Chapter 394: A Prediction.

A/N: So, I'm once again up-to-date on the Naruto manga as of yesterday, and I decided to write this little oneshot about what I think should happen next. This is just a quick, for-fun kind of thing. MAJOR, EPIC SPOILERS! I MEAN IT! GET UP TO CHAPTER 393 BEFORE EVEN GLANCING AT THIS STORY! GO! NOW!

Sasuke blinked. Blinked and stared. Slowly, very slowly, he reached up and touched his forehead, drawing fingers across the quickly-drying blood left there, left there by the man lying at his feet.

He had planned, of course, to kill Itachi. Planned for years and years, thinking of how he would savor this moment, commit it to his memory, so he could always remember the day he had avenged his clan.

He pulled out his sword, prepared to bring it down on Itachi's neck. He had wanted that head on his family shrine. Now, covered in blood and completely out of strength, he reconsidered this. A rotting head of a wicked traitor... that hardly seemed the sort of thing he wanted his children associating with the Uchihas. Sasuke settled for clipping off Itachi's braid.

"You, up there!" he yelled at one of the walls as he tied the hair up in his sleeve. "Enjoy the show?"

"Is he talkin' to us?" Zetsu asked himself. "Yeah, sure seems like it. Yes!" they called at Sasuke. "Very interesting!"

"Good. Listen, if anyone asks, I killed him fair and square."


Sasuke nodded.

"One question," Zetsu said. "What was it that he said to you? We didn't catch it."

Sasuke glanced at the glazed expression on his brother's corpse. Foolish little brother... neither of our dreams... "I didn't hear, either," he lied. "Something about his eyes, I'd imagine."

Zetsu nodded. This was acceptable. " What are you gonna do with the body?"

"I was just gonna leave him here," Sasuke shrugged. "You can have your ring back, if you'd like."

"Yeah... the ring." Zetsu said absently, eyeing Itachi's delicious corpse. Sasuke pretended not to see the drool inching out of the dark side's mouth, and left the room, turning to gaze at Itachi's body once more. He had pictured something more dramatic than this, but... well... he was tired and hungry and injured, and all he really wanted right now was a nice, warm bed. Maybe a few friendly faces, too.

"Not bad!" Kisame panted, taking a swig from Suigetsu's water-bottle. They were having a time-out while Suigetsu's leg stopped bleeding and Karin calmed Juugo down a little. "You've been practicing pretty hard, I see."

"Yeah," Suigetsu shrugged bashfully.

"Hey, guys," Karin pushed her glasses up her nose in a snotty way. "I hate to interrupt your fun, but Sasuke's coming back, and he's going to be pissed when he sees you've disobeyed him."

"We haven't disobeyed him!" Suigestu yelled at her. "We've been good little Sasu-slaves while he's been away!"

Kisame looked a little more concerned. "Sasuke's not coming," he said.

Karin rolled her eyes at him. "Uh, yeah. He is. I'd recognize that manly, virile scent of his anywhere," she sighed dreamily.

"Oh, shut up," Suigetsu muttered as a trickle of blood flowed down her nose.

"Sasuke can't be coming," Kisame said. "Sasuke's dead."

"Oh, no, he most assuredly is not," Karin said.

"Oh, yes, he most assuredly is. I don't care how manly and virile he is, Itachi's gonna flatten his scrawny little ass."

"He is not! That evil little fruitcake isn't fit to lick dirt off Sasuke's shoes!" Karin said hotly.

"I... can't leave you guys... alone, can I?" Sasuke coughed out as he walked across the bridge. "Why's Sui... Suigetsu bleeding? And where's Juugo?"

"More importantly, why are you still alive?" Kisame asked, turning an off-white color.

"Juugo's having a little talk with his birdies," Karin said. "As for the idiot... he's been sparring with this thing, here."

Sasuke nodded and coughed a little.

"...Where's Itachi?" Kisame asked, his eyes darting around anxiously, as if he expected his partner to show jump out of the bushes and shout "surprise!" any minute now.

