Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Negima.
Amegakure no Sato
In the highest room of the highest tower, where four stone faces were carved at the top, three people stood atop of the head with rippled eyes, face piercings, and a tongue sticking out.
The first was a man with bright orange, spiky hair, face piercings, and purple, ringed eyes. The second was a blue-haired woman with amber eyes and a piercing on her lower lip. The third was a pale man with golden eyes and slit pupils.
"You have a lot of nerve to return after what you pulled, Orochimaru," the ripple-eyed man said in a low voice towards the smirking snake-man.
Not losing his smirk, Orochimaru replied, "And you seem to have lots of bravado for someone who isn't even pulling the strings, Pein."
The rippled eyes narrowed before Pein said, "I knew letting you escape alive was a mistake. You know too much." He raised his hand. "I shall dispose of you before you can even attempt to escape."
"Enough, Pein," a new voice interrupted them. All three of them turned to see another man with an orange mask designed in a spiral fashion walking towards them. "Orochimaru isn't so foolish as to come to Akatsuki main base without his convoluted plans."
"Kukuku," Orochimaru responded as his tongue slithered out like a snake. "You call my plans convoluted and yet you seek to collect the Bijuu from their respective jinchuuriki's corpses? That's rather hypocritical of you, isn't it, Madara-kun?"
Madara paused in his stride before continuing his walk. "How long have you known?"
"Ever since I discovered these various strings of coincidences since the Kyuubi attack 16 years ago. So far, there have only been two people in history who could have the power to control the Kyuubi: Senju Hashirama and Uchiha Madara. And I know for a fact that the former would rather slit his own throat than destroy the very village he founded. That left the latter. It would also make sense since I highly doubt that Itachi-kun, gifted and powerful he may be, would be able to kill an entire clan by himself. Whether or not he did make contact with you didn't matter, it didn't change the fact that you would like nothing more than to relish in the destruction of your clan." Orochimaru crossed his arms, still wearing his arrogant smirk. Then, he started to make gestures with his hands, something that only Madara saw since he was the only one facing Orochimaru.
He was using Konoha ANBU hand signs to communicate with the masked Akatsuki.
I have more but I doubt that you'll want Nagato-kun or Konan-kun to find out about your true identity, Madara-kun, if that is your real identity.
The single Sharingan eye widened from within the mask. "I underestimated you, Orochimaru. Come with me. We'll discuss more in private."
"I'm glad you see reason, Madara-kun," Orochimaru followed Madara deeper into the darkness of the tower.
The woman turned to Pein, who held narrowed eyes. "Nagato, is everything alright?"
"I am of no concern to you, Konan," Pein replied coldly. "What should be of concern is Orochimaru. I do not trust him. You would do well to keep a sharp eye on him. The moment Madara proposed they talk privately, I know that Orochimaru would return to Akatsuki. Do not let your guard down."
With a bow, Konan said, "As you say."
"Talk, Orochimaru," Madara demanded.
As soon as they entered the room, Madara immediately rounded on Orochimaru and grasped him by the neck before slamming him to the wall.
"Kukuku," Orochimaru didn't seem to notice or care that his throat is in the hands of a being far more powerful than him. "For all my resources and intelligence, the only thing I know is that you are not Uchiha Madara. Madara has way too much pride to reduce himself to happy-go-lucky fool. Besides, even if you were the actual Madara, your pride would have hit rock bottom at this point. That brings me to my next proof: your battle with Sanbi. Either you were too old and weak since the time of the Shodaime Hokage or you were hiding your real strength to avoid suspicion from anyone; but that wouldn't change the fact that your already degraded pride would have already killed Deidara-kun for helping you in your battle against Sanbi. So far, I have too many possible theories as to who you really are but it wouldn't be too farfetched to guess that I would uncover the real one in time."
"What do you want?"
"Akatsuki and I have a common enemy, amidst our differing list: Konohagakure no Sato. Through Kabuto, I learned that Sasori-kun, Hidan-kun, and Kakuzu-kun have all fallen to their hand. As such, you are running out of people quicker than you are gaining the Bijuu, and you are barely halfway through the nine."
"Are you re-offering your services to Akatsuki once more?"
"Take it however you wish. But our goals are similar in that we want to see Konoha burn to the ground and you do not have much of a choice since you have a little over half of your members remaining."
"Che," Madara spat, "you drive a hard bargain. But what do I get out of it? Konoha is the last target since Itachi and Kisame are both targeting the Yonbi with Nagato and Konan going after the Rokubi soon. I can easily tell that you simply want to be behind strong forces so that your enemies would be afraid to attack you."
