his mission." Tsunade was about to pick him up when he hissed and glared, causing the Hokage to take a step back.
When she realized what she did, she blushed in embarrassment when Naruto started snickering while the others looked at her with wide eyes. "The great Tsunade-ba-chan is afraid of Sasuke-teme!" Tsunade glared at the blonde. "No, it's just that I'd rather not end up looking like you." She smirked when Naruto stuck his tongue out. "Now then," she bent down to pick the neko up but he only hissed some more and backed away on all fours, stopping when he was cornered. "No escape now Uchiha." Sasuke smirked and pounced on Tsunade's head, then jumped to her desk and sat there, acting innocent when the blonde woman gave a killing aura.
"You annoying little- come here!" and she charged at the neko, but again, he only jumped away and landed beside Kakashi who continued to read his Icha Icha Paradise novel. They heard a crash, seeing Tsunade's desk cracked and papers scattered everywhere. "Damn it! You stupid cat!" a vein popped at the side of neko Sasuke's head as he glared at Tsunade who continued insulting him. Sasuke hissed and threatened to scratch the Hokage when Sakura walked over to him and picked him up, carrying him like a child.
Shizune blinked and saw how the neko Sasuke calmed down and smiled when Sakura took him. At this, an idea clicked into her head. "Tsunade-sama, maybe you can leave him under Sakura's care as a D-rank mission?" all heads turned to her, then to Sakura who blinked. "Hmm… not a bad idea, seeing as you're the only one who he isn't hissing at or running away from, do you accept it?" Sakura looked at all of them then at the neko in her arms who seemed to have dozed off and now rested his head on her chest. She smiled slightly and pulled him closer. "Yes, I accept the mission."
Next on Neko Sasuke: Chapter 2: Water
"Sasuke, come on, you have to take a bath!" she tried to bribe the neko with a tomato, but he only remained under the bed, inching further away from her. She sighed and gave up, sitting on the floor crossed-legged and in deep thinking. "Mou, how can I get you to take a bath? You're lucky that I now live alone…" she trailed off, recalling how her mom died from the attack from Sound two years ago. She remembered how Sasuke returned to them after a fight against Orochimaru when he learned that the sannin wasn't exactly planning to help him with revenge at all once he took over the Uchiha's body. Tears fell down from her eyes as she cried silently at the memory. Neko Sasuke heard her sniffles and slowly came out, staring at his new master.
A/N: So, what exactly is the Akatsuki's purpose? Actually, are there still Akatsuki members alive out there? Why did Itachi turn Sasuke into a cat? See you in the next chapter!