Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
Author's Note: I feel terrible that this took so long. Thank you too all of you who reviewed the first chapter. I hope you enjoy this chapter as well. I am not sure how I feel about it. Again this chapter is setting the stage for what is to come. I promise that the story will pick up in action/racing/drama. Now onto the chapter.
"For the last time I haven't the slightest idea what you are talking about."
"Then you are hindering an investigation of Internal Affairs."
"Bull," Tsunade said as she folded her arms over her chest and leaned back in the chair she was sitting in. She narrowed her amber eyes at the man sitting on the other side of her desk. She'd only gotten this job about two months ago and already she was getting sick of it. Even still she continued before the old man on the other side of the desk could get in a word.
"You know that they give the information to us not the other way around."
"It is my job to investigate everyone with connections to the Akatsuki and everyone who has access to the information here, and your undercover agents have connections with them."
"And I already told you about both of those agents," Tsunade said calmly.
"I'm not talking about them," growled the older man, obviously annoyed. "You know damn well who I am talking about. Don't even try to pretend differently. I have more information than you could possibly imagine. Your agents have someone on the inside of the Akatsuki and I need a name."
"Even if I knew, which I don't," Tsunade said as she leaned forward in her chair, "I wouldn't tell you."
"You may have been promoted to Director but you are still required to answer to me," he argued, his voice near shouting now. "You could be charged for this."
"Then charge me. Granted if you could have I suppose it already would have been done," Tsunade added with a smile that only infuriated the man across from her even further. She knew that he wanted to charge her in the worst way. She knew he wanted to get an order that required her to give up the name. Yet the truth was that she honestly didn't know the name. Only her two agents did and she had every intention of keeping it that way.
"I hope you can live with another dead agent on your hands then because if I don't get to the bottom of this then that is all that is going to happen. The Akatsuki will kill another one."
"Why do you think I'm so ready to protect this name then? There is no denying that there is a leak in this department. The information is getting out somehow, and I understand that you are trying to investigate the source. But I know damn well that as soon as a name gets out, any implicated undercover is as good as dead," Tsunade said, all traces of humor gone from her deceptively young face.
"No one will get access to the names other than myself," the older man assured from across her desk.
Tsunade stood and turned away from him, her gaze turning to the window as she walked over towards it. For a moment it appeared that she hadn't even realized that he had said something. Yet after a moment her voice carried through the air, though her back was still towards the older man.
"Asuma, Hayate, Nawaki…" She paused for a moment. "And they are not the only ones who died far before their time because of the Akatsuki. No one else is getting that name Danzo."
The old man stood then, his eyes narrowed in a hard glare at the woman who stood by the window. Of all the people they could have promoted to director after Sarutobi's retirement, the FBI had to pick this woman. She and several other agents had been tasked with the Orochimaru case and because in the end, the bad guy had been brought down, she had gotten a promotion. In his mind though she didn't quite deserve it, though his opinion was slightly biased as he himself had wanted the position. Still, from what he understood it had been the local police and their own snitch that had brought Orochimaru down.
Without another word he turned and left her office, closing the door behind him with a little more force than was necessary. Several individuals glanced up from their desks but no one said a word as he stormed past them all for the elevator. Along the way he was joined by one of his own Internal Affairs agents. The two individuals entered the elevator together and the young woman leaned forward to punch the 4, which was the floor that their offices were located on. Neither said a word as the doors closed with a slight 'ding'. It wasn't until the elevator began to move than Danzo finally broke the silence.
"She won't talk and I do believe that she doesn't have any names either. For now all we can do is keep a close eye on her agents. Keep watching your target. I want to know anyone and everyone he has contact with. I am going to get to the bottom of this."
"Yes sir," replied the woman, her voice as hard as the determined expression she wore.
