Finally I update with a new chapter! I may have taken awhile, but at least it's a long one.
First of all, I want to thank everyone who review the last chapter: The Great Rick, AJW1893, edwardelric16, Pyro Flare, I have no name, Dr.Doom23, t-fly(you should get an account here!) LordFrieza, EvilFaerie17, bethy-lil-shy-girl, , Trigga Happy Saiyanayo, Wolf Fangirl, diadem15, Candygirl999, ArmorOfGeddon (with the especially long comment) and anyone who posted anonymously! Thanks guys, sorry for keeping you waiting.
Also, I feel I should mention this as a spoiler alert. This story takes place between chapter 342 and 343 in the manga. A few facts may not line up perfectly but their not so huge as to make a big deal out of them.
But, even though the story starts off from that point any and all information regarding characters and world of Naruto revealed up until chapter 422 (the most recent chapter as of now) is true for this story as well. So any characters that have appeared in that timeframe exist in this story, they just might not appear. Also, anything revealed about a character's origins or past in that timeframe is also true in this story.
That's all for now!
It had been approximately nine hours since Team Seven Team Gai had returned from their disastrous mission minus several members. In that time frame Konoha's ninja population had become abuzz with activity; the rumors that a only a single member of Team Gai had returned, with substantial injuries from the Gentle Fist Style no less, only added fuel to the fire as talk of the unexplained events spread from person to person. Most gave the topic little thought; after all, this was Kakashi and Gai they were talking about. What on earth could possible be so dangerous as to take them both out?
Unfortunate for Tsunade she was faced with the grim reality of the situation. Of course she had been skeptical of the entire thing. Zombies? Those were the subject of badly-told campfire stories, not Konoha's intelligence reports. Even so she still sent out an ANBU medical team along with the other two squads sent to do reconnaissance on the village in question. The squad consisted of medic-nin specially trained to deal with biological warfare and outbreaks of disease. If there was any truth to Sakura's and Naruto's story they would find it.
Unfortunately, Naruto was well known for being honest to a fualt.
So it was no surprise to her when the an ANBU agent appeared in her office in the middle of the night, his breathing heavy from having ran non-stop for several hours to return crucial information to his village.
Tsunade carefully held the contents of the folder he had given her, its contents kept safe under a special seal only she could have opened, almost wishing she had never sent that team out. "So these are…?"
The ANBU nodded, "As instructed our squad investigated the matter of Team Seven's last mission. As they had already reported the village has been attacked by a large force that apparently killed off the majority of the population in the first wave then broke into the homes of the survivors and dragged them out into the streets to be killed. Every victim had apparently been…eaten."
Tsunade flipped through the photographs provided in the mission report. The scenes were reminiscent of the last Great Shinobi War: bodies left to rot in the heat of the sun, destroyed homes crumbling in the background, families caught in crossfire of a battle they didn't see coming. But there was a greater level of barbarism in these pictures unlike that of ninja; there was a crudeness, a desperation in the level of carnage that Tsunade could not remember seeing in any of her past battles. "Were there no survivors?"
The ANBU shook his head. "We were unable to find anyone who had survived the attack on the village, however…"
Reaching down he skimmed through the photographs on her desk, pulling out several pictures of middle age man covered in blood being secured by several ANBU agents. "We did find the man that Team Seven had subdued upon entering the village. He appears to be a civilian that had been infected by the same condition his attackers carried. The chief medical officer left a detailed initial assessment with the information I was given."
Tsunade flipped through the various documents and found the report in question. She flipped through the pages of handwritten notes not missing the nervous excitement in the doctor's handwriting. This was something no one had ever seen before. "And what of the four ninja in question?"
The raccoon-masked ANBU paused for a moment. In all likelihood he had served under or with Kakashi and Gai in the past and like many others carried a large amount of respect for the two high-level Jonin. However, like a true professional he pushed aside personal feelings and focused on the job at hand. "Unfortunately, we were unable to locate the bodies of Might Gai, Kakashi Hatake, Neji Hyuga, or Rock Lee. We did find signs of several skirmishes in two separate areas around the village as well as the unidentified bodies of an adult male and several dogs, though whether or not these incidents are related in unknown at this time."
"So that means we could be dealing with all four of them being infected." Tsunade felt something sink in her gut. This situation was growing more and more dire by the second. "And what of the infected individual? Has he been secured?"
The ANBU nodded. "He is being safely transported to the highest level quarantine facility outside of Konoha where he will undergo a full examination. Every possible precaution is being taken as per your instruction. "
Tsunade let out an internal sigh of relief. At least they were going to get a first hand look at what they were dealing with. "I trust this information is being kept on a strict need-to-know basis."
"Very well," Tsunade told him. "You are dismissed."
The ANBU nodded and with a flash of smoke he was gone, leaving not a single trace left as was expected of him.
Flipping open the medical examination of the subject Tsunade grabbed a half-empty cup of sake and finished it in one gulp. She had a feeling she was going to need it.
Opening the report she started reading over the hastily-written notes, seeing words like "impossible" and "further examination required" appearing again and again.
The Subject (referred hereafter as "Patient Zero") was found secured in the bedroom of the former Russo Village, as per Team Seven's mission report (See Document 2).
Patient appeared disorientated and hostile upon sight of us and immediately attempted to break from its well-secured restraints, worsening the broken bone in his right arm. (Patient shows no signs of pain from injury or concern for his one well being. Wound did not bleed despite open fracture. Bone continued to tear into patents skin as he struggled leaving the skin and muscles several damaged.
This could not be real. Such a thing could not exist in this world, it defied all natural laws.
Initial examination showed no physical signs of life coming from Patient Zero save for chakra systems. The heart, lungs, and other major organs were all non-functional as described by Medic Sakura Haruno in her write-up (See Document 3).
Patient Zero did not respond to tranquilizers, both injected and jutsu-based. All attempts to calm down Patient proved futile. In the end Several ANBU were forced to restrain Patient and apply a strait jacket and muzzle.
She was a doctor. She knew how the body worked. It did not work this way. Could not work this way.
Attempts to draw blood proved useless, syringes only coming back with minute traces of an unidentified black substance that seems to be a natural product of Patients Zero's decay. Initial speculation leads me to assume this may help in keeping those infected limber…
She closed the file.
Grabbing the body of sake on her desk she stood from her chair and walked to the open window and gazed at the night sky, watching the full moon hang overhead. Below her the village continued with its routine. Tiered civilians walked through the streets on their way home from work while off-duty ninja made their way to the local bars for a night of drinking. Children ran through the legs of people as they played ninja with each other and were yelled at by vendors for bothering their costumers.
