Crisis Core (revised)
Chapter 6: Wings of Freedom
Honor is Pride… Pride is Honor…

Madara slowly made his way towards Sasuke, a sinister smirk on his lips.

Sasuke had no other choice than to rush head on and attack, otherwise, he may as well let the older SOLDIER push him off the edge.

"Draw Slash." Madara said, giving two quick slashes at the younger boy before him.

Sasuke blocked the first two ones, but couldn't stand his ground on the third one, since the force of the attack was too strong that it sent him flying backwards.

He looked behind him to see that he was halfway towards the end of the floor he stood on, and he bit back and curse.

Everything was falling into pieces – Gaara's ploy, Itachi's death, and now, Madara's betrayal.

He didn't know how much more he could take, didn't know what to do if something else would go wrong.

"Madara, enough of this!"

"I'm done listening to your kind!" He charged forward. "You'll be the first SOLDIER to die by my hands!"

The Buster sword blocked Madara's weapon as the two glared at each other, not wanting to give in.

"I will make sure you will all suffer…"

"You leave me no choice." Sasuke jumped back, causing Madara to stumble forward a bit. He then looked at what the spiky haired SOLDIER was planning, seeing the boy holding onto a Summon Materia.

Bahamut came fort as it growled, letting his summoner jump onto his back before taking off into the air and delivering a powerful attack towards Madara.

Sasuke jumped off of the creature after it took him back above the battleground, wondering if Hinata was alright.

"Don't think that killed me!"

He quickly turned around and blocked an attack from Madara, but failed to apply enough strength to hold his ground, and that caused him to fly backwards. His weapon flew off from his hands as he landed on the metal ground, grunting in pain when he hit the stairs, face first.

"Shit." He felt blood trickle from the corner of his lips, not liking the metallic taste of the crimson liquid.

Madara turned his back to the fallen SOLDIER and walked to the creature he called mother.

His sinister gaze turned to that of a gentle one as he reached out a hand, failing to notice how an Infantryman had sneaked up from behind him and picked up the fallen Buster sword.

Without any hesitation, he charged at Madara, piercing the former SOLDIER's mid section from behind, the pointed end of the sword hitting the glass capsule which contained GENOVA, causing the tube to crack.

Madara slowly looked over his shoulder to gaze into glaring blue eyes, before he fell to the ground, weakened from the wound.

The Infantryman then pulled out the sword and ran back outside to check on Hinata.

He lifted her up into his arms and had a concerned expression on his face. He pushed away some strands of her hair, caressing her cheek, hoping she'd wake up.

The sound of footsteps made him turn from Hinata to Madara who emerged from the other room, clutching onto his wound while holding his sword and having GENOVA's head in-between his side and arm. He sent a glare towards the blonde-haired Infantryman.

"How dare you…" he seethed.


He was startled to hear Sasuke's voice, so he looked at the dark-haired SOLDIER who was near Madara, seeing how he struggled to at least push himself up.

"Finish him off!"

He didn't think that Sasuke would say that, since the guy refused to kill, much less fight against a comrade - former or not.

"That's an order Naruto!"

But given the circumstances, he couldn't blame Sasuke for coming up with such a decision, and he was only an Infantryman told to obey the commands of his superior.

With a nod, Naruto set Hinata down gently and picked up the Buster sword lying on his side. He stood and directed a glare to Madara before charging at the used-to-be hero. The guy destroyed his hometown, Nibelheim. He hurt the people, he hurt Hinata.

"MADARA!" He cried out and ran towards the ex-SOLDIER before jumping high into the air and bringing down the large sword.

Madara had no difficulty in blocking the attack despite his wound, but he was surprised that a mere Infantryman can possess this much strength to actually make him shake due to the force.

Gritting his teeth, he sent Naruto inside the room he came from, knowing for sure that Sasuke's too weak right now to even stand up.

