Jiraiya pulled back, tucking his sealing equipment away before smiling at his work. Before him sat a (very unhappy) Uchiha, complete with bound hands and feet, and now a chakra seal as well. He would normally be gagged, too, but he seemed quite… content to glare silently. Jiraiya looked up at the rest of the group. "Alright, who's carrying him?"
"I can walk."
"So the mute can talk after all?"
During the exchange of insults (Naruto ended up dragging him), Yahiko spoke quietly to Nagato and Konan. "You know, I have a feeling the stripper's going to make this trip a lot less pleasant than it could be."
"Please shut up."
Kabuto glared at the retreating group from a distance, his teeth lightly clenched.
They'd killed Orochimaru-sama.
Jerking away, he took a deep breath to calm himself. What now? Revenge? …No. He couldn't fight them. He wasn't strong enough. Not alone.
Kabuto felt a smirk growing as he ran towards the nearest stronghold. Maybe he could do it. He could fulfill some of Orochimaru's wishes after all, even if only one. He would construct an army. He would strike the leaf. And he would win.
When they'd gotten back to the village, the first thing the Haruno girl did was drag him and Ishida off to… a flower shop.
He could kind of see why she'd bring Ishida, but why him? Better yet, why both of them?
Ichigo looked around a little. It was just a simple flower shop. But something about it… he leaned over to Ishida. "Hey, is it just me, or does this place remind you of the getaboshi's place?"
The two looked up at Haruno. She had another girl with her, now; she waved at the two of them before Haruno got their attention again. "This is Yamanaka Ino. Due to the nature of her family's techniques, they tend to be good psychologists. You've officially been signed up for a therapy session for dealing with your first kill. Have fun."
Suigetsu's feet pounded the forest floor as he ran. The other experiments had gone nuts when they'd heard Orochimaru was killed, especially since the fight had jostled more than one cage. He'd escaped when someone had broken his own.
A flash of blue in his peripheral vision - accompanied by a lot of black, and a little bit of red - caught his attention.
A pause, broken by a smirk. "Mangestu's little brother… I was just going to check on you."
"On Orochimaru, you mean."
"Itachi's interest. You tend to do that when a sannin and his apprentice want you dead."
"And I want you dead."
"You're not going to just hand me Samehada, after all. I want your sword, and I'm going to get it."
Two stares meet, appraising one another.
The silence took hold again, until the shark man broke it with a sigh. "I know where little Zabuza's sword is. Fetch that, and meet me here in… two weeks? Do that, and consider yourself apprenticed. Better than squandering your talents and simply getting yourself thrashed in a couple years. Less of a nuisance to me, too."
Suigetsu's grin returned, wider than ever. "It's not gonna stop me from taking yours."
The answering smirk was as expected. "I look forward to it, brat. The sword's in Wave, now hop to it."
He'd left before Hoshigaki had finished the sentence. He'd get the sword, alright. And, in time, Samehada would be his as well.
…As soon as he got some clothes on.
It was dark.
Then again, it was always dark. Until it got bright. But that only happened every so often. It wasn't going to happen right now… right? There was a good chance of someone getting killed, when the door that let in light was opened. He didn't like killing people.
No matter how much blood was already on his hands.
"Girls… wait… no, guys. Guys are better. Eh… nah, girls, girls… or actually, guys… hm… a guy. Nope… a girl, after all… okay. Got it." He looked up at where he knew the light would come from. "If the next person to open that door is a girl, I'll kill her."
The locks on the door clacked as someone undid them. The door cracked.
"… No." His eyes narrowed. "A guy… if it's a guy, I'll kill him."
The door opened.
A soft, feminine face. A girl.
He lost. This time.
"Juugo." Soft red hair, ragged on one side, framed her face. Eyes hidden behind glasses… a caretaker? "Come with me."
Or maybe not.
He glared at the door. "What do you want with me? Don't you know I'm dangerous?"
"I come to request your power in service of Uchiha Sasuke."
"Uchiha… Sasuke…?" Kimimaro… His glare turned… less adamant before hardening again. "I won't. Not unless he's here. I won't risk killing again."
"Don't you know, Juugo?" The woman tilted her head, arching an eyebrow. "Sasuke-kun was captured by Konoha-nin. We're going to free him."
Aizen leaned back in his chair, watching as Ulquiorra escorted in his prize from a little trip into hell. Long, slick black hair covered pale skin and amber eyes lined with purple markings… he smiled. "Welcome to my domain, Orochimaru-san. I trust you found your trip here agreeable?"
A light tug on cuffs. The jingle of a chain. A smirk in return. "Quite…"
"Aizen-san. I wasn't looking forward to spending eternity in hell, after all. But I'm guessing this wasn't an act of charity…?"
