"For this job, I will pay you one hundred thousand Ryo if you bring the child to me"
"I think you'll have to pay me a little more than that. The boy in question is a descendant of the Uchiha – the most powerful clan in the leaf village. Not to mention the fact that the place will most likely have tight security. I expect at least three hundred thousand Ryo…"
"Since I'm feeling generous today, I'll settle for one hundred and fifty…"
"Two Two Five"
"Done! You will deliver the child to us at the secret location to my men as we discussed before. Don't let anybody see you…"
"Very well, Third Mizukage"
"Oh, and Kakuzu… there's one more thing. If my men find out that you have delivered us a dud I'll have them kill you on the spot! Do you understand old man?"
"I'm not brave enough to con the likes of you, Lord Mizukage…"
"Good, be gone now"
Kakuzu was running the conversation through his head a thousand times as he journeyed swiftly from the Mist Village to the Leaf. Since escaping from his home village as a young man many years ago, he was forced to make a living elsewhere. He would find work by visiting other countries and villages making small earnings by killing their enemies. Kakuzu learnt many things on his travels but the one thing that stayed the same was his love for money. His defection from Hidden Waterfall Village led to him having a strong and violent hatred for his homeland but eventually he would find some kind of comfort in money. Whenever he was paid the fee for a particular mission, he loved to the hold the money in his hand. He enjoyed the texture of the money, whether it was coins or notes. The sound they made was quite a soothing one too, and now he was going earn over two hundred Ryo for a kidnapping. The Seventy year old had never been offered so much for a single mission. He had certainly hit the Jackpot!
And now, here he was in the Hidden Leaf Village. It was late evening and the sun was just about to leave the sight of the leaf village sky, creating a strange blood-red gradient that blended with at least four clouds that were close to an increasingly less visible sunset. The early moon began to make its presence known too, absorbing what colour it could from the sky. Overall, the streets were converging towards darkness but people were still visible; walking around, laughing and for the Uchiha Clan, there would be a celebration.
Traditionally, when the first Child of the Leader of the Uchiha clan is born, all the Uchiha Clan's members would gather a few days afterwards in the Uchiha Residence and Celebrate with food and drink. It would be a joyous and proud occasion for Fugaku and Mikoto Uchiha whose First Child and son, Itachi Uchiha was born just a few days ago. And through the Third Mizukage's vast spy network, he knew of this event and would take advantage of this occasion. Kakuzu didn't quite know the reason why the Mist village's leader wanted the baby Itachi, but quite frankly he did not care. All that mattered of course was the money.
The old shinobi made sure to blend in with the Hidden leaf crowd, so he quickly walked to a dark alleyway to perform the transformation jutsu and walked out again disguised as an average leaf shinobi wearing the standard leaf headband and green flak jacket. Nobody would suspect him, or ask questions.
Now, all Kakuzu had to do was find the Uchiha residence where the celebrations were being held. The leaf seemed to reasonably quiet at this time of the day, and he assumed that the place where the celebrations were happening would have a large concentration of people and therefore would make plenty of noise. Alternatively, he could ask someone for directions to the residence, but that would simply arouse suspicion because almost everyone knew where the Uchiha lived. Kakuzu simply had to walk around naturally and look carefully.
"We're so glad you could come, Kagami-san! And Shisui, you've grown an inch since I last saw you!" Fugaku said, welcoming the middle-aged man and his son into the house.
"I am honoured, Fugaku. I hope Itachi grows to be a fine man like his father..." Kagami Uchiha replied.
Fugaku. Kakuzu thought to himself. Yes. Kakuzu had finally arrived at the place. It was time for the next phase of his plan. The fact that the house was noisy and full of people further emphasised it as he casually walked that particular street, overhearing their conversation. Now, how was Kakuzu going to capture Fugaku's son? Once the coast was clear, Kakuzu checked the house, to look for other possible entrances. He foresaw that he would need to use another transformation jutsu. But he couldn't transform into just any old leaf shinobi, it had to be an Uchiha because as he noticed, the only people invited to this event were Uchiha.
