"Neji, are you having any luck?"

The brown haired Jounin clenched his fists, byakuugan switching from chakra line to chakra line; looking for any source of life. Teeth grinding Neji kept searching, it didn't have to be much…just one life…just one…

There was absolutely nothing…

Not a single heart was beating.

Not a single chakra network was open…

Except for one.


Closing his eyes and deactivating his kekkai genkai Hyuuga turned from the carnage to look at the leaders of the group. Shikamaru Nara and Kakashi Hatake both held pinched features, a trait that was running equally among the small team, but the genius's brown eyes were filled with pain.

And Neji couldn't blame him. They had lost so many allies in such a short period of time and they weren't all just comrades. Some were so close they were almost family and of course there was Shikamaru's girlfriend Temari…

They had found the blonde kunoichi in a haggard mess, her head turned in a complete one eighty.

Swallowing thickly, Neji opened his mouth to respond, his own being filled with the shock and disbelief at his own findings. However the others interrupted him.

"We couldn't find any survivors," Kiba and Akamaru came walking up, the large dog's normally happy psyche deflated completely in depression, helpless to the massive bloodbath. "The only thing we can smell is blood, death and fear. Whatever killed these guys was terrifying."

Shikamaru's shoulder's sagged and Kakashi sighed. "Of course it was terrifying. If whoever it was, was strong enough to take on an entire village and leave no survivors…I can only imagine what kind of person they were."

Shikamaru was about to say something but Naruto threw something at their feet that took them off guard.

A cracked, bloody gourd that was usually seen on someone's back lay discarded and abandoned at their feet.

Naruto was splattered with blood, a testimony to just how hard he searched the ruins for life in general, along with a very close friend. His blue eyes held so much rage that Akamaru gave a soft whimper and dropped his tail between his hind legs.

"Something's wrong," Naruto snarled, eyes hard and cold, the faintest bit of red circling the blue. "Gaara wouldn't have gone anywhere without that but I…I couldn't find him or his body anywhere." Turning away the whiskered male tightened his muscles. "And I know he couldn't have done this! He isn't capable of this kind of destruction."

His eyes didn't leave the gourd as he muttered under his breath, "He's not capable of all this bloodshed. Not anymore anyway."

Kiba winced, his posture speaking clearly to anyone that he felt the Kazekage was more than capable of reverting back to his old ways of killing for pleasure.

Kakashi sighed. "No ones saying it was Gaara, Naruto. There's still too much information we don't know." Looking away from the blonde Shikamaru returned his gaze to Neji. "So what'd you find out?" "There's nothing alive here, and the only traces of chakra left is days old, barely noticeable." Clenching his fists once more Neji licked his lips. "If I'm right the person who's chakra is laced here is Uchiha Itachi."

"You want to what?"

Running a hand through thick hair, Kisame's gold eyes narrowed in disbelief. "Do you have any idea what Pein will do to you-to us, if he finds out your little plan? Or if it somehow goes wrong and they all manage to escape!"

Itachi merely stared at his partner, red eyes cold as the Uchiha let him rant, not even bothering to attempt to explain who was really in charge or try to defend himself. Once Kisame got into a temper it was hard to get him out of it. "I'm aware of the dangers and I will take the punishment of my consequences if I am caught but I must know my answers." He caught the missing Mist ninja's gaze. "Will you help me or not?"

The blue skinned man turned and looked at the door in which Itachi's pet resided. Inhaling a deep breath and releasing it in a heavy blow of resignation he grinned. "I understand why you want your questions answered so badly, hell I'm curious myself how the kid is still alive." His teeth flashed in the dim light as the sneer became a predator's leer. "Alright, I'll help. I'll meet you and your pet over in the chambers."

The Uchiha knew the main reason Kisame agreed to help was because he had never before asked the man for his assistance. "Arigatou." Bowing his head in thanks the black haired ninja turned and entered his room. Gaara was sitting, curled in on himself in the center of the bed. Itachi's clothes hung loose on the small frame and the wounds that had once covered his form were now healed. After a mere four days. Shaking his head at the many questions barreling through his mind Itachi rose his gaze to meet green eyes.

And froze.

There was a new, odd addition in those sea colored orbs. That glazed over look still in full effect thanks to Itachi's jutsu but there were blue veins streaking the whites in lightning patterns. Ignoring the uneasy feeling in his gut the Uchiha turned away the thought that those veins weren't there an hour ago.

Petting the kids hair Itachi muttered, "We're going to see an old companion of yours today, but we have to be careful because no one except Kisame knows you're here."

Green eyes merely stared. "A friend?"

While Itachi wasn't entirely sure about the relationship between the two he muttered, "I suppose you could call him that."

Gaara growled something soft before slipping off the bed to stand on his feet. Now that the wounds in his legs were healed the child didn't have to crouch on his heels to relieve the pressure on his ankles.

Side by side the pair snuck carefully amongst the base, keeping all their senses open to detect any unwanted visitors.

As they walked Itachi silently observed how the teenager moved. Even on two legs the child had an animalistic grace to his walk, his steps silent, eyes alert and ears pirked. His upper lip was curled upwards softly showing the feintest bit of white teeth. He held a persona of menace and Itachi was disturbed at how little affect his influence had on the child.

The majority of the kid's new beastly qualities were all in his own mind.

The further down the hall they got the more the kid tensed. The lights were getting dimmer and a harsh level of chakra shocked through the air, making the body feel like a weighted down boulder.

"It's about damn time you guys got here I was about to leave."

Gaara snarled at Kisame, hair bristling and Itachi merely nodded. "Forgive me for the wait. Did you have any trouble?"

"Deidara saw me walking around the mess hall and tried to find out my little scheme but other than that there was nothing."

Green eyes turned to red. "Blue man chase 'im off?"

Said blue man rose a brow when Itachi nodded. "Enough with the semantics, lets get this thing started."

After unlocking the large metal doors the trio walked inside the dark dome, Kisame hanging out by the door, enhanced hearing allowing him to pick up on any incoming people.

The dome was large enough to house a small village but it was the thing in the center of the back wall that held their attention.

Itachi wasn't surprised at all when Gaara shivered at the sight of the container that held seven of the nine demons.

He wasn't surprised at all.

"My friend is in there?"

Nodding Itachi instructed him to stay there as he walked to the statue. Pressing a few chakra points Gaara jumped when one of the eyes opened and Itachi stood back as chakra started to pour from the case.

"Hai, he's in there. But soon he'll come out and give us some answers."

The trio watched in wonder as blue chakra threaded out through the case's gaping mouth, sand cracking from the walls and dirt to form liquid in the air, solidifying and building on top of each other like puzzle pieces.

After a few minutes they all stared up into huge golden eyes with star shaped pupils.

"Hello Ichibi."

AN hey people sorry for such a long wait but i've finally got some ideas back for this beast of a fic. and sorry for the short chapter i just felt that this was a fun place to leave off of. until next time my loves