Chapter 36: Closing In
Naruto turned away from the roars and cheers of his fanatical army, with his speech he had brought every soldier to their knees in obedience, he knew their loyalty would not be questionable. He was surprised to see the Seven Ninja Swordsman salute to him, after meeting Zabuza and Haku, Naruto had figured all the swordsman to be heartless mercenaries that answer to no one, perhaps the Rinnegan is the one thing they would ever answer to. The roars and clapping rose as the Jashin monks rolled out the last surviving kegs of beer and trays of hot steaming meat for their new and last guests. Naruto entered the hallway, his generals and friends clapped and grinned widely, he blushed at the sudden attention. Hidan slapped him hard on the back
"FUCKING BRILLIANT! Your speech was true to the core, you have my support"
Naruto rolled his eyes "As long as there is blood and vengeance in the battle to come, you would have helped out anyway"
He cackled "Hahahaa yeah that's fucking right !"
Naruto began to feel a throb at the back of his head, like spinning cogs grinding roughly in his head, he tried to listen to what Orochimaru was now saying but his focus was completely thrown off, no one noticed the strain growing across his face.
Orochimaru was gesturing towards the crowd "They wont back down from this opportunity to spill Konoha's blood, they all have personal issues with the village"
Naruto clutched the back of his head, it felt like rods were pushing at the inside of his skull like the hatching of an egg. To everyone else it would have looked like a simple headache, but it felt like hammers were beating war tunes into his temples. Sasori laughed at something and pitched in his own opinions, their words becoming muffled and warped by whatever was working away at his mind. His legs began to feel numb as conversations progressed, he was no longer listening to anyone at this point.
He could see Hinata mouth out his name "Naruto ? Are you okay ?"
They were all looking at him now, his legs now covered with the sensation of pins and needles, a loud ringing in his head blocked out all sound now. Orochimaru was moving towards him now from across the room, with his vast knowledge of medical science and anatomy he knew what was happening. Naruto's legs buckled and he collapsed backward, the throbbing in his head intensified as he began to writhe on the floor. His Rinnegan eyes rolling up to the back of his head as he lost consciousness. Hinata gasped and clasped her hands to her mouth, about to stifle a scream.
Sasori shook his head, clutching her shoulder "It's okay ... his body is having trouble adjusting to the Rinnegan, its a complete foreign object in his body, his nervous system is trying to fight off its presence, but within a few hours he will recover stronger than ever, am I right Orochimaru ?"
He nodded "Yes and no ... It may have also been the strain put on his body by viewing the army through the eyes of the Rinnegan"
Hidan cocked an eyebrow "What's so different about the Rinnegan's vision compared to our own"
Orochimaru rolled his eyes "Could you be any more dense ... It's like a Sharingan, Naruto can now see more into the human body than ever before, he can see their chakra, their nerves and ever sense their fear ... seeing such a large crowd must be off-putting for someone who only recently acquired the eyes. Nagato had years to master their prowess"
Hinata fumbled with her fingers "Will truly be alright ?"
Orochimaru nodded "You need not worry, Hinata. He will come to tonight, by then his system should be fully integrated with the Rinnegan, no future issues will occur, I am positive"
Hidan pointed to Sasori "Help Hinata take him to his ..."
But before he could finish, Hinata had scooped Naruto up in her arms and was already carrying him towards their room down the hallway, luckily it was still in one piece. Konan lightly smiled and joked
"Before she joined our organisation she was having trouble even carrying the groceries in ... how people change"
Sasori patted her shoulder "Wanna get a drink ?"
She shook her head "Leave me to my emotions ... I'm going to talk with the Hidden Rain Shinobi, converse with our loyal soldiers. We should all join them in this feast, we may be spilling blood together in the days ahead"
They all nodded, picturing the war ahead. Most of the men below were most surely going to die, without truly knowing the new world would be built atop their corpses. But surely they knew many would die, they would all fight desperately to see the new age dawn.
Obito was furious that Kakashi had escaped with the two Konoha agents, there was a risk that Kakashi would find out his wife and child are still alive and come after the Akatsuki in furious revenge. But the moment Kakashi objected to losing his Sharingan, Obito knew he had lost his comrade and friend. He needed his eye back, but it did not bother him too much.
'When I retrieve the Kyuubi I'll have a set of Rinnegan to collect from dear Nagato'
Sasuke stood across the training ground, Kakuzu was removing the bandages wrapped around his head, covering Sasuke's Eternal Mangeyeko Sharingan's which were yet to be tested and fully awakened. Itachi stood in a ring to the right of Sasuke, training against target dummies, his new implanted Sharingans ready for use. Itachi had come to grips with the halving of his power and was already hard at work on perfecting his techniques with the new pair of eyes. If he had any hope in becoming stronger, he needed to see or feel a best friend or family member die. But he knew it would never happen, nor did he want it to happen, no matter how much he craved his old power
Obito lightly smiled "How does it feel Sasuke ?"