Kakuzu waited for a while, to see if anyone was going to the Uchiha house alone. The streets were pretty quiet (except for the noise inside Fugaku's house), but empty too. He just had to find an opportunity. The whole idea of lurking in the streets waiting for a victim made him feel like a rapist, or something similar.
A red and white fan - That was the Uchiha symbol and it was clearly shown on the back of a man approaching the house. He was alone, and very unaware of what was going to happen next. Kakuzu came out from his hiding place and tackled the unsuspecting Uchiha to the ground. Kakuzu looked directly at the man, and in response his sharingan would activate, glowing bright red in the increasingly darkening night. Kakuzu then took the precaution of looking away. He had heard of the Sharingan's potential ocular power and did not want to take a chance with this one.
"G-get off me, you scum!" the victim said. Kakuzu caught a glimpse of his voice and made a mental note of it for later, but then decided to shut the man's mouth so that the surrounding streets remained quiet. After much fidgeting between the two, Kakuzu finally held him down. The old man quickly took note of his appearance, before using a mechanical blade hidden in the sleeve of his wrist to pierce him through the throat. Some blood splattered, and the man was not breathing.
"I'm afraid that you are dead now… Uchiha. But never mind. I hope that you rest in peace", Kakuzu said coldly as he laughed to himself whilst discarding the Uchiha corpse into a place where nobody could find it. Now, Kakuzu just had to transform in preparation for the task itself. He approached the door and knocked three times.
"Uryuu! So glad you could join us!" Fugaku answered the door. So now Kakuzu knew his dead victim's name. It would seem that the identity of "Uryuu Uchiha" was the key to completing the mission. The tricky bit was trying to copy his personality, which of course was difficult to do having only spent around twenty seconds with the man. Unfortunately he would have his work cut out, as he would find that Uryuu was quite popular with children.
After meeting and greeting with other adult Uchiha, including Kagami who took it upon himself to bring the kids to see their "cool uncle", Kakuzu would truly be tested.
"Hey Kids, guess who's here… it's your uncle Uryuu!" Kagami said with a smile to his face.
"Yay! Uncle Uryuu is so cool!" Shisui, Kagami's son was the first to respond, jumping into Uryuu's line of sight. He was quickly followed by another Uchiha child, Obito who was roughly the same age as him.
"How are you doing, Uncle Uryuu. Have you seen Itachi yet? He's so small and cute, and quite clever too!" Obito said.
"Yeah, but wittle Itachi cried upon seeing you Obito, it must be your goggles. They're totally scary… Anyways Uncle, have something to eat and drink, Aunt Mikoto made some awesome cookies for this occasion!" Shisui said.
Kakuzu then took Shisui's advice and tried the cookies. In order to be more convincing, he socialised with other Uchiha for a while. For them, it was the same old, "Cool Uryuu". Kakuzu then decided to speed things up; he could not waste any more time. He approached Obito and the other Uchiha kids.
"Say, kids… where is the baby? I still haven't seen him yet", the old man was quite nervous, wondering how long he could keep up the act.
"Of course, Itachi is right over there, in the arms of Aunty Mikoto!" Obito pointed to the modestly dressed young lady with long black hair, gently holding the newborn in her protective grasp.
"Ah, there's the target. I can't believe I convinced that Mizukage to give me over two hundred for the baby. I'd better be careful though" Kakuzu thought to himself.
"Uryuu! How are you?" Mikoto said.
"I'm very well, thanks. So this is Fugaku-san's child. Although, he definitely resembles his pretty mother more", Kakuzu said. He didn't quite know what to say as Uryuu. In fact, complimenting women made him cringe, though Mikoto quite enjoyed it, laughing coyly.
"Wittle Itachi, say Hello to Uncle Uwyuu!" Mikoto said in a childlike voice. The baby Itachi was quite calm and quiet in his mother's arms, but after transferring into Uryuu's arms, he would start crying. The crying was heard by a fair amount of surrounding Uchiha, but Kakuzu hoped not to draw too much attention to himself.
"Awww, don't cry Itachi. It's Uncle Uryuu. Everybody loves Uncle Uryuu", Mikoto assured, stroking the baby's head. Itachi finally quietened down whilst Kakuzu breathed a heavy sigh of relief.