Naruto grunted as he rolled to the ground, dropping the sword at the process while Madara came walking in, intent to kill the blonde.

He sent his nodachi through Naruto's chest, only it was towards the right and not the left where the boy's heart was currently beating.

"You..!" he snarled, raising his sword to bring the boy's body up in the air. "Don't test me!"

Naruto slowly lifted his head up, trying to ignore the searing pain on his right chest as he glared at Madara and grabbed the blade with his gloved hands. He gripped onto the metal object tightly, causing Madara to scowl as he tried to pull it out of the boy's body, finding that he was unable to due to the Infantryman's strong grip.

"No..! That's impossible!" He cried.

The blonde-haired boy gave out a yell as Madara hadn't realized that he had lowered the boy to the ground, and was now the one being lifted into the air.

"You son of a bitch!" Naruto threw him off to the left, the blade sliding off of his body since Madara still held onto the handle.

The older man's back had hit a large computer, causing electricity to spark and the object to erupt into fire.

He heard Madara give out a painful cry before falling into the dark abyss below, hoping that he was gone for good.

With a deep inhale of air, he walked out of the place, staggering, his eyes lingering on Sasuke's form on the floor, the SOLDIER trying to get up. He made a move to help his superior, but he, instead, came crashing forward, falling to the ground with a loud thud, his body sliding down the stairs, stopping just a few inches away from Sasuke who had looked up upon hearing the sound.

"Heh…" He gave a weak smirk. "Naruto…" He tried to get back up but couldn't, feeling fatigue taking over him. "You… did it…" and he fell unconscious.

Something was wrong, he could feel it, sense it.

His eyes slowly opened, only allowing him to see blurred images of his surroundings. He saw a person, male judging from the flat chest, clothed in a lab coat. His eyes glanced to where the man had walked towards, seeing a couple of Infantryman carrying a stretcher – a stretcher where Naruto lay.

"This one here…" The scientist spoke, and he swore he had heard that voice somewhere. "Intrigiuing…"

He opened his mouth, attempting to speak, but couldn't form the right words.

"Most intriguing! He'll make a fine test subject!"

And once more, he slipped into the darkness.

"You call yourself SOLDIER?"

"That voice…" his vision was dark, and white celestial feathers floated around him. "…Aniki?"

"You tarnish the SOLDIER name."

His eyesight cleared, and his eyes widened when he saw Itachi standing there, holding onto the Buster sword.

"Aniki..?" He was about to run after Itachi when he turned his back to him. "Aniki!" He yelled. He was about to reach out, but glass prevented him, and he realized that he was in a laboratory, inside a hydro capsule, and that Itachi was flying away. "Itachi! Wait!" He hit the glass, punched it repeatedly, and bubbles began to rise and form, blocking his vision due to his thrashing about.

He found himself standing on shallow water, and then looked up at the blinding clear blue sky, and he flinched, before seeing a single white feather flow down freely, and his gaze followed it, until it landed on the surface of the water, making a light ripple.

Sasuke raised his head to the sky with a look of longing. "Those wings…" he said softly. "I want them too…" and the cracking of glass was heard.

A man entered the laboratory, whistling innocently as he set foot inside the room, stopping when he spotted one of the test subjects crumpled into a heap on the floor.

He saw how the capsule that contained him had broken, causing water and glass shards to mess up the floor.

Slowly, he approached the SOLDIER, attempting to see if he was still alive, only to step back when the raven-haired boy had stood up, staggering, before looking at him and throwing him a hard punch, an attack that had knocked him out upon impact.

Without saying anything, he shook his head a bit to get rid the blurry vision, afterwards, steadied himself on his feet before approaching the other capsule which held the blonde-haired Infantryman.

He checked the glass for any switch that would drain the water and open the capsule, and when he found one, he pushed it and soon caught Naruto into his arms, checking for a pulse, seeing if he was in need of immediate medical attention.