Sasuke grinned, his face twisted into a murderous grin "My eyes are not even open and I feel a hundred times stronger than before, I feel no strain at all"
Itachi nodded "Just remember whose eyes they are ... I want em back after this is all over"
Sasuke snorted "You can have em back as soon as Naruto is dead ... That's all I want them for"
Itachi smirked and threw the Kunai he held in his hand, it sliced through the dummies head and embedded itself in the wall behind. The bandages fell from Sasuke's face, he slowly opened his eyes, the surge of power almost rocking him off his feet. His Mangeyeko Sharingan gleamed blood-red, his red pupils in the middle of a black six pointed star like his old eyes, however they would never revert back to their three comma form again. Kakuzu backed away as Sasuke rubbed his eyes with a menacing expression.
Obito looked over his shoulder to Kisame, who was standing in front of a barred cell "Explain to me where you found them ?"
Kisame grinned "scouts from Suna, they were guarding the ruins of the Hidden Eddys village in case we returned"
The scouts cried aloud "P..Please just let us go ... we promise not to tell the Kazekage or Hokage ... we can give you information !"
Sasuke moved to the bars and pushed Kisame aside, closing one eye and widening the other he called "AMATERASU !"
Black flames bellowed from Sasuke's eye, now that he possessed an eternal Mangeyeko Sharingan he no longer felt the pain and strain the attack caused, he could hold the attack for hours if he wanted to. He stared into the cell, the black flames still shooting from his eyes, it was beyond overkill. The scouts had stopped screaming after the first minute, but Sasuke waited until nothing was left in the cell but blackened earth. He grinned wider
"My Susanoo will be improved also I am guessing ?"
Obito nodded "there won't be such a time limit for it ... you could fight for hours if you wanted to push yourself to the edge"
Kakuzu fiddled with a stitch in his arm as he coldly asked "What do we do now ?"
Obito gestured to the Gedo Statue "Kisame just returned with the eight tails ... Now all there is to harvest is the Nine and One tailed Jinchuuriki"
Kakuzu cocked an eyebrow "Was he a challenge, Kisame ?"
Kisame nodded "In the end he tired out and used up all his Chakra firing Bijuu bombs ... I made it look like the Hachibi killed him. The Hidden cloud will catch on eventually"
"How do you stage a Bijuu murder ?"
"You cut a hole in his chest, place a octopus blood stained sword in his hand and leave a few tentacles lying around to top it off ... Cloud Ninja are dull"
Obito smirked "When they do find out it was us, I'm not going to be the one getting his head chopped off by the Raikage"
Itachi hopped over the railing and stood by his brother, flicking his forehead and ducking an uppercut "So what really happens now ?"
they looked to their leader now, his back turned to them as he walked towards the large map displayed on the wall of the five great nations of the Shinobi world. drawing his Kunai he wedged it on the small illustration of the Hokage monument, the blade piercing through the faces of past leaders. The act in itself was more symbolic and explanatory than words, the Akatsuki members began to suit up, throwing their cloaks over their shoulders and settling their star hats over their eyes. Obito clipped on his new mask, this time it was white with two eye holes, the left eye black and empty, but that would change soon.
Lifting Madara's war fan over his shoulder he coldly spoke "We march to Konoha ... kill the Kazekage and seal his beast ... Take Kakashi's eye ... Then"
Sasuke interrupted him "Then ... We kill Naruto"
Kakashi felt the familiar smells and sounds of Konoha as they drew closer to its large gates, there was now a secondary wall being built around the entrance, small wooden ramparts and stakes dug into the ground to further boost the defenses of the Village and its humble citizens. Workers were reinforcing the doors and digging what looked like foxholes within the village, there was still battle damage from the earlier battle with Danzo's Anbu loyalists, many of the houses were still windowless or damaged with minor repairs underway. Kotetsu and Izumo, Konoha's gate keepers and low ranking Jounin, moved from their post towards Sai and Yamato, clearly relieved to see Kakashi again. Kakashi felt for a weapon, but it appeared that Sai and Yamato had removed all possible weapons while he slept.
He thought of ways to kill those around him 'I could use my Kamui on his head right now, tear it right off and send it to another dimension ...'
Yamato sensed his hostility and stiffened, muttering in a low voice "They are our allies ... make a wrong move and I'll remove that Sharingan in a instant"
Kakashi spoke low but threateningly "They are your allies yes ... They are nothing more than oppressive meat bags waiting in line for death"
Sai stood between the two yet again "Stop it you two ... Kakashi, Tsunade will take a look at you and dispel any Genjutsu or drug you may be under"
Kakashi shifted his gaze and snorted "Do as you like ... I know what I saw"
They moved through the gate and handed in the appropriate papers to Kotetsu and Izumo. Kakashi ignored any attempts at contact, as far as he knew, he was in enemy territory and is more likely to be tortured than healed. The main street was cluttered with rubble and working villagers, nailing boards and laying relaying bricks in the hope that it will hold until the next attack, when ever that may be. He could sense familiar Chakra, he could sense his old friends like a dog could smell out raw meat, all he would have to do is separate from Yamato and Sai, find a weapon and end there miserable lives. They were approaching the busy market district, families Squandered over rations to last them the coming winter, Kakashi realized many of them probably lived in shelters after the battle.
