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The Black Flames 13 – Expansion

“Ahhh I see” Fugaku admired as he walked from the throne of the Uchiha fortress to look closer at the summons presented before him, “I remember during the 2nd Shinobi War, he used this technique.” Fugaku walked to the one named Tobirama, the man’s eyes were closed his hair like snow above them. “But his ability was limited, he felt it too harsh to bring back the dead by killing enemy soldiers, it was my father that pushed for the use of the ability.” Fugaku finally stopped near Hashirama, his dark hair covering most of his eyes, “To think they would become the puppets of their own creation!” Orochimaru began making hand signs as the earth began to tremble, the ground opened and the three summons where placed back into the coffins. “This is not all the fighters I have, I have… collected a few others in my life.” Orochimaru finally walked back to the door. “I know I can never return to Konoha, but this fortress will serve me well, give me what I want and I will be an unstoppable force in the expansion of your Village.” Fugaku watched as Orochimaru smiled, “Fine you may have this base but you will be limited in your test subject to most prisoners captured by our forces.” Fugaku smiled, his sharingan activated.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

The Rain Village

Itachi watched the rain from inside the tower, the wind whipped it into the glass window before him like daggers they seemed to attack him one after the other relentlessly. “So you have put away his body?” Itachi asked, not turning from the window seeing Pain’s body appear behind him. “I have made use of the body but I have stored it in a special location for now.” Pain walked to the nearby seat, the table of stone laying before him. “You have learnt a lot in the short time you have been in Akatsuki, Itachi, but you must know that you can never reveal this as our location, Kisame is under the impression he is meeting you near our borders and will be returning to normal missions from that point forward.” Itachi watched Pain’s reflection as he spoke. “I understand, Pain, but what of the boy” “He will remain here under my protection, I will be able to defend him and know of any intruder as it happens.” Pain took a map out of his pocket, lying it on the table. “I want you to see something” Pain pointed to the map, Itachi slowly turned to face the man looking to the map in front of him. “We have this area now, the Fire and Wind country seem to be reaching an economic and military agreement as we speak, as now neither have a Tailed Beast they feel they are under threat by the Lightning and Rock Nations respectively.” Pain moved his finger over the map as he spoke.

“We are placed in the middle, if these two forces join it will create tension with the 4 of the 5 Nations planning war. With Tobi keeping the Mist weakened under his rule. We will face a force never seen before, and like the previous war the Rain Village and the Villages near us will be used as the battle ground.” Pain pointed out a line of villages on the map, Grass, Waterfall and Hot Spring Villages as he made a line between the 4 Great Nation’s, “This will be the new buffer, by uniting these Villages under the control and protection of the Akatsuki we will be able to prevent war.” Pain looked up at Itachi again. “You will head to the Grass Village and Waterfall. Their Villages have the most powerful Ninja forces.” “Nut that would mean your borders expand, wouldn’t that be a bad thing?” Itachi watched the line grow to meet at the sea again. “It is a risk but we have some of the most powerful shinobi in the world here, we will begin this expansion through military strength, we will also be able to strike any of these nations at any time. This will create unease and pressure will begin to rise, each Village will keep its name and its pride for now but the Military will covert to an Organized military the size of any of the great nations. We will continue to charge low rates for High level missions this will suffocate the bigger nations economy.” Itachi could see the wide spread starvation this could cause, the pain, the suffering of the other Villages. “Also seperating them will mean Ttade will be impossible between them, and alliances will be difficult to keep under these tensions, with no mediators or meetings unless we allow them through out land.” Pain paused a moment to stand, leaving the map to roll up again. He walked past Itachi walking to the window where he had been standing.

“Do you know how these small villages truly began?” Pain began almost sensing Itachi’s resistance to the plan, “The Greater Nations granted independence to these nations the borders where made and they used them ever since as buffers for war…” Pain paused as he remembered his friends the original Akatsuki, “They knew creating these villages would protect them, I am just wanting to show them that it is not right to use someone smaller than you.” “Is that why you won’t train Naruto?” Itachi asked, remembering the discussion he heard earlier between the two. “That and he is not in line with the goal.”