Tsunade loved these people. The cared for each and every one of them and would die before she allowed anything to jeopardize the safety of her village. But if a single infected managed to get behind these walls…
The sake bottle shattered in Tsunade's grip spilling its contents to the floor and sending broken pieces of glass to pile dangerously on the floor. She gripped the broken shards in her hand tightly, ignoring the pain as they tore into her skin and drew blood. In all honesty she almost welcomed it, anything to distract her mind from the images of that horrifying scenario.
God help her, she had never been so afraid for her people in her entire life.
Deep within the bowels of one of Orochimaru's many lairs the snake sannin lay in his bed, his arms lying uselessly at his sides. Beads of sweat slowly trickled down his brow as he felt his medication trying to combat the breakdown of his body, a side effect from his years of self-experimentation in his quest for immortality.
The darkness of his room was broken only by a small red light that flashed on the adjacent wall, a warning light indicating the unauthorized opening of one of the prison cells. The red filled the room at regular intervals, casting odd shadows along the crumbling walls.
Struggling, the snake sannin sat upright in his bed. His already-decaying arms felt like lead.
"Sasuke!" he called out.
Orochimaru gritted his teeth as a twitch of pain shot through his arms, remnants of his battle with the Hokage. They only managed to exacerbate the problems with the rest of his body, which required more and more medical attention every month. At this rate he would need to perform the soul transfer ritual sooner than expected.
"Sasuke!" he called again.
Orochimaru scowled in annoyance at the red lights incessant blinking. It was of no real concern to him, as any prisoner that escaped would have to make it though his ingenious security system and even then they could always be hunted down.
"SASUKE!" he called out a third time, his voice growing raspy.
Slowly his bedroom door creaked open, and in the on-again off-again red light Orochimaru saw the sweat-stained Uchiha looking back at him.
"You called?" Sasuke asked.
"Ku ku ku…" Orochimaru laughed, his tongue trailing out of his mouth to lick his lips. "Training on your own again? You'll wear your body out at this rate. Can't have that, can we Sasuke-kun?"
Sasuke didn't respond.
"Humph," Orochimaru turned back to the light on his wall, which was really starting to aggravate him. "There's a prisoner escaping in cell block five. Look into it."
Nodding silently and with no enthusiasm, Sasuke turned to leave
"And Sasuke…" Orochimaru called after him, "make sure this one doesn't 'accidentally' escape under your watch, hmm?"
Sasuke turned to look back at him.
"I'd hate to have to hunt this one down and kill him, like I did with the last one." The snake sannin said, giving Sasuke a grin that was all teeth.
In the darkness Sasuke remained silent, his Sharingan eye almost invisible in the red light.
Sasuke walked the dark hallways, needing little light to travel the underground labyrinth. Florescent lights flickered on and off as he made his way deeper into the complex towards the holding chambers, passing by various labs and rooms housing different "experiments."
Soon enough Sasuke found himself in front of a large steel door marked "Cell Block 5." The reinforced metal would have posed a challenge for high-ranking shinobi and would have proved impossible for the chakra-drained inhabitants of the prison. Whoever had managed to escape would have been better off staying in his cell and keeping to himself.
The small viewing window in the center of the door provided Sasuke with a view into the dark room. Normally the lights where kept off in this area to further drain the prisoners of their willpower and save on electricity, but in this case it only hampered him in his objective. Squinting Sasuke could barely make out some movement in the darkness, and he wasn't about to waste his Sharingan on one of Orochimaru's pathetic subjects.
Steeling himself he punched in the number code into the keypad on the wall and waited as the internal mechanisms unlocked themselves. With an affirmative "beep!" the door slid open and Sasuke stepped into the darkness.
The first thing that caught his attention was the sound of chewing that filled the room, reminiscent of the time he had been invited to an all-you-could-eat buffet with Chouji's family. The sound seemed to fill the entire room, mixing with tearing and ripping and grunts of satisfaction. Something was very, very, wrong.
Feeling along the cold stone wall Sasuke found the light switch and flipped it on.
There was blood everywhere.
Everywhere in his vision Sasuke saw the mangled bodies of the prisoners strewn over the floor, their blood and bile smeared across the walls like a twisted finger-painting. Every cell door had been forced open from the outside, many of the iron bars ripped right off their hinges and thrown aside. Sasuke could make out the bloody handprints on the walls where men had been dragged kicking and screaming from their cells. The fact that only one of the alarms had been tripped was not lost on Sasuke. The only explanation was that their entire security system had been compromised somehow.
Those not dead were feasting on those that were, tearing apart their cellmate's bodies with their bare hands and stuffing the bloody parts into their mouths. The entire room was an orgy of blood and gore as they ripped into their victims, tearing, feasting…
But the one thing that stood out the most of all, out of all the carnage and terror, was a single patch of blood-speckled silver standing in the middle of it all.
The copy-nin slowly turned his head in Sasuke's direction and Sasuke felt his stomach churn.
His former teacher's face was drenched with red, blood dripping from his jaw. In his hands was a severed arm.
A round head looked up from the ripped-open carcass of one of the prisoners, immediately breaking into a large smile when it saw him. "Hey, Sasuke is here!"
"Lee?" Sasuke thought he was going to throw up.
"Hey Neji look, it's Sasuke!" Lee called out to the Hyuuga, currently feasting on a pile of guts. "HI SUSUKE!"
As Lee waved his one arm enthusiastically, Sasuke could only watch in mute horror as his friend's intestines rocked back and forth from his exposed stomach.
One by one the figures looked up from their meal and Sasuke found a collection of grey eyes and blood-stained mouths staring at him. As the feeding ceased the entire room fell into deafening silence.
Neji looked up from his meal. "Don' dust 'tand dere you idiots!" he shouted. "Do dometing!
Sasuke suddenly snapped back to reality as the prisoners all got to their feat and lurched forward, arms out and jaws open wide for him. He didn't even try to put up a fight, his only thought to get as far away from this scene as possible.
"I got this," Kakashi told the others. With a single movement he picked Kabuto's head off the floor by the ponytail and threw him as hard as he could aiming for Sasuke's neck.
The sound of Kabuto's yell reached him before his jaws did, and Sasuke turned to the side just in time to see the severed head fly past his face. Matted grey hair brushed against his cheek.
The head flew past the door and strait into the adjacent wall before tumbling to the floor and rolling down the hall. Sasuke ignored it for now and slammed his fist on the red button just above the keypad, issuing the lockdown command for the entire cell block.
Behind him Sasuke heard the door sliding back into place just as the prisoners reached it, their bodies smashing into the reinforced steel as it closed them off. Sasuke backed up against the wall, breathing heavily as he watched the shadows moving outside the viewing panel and banging their fists against the door.