'Imagine what a war will do to them ... There will be more war orphans than the Hidden Rain Village ever had'
They entered the thick crowd of bartering and trading. Kakashi knew Sai and Yamato would have a hard time chasing him among the thick crowds and narrow side streets, he had been in Konoha longer than both of the Anbu born initiates, he knew the street better than any of them. He leaped to the side, darting between crates as Sai lunged for him. A man collided with Sai and sent them both sprawling. Yamato screamed
"KAKASHI ! GET BACK HERE !"
Kakashi jumped from crate to crate, slowly elevating to the rooftops where he leaped from tiled roof to tiled roof, Yamato and Sai close behind, their blades drawn for cautious reasons. For all they knew, Kakashi was a hostile enemy and should be treated as such. Kakashi was cornered, Sai covered one side of the roof, Yamato the other. He grinned beneath his mask, raising his hands in submission as they slowly approach. Then with a light chuckle he leans backward, falling into the alleyway below. Before Yamato and Sai could lean over the edge, he was gone, already on the move and masking his Chakra by the look of it.
"Yamato ... What do we do ? Do we go to the Hokage and protect her or continue looking ?"
Yamato sighed, he sensed Anko in the city "We find Anko and follow her ... she's about to find Kakashi and give him the biggest scare of his life"
Kakashi could not feel them pursuing him anymore, he was relieved now that he was free to make his own decisions. The city was fluttering with familiar Chakra, he relaxed his own, letting it softly emit instead of being completely masked. He was alone down an empty side street. His first plan was to go to Tsunade's office and force some answers out of her, through anger or torture, it did not matter so long as he got what he wanted to know. He turned the corner and froze, the Kunai dropping from his hand and the strength in his legs fading, he gripped the building for support to stop him buckling over. The women saw him and a grin from cheek to cheek spread across her face. She began to jog to him, calling out
"Oh my god I thought I had lost you!" Anko grinned wider
Kakashi shook his head, his body shaking, he turned and ran "No ...no no no no this can't be real"
She cocked an eyebrow and chased after him "Hey come back ! Kakashi Hatake, you get back here right this instant!"
He darted through a narrow passage, Anko would catch up if he did not hide, she had been in Anbu longer than he had, she was more physically fit too. Kakashi felt her grow closer, looking over his shoulder he saw her leaping from roof to roof above him. Ahead there was the villages river, the street dropped down a grassy hill towards the riverbed, where multiple docks floated. Kakashi to the slope and slid down it, ignoring the stone steps. Anko leaped onto the railing of the stairway and slid down the pipe, landing in front of Kakashi with her arms extended. Kakashi flipped over her and darted to the dock.
"KAKASHI WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON ... PREGNANT WOMEN LIKE ME SHOULD NOT BE RUNNING LIKE THIS, BAKA !?"
For a pregnant women she was fast and flexible, not fully round but getting there. Kakashi leaped onto the wooden dock, his boots clattering against the hardwood boards. If he swam he would get caught, she blocked the exit for him now, if he was going to escape he had to take on this Genjutsu Apparition.
He pulled a Kunai from his belt and screamed "GET BACK ! YOU'RE NOT HER ... YOU'RE NOT REALLY HER !"
"What are you talking about ?!" her voice wavering under sudden surprise and worry
"YOU ARE NOT HER ... MY WIFE IS DEAD, YOU CANNOT FOOL ME!"
Her hand clasped her chest, as if steadying her heart "Kakashi, It's me .. I am your wife, and I am more than Ok"
She took a step forward, he recoiled "I'll kill you ... come any closer and I'll end your fake existence"
She yelled now "For god sakes Kakashi, no one in the village would or would want to cast Genjutsu on you ... I'm real"
He lunged at her, catching her off guard. His blade inches from slitting her throat "YOU'RE LYING ... LIAR !"
Kakashi's blade spins off into the water, Yamato stands toe to toe with Kakashi, the tip of his Kunai against his throat, whilst Sai holds his Katana to the back of his spine. One wrong move and they will pin him like a noticeboard. Anko is frantic, her face contorted into a grimace and a scowl as she holds back tears. Kakashi glares at her in a way she has never seen him before. His eyes furious and still, looking her over not as a lover but as a hunter.
She grips her elbows nervously and shouts "Is someone ... if anyone ... GOING TO TELL ME WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON ?!"
Sai nods "We will tell you everything after we take him to Tsunade, he needs treatment"
She blinks "T...Treatment ? What does that have to do ..."
Yamato lowers his blade "He was cast under some crazy Genjutsu when we left the Hidden Eddys Village ... He though you died and Konoha betrayed him"
Anko feels a jab of regret, no wonder he was acting out "What can we do ? He does not believe me when I tell him"
Sai Pushes Kakashi forward, handcuffing his hands and leading him off the dock "Tsunade might have a procedure to lost memory or the casting of Genjutsu"
Anko places her hand on his shoulder, Kakashi shrugs it off and tries to lunge at her, Yamato chokes him back. Anko wipes the tears from her eyes and turns to leave, but before she does she turns to Kakashi and caresses her stomach, in a hurt voice she murmurs.
"I still want to call our child Sakumo ... Some Genjutsu Apparition would never know that"
For a brief second, Kakashi's eyes widen and grow teary, as if inside he knew it was true. He looked away and marched towards the Hokage's office.