"It is true that I seek nothing more than to protect myself from those who wish me dead but I'd be foolish not to increase my chances. I am a scientist, Madara-kun. I can increase the potential of your forces. If you so wish, I can even give you the same adjustments I gave Danzo. I will even aid Akatsuki in gaining the remaining Bijuu. All I want is as much resources as I would want and protection."
"Very well," he said after a pause, removing his hand from Orochimaru's neck, "but I will be watching you for any treachery. Double-cross me and your life is forfeit."
He raised his hands. "Madara or not, I am not about to anger the man who intruded on Konoha, killed ANBU guards, controlled the Kyuubi, and battled Namikaze Minato to a standstill."
Back with Pein and Konan
When Madara and Orochimaru returned, they found Pein sitting by the main head's tongue and Konan was standing behind him.
"Madara," Pein suddenly said, knocking Konan out of her staring at Amegakure. "I assume that Orochimaru is reinstated?" He stood and walked towards them, Konan following him.
"Perceptive as usual," Madara mockingly replied but Pein didn't reply. "Use whatever term you will but I see this as a temporary alliance. He will aid us in gathering the Bijuu and increase all of Akatsuki's potential and he will receive our protection and scientific support."
"Is it wise to allow him to rejoin?" Konan asked.
"If he is a traitor, kill him without hesitation," Madara spoke with a cold tone. She gave a stiff nod.
"Now that these introductions are done," Orochimaru held out his hand, "I shall require one of those chakra rods from Pein and some paper made by Konan's jutsu for starters."
Both people narrowed their eyes. Behind the snake-man, Madara nodded at the two before they moved.
Konan held out her hand and a kunai made of paper formed on her palm.
Pein brought forth a long, black rod from his sleeve.
Both held their items to Orochimaru, who took it with great enthusiasm. As he turned around and left, Madara called out, "Remember, Orochimaru, betray us and you'll know the wrath of Uchiha Madara."
Konoha – Next day
"So far, he's resisted anything we throw at him, Hokage-sama," Morino Ibiki said to the frowning Minato.
"I even pulled out the big guns," Anko said, whose voice is filled with frustration, "and he gave us nothing!"
"Even Inoichi's Mind Reading jutsu didn't work. We're running out of options here, Hokage-sama."
With a sigh, Minato said, "Fine. Call Fate here. He'll extract the information from Kabuto."
"I don't mean to doubt the brat," Anko said, crossing her arms beneath her bust, "but what makes him able to do what we couldn't?"
"He's the reason Danzo did nothing during his execution. He's learned many things during his absence."
"Why didn't you send him in sooner, Hokage-sama," Ibiki asked.
"For one, I had him go on many missions regarding Akatsuki. For another, he is not one to reduce himself to torture and interrogation. Danzo was the only one he's interrogated. The last reason would be that, per his condition, he would be given full control of a situation that he is put in. In other words, if he were to be brought to Kabuto for interrogation, he would most likely send you two, and any other interrogators, out of the room and seal it. I fear for him and his prisoner, in that case."
"Given what he has shown us so far," Ibiki grunted, "I doubt that I would want to deny him privacy. Alright, we'll call the little guy to T&I." Ibiki turned around and walked to leave.
Anko grinned as she trailed after him. "Perhaps he and I should trade notes some time. Making someone as tough as Danzo shut up is not something you see every day."
Torture and Interrogation Department
The door opened.
"Kukuku," Kabuto chuckled softly, "so who is to be my next entertainer?" He looked up and saw Anko and Ibiki stand aside to let the boy who captured him enter.
Fate looked at Kabuto. The spectacled man held wounds everywhere, ranging from burns to cuts. He has blood pooling from his mouth, nose, and ears.
"His chakra is sealed," Ibiki informed the child. "And yet he seems to handle everything we give him. I don't know what you can do but we'll give you the whole day."
He nodded and said, "Leave us." Both interrogators did so, closing the door behind them. Afterwards, Fate knelt down to put a seal on the floor. The writings encompassed the room and after a burst of chakra, sealed it off.
"And what can a boy do what two adults can't," Kabuto mocked. "Seal the room all you want. No technique of yours would accomplish anything. Go ahead. Do your worst."
Slowly, Fate's lips curled upwards in dark humor and the last thing Kabuto saw were pale blue eyes turning red, with the left one's pupil shifting to a four-pointed shuriken and the right one's pupil turning slit.
"I remember you," a deep voice snapped Kabuto into reality. He was free of his restraints and is facing a large cage with a paper seal. From within, two red eyes opened and razor sharp teeth appeared beneath them. "You almost killed my container."