“You will head East to meet Kisame, I will begin preparations to the North, West and South.” Pain then turned walking out the door again. Stopping a moment in its threshhold, “You will need to watch out for Orochimaru too, he seems to have moved away from Konoha. How did you defeat Jiraiya’s technique?” Pain asked not looking back. “I removed the toads on his shoulders by striking the summons they disappeared quickly.” Itachi replied picking up his straw hat that concealed most of his face.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————

Naruto was so unsure of what he had seen today, the old book now lying at the bottom of his bed began to dry slightly, the moisture of the room made it take long but Naruto just waited, wondering why he was given this book by a complete stranger was dying, ‘He knew my name’ Naruto thought, ‘but his forehead protector didn’t look like Konoha’s. “Naruto.” Came a soft voice from the door, as Naruto looked up he saw Konan standing waiting to come in. “Hey Konan” Naruto’s voice less enthusiastic. “What’s wrong?” she asked moving closer to the bed, grabbing the nearby metal chair, scrapping it on the hard stone floor. “Its this book, I am not sure if it will ever dry, and I wanna read it.” Naruto pointed to the book trying to make it open but many of the pages stuck together. “Let me help” Konan reached towards the paper pages and began to push her chakra into it. Naruto watched amazed as the book’s pages began to heal but the coloring stayed at parts red from the blood spilled on it. “That is the best I can do, Naruto.” Handing the book back to the young boy. “The color won’t go back, like the blood spilt in the fight today, but there are things that can heal, with enough strength you can fix a lot.” With that Konan stood up, leaving the young boy to read.

The Black Flames 12 – Realization of Pain

“Sage Art.” Jiraiya moved to the light, his face larger and full of warts. “Though it is imperfect, I need to use this now.” Jiraiya said to himself, before dodging another Fireball, “So you found me?” he scoffed, “Sage Art: Hair Needle Barrage!” the long white hair began to fly towards Itachi, standing still for a moment he quickly threw shuriken to deflect each hair pin flying towards him. “Just as I would expect from a Sannin” Itachi’s voice was respectful but dull.

Itachi ran to Jiraiya dodging the incoming attacks, “That is just what I wanted!” Jiraiya scoffed, creating a ball of spinning chakra in his hand, “Rasengan!” he pushed towards Itachi’s chest landing straight in the middle, though Itachi disappeared in a cloud of crows. “Your genjutsu won’t work on me this time! Sage Art: Goemon!” Jiraiya turned to face Itachi, the flames reaching him within seconds. “Amaterasu!” Itachi’s flames reached the the wave of Fire and Oil but it could not burn it fast enough, Itachi jumped onto a nearby building retreating from the battle with Jiraiya. “You seem to have a lot more energy now, Jiraiya.” Itachi began as he landed on the nearby building, “But I must finish this. Here, and now.”

Itachi’s body began to emit a red glow, Jiraiya look to see a ribcage forming around him. “This is my ultimate jutsu, Susanoo.” with that Itachi’s body was surrounded by red chakra, Jiraiya watched as the muscle grew around the newly formed bones. “What dark chakra!” Jiraiya was shocked. “This is no time to be sitting around Jiraiya!” Fukasaku shouted quickly, “Right!” Jiraiya put his hand to the side, building up a giant Rasengan. “I will finish you with this!” Jiraiya leaped in the air towards Itachi the ball of Chakra in his hand growing larger as he got closer.

The Rasengan impacted just before Itachi, the armor seemed to split slightly as he pushed towards the young man from Konoha. “What!” Jiraiya shocked as Susanoo grew stronger beneath his ultimate technique, “I am sorry Jiraiya, this is where it must end.” Itachi’s eyes looked deep into Jiraiya’s.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Front Gates of Konoha,

“You failed?” Fugaku shouted at Ratio in disbelief, “you had him trapped yet he was able to escape. You weakling!” with that Fugaku left Ratio walking back to the village center. “Kukukuku” came a laugh from just behind them. “My my, what a temper Lord Hokage.” the slivering voice of Orochimaru rang out. “Orochimaru? You dare enter this land?!” Fugaku began turning to face the Sannin, his eyes filled with killing intent. “Please, I know what you want and now that Konoha is under new management… I thought you could make good use of my services again.” Orochimaru stood firm looking at Fugaku.

“How could you help me?” Fugaku asked, making sure to keep Orochimaru in his sight at all times, “I have abandoned that organization Akatsuki to join forces with Konoha again. All I ask for is a Sharingan!” Orochimaru’s snake eyes staring hungrily at Fugaku’s. “Lets discuss this in a more private setting.” Fugaku raised his eyebrow to Ratio as to say, ‘Keep quiet or you die!’ Ratio watched shocked as the Leader of Konoha walked away with one of its worst enemies.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Naruto finally arrived at the scene of the fire, looking around as the black flames engulfed everything they touched, “I wonder what happened here!?” Naruto shouted as Gaara arrived right after him, “I hate this rain, I can’t use my sand here!” Gaara complained as he arrived next to Naruto, “Over there!” Naruto ran through the small corridor between the buildings, the smell of blood growing stronger as he made his way to the exit.

