The last couple days have been an absolute shitshow. I don't want any of you guys to think lesser of me, so I leave you to your imaginations.

Surprisingly, people liked my Hidan. I was expecting outrage. They didn't like him, that is, they just thought he was very well done and evil and insane and all that nonsense.

I am personally hoping that this chapter meets with people's approval. I tried to draw the fight out. As much as it could have been Naruto blindsiding Hidan with a massive attack, I want Akatsuki encounters to be large events in my story.

Anyways, I don't really have much else to say. Enjoy

Amid the Flames of a Burning Village

Chakra, for all intensive purposes, is the substance that gives shinobi and kunoichi their abilities. All humans have chakra within their bodies, and while a few gifted people can learn to use chakra on their own, it is often through years of training that chakra can be manipulated.

With the proper use of chakra, a great many things are done. Wounds are healed, elements are controlled into weapons, and the human body is pushed to miraculous heights. What was impossible becomes commonplace. That is what every ninja knows about chakra.

This did not help Hidan understand what he was seeing. He had done a great number of terrible things in his life, things no man would be able to justify. Killing, raping, pillaging, he did them all with total disregard for human life. To him and the believers in Jashin, anything short of complete annihilation was considered a sin.

And it was this disgusting wretch of a man who currently shook in fear as the crimson form of Uzumaki Naruto stalked slowly towards him. Blood red eyes with slits for pupils bore into his own, making Hidan feel very much like the demon that resided in the boy: caged. The boy's nails had turned into gleaming claws. But that face was what shook him the most.

Covered in shadow, thick black markings around the eyes and mouth, and six black gashes, signifying whiskers; and the face was contorted in rage.

"Ever since that day…years ago," Naruto said, walking towards the frightened man. "…the day I met Kyubi. I hear his voice…"

Hidan turned his skin black again, amplifying his power. He swung his scythe repeated, all over the jinchuurki's body, trying to wound him. Each time, the weapon bounced off the demonic chakra, harmlessly.

"Power…give me more…power." Naruto was speaking and acting as if he had no sense of his surroundings.

"To protect the ones I love…" He said, still easily blocking attacks from Hidan, "I must be the strongest." From behind Naruto, a third tail formed.

Naruto closed his eyes, red chakra still radiating harshly from his body. He held his hand out, to which the Akatsuki member only looked in confusion.

Then he felt it. Chakra was pouring off the boy and into his hand. The killing intent, mixed with the sheer power, weighed Hidan down to the point that it hurt to stand. An attack like that would kill likely half the members of his organization.

He did the only thing he could, he fled. Hidan began to run, afraid for the first time in his life. He felt Kakuzu's chakra in the distance, and made haste towards it.

Naruto still stood there, silently in meditation, forming a monstrous ball of red chakra in the palm of his hand.

Kakuzu, looking like some demented octopus of black, bloody thread, had begun picking up the littered dead bodies as he went. Each time he found a suitable heart, he took it and claimed it for himself. He could feel the girl not far away, and was pleased to have three total hearts, including his own, by the time he found her.

Hinata had been healing Sasuke, who had many broken bones and gashes from the wind attack. She would have been uncertain if he would live, had she not donated a large portion of her own chakra to healing him.

Now they'd both live, so long as they could hide out from that monster.

"Hinata…" The sound of a weak voice startled the young lady. She looked down to see Sasuke looking at her with one bleary Sharingan, barely open. "I…gave you the opening you needed…no more lives…"

She looked down at the boy. Small streams of tears began to fall. "Idiot…you, Naruto, and Gaara are all I have left…I would never let you die."

"…can see your chakra…there's nothing left…"

Hinata fought to keep the temptation of sleep at bay. "I…have enough...besides...Naruto and Gaara will protect us..."

Hidan was sprinting through fields of crops. That monstrous chakra was far away now. The boy was not moving. Why, he did not know. But the more distance between the two, the better.

"Kakuzu," screamed Hidan, as his partner began to come into view. "We gotta get the fuck outta here! NOW!"

The other could barely hear him. "Not until we kill them, and collect the vessels!"

Kakuzu looked at the fleeing form of Hidan. He'd never seen him scared in his life. So, to see him pale, sweating, and running as if a devil was on his heels was strange sight indeed.

The man watched his partner. Then he saw it. From the burning embers of the dying village, a great red streak arched from its flaming center. It rose high into the night sky, then fell. Kakuzu could see the path of the streak. It was headed straight for Hidan, at unparalleled speed.

"Help me, Jashin," Hidan screamed into the sky. When he opened his eyes, he saw the fanged, red, furious face of Uzumaki Naruto, a foot from his. He was falling from the sky, mammoth red orb in his right hand.

"Found you…RASENGAN!"

Hinata and Sasuke, hidden deep in the woods, felt the shockwave almost blow them back. It sounded like the explosion from the Oto attack. Loud, everywhere, the kind of explosion that shook every fiber of one's body.

