Sorry for the delaaaaaay! -runs away-

The room was quiet as he sat, hands linked and elbows resting on his knees. His eyes were sharp, but he wasn't really seeing anything before him. The intense blue of his irises glowed in the dim light, the crescents around his pupils bright and vivid like the moon always was in the sky at night, over their village.

Their village.

'Can we really even call it ours?' he thought. 'We guard it with our lives. We give up our humanity for it, and it repays us by casting us out and fearing us...'

"Clamanon pro nostrisfati."

He turned, looking at Kiba as he walked into the room, a small smile on his face.

"I am not crying for our fate, Kiba," he muttered, turning back. "...I'm trying to understand it."

"There's no way to understand it, Naruto," Kiba said softly, taking a seat beside him. "Our fathers tried, our grandfather's tried, and our great grandfather's before that. We have never been able to comprehend how our fate works, nor shall we ever truly know. Instead we are simply guided by the Curse."

"We are not guided by it, Kiba. We are dominated by it," Naruto said darkly. "'Guided' implies that we could make different choices if we really wished. We have no choices. We have no say in the end. There's only one outcome, and it's always the same."

"And it's always necessary," Kiba reminded him roughly. "I know you feel regret and remorse over what we do, but there has not been a single instance that our actions have not been the reason our home is safe."

"I don't feel that we have a home, Kiba." Naruto was whispering, his voice weak. "...We have a cage, built by the trees, fortified by the village and controlled by the Curse."

Kiba sighed, patting his back as he stood. "Though less pleasant, even a cage can become an animal's home," he said sternly. "And you must not forget something important, Naruto. Since the day we turned thirteen...we became animals."

Naruto closed his eyes in defeat as Kiba left the darkened room. He was silent, thoughtful and sad. He knew Kiba spoke the truth, and usually he was just as accepting of it as the other two.

But since he saw Sasuke...he found himself hating the Curse more than ever before. Sasuke was human; he bled and cried and felt fear and hope. He made choices and decisions, thought out plans, went through the motions of living and surviving in a world of humans. He learned how to read and write, got a job and dealt with cities and technology.

And Naruto dealt with wild animals, and bandits and the scum of the earth as they encroached upon their territory, threatening their village and ripping their own humanity from them as they succumbed to their fates and protected it.

But it was more than envy. He did envy Sasuke for his life, no doubt. But there was more to it. If he tried to put it into words, he would say he didn't just want to live a life like Sasuke. He wanted to live a life with Sasuke. It was like a baby animal imprinting upon its parent. Sasuke was a person who had caught his interest from the moment their eyes met on the road. He was a human who had stepped out of the safety of his car, into the rain, to check up on a creature that may or may not have killed him.

Naruto was so used to outsiders being scum, nothing but scum intent on destroying what he was bound to protect and hold precious.

But Sasuke was different.

'I don't...understand why,' he thought, rubbing his face. There was something eating at him inside whenever he thought of the dark haired man. Something both pleasant and disturbing. Whenever he thought about it, it only got worse, but never became clearer.

He sighed heavily, standing up and leaving the dark room, letting the two sleeping occupants rest alone as he walked outside. Gaara was sitting at a fire, roasting the meat from his kill while Kiba cheerfully played with Akamaru, their little wolf-cub messenger. He stared out, seeing the sun climbing higher in the sky and covering the village below with light. He wondered whether Sasuke was already searching the mansion, or if he was still planning.

'...This will end tonight,' he thought, his eyes hardening as he stared at the village. 'One way or another, this threat will end...and life will resume its course.'

Sasuke had to take a deep breath as they walked up to the large front doors of Danzou's mansion. It was the most foreboding structure he'd ever come across in his life, and made so merely by the fact that he was certain there were true horrors within those walls. Kakashi led the way, appearing very calm about the fact that they were entering a highly dangerous place. But then again, Kakashi had way more experience with life or death situations than Sasuke could try to imagine. Kakashi had been part of special forces, had seen and dealt with some of the lowest forms of humanity, and had decided to keep his sanity and humanity by leaving it behind, but the scars were still there and they were surfacing now in the form of this cold, resolute and strong-willed man.

