CHAPTER 22

"How are you feeling ?" Naruto asked Itachi who was lying on the bed in the medical chamber. It was an austere, sterile space with one and only purpose – healing. Itachi was resting on the metallic surface of the operating slab, fully dressed and thick medical bandages covered his eyes.

"I am all right," Itachi replied, his voice devoid of feelings. "My brother?"

"In Konoha, with everybody running in circles around him. But he's going to be just fine." Naruto informed the Uchiha, smirking. "And you are lying, I can sense your euphoria as you are absorbing the power in Sasuke's eyes."

"I seem to have no choice in the matter, it just is." Itachi said, still calm on the surface. He was struggling to maintain his composure. Naruto saw it and approved, control was essential to everything. Itachi may be his enemy in the end, but at least he could respect him a little.

"You know, I've been thinking about your bloodline a lot recently. Have you ever tried to find a rational explanation for the changes in your eyes that give you greater powers?"

Itachi cocked his head curiously, looking at him in a way. His eyes were bandaged, but he could 'see' Naruto by sound detection. "To be honest, I tried not to think of it too much. I find this process distasteful, if you must know."

"I know," Naruto smiled with amusement audible in his voice. "Bear with me a little more. As almost anyone can tell you, the eye of your family evolves as time goes by. It gets stronger, more useful. Then it reaches a plateau of it's ability in a three tomoe form. In that stage it's quite a formidable jutsu, literally. The black lines and dots, red irises filled with tightly focused chakra work in sync giving you and your clan extra perceptiveness which seems preternatural. It's a unique seal for a unique ocular technique."

"You are well informed and you understand the intricacies of our legacy quite well," Itachi commented when Naruto paused.

"Thank you, but I'm not done. I now how Sharingan works, maybe even better than you. Every Uchiha who awakens the Sharingan seems to have the same set of abilities. But you and I know it's not so. Your clan ascribed certain differences to differences in psyche, talent and power. But that's just one half of the solution to the question. The other is that each Sharingan is subtly different, just as brothers may be twins yet still different in some small ways. That is why some Uchiha have better genjutsu abilities like you and Shisui, while others have better spatial and temporal perception."

Itachi sounded interested, "You're not the first to propose such a theory, but we never had the means to prove or disprove it. In the end, we know that such differences occur."

Naruto nodded in agreement. "That's true. So why some Uchiha failed to activate the eye? I mean, seventy percent of your number usually activated the Sharingan by the age of thirteen. Some isolated cases occurred even at a later age."

Itachi frowned under bandages, "That has never been completely explained, but it was usually blamed on bad genes. Certain lines were more erratic in producing Sharingan users, that's all. It was always hard to keep our bloodline stable and pure, while avoiding too heavy interbreeding."

"That was probably true," Naruto agreed. "But why the instability in the first place? The Hyuuga were always producing children with Byakugan available, only with individual degrees of power and skill. Why are the Uchiha different?"

"They were even stricter in breeding than us in the past," Itachi explained. "Our eyes slowly evolved into modern shape after many centuries of breeding, during which we still accepted outsiders. That practice was abandoned later when our Sharingan stabilized."

"I suppose your explanation seems sound, since nobody really knows that the Hyuuga still take in the outsiders to refresh their bloodline." Naruto smirked. Itachi stiffened. "That surprises you? Eh, those Hyuugas are a crafty lot. They do it every generation or so, by sending some of their Branch Family women to seduce carefully chosen men and come back to give new blood into their clan. It has made them quite safe from the effects of interbreeding and dilution of their vaunted bloodline. For example, Hinata Hyuuga's grandmother slept with an outsider who was not of any clan and possessed no exceptional traits, save for being similarly built like all Hyuuga men."

"Nobody ever noticed?" Itachi wondered aloud, surprised a lot.