The carriage shook, familiar cold air crept in and stung his naked body, he clung tighter to the blankets, feeling smooth hands grip his chest. The soft pillow pressed against his back. With sudden realization, a small trickle of blood ran down Naruto's nose. Hinata's boobs were pressed tightly to him as she embraced him, her full body pressed to the back of his under the fur blankets in their private carriage. He turned over and grinned, their eyes meeting. Although this time she winced, still not used to his Rinnegan eyes and their cold violet gaze, it was hard to read them, Hinata was beginning to like the pretty swirls and decor of the holy eyes, but she missed those piercing sapphire eyes she feel in love with years ago.
Naruto noticed her wince and bit his lip, reaching into the chest beside their bed, pulling out a small flat box "I had these made, Hinata"
He pulled out two small disks of the same piercing blue and slipped them onto his eyes, they were organic contact lenses that Orochimaru had created for him. Walking around the world with eyes of the sage meant people would try and take them. It was a safety precaution, for the people not Naruto, he would kill anyone who even tried. He slipped them on, his eyes returning to their normal color. She smiled and pulled him in, hooking her lips around his and closing her eyes for the briefest moment, taking in his scent and chakra, letting it comfort her.
"Good sleep ?" she poked his nose and grinned
"I would call it an unconscious slumber ... but yes, it was long"
She ran her fingers up his cheek and around the bags under his eyes "You need more sleep ... how do they feel ? The Rinnegan"
He smirked "No pain at all ... I feel even better than I did when I first woke with them"
"Sasori said you would fully adjust to them ... you slept all through last night and into today, we are just passing through the Land of Iron now"
"That explains why my Nipples are harder than Iron"
She giggles "Don't be vulgar"
Naruto moved his hand under the cover and moved his fingers over her chest "That also explains why you are too"
She blushed "Quit it ... Sleaze. I had to carry you out to the carriage when no one was looking"
"do you think it would be good for troop morale if they saw their leader being carried like a baby, naked and fast asleep to the convoy ?"
"It would make them jealous of how great a wife I have"
Hinata smiles but scratches her head "Uuuuuh ... About that, you and I never got married. We got interrupted ... Guess we are just engaged then ?"
Naruto moans long and loud "OOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooh baka baka baka! I was supposed to get married to you ...I'm a failure"
She leaned down and kissed his neck, moving to his earlobe and gently biting down, he loved it when she did that. She hopped on top of him, her naked body pressed against his. she whispered deep into his head, his earlobe felt like it was on fire.
"You are not a failure ... you convinced me you are an absolute romantic .. you proposed amazingly ... and you look real good in a tux. I'm Impressed Mr Uzumaki ..."
"As am I ... Mrs Uzumaki"
He rolled on top of her and fell beneath the blanket laughing. A loud knock came at the cabin door, it was Konan. She popped her head through the doorway and grinned, a faint flush in her face. It was good to see her face taking on color again, she had ridden in the carriage behind them with Nagato's body since they left. She closed the door behind her and collapsed back against the hardwood seating, sighing in relief as she brushed the snow from her coat. She grinned wide and pointed, accusingly.
"What were you two about to do ... EHHHH !?"
Naruto realized this was her way of dealing with the grief, he smiled warmly and gave her what she wanted "some Nieces and Nephews for you perhaps ?"
Konan locked her fingers together "I'm going to spoil the hell out of them ... You realize that, right ?"
Hinata nodded, blushing at the thought of having Naruto's children "It would be nice ... having you around to give a helping hand"
Naruto grinned, scratching the back of his head "Feel free to do all the diapers, feeding and burping you like!"
A slap crossed the top of his scalp, Konan smirked "I did not come here to just watch you two fool about ... as cute as it is"
Hinata bit her lip "We're going to the Hidden Rain Village for the burial ...soon right ?"
Konan smiled and shook her head "No ... I've decided to take him there myself, I'll be accompanied by the Hidden Rain Shinobi"
Naruto cocked an eyebrow "W...Why aren't you coming with us ?"
"I have some personal matters to attend to while I bury Nagato along with out friend Yahiko, you may remember seeing him when Nagato used the Rinnegan to speak through him before his operation. You are taking the main force to Konoha, I will meet up with you perhaps when the battle is at its peak, consider it a wave of reinforcements ..."
"When do you leave for the Hidden Rain ?"
"My forces have split and are awaiting my departure, basically ... Now"
Naruto blushed "I would get up and hug you but ... we are kinda ... Naked"
"There is no need ... I will see you soon, just be safe okay ? You two are all I have left"
Tsunade stacked another block of paperwork on her desk, the files had kept wheeling in day by day by both Anbu and pissed off villagers. The stack of papers consisted of requests, taxes, fines, construction fees and new Intel recovered from the defeated Danzo Loyalists. Now that the foundation was under complete Konoha control, the Intelligence Ops had the luxurious job to sort through and absorb almost hundreds of years worth of new information kept secret by the Foundation. Secrets that Danzo kept from both Minato, Hiruzen and Tsunade that could have benefited the villages well-being. Tsunade wiped sweat from her brow and groaned. There was a knock at the door, Ino stepped into the room, her face still pale from the previous battle and the horrors of the Hidden Eddys Village. She managed a smile however, Tsunade respected her for it.
