First of all I want of say that I'm really sad that I didn't get to do the midnight release. I was really excited to do it but Saturday afternoon I decided to collapse and take an impromptu trip to the ER; I didn't get back til well after midnight. I'm finally feeling better & am out of that god forsaken bed, so I'm sorry if you were looking the post & it wasn't there! I'm better now too so yay!
Artistic Wolf, I had to hype up the last chapter!
Sesshomaru's wifey, I will! This chapter is extra long.
Ariya Kata and Lizzie Strong, sorry about that.
Susana, I'm considering a sequel. But I don't know yet.
Nyny, happy new year! Even though it's a little late, lol. I'm sure you'll be able to write in English one day if you keep at it.
KakashiXIrukaLover, thanks! I hope you really like this chapter.
evilRevan, good things go by fast don't they? I'm thinking about a sequel, but I don't know yet.
Black55widow, sorry. Thanks & I hope you like the ending!
Ani, yep, this chapter is reallllly long. & awesome.
'cause I feel like it, lol sorry! This chapter is worth waiting for though!
Pigfish, unless I'm blind you didn't review ya dirty animal! Lol. (I know this person)
Final chapter!! Yay! I hope you guys enjoy.
Deidara showed Kakashi to a room that was sparsely furnished. It had only a few couches and an old, worn rug. It seemed this was one of the Akatsuki's older bases. He wondered how often they stayed in their different bases if at all; the teams seemed to do countless missions at times and at others seemed to almost disappear.
He'd just taken a seat on one of the couches when Itachi appeared in the doorway, for once not wearing his Akatsuki cloak. His hair was down, looking as though he'd slept on it and just run his fingers through it. His eyes still swirled with the Sharingan and Kakashi wondered how much longer the man had until he went blind.
"Konbanwa, Kakashi-san." (Good evening, Mr. Kakashi) He greeted him, sitting on the couch closest to his. Deidara and Sasuke sat next to Itachi, Sasuke watching his brother with a smile.
"Konbanwa." Kakashi paused for a minute, organizing his thoughts. "I came here originally on Tsunadae's orders, but I could never carry out the mission she's given me. So I let her think that's why I came here, that I'm still loyal to her, but in reality I've come to ask for your help.
"Tsunadae's evil. She only took the position of Hokage to gain the power she craves. She's been stealing from Konoha to pay off her debts and hoarding more money elsewhere. Some of her Anbu are loyal only to her and haven't been seen in Konoha for months, except after dark when they're sometimes seen on the borders. I don't know all of her plan, but I'm guessing this: she wants Akatsuki eradicated and wants to take over the sand.
"Suna and Konoha are the two strongest villages at the moment, so she'll want Suna. She's already manipulating Gaara to go to Konoha, where she'll probably kill him. She ordered me to come here to murder Sasuke and make it look like you did it, so she'd have the people's anger and sympathy and they would overlook her future actions for a time. So I wanted to ask you if you would help.
"I'm the only one who knows she's not what she pretends to be. And I know how much you love the village because I found out the truth about the Uchiha massacre; so I came here to ask for your help in once again saving Konoha."
Itachi hadn't so much as blinked during his rendition of Tsunadae's faults and crimes, not even when he mentioned Sasuke's murder. His face wore it's typical, blank mask, whereas Sasuke and Deidara looked pissed. Sasuke opened his mouth to speak but Itachi raised a hand, silencing him before he said anything.
"And why can't you kill Tsunadae? You're the famous copy nin, a former member of Anbu, now one of the most revered sensei. What's holding you back from killing Tsunadae with Pakken and your other dogs and saving the village yourself?" Itachi asked.
Kakashi smiled ruefully, glancing away from the bloody gaze of the Uchiha for a moment. "Gai knew too." He said quietly. "Gai was just as strong as I am, just as good a ninja; he disappeared. Tsunadae told everyone at the funeral that he'd been sent on a solo mission and had died from wounds sustained during it. I know she killed him but I can't prove it. I'm not strong enough to kill Tsunadae, but you are."
