Alright I've got a lot of explaining to do. First of all I'm sorry for disappearing. A set of circumstances caused me to not have internet for three months, then when I finally got a connection, I came down with a case of writers block. Not that it mattered since I lost that connection two weeks later. Then I had to move, and I couldn't get a good connection or service provider where I was then, so I didn't even bother. I lived there for four months, and then I ended up moving again. I'm currently at the place I moved to, but I just recently got a service provider and a semi-decent connection a month and a half ago. I've been debating on taking this story down and editing it, but I decided against it. However I did decide to upload better versions of the first six chapters as well as the prologue. Their cleaned up a little and have all the spelling errors corrected. I uploaded them just a few minutes ago, so go check them out. Some of them also have extended parts to them, such as the prologue.
Now then, I would like to formally apologize for my very long absence, I'm very, very sorry.
I don't know if anyone who was reading this story is still waiting for an update, but if you are, here it is. Also I would like to say that I will not be updating four times a month. I will update when I have a chapter done, and I have the chance to. I can not wait for feedback on this chapter in particular, so make sure to review guys.
Now then, here's chapter seven, please read, enjoy and review.
Itachi came to a stop at the gate to the Hidden Leaf Village, he only spared a few glances around before he quickly raced to the Uchiha compound. As he did so he couldn't help but hope that Naruto was there, waiting on Mikoto to start dinner, Sasuke trying to get him to leave her alone so she could actually begin doing so. That would mean everything was okay. But when Itachi entered the main house of the Uchiha compound, his home, he realized that everything was not okay. His mother wasn't in the kitchen and the whole place was quiet. Itachi was growing worried. He quickly checked Sasuke's room, only to find it empty. He checked the rest of the house and found the whole place was empty. Itachi then exited the house and made his way to the training ground, but once again there was no sight of Naruto or Sasuke. Worry was beginning to consume the preteen Uchiha, he had to find Naruto and Sasuke as fast as possible so as to alleviate it.
So he quickly left the compound and began searching the Village. He checked the park, dozens of back alleys and other hiding places in case they were in trouble, he checked rooftops, stores, anywhere that even had the slightest chance of having Naruto and Sasuke there and still no luck.
Then he checked the market, he rushed through to see if they were perhaps shopping with his mother, but they weren't there either.
Growing desperate, he raced to Ichiraku's, and when he was told that they hadn't seen either Naruto or Sasuke since all three of them had been here last, Itachi was left with only two places to check, the Hokage's mansion, and the hospital . Itachi hoped it was the former and not the latter.
With only two places left Itachi sprinted as fast as he possibly could, taking to the rooftops no more than a few seconds after he began running so as to get to the Hokage's mansion as fast as possible. It didn't take him long to arrive at said building, when he did he wasted no time in rushing in and entering the Third's office.
Hiruzen's attention was immediately on Itachi as he entered his office, speaking as soon as he entered. "Lord Hokage, I can't find Naruto or Sasuke anywhere! Where are they!? Are they okay!?"
Hiruzen would have been taken back by Itachi's strong show of emotion if he didn't know just how much he cared for those two. But he did, so his face remained neutral as he replied. "Naruto is in the hospital, and he is not okay. He's severely injured. This came about because your father somehow found out he was within the compound and proceeded to kick him out onto the streets. He wasn't even homeless for fourty eight hours before over a dozen villagers assaulted him all at once, and not even an hour passed before three ninja confronted him and beat him down until he was in critical condition. All because of a few carrots he stole to feed his aching belly."
To anyone besides a trained ANBU member, it would sound and seem as if Hiruzen didn't particularly care about this situation at all. However Itachi, being highly trained as he was, could see the anger in the Third Hokage's eyes and hear the underlying bitterness in his tone.
Itachi's eyes were wide in shock at this point, he hadn't even been gone a week! How had this happened in less than seven days!?
That's when Hiruzen spoke once more, the faint bitterness gone from his tone, and the anger dying down in his eyes. "Luckily though, Heather Hyuga had known about what Fugaku did and informed me about the incident, so I was able to send out a team of ANBU to search for Naruto. They found him in his critical state and rushed him to the hospital, he's there now. As for your little brother, I believe he along with three other children are visiting him right now. He's in room twelve."
Itachi had a swirl of emotions whirling inside him at this point, but as the Hokage finished speaking, his priority became checking on Sasuke and Naruto, so he quickly exited the room.