His hand moved to cover his mouth to hold back the vomit. This had to be a genjutsu, it had to be. This was just another of Orochimaru's tests, something to train him…it had to be.
The noises from the other side suddenly died down and Sasuke's entire body tensed, his sharingan activated and ready.
On the other side of the window the face of Kakashi suddenly came into view. There was no mistaking that half-lidded eye, that silver hair, the way he wore his hitai-ate. But it was wrong. His skin was too pale, even paler than Orochimaru's, and his eye…his eye was dead.
Kakashi waved through the glass, "Yo."
It occurred to Sasuke at that moment that Kakashi's face was uncovered for the first time ever. He hadn't noticed because of all the blood covering his former teacher's mouth acted like a second mask.
Seeming to pick up on this Kakashi pulled his mask back up, the blood immediately soaking through the fabric. "I know what this looks like Sasuke, but I need you to keep a level head about this."
Sasuke said nothing, all his efforts going into breaking the genjutsu.
"We have business with Orochimaru," Kakashi pressed his hand against the door, smearing blood on the glass. "I need you to open the door and let us through."
Sasuke felt something running down his cheek. It must have been blood.
"I promise we won't hurt you. We could use someone like you."
Silently, Sasuke turned away from the door and slowly started down the dark hallway. Behind him the fists resumed their banging.
"We'll get through this door eventually Sasuke," Kakashi called out to him. "It's only a matter of time."
Sasuke didn't look back. He kept his slow pace into the darkness, all the while Kabuto watching him with that shit-eating grin on his face.
Kakashi bashed his fist against the steel doors in frustration. In their hunger they had overlooked the necessity of posting guards. This cut their time short.
"We need to get this door open now!" Kakashi ordered the others. To his dismay many of them and already lost interest in getting the door open, instead returning to their unfinished meals. "Unless you want Orochimaru to escape…"
"Fuck that man!" One of Orochimaru's infected prisoners shouted back. "I'm not getting myself killed going after Orochimaru. As soon as I'm done here I'm getting the hell out of-"
It took Kakashi only a split second to appear behind the man and grasp his head with both hands.
A sharp CRACK filled the air as Kakashi snapped the man's neck in one clean movement. His comrades watched in horror as their fellow prisoner fell to the ground like a rag doll; his head twisted almost 180 degrees.
Kakashi glared at the others. "Anyone else?" he asked with no reservations.
Much to everyone's shock the only voice to speak up belonged to the man lying on the ground.
He looked up at Kakashi from the ground, his face frozen in fear and confusion while the rest of his body lay limp. "What did you…I…I can't move."
Kakashi lifted his foot onto the man's stomach, leaning over him and staring him in the eye. "I snapped your neck. Had you listened to me in the beginning we could have avoided this."
Had his biological functions not have ceased several minutes ago tears would have been welling up in his eyes, "That…that's impossible. I…I can't feel anything. I should be dead…"
"That's right, you can't feel anything." Kakashi looked up at the others, "None of you can."
The newly turned zombies looked at each other, their eyes widening in realization as if they had just come out of a dream and into a nightmare.
"None of you can feel anything. You can't feel pain, you can't feel fatigue, and most importantly, you can't die."
"Ad far ad we can dell, edyway." Neji added.
Kakashi nodded, "The only thing you can feel now is hunger, something you all have already experienced firsthand."
"What are you guys?" One of the others asked.
Kakashi remained silent for a moment. "We're ninja," he answered, "our priorities are just a little different than most."
The other prisoners stepped back in fear, no one daring to speak up.
His point made, Kakashi turned to Neji. "Alright, we need to get that door open. Can you make out any weak points in the design?
Neji's eyes widened in a sudden burst of chakra as he activated his Byakugan, the skin around them rippling as chakra forced its way past torn muscle and broken vessels. One could almost hear the broken skull fragments scrapping against each other as Neji surveyed the door.
"In's build solid," he confirmed, "bud I tink enogh force could brind id down."
One of the other prisoners nodded in agreement, the former scuffle already forgotten. "That's sounds about right. Orochimaru was never really concerned with us escaping to invest in really heavy doors. With a chakra suppressant system in place there was never much need for it."
The gears in Kakashi's mind started turning, going over his options. He looked back at the prisoner that had spoken up. "Is there anyone here with a curse seal? Those guys always seemed to have a lot of power in them."
The prisoner rubbed the back of his head nervously. "Well, there was one but…" He gestured over to the fallen body of one of the less fortunate prisoners, one lying in a puddle of his own blood. "I don't think he's getting up again."
Kakashi cursed to himself, growing more and more agitated with the situation. The hunger was starting to prick at the back of his mind too, but he forced it back down. He needed to focus, he needed action…
Gai immediately stood tall and flexed his muscles, sporting a big grin on his face. "Allow me my eternal rival! That door can't possible stand up against the Inevitability of Death!"
Everyone stopped to stare at the spandex wearing man. Somewhere, a cricket chirped.
"Well…"Gai explained sheepishly, "I can't exactly go around spreading the 'Springtime of Youth,' can I?"
If his tear-ducts hadn't already dried up, Lee's cheeks would have been drenched. "Gai-sensei!"
Gai felt his own eyes filling with non-existent tears. "Lee!"
The two jumped into each others arms and joined in a manly hug, much to the embarrassment of everyone evolved.
"Just take the bloody door down," Kakashi ordered. "And where the hell is that cricket? I'm hungry."
Gai gave Lee a thumbs up and flipped into the air, landing in front of the door and striking a dynamic pose. Lee's was a little lopsided as he was still getting used to having only one arm.
"Alright Lee, if I can't take this door down I'll do one-thousand sit-ups!"
Lee felt his pride swell, "Gai-sensei!"
"JUST DO IT!" the other zombies shouted.
Taking a deep breath (not that it helped), Gai took his stance and felt the chakra surging throughout his body. "Eight Gates Opening, Sixth, Pain Gate, OPEN!"
In the deeper recesses of Konoha Tsunade marched down the hallway towards the grand council chambers. A pair ANBU flanked her as she made her way down the pristine white hallway, each one ready to act on her commands. Security cameras watched her every move as she walked past, nothing escaping their attention in the enclosed space. In all of Konoha this was one of the most high-security areas in the entire village. Every facet of its construction was designed to keep information from getting out.
A bear–masked ANBU stood waiting for her at the end of the hallway, standing at the ready in front of a pair of large wooden doors that led to Konoha's "war room."
"Hokage-sama," he said, kneeling in respect. "All are present and accounted for."
Tsunade nodded, expecting no less from her men. "And the seals?" she questioned.
