Two Akatsuki members walked through the misty area that was the base of the next mountain they were to scale. This mountain was the barrier between the Land of Earth and Rain. To get back to the Akatsuki base, the Land of Rain, they had to cross the mountain. It wasn't even a cute little thing - it was a big-ass hill that looked like there was no other side. The fucker was so high it blocked out the sun when you looked up at it.

"Tall enough mountain, ne, Itachi-san?" Kisame asked him, and Itachi was forced to acknowledge him. He looked over a little, but didn't say anything but,

"Hn." He took a step forward, trying to drown out Kisame's voice as they walked. The fish-man most definitely had a brain of his predecessors. Itachi kept this distaste inside, however, and again lost himself in his thoughts, as he always had. When he thought, no matter what he was doing, he would imagine himself in the area, almost like putting himself under Mangekyou. Everything around him just melted into his imagination, and thus the explanation for why he was always so silent. He had tried explaining this to the rogue Mist-nin many times in the past, but the fish-man never understood.

Itachi slipped into that place now, thinking about his otouto. Why? He was always curious as to how the younger Uchiha was growing, developing. Sometimes he wondered why he cared, but others he knew precisely why. He wanted to know when the younger Uchiha would finally challenge him in the all-for-nothing match that would inevitably occur. He wanted to know the outcome - whether Itachi would kill or be killed. Whenever he fell into these dream-like states, he would predict the outcomes - how Sasuke would attack, how he would defend...Usually, he won. But, there were times when he lost. And those were the matches he longed for the most.

It seemed like no time at all, but soon the sky grew dark and heavy with clouds. "How long have we traveled, Kisame?" Itachi's whisper-like voice cut through the silence. It was almost an eerie silence, save for the rugged breathing of Kisame.

His partner answered through breaths. "About...four hours, Itachi-san." He tried coughing the lack of oxygen away, and failed horribly.

Itachi looked up a bit. "It's growing dark, and it's going to rain soon. You need to rest, Kisame. We'll settle here for the night." Kisame didn't protest as he took a small bag out from a compartment in his jacket and opened it. The canvas of a tent popped out of the little packet, falling to the ground. Kisame quickly put it together, tightly stretching the waterproof material so that, if it rained, the water would run down effortlessly and they would, therefore, remain dry. Kisame allowed Itachi in first and followed after him.

The tent was not very spacious, and so the two men were cramped together, forcing them to touch whenever the moved too much. Itachi took the right, Kisame the left, and they stayed there. On his back, Itachi held his hands behind his head and stared up at the ceiling of the tent, falling into thought again. It seemed no time had passed whatsoever, until the rain came pouring down, bouncing off the tight canvas and splattering onto the ground around it.

Kisame was having trouble getting comfortable. The larger man seemed to have to go to the bathroom, too, because he was gripping his slower region and clenching his legs shut. Itachi barely looked over to him and asked, "Something wrong, Kisame?"

"Oh, no, not at all, Itachi-san!" Kisame kept his back turned, but continued fumbling with his legs.

Itachi used his quick movements so that he was sitting above Kisame, his hair falling over his shoulders and onto the shak-man's shoulders. Kisame looked up to him, flustered. "I can heal, you know. If you're hurt..." Itachi snickered as the fish-man went a deeper shade of blue. "Or," he said as he leaned in closer, "if you're lustful..."

Kisame grunted. "That's not - "

"Shut up and take your clothes off." Itachi cut him off as he crudely rolled him onto his back and planted his lips on his. Itachi began the process of unbuckling the cloak of a very surprised shark-man. Kisame fell into it quickly and did the same to Itachi, carelessly pulling the buttons that held the cloak closed together. Deactivating his Sharingan, Itachi completely removed the Akatsuki cloak from Kisame. He didn't want to know what the shark-man was planning. He wanted this to be completely, and utterly, satisfying.


The blond Kyuubi-bearer cursed and rubbed his arms. "It's c-cold!" He whined.

