Howdy all! Welcome to Naruto: The New Song! This is my second fanfic, and my first Naruto fanfic. If you've never read my other story, welcome! I hope you enjoy the story as much as I'll enjoy writing it! If you have read my other story, welcome back! Those who read my other work-in-progress story might be wondering "What the hell are you thinking?! You barely manage to update the other story!", or something similar.

That's absolutely true.

This story came about when I was having a battle to the death with Writers Block. Not being able to think of anything for the other story, I noticed I kept thinking about a totally different idea altogether. That's how this story came along. Interestingly enough, when I started working on this story, my Writers Block went away. Go figure! So, I decided that if working on two stories at once will help me think better, why not work on this one as well? I'm not dropping the other one, in fact I'm working on an update right now! So you don't need to worry about that one disappearing.

Also, as stated in the summary, Naruto will be OOC. My reasoning: His canon personality annoys the hell out of me. I don't know why, it just does.

Anyways, enough of my ramblings. This is Naruto: The New Song. I hope you enjoy!

M Rating For:

Strong Language - Tayuya is a potty mouth!

Blood and Gore - Naruto acts like he has Bipolar! ...Sometimes.

Drug Reference - Kiba is obviously a druggy! Obviously.

Alcohol Reference - Tsunade is frequently drunk!

Sexual Themes - Jiraiya is a super pervert!

Partial Nudity - ...I think I can see Anko's boobs!

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, it's plot, or it's characters. If I did, it would go how it goes in this story. :D

Naruto: The New Song

'For every song, each verse is its own chapter;

For every journey, there are choices to be made;

A hero is created when a world is saved from disaster;

But a legend is made when a name can never fade.'

Chapter 1: The Legend Begins

A cold, starless night hung over the Ninja World. The dark sky, for some, bade way for the end of a hard working day, allowing families to spend time together, fathers and mothers to bond with their children, and to get the rest they so much deserved. The Ninjas, warriors of the shadows, found themselves most at ease while hidden by darkness, and thus usually found themselves involved in far different, much less social activities.

Itachi Uchiha, ANBU Captain and one of the most renowned Ninjas of the Hidden Village of the Leaves, had once again found himself torn away from a warm night with his clan to aid in the security of his home. He had no complaint. It was his job, and he would see it through to the letter. That was a trait commonly shared by the ANBU; where other, more unruly Ninja would behave differently, ANBU specialists were specifically trained for tough, agonizing missions.

The Hidden Village of Rock was an ancient Ninja nation, one of the Five Greats. Its history was filled with constant warfare, usually in competition with the Land of Fire. As such, espionage units were a common occurrence between the two; some were caught in the act, others remained shadows in the night. Itachi was not one to be caught. He wore his ANBU uniform under a black cloak, but did not have on his mask nor his headband. Hidden underneath he had all the tools of his trade at his disposal - kunai, shuriken, ninja wire, and others.

His mission was anything but simple. One of the Land of Fire's most prominent politicians, a humble man by the name of Yeijiro Tsunoda, had gone missing; simply vanishing without a trace. Initial tracker Ninjas sent to investigate had been unsuccessful, and for a time it seemed as if the man would never be found. Rumors began to surface, however. A farmer, living with his family at the edge of the north-western border, had reportedly witnessed several individuals carrying a large, man sized bag out of the nation, and in the direction of the Land of Earth.

While hesitant to act out against their neighbors, the Third Hokage was being pressured by the Daimyo himself to locate the politician by any means necessary. So he sent for one of his most trusted ANBU, Itachi, and the Uchiha was thus given his mission. Track down the fleeing group, spy on them to determine what their package's contents were, and should it prove to be the politician, extract the man - preferably without violence. If it was confirmed to not be the missing politician, he was ordered to return immediately.

