Chapter Fourteen: Sacrificial Innocence
Author's Notes: I opened this document up and found it more completed than I originally thought. Updates for ALL fictions will be slow and random.
Warnings/Disclaimer/Nonsense: Nothing. Just...nothing.
Chapter Fourteen: Sacrificial Innocence
Pulling up to the house on the hill, tension rose in the two vehicles. They killed their lights as they rolled down the street, parking a bit out of the way, hoping the trees surrounding the manor would help conceal their cars. Slowly and quietly they exited their havens, trying to silence the gravel that crunched under their footfalls. The met between the two cars, converging to go over their plan once more.
"Now." Tsunade whispered, her fingers ghosting the holster on her hip. "Nara and I will be approaching the front door. He's familiar with the two of us."
The group nodded, Jiraiya eyeing the woman carefully. He wasn't exactly excited to send Tsunade right up to their one-time friend who now was apparently up to no good all over again.
"I need to confirm one way or another he's doing this experimentation before going a step further."
"So isn't this illegal?" Kiba whispered, dying to ask that for some time now.
She sighed. "If I can get him to let me inside casually, and I can just so happen to "randomly" see something, I'm pretty sure I can get us out of anything legal in court."
"Anyway, the story about us two showing up together and why." Shikamaru pushed, ready to get this moving.
"Reunion." She clipped, turning to shoot him a glare. "You just so happened to mention your meeting him while at lunch with me. I wanted to see him."
"He's going to know." Jiraiya sounded in. "He'll know right then."
She sighed, rubbing circles on her temples. "It's a risk we will have to take. I just need to get in that house, that's the only thing I'm concerned about right now."
"But how everything ended with us before, he'll know we won't just want to drop by for a visit, Tsunade." Jiraiya said, his voice laced with warning.
"What do you mean by that?" Gaara interrupted.
"It's nothing." Tsunade shot.
"Nothing?" Kiba bit harshly. "We needed to know everything. Not just enough to get us killed but not enough to save our lives. What type of rationality is that?"
"It isn't a big deal." Tsunade went on, pressing harder.
"It sounds to me that it's as if I'm showing up with you and he'll sense we're trying to sniff around." Shikamaru added. "Or he'll think we're up to more."
She let out a long, low and defeated sigh. Her shoulders sank in helpless way. Her honey eyes drifted towards the ground in aversion. "We were the ones...who got him to this point in the first place. We found him out. His dearest friends and partners, and we turned him in. We forced our backs to him."
"We did the right thing." Jiraiya insisted.
"We were the only friends he had..." She said lightly, as if in a distant world of thoughts, barely grounded to this world. "We took that away."
Kiba held in a growl, but his chest still rumbled his frustration. "So you're willing to risk all of us, Konoha and Naruto?"
"Of course not, brat." She said looking up with a glare, her tone lacing with heated anger.
"Then put the past behind you and settle with what you have now in the present, and most of all, the precious people you can save. We have an opportunity here."
Tsunade marched up to him, and the rest of the group braced themselves for a square punch to the jaw that would have them minus one team member. But instead her intense eyes shown through the darkness, there was a gleam of hope.
"Get to your mark fuzzbrain, and don't fuck it up."
"Same to you, hag." He added with a smirk, stepping back and letting his footfalls tread lightly on the gravel. Gaara followed after him.
"New cover story." Tsunade said suddenly to the remaining three as the two silently blended into the darkness of night, drifting away from them.
"Shikamaru was going to see Orochimaru. By word of mouth I came simply by protocol of check-up. He'll be less suspicious that way, and if he'll have something to hide, he'll be more manipulative. Leading us away from obviousness – the usual, cocky business."
Skimaru let out a small, silent sigh of relief. This was a far better and less risky plan. He could easily work with this one. The last one had him on edge for quite some time. His genius brain couldn't seem to quite grasp the way to bullshit around it in trickery.
Tsunade gave a nod to Jiraiya who gave her a stern look before turning on his heal and disappearing into the darkness as well. The blonde turned to her young partner and nodded in the direction of the house.
They walked in the light of the moon, the only thing lighting their path. On a continuous basis up the long and winding driveway, their hands would go to swipe over their concealed weapons. Over the crunch of the gravel under the soles of their shoes, their brains ticked away with countless scenarios. Shikamaru tried to tell himself it was going to go alright. There could not be an army. He simply had to shake a little information out of this man and he'd be one step closer to getting his friend back.
Nothing – not even something his mind could cook up – could be this complex. It just couldn't be possible.
