To all my fans of this story: I did it again. I hope you guys enjoy this (long) awaited chapter and I am so sorry for the delay. The next chapter (the second part of this finale) should be up much sooner than this took to get out. xD
Summary: In cyberspace, she is known as Kyuubi, the only hacker in the world who was able to hack into Area 51's top secret files, and not get caught until just before she completely withdrew from their servers. Many groups of dangerous people are desperately trying to find her real identity, but she wears many masks. Her new high school won't know what hit it.
Pairings: GaaNaru. Onesided; ItaNaru.
Other pairings: ShikaTema, ChouIno, JiraTsun.
Future pairings: KibaHina, NejiTen, IbikiAnko, AsuKur.
Warning: This story is rated M for coarse language, content not suitable for younger audiences.
Disclaimer: If I don't say this, Kishimoto would sooo sue my ass. So, sadly, or unsadly, depending on the person, I don't own Naruto.
Notes: I do not know if some of the stuff in this chapter is actually fact. So, I'm happy that its fanfiction and not Wikipedia.
Side Note: Nobody but Orochimaru, Kabuto, and Naruto knows who Kyuubi really is. That fact was not revealed during the investigation/interrogation when Orochimaru and Kabuto were imprisoned, and when Naruto was interrogated afterwards.
Side Note2: Aoiro is a real person, just has a different name. She takes on the personality of my best friend, who requested I integrate her character into the story as one of the hackers. Which hacker, you'll soon find out.
Side Note3: There are a lot of changes to Naruto's overall character and personality since her memory loss. So, don't be entirely surprised by what you find. Amnesia, to my knowledge, is just as crippling as losing an arm or leg. Some people lose their entire identities, their entire lives and most do not completely recover.
"I'm speaking here!" – talking
'I see dead people.' - thinking
I'm a monkey's aunt – narrating
I don't care who you are – memories/flashbacks
"You!" – emphasis on words/yelling
"This is so lame." – online chatting/information
xxemogoddessxx - haha, this should add to your questions. Don't worry, I hope to tie up all loose ends in the next chapter, and your questions should be included. Enjoy!
Usa-san - You were actually one of the closest to correctly guessing, however, it was the wrong branch of memory -sweatdrop- the answer is at the bottom. I'm sorry for the long delay. Please enjoy.
Winter's Black Chill - I enjoyed your review immensely, mostly for how you described Gaara xD I'm sorry it took so long to get this chapter out. Hopefully the GaaNaru fluff in it will pacify your inner reader beast. I know it soothes mine! -wink-
Chibi Tsuki - Unfortunately, Itachi doesn't really make an appearance in this chapter, but he definitely will next chapter! This chapter is kind of suspenseful, hope you enjoy the change of pace. xD Thanks for the review!
HopeInHell - -sweatdrops and scratches back of head in embarrassment- ah, well... I guess my apologies are becoming a bit repetitive, ne? Eh, hope you enjoy this installment and the knowledge that the next one definitely won't take as long (God forbid I drag this on any further).
Thanks for your reviews!
Itty bitty Kitsune, the end is finally near,
Your face is crusted with the water you shed, tear, tear, tear.
Cry all you want, Little Kitsune, cry stains wash away,
Unlike the stains on your soul that will never fade away.
He groaned as he came back to awareness, a quick glance over his bedside table told him he had only been asleep for a few hours. Squeezing his eyes shut, grunting at the burn on the underside of his eyelids, he half sat up and tried to concentrate. Without coffee, it took a fair amount of focus before he could recall why he had woken in the first place when he should be resting.
His cell was blaring somewhere downstairs.
Cursing his stupidity in leaving it in the living room where he dropped it hours prior, he grunted as he stood, his body stretching on its own accord. He groaned in relief when several pops were felt and his body relaxed. Running a hand over his face, he stumbled blearily out of his room and down the stairs haphazardly, nearly tripping over his own feet on the way down. Expletives exploded under his breath as he made a wrong turn into his kitchen.
