Neji had remained sitting on the hard painful ground for an ungodly amount of time when a high-pitched beeping cut through the uncomfortable silence. Sasuke sprang to his feet, digging through his pocket frantically until he pulled out the same device he'd been obsessively checking for the last hour. Practically shaking with excitement he pressed his thumb down on a button and raised it up in front of his face.
Sasuke, it's time.
The Hyuga immediately recognized Itachi's voice crackling through the late afternoon air and grimaced slightly upon hearing it. Sasuke licked his lips with anticipation, pressing a different button and speaking firmly into the mouthpiece.
"Okay I'll be there in a minute."
The raven-haired teen turned to Neji with a look of expectancy.
"You heard him, lets go."
Gaara was crouched fearfully on the forest floor, trying his hardest to ignore the twigs that were digging into some rather uncomfortable places. The elder Uchiha stood above him, staring down with the same amused smirk he'd been giving him ever since contacting Sasuke. That expression was getting seriously annoying so Gaara was very grateful when the man's eyes finally tore away, head snapping to attention when the telltale signs of people approaching were heard from about a hundred feet away.
Both bright green and obsidian eyes fixated themselves on the edge of the trees as two figures came bursting through the thick foliage. Neji was walking in front, hands tucked behind his head and looking abnormally bedraggled with his long brown hair sticking out in every direction. Sasuke was directly behind him, small silver pistol pointed at the Hyuga's vulnerable back. Although he was grateful to see that the Hyuga was still alive it killed Gaara that he couldn't just run over his warm safe arms.
The desire to be near his pale eyed love interest increased ten fold as Neji's pale blue eyes met his own in a look of loving concern, an agonizing mixture of anger and fear also became apparent as Neji took in the cowering redhead's full appearance. He was still stark naked, dried blood caked against his inner thighs while fresh blood trickled down his forehead.
Itachi chuckled lightly, successfully bringing the attention of everyone present to himself. Gaara watched with fascination as Neji's eyes instantly changed from worried to hateful when he looked at the Uchiha. Itachi noticed too but it only seemed to amuse him further.
"Neji, you go over there." He pointed the gun to a spot about ten feet away from where the brunette currently stood. "Sasuke go with him."
The Hyuga swallowed nervously, he was quite unhappy about walking further away from Gaara but he obeyed the order when he felt the end of the pistol nudge his shoulder.
"Gaara come here."
The redhead hesitated for only moment before shakily rising to his feet and stumbling over to where Itachi stood. The raven-haired man proudly wrapped his arm around him, stroking the side of his face with mock kindness and savoring the jealous look on Neji's face.
"I really like how this played out wouldn't you agree, Hyuga?"
Neji's entire body stiffened, hands shaking with rage.
"Leave him alone."
"Oh I don't think so, I'm having way too much fun."
Itachi's grin widened as his fingers left Gaara's face in favor of running them down his chest, over pale pink nipples and down to trace the lines of his pelvis.
"And you know what? I believe this is just going to get better, it'll be my best kill yet."
By now the moment had become so tense and focused on Itachi that everyone had pretty much forgotten that Sasuke was still there, they were reminded however when he emitted a surprisingly loud gasp of horror.
"The best kill yet? What the hell do you mean the best kill yet? How many people have you murdered?"
The younger Uchiha stepped forward, staring at his brother with revulsion. Itachi returned it with his own look of disgust.
"Don't be stupid, Sasuke just what the hell do you think happened to everyone else?"
The boy's eyes widened.
"You said that you had…"
He trailed off, staring at his feet with a look that suggested he was coming to a realization but he didn't want to be.
"I said I had my methods of keeping them quiet. You interpreted that the way you wanted to."
It was true, Sasuke had always been a very idealistic person and he wanted to be able to trust his brother, particularly after his parents died, leaving them to be the only remaining family members. The two had managed to live together quite comfortably for a while, more so after inheriting their father's massive fortune. Sasuke forced himself to trust Itachi; he'd blindly followed him everywhere, even participating in his sick games although at first they'd scared him. Of course over time he'd gotten used to it, even come to enjoy their little trips out to the shack but this was too much, way too much.