Sasuke realized then just how lucky he was to have Kakashi as his partner on this mission. Had it been anyone else, they probably would have begun to panic, would have run the moment things started to turn bad, would have assumed he was crazy and left him alone. But Kakashi gave him the benefit of the doubt, trusted his own instincts and stuck with him despite having the option to leave on his own.

"Kakashi," he called softly. Normally he wouldn't do this, but there was a chance they could both die by tonight. "...Thanks. For everything. I know I'm not exactly the most pleasant person to be stuck with...but thanks."

"Don't be so hard on yourself Sasuke. You're absolutely charming when you're fast asleep and drooling," Kakashi ruffled his hair playfully, but the underlying message was clear and Sasuke just nodded, smirking slightly.

"At least I'm not gassy."


Kakashi knocked firmly, glancing around.

"Remember to act natural. And I don't mean in a cheesy way, Sasuke, I mean seriously. If they catch on to us before hand, we're dead."

"I know that."

Kakashi knocked again and they heard someone approaching from the other side. Sasuke gathered another breath, preparing himself and praying that he wouldn't screw up. He was certain Kakashi would be able to handle himself perfectly well, and so he knew a lot of their success rested on his own shoulders. If he made a mistake, it was over.

The door creaked open, revealing Danzou standing there staring out at them with one eye.

"Hatake, Uchiha," he greeted. "I thought I said it would be best if you remained in your home for today and don't question anyone. We've been through a tragic morning-"

"I know, Elder Danzou, and believe me we do not wish to impose and unsettle. In fact, it's because our presence has become something unsettling that we came. We figured if you could let us have an interview with you, we could get all we need to finish our article today and we'll be able to depart and leave the village this afternoon! We'll be out of your hair in no time. I know it's been a hard day, and I certainly don't want our being here to make it any worse, so the sooner we leave the better, no?" Kakashi said calmly, a tone of understanding coating his persuasion. Sasuke kept silent, instead adopting a distant look on his face. He figured that since that was how he usually was in these situations, it was as close to natural acting as he could get.

Danzou considered his argument, studying them carefully before he sighed and nodded, opening the door further.

"I suppose you do have a point. Very well, we can have a chat in my office. I'll help you get the information you need and then I would appreciate it if you could leave. Our village is going through a lot this week, it seems..."

"Of course. Thank you and we promise it won't take too long," Kakashi said kindly, heading in. Sasuke followed, resisting the urge to glance back at the forest. The halls were dim, decorated with paintings of the village, the forest and some portraits of previous Elders. Sasuke recognized one portrait as Tsunade, from the description Itachi had given him. He hadn't gotten a good look at her back at the hut; it had been too dark and she was covered with bandages.

Danzou led them deeper and deeper into the mansion, through hallway after hallway and Sasuke tried his level best to keep track of where and when they turned so he wouldn't get lost in case he had to make a run for it. Finally, they arrived at a pair of oak doors and Danzou shouldered them open to reveal an office, nicely furnished with a dark-wood desk, two comfortable chairs, a bookshelf and several luxurious paintings on the wall that Sasuke was sure belonged to the old village heads once upon a time.

"Please, take a seat," Danzou nodded towards the chairs as he sat behind his desk with a laborious grunt. Kakashi and Sasuke sat down, pulling their notepads out. They had agreed it would be too suspicious if Sasuke asked to leave immediately, so he would join in for the initial questions.

"Thank you again for this, Elder Danzou," Kakashi said and then nudged Sasuke. "Come on Sasuke, say thank you like a polite child."

Sasuke scowled at him, but bowed his head in Danzou's direction. "Thank you, sir."

Danzou just nodded, getting comfortable. "Now then, how do we proceed?"