"No, why should they have? Everybody knows that they worship the purity of their blood. That's why they have to use that Caged Bird seal, their bloodline is quite stable and could be bred outside the Clan. Yet your clan has never seen fit to protect their bloodline so." Naruto said, watching with an interest as Itachi mulled over those facts. "So, what makes the Uchiha so different – your bloodline is still unstable, we know it. I know that the half-bred children can awaken the Sharingan in less than fifty percent of cases, while their descendants who aren't Uchiha at all loose any ability to do so in all cases. It's known even to you."

Itachi was getting annoyed with this. "I think you already think you know the answer, so be done with it already. I could use some extra rest."

Naruto chuckled in response, "Of course, so be it. I believe that the Sharingan isn't natural bloodlimit. When Madara told how the elder son inherited the Sage's spiritual energy and his dojutsu, I couldn't help but wonder why was the younger son so different. If they were truly the Sage's natural born offspring, they should have inherited all of his traits more or less equally. Yet one has the eyes and spiritual energy, the other has body and physical energy. It made me think on exact phrasing of the story. The meanings can change slightly through the centuries, or can become interchangeable. What if the story about the Six Paths Sage was essentially the same, but slightly differently interpreted? Students are often like sons to their teachers, sometimes they literally are reffered to as such. Perhaps the Sage adopted two boys who were really brothers or weren't. When they became suitable in his eyes, he transferred some of his unique chakra into them, changing them literally. You know it can be done."

"I don't think it very likely," Itachi commented.

Naruto shook his head, disagreeing. "I must warn you to beware the arrogance and pride you have, it will only blind you to the possibilities outside your current experience. I do not need you to believe me, this is just a theory I find more acceptable than the centuries old prattle drummed about by arrogant men who care only for their power and prestige."

Itachi chuckled at that. "I apologize for being a small minded fool then."

"No need, after all you are a product of your upbringing." Naruto humored the Uchiha. "Back to my theory. What makes it more likely is also the fact that the Senju are similar. While they were always naturally stronger, only a few among them showed really amazing powers like those of Hashirama and his brother. The same can be said for my clansmen, who were related to the Senju. Advantageous traits that occur naturally are prone to surviving and becoming stable, unlike those birthed by artificial means. It's a biological law, if you like. That's why I believe in my theory. "

"That's fine with me, but you strayed from the original topic of our conversation." Itachi noticed.

"Ah, yes!" Naruto chuckled. "Well, let's get back to it. The Sharingan changes it's appearance, or rather it reveals it's true structure as the wielder gets stronger and more prepared to deal with new abilities. I think that Sharingan does not evolve, it actually just activates it's hidden potential, it's true shape – my belief is that your ancestor possesseddd similar or even better powers than what you think as higher level of the Sharingan, the Mangekyou Sharingan. Somewhere in your blood is written, inherited what he passed on. What you all are doing is simply trying to awaken that remembered shape. Of course, you all are too different and each Mangekyou is different as well, but basic traits are all there. A super genjutsu or super ninjutsu, and always Susanoo."

"You forget the blindness," Itachi warned Naruto.

"Yes, that too, but my belief is it's not due to the Mangekyou per se, but because your body and brain aren't capable to support such chakra flow correctly and that's why you go blind. It's like trying to use the jutsu you can't control well and it hurts you. And when you take your sibling's eyes, that slight hitch in chakra flow is adjusted for. A wrong flow in the right channel causes damage, but a wrong flow in the foreign channel ( in this instance foreign eyes that are very similar to the original set) becomes a correct flow that causes no damage."

"I find your explanation odd, because it means that we are practically born to literally grow our eyes for our siblings. It doesn't sit well with me." Itachi said, obviously not convinced.

"Whatever," Naruto shrugged. "I just wanted to share my theories, that's all. I suppose I should go now, there's work to be done."

Itachi relaxed as Naruto's footsteps receded in the distance, his mind still trying to wrap around the ideas the blonde casually threw his way. He couldn't help but truly consider that some were possibly really true. It was the cornerstone of the Uchiha's existence, their connection to the Six Paths Sage.

Now, it was all just a misinterpreted truth, bent to suit the egos of their predecessors during the early days of the clan. Itachi knew of the reasons behind the feud with the Senju and found them petty. Now he thought them even worse.