Finally locating his phone, after the third time it had quietened and started up again, he flipped it open expertly despite his lacking mind and held it against his scarred ear.
He listened to the voice on the other end and was abruptly brought out of his sleep stupor at the news.
"What do you mean the Rinnengan Corporation was hacked last night?"
He made his way to the kitchen, a dark frown on his face. Rinnengan Corporation was a multi-billion international corporation with branches that fanned out all over the world in every area of science, health, and product manufacturing. It was one of the three leading businesses in the world. Its competitors, Rasengan Incorporated –which was mainly into technological advancements, health and body products, the oil industry, and book production and manufacturing- and Shic Fantique –the leader in the world of outer beauty which included fashion, make-up, body procedures, a huge portion of the movie industry, and clothes.
"The Big Three" they were often called when talked about as a whole and were virtually untouchable when trying to dig up anything that could be used against them.
Except for now, that is.
Ibiki stopped at the fridge, still and frozen, "Their databanks were wiped?"
He started up the coffee maker, but paused when he heard the next part. A snarl appeared on his scarred face, and to anyone who didn't know him, it would look like he was exceptionally angry. On the contrary, like a wolf in sheep clothing, the expression on his face betrayed just how excited he was despite the interruption to his sleep.
"I'll be there in ten minutes."
He flipped the phone shut, turned off the coffee maker and raced upstairs to shower and dress.
Ibiki entered the Federal Bureau of Investigations, flashing his credentials to the receptionist and hurried to the fifth floor. Leaving the elevator, he flashed his credentials to the officers stationed there and continued on into the conference room where several agents were already set up, stacks of papers all over the place and laptop computers out and running. Another dozen agents were sorting papers that looked fresh off the printer and running around on errands. The main screen for their projected information when the time called for such instances was set up and the FBI's top technical analyst's face was stretched across the screen. He was talking rapidly about something, pens and pencils in his rough ponytail, looking haggard but lively.
"… I've just sent the compiled list to the photocopier. It seems that Rinnengan Corporation was just a massive, complicated cover for criminal activity dating back to its founding two centuries back. And this is just recorded information. Before its name change prior to the millennium, it was called Jinchuurinki. And before the turning of the twentieth century, it was Red Dawn. And before the turn of the nineteenth century, it was God's Apostles. It hints that they've been in business long before this, but without the hard copies of their recorded business, there isn't any further information on it. I've already done research on each of the names but there isn't much to be found on any of them save the current. And not even that has any information that already isn't known to the public."
Someone came out from the photocopier room with some papers –the list their techie was talking about, he guessed. He slammed the door shut behind him and everyone paused in their various activities to see the cause of the commotion. Satisfied, Ibiki drew to his full, intimidating stature and spoke.
"Someone want to debrief me before any further action is taken?"
A sigh, then: "Maa, maa, Ibiki. Still like making scenes?"
Ibiki turned to Supervisory Special Agent Hatake Kakashi and followed him into the other agent's office just around the corner from the conference room. The chaos of the room was instantly muffled as the door shut behind Ibiki. Kakashi collapsed carelessly into his chair behind his desk and gestured for the other chair in a mock motion, as Ibiki had already taken it.
"Start from the beginning. I want to know everything that happened since I left the office."
Kakashi pulled a face –or what Ibiki could guess was a face from what he could see of the other man's mostly covered head- and sighed again. Then, he began in a professional tone, clipped and precise.
It seemed that nothing happened after he left. No one had anything to report and there were no new leads. Then, just as Nara Shiraku, their head tech analyst was about to pack up for the night, his already shut down computer system had started up on its own. An extremely detailed picture of a ten tailed wolf covered in blue flames appeared on the screen and before Nara could regain access to his database, a five hundred and forty nine gigabit file was downloaded straight into the Bureau's fully firewalled system and hard drive. Ten minutes later, the Bureau had received a call that Rinnengan Corporation was hacked and their database wiped. The only evidence they found was a detailed, hand drawn picture of a ten tailed wolf that had no prints, no DNA, nothing. They were able to identify the pencil crayons used, which had only led back to Rinnengan Corporation products. The paper that was used was a Rasengan Incorporated product and the strangely shaped knife used to pin the picture to the wall was from Shic Fantique's relatively new line of professional scissors.