"Excellent, the boy's in my arms. Time for me to run", Kakuzu thought to himself as he was looking at the door. Kakuzu played with the boy for a bit, much to the joy of Mikoto, who was happy that Itachi and Uryuu were finally getting acquainted properly. All of this actually made Kakuzu sick some more. He never really liked children, especially babies. But the thought of money made him do all sorts of crazy things. And the craziest thing was about to come right now.
"Hey everybody, let's do a baby conga line! Follow Me!" Kakuzu said. All the Uchiha followed him in joyous fashion. Obito and Shisui were especially keen to join in and persuaded Fugaku and Kagami to join the Conga line too. Kakuzu, as Uryuu paraded the Baby around the house, seemingly lightening up the place.
It was finally time to make his move. Kakuzu was at the door. He opened it with the baby firmly in his hand and started running, them jumping, and then leaping rapidly from building to building hoping to find the way out from the leaf village.
"W-What the hell just happened there?! Why did Uncle Uryuu just jump of with Itachi like that?" Obito asked, stepping outside to notice that Uryuu had vanished
"I don't know, but that is not Uryuu…" Fugaku replied, "Let's chase after him! Don't let him get away with my son!" The Uchiha leader barked out various commands as he and a few of his Uchiha underlings pursued the impostor.
"Where is the exit dammit?" Kakuzu thought to himself as he looked at the village from a tall building. He turned.
"There it is!" the waterfall ninja then heard a sound. They were coming.
"Uchiha eh? I suppose it can't be helped" Kakuzu's transformation of Uryuu wore off, resulting him to regress back into his gloomy cloaked self. He had to think quick, as at least eight Uchiha were on his tail.
"Fire-style: Fireball Jutsu!" Fugaku launched a fireball at Kakuzu, but the old man dodged.
"Think of the Money. Think of the Money. Think of the Money" Kakuzu thought to himself again. He took off the cloak he was wearing, revealing his complex shirtless frame. It had a grotesque, mysterious appearance of a ragdoll, with various parts of his body appearing to be sewn on. In addition, there were four masks on his back and by the looks of things, his back was bubbling and bursting.
"It can't be helped. I'll have to use that jutsu as a diversion. This had better be worth it! Oh well, I suppose I can find replacements" within mere seconds, a quartet of black entities had sprouted from his back, wearing the respective masks. They took of the form of semi-humanoid creatures that possessed elemental jutsu. They seemed to have stopped the Uchiha in their tracks. All Kakuzu needed to do now was head for the finish line, which was within sight, and he'd be home, clean and dry. Itachi was still firmly in Kakuzu's grasp. The baby started crying.
"Silence!" Evidently, that wasn't going to work. Itachi was just going to cry more and more as Kakuzu headed for the location – a secluded area on the border of the Fire and Water countries.
Eventually Itachi quietened down and drifted off into a Natural sleep. All the running, jumping and leaping from tree to tree made sure of that. Kakuzu arrived at the place that he was supposed to meet the Mizukage's men. He went to the leaf village and back, pretending to be this cool uncle in order to kidnap a small child, and lost over half of his impressive power in the process just to get here. All in all, he felt that it was worth the two hundred and twenty five thousand ryo. As he was thinking of what the money of this magnitude would look like before his eyes, the old shinobi heard some soft marching and the voices of two pre-teen children and an adult.
"So Kisame, who would you kill?" a boy asked his fellow young acquaintance.
"I haven't got a clue, Jinpachi. I've killed many random people from the Mist Village in the name of the Third Mizukage. Though I wouldn't mind killing that midget Yagura. His short stature and mysterious pink eyes give me the creeps", a blue-skinned boy answered.
"I second that, Kisame. Though I wouldn't mind killing Mei… If you know what I mean!" The boy known as Jinpachi answered, winking suggestively.
"Haha! I know what you mean, Jinpachi. I'd eat her juicy fishy morsels any day of the week!"
"R-Right…" the boy named Jinpachi replied nervously, trying to get used to Kisame's Shark-like nature.
"Will both of you brats just shut it! How dare you talk so lecherously about them? Those Kekkei Genkai shinobi are freaks of bloody nature! Do you know the punishment for fraternizing with them in such a manner?" An adult interrupted.