Kabuto's eyes widened. "That's impossible. He was declared dead. Orochimaru-sama even gave up after the first year."
"Hehehe, you underestimate the Uzumaki and, most of all, me. I appreciate being alive and would rather not experience the sensationless abyss that is death, only to be brought back years later. Now," the Kyuubi grinned wide as the paper seal floated away from the cage and the lock slowly opened. The cage itself creaked open and Kabuto quickly turned around to flee, only to be slammed down by a large paw. Dragging the struggling man back, Kyuubi continued, "I still remember that feeling years ago, the feeling of nearly dying. You told my container to use his worst? I am his worst. I have centuries of experience in the manners of the mind. I can break you so easily it would bore me after the first hour. And I know how to break you. I shall bring you to the brink of death, denying you the last push to your demise." With a dark grin, the paw gripped Kabuto and brought him to Kyuubi's eyelevel. "Shall we begin?" Then, the paw clenched, crushing Kabuto's bones, causing him shout in pain. Next, Kyuubi threw the crushed Kabuto to the opposite wall. As soon as he hit the wall, Kyuubi flexed its claws and slashed at him. Afterwards, as Kabuto was descending to the floor, Kyuubi then pounced, opening its jaws to clamp down on his battered form, ending it with a swallow.
The scene soon shifted to a closed cage with the paper seal on it and Kabuto on the ground, shouting as he sat up. "What's going on," he clasped his face. "Is this Tsukuyomi?"
"This is Tsukuyomi and yet it's not," Kyuubi replied to him, as the paper floated away and the cage opened. "Round two, worm," it snarled.
Kabuto kept on coughing blood as he lurched forward. Fate frowned. You went overboard. I take no satisfaction in this.
Che, Kyuubi replied. You are still too soft-hearted. Besides, you didn't actually torture him. I did. You just brought him to your subconscious with the same effects of the Tsukuyomi.
That does not change the fact that I am still a tool in such sadism.
Hmph, nemo me impune lacessit, the fox replied with a snort.
No one provokes me with impunity indeed, Fate dryly retorted with a detached tone as he summoned the Grand Master Key and assimilated Kabuto's memory into his own.
He removed the room's sealing and turned as the door opened, revealing Ibiki and Anko with waiting faces. "It is done; I have taken whatever information he has. I shall report to Father."
Ibiki nodded and left, Anko trailing after. Fate walked forward, stopping at the door only to look at Kabuto's defeated form before giving a sigh, and closed the door behind him.
Namikaze Minato waited until the door to his office closed before saying, "I called you all here for a variety of reasons." Within the room were Kushina, Mikoto, Izumi, Yukizora, Kakashi's team, and Fate. "First off, thanks to Fate, we were able to acquire information about Orochimaru's dealings. Orochimaru has multiple hideouts but he has a few of them that he considers vital. His four main hideouts are named North, South, East, and West. The North hideout is near Tsuchi no Kuni. The South is somewhere in Mizu no Kuni. The East is on the border of Kaminari no Kuni. And the West is some distance before Kaze no Kuni. Kushina, Izumi, Yukizora, and Fate shall go to the South and East hideouts. Mikoto and Kakashi's team shall go the North and West hideouts. Also, Mikoto, I advise you disguise yourself as an ANBU. There is no need to reveal your status as alive to anyone." The Uchiha matriarch nodded. "Alright, you all are dismissed. Discuss team tactics and prepare your supplies. This is an S-Rank Missions so do not hold back. You're all dismissed."
The two teams rendezvoused at the Konoha gates. Kakashi stepped forward and said, "Alright, everyone. Let's all meet back in Konoha in one piece and with news of success. Let's go!" They all then jumped towards their objectives.
"Hello, Itachi-kun, Kisame-kun," Orochimaru hissed out towards the two newly-arrived ninjas, who dumped the unconscious form of an elder with red hair.
Narrowing his red eyes, Itachi murmured, "Orochimaru. So you've returned and reassumed your position in Akatsuki."
"Huh," Kisame joined in, "Leader-sama must be out of his mind if he re-recruited your slimy ass."
"Kukuku, don't be so presumptuous, Kisame-kun. After all, I'm going to help you both get stronger, as celebration for me returning to Akatsuki."
"And what kind of improvements can a snake like you give a shark like me," Kisame grinned widely.
Orochimaru returned that with his traditional tongue sticking out like a snake. "For starters, I can push your strength to the Nidaime Hokage's caliber."