"They found Kakashi, Lady Hokage. He is waiting in the office medical bay, they said it was urgent"
"This job was great until they gave me damned paperwork ... Ino, can you take over for me until I return"
Ino's jaw dropped at the size of the stack "B...B...But it's ... So much!"
Tsunade grinned "You are god with your mind ... figure it out"
Ino called out, almost forgetting the other reason she came "I almost forgot ... I don't know if it's important though"
Tsunade twirled her finger "Let's hear it then"
"Gaara ... I mean the Kazekage, received a message from his scouts and mobilized a few Suna Shinobi to accompany him out of the village"
"Where to ?"
"I'm uncertain, Kotetsu and Izumo said it may have to do with an unidentified group passing through a few villages, just suspicions I guess. The size of the group was small, perhaps 5 ... they weren't clear"
Tsunade nodded "Possibly some bandits trying to take advantage of the Villages weakness ... If it were Naruto we would for sure"
Ino nodded, she still felt unsure about it all though "If it's a threat I'm sure the Kazekage will deal with it ... "
Tsunade turned and closed the door, heading towards the medical bay where she expected to treat any wounds Kakashi may have received during his absence. To be honest, she had no idea why she was needed, but anything but that horrid paperwork would do her fine.
Gaara moved through the woods, Kankuro, Temari and ten other honor guard followed close behind. The strange but powerful Chakra was growing more familiar as they drew closer. From what the scout reports had mentioned, a group of five men wandered through neighboring villages on their way towards Konoha, wielding an array of different weapons. Gaara did not want to take the risk of letting it slide unnoticed, he knew it would only waste further time for him to organize an investigation team with the Hokage, time was running out before another battle would take place, Gaara could feel it.
He raised his palm and dropped to the ground, the Sand Ninja followed suit. They stood on the edge of the treeline in a large clearing, dead and dry grass stained the golden field, it had been a hot summer in the Fire country. Like faint mirages, five silhouettes appeared on the opposite side of the field. The heat waves distorted their figure, but Gaara knew it was them, The Akatsuki.
He looked over his shoulder "Seishin ..."
A Sand Shinobi stepped forward, his face covered in both a cowl and a clay mask of a grinning wolf, a Hidden Sand Spec Ops captain "Yes, Kazekage"
"Return to Konoha, you are the fasted operative here, warn them of the Akatsuki's presence and raise the villages alert"
"YES, KAZEKAGE!" The captain disappeared into the trees above and was gone before Gaara had time to blink
Temari gripped his shoulder and tensed "Should we engage them now ... wouldn't it be better to wait for reinforcements"
Kankuro shook his head "Gaara is only thinking about the villages safety. If we stall them now, we buy the village more time to prepare for a possible attack"
Gaara stepped into the clearing, his dark eyes scanning over his troops "We fight not for the safety of a village ... but the safety of our friends"
The Shinobi saluted and stepped forward, drawing weapons and preparing Jutsu scrolls. Gaara led the twelve warriors across the field and halted only metres from the enemy. His eyes down gazed when he noticed Sasuke's presence. He had lost another friend to war it seemed, in search for revenge both Naruto and Sasuke discarded their bonds. Next to Sasuke stood Itachi, Obito, Kisame and Kakuzu. No sight of Kabuto Yakushi however, that was troublesome.
Gaara folded his arms, his fingers raising a small trail of sand from his gourd "On behalf of the Hokage, I am here to capture you and prevent any attack"
Obito grinned "That's funny ... we were here to capture you too ... One-Tails"
Kankuro frowned "You still hunt the Jinchuuriki ? Even after all that has happened to your organisation ... you are persistent bastards, I'll give you that"
Kisame lifted Samehadda from his back and sneered "Our goals have never changed ... You and Naruto are the last ones we need"
"You won't harm my friends ... Naruto will pay for his crimes officially under the execution of the Kage ... Not you"
Gaara raised his hands, waves of sand rolled in from the surrounding woods and a nearby river. The sand covered the dead grass like a gold and gray tide, making this dead field literally into a field advantage for the Sand Ninja, whom had trained in it since they were small children. More and more sand consumed the woods and surrounded the entire field on all sides, with a clench of his fist, Gaara solidified a sand barrier around outskirts of the sand arena, sharp sand spikes poking out the sides like barricades. From inside the sand area you could hardly tell you were near the Hidden Leaf Village, the Akatsuki members would not be able to escape without taking Gaara down first, he had them right where he wanted them. He clapped his hands together, two waves surged towards the Akatsuki on each side of them. The Sand Shinobi charged forward.
"CHARGE !" Shouted Kankuro, leaping forward as his puppet sprang to life
Temari opened her fan to the third moon and surged forward "ENGAGE THEM BEFORE THEY USE ANY NINJUTSU!"
The two sand waves collided together in an explosion of Chakra and sand particles. The large hulking shape of a warrior held both the walls of sand still with it's arms outstretched, the sand losing momentum and crumbling down to the ground, smoke and sand particles clouded their view of the Akatsuki, Gaara was about to call for a retreat, when the enemy counterattacked. A large fiery arrow of purple fire flew through the smoke, tearing into a Sand Shinobi and nailing his twitching body to a nearby tree. The man screamed in agony, clawing at the arrow in his belly as it burned him alive.
Gaara screamed "SUSANOO ! RETREAT !"