He had quite a bit of work ahead of him. Not only did he need to determine the direction the Ninja took from where the farmer saw him, but he then had to catch up to them; and hope he got their destination right. As it turned out, he had found them not too far a distance away; in due part to the farmer's quick thinking in reporting the suspicious sight to the Hokage. The fleeing Ninja had thought a quick evacuation would only attract more attention, and so left at a far slower pace than they normally would. Ironically, it only made Itachi's job easier.

They were dressed much like he was - dark cloaks with no patterns or representations on them. They carried packs and bags with them, making them appear like a group of travelers - but travelers didn't leap across tree branches.

However, while having found the group of "wanderers", and their package which was indeed about the size of a man, Itachi could not simply kill them and investigate. With his own unique abilities, it would have been far too easy. However, if it turned out that the bag held not a man, but perhaps something of far less value - and by his actions, Itachi would have only proven the Hidden Leaf to be the aggressors - it would have proven disastrous for his Village's diplomatic standing. He could have also used Genjutsu, but on the chance that they had with them a Genjutsu expert who could counteract Itachi's own powers, he opted not to.

So he waited, and watched.

For the night, they rotated shifts as any proper military would, only strengthening Itachi's assumption that they were trained warriors. The group consisted of six men, and two were awake at all times. They appeared to have no unique bloodlines, as Itachi's Sharingan told him, so he was unable to determine their village of origin immediately. However, one had striking red hair that was almost visible even without his Sharingan. That, he knew, was a common feature for citizens of the Hidden Rock; usually removed for secret, potentially volatile missions, but sometimes left alone.

Of course, he could also have been one of the many rogue Ninja that sadly filled the land, so Itachi restrained himself from forming an opinion based on that alone. However, after many days and nights of trailing the Ninja, their path twisting and turning through the deep forest and finally into the rocky crevasses, Itachi's theory proved to be the right one. As the sun set upon the horizon, the Hidden Rock came into view.

And so, he found himself in unfamiliar, potentially hostile territory, having never previously visited the ancient fortress in the past. The buildings were not made of wood or iron, as he was used to, but of the land-provided rocks themselves. They towered like spires over a valley, like a metropolis overlooking a vast wasteland. That was how the rich lived. The city was, as all often are, divided into three groups - the rich, the middle, and the poor.

The wealthy nobles had the fortunate gift of their own personal castles. Giant structures, the smallest of which had a minimum of ten bedrooms, not counting gardens, libraries, living rooms, or other conveniences. Maidservants and manservants were common, usually consisting slaves or descendants of slaves. Their homes often were at the top of the infrastructure, overlooking all like gods over earth.

The middle class were less fortunate. They often found homes in apartment complexes and small homes, never more than two bedrooms large. These were placed in the middle, fittingly. They worked, but could never afford. Those that were in the middle class were doomed to spend the rest of their lives as fixers, builders, farmers, Ninja for some. If they didn't, they fell down to the next level; the poor.

Those that were young without families, old without caretakers, sick, weak, or simply unfortunate made up the poor community. They lived on the floor, in the alleyways and warehouses. There were no orphanages, no jobs, nothing. It was simply a group of people who were doomed to spend the rest of their lives living in poverty. Sadly, this group was also the largest. An expanding community, cursed by years of bad administration.

The entrance the Ninja, now officially recognized by Itachi as working for the Tsuchikage, took was one on the bottom, through the mass of poor. Almost as soon as they arrived, they were rushed by rows upon rows of starved people. Itachi, both by using his advanced Genjutsu but also by his highly trained stealth abilities, was able to avoid detection by hiding in the shadows of an alleyway. At first the Ninja just ordered the people to back away, but when that yielded no results, the situation became far more horrid.

"I said back away, you bastards!" yelled a brown-haired, tanned Ninja, who promptly tossed an explosive tag strapped kunai in the crowd. Itachi was forced to look on in disgust, restrained by his mission to not interfere. They screamed, they ran; but some couldn't get away. Blood splattered, those caught in the blast now either dead, or missing limbs as they lay stunned on the ground. At that moment, Itachi would have loved nothing more than to kill the Ninja responsible, but he knew he couldn't.