By the time they had made it outside of her apartment building and into the parking lot, Hinata's face had once again turned a shade of red similar to that of a tomato. She wanted to run back to her apartment and put on a different set of clothes, one that preferably showed quite a bit less skin. But with Sakura's arm linked around her own she wasn't going anywhere. Sakura had a freakish strength that Hinata could not even being to understand. Plus at this point Hinata was just trying hard not to fall flat on her face. The shoes she was wearing were absolute torture. Not only did Sakura and Temari expect her to walk in these things, but apparently they assumed she would be dancing in them too. Still there was no way, shoes or no shoes, that she was going to be doing any dancing. Hinata glanced briefly at her shoes once again and decided they were the reason she looked like a stripper. The heels were definitely the blame for her outfit.
Shikamaru and Naruto were outside of Shikamaru's truck, leaning against it and talking about something that Hinata couldn't hear from where she was. However, when the two guys caught sight of them all conversation stopped. Hinata saw immediately how Shikamaru's eyes went to Temari and Naruto's went straight to Sakura. For a moment Hinata felt out of place, like she was intruding somewhere she didn't belong. Her hesitation though didn't deter Sakura who drug her ahead like she was an accessory rather than a person.
Sakura finally let go of her hand, distracted by Naruto who was basically gaping at her legs. For a moment Hinata thought Sakura was going to smack Naruto upside the head but at the last possible moment the blonde caught himself and looked Sakura straight in the eye.
"You look beautiful Sakura," Naruto said, his grin absolutely dazzling.
"You don't look so bad yourself," she commented to Naruto, her cheeks tinged a light pink from Naruto's compliment.
It was true, both Naruto and Shikamaru looked good having obviously actually put at least the slightest amount of thought into what they were wearing. Shikamaru was in a pair of dark washed jeans and a BC Ethic shirt that was black and slim cut. The shirt had the word 'slacker' printed on the front and it was all too appropriate for him to be wearing. Over top of that he had on a black button up shirt that was open at the front with the cuffs pushed up to his elbows. Naruto was also wearing dark washed jeans, but he was wearing a Torrance Stripe Polo with a slim fit that had thick red and light blue stripes. The colors popped and made him stand out in a way that he could easily pull off, it was Naruto after all.
Again Hinata felt out of place between the sweet compliments of Naruto and Sakura and then intense stare-down going on between Shikamaru and Hinata. Hinata had only glanced at them before she had to look away, feeling as though she had actually stumbled upon something incredibly intimate that one wouldn't associate with a simple look. She awkwardly fiddled with her hands, desperate to get out of the situation which she found herself in. However, Sakura threw her a lifeline.
"Doesn't Hinata look great," she asked Naruto and Shikamaru.
So it wasn't exactly the lifeline that Hinata had been hoping for but it took quite a bit of sexual tension out of the air. Hinata flushed a brilliant shade of pink an immediately dropped her gaze to the ground. She regretted that choice instantly as she was forced to stare and the hooker shoes that Temari and Sakura had forced her into, but she couldn't bring herself to look back up at the group. She decided while staring at the shoes that they were the whole reason she looked like a stripper. Without them the outfit, while still something she would never wear, wouldn't be quite so provocative.
"Yeah you should let Sakura and Temari dress you more often," Naruto chimed in, which caused Sakura to promptly smack him over the head. Poor Naruto had almost made it.
"Ow Sakura that hurt," Naruto complained rubbing the back of his head, while Shikamaru smirked and shook his head at his unfortunate friend.
"Just get in the car," Sakura ordered and of course Naruto complied. Hinata hid a small giggle behind her hand while Temari flat out laughed at Naruto who had taken to sulking in the back seat. Without another word the rest of the group piled into the truck and headed off for the party.
Again Hinata found herself dragging her feet. She couldn't help herself though, the large abandoned warehouse that loomed in front of her was already intimidating her. For starters she could already hear the bass of the music pumping from the makeshift parking lot she was walking through. Plus given the number of cars and motorcycles parked all around, there was bound to be a ton of people inside. She wasn't entirely prepared for this but she seemed to run out of options. Both Temari and Sakura had firm grips on her arms and she doubted she could convince Shikamaru to drive her back to her apartment at this point. So she would have to make the best of it.