"Right," Kakashi clicked his pen open, as did Sasuke. "There are just some basic questions first, formalities if you will. Your name, position of authority, and if you could give us a brief summary of the village and a little of its history, that would be great," he smiled and Danzou nodded.

"My full name is Shimura Danzou, I am the Village Elder, or leader I suppose you could say. Our village was founded centuries ago; an exact date is impossible to determine without some thorough research and digging into decrepit archives in the library. We're not known for much, nor do we need much contact with the outside world; we grow our own crops of food, some of which we sell to the outside in exchange for things like medicine, special tools, ect. We have an electricity system, powered by generators, solar power. This is all a rather recent addition; in the past we used gas stoves, candles, ect-"

Danzou spoke slowly, and while normally this was something that Sasuke would find annoying in an interview, he was thankful. If Danzou spoke this slowly for all the questions, it only meant even more time for him to investigate. As they got the formality questions out of the way, Sasuke began to slowly squirm, shifting his legs in his seat. Eventually, he deemed that he'd done enough acting to lead up to this deciding moment.

"Agh, sorry," he interrupted, pressing a hand to his forehead in mock aggravation. "Is there a bathroom around here?" he asked, looking at Danzou. The old man nodded, sitting a little straighter in his chair and pointing out the door.

"Yes, down the hall to the right. There's a door. Don't worry, it's labelled, so you should find it easily," he said and Sasuke nodded as he stood.

"You can continue the interview," he said to Kakashi. It's what he would've said if they were in a normal situation. "I'll just reference back to your notes when we're writing the article."

"You sure?"

"Yeah. Pardon me," he put his notepad down onto his chair, an effect to make it seem like he expected to come back for it. In reality, he had a piece of paper tucked into his pocket along with a small pen. He planned to use that when it came time to send evidence to Naruto.

Stepping out the door, he closed it quietly and began walking in the direction Danzou had mentioned, just to make sure that if the man peeked out his door, he'd be going the right way.

When he reached the corner, he spotted the door to the bathroom. Glancing back, he briefly opened the door...and then shut it again. Seeing that no one peered out, he turned and hurried the other way, keeping his steps as light as he could as he passed through the halls, muttering the directions to himself. His heart was pounding in his chest, and his eyes continuously darted back and forth for any signs of someone following or getting ready to attack. He'd never felt this nervous in his life, and this is compared to the time he was in high school and standing on the porch of his prom date, staring into the menacing eyes of her body-building biker father with a burly handle-bar moustache.

Edging along the wall, he peered around the corner and, once deeming it safe, quickly darted towards a door. He was certain he was heading in the right direction. He gripped the handle and-


He blinked and tried again. The handle clicked, but the door didn't open. It was locked.


He stepped away, briefly glancing around before looking at the door. It was a normal door, and the lock was a simple one. Maybe, just maybe he could pick it.

But what would he use?

Covering his mouth he surveyed the area, trying to spot something he could use. His eyes landed on a vase filled with flowers; a simple wire was wrapped around the stems to hold them together around a wooden pole. He sighed heavily, thanking the heavens that whoever decorated the mansion had used such an old trick to keep the flowers in shape. Quickly, he got the wire unwound, wincing when the flowers all collapsed in the vase, falling in a mess around it. He hurried to the door, kneeling down as he bent and fixed the wire into a shape that would be useful.

Carefully, he slid it inside the lock and listened, fiddling and twisting as he tried to remember any lock-picking references he'd ever heard or used.

His heart was ready to explode when the lock finally clicked, and he put the wire in his pocket before opening the door. The hallway beyond was darker than the other, the lights switched off. He dared not turn them on lest he alert someone of his actions, so he closed the door and waited for his eyes to adjust. The hall didn't appear any different from the others aside from the lack of lighting. Slowly, he made his way down the narrow space.