He thought quietly on how to proceed further. He would be healthy soon, and more powerful than ever. He was pretty certain that his life was nearing it's end. Pain would have made certain he could be defeated quickly in the case he tried something – which meant that he was booby trapped with some kind of death seal. Perhaps Naruto himself put it on him. He wouldn't think it beyond the blonde's ability and willingness. Naruto was obviously as dangerous as Madara. Maybe even more. Luckily he still had one ace up his sleeve. But who to use it on? He still didn't know who'd be the best target.

Pain was undoubtedly the most powerful member of the organization, maybe even immune to his trump card. But Naruto...he scared him. He just was too smooth, always able to see things in the way no one else could. And he possessed the secrets of the Uchiha, which should've been impossible. Oddly, he was unusually certain in his theories about the Sage. Was it possible that Kyuubi told him certain things?

He had to be patient, until the biju were collected fully. Then he'd see who he could use better. It was now about the fate of the world, that he was certain about. Even Konoha could be sacrificed for that goal.


Light trickled feebly through the curtains, creating a gloomy shadowed space where people had to strain their eyes to see properly. It wasn't the best atmosphere for a hospital room, but the current occupant wasn't complaining.

Uchiha Sasuke was lying on his bed, conscious and alternating emotionally between despair and hope. He was blind, his eyes were stolen from him.

The memory of the fight haunted him; he was so close! But Itachi was far stronger than he or anyone else had thought. His sheer power enabled him to match Sasuke even with his Curse Seal, Orochimaru's power and all the training and enhancement drugs Danzo provided in the last three years.

He almost had him, were it not for that cursed power of the Mangekyou. Those blasted eyes proved to be an impassable shield and terrifying blade against which even his strongest jutsu failed.

But he had enough time to replay the battle in his memory, which was perfect. The truth was, he was closer than he had thought at first. He had seen the strain of those eyes, the way Itachi swayed a little while maintaining Susanoo. If only he had more chakra, more stamina to drag the fight on...

Yes, he was closer than he hoped. Sasuke smiled to himself, it was worth it.

Itachi would have his power and his last, hidden gift. For once in his life he had felt thankful for Danzo's teachings. Everything could be used as a weapon, even one's own eyes. For some time he was on a special drug regimen, a type of nerve poison that could kill slowly if given to a person unprepared for it's ingestion.

His whole body was saturated with it, making it a part of itself. It was an old trick used mainly by poison specialists. There were ninja who were literally walking poisons, able to kill with mere breath or touch.

Sasuke didn't have to go that far, just enough to make his eyes lethal to Itachi who would certainly take them for himself.

That knowledge kept him sane, happy even. He was free of his past, of Orochimaru and he had Itachi to thank for that. The only thing that concerned him was those damnable seals Naruto put on him to prevent him from getting a new pair of sharingans. The blonde bastard must've planned it that way from the start, but why ?

Naruto was the true enigma here; whose side he was really on?

Hope and despair, it was such a bitter combination. Sasuke laughed, producing a dark, sad sound, yet it also carried a sense of relief. He just had to wait, he didn't dare say anything of his secret weapon to anyone, not until Itachi was presented dead in front of him. He wasn't giving that bastard any chances at surviving, not this time!


"So, what do you think?" asked Tsunade, staring through the window of her office which gave her a beautiful view of Konoha sprawling far and wide.

"Hm?" Kakashi asked, suddenly roused from his morose thinking. Tsunade glared at his lack of attention so he hurried to find an answer. "Honestly, I'm a bit concerned. Why was Sasuke left alive on our doorstep? Why did Itachi spare him? As for Sasuke himself, he seems fine – for now."

"Maybe it was a message, a display of Itachi's power. Perhaps he wants Sasuke to witness his ultimate victory. Did you study those seals on Sasuke? As far as I could tell, they are only meant to prevent another implantation."

"Yes, that's it." Kakashi answered promptly. "They are tricky, but I think I can solve them in time. Time that we don't have right now, unfortunately. I can also safely guess that they were Naruto's work, it's all very similar to Jiraiya's style."