"They have all been tested and activated," he replied. "No one outside of this room will be able to listen in or watch the proceedings."
That being the first good news she had heard all day, Tsunade took a deep breath before issuing the command. "Very well, let us begin."
Wordlessly the ANBU got to his feet and opened the heavy doors. The old wood creaked against the hinges.
For the past hour the elders and leaders of Konoha had been assembled in the Council Chambers underneath the Hokage Mansion, many of them tired and grumpy from being kept up at such a late hour or from being dragged away from important clan affairs.
Koharu Utatane and Homura Mitokado were both present as representatives of Konoha's Council of elders. Neither of them looked terrible pleased at their impromptu summoning, though Tsunade couldn't recall anything she had ever done to please the two of them
Every clan head was present, the Hyuga, Inuzuka, Aburame, Akimichi, Nara, many of them having heard the rumors regarding Team Sevens disastrous mission and looking reasonably concerned. None of these people were fools; they knew something big was up. Out of everyone it was Hiashi who looked the most concerned with the reasoning behind this meeting. Neji's fate had still not been revealed to him and although it pained Tsunade to keep it from him the laws regarding missing-nin were clear: such facts had to be made public to the council before informing the family to ensure they did nothing…foolish.
As she entered the room everyone seated at the round table stood at attention and bowed to her in respect. She nodded back as she walked towards her own seat, head held high and radiating an aura of authority.
She took her seat. "Be seated," she told the group. "I'm sure you're all wondering why you're here."
Tsunade suddenly felt the full weight of her title on her shoulders as she watched the faces of the council studying her, waiting for her to continue. She took a deep breath, this would not be easy.
"I have recently been informed;" she began, "that the Jounin Kakashi Hatake as well as the Chunin Neji Hyuga have betrayed Konoha and are on the run as missing-nin."
The eyes of every man and woman shot open in surprise. If Tsunade had told them she was pregnant with Naruto's baby she doubted they would have been more surprised.
"What lunacy is this?!" Hiashi shouted, pounding his fist on the table in an unusual display of emotion for the strict Hyuga. "I refuse to believe such an obvious pack of lies!"
Tsunade controlled herself, letting Hiashi get it out of his system. "I know this is hard to accept Hiashi, but there is more to the circumstances revolving around..."
"You expect me to believe that my nephew would betray his village?" The Hyuuga elder practically screamed at her. "Where did this information come from?"
Tsunade waited for Hiashi to calm down before continuing "From Naruto Uzumaki and Sakura Haruno," she told him without wavering, "both of who witnessed the actions of both ninja directly. It was backed up by Neji's teammate Tenten, who is currently being treated by your medics from wounds sustained from the Gentle Fist style."
Hiashi refused to back down however, "This is…!"
"Calm yourself Hiashi," Shibi Aburame spoke up. "We will learn nothing if you continue to let anger cloud your judgment."
Hiashi scowled at the Aburame Clan leader but clamed himself when he realized all eyes were upon him. Folding his hands into his sleeves he sat back in his chair, scowl still on his face.
"But with all due respect Hokage-sama," Shibi continued, "I must confess I too am skeptical in hearing this information. I personally served with Kakashi and Gai on many occasions and find the idea of them betraying us improbable at best."
Tsunade steeled herself, realizing that the course of this meeting hinged on the next words she spoke. "There are….extenuating circumstances."
In his sleeping quarters Orochimaru sat up in his bed. The alarm had been switched off moments ago but he had turned on the light on his bed stand casting the room in a dim yellow glow. With his arms acting up he would get no more sleep tonight.
A series of hacking coughs forced their way out of his throat, spraying the bed sheet with several drops of blood. Orochimaru knew his clock was ticking; soon no amount of medical treatments would help. In the face of it all, he smiled. These matters were of no consequence to a genius such as himself.
He felt the surge of chakra before he actually saw it, the flash of blue lightning coming through his door in a perfectly strait line aimed for his heart. Orochimaru acted completely on instinct, ignoring the pain and bringing his arms up to take the full force of the attack. The weapon sliced through both his arms cleanly and impaled the wall behind him, missing his shoulder by a few inches.
In the blink of an eye the doorway was cut to pieces and crumbled to the ground in a broken heap. From the darkness Sasuke stepped through the doorway, the chidori blade emanating from his left hand and his sword held firmly in his right. The Uchiha's sharingan eyes were ablaze in anger, their fury turned on the creature in front of them.
Sasuke increased his chidori the moment his eyes fell on his master. "What did you do?" he asked, his words laced with venom.
Even in the extreme pain he was in the sannin couldn't help but laugh. "Ku ku ku, you'll have to be more specific than that Sasuke…"
In a flash Sasuke was standing on the bed, his normally stoic face contorted in rage. With a quick jerk he brought his chidori blade up, slicing through his master's forearms and sending a spray of blood onto the wall and ceiling. Orochimaru screamed.
With his arms lying at his side, the forearms only attached by an inch of so of flesh and bone and bleeding into the dark sheets, the legendary sannin could scarcely do anything as his pupil raised cold steel to his throat. "What did you do toKakashi?"
If it were even possible Orochimaru's skin seemed to become a shade whiter. "They're here?" he whispered, his tone betraying his nervousness.
Sasuke felt his chakra raging inside his sharingan. "You monster…what have you done?"
An explosion from the lower chambers shook the entire complex, sending dirt and furniture crumbling around the room. The sannin eyes suddenly became very excited, a look Sasuke remembered seeing the last time his experiments had been successful.
The snake tongue slid out of his mouth, eagerly licking around his lips. "It worked then….everything is going to plan…"
"WHAT DID YOU DO?" Sasuke shouted as he pressed the blade harder to the sannin's throat, tasting the blood of his master for the first time.
Orochimaru's eyes suddenly darted back to Sasuke, as if he had just remembered he was there. "Just a little something I've been working on. I thought it would be rude of me not to share."
"I'll kill you…" Sasuke said through gritted teeth, "I'll cut your fucking throat…"
"Ku ku ku…and destroy their one chance for a cure? You know as well as I do that you don't have the power to kill me."
Sasuke felt a tremor run through his body at those words, his raw fury threatening to spill out and finally consume him. The Uchiha gripped his sword tighter….
"Put the blade down Sasuke-kun…"
It took everything he had, but Sasuke pulled his sword back.
"Ku ku ku…that's a good boy," Orochimaru smiled as Sasuke got off the bed, sheathing his sword on his back. Below them several more explosions were set off, indicating their guests had broken into the other labs and most likely feeding on his subjects.
"We'll need to escape now Sasuke, do you understand?" The sannin said, "If we stay here they will find us and tear us to pieces. We can't have that, can we?"