"Oho, so with your science, you can make me on par with the greatest Suiton user in history?"
"Of course, it all depends on genetic will. Much like my experiments with the Shodaime's genes, there's a possibility that the subject will die. Then again, it should be no match for the man with Samehada."
"Oh, that's a shame. I would have loved to add 'Suiton science experiment' into my list of Near-Death experiences."
Orochimaru then turned to Itachi. "And I haven't forgotten you, Itachi-kun."
"Then or now," Itachi threatened, "you will not be able to beat me."
"Not yet," he corrected. "Regardless, aren't you a tad bit curious about my contributions for you?"
"You would tell me regardless."
"Indeed I would. For one, I can treat your dangerous illness. For another, I can improve your physical and chakra capabilities to great heights." Itachi narrowed his eyes. "And those, along with my improvements for Kisame-kun, are just the tip of the iceberg."
"Heh," Kisame smirked, "you've certainly grown more interesting during your absence." He created a clone and had him carry the jinchuuriki deeper into the cave. "But that doesn't mean that we will let you out of our sights." He then walked into the cave, with Itachi following after.
After running along the water towards the lone mountain holding a metal door, Kushina's group approached the hideout.
Izumi and Yukizora stationed themselves at the sides of the door, their kunais at the ready. Kushina then walked warily towards the door and opened them suddenly, jumping back afterwards. Seconds passed and nothing happened.
"It's safe to enter for now," Kushina said and headed inside, her two daughters and son following behind her.
Within, the prisoners took note of footsteps echoing in the halls. Looking up, they were surprised to see a beautiful redhead woman leading two equally beautiful blonds and an emotionless, white-haired kid.
"Who're those," one of them asked.
"I don't recognize any of them."
"Are they with Orochimaru?"
Kushina's team ignored them and continued walking. Rounding a corner, Kushina stopped, causing the three behind her to stop as well.
"And how did you come by this base," a new female voice asked them. Fate saw a woman with bright red hair and matching red eyes behind a pair of glasses looking at them with suspicion. She was wearing a purple uniform that exposes her navel and black shorts. "Your chakras aren't tainted with Orochimaru's Juinjutsu. In fact," she frowned in confusion, "your chakras feel similar to mine, almost like it's calling to me." She dropped to her stance and took out a kunai. "Who are you?"
Fate stepped forward, "I am the one who defeated Orochimaru in single combat and took Yakushi Kabuto captive."
She tensed further. "Then, that makes you dangerous. The fact that you know of this place means that Kabuto blabbed about the base. Either your torture techniques were enough for him to give in or he was just taking the winning side."
"It's the former. And Orochimaru's hideouts aren't the only pieces of information I gained from Kabuto. I also know of who you really are." Karin widened her eyes and took a step back. He held out a hand to her and said, "Do not fear. We four are of the same blood as you. Uzumaki Karin, it's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Fate Averruncus, formerly Uzumaki Naruto. And these are Uzumaki Kushina, Uzumaki Izumi, Uzumaki Yukizora." Four sets of eyes widened.
"That's a lie," Karin replied with a little fear in her voice. "Orochimaru said that most of them are long gone! For four Uzumaki to suddenly appear in front of me is impossible. In fact, Uzumaki have red hair and only the woman over there has red hair!"
Kushina got over her shock and took a placating step forward. "Please don't be alarmed, Karin. I am indeed an Uzumaki. I am a Konoha-nin, married to Namikaze Minato, and birthed three children."
"And what about the albino kid," she softly said, lowering her kunai. "I've heard about that Naruto kid lot of times from gossip mills. He was a blond brat with blue eyes. He looks nothing like him."
"I…am different," Fate replied. "Call this a side-effect of harnessing the power of the Kyuubi no Yoko."
"Oh, yeah, you were Konoha's jinchuuriki." Karin chuckled softly as she dropped her guard. "Even if you guys are intruders, I can't bring myself to attack you."
"You hear the call, Karin. Do not deny it."
She sniffled a bit. "I always wondered what living with my clan would be like." She rushed over and hugged Kushina. "I'm happy that it is a reality…" Izumi and Yukizora shortly followed suit, embracing their fellow clanswomen.
Kushina smiled and held out a hand to Fate. He seemed hesitant at joining them. She summoned one chakra chain towards Fate. The chain wrapped itself around Fate's waist before pulling him towards them.
Fate, not knowing how to act in a clan reunion, slowly raised his arms and joined the females in their embraced.
When they separated, Karin wiped her eyes and said, "So what bring you here?"