It only made him more aggravated when none of the other Rock Ninja reprimanded, or even acknowledged, their colleagues' action, ignoring it out right instead. They were all the same. Men who deserved to die, and Itachi would have gladly been the executioner. His mission came first, however. Perhaps he could "arrange" for their untimely deaths later, he thought. As the crowd dissipated, the Ninja moved on; Itachi ended the suffering of those who were wounded by the explosion after they were gone.

He trailed them to the center of the village, weaving in and around structures and crowds, using his Sharingan to fully keep his vision on the prize. The walk through the poor district was swift, the beggars avoiding the Ninja altogether after their display at the entrance. Upon reaching one of the many spire buildings, the door before them, guarded by two Ninja, opened. A tall stairway brought them past the middle district and into the rich, where a long bridge made solely of rock stood through yet another door - this one also guarded. Itachi never actually entered that spire, but instead walked along the wall.

The bridge was long, and Itachi was forced to prowl underneath in order to avoid being seen, using his Chakra to hold on to the bottom. Finally, at the end, stood the biggest, and the tallest, spire of them all. The Tsuchikage's Tower, where the Third Tsuchikage, Onoki, governed his village. While for the entire journey he had gone unnoticed, when he reached the Tsuchikage's Tower, he knew he could go no further. His abilities allowed him to avoid detection, but here the Rock's ANBU would be on full alert, and he doubted even he could stay hidden for long.

Two large, green doors guarded the entrance, three guards standing out in the open, though Itachi saw five others hidden nearby. All were ANBU, wearing distinct, white masks with patterns on them to hide their identities. For only a moment, the group of six stood in front of the door while an ANBU verified their presence, before it opened to reveal the building within. Itachi knew he had to think of a way to breach the building quickly, before the men were sheltered within the building.

A transformation wouldn't work, as the ANBU were specifically trained to spot one regardless of how well it was done. Genjutsu would prove effective at first, but only so long as the sensor Ninja inside remained unaware - a scenario Itachi was not willing to trust. A large scale diversion could draw the attention of the ANBU enough for him to sneak into the building, but it could also potentially increase the security within, thus making Itachi's mission that much harder. Other possibilities ran through his head, but as the doors began closing, Itachi realized he would need to find another way in, hopefully one just a little less guarded.

He silently made it to the outside wall, now walking in a bent-over fashion along the side of the spire. His eyes shot around the area, his crimson Sharingan catching every little detail in high definition. After minutes of searching, Itachi began to despair that he would not find a way in, and thus he would fail his mission. But finally, at the base of the tower, he saw a small portion of the rock pop outwards, and opening to reveal a light coming from inside. There was one person in the doorway, a slave by the looks of it, if the steel collar around his neck and the engraved marking on his wrist said anything, carrying a large bag twice the size he was to a cart a short distance away.

'There!' Itachi frantically thought, leaping off the side of the spire and gliding the great distance down. He did not know where the entrance would lead, or how guarded it was, but it was worth checking out. And since the gentleman who had just left was kind enough to forget to close it behind him before pushing the large, green, trash filled cart away into the busy streets, Itachi felt he had time to investigate. He used short bursts of Chakra to steadily decrease his descent, finally finishing it off by grasping onto the wall and walking the rest of the way down.

When he reached the bottom, he carefully peaked inside, giving the room a quick look-over. It was a slaughter house. Inside were all kinds of assortments of meats hanging from the wall - dear, bird, whatever; all imported from other nations. Large knives and saws hung from the wall, and a particularly large knife was stabbed into a bloodied cutting board, on top a wooden long-table. A burly man stood at the far end, observing a plate of freshly carved meat on a platter, remaining completely ignorant of Itachi's presence outside the door.