When he came out, he saw a man with white hair lying in a pool of blood and rain. “Naruto? What are you doing here!?” Naruto heard Itachi scream from the side of the building, “Wha… What happened here!?” the man before Naruto began to move again, he looked towards Naruto, his eyes almost devoid of life now but still a glimmer remaining as he saw the boy.

Jiraiya could see Naruto, his vision was blurred and he could feel his lung had collapsed, “Na…ru…to,” he forced the words out, Itachi soon landed at the edge of the building making his way to Jiraiya. The man with white hair continued to rummage through his backpack trying his hardest to lift his head above the pool he was lying in. “
“This is for you.” with that the man brought out a book, small and torn, the water soaking some of the pages giving them a red tint as it was absorbed. Naruto quickly ran to pick up the book before it was completely destroyed by the water. “Who are you?” Naruto asked but was too late, he saw the old man lying there in his own blood, dead.

“That is what it means to be a ninja,” Naruto heard the voice of Pain coming. “You still wish for this power.” he continued walking past the young boy, not turning to face him Naruto simply looked at the title of the book, unsure of his answer. Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Shinobi he read, watching the rain fall down the leather cover like tear drops, “I… I…” Naruto spoke so soft he could barely hear it himself as the storm grew stronger, “Go back both of you!” Itachi finally shouted, “We don’t have time for this now!” Pain stopped before the man known as Jiraiya, “This was my Sensei at one point” his words where empty, as he looked at the blood flow into the earth. “This is not the first blood that has been spilt into this land and it will not be the last!”

Naruto turned away, crying for the man he had never met, for the dream that man could never achieve. Though the Rain hid his tears, the sorrow could be seen on his face.

“Itachi, I know that was difficult for you,” Pain spoke to Itachi, his voice filled with respect towards his comrade, “I will deal with the body, make sure your flames do not engulf more of the Village.” with that Pain grabbed the body and jumped towards the nearby building and out of Itachi’s line of sight. Itachi began taking the flames out, saving the buildings. Luckily this side of the Village had been evacuated long before the battle began by Konan’s signal.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————

Far outside Konoha,

“Ah so this is the Uchiha old fortress?” Orochimaru began looking to the walls, the hall was dark and round. “Yes it is, we once owned all this land before a small faction took control.” Fugaku watched Orochimaru carefully. “Don’t worry Fugaku.” Orochimaru began looking away and around at the room. “I know your eyes are something special, I wouldn’t go against it.” Orochimaru laughed as he said the last words. “It would seem my fellow sannin is dead, Jiraiya.”

“What?! That cannot be! We have tracers on him, he is currently moving to the Mist Village!” Fugaku shouted, “kukuku, that is a toad you are following, brilliant ability he has but, he is definitely dead, I left one of my snakes with a member of Akatsuki, he recorded the entire battle and got me some of my old friend’s DNA.” Orochimaru’s voice was smug as he began drawing a circle in the ground around him in Blood. “Summoning Jutsu” with that a small snake appeared holding a glass of blood. “You see I have mastered the 2nd’s jutsu” he started, summoning 3 shinobi wearing the Cloud Village headbands, “Edo Tensei!” with that their bodies began to crumble and a strange mist began to engulf them, Three Boxes came out the ground where they had been kneeling. “Let me introduce you to my power, Hashirama, Tobirama and Jiraiya!” as Orochimaru spoke the doors to the coffins fell revealing the two Hokage and the dead Sannin.

 

The Black Flames 11 – Peace

You are my only friend’ came a voice from inside Itachi’s head, he looked into Ratio’s Sharingan perplexed by its color. “Ratio, what is that?” Itachi began, trying to use his strength to dispel this genjutsu, “This…” Ratio moved his finger over his left eye, almost completely covering his blue eyes, “This is my burden, of being an Uchiha but constantly mocked as an outsider.” Ratio’s words were heavy with emotion, Itachi could literally feel his agony but this was not a genjutsu Itachi had ever experienced.”I see you are trying to dispel this jutsu, but I can tell you now this is not genjutsu, it is the curse of this eye, while most Sharingan are known for the power of perception, my eyes pushes out all information within me.” Ratio stopped watching Itachi sinking slowly into the mud beneath him. “I remember the day my Sharingan activated. It was the best and worst day of my life!”