They didn't even falter the closer they got, it seems their feet carried them in unwanted eagerness. The windows were lit with dim lights, all of them glowing ominously on the hill barely filling the air. Shikamaru finally double checked his footing and held out a hand, grabbing Tsunade's arm. She turned to look at him harshly, glaring viscously. His free hand was slowly snaking for his gun, his eyes were trained on the door. He nodded his head slowly, his hardened grip disappearing.
Her honey eyes turned, swiveling in the direction he was indicating. She instantly found her heart in her throat. Blood splatter littered the door, looking like there had been the beginning of a brutal slaying. Blunt force trauma, she would bet money on it.
The two of them brought out their guns, taking their stances and approaching the door with more caution than before if at all possible.
Tsunade held up her hand to her shoulder, balling it into a fist, a command for stop. She pointed her hand towards the front door splattered with blood, the door been left cracked open.
Shikamaru tapped her shoulder, giving her the go ahead and following straight at her heels. Tsunade pushed the door open with the point of her gun, her eyes flying forward and stepping in, turning right with her gun at point. Shikamaru followed right behind her, turning left pointing his pistol as well.
"Clear." Shikamaru and Tsunade said simultaneously.
"Can you contact them?" The blonde asked, pointing her gun here and there, her eyes scanning the room cautiously.
He shook his head in response, looking over the area as well. "All I hear is static."
"This is bad." Tsunade muttered.
"Oh, but I beg to differ, I find this to be a lovely reunion."
The two whipped around, guns blazing and their shoulders squared. There at the top of the steps stood Orochimaru, smirking wickedly. He spread out his hands wide, opening his arms like he was welcoming the two. Their guns held their positions at the ready, fingers square on the trigger and the man in their iron sights.
"The two of you together, why what a pleasant and unexpected surprise." Orochimaru smirked, his sickly voice sending chills down their backs.
"What's with the blood?" Shikamru dared.
"Tell us what's going on!" Tsunade snapped.
"Why would I tell you when I can simply...show you."
"Something doesn't feel right." Kiba muttered, his feet cautious as he walked through the crowded woods.
Gaara stepped around a shrub and then a tree, his eyes scanning the dark night uncertainly. "I feel it, too."
"You two stay calm. Nothing is wrong until it goes wrong." Jiraiya whispered.
A horrid pitch of screams ripped through the air like a knife cutting across glass. The three of them pulled guns, stopping in their tracks.
"What the fuck?" Kiba whispered breathlessly, beads of sweat forming on his forehead.
They heard a series of gunshots pop off from the direction of the mansion, the three of them having their heads jerk in that direction. Another wale of painful, inhuman screams followed. They could hear yelling, but unable to make out the words.
"They need us." Gaara said suddenly.
A tree branch cracked a few yards away from them, crashing abruptly to the ground. The group swung their attention back to the area, their guns pointed and ready.
Another branch fell behind them, causing them to turn sharply. A few leaves rustled to their left, but before they could turn, they heard footsteps to their right.
Their backs met, the three of them pointing their guns in different directions. They heard another round of shots come from near the mansion.
"I can't even tell if we're surrounded or not." Gaara muttered, his eyes searching frantically.
"But it sounds like Shikamaru and Tsunade need us." Kiba whispered, his eyes refusing to blink.
"If we stay here, and we really are surrounded, our goose is cooked." Jiraiya said.
"Then we run for it. If we can meet up with Shikamaru and Tsunade are chances are higher with more people." Gaara nodded, hoping his plan was good enough.
"Leave the fallen." Jiraiya said.
Kiba and Gaara flinched, Kiba spoke up first. "Hell no."
"If we really are dealing with something supernatural that likes blood, at least a fallen member will be an honorable sacrifice."
"You've lost your damn mind, Jiraiya!" Kiba snapped as more noises began to surface around them,
"RUN!" Gaara bellowed.
The three took off the way they came. Gaara and Kiba leaping over tree trunks and fallen branches, occasionally stumbling when they would look back behind them as they heard more footsteps race along with them. Jiraiya swung his hand back behind him with his gun and blindly let off shots, hoping it would scare away whatever was toying with them.
The three of them broke from the woods, skidding slightly on the gravel of the driveway before taking off in the direction of Tsuande and Shikamaru. They stopped in their tracks when the duo came stampeding down the driveway, shooting behind them and covered in blood.
"TO THE CARS!" Tsunade yelled.
The three turned right around and made straight for their vehicles, but for the sake of time, only jumped into one. Gaara ripped open the door only to have Kiba bolt past him and do an amazing leap that could only be accredited to terror. He managed to get himself quickly in the drivers seat and jammed the key in the ignition.