There was nothing to point in the direction of a potential suspect of the crime, but they had, metaphorically speaking, bigger fish to fry. The information that was given to them by, as they dubbed, Anonymous Benefactor, was much more than enough to permanently shut down Rinnengan Corporation and cut the city's criminal activity, and the world's criminal activity in Rinnengan employ, in half.
Ibiki, scarred chin in hand, had a devious smirk on his face. Anonymous Benefactor was making waves. Big waves. In fact, the ripples from this one move on the chess board were going to be making ripples in the world's pond for a long time to come. He and Kakashi moved back to the conference room and another door slamming effectively got everyone's attention.
"I want all available agents not on top assignments recalled back to the Bureau to help with this investigation. Get the local Police Department on that list that Nara compiled. I want INTERPOL made aware of the situation." He pointed to Nara, whom was looking tiredly back at him from the screen. "Nara. I know you're tired. However, you are still needed here. I want you to head the media liaisons. Keep those vultures off the investigation for the time being. I'm also putting you in charge of all our technical analysts. I want all this information sorted so that we can move into place in shutting down Rinnengan Corporation." He turned to Anko, whom was watching everything with her ever present smirk on her face. "Anko. You're to start an investigation into Rasengan Incorporated and Shic Fantique. Make sure to make good use of the judges, whom will be made aware of our situation. I want anything of interest. You know how to do your job." She mock saluted and left, tan trench coat fluttering behind her shapely figure. He turned towards Uchiha Fugaku, whom was a senior agent that now worked directly for the president. "Get Kakashi to fully debrief you. Then, you will report directly to the president on everything that has happened thus far. Make sure to keep him updated as the investigation goes on. Kakashi." He turned to the other agent, but the man was already a step ahead of him, moving out of the office with Uchiha behind him.
Ibiki breathed for a moment before noticing the lack of activity.
"What are you all waiting for? Get to work!"
"Are you serious? Is there any information on Naruto?"
"Nara is still looking into it, however, he found a few documents that could be important to the investigation. Two of the documents had a very basic outline of a plan by a group called Akatsuki. Sound familiar?"
Tsunade turned to look at Jiraiya, who looked nearly dumbfounded at the word. Akatsuki was their biggest success and their worse failure in the history of their career in the Bureau. They had stopped a lot of Akatsuki's activities in the criminal world, busted some of the biggest drug rings in history, shut down a lot of their bases, and arrested a lot of those in their employ. Akatsuki is what made their group so famous and sought after during their FBI days. Their success was the highest in the Bureau. However, everyone they had ever captured had somehow managed to pull suicide and they never got anyone from the inner circle. They made a big difference, but not enough to shut Akatsuki down. Not even close enough to find the identification of any of the inner circle either.
The group was still the biggest, blackest stains in their life.
What did they want with Naruto though?
"It seems like Akatsuki was after nine people. Who they were, were not written down anywhere but pictures were attached to the documents. We have several agents trying to identify them as we speak. Three of them are already identified. One is Naruto. The other two is Subaku no Gaara and Nara Shikamaru. Those are the three that were taken from the school."
Jiraiya pushed Tsunade out of the range of the webcam and his large face took her place, "What was the plan?"
Ibiki looked back at them through the computer.
"In one clichéd term? World domination. They had planned on gathering these nine people and using their abilities to crash the world government and take over during the resulting chaos."
Tsunade pushed Jiraiya back out of the shot with a scowl on her pretty face, "What was the other document about?"