"Dead," Sasuke shrugged. Suigetsu and Karin exchanged glances. What was Hebi's mission statement now? "Suigetsu, go find Juugo... Karin, can you smell any... unusual chakra? Demonic?"

Karin pointed at Kisame automatically. Sasuke stepped in between them, as if afraid Kisame would go after her for the slur, but Kisame seemed incapable of movement, for the time being. "No, I mean... fox-like. Might smell slightly dumb, a little loud, friendly..."

"Determined, caring, mature?" Karin said after a moment. "Devoted, loyal, with an undertone of wild, vast amounts of inhuman chakra?"

Sasuke started to shake his head, then thought better of it. "Maybe you're picking up on Sakura, too," he decided. "Let's go check it out."

"So... Tobi... You gonna do something?" Naruto asked, observing that Kiba was now snoring gently against Akamaru's back. "Like some time today?"

Hinata sneezed. A brief thunderstorm a few hours ago had left them all soaked... and with this bizarre little orange thing still standing in their way.

"Bless you!" Tobi said cheerfully.

"Th-thank you, Tobi-san," Hinata said.

"Seriously, if you're gonna fight us, then let's fight, and if you're not, then let us through."

"Tobi needs to keep you away so that Itachi-sempai can have his reunion with Sasu-cakes!"

"Please don't call me Sasu-cakes," the leader of Team Hebi said, annoyed, as he and his squad emerged from the trees behind Naruto's group.

Tobi eeped. "What the hell are you doing here?" he yelled in a voice very different from the childish one he had been using.

"Nothing to do with you," Sasuke called back. "Hey, Naruto!"

Naruto jumped as though his dead parents had walked up to him and asked the time of day. "Y-yes?"

"I'm low on cash until I get back to Konoha... can you lend me a little for ramen?"

Naruto stared at him. He blinked. He walked up to Sasuke. "One condition," he said, pulling out his wallet.


Naruto punched him with all his might, knocking Sasuke into Suigetsu, who pushed the young man back to his feet as if this was to be expected. "NEVER DO THAT AGAIN!"

"Do what?" Sasuke asked weakly as his vision spun.

"That- that- that running-away thing!" Naruto yelled. "Sakura and I have been worried sick! Come on." He grabbed Sasuke around the waist and scooped him up, swinging him over his shoulder. "You're not walking all the way back to town in that condition!"

"Sakura–!" Sasuke called weakly at the pink blur trotting after Naruto. "Help me!"

"The only one I'm helping is Naruto when he gets around to beating your ass black and blue!" Sakura said. "He's right, how could you walk all the way out here like this! And you three!" she pointed at Hebi. "Letting him! You should know he's too dumb to take care of himself! Come on," she demanded. "We're getting ramen, and Naruto and I are going to give you a talking-to!"

Sasuke groaned as he was lead away.

"Hey! Get back here!" Tobi cried after them. "Where do you think you're going? Where's Itachi?"

The voice sounded familiar to Sasuke. He couldn't think were he had heard it, but he placed it instantly. "I'll deal with you later," he decided. One Uchiha at a time was enough.

Team Hebi followed Sasuke's captors without much thought to it. Yamato looked over his shoulder at Tobi a few times, concerned, but most of the Konoha forces were just glad to have their standoff over, not to mention the promise of ramen, and followed after Team Seven.

Hinata sneezed again.

"Um... bless you," mumbled the large, orange-haired man walking next to her. One of Sasuke's new friends, she supposed. She nodded politely, but kept her hand over her nose. It would be neither gracious, nor sanitary, to remove it.

The man realized her predicament and patted his cloak as if looking for pockets. Finding none, he tore the corner off of it and handed it to her as a makeshift handkerchief. "H-here," he said, blushing.

Hinata blushed, too. "Th-thank you," she stuttered. The man smiled shyly back at her. "I- I'm Hinata."

"I'm Juugo."

"Hi, Juugo-kun."

"Hi, Hinata-san."

"Don't ever do that again!" Sasuke and Naruto are reunited, and the Konoha squad and Team Hebi meet. Next week: New Faces!

A/N: There is no next week. Just parodying the teasers at the end of chapters. Chu!