Itachi was willing to risk entering, silently stepping over the doorframe, not bothering to close it behind him. Doing so would only attract attention. However, as he leaned against the wall closest to the door, slowly making his way along to pass the man, he was briefly caught by surprise. "What part about 'give the trash to the dogs' did you not understand, boy? You need a whippin'?!" Itachi's eyes dashed to the man's face, and he was relieved when he saw the butcher still solely focused on the plate in front of him.

He knew that would change quickly. He dared not give a response, because he did not know the voice of the slave who had left. Speaking would only blow his cover. However, he also knew that by not responding, the man would, suspicious, turn to look at who he thought was the slave. So, Itachi quickened his pace, remaining silent and yet almost dashing towards the man. "Hey, you hear me, boy?" The butcher demanded, turning - only to come face to face with Itachi's Sharingan.

Before he could make any exclamation, Itachi delivered a sharp blow to the back of his neck, knocking him unconscious. Heavy as he was, Itachi had no trouble at all in picking him up and sitting him on one of the few chairs in the room - being sure to put him in a position that made it look like he was simply taking an undeserved break. After finishing his task, Itachi carefully opened the nearest door, being met by a long, curved hallway. It was abandoned, much to Itachi's relief, and yet he still had no idea where to go.

He had wasted precious time to find another way in, and now he was no less in a better position than he was before entering. The ANBU could easily find him at a moments notice, he had no idea where the Ninjas took their package, and he had no idea where to turn. Itachi knew that he could very well be on a wild goose hunt, but he had a mission to finish; he would not rest until it was over. Especially because a man's life was possibly in great danger. His first step was to make his way up the Tower. The Tsuchikage's office was close to the very top, and those Ninja were most likely on their way to pay their leader a visit. Why? Because normal Ninja did not walk into the Tsuchikage's Tower unless it was for something important.

Door after door he passed, carefully and quietly, taking a peak through each entry as he passed them. The first door was a slave housing, or what could be called such. The beddings were laid out animal skins on the floor, a food tray off to the far wall had some sort of green goop residue that frankly didn't look edible, and it was all barely lit by a single, small candle hanging off the wall. He passed several more rooms like that, before he found one that made him pause. It was dark, so dark that to the human eye visibility was zero, but with his Sharingan he could see just fine - though he sorely wished he couldn't.

Saws, scalpels, clamps, and many sharp knives and weapons lay strewn on tables and hanging from walls. Blood was splattered all over, most stained from overtime, but a few puddles were recent. An indistinct body lay unmoving on a table, its chest having been sawn open by one of the many bloody tools next to it. Whatever the purpose was, Itachi didn't know, and he certainly did not want to find out. The room doubled as both a torture chamber and an experimental facility. That was enough knowledge to go on, and it added far more incentive for Itachi to not get caught during, or after, his mission.

After passing the horror room, he finally found a set of stairs leading up the spire. He had yet to bump into any other Ninja, and as far as he could tell there were none in his general vicinity. For minutes the cycle continued - Itachi would check each room as he went, and would slowly make his way up the spire. He was far more patient than most human beings, and so was perfectly fine utilizing that search strategy until he found what he was looking for. However, when he heard footsteps approaching his location after he had gone quite a ways up, while tensed due to being in hostile territory, he was slightly relieved. As of yet he had found no signs of life, other than that butcher down on the first floor, and was beginning to suspect he had stumbled into a trap or Genjutsu.

He quickly put his back to the wall, and inched slowly forward until he saw four Ninja, stopped in front of an opened passageway. Another figure walked out, as a matter of fact it was the one who had earned Itachi's ire earlier that evening, wiping his hand against his pant leg, leaving a small amount of red behind. He couldn't tell yet what it was, but Itachi had a very bad feeling about it all. Before the door was closed behind them, Itachi caught a strong whiff of blood in the air, only further enhancing the uneasy feeling creeping through his brain.

The group turned away, and walked back down the hall. Itachi waited a few minutes until their footsteps became merely an echo against the corridor, before he too began moving down the hall. Once he made it to the door, he grabbed the silver doorknob and creaked the wooden door open. Inside, his fears were realized - there, on the far wall, was a masked body, latched to the wall in a sitting position with his arms hanging above him by steel cuffs. He wasn't moving, not even breathing, so Itachi knew he was dead.