Tendrils of thick black threads shout outward and ceased a Shinobi by the arms, pulling him backward into the smoke where bloody screams were all that were heard. The Shinobi stumbled out, a ragged hole in his chest where his heart once was. The Sand Ninja had dropped back behind Gaara's line of defense, now there was only ten warriors under his command, he felt the grief of battle already. He charged forward, waves lifting him from the ground as his arms of sand pummeled the earth below him where the Akatsuki once stood. Sasuke's Susanoo held Gaara's extended arms at bay, but his strength was wavering. Gaara caught movement out the corner of his eye, the Swordsman of the Mist Kisame, slashed his sword down on of the arms, separating it from the main source of sand and dropping it to the ground, allowing Sasuke a right hook into the base of the sand where Gaara stood.
Kankuro dived in "Lookout !"
Multiple barrages of Fire Style Jutsu from all three Uchiha were hurling towards the Kazekage. Kankuro threw his puppet open, it's wood and reinforced steal abdomen opening wide and pulling Gaara inside, shielding him bone charring heats. Rolling forward between fiery meteors, Temari flapped the three mooned fan upward, pushing razor-sharp Shuriken and Fire Style Jutsu back at the three Uchiha, the now super heated Shuriken colliding with the brush and setting it alight. Kankuro's puppet open, Gaara was unscathed by the devastating blow.
Temari dived backward as a shark of pure water snapped it's jaw only inches from her face. Kisame appeared behind her, his mist transformation literally fogging her view of him. He swiped Samehadda down, the large creature weapon unwrapped from its bandages and snapping at Temari. Her fan caught the majority of the blow, but the force still knocked her to her knees, any more blows like that and her fan would break. She rolled between his legs and slit his calves open, but not before Samehadda Buried its teeth into her right shoulder. Kisame dropped to the ground with a large grunt, Samehadda still latched onto Temari. She called out for help, but she could feel the very chakra inside of her being drained away.
The large bladed arm of Kankuro's puppet lunged downward. breaking against Samehadda's scales but piercing through it's tough leathery skin. The sword scream in agony and released Temari from it's bite, flopping on the sandy ground like ...well, a dying fish. Large fingers from beneath the sword pulled it upward and held it tightly. Gaara roared and clenched his fist, the large sand fist doing the same. Samehadda screamed then went still between the fingers grip, the spine of the creature snapped and crushed at once. Kisame roared in anger and almost sadness as his sword cluttered to the sand.
He crawled along the earth, his legs bleeding from the laceration "YOU FUCKERS ! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY PET !"
Kakuzu swiped his whip-like fingers outward, driving the Spec Ops Shinobi backward, Gaara did not have to worry for their safety, the same Spec Ops Shinobi have been serving for decades under both his father and his own rule as Kazekage, they would occupy Kakuzu until they were able to get to him, the three Uchiha were the biggest problem at hand. It was then that Kakuzu's back split open and four large balls of sludge covered tread sprang from his back and sprang to life.
Each creature morphed into large animistic forms, their faces covered by large white masks, they looked like piles of writhing black worms, each creature's mask was decorated with different colors, it became apparent why when they began to spit fire, Lightning, water and sharpened rock shards into the dazed and confused Spec Ops Shinobi. The Earth shards tore through two of the Shinobi, turning them into ribbons of human left overs. The Shinobi were trained for situations like this, when they were under fire and against all odds. They slapped their hands together, their Jutsu ready, meter high walls of sand rose from the ground, they dived behind the cover, hugging it with their lives. The Creatures continued to hail down firepower on the newly formed foxholes.
A Spec Ops Lieutenant pulled a long rope dart from his satchel, unwinding it and spinning it over his head and high speeds, he grunted and let it release forward. The Dart buried itself in the chest of the water spitting winged creature and expanded, the dart was rigged with spring razor blades that extended once inside the target. The Lieutenant, who's chakra element was lightning, gripped the cable and let his static chakra conduct through the copper, shocking the creature until it's mask exploded outward and the writhing threads died like worms in the sun, when he pulled back the cable, a sizzled human heart was still attacked to the razor edge. He grinned and called out to his comrades
"THEY ARE VULNERABLE TO OPPOSING ELEMENTS ... USE WATER JUTSU ON THE FIRE CREATURE AND DESTROY IT'S HEART !"
Kakuzu pulled down his face mask and smirked "I hear they pay double for Spec Operatives ... you all will be my next paycheck"
He pulled the still bloody heart of a Shinobi from his pouch, slipping it into the gaping hole in his back, the threads worked into the heart and began to group into a large cluster, a small white mask growing on the pile like bone, the markings on the mask were blue. It would only be a matter of time before it was ready to release again, they can't resist forever. He smiled, the sewn corners of his mouth stretched and small threads tried to wriggle their way out, they were starting to believe they were actually alive.
The Operative were dug in deep, screaming orders to one another "USE WATER JUTSU ... SUPPRESS THEIR FIRE STYLE !"