Ibiki paused a moment, looking gleeful, "A detailed documentation of their history going as far back as the early sixth century. Akatsuki has been around for fifteen centuries. There is even hinting of going back further. However, there are only inscriptions as far back as the beginning of the fifth century, and information from that far into the past is mostly unavailable to us for the moment. They had been a large part of the decline of the Roman Empire. That part wasn't detailed, but I guess that any information from that had been lost."
Tsunade blanched. From the corner of her eye, she noticed that Jiraiya had done the same. Ibiki looked absolutely amused at their expense. Most likely gaining back some of his own lost dignity at having the same reaction.
"Here's the real kicker. Akatsuki's a ten man team. Every time they popped their ugly head out of the woodwork, they've had ten members and have always operated from within the shadows of society. Nara found only a few officially documented times where Akatsuki was working in the open due to some protection, but since those times were few and far in between, nobody ever connected the dots. These guys have been around for a long time and they are good."
Jiraiya groaned at the information. Great. A diabolical group of ages past that have watched the world change and orchestrated most of it.
Ibiki had turned away from the webcam for a moment before disappearing, his seat empty. They heard blurred background voices, a definite exclamation that they could confidently connect to Ibiki and a flutter of paper. Then, Ibiki was back, looking terribly excited and morose at the same time.
"They've identified the rest of the pictures. All but one is reported missing."
"The last one was taken in broad daylight ten minutes ago."
The couple looked at each other in askance. Disbelief.
"This investigation is now officially strictly confidential to those not on the team. I am no longer allowed to provide you with information. Gomen."
"Wait! You've gotta give us something! The Bureau can't just cut us out from this investigation! This is our case!" Tsunade yelled, slamming her hands on the desk. It groaned dangerously.
Ibiki's eyes sparkled ominously. "This is no longer in our hands. This is a case of international security. The President has ordered all borders in a level five lockdown. The state is in a nationwide lockdown. Heck, after informing INTERPOL, the world is in a lockdown. The shits about to hit the fan and there is nothing any of us can do to stop it. I'm sorry."
The webcam connection was lost and Ibiki's face disappeared into a square of black with white block letters: Connection Lost…
Tsunade let out a roar of anger and her fists crashed down upon the laptop computer, smashing the pricey piece of technology into a mess of unrecognisable scrap. The desk cracked down the middle and collapsed in on itself. Her fists continued to pound the splintered wood until her skin was cracked and bleeding, several of her fingers broken and both of her wrists sprained before Jiraiya managed to gain control of her wild temper. She collapsed into his larger frame, sobbing and grief stricken, allowing the older man to lead her to the bathroom to fix her hands.
She was so numb to her surroundings that not even Jiraiya resetting her broken fingers managed to rouse her from her state.
All she could think about was the day they had all gone to the mall, together, for once since rescuing Naruto from Orochimaru feeling like an actual family. For once she felt like a mother. A mother that Dan would have been proud of marrying; grinning that secretive grin. Always giving his full, unrelenting support before she could ever think to ask of it. A mother that she and Nawaki had often conversed about, never having one of their own and never knowing what one felt like, but had often just imagined.
For the first time, Tsunade lost the hope she had harboured in her heart that she could finally have her very own child in Naruto. Naruto, whom had been reborn from the clean slate that is amnesia and finally manageable. Finally reachable. For the years they had her under their care, it seemed like there was this large chasm between them and her. Like she was the impregnable island in the middle of the Bermuda triangle and they, the daring and stupid explorers. Whatever they did, said, planned… it was all met with a stony resistance that never gave. Never chipped nor eroded.
Tsunade felt horrible and ugly for thinking that the girl's amnesia was a good thing. Her missing memories took with them the girl's identity, her place in the world. Tsunade was glad that Naruto no longer had a footing in the world so that she could finally have a daughter. And it was glorious. She flew so high in that short time that she nearly touched God's face. But now…
She awoke heavy.