When Sasuke got the others they wasted no time in rushing to the hospital. When they arrived and asked what room Naruto was in, the nurse begrudgingly spat it at them, not even wanting the child anywhere near her, let alone in the hospital she worked at. This aroused spite from all four children, but it was forgotten as soon as they entered room twelve. When they all caught sight of Naruto worry and fear filled them. Hinata gasped, his injuries effecting her most.
Just as Hinata gasped, a voice was heard, "What are you four doing here?"
The voice was was threatening and passive at the same time.
When the four looked at the source of the voice, they recognized him as ANBU, even if he wasn't wearing an animal mask. Sasuke was the one to speak to him, "He's our friend, and we wanted to see if he was okay. We've been looking for him, we were worried that something like this might happen."
Kakashi's visible eye narrowed at Sasuke's words, "You were right to worry, he was beaten so bad that he could have died if he was left unattended. I can't help but wonder though...how do you four know him?"
It was phrased as a question, but the underlying tone to it revealed it as an order.
Shikamaru eyed the white haired ninja quizzically, his best friend Choji doing the same.
Sasuke, a slight defiant tone to his voice, was the one to respond. "Like I said, we're his friends. He was living with me and my older brother before this happened, but..."
Kakashi knew what had happened, so he let up. "Don't worry kid, I know."
Sasuke looked down at his feet then, feeling ashamed that his father had been the cause of this.
Hinata then spoke, "Are y...y...you sure he's gon...gonn...gonna be o..okay?"
Shikamaru then voiced two questions of his own, "And exactly what happened to him? Who did this?"
Kakashi shook his head, but nevertheless answered the three questions. "Yeah, he's gonna be fine. As for why this happened and who did it..."
Hinata was shocked and saddened by this information, she had to keep herself from crying.
Choji had a deep scowl on his face, he didn't think any of this was fair,
Shikamaru was perplexed to say the least, his mind was already at work trying to solve this conundrum. "Why such barbaric methods for common theft? Not even that! There's something we're missing, there's no point in being so rough on a child."
Sasuke's fists were clenched tightly in anger as he stared at his own shoes, trying to hold the tears in. His mind was racing with thoughts, "Why did this have to happen!? He didn't deserve this! He just wanted some food! Why are people so hateful!?"
Sasuke's anger was rising, he couldn't keep his mouth in check as he blurted out the question he'd been dying to know for over a year. "Why do they do these kinds of things to Naruto!? It's not fair! What did he ever do to anyone!? Why do they hate him so much!?"
Kakashi's tone had a bit of disdain in it as he spoke. "You haven't earned the right to ask that question."
Sasuke glared as hard as he could at Kakashi when he finished saying those words.
"Kakashi is right Sasuke."
At the sound of that voice, Sasuke, Hinata, Shikamaru, Choji and Kakashi all looked towards the window, where Itachi had entered the room.
Kakashi had noticed him just before he entered the room, so he wasn't surprised to see him, so he remained silent.
Sasuke's tone was filled with surprise, "Itachi, Your back?"
That's when exactly what his older brother had said sunk in, "Wait, what's that supposed to mean!?"
Itachi was as stoic as he usually was, no longer showing nearly as much emotion as he had in the Hokage's office as he spoke once more. "What Kakashi and I are saying is that you haven't had to go through what Naruto has, so only he has the right to ask that question."
Sasuke understood what they meant now, but that didn't stop their words from aggravating him, so he gritted his teeth to keep himself from responding.
Everyone was silent at this point, so Itachi's eyes traveled the room, looking at Sasuke, then Hinata, then Shikamaru, then Choji and ending on Naruto. He kept his thoughts to himself instead of breaking the silence with them. "It looks like you've got four friends that might just stick with you through everything Naruto, I'm glad. But if I have anything to say about it, nothing like this will ever happen to you again, so they won't have to go through this with you anymore."
That's when a groan passed through Naruto's lips and his eyes opened up. At first his vision was blurry, so he couldn't make out who the six people in the room were. However after several seconds his eyes began to adjust, and his vision cleared to the point that he recognized five of the six individuals. "Hinata? Itachi? Sasuke? Shikamaru? Choji? What are you guys doing here?"
As Naruto's vision continued to clear, and he still couldn't recognize his surroundings he asked, "And where is here anyway?"
The young blonde began looking around the room at that point, trying to figure out where he was. At the same time Hinata grabbed a hold of his right hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. "Do y..yo...you feel o..okay?"