Without making a move, Ratio’s memory of that day entered Itachi’s mind, he could feel the pain Ratio felt watching his comrades being killed, and the guilt he felt knowing it was all his fault. “You see,” Ratio lifted the patch back on his eye, “my sharingan pushes out my internal thoughts, and I have no control of it. This was the curse I was given.” Ratio looked away for a moment, his heart felt heavy in what he needed to do now. “I must kill you Itachi, to make things right for me.” with that Ratio reached for his Shuriken bag, pulling one out in one quick swoop.

The air around Itachi began to quiver, as a man in a orange mask just appeared. “Sorry, I still have need for Itachi.” the man said in a calm manner, Ratio stood stunned he had never seen a jutsu like this before, and in one fell swoop the man in the mask disappeared with Itachi. Nothing was left but the hole in the ground where he was trapped.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

The edge of the Rain Village.

“All my data on Akatsuki led me here.” Jiraiya began, seemingly talking to himself more than the toad standing beside him, “Yeah yeah! Why did you summon me, Jiraiya?! I got shit to do!” the Toad croaked to Jiraiya. “Haha, I need you to do something for me, you see this vial of liquid?” Jiraiya took a small vial from around his neck and gave it to the Toad, “I need you to head towards the Mist village almost in a completely opposite direction, I cannot allow Konoha to get their hands on the Nine Tailed Fox.” Jiraiya seemed serious now, “Sure thing but you know this is gonna weaken you to enemies right?” the toad complained as he hopped away in the opposite direction. ‘I wonder if they’re still alive.’ Jiraiya thought as he moved into the rain.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

“Konan!” came a voice from the main room. “Wait here Naruto. I need to go to Lord Pain.” Konan was worried, Pain had never raised his voice like this before, She walked down towards the meeting room where she could hear the voices of men arguing. As she turned the corner, she saw Itachi, Tobi and Pain all standing near the center of the room. “Ah please come in, beautiful Konan.” Tobi said his voice light but with a sinister ring. “I have brought Itachi back from Konoha, Kisame is also on his way here.” “What are you doing, bringing them here!” Konan gasped, “we don’t want to draw attention to ourselves, why do you think we meet outside in different nations…” Tobi simply lifted his hand to silence Konan which annoyed her to no end. Luckily it was Pain who spoke next. “I have already felt that someone has entered the billage Konan, I believe it’s Master Jiraiya. We need to dispose of him soon.” Pain’s sad voice barely reaching Konan through the sound of the heavy rain.

“I have reason to believe that Itachi will be useful in eliminating the threat so we do not need to give away our secrets.” Pain looked at Itachi who was silently thinking, his blood eed eyes surveying the room. “No!” Konan demanded, “He was our sensei so we need to fight him ourselves, Nagato!” Pain simply looked at Itachi ignoring Konan’s plea, “Fine I will find him and defeat him first.” with that Konan left the room. “Jiraiya is a powerful enemy” Pain began again ignoring Konan’s rebellious tone, “I shall fight him if Itachi fails, I will convert to Animal Path” with that Itachi stood walking towards the rain.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————

Edge of Amegakure.

“It’s been a while” Jiraiya thought to himself looking at the city around him, the smell of steel and rust filled the air. It almost smelled like blood. “You are trespassing here.” Jiraiya heard the voice of a female just above him, her wings spread out and the rain falling down all around. “Konan?” Jiraiya asked as he saw her face more clearly. “I am sorry Master Jiraiya, but we cannot let you leave here alive, you have seen and know too much.” with that Konan shot thousands of paper shuriken at Jiraiya, leaving him barely enough time to dodge, landing in a puddle not much further than his previous location. “We? Did the others survive too!?” Jiraiya demanded making hand signs as he did, “Fire Style: Fireball Jutsu.” the flames didn’t even reach Konan’s wings. “By we she means me, Master Jiraiya.” Came a voice from behind Jiraiya. ‘It can’t be’ he thought to himself slowly turning to see the eyes of a sharingan staring at him. “Itachi!?”