There were hands on her face, but she was so heavy. Something was holding her down. She couldn't even twitch, she was so tightly strapped down. She couldn't even move her head. Colors blurred out of sync with time, noises blobbed together and deep, slow, unrecognisable and far away. Red was predominant. She blinked. The world swam before her eyes.
She tried to concentrate. It was never enough. She couldn't focus. Her mind was fuzzy, so fuzzy that she couldn't even bring up the reason why the color red was bothering her. Red was pretty, but orange was better. Wait…
That wasn't right.
Orange was garish and disgusting. She would never be caught dead in orange. Black. Black always swathed her in comfort. Black was the shadows of her past that shaped her. Black was the color of-
Yellow flashed across her vision.
She couldn't make sense of the emotions that arose in a flurry. Her head was starting to hurt. It was a dull, throbbing pinch in the back of her head that, like crawling, creeping, spindly fingers, began to grow and grow to the rest of her head. Soon, the entirety of her head throbbed in beat with her heart and if she could move, she would be wincing. Grimacing. Anything really.
Calmly, and with patience she never knew she had-
-she had tonnes of patience. It was practically beaten into her. Wait for the perfect moment to slip in. it was all about timing… almost the-
-the world's hazy quadruplets merged into twins and swam hazily into focus. Her limbs still felt heavy, she still felt those hands on her face, but the voices were still so far away, like trying to hear someone that's yelling across a plain. She blinked and looked around. The movement forced the world back into grinning twins as everything moved back into focus, her perceptions catching up to real time. Nothing that her brain was registering made sense. It was all garbled.
A flash of red.
So close… almost there… fibers under her sweaty hands, fingers on her cheeks… he was so close…! So close…!
She blinked and the images were gone. Teal eyes stared back. They were… beautiful, her mind supplied sluggishly. Suddenly, the eyes were gone. They just disappeared and she blinked. The world was still, so where did they go? She mourned the loss of the eyes for a moment, her inability to focus making her mind jump to something else.
The walls were white.
"We find you guilty…" white walls. Stone walls. Brown dividers. Lewd eyes, judging eyes. Who were they to stick their noses in something that wasn't their business? A flash of orange. The world blurs into colors, hands coming sharply into focus and disappearing just as quick. Her hair tangling as it flew behind her. Small arms wrapping solidly around a much too thin waist, slipping something into folds of orange. It was… it was…
"I will come back for you, my Kitsune. Just you wait."
She blinked, and the images crawled back into wherever they came, and she could not pull them back out. The world swam before her again and she promptly decided, as her lids steadily gained tons of weight in seconds that a nap was in order.
She passed out.
"She out again?"
Gaara nodded, disappointment written all over his pale features. His eyes never moved from Naruto's unconscious form, but he knew who spoke to him.
The Yonbi hacker was not who Gaara imagined him to be. He was the shortest of the nine in the room, including Naruto, and acted nothing like a monkey. The Yonbi hacked like a monkey –in which was brash, teasing, poking, irritating to those trying to track, and taunted mercilessly, sometimes cruelly and when he felt threatened, sent ungodly viruses that were nightmares to those… less skilled- but looked and acted nothing like one. It was no wonder he was the last to be thrown, unconscious, into the room with the rest. He was so plain Jane that Gaara had to be thoroughly convinced by the soft spoken, mild boy through the few hacking escapades they went on.
Though, as far as the Yonbi –or Jack Olsen- was concerned, he was the only one that didn't act like the animal his name was portrayed as. Well, there was Gaara too, but he was so detached from the others at the moment that he didn't even consider himself a part of them. He was so far under the other's skill level that he wondered why he was even here.
The Nibi was so catlike that Gaara was bemused to find that she didn't, in fact, have cat ears and a tail. She acted exactly the way she did during her hacking, all claws getting in and all slinky black cat getting out. She liked to tear apart the system she was hacking into so many pieces that when she finally retreated, it was unlikely that the creator would be able to put it back together. As far as he knew, nobody was able to. Though, she was respectful to the better hackers and didn't even try to poke around them. Sure, he was certain that they conversed from time to time, but she didn't do things that were beyond her.