"N-No" Jinpachi replied nervously, worried what the adult shinobi would say.
"Well, let's just say that the Mizukage will have tiny little sausages for breakfast…"
"R-really?!… That's just… " Kisame said, not willing to find a superlative to finish his sentence. The kids noticed Kakuzu and the entire group ground to a halt.
"So, the Seven swordsmen of the Mist are in full attendance, along with a few brats. I suppose the Mizukage can't be too careful. I have the Uchiha brat, Itachi with me. So hand me the money as promised", Kakuzu said to them as they approached him.
"I hope your acquisition of this child went smoothly", the Mist swordsmen leader added.
"It went without a hitch…" Kakuzu lied.
"Not so fast, first we have to check! The Mizukage trusts the seven of us greatly. We are his elite band of soldiers. If we are not satisfied, neither is he!" one of the Swordsmen said.
"And what are the two brats doing here?" Kakuzu asked in curiosity.
"The Lord Mizukage values youth, so he insisted that Kisame and Jinpachi 'tagged along for the experience', though I doubt they will see much action, unless of course this baby turns out to be a dud!" Another swordsman added.
"Luckily for you, I fought Fugaku Uchiha in the past, so I can test his DNA, which acquired from our fight against the baby's using my jutsu", the leader added, putting down his humungous iron blade. Kakuzu passed the baby into another swordsman's arms, whilst the leader got out a glass tube containing blood. He then weaved a hand sign, and a blue chakra aura emitted from his hand.
"If my hand, which is linked by my jutsu to Fugaku's sample, turns red whilst I touch the baby, the test is negative. If it's green, it's a positive test", the leader added as he carried out the DNA testing procedure. Slowly but surely, the blue aura in his hand turned an assuring green. Kakuzu was going to get his money.
"Pay the man", the leader swordsman said, signalling to one of his swordsmen subordinates as they handed over a briefcase. Kakuzu opened it and observed every note in the case to make sure he wasn't being given fake money. He quickly counted it to make sure it was the right amount.
"Two hundred and twenty five Ryo. Well, it was a pleasure doing business. I'll be off now", Kakuzu said, grabbing the briefcase before preparing to run.
"You're going? You're not going to return to the village?" The leader asked.
"No, this was my last mission for the Mist Village. Give the Mizukage my regards…" Kakuzu said, as he rapidly left the area, knowing that once Itachi was out of his hands and into somebody else's, he'd be safe. After all, in order to secure this mission, he was forced to stall by losing his extra hearts. He severely weakened and needed to find new ones immediately. He was also keen to start a new life away from the Mist village and believed in "quitting while you're ahead". When Kakuzu became over two hundred Ryo richer that qualified as being ahead. All Kakuzu needed now was a new hunting ground to make more money and decided that the Mist Village was no longer suitable to help him further his ambitions.
"I'll let them deal with the Uchiha, whilst I enjoy my reward", Kakuzu thought to himself.
Back in the meeting place, the seven swordsmen were discussing amongst themselves.
"Funny, the Mizukage never mentioned that this was Kakuzu's last task. I wonder why Kakuzu was in such a rush", another subordinated wondered.
"Maybe Kakuzu needed the bathroom real bad, but didn't want us to watch!" Jinpachi added cheekily.
"Oh well, it doesn't matter. Let's just go back to the Village. We have the baby, and we should probably feed it soon too…" the leader said, being the first to leap with the baby in his secure grasp. His subordinates, including Kisame and Jinpachi quickly followed suit.
A few minutes had just passed, but the leader of the seven swordsmen had felt uneasy. The leaves of the trees and the dry branches rustled more than usual. He looked around to see his fellow swordsmen. Sure enough, everyone was present, including Kisame and Jinpachi.
"Somebody's following us", he said
"What?" a subordinate replied. A loud voice was then heard by all the Mist shinobi.
"Hold it right there! I know you have Itachi. Give him back!" It was Fugaku, accompanied by no more than eight of his fellow Uchiha, including Kagami as well as the young Obito and Shisui. The Mist shinobi, including the leader quickly turned round to see what was going. Fugaku had noticed his son in the arms of the leader and pointed. He instantly recognized the man, as the two fought previously.
