Curious Itachi Meets The Friendly Puppy

Author's Notes- Total crack, sorry. People really shouldn't have encouraged me. Akatsuki-centric fic, in which lots of things happen, mostly revolving around Itachi's new guide dog.

There's a few inaccuracies. Canon seems to suggest Akatsuki don't live together or even see each other that often. Mr Whiffles should be an adult, not a puppy. And it's perhaps unlikely that the Naruto universe contains many tupperware parties, artex swirls or mini-quiches.

Disclaimer - I don't own any of the recognisable characters or concepts. No copyright infringement is intended, and no profit is being made.

Warnings - I don't think there's anything seriously upsetting here, but I do make fun of Itachi's short-sightedness and Orochimaru's habit of luring small boys to his hideout. Bad Things also happen to Mr Whiffles the guide dog (come on, Akatsuki are villains- they can kick puppies!), but he gives as good as he gets. And there are spoilers for Tobi's possible identity. Finally, there is an extremely tame and non-explicit sex scene.

- - -

Akatsuki were moving house.

Kakuzu had found an evil hideout with cheap enough rent, which meant they could finally leave that embarrassing bungalow. The previous owners had named it 'Cosy Nook' with a nameplate apparently fixed in place with some unmovable, spray-paint-repelling jutsu, which resisted all attempts to rename the house something a little more evil.

Also, Zetsu had got embarrassingly competitive with the Joneses next door over the state of their garden, which had let to a rivalry worse than that between Akatsuki and Orochimaru, concluding with the Joneses salting Zetsu's begonias, and Zetsu eating their cat Buster after it refused to stay out of his flowerbeds. Then there had been the door-to-door salesmen, who did not seem to be remotely put off by Kisame answering the door in his pants, idly scratching his ass with Samehada. And the Jones's teenage son, who after seeing Pein's partner sunbathing in a saucy little red-cloud bikini, had started spending most of his spare time determinedly lobbing balls over their wall so he could retrieve them. And then there was Konan's tupperware party, which the neighbourhood had agreed was the worst one they had ever attended, and that she was doubtlessly a hussy for living with so many men. No, suburban life was not for Akatsuki.

They flew their possessions over by clay bird, which worked quite well until the bird transporting Itachi mysteriously "forgot how to fly", as Deidara later explained. And then "forgot how to not explode". From Kisame's point of view, it hadn't so much forgotten how to fly as it had determinedly gone into a nose-dive directly over a bubbling volcano, and then self-destructed just above the crater. Itachi had came crawling back to the new house some hours later, with no explanation of how he had survived. Hidan had noisily speculated his survival might be something to do with asbestos underwear, a necessary for any flamethrowing young Uchiha on the run.

Konan quite enjoyed being female at times like this. Every time she went to pick up something, someone would heroically insist on taking that big heavy box for her, pick it up and stagger off with several manly grunts. With the exception of Deidara, but to be fair, she did have a good three inches height and ten pounds weight on him.

There was an anguished shriek from Deidara as the bottom fell out from the box Tobi was carrying, and all of his clay creations shattered on the floor. This was followed by a louder shriek from Tobi, as Deidara let go of the piano he was currently shoving upstairs with Kisame's help, and that began to thunder back downstairs in Tobi's general direction. The loudest shriek yet came from Kakuzu as the piano smashed musically through the walls and fell into the ocean, carrying with it both Tobi, and their collective damage deposit.

Why do we have a piano Pein briefly wondered to himself. Does anyone even play piano? And what idiot wanted it on the first floor

Not to mention that it was becoming painfully obvious why this evil hideout had came so cheap. Pein wondered who, exactly, had purchased a giant black tower on top of a spike of rock, several miles out to sea and surrounded by treacherous tides, only to put up peach swag curtains, an avocado bath suite, rag-roll all the walls in magnolia and cover every ceiling in artex swirls. The answer became clear when he found several very familiar looking thongs forgotten down the backs of the radiators. He added it on to the list of reasons why Akatsuki, aka the "We Hate Orochimaru Club", wanted a certain Sannin member dead.