A masked Spec Op Shinobi pulled a scroll from his pack, Seals and Jutsu formula's tightly filled the space. He slapped his palm onto the scroll and threw it at the large hulking fire creature. The scroll exploded in a wave of boiling water that drenched the creature and made an opening for their counterattack. The masked Operative leaped onto the creatures back, a Sand ninja scout following his lead. it swiped the scout with its large hairy arm, the loud sound of a crack as it crushed the Shinobi's spine with one swoop. The masked Operative drew his large Kama from their sheaths, wrapping the chain around the creature's throat and leaping off it's back, dragging the Kama down it's spine and cutting through the tangle of black threads and exposing the decaying heart, it's tubes and veins woven into the threads like vessels. Digging the Kama behind the heart, the Shinobi tore it out like fish on a hook, diving to the side as the creature fell backwards like a collapsing building.
"GET OUT OF THERE, HURRY !" One of his comrades called, but it was too late.
The creature with the brown markings on its mask, the user of Earth style it seemed, burst from under the ground and dug its talon into the masked operatives leg, pulling him back underground like a trapdoor spider striking its prey. Before they could help him it was too late, the ground had swallowed him whole. Kakuzu dived into the crowd now, using the chaos and confusion to mask his approach. Swiping his hand outward, it detached from his arm, extending on long thick threads like a doll. It ceased a operative by the throat and snap his neck sideways. Two Shinobi dropping behind Kakuzu and burying their Katana into his back.
Kakuzu grew stiff, the Shinobi grinned "We got you ... bastard!"
What appeared to be gagging breaths, became more audible, Kakuzu was laughing. He threw his head back and roared laughter, the seams in his mouth splitting open and stretching out wide as tangles of threads ensnared the Shinobi and strangled them. The Shinobi were inches from passing out when the large armored puppet collided with Kakuzu, sending him sprawling and releasing his two hostages. Kankuro leaped over the cover and worked his fingers like a master tactician, each millimeter of movement and maneuver for his puppet to carry out. He tugged his ring finger backward and the arms of the puppet opened wide, shuriken with green stained edges shot like fireworks towards Kakuzu, burying deep into his tangled flesh. Kakuzu only laughed
"I'm immortal ... your attacks are useless, I know a man who will pay handsomely for that puppet of yours"
Kankuro smirked, he had not yet realized "Come ... I'll show you what a master of strings really looks like!"
Kakuzu lunged forward then collapsed, the threads in his legs snapping and melting like wax "W...WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME ?!"
Kankuro's grin was wide now "Those Shuriken were covered in a very potent acid ... Your threads are basically alive and are incredibly Permeable to liquids, it was a long shot, but the fact those threads of yours seem alive means they might very well work similar to blood vessels or veins. Right now that acid is passing through your body and eating away at the threads you seem to be made of ... I'm not a tactician like Shikamaru, but I'm a master of strings"
Kakuzu stood and tensed, his body trembling as hundreds of melting threads wriggled from his body onto the floor, all were covered with the acid. Kakuzu's threads were certainly alive, but that meant he could make them leave his body to spare him further damage, Kankuro grimaced, his plan had worked and had also failed.
"Come then ... Puppet master, COME AND FACE YOUR DOOM"
Samehadda was still, no chakra or life force remained in the once deadly weapon. Kisame still crawled towards it, his legs torn open at the tendons and spilling blood along the gritty sand, he grunted with each pull on the soft earth. Against the soft earth, he could not hear the light patter of footsteps approaching him from the rear, Temari limped towards him, her chakra recovering but not nearly fast enough to use effective Jutsu. Kisame reached the sword and stroked it, as if comforting it in the afterlife.
Temari grunted "Any last words ... Swordsman ?"
Kisame sneered, his fangs bared to the young woman "Bend down and I'll tear your throat out ... Like I have done many Suna women before"
He began to cackle wildly, his bloody lips pulled back now in a grin. She coldly spat "Eat hell sand for eternity ... Baka"
She drove the Kunai down into the crown of his skull, piercing through and silencing his wild laughter. Over her shoulder she saw Gaara, locked fist to fist with Sasuke and Itachi, the fight now up close and personal. Whilst Sasuke clashed with Gaara with Susanoo enraged, Itachi ducked in and out of combat, providing support with ranged weapons and fire style Jutsu, Gaara wondered why this dangerous Uchiha was not fighting at his expected full potential, he was not sorry that Itachi was off his game, it was just odd.
She drew her fan and grimaced "Nows my chance ... this is all I have left!"
Temari lunged in, her fan blowing Sasuke out of his Susanoo, the ghostly figure dissipating without the control of its user. Gaara saw the opening and moved in, ceasing Sasuke in a cloud of sand, tightening it's grip harder and harder until Sasuke struggled for breath. Gaara felt guilt rise within him as he watched his old friend struggle and choke in agony as the sand began to close tighter yet around him, but he would show him no mercy now. The giant sand arm began to shake as a hole the size of a house began to tunnel out of Gaara's hold. Obito stood atop a pile of Shinobi corpses, his Kamui tunneling into the sandy arm. The fingers released Sasuke, dissolving back into the earth. Gaara swiped his other arm at Obito, but the Uchiha just stood there and slid through it as if it were mere fog
he chuckled "I'm getting tired of this fight, tell your siblings to pull out or I'll skin them right in front of you ... you will be so helpless"
Kankuro was torn, bleeding and bruised, Kakuzu held him by the throat, awaiting Gaara's decision. Temari was out of Chakra and out of breath, she would not survive the coming fight. Gaara knew they would sacrifice themselves for him at moment, but he did not want their deaths to be in vain. Deep inside his mind, a red flare of hatred and chakra surged into him, chakra he had long thought locked away and controlled. He hated this power, but welcomed. The maddening voice in his head roared with laughter. The Shukaku purred in delight as old chains were broken.