"Damn that boy..." Tsunade spoke sadly. "He knows Hiraishin, Kakashi. He is now probably the greatest combat threat we have to watch out for. You know what he can do, we all do."

Kakashi swallowed heavily, he knew all too well what was Hiraishin no jutsu capable of. And he had no doubt that Naruto was as good as sensei used to be. Maybe even better, considering that he also knew the secrets of the Sage Mode. The reports from Kumo's famous Killer Bee confirmed that Naruto was able to take on a tailed beast alone and win. No wonder he gave away Kyuubi, he didn't need the damned thing to win his battles.

Tsunade turned away from Kakashi, staring at the village again. "The village will be almost ready for war, all other villages as well. There has been a recent breakout of mild illnesses among some ninja, but nothing to really worry about for now. Probably some seasonal bug, they always pop up when you need them the least. Take some rest , you will be heavily taxed in the coming days, Kakashi. I'll call you when we're ready to move out."

"Hai, Hokage-sama," Kakashi nodded and vanished from her office, using her window to shunshin away.


Raikage growled, crumpling the latest information written on the paper concerning the Akatsuki.

"Damn it all! Every time we learn something, it's worse than before. Now they tell us that Uchiha Itachi has the same power as Uchiha thrice cursed Madara, the Namikaze brat knows that infernal Hiraishin and to top it all there's some outbreak of flu or something going around that had put some good ninja in the bed, making them useless for the war."

"Well, it's not all that bleak Raikage-sama," said one of his advisors. He was an older ninja, who served as advisor to the Third Raikage. "The other villages have agreed to follow our lead and we will have ninja from all villages to supplement our losses. I think that numbers won't be a problem. Suna has also confirmed the knowledge of the area where Shukaku will resurface. We might win this one after all."

"At least I have Yugito and Bee back, they are exceptional warriors even without their beasts." A grumbled, slightly mollified by the return of his brother. Bee was depressed, feeling he had failed the village, but A managed to talk him out of that stupid thinking. Yugito on the other hand was quite angry, which gave her the needed motivation for war. She wanted to hurt the Namikaze brat badly for being such a traitor. The boy was gifted with the greatest treasure of the shinobi world and he betrayed such trust so easily. Yugito despised traitors, more than anyone else. She was a great kunoichi in that way.


They were gathered in a large circular room, all of them prepared for the final phase of their plan to conquer the known world.

"It's time,"Nagato aka Pein spoke to the members around him. His silver eyes were cold and determined, leaving no doubts about his resolve to succeed. "We know when and where will Shukaku appear, but so do the ninja villages. The area is at the southern border of the Wind Country. It will happen in ten days hence."

"Bad spot, for us that is." Sasori grumbled in his usual deep, robotic tone. "No place for us to hide, make ambushes or even protect ourselves properly. The villages will have the advantage of the open desert area where their big numbers will overwhelm us."

Every shinobi in the room knew that, but someone had to say it loud. All seemed a bit non plussed, but Naruto merely sighed at their short-sightedness. "It's not a matter of beating them, it's just a matter of holding them back long enough to get Shukaku. Which can be done fast, if done my way."

"Oh, yeah?" Deidara sounded challenging. "So tell us what is your plan?"

Naruto smiled. "It's really simple. Their massive force can be rendered useless for a short time by using a wide area barrier technique, combined with several ambushes thrown their way as they have to travel to that spot to battle us. The main concern will be Suna shinobi who will be there before anyone else. Once we defeat them, we put up a barrier and wait for Shukaku to come."

"Naruto, there is no way we can use the barrier for so long. Shukaku's sealing will take at least a day, probably more." Itachi pointed out calmly. "And the enemy will have barrier cracking teams on our barrier as soon as they get there."

Naruto shook his head at the shinobi in the room. "Wrong, wrong...you are forgetting that we already have many biju with us. The greatest concentration of power in the world. They can hold our barrier without any problems. And we do have some manpower to stall the enemy troops on the way. As for Shukaku, we will not seal him into Gedo Mazo. We will use the simplest and fastest method to take him with us – Shukaku was once sealed away in a teapot with special properties. We have something better."