As he reached the end, he caught a smell that made him pause. It was musty and old, but a familiar tang was following it. He sniffed the air, trying to place a name to the scent. It was nagging at his brain, kicking it and making his stomach churn.

He took a step to the right, where the smell was coming from, and the floor creaked. Every muscle in his body tensed and he was rooted to the spot, eyes wide. A single bead of sweat dripped down the side of his face as he stood still, his heart thundering in his chest. He wasn't even breathing he was so scared that someone was about to come charging from the darkness to kill him.

But there was nothing. Just an echoing silence around him, and he slowly forced his body to relax and cooperate. He took a careful step, keeping it on his tip toes as he tested the floor. It creaked a little bit, so he moved his foot around until he found a place that didn't make noise. Carefully, he took the large step. From then on, he measured his steps and avoided any creaking areas, his breathing unsteady as the constant anxiety of getting caught continued to plague him.

By the time he reached the corner, he knew he was running out of time. He had used the excuse of going to the bathroom, but there were only so many minutes one could spend in there. He hoped that Kakashi would be able to pull out a brilliant excuse if the need arose.

Picking his way down the new corridor, he followed the scent, still trying to figure out why it was familiar. He tracked it to a large black door which definitely looked suspicious. The smell was strongest here, and he gently gripped the handle and pushed. It was locked too.

Glancing around, he knelt down and carefully began to pick the lock, all the while wracking his brains to find the name of the smell.

When the lock clicked open, it was like a switch clicked in his mind.

'...Chloroform...' his head screamed and he backed away from the door immediately. It had been faint, mere traces. But now that he recognized it, he realized that his head was lighter than before; he hadn't inhaled enough to pass out, but he certainly needed to stop breathing anymore in. Holding his breath, he searched his pockets for anything to use, but he wasn't the type to carry random strips of cloth around. Cursing as it became harder to hold his breath, he grabbed at his own sleeve, tugging as hard as he could. No luck, and so he took a risk and opened his mouth to bite the material, tugging and pulling until finally it began to tear. He ripped a strip off as fast as he could, his face starting to go red. When he had a piece he pressed it over his mouth and nose and breathed, eyes closing as he restored oxygen to his lungs and head. He wondered why the Chloroform was so strong; usually it only got this strong when you had a cloth soaked in it pressed to your face.

As he pushed the door open, however, his question was answered. He gaped, blinking rapidly as he took in the sight before him. There were long sheets hanging along the walls of the room inside, white and shining in the darkness. And he could easily see that they were all soaking wet, dripping onto the floor. The room was practically bathed in Chloroform sheets, and he was hesitant to step inside with his weak mask for protection.

There was nothing else in the room, furniture wise, but he caught sight of a door on the other end. Narrowing his eyes, he slowly inched forwards. He was now certain that whatever was hidden in this mansion was behind that door. For it to have a Chloroform room before it was almost like an old security system. He had to admit it was rather odd and somewhat clever; many people had no idea what Chloroform's scent was like, and he highly doubted that people in the village would have a clue. If anyone, be it insider or outsider, came snooping in this area, they would follow the curious smell, open the door and get knocked out after one gasp.

Sasuke once more thanked the heavens that he had an asshole for an older brother; when he was seventeen, Itachi had decided to give him a 'life lesson against kidnapping' and shoved a Chloroform soaked cloth in his face for a week, catching him by surprise until he finally learned to recognize the scent and hold his breath when Itachi appeared with the cloth.

'Who'd have thought that would ever come in handy?' he thought. The ridiculous irony of the situation was almost killing him.

He turned, taking a deep breath and pushing the cloth firmly over his face before rushing through the room. The scent was so strong, his vision blurred a little and he knew if he didn't get through soon, he wouldn't be able to last very long. He grabbed the handle, pushing it down and silently crying out in relief when it opened; obviously they wouldn't lock this door since the owner would need to get through this room quickly too.