Kushina smiled and looked at the halls. "We're here to acquire whatever research notes Orochimaru has. Then, we will go to the East." She looked worriedly at Karin. "You don't have a problem with that, do you?"
"Hell no," Karin replied. "I just got reunited with my thought-to-be-lost clan. I don't want to lose them again. Besides, if he," she nudged her head to Fate, "made Orochimaru scamper and capture Kabuto, I would rather not get on his bad side. Follow me."
En Route to the Western Hideout
On the other end, Mikoto's group were headed towards Kaze no Kuni since they have already acquired Orochimaru's research from the North. They also have gained an ally, in the form of the origin of the Cursed Seal: an orange-haired man with confusion issues.
He ambushed the group when they passed by his cell but Sasuke managed to calm him down with his Sharingan – as his mother was preoccupied with tending to Sakura.
Sasuke then used the fact that Juugo is close to Kimimaro to his advantage. He first established that he was the one that Kimimaro got sent by Orochimaru for. Then, he proceeded to convince Juugo of Orochimaru's cruelty by sending the aforementioned Kaguya, despite his illness, and that the Konoha missing-nin used Juugo's very genes to harm others. Thus, he concluded to Juugo that Orochimaru is using his genes to harm others, something that Juugo doesn't want to do. Hence, Juugo swore his allegiance to Sasuke, as Kimimaro's supposed reincarnation and the one who saved him from despair and who will save him from himself.
"Juugo-san," Kakashi asked, without looking up from his book. "Would you happen to know what is in the Western Hideout?"
The orange-haired man replied, "I was isolated from the outside world. I only have minimal knowledge of the outside. However, I do know of Orochimaru's quest for immortality such that he required an Uchiha for his purposes." He turned to Sasuke. "Pardon my question, Sasuke, but I was always told that you sought vengeance against Uchiha Itachi for your clan. Why are you not seeking him out?"
Sasuke turned his head slightly to look at him before he looked back forward. "I had a change of heart, caused by the most unlikely of people. Also, I don't even know where to start to look for Itachi."
"I could be on the lookout for him, if you'd like."
"While that is tempting, we are in the midst of a mission and would rather start the search for Itachi later."
"There's no need for any of us to actively look for Itachi. I can ask the local wildlife to keep an eye out."
"You can communicate with animals," Sakura asked, impressed as Juugo nodded.
"Before Orochimaru, I would seek refuge in the wilds. The animals out there would help soothe me and my urges. Overtime, I came to understand them and they me."
Sasuke said, "Well, if it isn't too much trouble, then perhaps you could have your friends look for Itachi." Juugo nodded and started to whistle, attracting the attention of some birds. Once they came close to him, he started to communicate with them. After a few seconds, the birds then flew away.
"That's amazing, Juugo-san," Mikoto commented.
Juugo bowed his head. "Thank you. Talking to them is quite therapeutic."
"With our constantly decreasing numbers," Pein's voice echoed in the empty cave, "I decided to reinstate Orochimaru in our ranks."
Deidara hummed in thought. "While I don't like his slimy attitude, we need all the help we can get, hmm."
"Kukuku, if you'd like, Deidara-kun, I can improve your abilities, like with everyone else present."
"Heh, as long as my art gets more blast than ever, you're alright!"
"Regardless, we should get into business. Itachi and Kisame have captured the Yonbi. I shall set out to capture the Rokubi soon. Afterwards, we shall focus our sights on the Hachibi and the Kyuubi…or rather the minimal chakra within the pseudo-jinchuurikis. On another note, Itachi," he turned to the silent Uchiha, "our spies have located your brother moving from Tsuchi no Kuni to Kaze no Kuni."
"Oh, it seems that he is no longer bent on kicking your ass, Itachi-san," Kisame taunted.
"Whether he is revenge-driven or not, he presents us with an opportunity. Itachi, Kisame, after you've rested, you are to face them and eliminate them. He shall bear the mark that the Akatsuki is turning its full force towards Konoha."
"Oh," Orochimaru interjected, "it would be nice if you were to preserve his eyes for me, Itachi-kun."
Itachi remained silent but he did glare at Orochimaru, with his eyes turning to the Mangekyo Sharingan before vanishing.
In an Akatsuki room
Itachi opened his eyes and stood from his meditation to walk to his bathroom.
He looked at himself in the mirror and saw his own reflection, clear as if he was never afflicted. He then activated his Sharingan, before morphing it into the Mangekyo Sharingan.
"After all these years," he whispered to himself, "finally, we get to meet again, Sasuke. Will you have the strength to do what is necessary?"
That ends the chapter.
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