Chapter 19-Duty

I have to win! There are people I have to protect! These words rang out in my head over and over as I fought with Kyo. He swung his giant sword, aiming to cut me in half. I avoided the sword by leaping up, but his fist caught me in the air. The blow caught me in the stomach and sent me flying. I went through two trees before being stopped by a third. I fell to my knees, disorientated.

Kyo appeared before me with his sword raised over his head. "Nami!" His rage appeared to be growing. "Nami!" He shouted again and brought his sword down.

This is no time to be in pain. I kicked off a tree root and quickly threw a kunai his face as I flew by. His rage seems to not affect battle skill because he easily dodged my attack. Without missing a beat, he yanked his sword out of the tree and rushed at me.

I landed a few feet behind him, but he covered the distance in two steps. How is he so fast? I stepped around a punch only to be lifted off the ground by a kick. The air was expelled from my lungs.

"Nami!" Her named had become a war cry by now. He caught my leg in the air and slammed me into the ground. He raised his sword over his head again. He roared her name again and swung his sword.

I could barely breathe let alone defend myself. I reached deep inside myself for my prisoner's power. Help me out you worthless fox! There was a trickle of chakra in response to my request. This isn't enough! The amount gave me enough strength to roll out of the way. The sword sank deep into the ground beside me.

Before I could kick his legs, his fist slammed into my stomach and grabbed my throat. He lifted me off the ground with no trouble. I kicked at him and tried to pry his fingers loose to no avail. He squeezed my neck tighter, making me gasp for air.

Give me your power you stupid fox! Before we both die!

"You're pathetic. I have had enough with you. I think I will let you die this time."

You son of- My response was interrupted by Kyo hitting my stomach with his other fist. I coughed, spitting blood over his arm. My healing ability is being suppressed! I was beginning to panic because everything was becoming dark. I clawed at Kyo's fingers, but he kept squeezing.

"Nami!" He grasped his sword again and thrust is at me. "Rrrgh!"

I closed my eyes. Guess I ran out of miracles.

Kyo's roar was cut off before I was impaled. I opened my eyes and saw an arrow sticking out of his chest. I blinked as two more pierced his chest. His grip loosened and he fell to his knees. He looked at the arrows in his chest then looked back up at me. The hatred in his eyes was growing dim. "Nami . . ." He said her name one last time before falling to the ground.

She must have meant the world to him for him to lose control like that. Images of Karin popped up in my head as I rubbed my sore throat.

Hiro leaped out from the treetops and landed beside me. "I can't believe he gave you trouble." He bent over Kyo's body and removed the arrows. He shook them once to get the blood off them before he absorbed them. "You had more determination when we fought." His eyes were cold. "I suggest you find that fire you had or kill yourself and save me the trouble of protecting you."

I watched him take a couple steps toward the other battles before I asked, "Why are you helping me?" I placed my hand on my chest, over the scar his arrow had given me. "I thought it was your mission to kill me?"

Hiro stopped and sealed away his bow. He turned to face me, an annoyed look on his face. "You seem to have forgotten, I did kill you. As for why I'm helping you now." He shrugged and started back in the direction of Itachi's battle. "Itachi promised me to give me something important."

He took a couple more steps before leaping into the treetops. It must be important if he's willing to help us take on an entire village. I walked over to where I dropped my katana and sheathed it. "Alright, have to finish the rest." I popped a food pill into my mouth before I leapt after Hiro.

XXX

(Third)

Karin groaned and struggled to sit up right. ". . . What happened? . ." She was lying on a bed in a dimly lit hotel room. She shook her head and rubbed her eyes, forcing herself to sit up.

"It seems like Maaka-san is awake."

Karin looked over at Yuriya Tachibana and her accomplice. She stared at them for a few moments before she recognized them. The man Yuriya was with smirked and Karin screamed. "EEK!" She fell off the bed trying to get away and got tangled up in the covers. "Noo!" She yelled.

The man tried to approach Karin, seeming to be confused. "Uh. . ."