The Uchiha heir barely acknowledged him. "It's only just started raining, Naruto. Don't complain." He looked ahead, anticipating what was before them. His older brother, Uchiha Itachi, was only feet away, and completely vulnerable to attack. The two of them had been spying on the two Akatsuki for a while now, trailing them. Their mission orders were to follow them all the way to the Akatsuki base, but Sasuke knew that wouldn't happen. Sooner or later, due to both Itachi's high perceptive and Naruto's inability to keep quiet, a confrontation would happen long before the two Akatsuki made it to their base.

Naruto sneezed, noisily sniffing the mucus back inside his nostrils, and vainly attempted to wipe the rest away with his sleeve. "Shouldn't we stop somewhere for the night, like Itachi and Kisame?" The rain fell down harder, feeling like hail on Sasuke's shoulders. Hail the size of golf balls, that is. "I can't walk in this!" Naruto whined, stopping.

Sasuke took a step before noticing Naruto had stopped. He turned around a little and said, "Where, dobe? Yes, we're in the woods, but there's nowhere around here protected from the rain. We have to keep moving." He turned back around and began walking again.

"And when we catch up to Itachi and Kisame?" Naruto asked gruffly as he rubbed his arms again, walking as well.

"Thenwe attack. When they're most vulnerable. Until then, dobe, we have to keep moving." Naruto grumbled something in reply, but other then that, there was no resistance. They continued on, Sasuke loosing himself in his thoughts, Naruto thinking about nothing but the cold and how much a steaming-hot bowl of Ramen would be perfect just then. They couldn't be more different, and yet they were so alike. Was that how the Akatsuki stayed together? The nine of them were so different from one another on both appearance and beliefs...How did they manage to keep themselves together, as an organization, without fights? Through the guidance of a good, strong leader, Sasuke knew. Their leader much resembled Kakashi, in a way. Both kept the 'team' together with a strong fist, but also a gentle touch. Sasuke couldn't think of anything in the Akatsuki that was gentle, then, but there was something, he knew.

Naruto stopped again, growling loudly. He had just tripped over a branch. "That's it!" He shouted, throwing his fists down. "I'm not taking another step!" He shouted over the thunder. Lighting flashed, and his dirty face was illuminated for a second before he was lost again to the darkness. "It's too damn cold, Sasuke! Can't we stop for at least a little?"

He had been shivering. In the second Sasuke had seen him, he had noticed Naruto was shivering and suffering from both a nosebleed and an incredibly dirty face. His clothes had been caked in mud, and altogether, he looked horrible and broken. Sasuke sighed. "They're not that far now...I suppose we can build up some sort of shelter."

"Thank you." Naruto said, exhausted and relieved. The two of them found a thick, tall bush under which they hid themselves. Most of the rain could not get past the large leaves, and so the ground was both dry and warm. Sasuke laid down, taking most of the room the bush had to offer. "Hey, move over!" Naruto objected, whining.

"Shut up, dobe. You've got plenty of room." There was only a shred of room between the dry dirt where Sasuke lay and the wet ground of outside the underside of the bush.

"Yeah, a nice, wide, two inches!" Naruto shouted in complaint. "Roll over on your side!" Naruto shoved him onto his shoulder brusquely and took the newfound space. Everything was silent for a while before Naruto shivered. "I'm cold." He rubbed his arms. Sasuke growled, rolled over to face Naruto, and wrapped his arms around him, pulling him close. Naruto went a deep shade of red and stuttered, "S-sasuke, what are you - ?"

"Sharing my body heat. Now keep quiet." Naruto snuggled in closer, and Sasuke had to fight down a massive blush. The blond dobe snuggled his face in the crook of Sasuke's neck, and shivers went down his spine. He wanted to shove the blonde away, to roll over and tell him how much of an idiot he was, but he couldn't. That was the problem. No matter how much he wanted to tell Naruto how disgusting this was, he couldn't. Something in him found it too...satisfying. "Naruto..."

"Shut up, Sasuke-teme." Naruto said to him, and he moved back to look at Sasuke. For an intense minute, there was no response from either side. They stared at one another for a long moment before Naruto's lips crashed onto Sasuke's. He wanted to make this night truly satisfying for the Uchiha.