Almost as if she took the saying, curiosity killed the cat literally. Not even the second part of the saying was enough to make her go beyond her skill level.
The Sanbi was an older man, somewhere in his sixties, with lots and lots of white hair. The man also looked partially blind, as his eyes were constantly squinted. He, and two others almost physically looked like their tailed beast. He had a huge hump on his back and was always sitting hunched over but his head was held as high as it could go. He looked like an old turtle, almost literally.
The Gobi was a surprise in itself. Who knew that Nara Shikamaru, the school's resident genius with an IQ over two hundred, was the Gobi no Irukauma? The world was so small, Gaara mused, glancing over at the nonchalant, snoozing teenager. That scraped over his already severely frayed nerves, but Gaara held his irritation in. No use creating unneeded tension and drama to the room. Already enough of that.
The Rokubi was an extremely obese woman, well over five hundred pounds, that hadn't moved from the corner she had been placed in. She had admitted, with a tear stained face that hadn't been cleaned in a long while, that she was the first to have been taken well over two months ago. She had this sanitation thing going on that Gaara really didn't want to go into details on the inner workings. Only that it worked to keep her outgoing matter from spilling all over the place, as the thirty some woman couldn't even get up on her own and nobody was really strong enough to even try to help her. Except for one, but the man seemed like he barely even visited the real world and was never lucid enough for conversation.
The Nanabi was an early twenties, lanky man that was always sitting on his own on his bed, staring off into space, his fingers always, always twitching. In fact, he was constantly twitching in some way, his back hunched and his nose long, a disfigurement in his nose that had the tip separated like a forked tongue. His nose reached so far from his face that it almost literally looked like a pronged horn. He was an okay guy when he finally rejoined the real world, lively and eccentric.
The Hachibi was a giant specimen of a man that looked remarkably like a Hollywood Frankenstein. All sharp cut angles and blank expressions. His hair was even flat and black. He easily towered over everyone and would make an intimidating figure, if he ever came out of the sanctuary of his mind. Gaara, open-minded as he was, was having a hard time believing that this huge, brawny, Frankenstein-y guy was the Hachibi hacker. It seriously boggled his mind.
And then there was Naruto.
It was strange to think that the person he had depended on so thoroughly in cyberspace was the one person in real life that he had ever felt attracted to.
He sighed, rubbing the back of his fingers over Naruto's cheeks softly.
He cursed softly as he lost count of the cracks in the wall opposite of him and started over. The place he was in was dank, smelled disgusting, and the only reason he was sitting was because he somehow managed to keep his jacket during his abducting.
It was currently under his ass, keeping whatever was on the floor at bay.
He shivered absently, now used to the chill that permeated from the walls. He was not giving up his only protection from the floor just to keep warm. Fuck that. He hasn't even seen anybody yet. It grated on him sadistically to get the long delayed reality check that he wasn't as important as he thought he was. His mother's loving smile flashed through his mind and it only made him more miserable. He was going to miss her seven year anniversary pretty soon. He never liked missing it. He felt he owed it to his mother to visit her grave on the day of her death, armed with her favourite flowers and his ipod full of songs that she liked. Of songs she would never sing to him again.
His hatred of his brother was stoked into a roaring blaze as he remembered seeing that bastard walking away from him, like he wasn't important enough, like the bastard hadn't done anything wrong.
Sasuke gritted his teeth, losing count once again and forcing himself to start over in order to calm down. However, his anger was instantly quenched when he heard a loud squeak in the distance and footsteps approaching. He stood, carefully putting his jacket on to keep whatever germs manifested on the outside away from him and leaned against the back wall, keeping his head bowed to keep the grime of the wall away from his hair.
Really, he may be a kidnappee, but he had standards.