"No, stay away from me!" Karin threw the glass ashtray that had fallen off the night table and nailed him in the head. "Get away!" She covered up her chest, remembering why her blouse was tore open in the front and why she had to bite marks there. Tears welled up in her eyes.

"You really hate me, don't you?" He sighed and looked somewhat sad. "Hurts my feelings."

"U-Uncle, come her." Yuriya pulled him away and began to scold him.

Karin sat beside the bed with her back towards them, trying her hardest not to cry. Why is this happening? The tears that had gathered in her eyes began to flow down her cheeks. Why did this have to happen after Naruto-kun left? She squeezed the pillow that had fallen off the bed with her. Naruto-kun. . .

"It's okay now. It's just you and me. I've sent him away." She walked over to Karin.

Karin doubled over, giving up on trying to hold in her tears. "W-Why? Why did you do this? Let me go… home," she said in between her sobs.

Yuriya gave her a sympathetic look. "I'm sorry, we can't let you go."

Karin's head shot up. "W-Why not? You said you only wanted to talk! You said I would have time to make dinner!"

"I lied. You're very gullible," Yuriya stated.

Karin was confused. She stared at Yuriya and looked back at the exit. "You did it for him? Why?! Why would you take orders from such a terrible man?!"

"Do not speak ill of Uncle!" Yuriya snapped. The feeling of pity she had towards Karin seemed to vanish. "And you're not going home! The Markers will see me as an enemy now. There's no going back! If they find me, I'm dead!" She paused and took a few deep breaths, now noticing how worked she had gotten. "I'm lucky I found you before they noticed me."

Karin sat there with her hands over her mouth, shocked. "I…can never go home?..."

"That's right. Now stop making a fool of yourself." Yuriya crossed her arms over her chest and turned around. "If you keep quiet, nothing bad will happen to you."

"Why…?" Karin laid down on the floor and pulled the covers around her. Why did today have to be the worst day off my life? She closed her eyes tight, hoping this was just a nightmare. Naruto-kun…

XXX

Suigetsu and Kirame's weapons clashed over and over as they battled it out. Each blow rang out and echoed for a few seconds. After a few moments of exchanging blows, they locked weapons.

"Not bad, Gaki." Kirame grinned as he tried to overpower Suigestsu. "Not many swords can withstand my axe for so long."

Suigestsu's arms were bulky and muscular, but despite this he was having trouble hold his ground. "Don't underestimate a weapon of a Seven Swordsman."

Kirame raised an eyebrow. "Oh? It seems inappropriate to be stealing from the dead."

"Don't mock me, I will wield all seven weapons one day! It's not my fault Zabuza died before I could kill him and take his sword."

Kirame pressed down harder, pushing Suigetsu back a step. "Seems like a kid's stupid dream to me."

"Rrrragh!" Suigetsu struggled to push back, seeming to lose his calm. "Killing you won't seem like trouble now!"

"So you've decided to kill me now? That should have been decided the moment you drew your sword!" With a roar, Kirame grabbed Suigestu by his shirt and flung him into a tree.

Suigetsu cracked the tree in half going through it. His Executioner's blade slipped from his grasp and stabbed a tree, lodging itself halfway through. Suigetsu got back up and shook his head. "Ouch…" Before he could regain his bearing, Kirame slammed him into another tree with the flat side of his axe. He grabbed Suigetsu before he could hit the ground and pressed him against the tree.

Kirame grinned. "I guess I'll have to finish your dream of collecting those seven swords." He pressed his axe's blade against Suigetsu's throat. "Too bad I won't be able to see the look on your face when you do."

Suigetsu smiled. "As if I'd let someone like you take my dream. I may be lazy, but I'm not that worthless." His body seemed to melt and turn to water. "Have fun being ripped apart."

"Wha-?" Something slammed into Kirame before he could react. The force knocked him back a few yards. He brought up his arms fast enough to block the second blow that came at him. "Who dares interrupt?" He shouted as he looked around. He glanced at what had hit him and froze. "W-What the hell…?"