He stepped inside and closed the door, leaning back against it and taking a deep gulp of air. He was amazed he'd managed to get this far without getting caught, and he was hopeful that their crazy plan would actually work, and they'd get out of this damned village. At the thought of escaping, he was assaulted with the image of Naruto's face, smiling at him as he asked for his help. Again the small, niggling worm of guilt crawled in his heart, but he was firm in his decision. The simple facts were that he barely knew Naruto or the others, and they had, in a sense, trapped him in this situation against his will. He was doing this to get out, and by get out he fully intended to get out of everything. He wasn't stupid; he knew exactly when he had reached a point of 'knowing too much'. And though he trusted Naruto, for God knows what reason he did, he was an Uchiha, a reporter, and intelligent enough to understand the darker implications of well-meaning words. Telling him to 'wait until we come for you' was like a blinking banner that said 'you can't leave unless we say so'. And from the short time he was able to interact with them, he knew that, at least, in Kiba and Gaara's case...they would not 'say so'.

Closing his eyes, he took a few steadying breaths, pushing back the thoughts of the blond and his two companions. He had to stay focused; he had limited time to do everything, and so wasting time thinking wasn't a luxury he had right now.

Steeling himself, he opened his eyes and stepped away from the door, trying to see. But it was pitch-black in here; there was no light source whatsoever in this place. He supposed that he was in the room that Kakashi mentioned, with the painted and boarded windows. He stood still, listening to try and determine if he was alone or not. There wasn't a single sound in the room apart from his heartbeat and his own breathing. Slowly, he slid his hand along the wall, searching for a light switch.

His fingers bumped along a small knob, and he pressed down. Immediately the room was flooded with light, and for a second he couldn't see anything as his eyes tried to adjust to the change.

When his eyes cleared, he couldn't stop the huge intake of breath or the way he backed up so fast he hit his head against the door with a thump. His stomach churned violently and he clapped a hand over his mouth in a vain attempt to stop the vomit racing up his throat. He turned, crouching and throwing up in the corner, nothing but spittle and bile coming out as he hadn't eaten and he choked on the acid. Coughing and heaving, he wiped his mouth and glanced back, eyes narrowed so that he was peering through his lashes.

Even with the light on, the room was still dimly lit though that did nothing to hide the horrors now facing him. The wall held eight wrist-restraints, and five of them were occupied. The people were unconcious, their clothes tattered and blood-stained. Several wires were attached to them, feeding a vivid orange liquid into their bloodstreams. Their skin was pasty white, and a mix of spittle and blood continuously dripped from their open mouths. There were bumps and bruises all over their bodies, deep gashes that had been stitched with a thick thread that only made it look worse than better. In front of them was a long metal table, covered in various tools, vials, syringes, needles, scalpels and knives and at the end was a bloodied saw. The walls held various charts and graphs, some depicting the human body, others depicting the anatomy of various animals, mostly wolves and foxes. A large cage was in the corner, reeking of blood, urine and vomit. He could only imagine what had taken place in there.

Shuddering, he reached for the pen and paper in his pocket, his hands shaking. He tried not to stab the paper as he pressed it to his knee, writing a brief description of everything he could see. From the chained people, the table and its contents, the cage, and as he looked further, the display to the side holding several more vials and what looked like an image representation of the deity that was from the legend.

He was sweating, his stomach begging him to leave. The room was foul; he'd been focused on the scent of Chloroform before, he hadn't even noticed the disgusting smell radiating from this room itself.

Gulping thickly, he finished off the letter, his writing messy and panicked. He kept glancing up, terrified that one of the people would wake up and start screaming. He wasn't sure what to do about them; a part of him wanted to unchain them and try and help, but how did he know that they were in their right minds? What if they were completely absorbed into Danzou's will, and would attack him if he woke them up?

He didn't want to risk anything; he was already having a nervous break-down as it was. Gathering a breath, he shoved the cloth back over his nose and mouth and ripped the door open, forgetting the light completely and rushing through the Chloroform room. He slammed through the door and shut it, pulling the cloth away and taking a deep breath. His head was light not only from the lingering fumes, but from his growing panic.