Sasuke said nothing.
The grin on Orochimaru's face grew wider as he swung his body around, gritting his teeth as he forced life back into his legs and practically through himself off the bed. "Help me, Sasuke."
His pupil made no move to help, not even bringing himself to look at him.
Orochimaru scowled, "Fine then." With a grunt of pain he started moving foreword, his arms hanging uselessly at his sides and dripping a trail of blood in his path. The sannin slowly made his way towards the far wall, leaning his body against the hard stone construction.
"Lift my arm Sasuke."
The Uchiha glared at him.
"Do you want to stay here and die Sasuke-kun?" Orochimaru said with a sick grin, "Did you not say you cannot die until you kill your brother?"
The sharingan turned itself on Orochimaru, sending a chill down the sannin's spine. Never taking his eyes of him Sasuke relented to his task, grabbing Orochimaru's arm and digging his fingers into the wound he created.
"Ooh, not so rough Sasuke," Orochimaru smiled. His apprentice stayed silent as he pressed the sannin's hand against the wall, letting Orochimaru feed his own twisted chakra into the stone fixture and release the hidden passage on the other side.
With a groan akin to a dying man the stone slowly moved away, revealing a dark corridor leading on for miles. The snake sannin smiled, in a few minutes his zombie-nin will arrive and find nothing. Eventually they will have no option but to return to Konoha and he would be there to witness it all.
But as he tried to step forward Orochimaru felt the hold on his arm grow tighter, the fingers digging deeper into his wound and drawing up even more blood to the surface. He turned to Sasuke, "What are you doing?"
Sasuke was staring at him intently, his fury gone, leaving nothing but a cold, emotionless mask on the surface. "Your existence disgusts me."
"And what of that?" Orochimaru sneered, "You need me Sasuke. You need me if you ever want a chance of defeating-"
"No I don't," Sasuke cut him off, "not anymore."
Orochimaru face contorted in rage, "You call yourself my apprentice?"
Sasuke reached for his blade, "I'm an avenger."
The blade easily slid through Orochimaru's almost non-existent heart, giving Sasuke one fleeting moment of victory. It was short lived as Orochimaru unhinged his jaw and opened his mouth unnaturally wide to unleash one last horror upon the world.
It moved so fast and so silently that Sasuke almost missed it as Orochimaru's true form shot out from his mouth, shedding the skin of his temporary vessel and taking form behind Sasuke. The used husk hung limp on Sasuke's sword; its purpose fulfilled. Letting it fall to the floor Sasuke turned to face Orochimaru.
"Hm, so that's your true form."
Before him stood the product of a thousand self-experiments. It was huge, filling over half the room with its massive, snake-like body. It was several feet in girth and its length seemed to stretch on forever slinking around walls and under furniture. Bone-white scales covered its entire body from its tail and merging with the head, proving upon closer inspection to actually be hundreds upon hundreds of individual serpents slowly slithering in a disgusting orgy of hate.
The creature reared its ugly head above Sasuke and stared at him with its glistening yellow eyes and let out a terrifying hiss.
Sasuke regarded it impassively, "You're pathetic."
The creature seemed to smile at this, revealing a mouth filled with poison-tipped fangs. Both fighters stared each other down waiting for the other to make his move, each of them knowing that only one of them would be walking away from this.
Then the wall exploded.
The right side of the room burst into pieces as Might Gai plowed through the wall with the force of a hundred bulldozers. Sasuke was caught completely by surprise by the attack just barley dodging the shower of rocks that were thrown across the room. Orochimaru didn't have time to react because he was to busy getting his face crushed under Gai's foot.
It was perhaps THE most dynamic entry of all time.
The eyes of hundreds of snakes fell upon Gai as Orochimaru fell under the force of the attack, immediately sending out a wave of serpents to strike down the attacker. The tendrils whipped out to hit only air as Gai disappeared in a flash of speed to reappear in front of Orochimaru and deliver a nasty uppercut to his snout.
Orochimaru's head shot back at breakneck speed slamming strait into the stone wall. The force of the impact almost toppled the structure on top of them and shook Sasuke out of his trance.
The giant snake hit the ground hard and Gai was on him faster than Choji in an all-you can eat buffet, driving his fist into the mass of snakes and grasping a handful of the squirming reptiles. Orochimaru let out an angry hiss as he felt Gai rip them out of his body and cracked his body like a whip sending Gai flying across the room right past Sasuke and plowing into a bookshelf causing them both to collapse into a heap.
Both Sasuke and Orochimaru watched Gai's body as it lay silently underneath the pile of books. Sasuke couldn't help but notice the large amounts of blood that covered the Green Beast's arms and chest, there formation leaving a distinct impression that it was not his own.
One of the books shifted just slightly giving the two only a seconds warning before Gai was up again, shooting across the floor at impossible speeds on chakra-infused legs and plowing right into the sannin plowing both of them into the wall again before he unleashed a tidal wave of furious punches so powerful that Sasuke could have sworn flames were leaping from his fists.
The one thing that shocked Sasuke the most was the look of raw fury that burned on Gai's face. It was unlike anything he had seen before and left him with a sense that the Gai he had known was no more, leaving some horrible creature in his place that had only one desire: to kill.
As the two titans grappled with each other Sasuke became aware of the presence of several others joining them. Looking over his shoulder Sasuke saw the hungry faces of dozens of newly-infected prisoners running trough the trail of destruction Gai had left as he had plowed on his way towards this room. The hoard streamed in through the broken down wall, each one trying to be first to get their hands on the fresh meat before their eyes.
"Hey Sasuke," one of the zombies said with a grin, "Thought we'd pay you a visit."
The zombies slowly began to circle the Uchiha, enough rationale left in their minds to know they couldn't just charge in head first. Sasuke watched them all impassively, his mind working out the most efficient way to take all of them out.
"I don't know about this guys," one of the zombies said. "This is Sasuke we're talking about. He took out, like, a hundred guys without breaking a sweat once!"
"That's nothing, he only knocked them out." The biggest one smirked, his head a little lopsided by the huge chunk missing from his neck. "Besides, we can't get knocked out anymore, remember?"
The large one charged Sasuke with killing intent, his jaw open wide in anticipation of his meal. "We're fucking invincible now! Just dig in boys!"
The zombie ran strait were Sasuke had been standing only to seemingly run though his as Sasuke made his move. The zombie came to a stop a few feet behind him, stopped, them collapsed as his head fell off his shoulders.
"SASUKE!" Orochimaru hissed as he through Gai once more into the wall, "Use my curse seal!"
Sasuke didn't bother to look back only activating his sharingan eye as the rest of the zombies started to close in on him, apparently not finding the threat of decapitation enough of a worry to back off.