Jiraiya had opened the back door just as Gaara hopped in the front, his nose ghosted the window as he squinted into the night. His eyes suddenly grew in shock.
"Put it in drive." Gaara told Kiba, his eyes still looking after Tsunade and Shikamaru, closely followed by at least, what looked like, twenty scrawny people dripping with blood.
Jiraiya jumped in the car just as Tsunade and Shikamaru barreled in and turned around, shooting out the open door.
Jiraiya took over for Shikamaru as Kiba pulled off before flooring it down the road.
"GUN! GIVE ME YOUR GUNS AND ROLL DOWN THE WINDOWS!"
Gaara and Kiba handed over one of their three weapons, Tsunade had been brave enough to mange to shut the door to the SUV while it was roaring over the road. Shikamaru climbed over the seats and climbed halfway out the window, Tsunade mirrored him. Jiraiya watched out the back window in horror.
The group was still following them, but their car was barely picking up speed from them.
Tsunade climbed back in the window after she fired her last shot, and with a wild swing, threw her gun to nail one of them in the head.
"What the fuck are those things?" Kiba yelled, his eyes just now locking with the rear view mirror.
Gaara pointed to the next road they were supposed to take, and the brunette banged a hard left. Jiraiya and Tsunade grabbed onto Shikamaru's legs so they wouldn't lose him.
Tsunade left Jiraiya in control of holding Shikamaru's ankles as she made her way in between the two front seats, the headlights shining off into the darkness.
"They're...they're..." She swallowed thickly. "They're undeveloped. Vampires that haven't formed completely. Their powers are still above human level, but not enough to be a deadly killing machine that vampires are."
"What?" Kiba shook his his head, barreling down the road as the MPH gauge came up on it's limit.
"Orochimaru...he...he let them out."
"Why would I tell you when I can simply...show you." "What they hell are you talking about?" Tsunade snapped. "Stop with the bullshit." "Oh there are only truth in my words..." Orochimaru took one step back, making Shikamaru squeeze the trigger ever so slightly. "Don't move." "Oh, only one more quick thing." Orochimaru promised in a hiss, a sick smile curving on his lips. "They aren't complete, but they'll do to get rid of pests like you." He pulled on a rope, something that looked like it opened a curtain in an eloquent theater. Instead, it dropped the dirty and tattered hanging that covered the massive wall. Behind it were large glass tube, large enough to fit in just what they were holding. Human bodies. The tubes were filled with a light purple liquid, wires were protruding from every angle, raining out of the top of them tubes and weaving into a honey comb system of machines and IV type bags. The two watched in stunned horror as the water began to drain, the wires were unhooking themselves. Orochimaru started a slow, mocking clap. He was gleaming down at the two, his back towards his newest creations. "They're underdeveloped vampires. Sadly, they didn't grow in time. But your friends are dealing with a couple fully matured ones. I'm sure you all will meet the same fate in due time. "DON'T MOVE!" Shikamaru yelled. "Oh, I just don't want to get in the way." He said over the breaking of glass, still continuing out of sight. "Shikamaru..." Tsunade said warningly. The two of them had their eyes scanning the area. Limbs were breaking out of the tubes right in front "OPEN FIRE!" Tsunade yelled.
A loud crash of shattering glass echoed through the mansion. Orochimaru gave a halfhearted wave and turned to make his leave.
"We finally started running, and that's when we ran into you."
"What they hell are you talking about?" Tsunade snapped. "Stop with the bullshit."
"Oh there are only truth in my words..."
Orochimaru took one step back, making Shikamaru squeeze the trigger ever so slightly. "Don't move."
"Oh, only one more quick thing." Orochimaru promised in a hiss, a sick smile curving on his lips. "They aren't complete, but they'll do to get rid of pests like you."
He pulled on a rope, something that looked like it opened a curtain in an eloquent theater. Instead, it dropped the dirty and tattered hanging that covered the massive wall. Behind it were large glass tube, large enough to fit in just what they were holding. Human bodies.
The tubes were filled with a light purple liquid, wires were protruding from every angle, raining out of the top of them tubes and weaving into a honey comb system of machines and IV type bags.
The two watched in stunned horror as the water began to drain, the wires were unhooking themselves.
Orochimaru started a slow, mocking clap. He was gleaming down at the two, his back towards his newest creations.
"They're underdeveloped vampires. Sadly, they didn't grow in time. But your friends are dealing with a couple fully matured ones. I'm sure you all will meet the same fate in due time.