"No, No! You led me on, you're a murderer!"
"You're a murderer too, Sasuke. You raped just as many people as I have, and you're the one responsible for bringing little Gaara out here"
Itachi nudged Gaara's cheek with the barrel of the gun as if to emphasize his point.
The youngest Uchiha paled considerably, taking steps back, gun lowering to his side as he shook his head apprehensively from side to side. Itachi raised an eyebrow.
"I don't know why you're acting like this, it's not like you weren't planning on killing these two."
"Yes, but-but that was one mistake. I had to fix my stupid mistake and then I'd never do it again. But all those people, so many people, Itachi…"
Itachi rolled his eyes.
"You need to chill out, little brother. Get some control so we can finish the job, we'll talk later."
Sasuke turned his back on the three other people, clutching his head desperately.
"No, we can't do this. We can't do this it needs to stop!"
He whirled around, gun raised about shoulder high and pointed directly at his brother.
"This has to stop now."
Itachi's eyes first widened with shock before quickly narrowing back down to his regular look of resolute anger. He raised his own weapon up, aiming dead for Sasuke's head.
"Put that down, I don't want to have to hurt you but I will."
Itachi's arm unraveled from Gaara and the boy wasted no time in stumbling over to the open arms of Neji. The tall brunette quickly removed his brown leather coat, the same one he'd used on Gaara the first day they'd met, and wrapped it back around him in an almost nostalgic way. Neji kept one arm firmly around the redhead, glancing at the edge of the woods, trying to figure out if they had a chance running for it.
"Don't try it."
Itachi's gun was pointed at them now, diminishing any hope the duo had of escape.
"Leave them alone."
Sasuke's finger ghosted dangerously over the trigger. His brother stared hard at him as his pistol swiveled between his two targets.
"This is your last warning, Sasuke, put that down."
A determined look that could rival that of his own brother fell across Sasuke's face.
"No, this needs to stop."
Itachi sighed softly glancing off to the side before looking at his little brother's face, looking genuinely sad for an instant before a flash of color and a loud bang echoed through the otherwise still forest.
Gaara's eyes clamped shut, Neji gasped, and Sasuke stood for only a moment, gaping with disbelief at his brother. And then, as if in slow motion, he was falling backwards onto the forest floor. He hit with a sickening thud and stayed like that, still as a winter's day. Slowly Gaara opened his eyes gawking with dismay at where Sasuke lay. It was difficult to tell exactly where the bullet had hit, there was far too much blood to pinpoint a hole, but the unnatural angle his neck was twisted at offered a horrifying clue.
Neji wasted no time pushing Gaara off to the side and lunging for the gun that was still grasped in Sasuke's hand. He yanked it out, wincing inwardly when his hand dipped into the pool of warm blood.
"Hands in the air, Itachi."
The remaining Uchiha only stared at him.
"You forget I have a gun as well, and the upper hand."
With a sneer he moved his arm to the side, pointing the muzzle of his weapon directly at Gaara's head.
The boy half whimpered, still in shock as he stared at the corpse of his classmate, bombarded with memories. He'd gone to elementary school with Sasuke, he'd admired his intelligence and athletic abilities, he'd envied his popularity, he'd watched this person grow up and now they were lying dead in front of him, unseeing eyes staring straight into nothing.
Gaara tore his gaze away from the gruesome sight, offering only a sideways glance to Itachi before turning to Neji, every stress of the past few days bubbling to the surface. This had to end now.
He screamed so hard the veins in his neck popped out from the force of making his voice so loud. Neji did not need to be told twice. He brought his finger down hard on the trigger, his hand sent flying back as the bullet exited the barrel and made a beeline for its target. It hit, sinking deep into Itachi's left shoulder. The man howled with pain, falling to his knees and clutching his arm as white-hot pain accompanied the warm blood seeping out between his fingers. With a cry of rage he brought his good arm up, still clutching his gun with a firm hand.
