Striking Fear

Disclaimer: The first thing I'd do if I owned Naruto, would be to purchase matching socks.

Summary: Crack-Fic. Because the Akatsuki know, deep down, that everyone has a deathly fear of nail polish.

Author's Note: Wrote this in ten minutes before I went out. It's been on my mind for weeks, ever since I started reading Naruto.

"We need something to define us … something more than the coats," Konan mused thoughtfully, looking around her at the nine assembled missing-nins. Sitting deep in their snug, thick coats decorated with red-rimmed clouds, their expressions varied from dark to psychotic to blessedly blank. "We need something that will strike fear into the hearts of our enemies the moment they see us, they will recognize us for who we are and they will quiver as they realize their end has come!"

Pein raised his head and hand, calling for silence in the already silent room.

"I have it," he told them solemnly, curling all fingers but his index to prove his coming point.

"What is it, Pein-sama," the two halves of Zetsu asked respectfully.

Pein's studded, slack face contorted suddenly, before whispering two words into the vast, vast chamber.

I can't believe Pein-sama is making me get this, un, Deidera grumbled as he fought through the crowds of the marketplace, shouldering aside clueless civilians and missing his black-and-red coat already. People knew, they knew instinctively, when they saw that coat, to avoid the one who wore this. None of this – touching him, crap. And he swore, if he felt one more hand where it didn't belong …


Fighting his way to the stand, he pulled out a small sack of coins and a short paper list of requests.

Okay, so – teal, green, dark green, two shades of purple, black, red, dark red, more green …

"I have them, un," Deidera announced his return glumly, about to throw the bag of purchases carelessly onto the table before catching Pein-sama's eye and reluctantly setting the bag down with care.

"Wonderful work, Deidera," Pein showed his approval, moving to open the bag and inspecting the contents shortly before picking up one of the smooth, glass objects and handing it to Konan wordlessly.

The blue-haired woman took the object gently, rolling it in her fingers before smiling.

"Alright everyone," she called the others to attention, gesturing to the centre table and arranging herself at the seat to the right of the head. "Let's get to work."

"Kisame-kun … could you do my right hand for me?"

"Of course, Itachi-san."

"Itachi!" Sasuke roared as he finally confronted his brother, the long corridor of the inn stretched between them. He had eyes only for his brother, his traitorous, hated brother, and he raked his burning eyes over the cloak-shrouded body, darkening with anger and the pure need for reven-

His eyes caught, snagged by one tiny flash of purple that glistened under the fluorescent lights.

"I … is – is that-" his voice trembled in his throat, sweat glistening on his brow as he faced the one thing, the one thing, he thought he would never, never have to face again.

"Oh, this?" Itachi raised his hand, eyeing his fingers with a smirk on his smooth face before slowly turning so the back was facing his wayward little brother.

"-no! Sasuke!" Naruto cried, seeing his friend quiver before sinking to his knees, ensnared by the fear set deep in his heart at the mere sight of-

"Yes, Sasuke. This is exactly what you think it is. This is the thing of nightmares, the thing of demons and darkness and all things you fear in this world. This!" Itachi drew himself up, clenching his raised hand and smirking as he gazed fondly on the visible thumb, painted a deep, deep purple. "Is Nail Polish."

Sasuke sobbed from where he was cowering against the far wall, and Naruto could only watch helplessly from the doorway as Kisame snatched his arm and dragged him away.

His last thoughts before oblivion were the deep-set relief that, when the Historians wrote the story of Uchiha Sasuke and Uzukami Naruto … they could say, truthfully, that they went in a glorious haze of bravery, against a foe they could not ever dream to resist.

Such was the absolute devastation wrecked by the power of Nail Polish.

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