"Gai…" Sasuke murmured, not able to imagine Konoha without the 'spring of youth' obsessed sensei. For all his annoyances Gai had never been mean to anyone and had always gone out of his way to protect everyone. Sasuke would miss him, so he couldn't imagine how Neji, Tenten, and Lee must feel. Especially Lee.
"Did you see the body?"
"Nii-san!" Sasuke said, surprised that he'd ask such a thing. Way to be compassionate.
"Tsunadae may be a skilled med nin, but with your Sharingan you would have been able to see the chakara flow that had been cut with her scalpel." Kakashi looked devastated that there was a possibility Itachi didn't believe him. "But I've met her and I believe you. There's something off about her…"
"So will you help?" Kakashi asked again, praying that Itachi would grant him the succor he so desperately needed. He didn't want anyone else to die by Tsunadae's hand.
Itachi was still a little surprised at the situation: that Tsunadae had sunk so low, and that Kakashi had come to him for help. True, he had other obligations now, but Konoha…
"And if Tsunadae gets Gaara to lend Suna's support? I can't defeat an army. But…stay here a minute." Itachi left, leaving behind three confused ninja. A little while later he was back, leading Madara into the room by the hand. Kakashi tried not to stare.
Madara smirked, noticing how the copy nin pointedly stared anywhere but at their joined hands. "Akatsuki will make sure Itachi can get close enough to Tsunadae to kill her."
Kakashi's jaw dropped. "You're…you're helping Konoha?! You? This isn't to get close enough to steal Naruto, is it?" He blurted out, immediately suspicious.
"No, if I wanted the boy I'd have him already. I'm helping because 'Tachi asked." Madara pulled Itachi close to him, slipping an arm around his waist.
"Oh." Kakashi couldn't help staring for a minute. "Arigato gozaimasu!" (Thank you very much!)
"We'll leave tomorrow morning so I suggest you get some rest, Kakashi; you look like shit."
Thank you, Madara.
Tsunadae paced back and forth in her office, impatiently waiting for Gaara's answer. She couldn't wait until the little boy arrived. Once he did and once Sasuke was dead the stage would be set for her final act. And then she'd have what she wanted most.
She giggled to herself, imagining. "Oh Dan, you'd love this! If only you were here to see…" Things had never been the same since Dan died. Not for her; the happiness seeped out of her as she remembered… His smile. That was what she missed most.
A bird swooped in the window, interrupting her depressing thoughts as it landed on her desk, a scroll clutched in it's talons. She practically ripped the scroll away from it, startling the bird into flight and back out the window as she hurried to unroll it.
I am well aware that Akatsuki is a common enemy of ours, but I don't see how scheming together will solve the problem. Unless you know the location of their base, or some weaknesses that they possess, it's a waste of time for me to travel to another village. Until then,
With an inarticulate howl of rage she threw the scroll across the room. She needed Gaara for it to work! Throwing the window open farther she hissed, "Get in here" to the hidden Anbu on the roof.
A scrawny man, dressed all in black with the mask of a dog, leapt in the window and kneeled in front of the Hokage. "Hai, Tsunadae-sama?" (Yes, Lord Tsunadae?)
She smirked at the honorific, loving the feeling of having power over another. "I need you to fake some information on the Akatsuki's base locations and weaknesses, and I want it by the end of the day. Make it believable." She ordered.
"Hai, Tsunadae-sama!" The scarecrow of a man said again, disappearing out the window.
One way or another she would get Gaara to come to her. And then she would get what she'd been working towards. A smile spread across her face as she thought about it… Her own piece of heaven…
"Why the fuck are we doing that?!" Hidan's voice came from the kitchen, where Kakuzu was telling him to get ready to leave in the morning. Sasuke stopped to listen; he couldn't explain why but he thought Hidan's filthy mouth was really funny to listen to.
"It's another mission, genius." Kakuzu's sarcastic response wasn't far behind.