When he was satisfied that Naruto would be alright, he set him down first and looked for his weapon, seeing it leaning against a wall, the keychain of Sakura still hanging from the end of the handle. He gave a small smile and took it, afterwards, strapped it to his back and walked back to the fallen scientist, searching for something that may help them.

He found a key, and, thinking it may be of use to him, he took it and went searched the room for anything of valuable assistance.

In doing so, he managed to find money worth ten thousand gil. He figured they might need it, seeing as how his wallet and other belongings were missing.

Thankfully, though, his phone was still there, but when he picked it up from the table, he cursed when there was no signal.

"Fuck." He shoved the item into his pocket and glanced at Naruto, seeing how dazed he look despite being conscious. "We're gonna get out of here." He told him, walking over to the Infantryman and helping him up. "I swear we'll get out of here."

Slowly, but surely, they got out of the lab, and he recognized it as being part of Shinra manor.

When they made it to the tunnel area, he set Naruto down. "I'll just clear the way for us," He murmured. "It'll be hard to deal with monsters when I'm carrying you." He ruffled the boy's hair in assurance before going on ahead, eliminating the creatures that dared to block his path without so much as breaking a sweat.

By the time he was done, he deemed the place safe, and he rushed back to get Naruto.

"Time to get going again." He told the younger boy before helping him up once more.

They got to the second floor of the mansion, finally out of the underground passage, and he set Naruto on the bed in one of the rooms he found.

"Didn't think you were this heavy." He muttered, taking a breather. "Wait here a minute, I'll check if the place is safe."

And he walked out of the room and out of the mansion in order to rid the path of monsters.

By the time he went out of the room and checked every door, he spotted a dresser and checked the keyhole. He wondered if the key he got from the scientist would fit there, so he tried it and managed to unlock the closet. He spotted a couple more money, and he had to smirk at his luck so far, before turning to the SOLDIER uniform located at the left side of the furniture.

"Hn." He recalled Naruto's dazed look, his far-off expression and lack of response. "Ch. Symptoms of Mako poisonng." He shook his head at the idea and grabbed the clothing. "Naruto has been exposed to Mako too much, he could die if I don't get him out of those clothes fast." He paused in his thoughts and twitched. "As wrong as that just sounded…" And he ran back to where Naruto was.

He looked outside the window, seeing a few monsters lingering the area, and he figured her should get to town first before thinking about changing Naruto's clothes.

"We better move." He told the unresponsive blonde, and soon, supported him in walking once more.

The moment they arrived into town, he was stunned upon seeing Nibelheim looking normal.

"Impossible!" He gritted his teeth. "I saw this town burning! I saw it reduced to ashes!" His eyes scanned the area, the place deserted, and he checked the time in his phone, noting that it was still dawn, which probably explained why the townspeople were still indoors. "Still…" He looked up at the sound of thundering footsteps, and he cursed when a troop of Infantrymen had arrived at the scene, the lead shouting an order to attack them.

"It's a breakout! The professor's test samples are escaping!"

"Ch." These men didn't recognize him as SOLDIER, in fact…

"Why do they act like we're traitors?" He cursed. "If you think your average grunt can take me on, you've got another thing coming!" He drew his sword, ready to fight, before turning his head sharply to the left when another group had appeared. He scanned the area, cursing at how his luck had ran out, and he was surprised when a couple more arrived from behind him where Naruto was.

"Shit! Naruto!" He yelled, trying to call the boy's attention as an Infantryman had begun to drag him towards the exit.

Gunshots fired, and he cursed and turned back to the men.

"This is bad, I need to stop them, I can't let them catch us again!" And without another moment's pause, he charged.

When he was done with one set, he moved to tackle the one taking Naruto, but that Infantryman got up and ran off, just in time as reinforcements came. Sasuke attacked, taking note that another Infantryman had arrived to continue dragging Naruto. He finished quickly, the process repeating again and again, until he was sure no one would arrive to capture them.