She lifted her head intent on facing the evening head on, only to find two rather large young men taking liberal glances at herself as well as Temari and Sakura. By large, she meant that each one of them was at least a foot taller than herself and appeared to be enjoying some dose of steroids. Immediately her face flushed pink and she dropped her pale gaze back to the ground. So much for facing the evening head on. She was most likely going to end up staring at the ground for half of the night. She could practically feel their eyes, at least until Temari stepped forward, a grin plastered on her pretty face. Apparently these two were acting like what she assumed a bouncer at a bar would act like.
"How is it going tonight," she asked the two men.
"It's pretty crowded tonight but it's been pretty tame so far. Your brothers got here not too long ago," one of the bouncers supplied back.
With the men's gaze now distracted Hinata looked up to watch Temari converse with the two men. Obviously Temaru knew the two men, which actually did make sense. Temari along with her brothers were actually heavily involved in the world of underground motorcycle racing. Temari hadn't bothered to tell any of them until just recently when she and her brothers had come to the aid of Shikamaru, Naruto, and Lee during the incident with Orochimaru. Since then Naruto, Shikamaru, and Sakura had all been to at least one of her races. Hinata hadn't brought herself to do that yet. She felt guilty because Temari was her friend, yet she just hadn't been able to accept the racing scene. At the moment though it seemed that she was slowly being re-exposed to it. She could only hope for the best.
"Well have fun," the other bouncer said as he waved their group through.
Once inside the temperature rose about ten degrees. The volume rose too and Hinata was pretty sure she would be hard of hearing by the end of the night. Given the number of people crammed into the building she was pretty sure that the night was only going to get worse as well. She had never seen so many people in one building. She imagined just how many fire codes this was violating and bit her lower lip. It hadn't even been this bad at the rallies. Just what were her friends trying to get her into?
She noticed that Sakura slid her hand into Naruto's and Shikamaru placed a hand on the small of Temari's back as they all navigated through the crowd of people, Temari in the lead. Again she felt like the fifth wheel as she trailed along behind the two couples. She resisted the urge to fiddle with her hands and instead chewed lightly on her lower lip. It was still a nervous habit though not quite as obvious as playing with her hands.
As she attempted to keep up with her friends, someone stepped back into her path and knocked her off balance. Flustered, she quickly looked up and found to her horror that the crowd had swallowed up her friends. Her pale eyes widened further as she whirled her head around, strands of her dark hair flying about her face as the panic began to set in. Frantically she turned her gaze towards the person who had backed into her, only to wish she hadn't. Her first instinct told her to run as the tall man grinning at her had undeniably sharp teeth that were quite intimidating. He had strange features, almost shark-like and his hair was dyed a dark blue color. She found herself taking an unconscious step backwards.
"Sorry," she squeaked out, barely loud enough to be heard over the music.
"It's alright," he said still grinning. "I'm the one that walked into you."
She really wished he would stop grinning. He was quite frightening enough without two rows of razor sharp looking teeth being exposed.
"You're scaring the girl," said an impassive voice from behind her. She whirled around at the sudden voice so close to her only to come face to face with a chest clad in a black shirt. Her pale eyes traveled upwards and for a brief moment her heart stopped beating. Midnight black hair, onyx eyes, and that same beautiful pale skin. Her mouth dropped open slightly from the shock as his onyx eyes bore into her.
She was frozen. She didn't know what to say and certainly didn't know what to do. For a brief moment she was no longer in the abandoned warehouse, there was no longer the loud sound of music. Instead she was standing in a cemetery, the sound of the rain the only thing that surrounded her. His words echoed in her head.
If that is the case then you and I happen to be far more alike than anyone would imagine.
It was him again, the same mysterious stranger who had been present the day of Sasuke's funeral. Only now he wasn't quite as much as a mystery. She had realized after he had left that day just who he was. She was staring into the face of Sasuke's brother Itachi, the brother who Sasuke had wanted revenge from, the one who had murdered his parents, the one who had caused him so much pain.
