AN: Hello once again readers! I humbly bring to you the third chapter of Heroes, Old and New. Please enjoy. (And review!)

Chapter 3, Requiem for a Nightmare

It had been over a week and a half since Itachi and Kisame had been sent out on their mission to confirm what Diedra had reported, and said artist was getting more than a little antsy. "C'mon! Let me go find those guys, yeah!" He ranted whining to the leader of the Akatsuki for the third time in a like number of days.

The latter was sitting in the shadows of his throne, staring at his annoying suboridnate with an almost bored look in his eyes. "For the third time Diedra, no. Have some faith in your comrades. Though they're over the time limit that I set, they'll be back soon enough." He said.

Just as he finished the sentence, the main doors to the chambers creaked open and Itachi walked in, looking the worse for wear as he closed the door behind him.

"See?" the leader commented before looking up at Itachi. "Why are you late? And where is Kisame?" He asked nonchalantly.

Itachi limped up to the throne that the leader was sitting upon, dropping Kisame's ring at his feet. "The boy is alive... and much more powerful than he previously was. It seems that instead of passing on, his and Kyuubi's souls have merged, creating a new, far more frightening monster than either of them were ever feared to be. He surprized us, and in the ensuing battle managed to kill Kisame and almost killed me as well. I would have been back sooner, but I needed a few days to recover from the battle." Itachi replied.

"Oh really?" The leader asked, his interest piqued. "Well do tell what happened then." He commanded.

Itachi bowed his head. "Yes sir. It all started when..."

-FLASHBACK-

With a resounding roar, Naruto leapt at them, a hunger for blood in his eyes...

Itachi and Kisame leapt out of the way just as Naruto landed, shattering the earth around where he landed. "What's wrong? Why are you running from 'the Kyuubi brat'?" Naruto asked, a malicious grin spreading across his face as he stood up.

"Careful Kisame, the boy is different somehow." Itachi warned.

"Nah, ya think? Wanna know a little secret Itachi? I'm neither the demon or the boy anymore!" Naruto exlaimed, launching another attack at Itachi, only to have Kisame get in the way, blocking the attack with his Samehada. Naruto's fist connected solidly with the scaled weapon, surprizing Kisame as he was launched back over ten yards, His sword shattering in his hands.

"What the hell?" Kisame asked, looking down in shock at his broken weapon.

As he looked back up, Naruto suddenly appeared in front of him. "You shouldn't let down your gaurd!" he exlaimed,sticking his right hand into Kisame's chest.

Seeing his opening, Itachi activated his Mangekyo Sharingan and beginning his Tsukuyomi, only to be caught by surprize as Naruto's hand suddenly appeared out of nowhere, grabbing and squeezing Itachi's face with tremendous force, causing Itachi's knees to buckle from the pain lancing through his skull. "Now, you wasn't thinking of doing something that I wouldn't like, would you?" Naruto asked in a falsly sweet voice, putting more pressure on Itachi's head, causing the man to gasp out in pain. Then, Naruto kicked him in the side, his grin widening as he heard the sickening crunch of bones cracking.

Suddenly Naruto was tackled from behind as Kisame plowed into him, wrapping his arms around his opponent as they went flying. "Itachi! Get outta here while I've got him!" Kisame screamed, throwing his ring to Itachi then punching Naruto in the back of his head with all the strength he could muster, creating a sizeable crater.

"But-" Itachi started.

"Damnit, just go!" Kisame screamed, punching Naruto over and over. With a nod, Itachi struggled to his feet and took off, not looking back.

Kisame threw another punch, only to be surprized as Naruto reached back and caught him by the hand. "Man you guys are boring! How am I supposed to test my limits if your too weak for me to go to my limits against?" He asked, standing up as he twisted Kisame's arm and throwing him into a tree.

"Heh... you'll never catch Itachi." Kisame said, coughing up blood.

"Who said I want to?" Naruto asked. "If Itachi goes and tells your leader, then maybe he'll come and I'll get to have some fun." He said.

"Y-you bastard..." Kisame said weakly, struggling to his knees.

Naruto grinned at that. "Well, I gues I can have some more fun with you." He said, walking forward, cracking his knuckles.

Itachi closed his eyes as he ran, followed by the dying screams of his comrade and only friend.

-END FLASHBACK-

"Hmmm... interesting... I wonder if the boy is demonic enough to properly be sealed..." The leader said, thinking out loud.

"I think... that the boy is far too dangerous. We should kill him, and the sooner the better, before he becomes even more powerful." Itachi replied.

"Well regardless of what you think, we shall try to capture him first. We move to get him in a week and a half. Now go and rest up, we'll need everything we've got to capure him." The leader ordered.

"Yes sir..." Itachi said, bowing his head as he walked back out the door.

"I don't think we can trust him for this." Diedra said a few moments later.

"And I think your wrong." The leader replied with a dismissive wave.

o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o

It had been over two weeks since Sakura and the others had been sent to Suna, and all three of them couldn't help but smile in relief as they walked back through the gates of Kohona. "Ahhh... Home sweet home!" Lee said, stretching.

"You've got that right! First thing I'm gonna do is stop by and visit old man Ichiraku and Ayame!" Sakura replied with a smile.

"Um... m-maybe we sh-should report to th-the Hokage f-first..." Hinata stuttered.

"Yeah, I guess your right Hinata. C'mon guys, lets go!" Sakura exlaimed, putting an arm around Hinata's shoulders and dragging her along as they went to the Hokage's tower. Several moments later, and Skaura was finishing her report to Tsunade. "And finally, Lord Kazekage sends his gratitude for those files. With them, he was able to quickly root out and deal with the traitors." She said.

"I see..." Tsunade said, looking at the report in her hands.

"So... mam? What are we going to do about Naruto?" Sakura asked.

tsunade sighed, rubbing her temples. well, he clearly stated that he's never coming back, so I don't know what we can do. He can't be labeled as a missing nin because he technically never was one to begin with. Naruto was, but he died. The only thing that we can hope for I guess is that maybe he'll see the good in Kohona, and come to us. For this, Sakura, I want you, Hinata, and Kakashi to track him down and talk to him. You've got a week to rest up before your mission. Dismissed." She said.

With a nod, the three youths disappeared, reappearing outside the building a few moments later. 'Bye guys!" Lee exlaimed, running off.

S-so... I'll see y-you in a week th-then..." Hinata said.

"Before the other girl could turn away, Sakura grabbed her by the arm. "Wanna come and get some ramen with me?" She asked, smiling.

"Sure!" Hinata replied, smiling as well as she and sakura went to Ichiraku's.

o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o

Naruto sat on a high treebranch, looking out over Kohona forest, to where the walls of the city were. "The time has almost come..." He said to himself, thinking of a certain person just inside the walls.

END

AN: Well, what did'ja think? I know the last few chapters have seemed kinda short, but they'll get longer, I promise! Review!