He scared off the guy who was dragging Naruto, telling to keep running and that he better not come back.

Once out of sight, Sasuke placed a hand on his forehead when he felt dizzy, and he caught himself before he could fall to the ground.

"Ugh… what's wrong with me today..?" He grunted, falling to one knee as he tried to keep himself in balance. "This can't be right… how could I be having trouble with these guys?"He shook his head a bit, forcing back his fatigue. He stood back up and looked at Naruto, inspecting his situation before shaking his head. "Looks like it's better to stay at the mansion after all."

"We should stay there until dark…" He marched to the mansion, carrying Naruto and looking up at the sky. "Yeah, we should just rest and try to regain our strength."

They reached one of the rooms, and set Naruto down on the bed, brows furrowing when Naruto grunted but did not speak.

"No, this isn't poisoning…" He frowned. "Ch. Mako Addiction." He took a step back and stumbled to the ground, lying on his back on the floor as he stared at the ceiling, almost looking daze. "Itachi… am I… not capable of saving someone… anyone?"

He lay there, closing his eyes, letting his thoughts drift to his hometown, his status as a SOLDIER, his friends back in Midgar… Sakura…

He opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling, before sitting up and looking at Naruto.

"First things first, you'll need a change of clothes…" He said. "That mako-soaked uniform won't help you recover."

He took out the folded set of SOLDIER uniform he had in a backpack he took from one of the rooms in the mansion.

"It doesn't really smell good but, it'll have to do." He tried to ignore the idea of how wrong it seemed to undress a guy, much less change his clothes, and he could only pray that Naruto wasn't aware of this, or it might as well scar their lives forever. "Can't believe I'm doing this…" He sighed and was more than glad that he was done, Naruto now dressed up in SOLDIER uniform, looking like a 1st class SOLDIER at that.

"Heh." He smirked. "Looks pretty good on you." He stretched his arms a bit and checked the time. "Hn. Still not close to night time." He turned his back to Naruto and moved to pull his phone out of his pocket, only he felt something else in it, so he pulled out the object, seeing a paper folded twice, wrinkles evident on it. It was soaked with mako as well, but given the time he had been out of the capsule had dried it off.

"Wait a minute…" He stared at the paper, suddenly recalling one of the important moments in his life that the single piece of paper had brought him.

They're tiny, but you have lots right?

That's right!


Wanna hear?

Heh. How many you got?


She counted then, he remembered how she was being playful at that time.

Twenty… three?

Write them down, so I don't forget.

He slowly opened the note, remembering that he hasn't read them, hasn't seen her wishes, and his eyes widened when there was one simple sentence there that made his heart beat faster.

I have twenty-three tiny wishes. But you probably won't remember them all, so I put them all together into one: I'd like to spend more time with you.

His eyes half-closed at that, re-reading the note over and over, before folding it neatly, careful not to rip it, tear it. He pocketed it in his pants and glanced at his companion.

"Hey, Naruto." He looked up at the ceiling, as if picturing the sky there. "I… I have to go to Midgar."He turned to face him and bent down slightly, before giving a small smile. "Hn. You want to come with me?"

Of course, Naruto didn't respond, but Sasuke wouldn't leave him there, and besides, the former 1st class SOLDIER already decided that his silence was a yes.

They reached Nibelheim, him feeling much better, but Naruto still a bit weak, though he was making progress when he would grunt at times, or even walk better than earlier.

Sasuke set him down first when three Infantrymen came charging upon seeing them, and he attacked them, not wasting even a second in defeating them.

If they wanted to get out, they needed to move fast.

"This time," he thought as he finished off the last Infantryman. "There is no option for mistakes."

Once done, he picked Naruto up and turned to him. "We're getting out of here."

He managed to get far by reaching an open field, deserted of people, no Shinra personel or Infantryman around, but he did see a couple of Bullheads, machines that were like SHINRA operatives. They were the same ones that had tried to attack him and Sakura back then, when he figured that Itachi may have been alive.