The room was almost pitch black, the only light coming in being from a small, prison-like window towards the top of the far wall. However, Itachi knew the room was empty, asides for himself and the corpse, so he approached the man to investigate. His head was bound by a thick, white cloth, one which Itachi cut loose with a kunai. After replacing the weapon in his pouch, he carefully observed the mans features. His eyes were half-open, revealing dark brown eyes. Three vertical scars were on the left side of his face, running from the hairline of his greying head to the bottom of his sharp jawline.

Itachi let out a disappointed sigh. This was the man he was looking for, Advisor Yeijiro Tsunoda - dead, from a stab wound through his stomach, if the blood building up was any indication. Itachi reached out and closed his eyes, and was almost shocked to notice how much he appeared to be sleeping peacefully. 'I need to report this to Lord Hokage.' he told himself, but before he could stand his eyes widened in surprise when his Sharingan caught a faint churning motion in the wall. He pushed himself off his feet with his heels, back flipping to the middle of the room just soon enough to avoid a dome of rock that had enclosed around the politician.

He had no time to rest, as with a glance to his left he saw the same event happening again - and once again on his right. He leaped backwards through the door, the earth sealing the entry shut not even a second after. "Well, well. What do we have here?" came a voice from his right, and Itachi quickly turned to view the source. He was no longer wearing the cloak, instead sporting the attire of a Shinobi from the Hidden Rock, but Itachi knew it was the same man. The very same who had killed so many innocents, right in front of him. The man's right hand was to the wall, and his left was held in a one-handed Ram seal.

"So you're the one who was following us, huh?" he said, lowering his hands to his sides. Itachi didn't answer, instead subtly reaching for a kunai under his cloak. The Uchiha had his head lowered so his hood was shadowing his eyes, in order to hide his Sharingan. "I'm guessing you were coming after that old geezer in that room there. Sorry, but you're just a little too late. What's better, you have no way of proving he was brought here, his body being smashed to pieces and all."

Itachi scowled at the man, a kunai now ready to be used at a moments notice in his cloak's sleeve. The Uchiha glared at the Rock Nin, while he simply smiled confidently right back. "You're a Shinobi too, I see." he said, causing Itachi's glare to deepen. "That kunai you've got tells me you're ready to fight. That's good." Suddenly, his smile turned into a grin. "Maybe you'll put up a fight!" Itachi's Sharingan twirled to life when the Rock Nin speedily ran through a series of hand seals. "Doton: Dosekiryū! [Earth Release: Earth and Stone Dragon!]"

The kunai dropped into Itachi's hand as he pushed himself back to avoid the attack. Out of the ground, a massive stone dragon formed and advanced quickly towards the ANBU Captain, it's mouth open in a silent roar. Itachi landed on his heels, and quickly back flipped again when the dragon crashed into the ground in front of him, digging straight down to the lower hall. Itachi used that to his advantage, diving through the hole and darting down the corridor. The Rock Jonin followed after him, doing another set of seals as he landed. "Doton: Doryūha! [Earth Release: Earth Flow Wave!]"

This time the ground erupted into a wave in front of the Shinobi, and it crashed towards Itachi with great speed. Itachi turned from his sprint towards the attack, scowling when he realized he had been trapped. 'He has the advantage in this enclosed space, and reinforcements could arrive at any minute. I need to get out.' The ANBU back pedaled down the hall, evading the wave while he wrapped an explosive tag around the kunai. With a toss, he lodged it into the wall a distance behind him. The explosion rocked the Tsuchikage's tower, and Itachi darted through the collapsed rock that he had created, narrowly avoiding the earth attack.