'Focus...Focus... ' he thought, trying to control his breathing. He looked down at his torn shirt, wincing. It was a dead giveaway. Looking around, he hurried down the hall, deciding to head to the bathroom and try and clean himself up. He was pale, sweaty and his stomach was still churning; he felt he was going to be sick at any moment.

'As if I haven't thrown up enough today!' he thought darkly, reaching the bathroom and quickly slipping inside. He closed the door as gently as he could, leaning against it. His heart was still beating frantically as his mind replayed what he'd seen. Those had looked like they were decaying; as if their bodies were being eaten alive by something slowly, and yet they remained in that odd, catatonic state. He shuddered to think what Danzou had been doing to them.

His stomach lurched again and he cursed, quickly kneeling before the toilet and heaving. He hated how weak he felt in this whole situation; all his previous arrogance and self-confidence had fizzled out in face of something so sickeningly real and terrible. He wasn't dealing with a loony, rambling old lady going on about aliens in her cabbage patch, or a suspicious old man who'd convinced himself with the help of various alcoholic drinks that the Queen of England was actually an alien bee from a distant planet sent to colonize their world. He was dealing with a madman playing with genetics, kidnapping and seemingly torturing people. He was dealing with men who physically opposed the laws of science and transformed from men into beasts at will and by force of a supernatural entity they simply called 'the Curse'.

He rested his forehead on the cool porcelain, his eyes squeezed shut. More than anything he wanted to go home; to return to the world he knew, the world that didn't hold his life in the palm of three strangers with supernatural afflictions. He wanted to see his brother again, step into his apartment and be surrounded by the things he knew were safe and not about to kill him at a moment's notice. Call him cowardly, he didn't care; he didn't like this nightmare and he was anxious to get out of it.

'Even if I have to break Naruto's trust,' he thought. He felt guilty, no matter how much his mind screamed that he shouldn't have to. But it was all about survival, and he was certain that if anyone would understand the ways of survival, it would be Naruto. After all, isn't that what he did every day? Survive, survive...hunt, fight, live each day planning to stay alive. A life in the wild was all about survival, and with the added burden of protecting a village, surely Naruto would understand his actions were to survive, to protect himself and Kakashi...

He had to do what he had to live.


The knock on the bathroom door made him jump so badly he hit his head on the underside of the toilet seat. Hissing in pain, he faced the door.

"What?!" he snapped, clutching the bruising area.

"Are you okay? You've been in there for ages. We've already finished the interview," Kakashi said lightly, letting him know that Danzou was standing out there too. Sasuke swallowed before letting out a loud groan.

"Shit...I got sick. I think I ate something bad this morning," he lied. It was a plausible excuse at least; and hey, he had the vomit in the toilet to back him up.

"Ah, you and your weak stomach," Kakashi sighed from outside and Sasuke rolled his eyes at the man's quick uptake. He was too good at this sort of thing. Standing, he flushed the toilet and went to the small sink, rinsing out his mouth and splashing his face. He glanced at his torn sleeve, wincing. How could he explain that?

"I've got your jacket here, and your notepad. Clean up so we can be on our way; we don't want to invade on this village any more than we have."

The door clicked open just a little before Kakashi's hand reached in, holding his jacket and notepad, and Sasuke had to seriously wonder if Kakashi had developed the ability to read his mind. He quickly shrugged the jacket on, sliding his notepad into his back pocket before he opened the door to face Kakashi and Danzou.

"Sorry I missed the interview," he muttered, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. Kakashi lightly smacked his head, as if scolding him while Danzou simply nodded understandingly.

"Sickness affects us all. It's a flaw in us humans that we can only hope to overcome someday," he said slowly, the wrinkles on his face appearing much deeper than before. Sasuke just nodded, not really meeting his eyes as he stepped out. Danzou led them back through the mansion, heading down separate hallways than the ones they walked before. Sasuke prayed above all else that they would not pass by the door he knew led to the horrors within this mansion.