The two objects that hit him were two halves of a body.

"Kajin?"

Jugo landed a few feet from him, swaying a bit. Blood stained his clothes and ran down the blades coming out of his arms. "He wouldn't stay still so I cut off his legs." He grinned and laughed. "I bet he regretted not fighting back now!"

Kirame's shock lasted a moment before he heaved up his axe. "You are one sick thing!" He spat.

Jugo's grinned grew bigger. "Oh, do you plan on sticking around? Or do I have to cut off your legs too?!" He leapt at Kirame, bloodlust filling his eyes.

XXX

Suigetsu watched as Jugo sliced off one of Kirame's arms and then head butt him into the ground. He lost interest when Jugo grabbed Kirame's other arm and ripped it off and then ram his arm into Kirame's throat.

"I wouldn't wish that on anyone, but it gets the job done." He yanked his sword from the tree and walked in the opposite direction of Jugo. "Better stay away from Jugo until I find Sasuke… Where is my water bottle?"

XXX

(First)

I had a second to react as Itachi's kunai flew at my face. I forced my chakra to erupt through the chakra points in my cheek. The amount was enough to throw the kunai off course. I landed on the ground and block another blow from him.

"What are you doing?!" I shouted as he continued to come after me.

"I'm proving a point to my idiotic student." He broke through my defense and kicked me in the stomach, and then he grabbed the back of my head as I doubled over and slammed my face into the ground. "It seems like my words are wasted when all you understand is force."

Why is he doing this? I caught up to him a few seconds earlier and now I'm battling him for some reason. He seemed disappointed to see me cut up and bruised.

The ground cut up my face as he ground me into it. With a yell, I push myself up, hoping to overpower him. He anticipated my move and I shot up off the ground. This time he grabbed me by the front of my shirt and threw me over his shoulder into the ground.

The air left my lungs and I laid there gasping. He kneeled on my chest and pressed the point of a kunai against my throat. "You never stood a chance. Imagine how much more helpless you'd be against someone even I can't best."

I glared at him as I fought to control my breathing. His kunai dug into my neck, drawing some blood. It was more annoying than painful. His piercing red eyes stared at me, waiting for me to react. I closed my eyes and focused on breathing correctly. I didn't come this far by sticking to other's people version of what's right. I snapped my eyes open and forced my chakra to explode from me.

I chuckled when I saw Itachi's surprised expression. He leapt away from me before I could anything serious with the amount of chakra I released. My body felt weak, but I forced myself to stand up. I rubbed my neck and smirked at him. "I have never felt so helpless I'd give up." I pulled out my katana and charged at him. "For someone who thinks they know me, you forget how much I stake when it comes to my promises!"

Itachi narrowed his eyes. "You idiot. All you've done is weaken yourself." He stepped to the side and easily avoided my reckless charge. "It takes a special kind of moron to waste that much chakra to accomplish nothing."

I activated my byakyugan in time to see him attack, aiming to knock me unconscious. My chakra was low so it was just a glimpse, but it was enough. "I'd rather be a moron than a quitter!" I twisted my body to the side and brought up my foot. I felt his fist brush against my head and my foot catch his chin.

"At least you haven't changed that part of you." I heard him whisper into my ear as his shadow clone burst into smoke and his arms wrapped around my throat. I struggled in hopes of getting free, but he tighten his grip and got me into a choke hold.

Hiro landed in front of me and shook his head. "I almost thought he got you, Itachi." He adjusted his glasses and watched me fall unconscious.

XXX

(Third)

Itachi loosen his grip and flung Naruto's body over his shoulder when he was sure Naruto was unconscious. He looked over and Hiro, nodding once. "We have to leave the area before Sasuke and his team recovers."

Hiro looked annoyed. "Alright, I'll follow your lead. Though it pisses me off to have to run from a shinobi."

Itachi started off towards his base with Hiro in tow. "You're one dense idiot if you thought you could run off and play hero without me, Naruto," Itachi muttered under his breath. "Especially after you made Maaka-san cry."