He soared sideways through the air, before wrapping ninja wire between his hands and using it as an anchor to swing off a metal pole extending from a building. The Rock Nin hadn't wasted time, sprinting and leaping out the crack after Itachi. Before the Uchiha could press his feet down, he had to twist his body upwards. The sound of metal striking metal echoed nearby, as Itachi brought his kunai to block his enemies'. Itachi glared up at the brown-haired man, causing the man to show a bit of surprise. "Those eyes...! You're an Uchiha!"

Itachi pushed his legs up, kicking the man in the stomach and using him as a footing to readjust his body so that he landed on the side of a spire, his feet pressed on the ground. The Rock Nin recovered quickly, landing firmly on a nearby balcony and tossing three shuriken at the ANBU Captain. Itachi easily deflected them with his kunai, before running through hand seals of his own while inhaling a large amount of air. "Katon: Gōkakyū no Jutsu! [Fire Release: Great Fireball Technique!]" Itachi exhaled, and a giant fireball flew at his opponent.

"Shit!" the Ninja exclaimed, eyes wide at the strength of Itachi's Jutsu. He jumped into the air, narrowly avoiding the churning flame as it passed right under him. However, he did not avoid the explosion that followed shortly after, which engulfed the Shinobi and sent him flying. "Agh!" he grunted, before gaining control of his descent and looking for the intruder. 'Where the hell did he go?!' he thought, and his question was shortly after answered. His eyes went wide when he heard the sound of Itachi's cloak above him, and he grunted as he flipped around.

The kunai clashed, and now the Rock Nin was in the same position he had Itachi only moments ago. Itachi glared down at him, bearing down with his kunai. Both Ninja fell faster and faster towards the ground, the Uchiha not letting his opponent make a move by constantly applying more and more pressure. As they closed in on the ground, the Rock Nin, now with a completely shocked expression, shouted "Are you crazy?! You're going to kill us both!"

Itachi paid no heed, and instead once again brought his legs between the two. It was then that the Rock Nin realized what Itachi planned. "No..!" Itachi kicked, back flipping off the Shinobi's body to land softly on his feet in a hunched over position. His opponent wasn't so lucky - a hideous crack emanating from his neck when he made impact with the ground. The force of the fall had been enough that the Rock Nin had broken the concrete floor, his back being stuck into a small indentation.

'Too much noise.' Itachi realized, when suddenly he was attacked by a barrage of shuriken and kunai. He leapt forward, avoiding the surprise attack and noticing that now several Shinobi stood nearby on the spires. He was forced to leap into the air when the earth around him began to shift, his foot just barely escaping from the grasp of a rock dome, much larger than the one he avoided in the Tsuchikage's Tower. Before he could touch the ground, another barrage flew towards him - and this one he could not avoid. His body was pierced, this way and that, by weapon upon weapon, and his motionless body fell to the ground.

He landed with a thud, and instantly Rock ANBU moved to secure him. They formed a circle around him, to investigate his corpse while the larger group stayed a careful distance back. One ANBU with a mask resembling an ape kneeled down by Itachi's head, reaching to place a hand on his throat to check for a pulse. Before he could reach the body, however, a puff of smoke erupted around the area. "A substitution?!" he said, his body barely having a chance to register the surprise before he heard a faint hissing sound. "Explosive tag!"

The explosion followed shortly after, all of the ANBU having safely escaped the blast radius. However, as they realized, it was only a distraction. Itachi had escaped, and was now silently hiding in a small alley between three rock spires. There was only one way in or out, so Itachi stood at the far end, hidden by the shadows. He planned to wait there for a little while, until the Ninja fanned out and began combing the city. He could remain hidden that way. The only person who knew that he was an Uchiha, and was thus from the Hidden Leaf, was the man he had slammed into the ground - so he had thus far secured his Village's deniability.

After about five minutes, after three Shinobi had already passed over the alley he hid in, Itachi was ready to move. He remembered where the hidden exit was, the one they had entered in. The only thing hampering his ability to remain hidden was that, at this hour, most of the people in the poor district had fallen asleep. He had no crowd to blend in with. So, he darted from alley to alley, slowly making his way towards the gate. On one such occasion, however - as he had just quietly placed his back to the wall of an alley - he overheard an argument of some sort.