"DON'T MOVE!" Shikamaru yelled.
"Oh, I just don't want to get in the way." He said over the breaking of glass, still continuing out of sight.
"Shikamaru..." Tsunade said warningly.
The two of them had their eyes scanning the area. Limbs were breaking out of the tubes right in frontof them in some grotesue show. They slowly started taking their steps back just as the first one came barreling out towards them.
"OPEN FIRE!" Tsunade yelled.
"That's what had to be in the woods." Gaara said, pointing at the next turn.
"Then where are they now?"
"NEW ONES!" Shikamaru bellowed.
Kiba punched the steering wheel. "OH COME ON!"
"There! The Uchiha manor!" Tsunade yelled, pointing in between the two in the front. Her sleeve was splattered with blood.
Kiba leaned forward in his seat, as if it would make the already speeding vehicle move fast. He drove right through the gate without hesitation, and luckily, Tsunade turned around and yanked Shikamaru back in the window.
All of them but the driver looked behind them, the group still coming after them as they barreled up the driveway. Kiba slammed on the breaks and skidded across the lawn up to the front door, spinning one hundred and eighty degrees. None of them hesitated to look at the swarm climbing towards them. They clambered out of the car, rushing towards the front door. The group of them accidentally ran into each other when Shikamaru went to push open the door.
He drew back, and Gaara and Kiba joined him on kicking the door.
In a blink of an eye, it burst open, and the group rushed in the mansion in search of Naruto. This was it. They were getting him and leaving. That was last their and final plan. But now, as they locked eyes with the blond on the steps before noticing the two lingering vampires at the top, they knew the plan was to change.
They would now have to fight for their lives.
Naruto went into his launching move expecting to die.
He wasn't fearless about it by any means, but the thought of losing so many people pushed him into madness. Talking about it had been one thing, but facing it showed him what he would do in order to protect them. He was the only one and he had the most chance of survival.
With his arms outstretched and two vampires streaking down the stairs, he relied on the only upper hand he felt he had on them. Sheer dumb luck.
He felt his hand collide with something before he really saw it. The feel of bubbling skin popping blisters and melting against his hand proved he made contact.
But sadly, he only made contact with one.
Just as Naruto noticed he had luckily blinded Itachi. His hand was shoved out at the right angle and position with Itachi's angled degree of his body for his hand to collide with his eyes.
He was not lucky enough to have Sasuke blast in a blur right past him.
Without thinking and simply acting on instinct, Naruto tore his other hand over to Itachi's face, shoving his hand over his noise and mouth. In an instant spark he thought maybe, just maybe, if he took down Itachi's main senses he could deal with Sasuke on a capable level.
After a few long, agonizing seconds, Naruto pulled his hands away. Itachi's body slumped to the floor, his face sizzling and popping unpleasantly. He was lifeless and still.
But the blond had no time to worry about that. He had heard a loud bang, and something akin to a door being broken off it's hinges. He turned around to find a horrifying and heart stopping scene.
Sasuke had Shikamaru hanging in the air by his neck in his iron grip. The door was spread out behind him, cracked and ripped from the doorway.
Shikamaru was turning an unhealthy shade of blue, his legs losing some of it's kicks. Sasuke was so distracted by everyone else taking daring turns to keep his attention, he seemingly forgot to go for the kill on Shikamaru. Instead he let him fade slowly, let him be no more of a hassle but simply an easy meal.
"SASUKE!" Naruto bellowed, not thinking.
His mind was still blank. The only thing he could think of was saving his friends. It had been the only thing on his mind since this whole ordeal started. His friends and family. He was filled with heavy emotions of loss, feeling as though he already let the fate of Konoha, his family and friends, slip through his fingers. Just because he couldn't fall in love with a stupid vampire.
Becoming desperate enough to do anything he could to stall time and help his friends perhaps make a desperate escape from town, he decided to pull his Ace.
He reached up and tugged his necklace over his head, holding the dangling trinket from his hand. He locked eyes with fiery red that focused on him like a hawk dying for prey.
Without a second more of hesitation or possible thought of not doing it, he flung it to Kiba who just barely caught it.
"TOUCH HIM AND RUN!"
Albeit, Kiba had a million questions, snark comments, and foul words to toss at his best friend; he needed no further telling. He haphazardly slipped the necklace on and grabbed the arm Sasuke was using to hold up Shikamaru. In a flash he was dropped and Kiba was flung against a wall by the force of Sasuke shaking him off.