A great spire of red chakra erupted into the night, illuminating everything. The crimson glow gave the impression that everything was covered in blood. Then, they both heard a scream.

Both Sasuke and Hinata had killed before. Both had been assassination missions, and they had done so with nothing less than absolute stealth. Their victims, whose faces had never been seen, gave the smallest gasp before dying.

This was different. This was a scream of agony. Agony that was being choked and sputtered through blood. It sounded of torture, of pain, of absolute misery.

The scream echoed, hit a higher pitch, then died, its remnants still ringing in the now silent night. It had sounded so horrible, neither of the Konoha ninja could bear it, and fell into unconsciousness.

'Impossible,' thought Kakuzu. Hidan was dead. Not dismembered, not killed but somehow living through the power of Jashin. No, he was dead.

The attack had struck his partner in the chest, and engulfed him and the jinchuurki in a red pillar of chakra. He had heard Hidan scream in pain. And when it ended, and the pillar died, only Uzumaki Naruto had stood.

All traces of Hidan had been erased, down to the last thread on his cloak and hair on his head.

Naruto rounded on Kakuzu. "You are…next." The boy felt the red chakra returning to his body. He had used three tails worth of power, and while the power of the tails grew much higher with each tail used, so much that the fourth tail would double his power, he had used every bit of the red chakra to obliterate Hidan from the earth.

Kakuzu began to laugh, his black thread tentacles whipping as he did. "Young Uzumaki, what do you think you can possibly do? You have perhaps half your strength left."

Naruto threw out his palms so they faced the monster. "Duck." Sickles of wind hurled down the field. They tore up crops and earth before slicing through some of Kakuzu's body, and cleaving part of the forest behind him.

The Akatsuki member groaned. The attack had not hit a heart, but it hurt nonetheless. 'Such control over wind-based chakra…'

Kakuzu brought the threads back into himself, resuming his normal appearance. "Well, Uzumaki, it seems that you do have some skill." He shot a ball of mud at him from his mouth. Naruto unsheathed the sword on the small of his back and sliced the projectile in two.

Naruto had not been prepared for Kakuzu to use a mudslide to speed towards him. The man's fist turned into a spear of thread and stabbed his chest, before throwing the boy away.

The vessel stood up and felt his wound, which was almost closed. On a normal day it would have been healed the instant the threads left his body. 'I wish I knew how many lives this asshole has left.'

Naruto charged the man. As Kakuzu attacked to defend himself, the blond split himself into four bodies. The Akatuski member managed to impale three clone bodies, but could do nothing to defend against Naruto's sword, which removed Kakuzu's left arm with practiced skill.

The boy then minced them lost appendage, making it useless and impossible to be reattatched.

"Idiot boy!" Kakuzu pounded his fist to the ground, sending spikes of earth erupting from the ground. Naruto dodged three, sliced another four, but finally found himself pinned by two spikes.

With a few seals, the spikes turned into a gigantic fist of dirt, which pinned Naruto's arms to his body. Only his head stuck out.

"So much easier, isn't it, when you listen to your elders?" Kakuzu taunted. "Now let me finish you before I search for your friends."

Naruto could hardly move, though he was pleased to find that he could breathe fine. Dumb move. Never give a ninja who specializes in wind any air.

"Yes, the Uchiha and the Hyuga…" He pulled out a black book, and began thumbing through it with his one remaining hand. "Ah, here it is. Uchiha Sasuke and Hyuga Hinata. Wanted dead or alive. More money for alive, however."

"There's a hit out on them," Naruto yelled. "Who?"

Kakuzu gleamed evilly at the trapped boy. "Oh, my yes, there is quite a big bounty on both of them. One of the more impressive one's in the book. Several million ryo for each of them."

"WHO? Which country?!"

Kakuzu only laughed. "Do you really have to ask? Surely you know inside."

Naruto growled. "Tsunade. Konoha put out the hit, didn't they." The bounty hunter nodded and flashed the pages to him. There was a photo each of Sasuke and Hinata, their known allies (which were listed as 'top secret'), village, and notable skills. At the corner of each page, there was a box for which village or country wanted them dead.

On both, there was a blood red stamp of the Leaf.

"Let me tell you how happy I was, when I saw who I was fighting. More than ten million ryo to kill two kids! Amazing!"

Naruto chuckled. "That's the problem with all the adults in the world."

Kakuzu stared at him. "There are no adults to me, boy. I've lived since the time of your village's founding. I fought the original Hokage!"

He kept on laughing. "Then what their problem is, goes double for you!"

"And that is?"

Naruto looked hard at the man. "You all think that you know best; that you are the best. You refuse to acknowledge that each generation is stronger than the last."

"I steal the hearts of your so-called strongest! I kill each and every one of your generation, and cash their heads in. I've done so for a hundred years!"

"Your point," Naruto asked bluntly.