A faint chuckle. "Correct." Rustle of cloth as the brown-haired shinigami leaned forward. "The force that killed you was a combined effort of the Gotei Thirteen and beings from your own dimension. In light of this, it isn't unreasonable to assume they'll be working together in future. You're simply the best option for getting an idea of what I'm up against."
"Perhaps…" No change in facial expression, except perhaps a glimmer of interest… if only to disguise the spark of panic. Chakra acting weird. Reserves low. No escape, no hidden edge, no upper hand, no manipulation… yet. "But first, there is something I'll need…"
Anko stretched, scratching at her shoulder absently. She'd gone light on the alcohol tonight. Really, she had. Or maybe she hadn't. Either way, it wasn't enough for her to forget her senses.
She still knew the feeling of being watched.
She'd felt it more than enough times to know it, and years of training under Orochi-freaking-maru had taught her that more than anything else. The violent chill of someone behind you, always behind you, waiting for you to slip up so they could slip a kunai between your ribs, slit your throat, stab you in the back…
Something was following her.
She knew this for a fact. So why did she have to convince herself? Because that feeling was the only sign they were even there. She was a Tokubetsu Jonin, for Kami's sake. While she'd be the… perhaps not the first, but one of the first to admit she suffered from bouts of paranoia (what competent ninja didn't?) but it wasn't like that this time, damnit!
From the shadows, a frown formed on the soul's face. The girl was aware of him. She would have been fun to fight. Shame he couldn't. Not without making a scene. Not here.
Moonlight gleamed off metal as the scythe swung down.
"Why do I follow you?"
The black, panther-like hollow turned back to glare at his… companion? Partner? Comrade? Whatever he was. "What do you mean?"
The lupine hollow blinked before looking off to the side. "You and I are… very different. I have no doubt you're the only reason I'm still… well, not alive, but existing. But why do you keep me around? Why not just devour me, too? Moreover… it'd be better for everyone if I stopped you from leaving this place. Why do I help you?"
The panther tilted his head, his eyes narrow. They were golden now, like with most of the lost souls who lived in the cursed desert, but the wolf could too easily imagine the red glint they carried in life. "This land breeds selfishness. Even if it's to protect… you want to return to that place, too. And I have a greater chance of leaving these sands if I keep someone with me, as much as I loathe to admit it."
"But why me?" His mouth cracked slightly, as though to bare his fangs, despite them being a permanent piece of his mask. "Why not someone who would share your goals, and not turn against you when you leave?"
"Isn't it obvious?" He flared his massive feathered wings. "You possess the same drive as I, for better or worse. We will return to Konoha, or we will once again die trying."
A/N- Sorry if this is a little on the short side. Normally, I'd rattle of some excuse about being pressed for time, but that really wasn't it this week; it's more that this is an epilogue of sorts; part I is now at an end. Naturally, you still have the rest of this fic to look forward to, but… well. Anyways, I pulled up a style I've been playing around with recently since it seemed to fit the chapter better. Experiments are fun, and all that.
Anyways, a quick cameo of sorts for the two in the last bit. If you can guess who, you earn a digital cookie.
Phoenix's Notes: Book One was always planned to be a little on the short side. Fear not, Books Two and Three will be quite a bit longer. And I think that, while this one wasn't a very large success, the next two will be. We'll hopefully also have a cover done by then. The sequel is as of yet unnamed, but you'll know it when you see it.
You can probably guess who one of them is. I doubt you can guess the other.
Now, a lot of people voted on the GC-poll. A lot. I didn't expect that many people to vote, considering how many of you actually review regularly (that is to say, one. Ttran2323. He gets a cookie. A big one. And I don't even know his real name). So, at least review this last chapter here. The results of the poll, from 21 voters:
14 said yes.
3 told me to just do whatever Dark-heika and I decided on.
2 hadn't read GC (I feel sorry for you now…)
2 hadn't read DMTNT (I wonder why they voted at all, but okay).
Nobody said no.
Ergo… looks like GC personalities will be used. There will be one main difference, concerning Tobi, but that's been planned for a while. You guys might enjoy it.
…Huh. My first multi-chapter story to actually be labeled as complete without being abandoned. Sweet. This is a milestone.
So, basically, here's the last word: advertise this story. Dark-heika and I have a lot of fun writing it, but we like feedback too. So please… review? (Except Ttran2323. You just keep doing what you're doing and have cookies.)
A simple one this time: Yahiko starts a self-help group with Gin called God Complexes Anonymous alongside Gin. Light, Aizen, and Nagato are forced into attendance. Naraku, Orochimaru, Szayel, and Voldemort try joining, but are thrown in the noodle incident pit because they are detrimental to the group's goals. Konan takes session notes. Ryuk… I leave him up to you.
Also, for some bizarre reason, Tsunade, Rangiku, Yoruichi, and Samui create BBA, or 'Big Boobs Anonymous'. They invite Konan to join.