Naruto was silent as he tried to sit up, however before he could do so all the way, he couldn't help but yelp in pain. He groaned as he lied back down and answered Hinata's question, "Not really."
Kakashi was the first to answer one of Naruto's questions, "Your in the hospital. When I found you, you were almost at death's door, but you should be okay now. However it'll take a long while for you to fully recover from this. Your injuries are severe, so you won't even be walking for a couple of months."
That effectively dampened everyone's mood.
That's when Itachi answered the rest of Naruto's questions, "I just got back half an hour ago. We're all here to make sure that your okay. But I'm also here to tell you that while I can't get you back into the Uchiha compound, I'm sure the Hokage and I can make arrangements so that you've got somewhere to live. So no orphanage, no using garbage bags as pillows so you've got somewhere to rest your head on the streets, and no worrying about getting caught and thrown out."
Naruto couldn't help but give a hopeful smile at Itachi's words, "Really?"
Itachi returned Naruto's smile, before replying, "Yeah, really."
"That's the best we can do?"
Hiruzen sighed before responding to Itachi's words, "Unfortunately, yes. It's big enough, it's close to Ichiraku's , and it's the only apartment that I can procure for Naruto without giving the council reason to start sniffing around."
Itachi was silent for a few moments before nodding his head and replying, "Alright, I'll show it to him personally when he's done recovering."
Hiruzen gave a small smile before speaking once more. "I'm glad that you care for him so much, it means a lot to me. If I wasn't the Hokage, I'd be doing everything your doing now. So, thank you."
Itachi gave a half hearted smile, "What can I say? He's grown on me."
With that Itachi left the Hokage's office. Once he was outside his smile faded, and he whispered to himself. "I doubt that you'd do what I've done Lord Hokage, or what I'm about to do."
With that Itachi took to the rooftops, he had three ninja to find. And he knew just who they were thanks to Kakashi. He had taken Naruto's statement on what the three nin looked like, and told Itachi who they were since he knew exactly who they were after hearing certain details on their appearance. However after Kakashi informed the young Uchiha of who they were, he also confronted him on what he knew he was going to do.
Naruto was currently asleep, his friends all at home eating lunch at this time as two Shinobi spoke to one and other within the same room that the young blonde lay in.
Kakashi was still sitting in a chair in the corner, so as to be fully aware of every inch of his surroundings. "I know what your planning to do, I can tell by that look in your eyes. You should know that an investigation will be launched immediately after reports of their 'disappearance' reaches the Hokage."
Itachi, anger raging in his eyes turned to look at Kakashi, speaking in his usual monotone voice, with just a hint of rage within. "Does that mean your going to inform the Third about what I'm going to do?"
Kakashi stared down the younger ANBU member for several long, tense moments, before he finally replied. "No, I'm not. Instead I'm going to do my best to run interference on your part, so as to keep them off your trail."
There was once again silence between the two ANBU for a few moments before the white haired one spoke once more. "He is my late sensei's son..."
That's when fierceness filled Kakashi's one visible eye as he said, "Give those three what they deserve."
Itachi merely nodded his head before taking off.
And the young Uchiha planned on doing just that. He knew what the three looked like and knew their names, so it was a simple matter in finding them. When he did he wasted no time, "Koji, Dente, Chad, follow me if you would."
Since Itachi was wearing his ANBU mask the three couldn't tell quite who it was, but he was ANBU nevertheless so they nodded their heads and began to follow him.
The three Chunin level ninja wore the usual shinobi attire, their only real noteworthy features being the color of their hair. Dente had black hair, Chad was a brunette and Koji had brown hair.
Itachi led the three until they reached training ground fourty four, The Forest of Death. They didn't get very far into said forest until the three Chunin level ninja came to a stop and began demanding answers.
The preteen Uchiha proceeded to remove his animal mask, before speaking to them. "I am here because of what you did to young Naruto."
All three scoffed at that, before Dente spoke for them. "The demon brat got what he deserved. He stole from an honest grocer, are we supposed to let that go unpunished?"
Itachi was quick to reply, his eyes narrowing in anger. "You decided to punish a child that's not even a quarter your age with physical violence? Over a dozen carrots he stole because he was starving? Your not men, your cowardly scum. You owe that boy for what you did to him, and I intend to make you pay...with your lives."
All three men's eyes widened at that and all three said in unison, "What!?"
