"It's still up for debate for whether the Soviets were trying to start a war, or legitimately just couldn't distinguish Jews from shrubs."

- The usual guy, explaining the Soviet "intelligence" that spurred on the Six Days War to me. Mostly because I was confused on whether or not the Soviets actually thought there were attacks being planned.

o.o.o.o.o

This was bad.

Deidara didn't know who had brought up the dead folk, though he had his suspicions. What he did know was that there were several hundred dead shinobi trying to attack the much smaller group below, and they had no way of fighting it.

He looked at Sai next to him, who had obviously noticed the zombies, because the younger man was now rushing the painting process, drawing faster, and the blood welling up from the seals (they couldn't bring all the blood up there with them, after all, and seals were the quickest transport method available) could barely keep up with the speed he was painting at.

Deidara closed his eyes for a second, thinking it over, and then nodded. He poked Sai, getting a small noise of acknowledgement in return, Sai being too busy to actually reply.

"Listen, I'm going down there, un. I'll leave you up here on the bird. If you fall off… well, I know you've got your own ink-birds, so you'll be fine, un. I have to go talk to everyone down there." When Sai just nodded, too intent on his own work, Deidara leaned back…

And fell.

Deidara stuck a hand into his clay pouch, taking his time to make a clay bird as his body rushed towards the ground. About fifty feet from the ground, he finished and activated the bird, glued himself to the surface with chakra, and levelled out from his impromptu 'flight.'

He hopped off of the bird near the core of the operation, meaning Akatsuki, the five Kage, and their more trusted shinobi. Deidara stuck the bird back into his pouch, gnashing it into a formless pulp again, and tried to ignore Konan's glare (right, not supposed to give her unnecessary scares right now).

"What's the plan?"

"Zetsu's going to try to take care of it." Obito answered, folding his arms in a manner that Deidara knew was his way of putting up a metaphorical wall between himself and everyone else.

"Oh, good, so you did notice them, un." Deidara grinned a little sheepishly at the stares he got. "I wasn't really sure if they were too far away to be sensed, since I could only see them because of how high up I was, un. They're past the next hill, so…"

Tsunade jabbed a thumb over her shoulder. "The Uzumaki girl you had with you, Karin? She's as good as she says she is."

"Huh. Okay, then. Useful, un." Deidara clapped his hands. "Um… Sai's almost done up there, so…" One lone blue eye flickered over to Hidan, questioning.

Hidan bit his lip and glanced around the circle. "Okay, I'm going to need everyone, or at least, everyone you can spare, since I'm not really sure if those Edo Tensei s***s will be held off long enough, around the edges of the circle, or on the triangle. At the points, where the triangle hits the circle, we need… two people each, I guess, with the best chakra control possible."

"I'll do that." Tsunade immediately said. "Sakura and Shizune, as well."

"Shi can do that as well." Ei motioned forward one of his shinobi.

Mei looked to the shinobi she had brought with her, and waved closer an older-looking man with an eye-patch, one of her guards from the Summit. "Ao, as well."

"Karin." Sasuke interrupted, having apparently snuck closer with Naruto. Going by Naruto's expression, it had probably been the blonde's suggestion in the first place.

Obito's face was hidden behind his mask, but Deidara assumed that he was raising an eyebrow. Hidan just shrugged. "Alright. That'll work. As soon as the brat up there is done painting, and I'm pretty sure that's going be pretty d*mn soon, everyone we can spare is going to be pumping chakra into the lines. There's going to be two people at each point, one on the 'inside' and one on the 'outside." Hidan had started scuffing a smaller version of the symbol into the ground with his scythe. "The ones on the outside will be channeling chakra… clockwise through the circle, and the ones on the inside will be channeling it counter-clockwise through the triangle. The chakra just has to be going in opposite directions, but—"

"No." Jiraiya interrupted, and knelt down next to Hidan's drawing. "This is just one enormous, simplified summoning seal, right? In that case, it would be better to position one person at each point, and then one at the midpoints of the arcs or lines of either the circle or the triangle. Or, better yet, put one person on each midpoint of both, and then put one person on each intersection to act as a buffer between the two."

"That won't work. The chakra has to be channeled, but it also needs to mix with itself at the corners." Hidan explained, crouching down as well. "You didn't let me finish, a**hole. It needs to be yang going through the triangle, and yin through the circle, or at least be a little imbalanced in favor of those two. I was getting to that part, which is why we want Genjutsu experts on the outside. They need to mix at the points for it to work."

"…This is going to get f***ed up by someone." Jiraiya groaned, putting his hand to his face. "There aren't really a lot of people that can just split their chakra like that."

Hidan shrugged. "You're the seal master, right? Isn't there one that can help speed up the process? I mean, I'll be 'purifying' the chakra with various chants throughout so it can work, but if you can make it go faster—"

"I've got a few." Jiraiya muttered, and then nodded to Tsunade and disappeared. He couldn't write seals as quickly as before, but that's why he had an assistant, even if she had only recently started to work for him. TenTen was a quick study, and even if she wasn't studying under the Sannin she had idolized since childhood, at least it she was studying under a Sannin, and doing well, at that.