Finally, two familiar men came into view and Sasuke's near eidetic memory kicked into gear.
Hebi Orochimaru and Yakushi Kabuto. Known and convicted criminals on charges of blackmail, murders of the second degree, extortion, illegal possession of fire arms, illegal possession and distribution of drugs, kidnapping… that was only naming the bigger ones. There were too numerous minor charges against him to name, but even all of them together barely even added to the man's life sentences. His father was one of the few people to put the man away.
"Ah, Sasuke-kun. My dear Sasuke-kun. What a surprise it was when we caught you, such hatred in your eyes as you watched Itachi-kun get away." Orochimaru hissed out, smirking in satisfaction as Sasuke bristled.
"Who the hell are you?" Sasuke feigned ignorance, not wanting to give some kind of advantage away. It might come in handy later. "What do you want with me?"
"Tell me, Sasuke-kun," Orochimaru ran one long, pale finger along the grimy looking bars, and then grabbed the bars in both hands and nearly thrusting his skinny head all the way through the gap; a manic grin on his porcelain face. "Do you want to kill Itachi?"
Having refrain from jumping away like some nervous schoolgirl, Sasuke glared hatefully into slitted yellow eyes, idly wondering how the man gained such an effect. "And what would be in it for you?" He shoved his hands into his pockets nonchalantly, as if the thought of killing Itachi, his lifelong goal of sorts for retribution for his mother, was the last thing on his list of things to do. Orochimaru hissed in that snake like way that made him seem more like his namesake.
The pale, black haired man cocked his head to the side, reminding Sasuke of those documentaries of insane people in asylums that he watched late at night when he couldn't sleep. The relating images did nothing to help him.
"He… ssssstole… sssssomething of mine, ssssomething preciousssssss…" the man hissed out sensuously. "… to me. I want it back. You help me regain what I have lossssssst and I'll give you Itachi to do with what you wissssssssh."
Sasuke deliberated, "And if I refuse?"
"Well," Orochimaru carelessly removed his head from the bars and arrogantly wiped his hands down Kabuto's shoulders, the grime from the bars transferring the uncaring man's sleeves. Sasuke gave a small grimace. "In that case, I suppose I'd just… forget that you exist down here. My time in prison has had its toll on me. I've been all shades of forgetful these days. Why, just the other day," Orochimaru gestured gracefully with his hands. "I asked Kabuto where I had placed a fellow by the name of Hayate-kun and you know what he told me?"
Sasuke hid his reaction well. Hayate was Kakashi's good friend until he went missing for a few days on a mission and turned up dead. Sasuke was given little more than his date of death and how he died, but no details. Torture. The man had endured a short hour of intense torture before he died and his body dumped into a local dumpster. He hadn't seen Kakashi for weeks after the funeral.
"He told me," Orochimaru continued without waiting for an answer. "That Hayate-kun got a royal burial after I was done playing with him. Such a shame, that man's scream was like music to the ears." Orochimaru sighed dramatically and turned away from Sasuke, coincidentally prohibiting Kabuto's view of Sasuke just as the young Uchiha jerked slightly at the revelation of Hayate's killer. He clenched his fists for a second before forcing himself to relax a moment before Orochimaru turned back towards him.
"So, Sasuke-kun, do we have a deal? I do hate wasting beautiful tools."
Sasuke inwardly cringed and nodded.
Orochimaru smirked, satisfied, yellow eyes deadly in the dim light, "Good."
She awoke to fingers on her face and a heavy weight on her chest over her bosom.
She looked down as best she could, only to see a mass of fuzzy red. A sliver of pale skin was visible in the shaft of moonlight coming from a small window too high up to see out of. Whatever else she couldn't see was covered in a clothed arm as it swept from her face and hid the persons face from view.
The room was quiet.