At first he didn't pay any attention to it - he had to get out, that was his first priority. But then he heard something else, something that grabbed his attention. "I know I saw her go this way!" said one man in his late thirties, being followed by a group of eight men and one woman of equal ages. "You sure? That little bitch knows this place better than any of us!" came as a reply, followed by another saying "There you are, you damn traitor!". His curiosity piqued, Itachi turned to see that they were looking at a little girl, barely five years old, standing with her back to a wall and glaring at the group.

She was a mess. Dust and dirt covered her bruised face, the rags she wore for clothing, and her mangy hair, which hung down to the middle of her neck, and in the front it would cover her eyes, had she not been keeping it at bay with a small hat. Itachi was shocked when one of the men walked up and picked her up off the ground by her wrist. She squirmed and kicked, until he lifted her higher and looked into her eyes, saying "Nobody related to that man deserves to live. Especially little brats like you." He then tossed her back, sending her spiraling across the ground so that she was surrounded by the group.

Itachi looked on as they glared down at the girl, the group being too preoccupied to notice him. She whimpered from the pain, but then reignited her fierce glare as she sat up. Unnoticed by her, one of the men behind her had drawn a knife, and had it raised above his head ready to strike. "Time to die, shrimp." He said, causing her to look back - and her harsh glare turned into fright. His muscles briefly flexed, and he brought the knife down. The girl winced, closing her eyes so that she wouldn't see the blade come down.

It never did.

She peeked open her left eye, then her right as they both widened at the sight. There stood, blood gushing out of his chest from where the knife now remained lodged into his flesh, the man who had tried to kill her. But that, perhaps, wasn't was surprised her the most. No, it was the cloaked man who stood next to him, his face hidden by the shadow of his hood, who had stabbed the knife into the other man's chest that surprised her.

Itachi couldn't stand by any longer. When he realized that the men truly intended to kill the little girl, he jumped into action. The Uchiha quickly grabbed the edge of the blade's handle, forcing it out of the man's hand and pressing it right into his heart. Next, he shoved the man down - he was dying anyways - and rushed the next, knocking him out with a punch to the face. Before the goon could fall, Itachi grabbed his shoulder and forcefully tossed him against two more, the impact against the wall taking them out as well.

"Who the fuck are you?!" one demanded, charging the attacker. Itachi didn't answer, instead using the man's momentum to slip past him - grabbing his head and slamming it into the ground. Straightening, he turned on his heel to grip the fist aimed at his skull, crushing it within his iron grasp and then kneeing him in the chest. With a speed that no untrained eye could follow, Itachi rushed forward and delivered a powerful kick to the seventh man's face, knocking him back against the woman - who promptly hit her skull on his and passed out. With a shout, the last two charged at once, but they couldn't react before Itachi hit both of them on the back of their necks, ending the fight.

The ANBU Captain looked at the little girl, who had not so much as moved from her spot but was, all the same, eying him both curiously and fearfully. And yet, she glared at him. Itachi walked to her, kneeling down to look at her face for any damage. "Are you okay?" He asked, his Sharingan giving him the answer - she was fine, thankfully.

"Why the fuck would you want to know?" She said, trying to stand but finding her legs didn't have the strength they needed. She had been running for hours - she couldn't move anymore. As such, she huffed and looked back at Itachi - who's eyes had now faded to their natural black.

"Do you have any parents or relatives?" He asked, ignoring her return question - and language. Having been to some of the worst places in the Ninja World, a five year old dropping the F-Bomb wasn't anything special.

"...No." she answered hesitantly, as she slightly turned away. Itachi quirked an eyebrow at the reaction, but dropped it shortly after. This girl reminded him of a certain blond back in Konoha, and he found it hard to just leave her there.