Meanwhile, Konan had just realised that while everyone else was moving the boxes around, they had also surreptitiously stolen all the best rooms. At this point, Itachi finally came crawling through the door, and a polite yet fierce argument erupted over which one of them got to live in a small, spider-infested broom cupboard, and who would get stuck in Orochimaru's luxurious rooms.

"I have disabilities," Itachi pointed out to Pein. The broom cupboard was on the ground floor. Much more accessible for the legally blind.

Pein shook his head regretfully. Akatsuki were an equal opportunity organisation, open to girls, gays and men with plants on their head. It would completely ruin their reputation if they forced a visually impaired member to negotiate the stairs every day.

On the other hand, pissing off Itachi would mean, at the very worst, three days of torture followed by fiery and stabby death. Pissing off Konan could mean death by paper butterflies, and while there was no shame in being killed by the Uchiha murderer, there would be something a little embarassing about his gravestone reporting that he had been viciously papercut to death by a horde of glorified Post-It notes. Pein gave up choosing sides, and left it to Kisame, who was now standing in the corridor with Itachi's possessions, unsure which way to go.

"This room," Itachi said, pointing. Kisame began obediently heading towards the broom cupboard.

"That way," Konan snapped, pointing towards Orochimaru's former chambers. Kisame stopped, uncertain.

The Sharingan flashed ominously. Kisame resumed walking in a zombie-like manner back to the broom cupboard, his eyes blank.

A single butterfly fluttered menacingly from the tip of Konan's finger. Kisame turned around so quickly he almost gave himself whiplash.

The Mangekyou Sharingan appeared. Kisame was now getting a little dizzy and lurching visibly from side to side.

Konan gave a resigned sigh, hung up her cloak and went to pick up her boxes. Kisame's jaw dropped at a hint of actual female cleavage, the first seen in months. Not to be outdone, Itachi hurled his cloak across the room.

Kisame was now deliberately being awkward, just on the off chance that one of them (any one) might end up naked.

Some hours later, everything was moved, and Akatsuki were having a quick drink to get over the stress while they unpacked. Since Tobi had helpfully packed all the glasses in different boxes, this left Akatsuki using several odd vessels, including Zetsu drinking from a watering can, Kisame from a fishbowl, and Hidan drinking from a cauldron usually used for immersing entire virgins in. This meant they were all plastered quite rapidly, and for weeks, would be wondering who the hell had unpacked the potato peeler into the medicine cupboard, or put Tobi's pants in the salad drawer.

The rooms were all sorted. Several had raised the point wondering why Tobi had a room when he wasn't actually a member and would probably be just as happy in a kennel, but Pein had a tendency to twitch and mutter something about Akatsuki's Underling and Hired Goon Welfare Policy whenever that was mentioned.

Hidan had finally taken Orochimaru's rooms after realising the contents were probably extremely blasphemous. He appeared to be regretting this as, some hours later, he was still carting out boxes of several blood-stained implements of surgery, torture and/or BDSM. The latest addition thrown onto the pile appeared to merge together the most kinky and torturous aspects of a cheese grater, an ear trumpet and a Wellington boot.

Deidara was busily unpacking while drinking from a clay fruit bowl, blissfully unaware that he was packing most of his wardrobe into the incinerator chute rather than the small cupboard he believed it to be. Tobi was wandering around after him, clearing up the damage as he went, and bothering Deidara with more questions about Akatsuki.

"Why did Orochimaru leaves Akatsuki, senpai?"

"Eh?" Deidara said, momentarily distracted. He threw several handfuls of socks into the incinerator, once again mentally praising these magical expanding cupboard that evil villain hideouts came equipped with, and thought back to what Sasori had said on the subject. "Oh, Itachi dumped him."

"Dumped him?" Tobi's single visible eye was huge. He sat down on the bed, swinging his legs and hanging onto Deidara's every word. "Is Itachi okay now?"