She didn't realize that her expression had changed. It had morphed into something uncommon for Hinata. Her eyes were narrowed, her hands now clenched into small, unnoticed fists at her side. Her parted mouth had closed, her lips now forming a thin line on her usually soft features. It was anger, anger directed at a complete stranger. She wasn't even aware of the surprising change until again the man with the sharp teeth was talking. He had moved around to stand near Itachi's side.
"Not usually the reaction he gets from most women," said the man with the teeth, still grinning that same creepy smile.
"She's a pretty little thing though and I do mean little. Something's familiar about her too," said the blue-haired man, not the least bit concerned with his friend's lack of a reply.
"Hn, she does seem familiar," Itachi answered.
Hinata realized then that he didn't remember her from the funeral. She was slightly relieved though the relief did little to calm her nerves. She didn't like being the center of attention for two men who quite frankly were terrifying. One was a murderer and the other certainly looked the part. It was all she could do not to start shaking under their combined stares. The way they were studying her made her want to bolt, but she had no idea which way to run in this crowd.
Just then she felt a hand on her elbow. She flinched away from the touch, but the grip on her elbow remained firm. She turned her head to see just who it was that had grabbed her. Another young man with fiery red hair and sea foam green eyes stood beside her. His skin was pale and he had a kanji tattoo on his forehead. He was tall, though not as tall as the two men who stood in front of her. Yet something about him was just as intimidating. He stood beside her practically radiating power and despite her best efforts she did shake slightly under his touch.
"If you'd excuse us," he said to Itachi and his friend.
The two men eyed the newcomer but after a moment they only nodded and Hinata felt herself being drug away. Internally Hinata was panicking again. She was glad to be rid of Itachi and his blue-haired friend but she was now being drug further into the crowd by a red-haired stranger. She drug her feet which only seemed to annoy him further.
"I… I… I'm j…just trying to f…find m…my friends," she stammered out, her fear causing her to stutter much to her dismay.
"Don't stammer it's a sign of weakness," said the red-head without even bothering to look at her.
She openly gaped at his back again unsure of what to do now that he had effectively silenced her with one blunt comment. She took a deep breath and opened her mouth again, determined to force out the words without her dreaded stammer.
"My friends, I need to find my friends."
She was proud that she managed to keep herself from tripping over the words though they were still rather rushed. The red-head didn't reply. Deciding she had had enough she jerked her elbow away, only this time he let her go. She looked up and realized she was standing right in front of her friends. They were all seated in a rather large booth, and Sakura looked relieved to see her.
"Geez Hinata why did you walk off like that. You need to use the buddy system at a place like this," she exclaimed.
"Yeah thanks for finding her," Temari said to the red head who only nodded in response.
Hinata stared at her friends. Did they honestly think she had wandered off? They had left her not the other way around. Still she said nothing, only dully nodded to Sakura's statement. She then turned towards the red-head who was standing beside her, unmoving. She bit her lower lip again but worked up the courage to speak.
"Thank you," she offered, her voice again barely audible above the noise. A slight inclination of his head was the only sign that he had heard her, and instantly she looked back down at the ground.
"Oh Hinata this is my youngest brother Gaara," Temari announced, gesturing towards the red head. "And the idiot across from me is my other brother Kankuro."
Gaara said nothing but Hinata watched as Kankuro stood up from his seat and walked over to her. He was grinning at her though his grin was far less intimidating than that other man's had been. He actually seemed friendly, unlike his younger brother.
"Did it hurt when you fell from heaven," Kankuro asked with another grin.
Hinata flushed bright red despite the fact that it was quite possibly the worst pickup attempt she had ever heard. Not that she had heard too many, but she imagined this was quite terrible. Naruto started laughing in the background and Temari threw her shoe at Kankuro's head.
"What was that for," he asked catching the shoe and narrowly escaping Temari's wrath.
"Leave Hinata alone. She is way out of your league," she shouted to which Hinata turned even redder and Sakura began to laugh.
"Come on Hinata come sit with me. I'll protect you from my brother," Temari said as she patted the seat beside her.