Koji was the one to speak for himself and his two friends next, "You'd do that, just because that Demon took a little beating!?"
The look in the preteen Uchiha's eyes was more than enough to answer that question, for they promised death. That's when Chad quickly spoke, fear beginning to fill his voice, "Th..the Hokage would never order such a thing! He'd never allow this!"
"He didn't. The Third has nothing to do with this. I'm doing it of my own accord."
That had all three Chunin's eyes widening even further. Dente was quick to ask why. "But why? Why do you care about that thing!? It nearly destroyed our village!"
"Your wrong, it was the Nine Tails that did that, not Naruto. The beast was sealed within him so as to save the lives of all the villagers, your worthless lives counted among them. But instead of treating him like the hero he is, you treat him worse than dirt, even sinking as low as beating him into the ground, and for that you die."
With that Itachi removed the sword from the sheathe on his back and charged forward toward the three. He proceeded to charge into Dente, impaling him to the hilt with his blade, which elicited a pained scream from the man. The young Uchiha continued to charge forward until he slammed the black haired chunin into a tree, the sword burying into the bark of the tree a little past the tip, pinning Dente's body to said tree.
Itachi removed his hands from the blade and took two steps back, allowing the other two to see what he had done. As he did this Dente looked down at the sword as he wrapped his hands around the hilt, a look of disbelief and agony on his face. He then coughed up a mouthful of blood before his body went limp, his eyes closed and his arms fell to his sides as he finally succumbed to death.
Both Koji and Chad had looks of horror on their faces at this point, they had heard how good Itachi was, but they had never thought he'd be this good. However, knowing their lives were on the line, both quickly rushed toward the preteen Uchiha.
When they got close enough Itachi went to work, first by moving just enough to the right for Chad to miss him, then by slamming his left elbow into his back as hard as he possibly could, forcing the brunette to his knees in pain. The young Uchiha then pulled a kunai from his holster, and as Koji got in close he moved ever so slight to the left, avoiding his left hook and then burying his kunai into Koji's gut to the hilt. Before he could even let his pain be known verbally, Itachi used his left arm to keep Koji up from behind before proceeding to remove his kunai and begin repeatedly stabbing him with it. He did this almost a dozen times before the chunin went limp, letting the raven haired Uchiha know he was dead.
The preteen left the kunai in the brown haired chunin's gut as his lifeless body hit the ground with a thud. It was at this point he would have turned around and began dealing with Chad, however he had recovered quicker then the young Uchiha had thought he would and was now holding the preteen in a choke hold, trying to cut off his airway and force him to suffocate from lack of oxygen.
Itachi struggled for several long moments before forcing Chad's arms away and proceeding to elbow him in the gut with both elbows. This had Chad once again on his knees in pain, but this time Itachi wasted no time in getting to the brunette. He got behind him and grabbed a hold of his head, putting him in the same kind of choke hold he was just in, before proceeding to almost overexert himself physically by snapping his neck, killing him instantly unlike his two buddies.
As Chad's body hit the ground with a thud, Itachi took in a deep breath before exhaling. He should have activated his sharingan for if he had he never would have been locked in that choke hold, and he would have ended it a little faster. But nevertheless he had taken care of the three, and with them being inside the Forest of Death it would be much easier to cover his tracks.
So Itachi then began to cover his tracks.
Fugaku had just been informed of Itachi's return, and that set off a chain of thought that had been building for several days now. "Itachi has grown so distant, and lately he's been growing rebellious. No matter how hard I try I just can't understand him anymore. He cares for that thing and I can't figure out why. And then their's the matter of Takkun's suicide. He was a very boastful and proud Uchiha, it's not like him to do this. No Uchiha would ever consider it, yet one of our most promising and most prideful clan members did the unthinkable and took his own life, it just doesn't add up. And then there have been several eyewitness reports stating that he was heading towards my home the day he died, the same day Itachi left on his mission. Is it merely a coincidence? Or has my son done the unforgivable by killing a fellow clansmen? I just don't know."
At that exact moment Sasuke passed by his father, as he made his way to his room. This had Fugaku's thoughts settle onto a different track. "Perhaps its best if I shift my attention to Sasuke. He's not nearly as talented as his older brother, however he seems to be very loyal to the clan, the one exception being in the case of that thing, and he seems to be trying very hard to stand out and impress me. Yes...I think that would be that best course of action."
With that Fugaku stood up from the chair he had been sitting in and began making his way to Sasuke's room.