"I remember you. Hand him over… now!" the Uchiha leader barked out.
"Silence, you'll wake the boy up", Fugaku's Mist counterpart answered.
"Hmph… So that's why Kakuzu ran off. He had company. That sly old grifter…" The leader sighed, not foreseeing this situation. However, he couldn't cower away in the face of danger. He had to prove to his subordinates that he was worthy to be chosen as the first leader of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist.
"If you want your boy you'll have to get through us…" the leader pointed out.
"I'll do whatever it takes…" Fugaku said, clenching his. The rage burned within him, his eyes turned a bright red, with dark tomoe circling and forming around the pupil.
"Are you seriously going to challenge these guys? I mean, they are the Uchiha. They're the best of the best!" A cowardly subordinate added.
"And we are the Seven Swordsmen of the mist! We are the Mizukage's right arm. Don't you see, my brethren, this is our chance to shine as Mist Shinobi. The leaf and their precious Uchiha clan have hogged the spotlight for long enough. We are the Mist… the very bloody Mist!" the leader's pep talk got his subordinates in the mood. They roared and drew their large, exotic swords. A small mist that was increasingly getting bigger would shroud the vicinity. The mist shinobi had already activated their famous 'Hidden Mist Jutsu'. Similarly, seven pairs of eyes started glowing bright red. Nor Obito or Shisui had awoken their Sharingan yet.
Fugaku automatically pursued the one who held Itachi captive, the leader. He was determined find that man. Everybody else was consumed within the mist, struggling for sight. Obito and Kisame however drifted quickly away from the Mist and met face-to-face.
"Looks like we managed to escape the Mist. I suppose it's not a proper way for us children to die…" Kisame said, before being rudely interrupted by Obito, as he swiftly ran to the blue-skinned boy, attempting to punch him in the face.
"Is that any way to greet your adversary?" Kisame asked rhetorically. Both of them drew their Kunai. Kisame grabbed Obito's fist. The Mist shinobi was both taller and slightly older than Obito. He also possessed more physical strength and was able to back him off, pounding him with his own fist in the process.
"I'm Kisame Hoshigaki… and I aspire to be one of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist."
"My name is Obito Uchiha, and I want to become the Hokage!"
"Oh my, such bold words. I'll make sure you eat those words!"
Obito wasted no time in performing the Uchiha's rite of passage jutsu. He weaved the hand signs perfectly.
"Fire-style: Fireball Jutsu!" Obito breathed fire, which progressively shaped itself into a sphere which was around a meter in diameter. The ball approached Kisame at a reasonable speed. Kisame responded with his own hand signs.
"Water-style: Water Shark bomb jutsu!" Within seconds, a shark made out of water was produced. It nullified Obito's ball with ease, though Obito used his fireball merely as a diversion. He charged at Kisame once more, this time with a Kunai in hand. Unfortunately for Obito, he would trip clumsily. Kisame took advantage of this and pinned him to the ground. Kisame continuously punched the young Uchiha, and he was unable to respond.
"So… you want to become Hokage, eh Tobito? You'll have to do a little better than that!"
"Whatever", Kisame continued pounding him, taking some joy from this. Obito couldn't do much but endure the poundings. He heard the clang of blades clashing in the thick mist, and was hoping that his fellow Uchiha were having more luck than him.
"I never thought I'd meet you again in such a manner" Fugaku said to the leader
"And I'm glad you remember me. Don't worry; I won't harm your child. But I fear that if you attack me too viciously, you might harm him yourself. As you can see, despite the ruckus, he is sleeping soundly in my arms", Fugaku's adversary replied.
"Leave my son out of this. Give him back, you coward!" Fugaku yelled at the very top of his voice, causing his son to wake up crying
"Oh dear, look what you have done now!" the leader was still holding Itachi firmly with one hand. He only needed to weave a hand sign to make the mist thicker, as well as making its range wider. The leader escaped, then got out a kunai knife and travelled through the mist. He had a natural ability to sense chakra, and within moments managed to take out a couple of unsuspecting Uchiha. There were brief cries of agony as the kunai cut through two Uchiha throats, before their dead bodies fell to the ground. Still fighting on the ground was Kisame and Obito. Somehow, Obito managed to break out of Kisame's submission lock, but would be hopelessly be defending himself in a shuriken war with his mist counterpart. Things looked even worse when he noticed two Uchiha corpses fall from the Mist above.