"LET ME LOOSE PARTNER ... I'M READY FOR A BLOOD BATH HAHAAHAHAH !"
Gaara tried pushing him back 'not yet ... wait for my brother and sister to leave. I never wanted to use your dreadful power anyway'
"MY POWER IS ALL YOU HAVE LEFT!"
'I know ...'
Gaara toppled backward, the immense force of the coming power burning his chest, he clawed at it in agony. His skin turning to fur and his pupils dilating. The orange cloak of the One Tails Chakra consumed his body, the one tail sprouting from his back and smashing his gourd, if all failed he would never need it anymore. Surrounding sands spun like a whirlpool around him, Gaara was the epicenter. Obito grinned, this was the action he was looking for. As if it was answer enough, Kakuzu tossed Kankuro to Temari, who took him in her arms and limped back from the sink hole forming in the earth. Gaara was trembling now, the right side of his face swelling, his teeth growing sharp and protruding from his lips. He screamed to Temari
"GET HIM OUT OF HERE ... RUN DAMMIT ! I CAN'T CONTROL IT ANY LONGER !"
Temari shook her head "NO GAARA ... I WONT LEAVE YOU, WE WONT LEAVE YOU!"
Gaara spat out violently, his voice now that of the Shukaku "YOU WILL ONLY GET IN MY WAY !"
Temari recoiled, standing up and hoisting Kankuro's arm over her shoulder "You're already gone, aren't you Gaara ..."
A lone tear coursed down her cheek as she turned and ran, Kankuro limping beside her, only half conscious. Gaara let loose all restraints but one, The Shukaku laughing as he grew out of the mortal body. Sand sprouted from the earth like geysers, masking the transformation that underwent what little humanity Gaara now had left. Sasuke and Itachi stood back, Sasuke now priming his Susanoo, the bright purple luminescence covering the Uchiha like a dark cloak. Kakuzu tore off his cloak and released all four masked creatures. Obito drew his war fan and leaped forward, the Shukaku lunged at the new enemies, it's roar long and fierce.
"Time for a payday ..." Kakuzu sneered
Itachi nodded "Sasuke, Stay with me"
Sasuke chuckled "I'm going to be the one protecting you, brother"
Kankuro opened his eyes, his mouth tasted like foul copper from vomiting what seemed like buckets of blood. His vision was blurry, but he could tell they were running from the battle. Kakuzu had punctured his abdomen in multiple places, his puppet destroyed he resorted to Taijutsu, not a strong point of his. He had phased in and out of awareness since then, hearing Gaara's plea and transformation into the One Tailed Beast. He groaned, trying to make out words but falling short. He spat blood to the side and cleared his throat
"T...Temari, W...Where are we going" he gripped her shoulder harder as he nearly lost balance
"We have to get to the village, we have to get you some medical treatment and prepare for another fight"
He pushed away from her and clutched the tree "You can ... I'm going back ... I WON'T LEAVE GAARA !"
She pushed him hard against the tree, he had only now just noticed her tears "I DO TOO DAMMIT ... but he needed us to leave, he needed us to carry out his order and warn the Hidden Leaf"
"Temari ... I..."
she sighed "It's fine ... please, just don't look back. It will hurt seeing him like that"
From behind they could hear the roars and screams of the Shukaku sparring with the large Susanoo clad Uchiha. Explosions and sandy debris filled the sky. Up ahead, squads of medical Ninja charged towards them, the Spec Ops Captain leading them to the fight. Temari signaled them to halt, waving her arms over her head, but all the Ninja had to do was see the large hulking creature over the horizon tearing the earth apart with monstrous force. They loaded Kankuro onto a stretcher, multiple medical Shinobi focusing on the extensive puncture holes in his chest. The captain checked on Temari and asked for a report on the current situation.
"Gaara has released the Shukaku and is engaging the enemy ... He told us to secure the village as a priority"
He looked stunned by her words "We simply cannot leave the Kazekage to fight them alone ..."
"It was his orders ... He let loose his most hated enemy just to buy us time, we can't waste it"
"At least send some support ?"
"I wish it were a possibility, the way he is now ... he will attack and kill anything and everything"
Obito smirked, Sasuke was engaging the Shukaku head on with ease, his Mangeyeko Sharingan was a powerful asset indeed. It would not be long before Naruto was the last of the Tailed Beasts that needed capturing. Obito looked over to Kakuzu and pointed to the bandages they had brought along to contain their new prisoner. He coldly smiled, victory was almost assured.
"Kakuzu ... Prepare to transport the Kazekage to the Gedo Statue, this battle wont last much longer"
Ive been so lazy and it has taken me so long to write this chapter for you guys, but rest assured I am back on track and am looking to finish this Fic within the next 5 - 10 chapters :DD
What did you think ? give me a review and share me your thoughts :D
Thanks a bunch for the long wait guys :)