He set Naruto down on a safe area, making sure that a few trees and bushes hid him, and soon, he stealthily made his way to the Bullheads, seeing an abandoned sniper rifle lying on the ground with a couple of rounds left for reloading.

"Not exactly my style but it will have to do." He took it and ducked to the ground, viewing through the scope with one eye and aiming for the head of the machine. He pulled the trigger, getting a perfect hit and destroying the Bullhead with one shot. He checked the area, seeing a few more up ahead, and he figured that he'd have to take them all out with just one shot, or else he'll run out of bullets, and it'll be harder to escape if they were spotted by these things.

"Time for more sniping." And he positioned himself and started destroying them one by one.

By the time he had finished, he had reached a lighthouse, quite near the shore and slightly far from where he had put Naruto.

"Phew…" He took in the scent of the saltwater air, breathing in and out, trying to calm himself down. "Thirty-one." He had counted. "Thirty-one Bullheads…"

He sighed heavily and eyed the horizon, letting the sound of the waves rid his stress.

"Where do I go from here..?" He murmured to himself. "I can't do much when I've got Naruto to worry about," he furrowed his brows and shut his eyes. "Aniki… what should I do?"

Soft footsteps reached his ears, and he figured that the person must have been trying to remain quiet, and he couldn't but smirk, knowing full well who it was.

"Tenten," he said the name with familiarity. "Been a while."

The bun-haired Turk stopped her approach and eyed her friend.

"Sasuke…" She said his name in return. "The fugitive sample, is it you?"

She didn't want to hear the answer, but she needed to make sure.

"It would appear so."

His voice, she noted, sounded tired and strained; he must have been saddened by the fact that he was no longer a SOLDIER, but rather, an escapee.

"What did they do to you in that place?" She asked, feeling sorry for him, at how his efforts had gone to waste.

"This and that…" He mumbled, not wanting to go into details. "Tenten," He sounded hopeful this time. "You're… here to take us back, right?" He turned to face her, and the disheartened expression on her face made his brows crease, made his hope vanish. "Please…" He had begged, something he hadn't done for so long. "Just walk away!"

She was surprised at his outburst – his usually calm demeanor long gone.

"I thought we could outrun the army!" He cried out. "But the Turks…" He mumbled, making eye contact. "The Turks are a different story!"

"Sasuke, I'm sorry." She lowered her head for a bit before taking out a large shuriken, ready to attack. "This is my job!" She exclaimed. "If you want to escape, you have to- have to…" She shut her eyes and threw the weapon, him deflecting it without having any difficulty, and she mused at how such a waste his talent and skills would be.

"Ch." He pointed the sword at her, and she eyed how her weapon fell to the sand next to her feet. She didn't make a move to pick it up, but she did step forward to approach him. "Step back!" He warned. "Next time…" He eyes were different, she noted, they were glaring this time, they were so angry, hurt and confused from the betrayal. "Next time…" his voice softened. "I'll really have to…"

The unsaid words he left hanging was understandable, she knew what he had planned on saying but couldn't say, and her head lowered at that knowledge.

Without waiting for her response, he started to run, making sure she wouldn't follow, leaving her to sigh heavily and shakily.

"Naruto…" He said in a low voice to not alert and lurkers. "The Turks are here too." He told the still unresponsive boy. "It's too dangerous to move now."

Naruto just remained stationary on the ground, eyes daze and head lowered.

"We'll rest here 'til morning," Sasuke said, gazing at the night sky. "Then we'll live at dawn." He eyed Naruto for a while, and gave a small half-hearted smirk. "We'll be alright…" The smirk vanished from his face when he heard footsteps, and he turned to glare at Tenten, seeing her cautiously approaching him and Naruto.

He drew out his sword, preparing to defend in case the girl would attack.

"Wait, he's the other sample they collected in Nibelheim."