"I told you before," he said as he raised his sword, "I don't need you anymore."
For the next ten minutes the council members were completely silent as Tsunade gave them the rundown of what had transpired in the last twelve hours. No one spoke, no one asked any questions, no one dared to even move, such was the magnitude of Tsunade's information.
She showed them the photographs, the medical reports, and anything and everything related to the problem at hand. She even told them of how the ANBU found no trace of Might Gai or Rock Lee, leading to the possibility that they had four "zombie-nin" on the loose.
By the time Tsunade was finished everyone present was up-to-date and fully informed with everything revolving around "Mission Zero" as it was being referred to. Of course when she turned the floor over to them she wasn't the least bit surprised as the council descended into frantic arguments over how to deal with the situation.
"We need to call back every team immediately!"
"That would be a huge financial loss for the village! We'd be looking disaster economically and politically!"
"And what of out people? With this infection…"
With one raised hand Tsunade ended the petty squabbles "Enough, we do not have time to argue amounts ourselves while the potential for this situation to get out of hand grows every minute. I brought you here so that we can properly address this threat and plan accordingly." Her eyes traced over the faces of those present, reminding them all why she was Hokage. "I will not jeopardize the safety of this village because its leaders couldn't remain calm during times of crisis."
"Hokage-sama," Hiashi spoke up, notably more composed than before. "You said this was an infection, is a cure possible?"
Tsunade let out a sigh, desperately wishing she could tell him what he wanted to hear. "No, a cure is not yet possible. However, in my professional opinion a cure may not be possible at all."
"I have already discussed this with out chief medical officers," Tsunade cut him off, flashbacks of talking to Naruto flashing through her mind. "While yes, the brains of the infected are mostly intact their bodies are composed of nothing but dead tissue kept functional by a modified Chakra system. Even if whatever was causing this could be removed we'd be left with a dead body and medical science has no way of regenerating dead tissue."
The dejected look on Hiashi's face tore at Tsunade's face though she did not show it, unable to afford looking weak in such a situation. "I'm sorry Hiashi, I know this must be difficult for you."
"Then what are we to do?" a member of the Akimichi clan spoke up, "You said so yourself that they cannot be knocked out or tranquilized, and any attempt to lock up Kakashi or Gai would be nearly futile!"
"I should think the answer should be obvious."
All eyes turned to Danzo in his seat amongst the other council members. While the ex-commander of the disbanded ROOT division of ANBU no longer had an official title as such, he still held significant influence amongst the village hierarchy.
"We have all dealt with missing-nin before," he said with no reservations. "The only option we have before us is to exterminate them.
Had Tsunade's presence not been a factor the room would have descended into open hostility again right then and there. "Are you out of your mind?" Hiashi scowled, "These are not missing-nin we are dealing with. These are…"
Danzo did not back down. "Ninja that have betrayed out village and are now presumed to be acting in ways that would harm our village further. The law on traitors is absolute."
Hiashi snorted at the man's choice of words, "You would know all about that, wouldn't you?"
"And what is that supposed to mean?"
"You know damn well…"
The entire room suddenly shook violently as Tsunade slammed her fists on the table sending several members of the council falling out of their chairs and sending cracks through the decade's old wood. "That's enough, both of you."
Hiashi quickly controlled himself, bowing his head respectively towards Tsunade. "My apologies Hokage-sama, I spoke rashly and out of turn."
Tsunade unclenched her fists, allowing several of the older council members to let out a collective sigh of relief. "You are forgiven Hiashi. And I must apologize because I have to agree with Danzo's proposal"
Danzo's wrinkled brow raised itself just slightly, the closest the war-hungry man could get to a smile. "Thank you Hoka-"
"Quite," she ordered, not willing to sit through such false declarations of respect. "This was not an easy decision for me to make, but with no cure in site and the potential for this to upset the entire ninja world we must take the most direct course of action to ensure this does not spread any further that it already has."
"As of this moment, I am declaring any present and future individuals that," she still couldn't believe she was saying this, "return from the dead to be considered an enemy of the village and to be killed immediately. Anyone who contracts this condition will be immediately quarantined and, assuming they too rise as zombies, executed."
No one spoke out against her, each of them seeing the necessity in such actions. Even Hiashi, his eyes clenched in anger, remained silent.
"Now then," Tsunade continued, hating herself for signing the death warrant for four Leaf-nin that, for all intents and proposes, were guilty only of becoming trapped in one of Orochimaru's sick plots. "Let's discuss how we're going to deal with this."
With that the members of the council nodded and readied themselves for a long and sleepless night.
The scene had descended into chaos as Orochimaru and Sasuke fought off the zombies side-by-side but not together. They were outnumbered twenty-to-one which was more of a hampering for Orochimaru than Sasuke who moved through the crowd of undead as if they were standing still, easily severing limbs and heads with a single slice of his sword. For Orochimaru the problem was one of size rather than skill. His large size gave him limited mobility in the confined room giving Gai and the other zombies ample opportunity to attack. Like ants they crawled over him, biting and tearing at his body and bleeding out onto the floor.
Orochimaru crushed one of his attackers against the wall splattering his brains over its surface. This was getting ridicules. He created these creatures, made them what they were! And now they sought his destruction as well as his new body's? Who did they think he was?
"Sasuke!" he hissed, "the escape path!"
Sasuke turned to him, cutting another zombie in half as he did, "You still believe I will allow you to follow me?"
The snake smiled, "All that mattersss is keeping your precious body safe, Ssssauke-kun." With one swipe of his tail he sent ten zombies flying across the room over Sasuke's head leaving a clear path towards the exit. "Go boy, I will survive this and take what is owed from you in the future."
Sasuke face remained expressionless. For a brief moment teacher and student locked eyes, conveying their contempt for one another one last time before Sasuke made his break. The surviving zombies saw what he was trying and quickly gave chase but they were no match for Sasuke's speed. The Uchiha moved past them leaving them grasping at thin air as he cleared the room in three strides and easily made his way into the dark passageway…right into the arms of several zombies.
Cold, undead hands wrapped around him as he collided headfirst with a group of zombies that had apparently been hiding in wait for him. Caught completely by surprise Sasuke jerked wildly in their vise-like grips and thrust his sword into the nearest one only to lose it as he fell back and took it with him. Wasting no time they dragged Sasuke to the ground and fell upon him, digging their jaws into his yielding flesh.
Orochimaru watched in agonizing fury as his apprentice was torn apart piece by piece "SASUKE!" he screamed as blood and guts flew through the air above the hoard. With dozens of hands pulling, tearing, and digging into any piece of Sasuke's body they could get their hands on it was going to be anything but a quick and clean death.