Naruto almost panicked. All his power was gone in an instant, his friends were still in a danger zone, and he had his eyes locked with a vampire.
"You want me, not them." He said in a shaky voice, just barely a whisper.
Sasuke was turned to face him now. Gaara had slipped behind him somehow and was dragging Shikamaru away and out the doorway as he coughed harshly. Tsunade and Jiraiya, who had almost gotten hit by Kiba, were picking him up and following Gaara.
"They won't give you what you want, Sasuke. You know that..."
His chest rumbled in a threatening growl that caused Naruto's knees to shake, but not for him to lose his ground.
"A thirst only I can quench. Why waste your time?"
Naruto's heart was thudding in a deafening roar in his ears. Now he was unsure if he was whispering or yelling. The only relief came when he no longer saw his friends in sight.
Sasuke's head shifted, turning to focus one eye more clearly on Naruto as if regarding him. As if contemplating. The worse thing that could happen right now was for Sasuke to turn around and flash out the door to slaughter his friends.
Naruto took one hesitant step down the stairs, his hands fallen helplessly by his side. He was walking to his death, he figured. Willingly and openly. He should have just begged.
"Don't bother with them, Sasuke. Just me, only me. The one you love. Kill the one most important thing to you."
In a flash Naruto found himself bashed against the stairs, so shocked was he, a noise couldn't even come out in his startled state. His found his body screaming in pain at the force and uncomfortable position. Something that was easily overseen by the fact there was a vampire on top of him, like a creature summing up his prey.
Sasuke's face was just above his, his hands on either side of his face. His eyes were blazing. Naruto could feel the ice cold body of Itachi lying next to him, now pushed uncaringly off to the side.
"Just me and you now Sasuke, just like our destiny was planned."
The blond shivered when Sasuke's fingers gripped his chin, inclining his head and making full use of his neck. The blond let his eyelids slide shut.
Naruto whispered his last plea, a simple one that barely left his lips. "Please don't kill my friends and family."
Just before the animalistic side of Sasuke completely took control, he voiced his last words before his fangs hovered above tan flesh. "Nothing more to hurt you...I will keep your heart safe."
Just as Sasuke's lips touched on Naruto's neck, a tear streaked down a scarred cheek. The blond bit his lip not to scream or beg for his life as he felt fangs of death bury in his skin. He simply muttered as he realized this was his last bit of life.
Shikamaru coughed, his arms slightly flailing in Gaara's grasp.
"We can't leave him!" Shikamaru bellowed, followed by another coughing session.
Jiraiya had Kiba slung over his shoulder and had Tsunade's upper arm in a fierce grip. "We have no choice."
"Yes we do!"
"It was the brat's wish." Tsunade muttered, her lips quivering. She ripped her arm out of the hold and paused only for a second before walking forward. "It's the least we can do...to honor his last wish..."
"The last thing Naruto would want to know is that we died when he was striving to avoid that. It would be a shame to his memory." Gaara said, lifting his hands from Shikamaru as he stood.
The genius, the one who had all the answers, stared up at the looming Uchiha manor from the end of the yard. He was out of ideas and options. He was at a loss.
"Then what do we do now?"
Tsunade was standing behind Jiraiya, looking over Kiba tenderly. Her hard knock personality dulled by pain.
"We do the one thing we have yet to do." She whispered, stroking Kiba's hair. "We pray and we hope. At the same time, we need to get our loved ones and leave while we can."
"One last thing..." Shikamaru whispered, his fists clenching and beginning to shake. "What happened to the ones chasing us?"
A pile of bodies were at Orochimaru's feet. Two demons of hell were flanking him, the three of them staring at the bodies in a bored manner.
"Was their blood sufficient?"
The one with white hair shifted his eyes from the pile, to his creator. Orochimaru lifted his hand and gave a halfhearted wave to him.
"Come now, Kimimaro. I don't have all day."
"No." He instantly replied.
The man gripped his own chin, his eyes still looking over the pile in contemplation.
"Not the same when you bring back the dead, I take it?"
"It's not." Kimimaro replied.
Orochimaru hummed lightly, his lips twitching in thought. "They kill the same. I suppose you'll both still have to hunt the townsfolk until I get this right. At this rate...I'll have nothing left to destroy, and what fun would that be?"
Author's Notes: So...this went completely different than as planned. I honestly didn't want so much of this to happen so soon, but I think this is good. I can't drag this out forever, it would be pointless otherwise.
ANYWAY - I don't know if I'll be able to update untilsometime after Otakon. I'll be busy up until then.