Sasuke moved in front of Naruto, not keeping his eyes away from Tenten. "Why did you come here? I told you to go away!"

"He doesn't look well Sasuke. Is he alright?"

He turned from Tenten to Naruto. "Mako addiction. Severe case."

She turned her head to the side. "The experiments, isn't it?"


After giving it much thought, Tenten had decided what to do. She took her mobile out and called someone, Sasuke alarmed at what she had done.


She raised a hand to him, as if to silence him, before speaking on the phone.

"Neji, I've lost the target." She said, sparing Sasuke a glance, seeing his surprised expression.

It took a few seconds before Tenten hung up and turned to her friend with a smile.

"That's how it is, so get away safely."

Sasuke watched as she walked off, before opening his mouth to call her back.

"Thank you."

She turned to him, and then grinned cheekily. "Here," she tossed him a set of keys. "It's a present."

He caught it with one hand and looked down at it.

"If you think you can trust me, then use it."

And she began to take her leave once again, Sasuke watching her departing figure before a small smile made its way to his lips.

Shinra may have betrayed him and Naruto, but he still had a few friends left that he could trust.

The sound of a motor engine echoed though the silent night as the never-ending road seemed dark and frightening.

But to a trained SOLDIER like Sasuke, this was just another way to get out of Shinra's nose and find a safe place for him and Naruto.

He had read a few messages he managed to get from Shikamaru, even one mail from Shinra, which alarmed him when he read that he and Madara are now labeled as KIA, including Naruto.

"Is this really how little we're worth?" He thought angrily, trying to keep a positive mind but failing.

When he reached the middle of the road, he spotted two of Gaara's copies, the one-winged beings eyeing him before taking off and landing on the ground just meters away from him.

Sasuke had to hit the breaks and cursed, glaring at the waiting figures up ahead before he got off of the tricycle, checking at Naruto first before bringing out his sword.

"You guys again…" he walked towards them, a glare fixed on his face, before his eyes widened when he sensed another presence, yet was too slow to react in time when his back was kicked harshly from behind, sending him toppling onto the concrete road.

He placed a hand on the ground and did a front flip, twisting in mid-air to face whoever had kicked him, and he glared at Gaara's form while still kneeling on the floor with one knee.


He smirked at Sasuke, and the two clones of his had held down the young SOLDIER, preventing Sasuke from retaliating.

"Get off me!" Sasuke snarled at the copies.

He winced when one of them had held the back of his head.

"Ow! My hair! Stop pulling!" He struggled as Gaara walked forward, reciting once again a line from LOVELESS.

To be honest, Sasuke getting irritated with its repetition.

"When the war of the beasts brings about the world's end, the goddess descends from the sky," he gestured at the dark clouds above. "Wings of light-"

"Spread afar, yeah yeah, I get it!" Sasuke grunted, trying to break free. "Must you fucking recite those lines over and over again?"

Gaara didn't stopped from continuing.

"Wings of light," he repeated. "Spread afar. She guides us to bliss, her gift, everlasting."

Sasuke twitched. This guy was just getting too annoying.

He looked at the clone from his left, spotting what seems to be strands of his hair resting on the copy's palm.

"Th… That's my hair!"

"You were a test subject in Orochimaru's new experiment." Gaara spoke. "A modified version of Jenova's power runs through you."

"You have got to be kidding me…"

Gaara nodded at his clone who had bits of Sasuke's hair, and Sasuke gaped when the copy had swallowed the strands.

"No way… he just ate my hair..!"

The red-head ex SOLDIER proceeded to speak. "Your cells will be my gift of the goddess, the degradation will cease."

Sasuke broke free from the clones' grasps, and they didn't bother to hold him back as he glared at Gaara. "You…" He hissed. "Are twisted."

"The monster has been harvested and can be discarded."

Sasuke scowled. "You're the monster."

Gaara shrugged with his left shoulder and raised his left arm, a dumb apple on his left hand.