"Shut the fuck up, ya bastard heathen." Hidan snarled.
Sasuke wasn't sure if the two loved or hated each other with how much they fought. Most times he thought it was hate but every now and then one of them would say or do something to make him wonder.
"And if you don't shut up I'll sew your filthy mouth shut."
When the sounds of breaking plates started from, what Sasuke assumed was Kakuzu wrestling Hidan to the floor to sew his mouth closed, he decided it was a good time to move on. He definitely didn't feel like meeting a pissed Hidan anywhere alone today, funny as it would be to see him unable to talk or yell at anyone.
Akatsuki, Kakashi and his nin dogs, and Sasuke leapt from tree to tree, following Itachi and Madara. Hidan was thankfully silent for the moment, although how long that would last was anyone's guess. From the hateful glances he kept throwing at Kakuzu not much longer.
Pakken had decided to run next to Itachi and was reminiscing about when Itachi had been a boy, before everything had gotten complicated by grudges and power and spying. Sasuke ran next to his old sensei, asking about Naruto and Sakura. He wasn't surprised to find out that Sakura had passed her chuunin test while Naruto had botched it. Knowing Naruto, he wouldn't stop until he passed it, so Sasuke didn't feel too bad for him; Naruto would hate his pity anyway.
Kakashi was nothing short of shocked to find about the eye switch but didn't say much on the topic, mulling it over as he ran.
Close to nightfall they stopped to rest. As Hidan and Zetsu were gathering wood for a fire, Sasuke asked Itachi a question that had been nagging at the back of his mind for a few days.
"Nii-san, why did the operation work?" Everyone instantly became quieter, wanting to hear as well.
Itachi smirked, amused by their behavior. "When you attain the Mangekyo Sharingan more power is focused in your eyes than you have the potential to achieve. Instead of being absorbed by the body the excess power eats away at the sensory nerves in our eyes, blinding us over a prolonged period of time.
"Everyone's Mangekyo is different. So when we trade eyes it solves the problem. Instead of our power eating away at our nerves it makes us immortal, because the excess power is absorbed into our body. It only saves us from going blind because it's not our eyes; think of it as an organ transplant. If I transplanted my heart into your body your body would accept it and use it as if you were born with it.
"The reason it has to be another Uchiha's eyes is the genetic make-up. If it was a non-Uchiha's eyes than your body would reject the transplant."
Sasuke was silent for a moment, thinking about the explanation his brother had just given. "But… I still don't understand. Why does transplanting the eyes allow you to be immortal?"
"The Mangekyo Sharingan is a savage power. It requires you to kill the person closest to you, your best friend, in order to attain it. Then it drives you closer to blindness every time you use it, so that you, in effect, kill someone else for their eyes.
"It makes us immortal because the power isn't trapped in our eyes anymore; it's in our entire body. But it comes at a high price."
"It's that powerful?" Sasuke asked.
Madara chuckled. "I don't think I ever heard you talk so much, 'Tachi."
Sasuke laughed as Itachi shoved Madara's shoulder in retaliation. Immortality… Sasuke would have loved to live forever but he didn't think he could pay the price to get there. He watched his brother with new eyes, for the first time wondering what it had cost Itachi to kill Shisui, slaughter the clan and play the bad guy. Walk away.
Well, now he would get to play the hero by killing Tsunadae. And maybe he'd let himself take the credit he deserved all those years ago when he saved Konoha. Then again, knowing Itachi he'd probably just smile and walk away.
Tsunadae lovingly laid out the forbidden scrolls across the floor of her office. Gaara had consented to come after being tantalized with the fictional weaknesses and whereabouts of the Akatsuki.
To get what she wanted all she had to do was kill Gaara and then kill Naruto; she needed their demons. She clapped her hands together, smiling wistfully. She'd wanted this for years and now she was finally going to get it. It was too good to be true.
"You see, Dan? You're finally coming home!" Her happy tears dropped onto the back of her hand as she remembered his perfect smile.