Hidan glanced around, and then gave everyone a weak grin. "Let's hurry up, alright?"

Deidara rolled his eyes and turned back around towards the zombies. He blinked and rubbed his eyes at the large white smear across the landscape. He pulled back his hair and adjusted his scope, then blinked as he realized that—"Those are clones of Zetsu, un?"

"Yes." Obito answered, sounding somewhere between uncomfortable and matter-of-fact.

"How many of them are there?" Deidara asked in apparent awe.

"Around one hundred thousand." Obito shrugged.

"And where were they?"

"Underground, in a room under the Gedou Mazou statue." Zetsu suddenly grew out of the ground, answer with a grin.

Deidara blinked at him, and then turned to Obito. "So you had a hundred thousand naked men in the basement, un. Is there something you want to tell me?"

Obito was distinctly unimpressed. "Just get to work." He turned his head to the side, his white mask (…wait, when did he get that? Deidara was confused) glinting eerily in the light. Obito was now facing Naruto, who seemed ready to either freak out or start a fight. "And you are going to come with me, along with the Hachibi, so that we can cut off as many tails as you can grow and bring back the Juubi."

Naruto frowned, momentarily distracted. "Wait…"

"You did go with the Hachibi to figure out how to enter a full bijuu mode, right?" Obito's eyes flashed and spun behind the mask, irritated… probably due to Deidara's earlier comment.

"Of course!" Naruto seemed affronted. "I'm just confused about how you're going to 'cut off' the tails!"

Sasuke clenched his jaw, already knowing and not at all happy about it, but refrained from speaking during Obito's answer.

"Itachi will use his Susanoo. Kisame offered to use Samehada, but we aren't sure whether that would work as well as we hope." Obito's voice was light and slightly amused, as though he wanted to mock Naruto. "Now, seeing as so many of our current allies have moved to do their own jobs, let us move to do yours as well, shall we?"

Naruto blinked and turned to look around noticing that, yes, most of the people that had been there earlier were gone now, barring Sasuke, Obito, Zetsu, and… Deidara.

Who just shrugged and waved cheerfully, his one visible eye squeezed shut by his jeering grin. "Bye! Remember, you'll be fine! No one with a name ever dies in this story, after all!"

Deidara hopped onto a clay bird and flew his way back up to Sai in the sky.

Naruto turned back to Obito, who once again had his arms folded, now expectantly.

"Well?"

o.o.o.o.o

Obito watched with apparent mindless boredom as Itachi carefully sliced off the Hachibi's remaining tentacles, even the one that had grown back half-way. The Kyuubi brat was standing behind Itachi, awaiting his turn with a nervousness that was amusingly similar to a child waiting in line to get a painful-looking shot. Obito himself was sitting up on the shoulder of the Gedou Mazou. Most of the Akatsuki was over by the circle, knowing that their masked compatriot would go with the much less stable, but also much quicker, method of putting the chakra into the statue: making said statue eat the tails. Normally, they avoided this because it was liable to activate the statue while it was still supposed to be dormant, but that was no longer an issue.

What Obito was actually thinking about was the 'guidance system' that would be in place for the soon-to-be Juubi. The Gedou Mazou, as Madara had explained it, was meant to be piloted by either two people with Rinnegan, or by one person with a Rinnegan and insane abilities. Of course, by 'insane abilities,' Madara had meant 'Sage of the Six Paths or nothing.' As it was, amongst them all, only Nagato and his Paths had Rinnegan, and that wouldn't work, because one mind wasn't enough to control the Juubi, or shouldn't be unless one sealed it inside of themselves, which wasn't an option at the moment. Nagato wouldn't be able to control it alone, and he wasn't giving up an eye anytime soon.

Obito wasn't quite sure why they couldn't remove an eye from a Path and implant it into his head, and he hadn't quite understood Sasori's explanation due to all the medical jargon it had contained, but it had involved the term 'necrosis,' so he was pretty sure that he didn't really need to know. In any case, Obito and the Deva Path, which was already on the Juubi's other shoulder (the rest of the Paths aiding in the circle) would be 'piloting' the Gedou Mazou together, and it would hopefully be enough to keep the Juubi under their control.

(Of course, the statue itself wasn't the issue. Zetsu could take care of controlling it most of the time. The Juubi-possessed statue, however, was a different story.)

His head snapped to the side at the noise of a large explosion, and then up at Deidara. He could see the blonde due to his Sharingan, and could see the direction that Deidara was facing as well. Switching his gaze to the battle between the Zetsu army and Kabuto's undead, he realized the issue.

Madara.

The insane snake-boy had brought back Madara.

Which meant that the Zetsu clones were going down in droves.

Obito turned and immediately connected himself to the statue, wincing at the long-avoided but scarily familiar feeling of the plant-rope that attached itself to him to control the Gedou Mazou. He made it start moving, wishing that Zetsu was still here to do it instead, to put off the reminders of months alone in the cave with Madara and strange clones that didn't understand the concept of defecation.