"Legend shall speak of sacrifice at world's end." He walked away and Sasuke moved to follow, cautious with his steps. "The wind sails over the water's surface, quietly, but surely."

And he flew off, just as Sasuke had planned on detaining him. He glared at where Gaara took off to, and soon heard the other clone follow. His head turned over his shoulder, before completely facing the remaining copy that had swallowed some of his raven locks.

"What the-?"

The copy had cried out and held his throat as he felt to his knees, his hands on the floor, and he proceeded to groan.

Sasuke scrutinized the being's reaction, before gasping when the clone had glowed green, and soon a bright mixture of yellow and orange, almost blinding him had he not shielded his eyes from the light. Once it faded, he was astonished to see the clone's wing gone, and instead, replacing it were large bat-like wings at the shade of blue, the upper end of each wing were at the shape of claws that stomped the ground and grasped the destroyed concrete.

The cloned version of Gaara held onto a schmitar as it raised its head at him, the helmet preventing him from seeing its face. It jumped to its feet, and Sasuke could see blue fin-like spines growing from its back, and it gave a loud roar.

"I just love my life…" He sighed and held his sword tighter, preparing himself for another fight.

He rushed head on, delivering a powerful slash at the creature, who growled and scratched at him twice, making him staged back to avoid a critical hit. He swung his sword once, twice, thrice, sending the monster a few feet back, keeping it from getting pass him or getting to Naruto.

It was tougher than any other monster he has encountered, and he had to use a couple of magic spells just to prevent himself from getting a close call.

Hell Firaga delivered three large fireballs at the thing, but it didn't kill it. Not even his Thundaga helped much, but he had to use different combinations of spells and attacks just to keep from getting an fatal injury.

Curaga did the trick of healing some of his wounds, but he had to move fast in order to dodge the attacks of his opponent.

He never stopped slashing as soon as he got an opening, and the continuous attack of his sword and his swift movements had thrown the monster back, further away from the defenseless Naruto. Sasuke sent another set of Hell Firaga before jumping into the air and bringing down his sword at the monster, slicing it in half to eliminate it once and for all.

He stared at its crumpled heap for a moment, watching the green glows it was emitting before turning his back on it and approaching the vehicle Tenten had given to him.

"Itachi, what do I do..?" He clenched his fists. "Tell me what I should do…"

The terrain felt oddly familiar, and he creased his brows in confusion when he tried to remember where he had seen this place.

He had been driving all night, right until the sun had risen, right until it reached noon, right until it was around three o'clock or perhaps, later in the afternoon.

Sasuke switched off the engine and studied the place, seeing grassless grounds and plateaus.

"This is…" He stepped off of the bike. "This is my hometown..!" He walked forward a bit, and just below the slope he was on lay the small town of Gongaga. "I can't believe I'm back here after so many years…" He turned to Naruto and smirked lightly. "Well, I guess I should welcome you here, buddy. But you're still a bit… out of it."

He walked back to the motor and got on, afterwards, proceeded to Gongaga, keeping out of sight in case some of the Turks or operatives of Shinra were around.

He parked at a nearby dump, the place littered with various metals and car parts, even unfinished buildings surrounded them, and Sasuke figured that this would be a good temporary hiding spot.

"Hmm…" He crossed his arms in thought while leaning against the bike. "Going to my house would mean walking into an ambush… but…" he sighed. "I'm just worried about my mom, should I go back to town..?" He shook his head and turned to Naruto. "Wait here for a bit, I'll… just scout the area."

He checked his phone, seeing that the signal was strong this time, so he flipped it open and attempted to contact Shikamaru, the only SOLDIER operative he could trust given this situation. The guy was threw a fit when he received the message of Sasuke being KIA, and didn't want to believe it, thus, the never-ending mails he got from the SOLDIER. Shikamaru even updated him with Sakura, saying that the flower wagon, well, one of its wheels at least, was ruined.