Gaara had only just arrived in Konoha late yesterday and already the alarms were sounding. This village had rotten luck. But he'd found Akatsuki; they were currently storming the walls of the village, beating back Anbu.
Temari was begging him to run, tugging on his arm, but he was rooted to the spot, arguing with Shukaku. I want to fight, but this isn't my fight. If I die here there's no one ready in line to become the next Kazekage. So I'll have to run for now, because if I die I'm abandoning my village to a weak leader.
No you're not. Just let me do the work; I want to come out and play!! Shukaku squealed inside his head.
"I said no." Gaara hissed out from between ground teeth, causing Temari and Kankuro to look at him funny. He twisted his fingers in his hair, trying to blot out the demon's voice.
See?! See how they want to leave you? They hate you, Gaara. You have only the sand and me. So let us play. Shukaku cooed.
No!! Gaara yelled back at him, fingers convulsing in his hair. That's not true! Naruto showed me that I'm not alone. And the villagers trust me now; I'm their Kazekage. Temari and Kankuro are only worried so shut up!
Shukaku fell curiously silent and Gaara breathed a sigh of relief.
"Cmon Gaara! Please…" Temari pleaded, kneeling in front of him. She'd been tapping his face lightly, trying to get his attention.
He shook his head, coming back to reality. "Right, lets get out of here for now."
Gaara hated to turn tail and run but sometimes that's what you had to do for the long haul.
Hidan sliced off a man's head, sending it rolling out of sight among the slaughter. Laughing he twirled the three bladed scythe overhead, eviscerating a woman who got too close. Her guts spilled out around her hands as she desperately tried to hold them in; dark and slimy they looked like so much rope.
Kakuzu stepped on them with a smirk, thriving on the scream that rent the air. If Hidan loved carnage Kakuzu adored it. The man was a true sadist. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Tsunadae turn tail and run like a coward, most of the Anbu staring in disbelief after her. Itachi wasn't far behind her, chasing her further into the village. And then Madara, who seemed incapable of leaving Itachi's side for long.
Hidan smirked, that just left more for him. He moved through Konoha's ranks, trying to listen to his orders not to kill, and failing. Jashin needed sacrifices.
Itachi had chased Tsunadae to the top of the Hokage's building and cornered her. She was scared and bleeding, a mad glint in her eye. A good chunk of Konoha's population had gathered below, cheering their 'hero' Hokage on.
"Back off traitor!" She hissed, clutching a kunai.
He raised an eyebrow. "I'm the traitor when I followed orders? What does that make you then? You who murdered Gai for knowing too much, who planned a child's murder because it was convenient for you."
"Shut up!" She shrieked, throwing herself at him.
He dodged to the side, side-kicking the small of her back as she flew by. She fell with a grunt of pain. For as far as the woman was pushing herself, and as out there as she was, he knew that he still couldn't get hit by one her attacks; the woman's super strength might be his undoing.
"Why are you doing this?" He didn't expect an answer.
"For Dan!" She looked past him at someone, then snapped her gaze back to him. "I looked and looked and then I found it. If I could harness the power of two demons then I could bring someone back to life. So I lured Gaara here. I was going to kill him and that brat Naruto but you had to interfere! I was going to use their demons to bring Dan back to life so I could see him again. I've been stealing money so we could run away and not have to worry about anything… I just…need Dan…" Her ranting subsided to sobs. Itachi wasn't fooled for a second.
But Naruto was. "Tsu-Tsunadae?" Naruto's uncertain voice came from behind Itachi.
"And you'll be the first to die!" She snarled, lunging forward, all pretense of sorrow gone. The woman really was an excellent actor.
Tsunadae's loyal Anbu flooded the rooftop, preventing Itachi from getting near either Tsunadae or Naruto. The crowd below was utterly silent, shocked by the betrayal and the unlikely savoir.