"Probably," Deidara said, now drunkenly pouring a box full of cutlery into his sock drawer. "Orochimaru only wanted him for his body anyway."

"That's terrible!" Tobi gasped, hands flying to his mouth.

Deidara beamed at the thought of Itachi sobbing brokenly into his pillow every night.

"Well, it's Itachi's birthday soon," Tobi said, determinedly. "I'm going to make sure it's a special day!"

Deidara was quietly confident that Pein would probably get rid of Tobi altogether for such a stupid idea. He was therefore bemused to spot their illustrious leader sneaking into the secret Akatsuki hideout the next day, smuggling in bags of what looked suspiciously like bunting.

Deidara went to have A Word with Tobi. He never remembered quite what this Word involved- probably something syrupy sweet about bunnies and puppies and kittens, doubtlessly forgotten due to his horrible hangover- but he inexplicably woke up screaming for a week, following nightmares about bloody great Sharingan chasing him down.

"Oh, Kisame!" Tobi trilled the next day, cornering the shark-like man before Kisame made a quick and orderly exit via the nearest window, two hundred foot falls making his head hurt less than talking to Tobi while suffering a hangover. "What does Itachi like?"

"Like?" Kisame asked blankly.

"Yes," Tobi said, almost bouncing on the spot. "We're throwing him a secret birthday party soon- but you can't tell him!- and I want to make sure it's perfect."

Kisame thought about it. To date, Itachi's interests included testing his worth and stabbing swords into things. In Tobi's deranged world, that would probably translate into an epic Akatsuki-only 'Hungry Hungry Hippos' tournament, followed by smacking a pinata around.

"What about the food? I was thinking about sandwiches, sausages on sticks, vol-au-vents, cheese with pineapple, mini-quiches-"

"Yes," Kisame said, cautiously. Naff, but nothing intrinsically too wrong with the idea, although he was having some difficulty trying to picture Itachi getting enthusiastic over a stick with some cubes of cheese and pineapple on it. "That would work. Itachi does.. eat food."

Tobi beamed proudly. "What about the entertainment? I was thinking about charades, or Simon Says, or wheelbarrow races. And there's this really fun game where you pass balloons between your knees-"

Kisame blanched. Or, at least, went a slightly paler shade of blue than usual.

"Do you know what I think Itachi would like best?" he asked.

"Duck Duck Goose?" Tobi guessed.

"If everyone sits very quietly for an hour and does nothing at all," Kisame corrected.

Tobi frowned underneath his mask. "That doesn't sound very fun."

"Itachi doesn't really have.. fun," Kisame explained. "Unless you could find a missing member or two of his clan for him to massacre, perhaps."

He woke up an hour later with a headache that was ten times worse than his hangover, and a complete inability to remember anything from the conversation, except several lingering nightmares involving Itachi playing Duck Duck Goose, and a strong feeling that Tobi's real surname was probably Higgins or McPerson or Smith, or something else that definitely did not sound remotely like 'Uchiha'.

The conversation with Tobi had made Deidara curious. He went to find his partner, who was in his new studio, still inside Hiruko and busily yanking intestines out of a pile of corpses. Deidara stepped over a pile of slimy discarded spleens, and managed to avoid asking about their relative artistic merit.

"Hey, Sasori?"

"What?" Sasori asked, impatiently. Deidara neatly ducked just as Sasori carelessly threw something's liver over his shoulder.

"Why didn't Orochimaru go after you? You seem his type."

Deep inside Hiruko, Sasori, forever twelve years old, shuddered at the memories and double-checked the locks, and the bomb set to self-detonate if anyone successfully forced entry. It was well known that Sasori was paranoid enough to only leave his puppet when he had to work on repairs. The reason why was less well-known.



"Do you remember the.. termites? And the time that Hidan decided to.. give Hiruko some upgrades?"


"This is one of those.. things."

"We speak not of it?"