Sakura wanted him to fix it, not Shikamaru, and that little tidbit just fueled him to keep going.

"Behind you."

He nearly jumped had he been any other person, so instead, he quickly turned to meet Tenten's look of exasperation.

"So predictable." She mumbled. "Couldn't you guess your hometown would be the first place we'd look?"


"Here to see your mother?"

"Yeah, what's wrong with that?"

"I see…" She approached him, keeping a good distance away, knowing that the guy liked his personal space to be, well, he just wanted his personal space.

He sighed heavily. "I guess… I guess you're right. It was pretty careless." He nodded once. "We'll be going." He turned to walk away once more.

"Be careful." Tenten warned. "Security is very tight right now. Apparently, another target is in the area."

Another target – it couldn't have been Naruto, because Tenten and the other Turks already knew that when Sasuke is spotted, Naruto will be there too. So it must have been someone else, someone Shinra was also after.

He had an idea, but he wanted to confirm it first.


Tenten crossed her arms and looked at Sasuke. "Itachi."

He stared at her for a while before nodding a few times and turning away. "I see…"

She furrowed her brows at that. "'I see'? He died by your hand. You're not surprised?"

Without looking at her, he answered: "I think he may have helped us escape Shinra manor."

"That's interesting…" she murmured. "So the sightings were true."

"But…" He frowned. "Why would he come to a place like Gongaga?"

Tenten quirked a brow. "He came here to see you, what other reason could there be?"

With that said, Sasuke quickly grit his teeth and scanned his surroundings.

"Itachi…" He mumbled out, clenching his fists. "Run away if you can!" He yelled out, in case his brother figure was close by. "The Turks are watching!"

"Ten minutes…" Tenten said. "I'll give you ten minutes, after that… I return to the Turks."

Sasuke looked at her. "Return..?"

"Right now," she walked around, arms still crossed. "I'm not in the mood. I can't bring bad news to your mother."

"My mom…" He turned elsewhere. "How is she?"

Tenten gave a slight laugh. "She's worried; she thinks after all this, you won't be able to find a wife."

He flushed and sighed while scratching the back of his head furiously. "What's up with that?"

She just ended up laughing even more. "She's a nice person, and she's doing fine."

"Good…" He mumbled. "That's all I need to know."


Her tone was off, and he couldn't help but ask about her parents.

"I was raised inside Shinra."

That sure felt awkward.

"Uh… I… see…" He coughed. "Do you… think you could keep her company for a while?"

She smiled a bit. "No problem."

"Heh. And since it's mom, she'll probably ask you to join the family."

Tenten walked off, her back turned to him. "Already happened."


She grinned at him and gave a peace sign.

"What did you tell her?" He asked as she walked off. "Tenten!"

"Five minutes Sasuke!" She called and then ran off.

"Knowing Tenten…" He felt his cheeks turn slightly red. "She must have said something about Sakura…"

And speaking of Sakura, how long has she been waiting for him, he wonders…

"Heh. It's really rude to keep a girl waiting."

He watched as Tenten disappeared from sight, inwardly thanking her for being a true friend.

From the corner of his eyes, something caught his interest, and he turned to see something white, something feathery- celestial like.

"Itachi..?" He whispered the name, before confirming that it was. "Itachi! It is you!"

But he flew off all of a sudden, and Sasuke immediately sprinted after him.

"Itachi!" He called out. "Aniki..! Wait!"

No way was he going to lose one more person he valued in his place; enough is enough.

To be continued…

Next on Crisis Core: Chapter 7: Salvation Brought

"Stand and fight, SOLDIER first class Sasuke!" Gaara yelled, angered at what he has done.

"Why…" Sasuke clenched his fists and met Gaara's gaze. "Why does everyone keep pushing things on me?"

He brought out his sword just as Gaara prepared to attack.

"Why do I always have to fight?"

And their sword clashes.