"What?" Kakuzu asked, intrigued despite himself.

"Me," Naruto stated, much to the shock of all present. He smirked. "I can host Shukaku easily for a time. I can survive the extraction process, as demonstrated once. It won't take more than five or ten minutes to do it. Itachi can put Shukaku into docile state with his eyes. I will seal the thing inside myself and the rest of you will make sure that no one disrupts the barrier. Our leader is capable of destroying an army himself, if the need arises. Deidara too."

"You've got some balls, kid. I like that plan." Kisame grinned toothily. "Hell, we might not even have to fight at all. I like fighting like everyone else, but taking on a combined force of all villages is suicidal. This plan needs some adjustments and we're all set to go. The main goal is to get Shukaku, just as brat pointed out. "

"Then we are agreed ?" Nagato asked. Every ninja in the room gave their okay and then the real planning started.

Naruto listened to their plans, approving of some, considering the other ridiculous. But he was pleased, his plans were being made real. It only helped that he took some early initiative when he had infected the ex-jinchuriiki with a specially tailored flu strain that should be taking it's toll right now.

Biological warfare wasn't unknown in shinobi circles, but Naruto was the first to bring it into play this way. The ninja villages would find themselves unpleasantly undermanned when about a third of their forces become bedridden by the strong fever, muscle cramps and pains.

He had created that illness during his three year journey with Jiraiya, mostly because he was eager to test his skills in that area. Perhaps the Force was already guiding him back then, giving him some subconscious clues about the future.

Anyway, the illness would effect regular users of chakra worse than the civilians, so the spread would be limited to the ninja mostly. Naruto made the illness less aggressive and lethal than it really was, because he wanted it to spread unnoticed on a greater number of targets before anyone suspected foul play. He knew that Tsunade would be the first to do so, but it was already too late. And there was no time to make a cure and have these shinobi be combat able by the time they went to collect Shukaku. That was the beauty of the plan, the timing of the events had to be set so that all happened in such a tight temporal frame that no one could do anything worthwhile.


They never saw their death come, it was all over in a matter of seconds. A hundred Suna ninja were posted around the probable area of Shukaku's reemergence, ready to seal the beast in the temporary container and flee with it to be hidden away from everyone.

They failed, because of one single man.

Naruto had tricked Suna's sensor nin by using the same trick from when he first met Nagato. He suppressed his chakra and shifted it to resemble an animal's; he needed to get closer for his attack to work.

His aerial assault was totally unexpected, nobody could sense a veritable rain of Hiraishin marked kunai falling from the sky. By the time they saw anything, Naruto was already among them and killing with swift wind chakra enhanced sword strikes. Heads and bodies were cut to halves, blood was being spilled on the sands without mercy.

Truth be told, Naruto didn't need the kunai and all the preparations when he had Madara's space –time migration jutsu down to art. But he had company and pretenses had to be upheld.

He activated his radio when he was done, "Okay, I'm done Itachi. How's Sasori and Deidara's part going on?"

"Suna army has been slowed down, it's unlikely they will manage to merge with Konoha's troops on time. Leader-sama is also busy, he's keeping a majority of Konoha's force from advancing. " Came Itachi's answer.

"Good, good. That will give us more time to prepare for catching Shukaku. Be ready to support me when I call for you."

"Of course," Itachi agreed. He ignored the corpses he left in his wake.


"Yeah, this is fun Sasori no Danna!" Deidara laughed, riding on his clay dragon above the bewildered Suna shinobi who had just suffered am major blow when Deidara's clay mine filed was activated.

Hundreds of Suna nin were terribly wounded, dozens dead or soon to die. Then Sasori's spies under his control turned on their comrades, increasing the confusion and chaos. One of the high ranked officers under Sasori's control managed to kill Baki, the latest Kazekage and that officially broke Suna's force.

Temari and Kankuro could do only so much, rallying the survivors in a hasty regrouping maneuver.