Itachi's birthday came three days after Akatsuki had moved in to their new evil headquarters.

Itachi walked through the main Akatsuki rooms, after finding a note on his door explaining "Something terrible has happened! All of Akatsuki are dead. Please come to the living room, love Tobi."

Itachi's eyesight might be quite poor, but the Sharingan clearly made out nine vaguely human-shaped blobs of chakra lurking behind the furniture, not to mention that the place was not usually decorated with balloons, bunting, or a nervous looking magician chained to the fireplace.

"SURPRISE!" Tobi bellowed, leaping up from behind the couch and throwing a handful of confetti into the air.

Itachi reacted the way he normally did when someone sprang out of nowhere at him- with thrown knives and fireballs. Tobi leapt nimbly out of the way with a suspicious speed normally only seen in Sharingan users.

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" Tobi yelled from where he was now perched on top of the bookcase. The rest of Akatsuki, who had all sensibly lay low and let Tobi risk being chargrilled, began to emerge from hiding. Each of them was wearing a small, cheerful party hat, and clutching a noise maker that Tobi had provided. Zetsu's leaves were clamped shut as tight as they would go.

Kisame was nostalgic. Little Itachi was now eighteen years old, old enough to do all manner of adult things, like buy his own alcohol. Of course, if Itachi had ever been inclined to drink, all he had to do was murder the barmen, or cast a genjutsu. But Itachi had been the most boring teenager he could have ever imagined. Mostly..

There had been a few exceptions. There was the memorable occasion when Itachi had started shaving. Kisame had seen Itachi do things with knives that seemed pretty much impossible. He'd seen Itachi simultaneously throw thirty kunai while in the air, upside down, on fire, both eyes shut and one foot up his nose, and still manage to accurately hit thirty approaching ninja in the medulla oblongata. But shaving? Oh no. It wasn't until Konan had sensitively left a 'Bunny Soft Ladyshave Razor for Extra Delicate Areas' together with a "Bubblegum Burst Extra Gentle Foamy Shave Gel" outside Itachi's door that he had stopped showing up to meetings dripping with blood and muttering something about running into eighty ANBU members on the way, all of them jealously targeting his face.

At least Itachi being such a boring teenager had meant that Kisame didn't have to worry about Orochimaru successfully luring him into his chambers. Well, not too much.

"Itachi-kun? Wouldn't you like to come try some of my yummy candy? It tastes like rainbows, and sunshine, and lollipops, and small boys dipped in honey and jam-"

"How about my puppy? Would you like to come see the puppy? He's very shy, so you have to come into my room to play with him-"

"Fine, I know what you boys like these days! Wouldn't you like limitless amounts of unholy power to defy the laws of nature and smite all your enemies with?"

Back in the party..

"PRESENT TIME!" Tobi announced.

Denied of the opportunity to simply blow Itachi into the stratosphere, Deidara presented Itachi with the most revolting clay figurines any of them had ever seen. Three clay kittens gambolled in a clay basket, each one of them wearing a giant clay bow around their neck. A doe-eyed girl with ringlets and a fluffy dress kissed a chubby little boy in a sailor suit, as he clutched a flower behind his back. A pair of fat dancing teddy bears offered each other giant hearts. A simpering shepherdess clutched her crook and batted her eyelashes.

Kakuzu, as cheap as ever, had crayoned a birthday card, and included a free coupon for a manicure that he'd found on the floor somewhere. Hidan had thoughtfully made a large donation to Janish in Itachi's name. Zetsu had thought about giving Itachi a lovely bunch of flowers, and decided those weren't the most manly of presents, and instead gave him a bouquet of oozing tentacled carnivorous plants. Pein had panicked, and left his partner in charge of buying presents. She had no idea what young men liked these days, particularly those who were on the run from law enforcement in every known country.