With a roar Orochimaru flung himself forward at the attackers, fangs bared and ready to tear them apart. He was stopped short as Might Gai grasped his tail with both hands and YANKED him back, nearly breaking the snake's spinal cord with the force of it. Orochimaru twisted himself around and lifted his tail in the air, taking Gai with it, and slammed it down on the ground. Gai hit the ground, losing his grasp of the tail and only having a seconds thought before he felt it slamming down on him again.
Blind with rage Orochimaru pounded his tail against Gai's prone form over and over again, intent on crushing every trace of him from the Earth.
"YOU RUINED EVERYTHING!"
"YEARS OF PLANNING!"
"I'LL KILL YOU! YOU AND YOU'RE ENTIRE FUCKING VILLAGE!
Now, under normal situations Gai probably would have replied with a quip about the power of youth and love, he probably would have rolled out from underneath one of the tail strikes and made a tactical retreat, he probably wouldn't have unlocked the sixth gate and prepared to go all-out against one of the legendary three.
But unfortunately for Orochimaru, Gai wasn't home anymore.
Orochimaru felt the sudden spike of charka underneath his tail as Gai let out a deafening scream, one that echoed throughout the room with blind rage. With nothing on his mind other than tearing the creature in front of him apart and devouring him Gai took both his hands and plunged them into Orochimaru's body and RIPPED through him, tearing off the tip of his tail and jumping into the air in a shower of flesh and blood.
Orochimaru matched Gai's ferocity and shot forward ready to dissolve the Green Beast with his acid-tipped fangs but was thrown off as Gai disappeared again faster that he could register. He reappeared once more underneath Orochimaru's head and with a devastating kick sent the snake soaring into the air. Orochimaru hit the roof hard and Gai was on him faster than he could blink, slamming both feet atop Orochimaru's skull and sending him crashing into he floor leaving a Orochimaru-sized crater going several feet into the ground.
Weakly Orochimaru raised his head knowing Gai would soon be on the attack again. His forked tongue flicked out to taste the air, blood mixed with the sent of ozone, as he readied himself.
A searing pain suddenly erupted from his tail and quickly shot up through his entire body. Orochimaru had no time to scream as he realized what was happening, his final thoughts being of Sasuke as Kakashi's chidori sliced though his brain.
Every zombie in the room stopped what they were doing to watch as the severed halves of Orochimaru spasmed wildly in the air spraying blood everywhere like a macabre fountain. Dozens of white snakes fell from the dyeing creature in attempts to escape, many crushed underneath the death throws of Orochimaru's true form. Finally, in one last death spasm, both halves fell to the ground in a bloody heap spilling internal organs and snake blood out onto the floor.
A cheer erupted from the ranks of the dead as the descended on the corpse of their long-hated tormentor, greedily grasping squirming snakes and cooked flesh and shoving it into their mouths. Gai was the first to stake his claim, taking the contents of Orochimaru's skull for himself. The only other zombie that attempted to take some of the delicious brains for himself quickly found his arms ripped off, a signal for the others to just enjoy their own meal.
Kakashi watched from across the room, his bloody hand still crackling with remnants of the chidori that finally brought down the man responsible for all their misery. Pulling down his mask Kakashi licked some of the blood of his had as he watched the hoard devour what remained of the legendary Sannin, many of them forgoing delicacy and simply shoving snakes into their mouths whole, bones and all.
Kakashi wasn't sure how he felt about this turn of events. Sure, he had had many thoughts about killing the snake that had ruined so many lives himself and had relished the act itself, but now that the deed was done he wasn't sure what to think.
Leaving the others to their meal Kakashi turned to the trio of zombies that remained around the body of some other poor soul. Having eaten his fill in the holding cells he was content to let the others gorge themselves, right now he had some questions.
"Where's Sasuke?" he asked them, having not seen his former student since the incident before.
One of the zombies looked up from their meal, glaring at Kakashi. "We killed him," he said with an arrogant tone, "and don't think you're getting any just because you took down Orochimaru. This one's ours."
Ignoring the blatant stupidity of Kakashi raised his eyebrow in skepticism. "Kakashi raised his eyebrow in skepticism. "You killed Sasuke?"
"Yeah," the zombie replied, insulted by Kakashi's tone. "It was easy."
Kakashi took a peak at the body lying at their feet. "It's just that it looks to me like you're eating a log."
All three zombies looked at each other, blinked, then looked back down to see that yes, they had been eating a log.
"That would explain the texture," one of them said, spitting out a piece of bark.
Kneeling down Kakashi examined the piece of badly damaged wood. "Genjustu," Kakashi explained. "I wouldn't feel too bad about it. You guys really had no chance against an experienced user of the sharingan."
Trailing a lazy eye across the room Kakashi examined the area, trying to piece together what happened amongst the destruction and dead bodies. "Clever Sasuke, using a mass genjutsu to fool all of them into thinking your dead; your skills have really grown exponentially these last view years." He looked down the dark passageway that he could only assume Sasuke had taken to escape. It was more than likely that Sasuke was well on his way out of here.
"No sense in chasing him now," Kakashi told the others. "At the speed he can move and with several minutes head start he would be impossible to find by the time we reached the end of that tunnel."
A single white snake slithered past Kakashi's foot which he snatched up by the tail, raising it up to his face to study. The copy-nin appreciated its desperate struggles as it bit into his arm despite the horrid taste fruitlessly trying to inject poison into dried veins.
Standing strait up again Kakashi tossed the creature to one of the three zombies now pulling splinters out of there tongues. "Make sure to eat every last one of those things. Don't leave a single trace of him left."
The zombies all nodded in understanding before breaking into a fight over the snake, each one grasping for it and pulling it apart as it screeched in agony. Kakashi signed to himself and turned towards the exit. Might as well see if there were any prisoners that hadn't been infected yet; No sense leaving them locked up to starve to death.
In the past five hours Orochimaru's lair had been turned into a bloodbath. Ever cell and laboratory had been torn apart in search of fresh meat by the growing number of zombies that prowled the corridors. The screams that had been echoing through the hallways had died down hours ago leaving the complex dead silent save for the shuffling of feat and sounds of feeding.
Kakashi walked down an empty hallway lit only by a dying florescent light bulb that sputtered on and off. He carefully avoided stepping on the dead bodies that lay strewn about the hallway though that didn't keep him from leaving bloody footprints everywhere he stepped. The bodies were so heavily mutilated and the gore so extreme that the entire floor had a fine layer of congealing blood on it making it impossible to walk without feeling it squishing beneath your feet.