"I'll make sure you join them… Obi… Tobito… Whatever you're name is!" Kisame remarked.
"It's… Obito!" Obito was the loudest Uchiha. He launched a large fireball recklessly towards Kisame. Kisame deflected again, with a water wall this time. Kisame then ran towards the young Uchiha.
"Enough play time. It's time to finish you… Tobi", Kisame said purposely mispronouncing Obito's name. As Obito was too slow to react since he exerted a large mass of chakra. Kisame jumped and kicked him in the face. The force of the kick was probably enough to break the right side of jaw or his neck. But miraculously, neither of those were broken. Despite Obito being defeated and simply outclassed by Kisame, he was still resilient.
"I'll… defeat you… and if I don't defeat you this time… I will find you and certainly defeat you then!" Obito said, whilst struggling to get to his feet.
"I doubt we'll meet again", Kisame said as he prepared to sharpen his kunai.
"Maybe I can kill a real Uchiha next time. I'm sure that baby over there will ripen up to become a powerful adversary. You're just fodder, pitiful fodder", Kisame concluded. As the mist shinobi advanced towards Obito, eager to slice him up like he did so many times before in his village, the mist started to clear.
"Mist Village Shinobi, It's time to retreat!" the leader barked out. Itachi was no longer in his arms, Fugaku had defeated the man using his Uchiha wits before the leader realised that a Genjutsu was binding him. Luckily, he managed to break free of the illusory spell, only to find that he had failed. He wanted to cut his losses and ordered all of his men to fall back. On the mist's side, everyone was still alive but the same could not be said for the Uchiha, who lost two adults in the foggy fray.
"Looks like I wasn't able to kill you after all. I sincerely hope I find you again to finish you off…" Kisame said to Obito, as he jumped to a large tree branch which was holding his eight comrades. Obito was then picked up by Kagami, who in turn joined his Uchiha clansmen on another large branch. Only seven Uchiha remained, including Kagami's son, Shisui who seemed to have outclassed Jinpachi in a fistfight but could not deliver the killing blow.
"Obito, are you okay?" Shisui asked.
"I'll be fine. Just a few scratches", the young goggled shinobi replied.
Fugaku gazed towards the rapidly retreating mist shinobi.
"I won't let you guys get away so easily! Shisui, hold Itachi for me", Fugaku handed Itachi over to Shisui before signalling to the other adult Uchiha. They lined up and weaved various hand signs in perfect harmony.
"This is what happens when you mess with the Uchiha...", Fugaku's Sharingan glowed with a particular rage about them. At the same time, the Uchiha would breathe out a vast path of flames.
"Fire-Style: Five headed Dragon of Doom!"
Within seconds, the Paths of flame produced would end shaped with a dragon's head. These smouldering dragon heads ravaged the surrounding forest, and chased after the Mist Shinobi. Eventually, all five of the Dragons would come in contact and would fuse to create a single dragon head, which was vast and it appeared as though the large dragon was going to consume them into a flaming oblivion.
"The Dragon's too powerful and fast! I have to stop it!" The mist leader said, preparing hand signs.
"Water-style: Water dragon jutsu!" The leader forged a large water dragon but its size still did not match to the fiery monstrosity of the Uchiha's flame dragon and failed to extinguish it. In short, the leader would be sizzled. The other swordsmen, including the children continued to run and flee, witnessing the demise of their leader.
Eventually, the fires of the dragon went out. The Uchiha believed their work was done, but nobody except the Mist Shinobi themselves knew their exact fate.
"Let's get back to the Village. All this fire and smoke can't be good for the baby. We'll probably have to tell Hiruzen about this. Who knows why the mist would go through all this trouble to get Itachi", Kagami concluded.
"You're right, Kagami-san. Let's go. Itachi needs to be with his mother and we should mourn the deaths of our two unfortunate comrades", Fugaku said as he looked upwards. Dawn was approaching and sky was clear except for four prominent clouds shaped the same, which seemed strange.