Sasori was refusing to participate in the whole thing. Tobi kept knocking determinedly on Hiruko's shell, ignoring the "On holiday, please cancel milk" sign hanging from its neck, the tiny curtains pulled shut over its eyes and the unopened mail left stuffed in its mouth. However, Kisame, being perhaps the only member of Akatsuki that cared somewhat about his partner, had thoughtfully obtained a full report on Sasuke's current status and whereabouts, including everything from his academy report card to his dental records, a crayoned picture of a cat, and a tape of Sasuke, age 7 and a half, playing 'Greensleeves' on the recorder in an academy concert.

"My turn!" Tobi shouted, reaching for a giant box, wrapped in cheerful paper and topped with several bows. The bottom of the box looked somewhat damp and gnawed on.

Something was deposited on Itachi's lap. Something small and wriggly and excitable. Something that was soft and pettable and wearing a collar and leash. "Do you like him?" Tobi asked excitedly.

Itachi gave what might have been a very slight smile as he opened his eyes. "Sasu-"

The friendly Labrador puppy licked his nose.

"His name is Mr Whiffles," Tobi trilled. "I know you probably can't see so well, but he has really big brown eyes and a shiny nose and floppy ears and- no!" he said reproachfully, removing Mr Whiffles from Itachi's lap before Itachi had finished strangling it. "He doesn't like that," Tobi said sternly, replacing the dazed puppy.

"Why did you buy Itachi a puppy?" Deidara asked, finding himself beginning to really i warm /i to Tobi.

"He's a guide dog," Tobi corrected. "He can help Itachi to cross streets, and bark to show him where there are people to kill. He's really smart!"

"Thank you, Tobi," Itachi said flatly, placing the puppy on the floor. Zetsu's leaves rustled hungrily.

"And now, the magician!" Tobi said, clapping his hands together, and paused. "Uh.. you can still perform, right?"

The magician stopped attempting to gnaw through his own arm and nibble his way to freedom, and nodded frantically. He picked up his top hat and began shaking it wildly to drop the rabbit out and quickly impress these demented strangers, only to spot two bunny ears sticking out from Zetsu's leaves. He whimpered, and began shaking out his handkerchief. A few dove feathers fell sadly to the floor. He was doomed.

Later that day..

Itachi was not getting on with Mr Whiffles. Kisame had insisted that they give him a go, and had fitted the puppy with his fluorescent yellow coat and harness.

Itachi didn't know much about guide dogs, but he had pointed Mr Whiffles in the direction of his rooms, and told the dog to start walking. He had presumed that at the very least, Mr Whiffles would understand that he should not walk underneath any tables and lead his owner into them, or pass under any low, head-height cupboards, or walk straight over piles of Deidara's laundry. Which Deidara tended to inexplicably leave in neat little piles at the top of the stairs outside Itachi's rooms. Deidara also had an inexplicable habit of leaving giant mantraps concealed among his socks, although to date, a bemused Tobi simply returned the neatly laundered traps back to Deidara along with the rest of his clothes.

Itachi picked himself up from the bottom of the stairs and stoically returned his shoulder joint to its former location. Mr Whiffles barked excitedly and jumped on him, apparently convinced they were playing some kind of game. Itachi picked the puppy up and marched into the kitchen, doused it in a good sprinkling of chocolate sauce, and optimistically left it tied to Zetsu's door.

Zetsu emerged a few minutes later. A chocolate-sauce covered puppy sat outside his door, wagging its tail happily. Someone had even thoughtfully added a good squirt of whipped cream, and a cherry on top of its head. This was even better than the chargrilled and flamb├ęd victims that Deidara and Itachi respectively provided.

He picked the puppy up and skipped happily into the kitchen, intent on finding some sprinkles to go with it. Tobi was already there, eating strawberry ice-cream straight from the tub.

Zetsu didn't remember what happened next, but he inexplicably woke up screaming for a week after nightmares of being chased down and eaten by rabid, 50 foot tall Labrador puppies. The next day, he converted to vegetarianism, and became a devout advocate for animal rights.

Neither was anyone else getting along with Mr Whiffles.