"My point," spat the Akatsuki, "is that the world is mine! The point…is that I AM INVINCIBLE."

"Tell her that," smirked Naruto.

Sand came out of nowhere and covered the man. It had seized his legs in no time at all, before slowly snaking its way up the man's body. Kakuzu struggled in vain to release himself. He tried to part his body, via his threads, but to no avail. The remaining sand covered his head, the flickering glow of a burning village would be the last sight he saw. The sand imploded on Kakuzu, sending blood everywhere. It imploded into itself again, and again, and again.

Gaara appeared, with a slight limp, walking towards the mass of sand. She squeezed her fist repeatedly, crushing the man inside it. In her left hand, she made a blade of sand and cut Naruto loose.

"I think he's dead," he said bluntly.

"Nothing wrong with certainty," said Gaara, smirking.

"Certainty? Is that what you call it now? Here I was thinking something like 'overkill.'" Gaara only smiled.

"That girl helped me. She shook me awake just as you killed Hidan. But Naruto...that column of chakra...what an impressive attack."

"These monsters deserved nothing less. Killing an entire village and trying to rape a girl. Murdering a monastery of peaceful monks."

"Do you know why," she asked.

He shook his head. "No, but I do know that it isn't safe to go back to Konoha. Kakuzu showed me his book. Tsunade put hits out on Sasuke and Hina. Probably us too."

"Well that little stunt of ours couldn't have gone over well."

Something that had slipped Naruto's mind suddenly came back. "What happened to the girl?"

Naruto had not seen his Konoha vest laying next to him. "She's dead. Killed herself. Walked straight into her burning family home."

He clenched his teeth and donned his vest with resentment. "Another fucking life extinguished in this disgusting world." The vest felt heavy on his shoulders. He took it off, then burned it with demonic chakra.

"Take your vest off Gaara. We aren't going back to Konoha." Gaara nodded and shrugged the garment off.

"I'll need a new way to carry my sand."

Naruto thought for a second, then came up with an idea. "I got it. Though you have to trust me."

"I do."

"Good. Now strip."

Gaara blushed hard, but her personality had gone from serious to sultry. She had never stopped desiring the boy. She wanted him anytime and anyplace. "My pleasure, Naruto." Naruto began fishing through the scrolls he had removed from his vest. 'Aha, got it.'

She finished stripping, and saw Naruto with a bottle of ink and a brush. Naruto dropped to his knees and dipped the brush in ink. He began to draw symbols on her body.

The ink was cold, and ticklish, but felt delicious against her body. She shivered as characters were drawn up her legs, giving an appreciative moan when they reached her inner thigh.

Naruto shifted around her and began to draw tiny symbols from the girl's ass up her spine. It was delicate work, and the girl's almost orgasmic state was not helping things. He reached the tops of her shoulders, then repeated the steps up her stomach and breasts.

Finally, a large 'expel' symbol was written on her forehead, with several arrows pointing to the tattoo of 'love.'

All too soon for Gaara's liking, Naruto had sealed the brush and ink back up.

"Now…"she said, in the sexiest voice she could muster, "what's next." She licked her lips.

Naruto seemed fazed for a minute, but shook it off. "Now…this happens." He flicked the 'expel' symbol, which glowed bright white. Every symbol on Gaara began to glow just as brightly.

The coffin of sand fell apart, spewing the unrecognizable form of Kakuzu. Sand began to trickle over to Gaara's tattoo, before disappearing into it.

Minutes later, the sand was gone. "What did you do," asked Gaara, breathless.

"Remember when Jiraiya taught us about sealing things. Like in a scroll?"

Gaara nodded. "Well I basically made your body a scroll, or well, your tattoo to be specific."

'I'd rather you make my body your toy, Naruto…' "Meaning?"

"Meaning that on command, you can summon your sand like normal, just without it weighing you down."

Gaara moved closer to Naruto, her mouth inches from his. "How can I properly thank you Naruto."

"Get dressed. We can worry about thanks after we find Hina and Sasuke, and get their asses to that Uchiha retreat."

She dressed herself, minus her vest and very unhappily, and they went to find their friends. It did not take long, considering they both had keen senses of smell. When they discovered the unconscious pair, Gaara made the effort to carry them on a bed of sand.

Naruto, however, fished through Sasuke's vest, finally locating a map to the Uchiha retreat. He took the liberty to remove Sasuke's vest, though he was nice enough to remember to keep the sword.

"Alright," Naruto said. "This place is about two days away. Shall we?" He gave a graceful bow, gesturing for Gaara to go first.

Gaara simply eyed him hungrily, and walked off with a sexy sway to her hips. One that even Naruto couldn't help but appreciate.

And so the caravan walked off, the still-burning remnants of a dead village smoking beyond the horizon.

A little flirting and stuff between Gaara and Naruto. But relax, they are not going to be sleeping together. Ever. Least, that's my thought right now.

Not sure what the next chapter will hold.