Though he was somewhat hungry he didn't bother eating any of these leftovers. He had found that his appetite only seemed to be sated by fresh meat; anything left out for more than a couple hours no longer did anything for him. Not that that was stopping any of the other zombies. The last large group Kakashi had seen had been fighting over the scraps left behind from the last of the prisoners. They had been at each others throats over a few scraps of meat, damaging their bodies even further. One even tried to take a bite out of one of the other zombies but quickly learned that their kind tasted horrible. Kakashi didn't know if this was true or not but he was in no hurry to find out.
The familiar sound of bickering could be heard up ahead from behind an open door. Kakashi stuck his head inside and saw Neji sitting around a pile of broken test tubes and scattered notes eating the remnants of a severed leg. Lee stood behind him doing a one-armed handstand (not that he could do anything else) and was pushing himself up and down in some kind of training exercise, apparently giving Neji a very hard time.
"Come' on Neji, let's spar!"
Neji took another bite of the leg. "Go. Away."
Lee did a flipped on his hand and landed on his feet, punching the air in protest. "But I have to practice my one-armed techniques! What would Gai-sensei say if he saw you slacking off?"
"I'm eading Lee"
"Hey," Kakashi called out, interrupting the two before it got any worse. "We're leaving."
The two of them nodded and stood at attention, ready to follow Kakashi wherever he was going. At some point he had become the unofficial leader of this four-man team, having apparently taken their transformation better than anyone so far. Kakashi thought about that, wondering what that said about his mental state prior to becoming a zombie.
The three of them made their way though the dark halls led by Neji's Byakugen. They avoided the larger gangs roaming the complex, most of which were already succumbing to in-fighting over scraps of food and leadership roles, and slowly their way towards the surface.
"So this is the future of ninja," Kakashi thought to himself. A lone zombie ran past them, probably with no idea were he was going. "So far I'm not impressed."
Finally they reached familiar territory as they stepped over the twisted scrap of metal that had once been the door to Cell Block 5, broken down curtsey of Gai. It wouldn't be long before they were once again at the entrance to the lair; though Kakashi had the sudden feeling he was forgetting something.
Oh, right. Him.
The trio paused to look down at Kabuto's severed head, still lying in the corner they had left him. He looked up at them, squinting in anger. Kakashi saw his glasses laying a few inches away from his face, probably driving the traitorous medic insane.
"I'm hungry," he told them.
"I'm sure you are," Kakashi nodded in response. Gesturing to the others they continued their walk leaving Kabuto behind.
"Wait!" he called after them, "You can't just leave me here!"
"Yes, we can," Kakashi called back, not bothering to turn around.
"No! Wait!" Kabuto screamed after the three of them as they kept on walking. He could only scream and watch as their backs disappeared into the darkness paying no heed to his cries.
Kabuto screamed, jerking himself back and forth in a vain attempt to move himself. Without arms or legs though his actions proved useless and he only managed to push his glasses further down his face. His eyes darted back and forth, his vision clouded without his glasses and only adding to his panic.
"Hello?" he whispered into the darkness. "Is someone there?"
No one replied.
His bottom lip quivered as he lay there in the floor, "I'm so hungry…"
The three ninja eventually reached the exit for Orochimaru's lair and stepped out underneath the night sky. A dark forest surrounded them, completely devoid of any life. Not a single animal or insect could be heard amongst the foliage, it was all quite and still.
Kakashi felt that he would probably have to get used to that.
Lee suddenly jumped into the air excitedly. "Gai-sensei!" he shouted before rushing past Neji and Kakashi.
Sure enough Gai was already outside. He was sitting on a stump a few yards away from the hidden entrance staring up at the moon. His body was almost completely covered in Orochimaru's blood and bits of white snake-skin giving him and odd glow underneath the light of the full moon.
"Hey Gai," Kakashi said to his friend. "You ok?"
Gai weakly nodded, not looking at his rival. "I…I can't do that again Kakashi."
"Not sure what you mean," Kakashi replied, hoping that he wouldn't have to sit through another speech of how wrong their situation was.
"The gates…I can't unlock the gates anymore. I can't. I won't."
Lee scratched his head in confusion. "What do you mean Gai-sensei? You were able to go toe-to-toe with Orochimaru when you did that!"
"That's just it Lee, I shouldn't have been able to do that. I…I was too powerful. I couldn't control myself."
Kakashi rolled his eyes. "Damn it Gai, we're all going through that…."
"NOT LIKE THIS!" Gai snapped at him. "Not like this…"
The other three all watched Gai warily as he sat there, his fists shaking as he tried to regain his composure.
"I…I wasn't myself. The hunger was just so overwhelming that I just blocked out everything else." He looked up at Kakashi, suddenly looking very afraid. "I can't even remember fighting him! All I remember is ripping apart that door and feeling something take hold of me, something…something else…"
Kakashi placed a hand on Gai's shoulder, who got nothing out of the human contact other than an unsatisfying numbness. "Alright Gai, you don't have to open the gates again if you don't want to. I'm sure we can handle things without it from here on in anyway."
Gai nodded in thanks, "The same goes for Lee."
"I mean it Lee!" Gai yelled at his student, "That technique is now forbidden at all costs!"
Not happy with the situation but not daring to go against the brilliant word of his sensei, Lee nodded.
"Alright then, now that that's settled..." Kakashi told them, "We need to decide what we're going next."
"Whad aboud Konoha?" Neji said, not missing a beat. "We could easily ged drough dere debences wid our cobined knowledge ob dere securidy."
"Yeah!" Lee agreed enthusiastically, "We could get in and infect their strongest to help to! They would not see it coming!"
"The benefit of surprise is still on our side…" Gai added, finally getting out of his slump as the subject of food came up.
The three of them turned to Kakashi, waiting to see what his opinion would be. The copy-nin just stood there and stared back, "Are you all out of your minds? Have you forgotten what you've learned as ninja in just a few hours?"
The others all looked back at each other, confused. Sure, they felt bad about what they were doing but it's not liked they wanted to! The hunger was just to strong for any of them to control.
"If we were to attack Konoha alone," Kakashi continued, "we'd be annihilated. Konoha houses some of the strongest shinobi in ninja world. Naruto and the others would have long since arrived and told them everything, and if Tsunade is half the Hokage I think she is she'll already be taking countermeasures to deal with us."
"So what can we do?" asked Lee.
"We go someplace that's already to destabilized and chaotic to be able to keep us from gaining a foothold," Kakashi answered. "We're going to Rain Country."
I just realize dI havn't updated A Few Seconds Difference in over a year! Holy crap! Could have sworn it was less...
I'll be working on that next. Hopefully you'll all see something soon.
In the meantime, please leave a review!