One large, monstrous arm reached down and grabbed at the tails that had been cut off so far (there were only two left for the Kyuubi; where had the time gone?), even as Obito yelled to Itachi to hurry up and finish, panic evident in his voice.

That was also when the sky lit up in red.

o.o.o.o.o

The process, as Hidan had outlined it, was simple.

Shinobi pumped chakra into the enormous seal.

Three shinobi pushed the chakra through the circle.

Three shinobi pushed the chakra through the triangle.

Deidara, Sai, and Jiraiya flew up above to make sure it didn't need to be adjusted.

And he sat in the middle and chanted, legs crossed, eyes closed, palms together.

The process was sped up due to panic, but it was still working as it should.

Unlike the summoning for Amaterasu, this particular process was a true summoning, not a temporary projection with weakened powers that would use him as a medium. Once Jashin appeared, Hidan would be free to move as he wished, the process complete. Until then, though, he was focused.

He could no longer hear anything, all noises a murky blur.

He could no longer sense time passing, too focused on his chanting.

He could no longer feel the tremors of the earth as people fought and the statue moved.

And then… and then!

Hidan felt an enormous rush of chakra course through him, lighting up his every vein. His black-and-white patterned skin was covered in goosebumps, though it felt like it was on fire. His eyes opened, but could not see past the terrifyingly bright chakra that was covering him, channeling through him. It was pain beyond anything he had ever felt, bar his entry into immortality, but within seconds, it was gone.

There was a body lying before him when he opened his eyes, a man of average height with bright clothing and blue hair. He looked like a civilian tourist, an unconscious one, but Hidan knew better.

"…Jashin-sama?" Hidan spoke softly, and was rewarded when the man opened his eyes.

Grass-green eyes, an unnatural color, too bright to be anything other than unnerving, stared at him for a second, and then the man… no, the god, the god had sat up, stood up, and come over to him. Jashin glanced at the zombie army with a frown, but smiled upon seeing the statue, now bent over and groaning, moaning, changing.

Jashin pulled Hidan to his feet, giving him a small smile and a short embrace (Hidan noted, in the back of his mind, that he was taller than the god he so revered), stepping back far too soon for the priest's liking. "You've done well. Now just let me take care of the rest."

Jashin turned, walking away, and seemed to grow larger with every step. No… he did grow.

With every step, the god grew larger, beyond the size of any Akimichi, beyond the height of any building, larger than even the statues at the Valley of the End.

The Juubi, now fully-formed, turned its head around to look at him, fighting for control of its own body, surrounded by what seemed to be flames.

And then it broke free, roaring its defiance as it charged towards Jashin. The god fairly snarled as he ran forward, slamming his shoulder into the Juubi and ramming it into a mountain, just on the edge of Iwa's badlands.

o.o.o.o.o

Kankuro blinked. "A god just body-checked the Juubi into a mountain."

"Shut up." Temari reprimanded him, standing and turning towards the zombie army. "We don't have time for jokes."

That's right. No time for jokes.

Not even in this story.

o.o.o.o.o

Hidan snapped out of his awe as a pair of charred bodies landed at his feet, followed by what looked like a human-sized red meteor. From far above, he heard a scream of denial, or possibly two.

Madara stared down at the very visibly dead body of what was once Uchiha Obito with distaste, ignoring the destroyed Deva Path completely. "I suppose that my clan really was made up of traitors. At least I've rid myself of the last of them. At least this one and the one with the long hair put up something of a fight. The youngest didn't even have a Mangekyo. Pathetic." He spat, turning to Hidan with a calm face that spoke of irrepressible rage. "I believe I have you to thank for the fact that the two remaining Jinchuuriki were bereft of the majority of their bijuu's chakra and could not stand against me. However, you are also at fault for that… thing." The man's face was turned with disgust as he stared at Jashin, and then turned back to Hidan, who was growing angrier by the second.

"I believe I shall kill you as well now, oh priest of Jashin."

o.o.o.o.o

Deidara's knuckles were white from where he gripped the clay below him, tears threatening to fall from his eyes. "Obito…"

Next to him, Jiraiya was gripping his head and muttering about failure and a name (who was Minato?), and even Sai looked like he was feeling something from Naruto's sudden and unprecedented death, and rather strongly at that. The shinobi below didn't seem to have realized what had occurred at all yet.

Jiraiya brought his hand to his chest, forming one-handed seals with precision and deliberation. Deidara looked over at him, curious about just what the man was going to do now.

"What are you—?"

Jiraiya laughed drily, a choked and pathetic sound, not at all humorous. "We already summoned one god, right?"

A white and red figure began to hazily appear around him as he made his final seal. "Why not summon another?"

o.o.o.o.o

A/N: Ahahahahaha…ha…ha?

Yeah, that one rule that Deidara mentioned about no one ever dying in this story? That rule was in place for a reason: to make this final battle all the more poignant.

Yes. People will die. A lot of people will die. That's what happens in wars.

Ja ne,

Phoenix