It seemed that there was someone listening to him, as they were at the front doors before he could panic, and Danzou was wishing them a safe journey back to the city before waving them off and closing the door. Kakashi placed a hand on his shoulder, jostling him a little as if to say "We did it! We got out alive!"

But Sasuke wasn't convinced just yet. He still had to get back to the spot he'd entered the village from and send the letter. They hurried back to the house, using their eagerness to leave the depressed village as an excuse for their actions, and once inside Kakashi gathered their bags, promising to wait while Sasuke quickly delivered the letter. He slipped out the window and raced through the back alleys, heart pounding and anxiety growing. If something were to go wrong now...

'Okay, here...He said I just had to whistle,' he thought, hands shaking as he pulled the letter out of his pocket. He slowly brought his fingers to his mouth and gave a quick, breathy whistle; he was almost too scared to make a sound at this point.

In a matter of seconds, the small white pup that Kiba had been holding before came trotting through the bushes, whining at him. He was perched on the top of the village wall, lying on his stomach in an effort to be invisible to anyone who may glance his way from the streets, though there were houses in front of him so he prayed the roofs would hide him. Folding the note, he dropped it down and watched as the dog, Akamaru, if he remembered correctly, sniffed it before nipping the end, holding it in his teeth and giving a muffled yip. Then he was gone, bushes rustling in his wake, and Sasuke was almost hysterical over how well that had gone. He practically rolled off the wall, uncaring if he tripped as he landed. Now it was a clear break from then on! They just had to get in their car, drive out the village and floor it through the woods, and they'd be home free.

Encouraged, he ran back to the house, pulling himself up into the window without asking for Kakashi's help or even bothering to look for him. He just wanted to get going.

"Kakashi, come on! Let's go-"

He felt a hand snatch his hair, the sensation of his neck being exposed similar to the horrible feeling of getting all your clothes ripped away in a public place, and then the sharp sting of a needle sliding through his skin. He hadn't even entered the room yet; his legs were hanging out the window, going limp as he slumped over, eyes wide but struggling to stay so.

'No...No...' the word repeated in his head, the tone one of absolute horror. How could this be happening? Why now? Just when they were about to get away...

He struggled to look around, trying to see who his captors were. Everything was blurring violently, making him dizzy as the colours and shapes blended and morphed. He thought he could make out Kakashi, lying in a heap on the floor with his arms twisted behind his back...or maybe it was just his jacket falling oddly; it was hard to tell. There were several people standing around, however. One was directly across from him, and as he struggled to draw in a breath, his head becoming heavy with drowsiness and delusion, he looked up to try and make out their face.

There was no doubt in his mind, despite the blurring shapes and distortion...It was Danzou.

'...Help me...please...' he slumped over, hanging half in and half out the room, his body completely unresponsive as he slipped out of consciousness. '...Naruto...'

-Casually hiding behind spiked barricade-

Yep, so, apologies that this took so long...College, mates. :/ Takes up time. Not to mention that I'm going to have a rather tough week this week...wish me luck that I survive to the end with my sanity and personality intact.

But yeah! :D Stuff happened! I'd love to know what you thought of the chapter, and what you think of the story so far! It is getting closer to the end...I only estimate maybe two more chapters...maybe three if I end up writing a long scene that gets us partially I know I tend to do. :/ Sorry.

But yes, feedback is very much appreciated, and thank you to everyone who has left a review for this story! ^_^ I've read them all, and even if I haven't been able to answer personally, know that I see them and I am very, very grateful for the support, critiques and opinions! Thank you guys! Give yourselves a hug from me! ;D

Anyway, until next time! Once more, I shall try my best to work on the chapter, but please have patience with me...I do have a life with other responsibilities. (Sadly)

:D Hope you're all well!