Shifting, she sat up, the person that fell asleep on her limply falling into her lap and staying there, not even waking. Worried, for she now recognised Gaara and knew him to be so light a sleeper that a pin could drop in the hallway outside his closed door and he would wake. He was breathing evenly, but that didn't ease her worry.
The shaft of moonlight was behind her head but helped little with lighting up the rest of the pitch dark room. She could barely make out seven other figures passed out halfway off beds, on the floors, and even sitting up. There was this huge mass in the corner that was easy to make out due to the easy to see contrast between the white wall and whatever was there, but that didn't make it any easier to figure out what the hell it was.
Shifting slightly to make room, as getting up to investigate sounded like a stupid idea no matter how much her curiosity was clamouring for attention, she pulled Gaara easily into the bed and curled around him almost protectively. For a while, she simply laid there and wondered things, anything, that came into her mind. She had briefly wondered how long she was out for, as the last thing she could remember was the attack at her house, but figured it was long enough for any side effects from the drugs used on her to have passed and gone home.
That thought made her grimace.
She felt like she was missing something important and wracked her brain for whatever it might be, but nothing came to mind. There was this black spot in her mind that was just… blank. She couldn't access it, no matter how many times she prodded it, so she left it be.
She wondered for a while how Kurome was doing. She hoped he was alive. The memory of him just laying yonder, still breathing but not moving, was making her sick to her stomach and she fervently hoped that he was fine. She couldn't stomach the thought of him dying and couldn't even force herself to imagine her life without him.
It was already turning out to be a nightmare.
She wondered why Gaara was here. Or where here even was. She wondered if Aoiro managed to avoid attention. She wondered where Team Hebi was and if they were okay. She wondered a lot of things as she laid there, absently running her hand through short red spikes, staring out into the blackness of the room with a faraway look in her eye.
There was a hissing sound and the blackness converged on her.
A caressing hand woke her.
She opened her eyes and blinked blearily at a white ceiling. Where the hell was she? Snapping into a sitting position, she looked around wildly, hair flying every which way from her increasing panic. The School! What the hell happened?
"Hey, calm down. Your safe… well, the moment is safe anyway. Nobody trying to kill us, at the moment like I said, but nobody ain't gonna hurt ya in here."
She turned to Gaara's soothing baritone and wrapped her arms around him. Over his shoulder, she saw the boy who spoke first, who was so tiny that he was even smaller than her.
Huh. Will wonders never cease?
"Gaara," she said into his shoulder, making the name come out a bit muffled but understandable. "Where are we? What are you doing here? What are we doing here? What are they doing here? I think I'm having a panic attack."
Gaara tightened his arms around her waist in an attempt to calm her down enough to get a word in edgewise and surprisingly, she completely melted within his embrace.
"Wow, never seen that kind of reaction before," the small boy muttered to himself.
"I don't know the answers myself. You know the hackers of cyberspace? They're all here, in this room. Guess who I am."
Naruto pulled away, cocking her head to the side in confusion.
Okay, well, I covered a lot of bases in this chapter and it's all coming together nicely -rubs hands against each other with an evil cackle- anyway. Sorry again for taking so long. There should be the second part of the finale here, and maybe, maybe not an epilogue, depending on how people take the ending. I still can't believe it took me so long to finish and how grotesquely it mutated from my original idea. I can tell you now that a lot of stuff after chapter seven was not how I had planned.
Anywho. Time for some answers. First of all, the shadow figures I question peeps about for the last few chapters. They were actually Naruto's memory trying to take metaphysical form. Since she changed her room so much, she removed most of what would have reminded her of what she had forgotten and I'm guessing she would have regained her memories faster. Alas, being the bright, orange monstrosity that she is, she only hampered herself. Shame really. Good job everyone who came so close to getting the correct answer! Unfortunately, Kurome-chan doesn't gain a home at the moment, but it will be given to my 200th reviewer! xD
The next chapter should be up much, much, much, MUCH sooner than this damn thing took. Then, I can finally work on my other stories. Eternal Love is so neglected TT^TT