Neji aimed to fire again but it was too late, a resounding bang rang through the forest and he fell backwards, letting out only one choked cry as he felt something wet soaking into his shirt.
Gaara cried out, starting to run forward to his fallen companion.
"Stay where you are."
Itachi hissed out, still clutching his arm and examining him through hazy dark eyes.
Gaara looked back and forth between Neji and Itachi, completely torn as to what to do. He took a shaky step backwards, gasping when his foot suddenly felt wet. He looked down and gagged, he was standing in a pool of blood, Sasuke's blood, mere inches away from stepping onto the dead boy's head.
Itachi laughed cruelly, raising a trembling arm and taking aim. Gaara whimpered.
For the fourth time in the past ten minutes another bullet went sailing through the air, Gaara screamed dropping down to the ground on his stomach, not even caring that he was now thoroughly soaked with blood. He lay perfectly still, trembling slightly and waiting for the pain. But it never came. His face was smashed into the blood-soaked mud but he didn't dare to move, praying to every deity in existence that Itachi didn't realize he'd missed.
The Uchiha tossed his head back, laughing heartily as he examined three perfectly still blood-drenched bodies. He tilted his face up to the heavens, grinning madly.
"I can't wait to go home and take a shower."
Itachi knew it was a little silly to be speaking aloud now that Sasuke was dead, but it was just too weird to not tell someone what was on his mind. Still laughing, he forced himself unsteadily to his feet, not sparing a single glance back to the crime scene before stumbling hurriedly off through the brush.
'I'll come back and clean this mess up later I've got to take care of my arm first.'
Gaara lay still on the filthy ground for what felt like an eternity, unable to believe his incredible luck. A part of him wished he could just lie here forever, basking in the feeling of being alive but his logical side knew he'd have to move eventually. Nervously he brought his head up and scanned the area, Itachi was definitely gone, Sasuke was still dead and Neji…
"Oh god, Neji."
He got on all fours, crawling as quickly as he could without making any noise until he was crouching beside the Hyuga's still body.
"Neji." He touched his cheek softly. "Neji please be okay."
Eyelids fluttered softly, sliding up to reveal wonderfully familiar blue eyes. The Hyuga blinked hazily several times and licked his dry lips before he could manage to speak in a feeble voice, several octaves below what it normally was.
Gaara gasped, eyes rapidly welling up with tears. He looked so pale, so weak.
"Are you okay?"
The second that left his lips Gaara really felt like an idiot. What was Neji supposed to say? "Aside from the bullet in my chest I'm feeling just fine and dandy?" The brunette managed a smile anyway.
"I'm fine, baby don't worry."
Gaara bit his lip, he didn't look or sound anywhere close to fine. Neji sighed, looking up at the darkening sky.
"It's nighttime, the driver will be here in the morning."
Gaara swallowed fearfully, reaching out to grasp his hand and cringing when he felt how cold it was.
"Are you going to make it?"
Neji turned his head to the side, bringing up one hand to run his fingers over the wound on Gaara's forehead.
"I'm going to be okay. Just don't let me fall asleep."
Gaara nodded vigorously, tenderly pulling Neji up against him so his head was cradled in his lap and he was free to smooth out the tangled locks.
"Okay, I promise I won't let you sleep. Just hang in there."
The boy pulled him closer.
"I can't lose you, I just can't. Please hold on."
AHH I CAN'T BELIEVE I KILLED SASUKE! I'm a horrible person…but I guess he did kind of deserve it for being such a gullible rapist.
By the way you guys can thank Rika Zu for finally having the twelfth chapter out, her review was a huge kick in the butt for me. Who knows how long I would have taken otherwise? THANK YOU, RIKA!
Next chapter will probably be the last one and you'll find out whether or not Neji dies.