XXX

(First)

"Ugh…" I woke up and found myself in a hotel room. The room was empty and the curtains were drawn close. I rubbed my head and groaned. "So he finally got to capture me." I chuckled at the irony. I stood up and walked over to the curtain and drew them back. I knew what I would see, but I was still surprised to find myself staring at Shihaba. It was night and all the light blinded me for a second, having gotten used to traveling in total darkness.

I stared through half opened eyelids, remembering the first time I came to this place. Fumio… Mom… I leaned against the glass. "I wonder how she has been…" I still felt terrible for just leaving her all alone, especially when she needed help sometimes to get through those rough days.

Thinking about my mother also brought her to mind. I was in a hotel close to Julian's, close enough that I could go there and come back in less than five minutes if I tried. I made a fist and pressed it against the glass. Karin… I dropped my hand to my side when I heard the glass begin to crack.

In the corner of my eye, I saw the door open and Itachi walk in carrying a plastic bag. It seemed strange to see him dressed in a plan shirt and jeans when the last thing I remember was us battling as shinobi. He looked at me and placed the bag on the table by the small tv.

"I would like to leave you here with all the guilt you deserved, but I figure you should eat first before you tear yourself apart." He pulled a convenient store dinner from the bag and sat down on the other bed in the room. "Thank you for this meal," he said before eating.

I watched him eat before I wondered over to the bag. Despite having all my guilt come back and stab my heart, I was pretty hungry. I took out two small boxes and sat on my bed. Steam buns and rice balls. "Thank you for this meal," I muttered and took a bite of a steam bun.

We ate in silence. He finished first and threw away his trash and laid back down on his bed. I ate slowly, thinking over my situation. Something must have happened here for him to drag me back to Shihaba instead of taking me back to his base in our world. As I pondered over his reasons for bringing me back, a phone rang.

I looked over to see Itachi pull out a black and red cell phone from his pocket. "Hello?" he answered, smiling a little when whoever called him began to talk. There was only one person who could get Itachi to smile.

"Yes, we got back a couple hours ago… Uh huh…" He nodded his head as his girlfriend talked. "Alright, Fujino, I'll find some time to come over." He nodded some more and agreed to some more things before he said goodbye and hung up.

"I never thought I see you with a cell phone."

He shrugged as he put it back into his pocket. "Fujino said it was inconvenient that she had to find me every time she wanted to talk."

"She seemed excited to see you. It's been a month since you chased after me I think?" I stuffed another steam bun into my mouth, beginning to feel angry at him for some reason.

He nodded. "Yeah, I talked to her a few hours after I found out you had left. I told her not to wait on me, but she never really listened to my suggestions in the first place." He placed his hands behind his head. "She wanted to catch up with me because she's happy I'm back from chasing you to America and bringing you back."

I sighed. "Is that what you told her?"

He shook his head. "No, that's what she assumed. I told her I was going after you because you were being an idiot and looking for danger. I said you went somewhere far away and that I might not be back if I went after you. So I guess the assumption was America."

"Hard to believe she waited all this time for you, without even getting a call or letter from you." I looked out the window again, feeling jealous. Would Karin have waited for me?... I closed my eyes and let out a sigh. Of course she would have… She's not the kind of person to give up.

"Yeah, I was certain she would have forgotten about me after a day or two. Being a shinobi changes your perception of time I guess."

I opened my eyes and stared at him. Finally I asked, "So why did you bring me back here?"

He sat up and picked up a bird cage by his bed. It had a black cloth thrown over it so I could only assume a bird was in it until I heard a squeak. He pulled the cloth off the cage to reveal a black bat. "You left at a critical time."

He opened the cage and the bat jumped out and flew towards me. The moment it touched me, a voice rang out in my head. "Anju?!" I stood up and ran out of the room. I leapt over the railing and landed safely three floors down. The concrete and asphalt cut up my bare feet as I ran towards my home, hoping I could still get through the bat barrier.

What's happened?

"Find Uzumaki. . . Tell him. . . Karin. . ."