So, with a silent sigh, he asked something he felt he may regret later. "Do you want to leave?"

The child's eyes widened, and she quickly looked at Itachi's face, almost as if to see whether he was joking or not. He, however, simply looked back at her with a gentle smile. After a few seconds of her staring at him with her mouth agape, she nodded her head. Itachi stood straight, taking off his cloak to reveal his ninja attire underneath. This was a risk, but he was safe for the moment - his Genjutsu had ensured that nobody else heard the painful screams of the comatose bodies in the alley.

Itachi grabbed her under her arms, and placed her on his back. He then reached down and re-attached his cloak, throwing the hood over his head. She wrapped her arms around his neck, just barely able to see out of the hood through Itachi's hair. The Uchiha approached the edge of the alley, observing the large wall a short distance away. His target was there, being guarded by three ANBU Shinobi, a small section of the rock that was detachable from the rest. Itachi paused, whispering "Hold on tight." to the girl, before creating a Shadow Clone. The false Itachi rushed out of the alley, charging the ANBU.

They moved to engage the clone, fully believing it to be the real intruder. Just as the two forces were about to clash, the clone burst into smoke, surprising the elite Ninja. They didn't have time to react before three kunai lodged themselves into their throats, as they fell dead before the smoke from the clone cleared. Itachi rushed past the corpses, approaching the wall. A fourth body fell from out of the rock, a kunai having also pierced his throat as well - even while he was using his Jutsu.

The ANBU Captain felt around the rock for only a few seconds, before he pushed in a stone - the rock slowly being pulled down into the ground to reveal a rectangular exit. For one last touch to cover his tracks, Itachi placed a live explosive note right next to the passageway, before he bolted across the plateau. He ran as fast as he could, leaping over a rock and down into a canyon ravine. He was actually following the route the group he trailed took to arrive. As he rushed into a dark cavern, there was a distant explosion - his tag, obviously.

They pressed on in silence, Itachi listening for any sound that could give away the enemies' presence, and the girl because she was too focused on holding on for dear life. After several minutes, the cave ended, leading to a steep slope that led down the tall mountain. At the base was the tree line, and that was where Itachi headed. Pebbles rolled and dust was kicked up as Itachi ran down the hill - his Chakra allowing him to avoid falling. Finally, with one final leap, Itachi landed in the forest, already the welcome sound of wildlife filling the air.

This was territory he was comfortable in, practiced in. So, both to allow himself to gather his strength and to make the trip less painful for the girl, he walked at a far more casual pace. The sun had yet to rise, though the moon hung low on the horizon, and Itachi realized it had been a very long night. From behind him in the cloak, Itachi heard the little girl let out a yawn, and her grip loosened. The Uchiha brought his hands back to support the girl, as she was likely to fall asleep at any moment.

"What's your name?" Itachi asked, mainly so he could stop referring to her as "the girl" in his mind.

"...Tayuya." She answered weakly, and that was the last thing she remembered before falling asleep. It was a rest she was glad to have, and one she deserved. Little did she expect that her journey had just begun. Little did she expect the legend she would be involved in, that would last for thousands of years to come.

Some silliness to part with!

A chibi version of Itachi stands in a forest with a baby Tayuya on his back.

Itachi: That was close! For a moment, I thought I'd never get out!

Tayuya: ...

Itachi: Oi... Are you okay? You're being pretty quiet...

Tayuya: ...

Itachi: Ah! How could I have been so careless! I need to check you for wounds!

Tayuya: Would you fucking be quiet you piece of motherfucking shit?! I'm trying to get some fucking sleep!

Itachi: ...I'm very sorry. Q-Q

Sorry about that omake, at the end. I'm still working on that bit. It'll improve, honest!

Anywho, I hope you enjoyed the read! Please be sure to leave a Review with your thoughts, comments, or any suggestions you may have - I appreciate them! Just... Try to be mature with them, okay? I can handle some decent criticism, but my confidence doesn't need any bashing. :|

See you next time!