Hinata didn't need to be told twice. She walked over to the booth and slide in beside Temari. She watched as Kankuro returned to his seat and Gaara sat down as well. Their whole group was now seated pleasantly around the table and Hinata felt slightly better about the evening though she was still quite rattled from her earlier encounter.
"So where did you run off to," Sakura asked her, interrupting her thoughts.
"I found her talking to Itachi and Kisame," Gaara interjected before she had a chance to reply for herself.
All conversation at the table stopped abruptly. She looked from face to face, everyone seemed to be staring at her with a look of disbelief. Again she felt her face color.
"He… he bumped into me. They started talking to me," she quickly explained. She wasn't sure why but she felt the need to offer an explanation with the way everyone was staring at her.
"Look Hinata stay away from those guys. They are bad news," Temari stated breaking the silence.
"Who are they," she asked while nodding in agreement to what Temari said. They were intimidating, she really didn't have much intention of talking to them ever again.
"They are in the Akatsuki. Have you heard of them?" She shook her head and Temari continued.
"They are a gang, basically guns for hire. These guys will work for anyone for the right price. They are terrorists, assassins, and anything in between. There are even rumors that they had overthrown a few governments in other countries. They are dangerous, they make Orochimaru look like a child."
Hinata gulped, her pale eyes wide. "Why aren't they in j…jail then," she asked, her voice quiet as if one of them might overhear her.
"Because anyone who has ever gotten anything on them has ended up either very rich or dead, usually dead though," Kankuro said from across the table. "FBI, CIA, local cops, everyone has been trying to get information on these guys that will put them away, but nothing ever sticks and the body count always increases."
"Why are they here," Hinata asked with a shudder.
"They have an interest in this underground racing circuit. They have their own team, Team Hawk, that races for them. They've got a team of three racers. They use the money their team makes for weapons, drugs, you name it."
Hinata fell silent with that information, her mind grasping at something Sasuke had told her once.
I swore the day that Itachi walked, that I would get revenge for our parents. So when I was sixteen I got into street racing. I knew that Orochimaru used to be part of the gang that my brother is supposedly in. I wanted to get close to him to see what I could learn about my brother.
This is what Sasuke had been trying to do. This was why he had gotten into racing in the first place. He had wanted to find his brother and send him to jail after what he had did to their parents. This is what Sasuke had wanted and here she was. She looked away from her friends, who were all talking amongst themselves about the rumors they had heard surrounding the Akatsuki. She was here and Sasuke wasn't. It wasn't fair. This had been everything he had worked for. His brother was here, all he would have needed was to get his information. He wasn't here to get it though, he was gone. Yet she remained. She found her pale gaze resting on a group on the far side of the building. She recognized Itachi and the man she had learned to be named Kisame, standing amongst a group of men, the Akatsuki.
Look Hinata stay away from those guys. They are bad news.
Bad news or not Hinata had a debt to repay and suddenly the world of motorcycle racing went from something she wanted nothing to do with to something she needed to be a part of. She would do this for him and while she was at it she would find the girl she used to be. She could do, she could at least try. What was the harm in keeping her ears open and seeing just what she could find out? What was there to lose?
Just about everything.
A/N: I am so sorry that it took me so long to update this. I have admittedly been distracted with my other story. I have not given up on this one though. Let's see this chapter introduced some faces that will be having a larger role in this sequel than they did in the original.
Tsunade, yes she was FBI in the first (though it wasn't mention), and now she has been promoted to Director. Danzo is internal affairs. Tsunade has two agents working on the Akatsuki, any ideas who they might be? And just who might Danzo's agent be. I know all of this of course but I am just trying to get you all thinking. The Akatsuki is a gang and Team Hawk is a group of racers who does racing for them to earn extra money. The members will be introduced in the next chapter or so.
But perhaps even more important than that is Hinata's decision. A bit ooc but it is the basis for the sequel. She wants to find the part of herself that she lost and repay a debt that she feels she owes Sasuke.
Hopefully this clears anything up, if not I can try to answer any questions you may have. And of course as always I hope you enjoyed this chapter and still enjoy the direction the story is going.