There Pein was, happily contemplating what a lucky, lucky man he was. Leader of an evil organisation- or at least, most people thought he was- on his way to world domination, unbeaten in battle, and currently very, very naked. With his partner, who was not a shark man or half-plant, and was also equally, gloriously naked.

In the throes of passion, Pein opened his eyes and happened to catch another pair of eyes. A pair of sad brown eyes attached to a cute puppy that was currently tilting its head and boggling at the pair of them in confusion. If he hadn't been so close, a certain appendage would have probably crawled up safely inside and refused to come out ever. Even as he opened his mouth, his brain was screaming "ABORT!". But it was too late.

"MR WHIFFLES!" Pein bellowed as he came.

It had taken a very long time to calm down his lovely partner after that, and those paper cuts stung. Unfortunately, Mr Whiffles had long disappeared while he leapt around the room, nakedly trying to evade the well-hurled paper butterflies, pointing frantically at the space where the voyeuristic puppy had been a second ago.

And then Hidan had found his mail-order Complete Teachings of Jashin, shredded all over the house. And Zetsu's beautiful greenhouse was utterly ruined, with half the plants yellow and dying. He wondered how the hell Mr Whiffles managed to pee in hanging baskets suspended eight feet in the air. Finally, there was the Labrador puppy's habit of galloping around the house, tugging several miles of loo roll after it and gambolling in the velvety soft tissue, which ceased to be cute far quicker than marketing campaigns might suggest.

Fortunately, help was at hand.

The Akatsuki doorbell rang a week after Mr Whiffles had joined the house. A bouncy looking man was standing there, holding a whistle. A chew toy hung out of his pockets. There was a strong smell of dog biscuits around him.

"It's the dog trainer!" Tobi yelped, sprinting down the stairs and hitting the button to deactivate the traps a second before a trapdoor would have opened, causing the man to fall into a spiked pit that slowly filled up with magma, at the same time as a giant anvil was dropped on his head. "I asked him to come to help Itachi and Mr Whiffles get on better together."

"Does anyone else occasionally get the feeling that Tobi is quite evil?" Deidara asked, conversationally.

There were several nods and sounds of agreement, save for Konan and Pein, who simultaneously said "No!" and looked at each other nervously.

The dog trainer had interesting methods, starting with fitting the pair of them with shock collars and choke chains. He then fed Mr Whiffles copious amounts of "Mr Woofy's Beefy Dog Biscuits" for deigning to so much as glance in Itachi's direction, while he brandished a rolled-up newspaper at Itachi every time he failed to deliver enough unconditional love and respect. The session terminated messily just after the dog trainer attempted to alpha-roll Itachi for failing to come to heel.

Tobi was left standing next to one of the vats of nail polish in the dungeons, tearfully apologising to a dog trainer slowly drowning in chip-resistant, high gloss finish "Plum Passion".

However, Pein thought the trainer had at least one piece of good advice. Besides fitting all of Akatsuki with shock collars, that is.

It was taking the damn dog for a walk, which might help to get rid of some of its energy. Whenever someone had suggested exercising Mr Whiffles before, Itachi had opened a window and hurled it outside to fall several hundred feet into the ocean surrounding the evil hideout. Tethered to a rope, Mr Whiffles could happily paddle around the building for hours, barking at seagulls and generally refusing to just drown.

All of Akatsuki ended up coming along for the occasion. Tobi brought frisbees, and the rolled-up newspaper which he had still not quite lost faith in. He could swear that Itachi had started coming to heel much more nicely after being hit over the nose the first few times. It was a glorious day. The sun was shining, birds were singing. Mr Whiffles bounded ahead, snapping at butterflies and chasing his tail. Deidara threw clay birds for him to chase, and nine tenths of Akatsuki laughed uproariously when they exploded in Mr Whiffles' baffled face.

Things seemed to be going well. Kakuzu hadn't attempted to kill Hidan in at least five minutes. Sasori had finally admitted that he was not away on holiday and was now shuffling alongside the group inside Hiruko. Mr Whiffles came to heel beautifully, and began leading Itachi along like a sedate, dignified guide dog should.