It was bad enough that twenty percent of their shinobi had to stay home because of the sudden outbreak of flu, which was unusually fast and highly infective. It was worse when Deidara's attack virtually decimated them.

But the sudden traitors among them caused a massive drop in combat readiness.

"Look! What are they!" Someone yelled, pointing towards the small army of shambling figures, looking like zombies gone bad.

"Oh, no!" Kankuro hissed to Temari, he recognized them. "Everyone, fall back! Those are Sasori's puppets!"

It was a wrong thing to say, the fear among the surviving forces increased. Sasori was the most feared Suna criminal of the age, the traitor who slew the Sandaime and was known to turn his dead opponents into his puppets.

"All of you stay back!" said the older woman, Chiyo. The ancient kunoichi stared at the puppets with determination, then she turned to Temari. "Girl, take the men to the rendezvous point however you can. I and those under my command will keep my wayward grandson busy. You must meet with Konoha's force or we will not be able to entrap the Akatsuki as they try to steal Shukaku!"

"You might not survive these two, we need to stick together!" Kankuro protested.

Chiyo's brother shook his head. "No, that's all right. For the sake of overall plan, this is our best shot. Go youngster and make sure our sacrifice isn't in vain."

From above, Deidara saw the portion of Suna's army run while the others stayed to face Sasori and his puppets. He grinned evilly. "Damn that brat, but he was right! The idiots are just making this easier!"

Sasori on the ground moved among his puppets, feeling a bit disappointed. They really underestimated him. "Deidara, use that move you like to brag about so much and then return to help me finish these fools off. My grandmother is formidable, but I do not wish to expend all my aces now."

"Yeah, yeah..." Deidara agreed and steered his dragon creature ahead of the fleeing shinobi who thought they could run from him. A gleeful grin found it's way on his effeminate face. "It's time to show them that art is a bang, but sometimes it's quiet and deadly; yeah! C4, coming right up!"


"It's really sad how easy this had been, " Naruto commented to Itachi who had joined him in the plain littered with corpses.

The rest of the Akatsuki had reported that the allied forces were being suitably distracted for the time being.

"Indeed," Itachi was forced to agree with Naruto. However loyal he was to Konoha, he had to apprecciate Naruto's tactical genius. Then again, he had the same mental capacity and it really wasn't so hard to predict several potential ways the allied villages would try to beat them.

They knew of Naruto's Hiraishin so they naturally assumed that Naruto would be the one sent to kill the group waiting for Shukaku, while his Akatsuki buddies would be forced to face the shinobi armies.

The allied commanders weren't wrong. What they wrongly assumed was that their counter to Naruto's move would work – the shinobi waiting for Shukaku were bait while the covert group of barrier specialists were lying in wait till Naruto came and then they were supposed to trap him inside the barrier designed to stop all space-time manipulations.

They were well hidden inside a barrier of their own; but nobody truly understood how Sage mode worked or what it could do. Naruto was able to sense the disturbance in the nature that revealed the team's location.

That's why Itachi hung back, he was Naruto's secret weapon against the hidden ninja who revealed their location as soon as Suna shinobi started dying. It was a desperate sacrifice, but pointless in the end.

Itachi had toyed with the idea of letting Naruto be caught, but he had a plan of his own which would guarantee the victory of allied ninja forces.

"You don't understand," Naruto shook his head sadly. He stared at Itachi intently, making the Uchiha feel alarmed. "You do know you're as good as dead, don't you?"

Itachi relaxed a little, Naruto was in one of his talk-a-lot moods again. He seemed to like the sound of his voice, too much like Orochimaru. "I suspect that my days are numbered, Pain certainly must've used some precautionary tactic in case I'm a spy or truly Madara's man. I would've done the same."

"That's true,"Naruto chuckled. "You know, I've never meet anyone with so many causes of death in waiting. You're truly unique, Itachi-san. Yet, in the end your death will be caused by Sasuke."

"How so?"

"He's become really clever, you know. I guess Danzo had managed to drum a few good lessons in his stubborn head. Sasuke has saturated his blood with poisonous agent. When you took his eyes, a small dose was injected into your blood as well and that will kill you."