Madara leapt onto the roof, throwing himself into the midst of Tsunadae's deadly Anbu. The first one he reached couldn't dodge in time and had his ear sliced off by Madara's blade. The man screamed, pain ripping through his head, blinding him to the oncoming attack. Next he lost an arm, severed at the elbow, blood spraying everywhere. The man howled like an animal, falling to his knees as Madara beheaded him. Then the father of the Uchiha clan was moving on, butchering others.
Itachi shoved people aside, trying to get to Naruto, who stood frozen, blue eyes wide. "Amaterasu!" He set the roof on fire, black flames eating away at flesh that melted like wax. Their screams were the screams of the damned, washing over the horrified crowd below in an eerie chorus.
A few still stood in his way. He could see Tsunadae raising the kunai, Naruto still frozen, lips trembling. He slammed his hand into the Anbu's chest, crushing his heart and flinging him into the other two. They fell back into the flames, shrieking as the black flames caught.
Then he was throwing himself between Tsunadae and Naruto, no time to block, just time enough to get in the way. A line of fire burned down the left side of his face as Tsunadae's kunai cut deep, blood exploding in his vision. Someone was screaming…Naruto; the demon carrier was terrified. Then all the breath went out of him as one of her punches connected, knocking him half way across the roof. He swore he heard his ribs crack; breathing was agony. He looked up, Sharingan swirling madly; he wasn't going to die here!
Flinging kunai in front of him he raced back to the Hokage, jumping over the bodies the kunai struck down. The roof was caving in, fire spreading, people shrieking, sobbing, begging. The whole thing was going to hell. But all Itachi could see was Tsunadae. And the bitch wouldn't look at him.
He was vaguely aware of Madara grabbing Naruto and disappearing, of the rest of Akatsuki appearing on the ground with the crowd, Sasuke yelling encouragement with everyone else. It could have been a different world for all he was aware of them.
Tsunadae threw another punch, aiming for his throat; she intended to break his adam's apple and watch him suffocate. He stepped to the left, grabbing her wrist and slamming his free hand into her elbow, forcing it to bend the opposite way. She screamed, high and loud, as her elbow shattered. He didn't stop there, driving his elbow home in her ribs, feeling them crack. Then he threw her, dropping his knee into her gut and punching her in the face. Her head snapped back, ruined nose spraying blood.
She was snarling like a wounded dog, cursing.
"Tsunadae!" He yelled, slapping her face. But she wouldn't look at him, wouldn't say why she'd done it; she had to have known it would never have worked. So he snapped her neck and was done with it.
He turned, surprised by the size of the crowd, their noise rushing in suddenly as if someone had just turned the volume back up. Blood dripping down his face he leapt down to join them. And they welcomed him. Cheered for him.
Konoha, thanks to Kakashi, learned the truth of the Uchiha massacre and everything that Tsunadae had been doing. Naruto in particular was crushed by Tsunadae's lies, clinging to the necklace she'd given him, but the boy would bounce back. He always did.
The village was horrified by the monster they'd endearingly called 'Hokage'. The village elders had retreated for a time to pick a new Hokage and Madara had to restrain Hidan from killing people to sacrifice to Jashin-sama.
Itachi's ribs healed but his beautiful face was permanently scarred. Madara was pissed at Tsunadae but didn't love Itachi any less for it. Their relationship ended up spreading quite a bit of rumors across Konoha…
And when the village elders asked Itachi to be Hokage it wasn't too much of a surprise. So it was decided that Pein would rule Akatsuki, whose goals had never been disclosed, until Madara returned with Itachi. Itachi agreed to rule for a decade only, long enough for a new Hokage to come along; he didn't want to usurp the Hokage's power and rule forever since he was immortal. And until then Madara would stay with him, in Konoha.
And so Itachi and Madara got to have their very own fairy tale.
So that's it. Please review & let me know what you think! I'm thinking about a sequel to this. But my next story is going to be called Broken Butterfly, & will be dedicated to Ani. The first chapter for Broken Butterfly will be out a week this Sunday. It's a Madara/Sasuke story set in an insane asylum. So I hope you'll all read that too!