And then of course, they ran into absolutely the last people in the world that Itachi wanted to meet while taking his new guide dog out for a test drive. Konoha ninja.

Kakashi looked at Mr Whiffles. Mr Whiffles looked at Kakashi.

"What's his name?" Kakashi eventually asked, after a long and awkward silence.

"Ripper," Kisame growled, at the same time as Itachi snarled "Slasher", Deidara snapped "Killer", Hidan threatened "Gnasher", and Tobi trilled "Mr Whiffles" in a fluting voice that somehow drowned out all the rest of them put together.

The Konoha ninja looked disheartened. Maybe it was just the naturally soothing effect that cute Labrador puppies had on the world. Maybe it was realising that it would be extremely hard to impress people back home with stories about how they took the infamous Itachi Uchiha down in an epic battle, despite having to fight off his ferocious seeing-eye dog, Mr Whiffles.

But it still had to happen. There was a whumph as Deidara shot into the stratosphere atop a clay bird. Sasori cracked his poisoned tail. Hidan pulled his gigantic scythe out of hammerspace. Kisame summoned up a small lake from nowhere. Kakashi uncovered the Sharingan. Gai did a few hasty warm-up exercises that should never be performed in green spandex, and then clasped his hands together in glee. Truly, there was nothing more bracing on a beautiful summer's morning than a life-or-death fight with one's enemies! The brilliant sun caught on his pearly white teeth as he grinned, sending out a blinding flash of light. Itachi screeched with pain and fell to the floor, unable to see anything at all.

"Find the enemies," he told Mr Whiffles, who immediately took off, tugging Itachi through the middle of the battle. It wasn't until he thought that perhaps his opponent was not putting up much of a fight that Itachi realised he had spent the last five minutes engaged in mortal combat with a small tree. The next was a bunny. The third was Hidan, who sourly picked up his own severed arm and drove Itachi off with a volley of curses and several soggy blows.

Itachi found a kunai, stabbed it through a "Mr Woofy's Beefy Dog Biscuit", and hurled it at Kakashi, aiming by sound alone. There was a thunk as the knife lodged in Kakashi's vest. A second later, Itachi nearly had his shoulder dislocated as Mr Whiffles determinedly took off after the copy ninja.

Kakashi was actually quite scared. Normally, Itachi just sort of stood there and looked broody and impassive during battles, either to impress his opponents or because he had no idea where the hell they actually were. Now, the teenage mass murderer was chasing after him at extremely high speed, towed along by a fluorescent-coated seeing-eye dog. While the rest of his companions held off the other Akatsuki members, Kakashi leapt up into the trees, sprinted along a vertical cliff wall and finally ran along a lake, all to no avail. Mr Whiffles was still determinedly pelting after him.

This might be it, he thought mournfully, and tried to think how the people back home would remember him. He knew how he wanted to go. Glorious, epic battle. They say he took nine of Akatsuki's best with him. But no, it would be savaged by a Labrador puppy in a bright yellow coat, while running away like a little girl.

Out of breath, he stumbled, lost his balance and went rolling over and over through some undergrowth. The dog was upon him, lips skinned back, fangs gleaming- when it was abruptly brought up short with a yelp. At the same time, there was a loud and unmelodious thunk as the infamous Itachi Uchiha knocked himself out after running into a low tree branch at extremely high velocity.

Everything worked out in the end.

Mr Whiffles chased Kakashi all the way back to Konoha, where the Inuzuka clan were extremely glad to recruit him, and helped him to recover from his Mr Woofy's Beefy Dog Biscuit habit. Itachi recovered with minimal brain damage. Tobi spent the next month trying to make things up to him, failing to realise that seppuku was the only apology that Itachi would accept.

And Kisame once again took up his duty as a seeing-eye shark. They decided not to bother with the yellow harness though.