Itachi smiled. "Well, maybe there is hope for Sasuke. I didn't expect him to be so underhanded."

"You don't mind, do you?" Naruto cocked his head, looking at Itachi with interest.

"My plan was to make Sasuke grow strong enough to kill me and he's made me proud." Itachi shrugged. "The clan will live anew, freed from the arrogance of the old. As planned."

"As planned, I like the sound of that." Naruto smiled. He made a hand gesture subtly and a stone rolled in distance. Itachi's head twitched to check it out, it was an instinctive gesture.

That was all Naruto needed to manipulate the shadows and catch Itachi off guard. "Kagemane no jutsu; success."

Itachi tried to force his head to turn back, but Naruto was strong enough. He kept trying for a while, to no avail. Instead he felt himself turn around even more, imitating Naruto's motion. They stood back to back, their faces away from each other.

"I learned it a while ago, from watching Shikamaru train." Naruto explained to Itachi. "It wasn't that hard to learn, the jutsu isn't a bloodline related technique. As you can see, it is very useful when you need to make sure someone's doing exactly what you want. Your eyes are useless now, since you need to see your targets."

Itachi stopped resisting. Naruto was right – his Mangekyou was quite useless. But...he opened his mouth and ravens appeared all around them, it was his genjutsu at work to hide the real assault. He didn't need his eyes for this!

Naruto sensed immense danger now, tensing as the world shifted into darker shade of itself and an immense flock of ravens raised a cawing storm, wings beating furiously and their gleaming eyes...

The Force trembled in that moment and Naruto drew on the Dark Side harder than ever! His eyes changed, becoming red rimmed molten spheres of gold. Burn!

The command pulsed in the invisible strands of life and death, giving birth to unseen fire. A single raven screamed and fell, struck by the immense heat of someone's anger given life.

The genjutsu fell apart, leaving only a single raven burned on the sand.

Naruto turned around, giving Itachi a glare promising most horrible fate. "What was that? I could feel it as it almost bore it's way into my head. It wasn't like any illusion I've ever heard of; the reality as I know it seemed to waver."

Itachi was a few steps away from Naruto, his twin Mangekyous shining red and his chakra was ready. "I must admit I'm truly impressed. Your eyes, that was unexpected."

Naruto narrowed his eyes dangerously. "I'd like an explanation, before you die."

"It was something I was saving for Sasuke actually; it's Shisui's eye." Itachi began saying. "Shisui was my partner in all things, that eye was his gift for me to make sure our clan's sacrifice wasn't in vain."

"Uchiha Shisui, the famous comrade of yours. Famed for his mastery over shunshin and genjutsu. So you didn't kill him."

Itachi gave Naruto a sad smile. "I watched him kill himself. His eyes were the most powerful thing he had. Danzo had stolen one and he entrusted the other to me. All for Konoha. He made it seem that he had destroyed them."

"What they could do?"

"They gave him the power to enter someone's mind and alter it according to his will, all without the victim being aware. " Itachi explained. "The ability could be used only every decade or so. I guess it failed in the end."

"It almost worked," Naruto admitted grudgingly. "Were it not for my secret abilities, I'd have become Konoha's loyal dog, right?"

"That's right – the command in the eye was very specific, 'Protect Konoha'." Itachi admitted. "It was my ace in the sleeve for several situations actually. Although none predicted your defection."

"There was no defection, because there was no loyalty to begin with." Naruto snorted.

"I suppose this was inevitable, " Itachi sighed, preparing to fight. His Sharingans started slowly to spin.

"By the Force, will they ever stop underestimating me..." Naruto whispered in annoyed tone and vanished from Itachi's sight.

Itachi felt something behind himself, but it was too late. The blow to the back of his head knocked him out and revealed Naruto with thunderous expression on his face. He kicked Itachi in the ribs, just to vent his anger a bit.

"Did you really think you could match my powers Itachi? I have to admit you almost got me once but that was your only chance and you blew it. I'd like to kill you now, but I told you that Sasuke would be the one to kill you."

Naruto grabbed Itachi by hand and they vanished, reappearing on a small islet somewhere in the middle of nowhere. He placed a mark on Itachi, removing his ability to summon anything.

Naruto looked around, seeing only vast expanse of blue ocean and endless sky. He chuckled to himself. "Enjoy your last days here Uchiha Itachi, it's a good place to die at."

He vanished, leaving Itachi there to meet his end all alone and with knowledge that his plan to subdue Naruto and save Konoha had failed. Naruto had every intention of making sure HIS plan worked.


Deepest apologies, my faithful readers! Really, really sorry for the long wait till this update. But you know, I've been mulling this part in my head in snippets almost daily and nothing seemed to satisfy my sense of how real Sith Naruto would've done it.

Most ways seemed too messy, to flaimboyant and essentially involving massive battles and so on. That seemed just too much like anime and manga, too unoriginal dare I say.

It wasn't about battles, huge fireballs and zombie outbreaks; it was about being sly and clever, ruthless and determined. I figured if anyone could take on Itachi at his best and win, it would be Naruto as I imagine him to be here. There is no glory and fame, just power applied in the precise moment.

But it's damn hard to do it right, even this will most likely come as a big let down to most of you - but it's the best I could produce with my muse tut-tutting on my shoulder. I hope some of you will find it satisfactory at the least.

I can't promise swift updates again, my ideas come and go but only rarely I have the time to properly sit down and write. It never seems like a good moment, it's hard to get going actually. The saying that stories write themelves isn't that far off the mark. It took me two evenings to write scond part of this chapter with the first being written months ago and then left to stew in the back of my head proccupied with daily life.

These two evenings seemed proper when i sat and begun typing. Words and images flowed smoothly, although I must admit I was again poor with details. It just didn't seem important during the writing.

I hope my little twists worked and that some of you were surprised.

To switch subjects, manga has gone better lately and anime is going to look awesome in a month or two! There's still much to happen and Naruto may even last another year after this one. I can't wait to see Sasuke vs Itachi - round two!

Of the movies, I saw in cinemas Underworld IV. The series never pretended to be something of enormous quality, but it was decently done in that dark grim style. The third part I didn't watch, the fourth made me sorry for spending my precious money on the ticket. It just wasn't worth it, I should've waited for it on the DVD store.

Honestly, they should stop making those vampires and werewolves already. Let's wait another decade before trying again. It worked with Blade, right? Until they ruined it as well. I'd like to hear which vamp movie was the best in your opinion - I'm always fan of Lost Boys. The sequels , not so much. Blade comes in the second place and then Bram Stoker's Dracula with Mr. Kenneth Brannagh and always brilliant Gary Oldman.

Can't wait this summer, really. With the Avengers about to assemble, this summer should be awesome. Spiderman reboot? Kill the hollywoodian money grubbers; what the hell are they thinking? Why reboot? The story was there, even if the third part sucked for me. Somehow it seemed too short, too literal. And honestly, if evil means dressing and looking gay and walking down the street with a creepy rythm and stupid pointing act...NO THANK YOU! Tobey must've decided that he was done doing the series if that's what was it coming down to. Btw, Kirsten Dunst is hot and all, but I just couldn't stomach her in this one. Her role just made me want to scream how pathetic she came out to be.

By the way, what's with the post Avatar 3d madness among filmmakers? It's not good, not in my opinion. 2D is just fine for me, really. I had to suffer through the last Hpotter movie, because my cousins wanted to see it so I went along. It was 3d version and I sat throught it somehow always wondering waht was the hype all about. I didn't see anything special that would make the picture more 'realistic' or something. It also gave me mild headache.

Which is why it pissed me off when I heard of SW done in 3D! C'mon, quit it already...

Smurfs are my childhood favorites; I don't have the guts to see them on big screen today. I was told it would ruin my good memories of them. What do you guys think?

Yeah, the last and the best - ACTA, die,die,die! May Sasuke burn you with his righteous Uchiha vengeance!