——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Naruto was watching the rain falling outside his window when he saw a huge flame emerge from the western corner of the Village. ‘What was that?’ he thought to himself watching intently. He decided he would need to take a closer look, ‘but how to escape…” he knew the door was open and he had learnt a jutsu, if someone was fighting he would need to help. With that he grabbed a few utensils he was trying to create weapons with and ran as fast as he could through the hall, hearing the voices of the 2 men arguing on the other side, Naruto stopped just outside Gaara’s room, “Hey Gaara?” he whispered, “wanna see a ninja battle?” Naruto didn’t wait for his answer he simple opened the latch that kept Gaara in.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

“What are you doing here Itachi!?” Jiraiya shouted, Itachi simply brought his hands out of his Akatsuki jacket, bringing attention to it. Jiraiya quickly jumped, as another group of Paper Shuriken hit the ground just behind him. “Toad Oil!” Jiraiya turned covering Konan in the oily liquid. “Leave now Konan, I will finish this quickly so he does not suffer!” Itachi spoke softly, his voice filled with remorse. “Fire Style: Fireball Jutsu.” Itachi shot a ball of fire towards Jiraiya, “Do not underestimate one of the Sannin!” Jiraiya quickly moved his hands and fired a fireball directly onto Itachi’s, moving quickly to get around Jiraiya finally got to Itachi but his body disappeared into crows. “Genjutsu!” Jiraiya thought to himself, trying to dispell the illusion. Focusing again to see Itachi unmoved standing before him. “You dispelled my regular Genjutsu. I am impressed usually only people who have my eyes can change so quickly… but I see you have used up most of your chakra.” Itachi again opened his eye, “Amaterasu!” Black Flames shot to Jiraiya. Itachi watched as he slowly melted. ‘A clone’ Itachi thought, looking around to see if Jiraiya was near.

Somewhere in the Rain Village.

‘I should never have put myself in this position’ Jiraiya was sweating as he struggled to catch his breath, ‘I have to use that jutsu.’ Jiraiya quickly bit his finger, “Summoning Jutsu” with that two small old frogs appeared before him. “Ah Jiraiya” the one began. “Are you inviting us to dinner, Jiraiya?” the old woman interrupted. “Fukasaku, Shima, I need your help. I need you to join with me to use Sage Mode.” the two old frogs looked at each other before hopping onto Jiraiya’s shoulders. “But after this we will all have dinner together,” the lady named Shima said as she placed herself on Jiraiya.

The Black Flames 10 – Under estimation

The hallway was cold and the smell of rust filled the air as the steel walls seemed like ice around Naruto, ‘A new member has arrived today’ he remembered hearing coming from down the hall. ‘The Shukaku too” came the voices from ahead. Naruto knew the voice, it belonged to the masked man. He walked silently, the jacket he received keeping his body warm. The hallway became darker as he walked further, the voices became softer almost in the same way. Naruto could hear a metallic clanging in the distance, it became louder with every step. “Clang, Bang.” He knew it was a boy about his age that came in, “Shukaku?” Naruto thought it was a strange name, walking ’till he faced the door where the noise was coming from. “Hi” Naruto’s soft voice came barely audible above the sound of the banging on the other side but once said, the noise stopped. Naruto opened the hatch to look inside, deep in the dark corner where only a little moonlight shone, sat a boy. His dark red hair covering most of his face. “Hi Shukaku, my name is Naruto.” Naruto’s voice was soft and kind, that of a child meeting a new friend. “My name is Gaara!” came a dark voice from the room, “What do you want!?” Naruto was taken aback by this boy, he seemed about his age but his voice was that of an old man that had lived a long life of regret.

“I am like you, you know?” Naruto finally replied, his hands shivering slightly. Naruto took a moment to look down at his hands frustrated by the constant fear he was in, first Pain and now this boy. He couldn’t be afraid forever. “No one is like me! I am a monster!” Naruto watched as the boy raised his face to look at Naruto, his eyes blue but surrounded by black hate. “I am.” Naruto whispered, almost to himself as he remembered the beast that came to him when he was with Kisame and Itachi. The boy named Gaara slowly stood up making his way to the small opening, looking to the ground, once he reached Naruto, he looked up, his eyes full of evil intent. “Have you killed a man!? Have you had the feeling of killing your own uncle!? My sand thirsts for blood and I kill just to make me feel alive!!!” Gaara’s voice had changed completely. This was a sharp high pitched squeal more than his normal hoarse voice. Naruto,just stood looking into the boy’s eyes, seeing the monster before him reflecting his image in Gaara’s eyes. “I may not know of killing but I know of feeling sad, alone and angry.” Naruto paused as he watched Gaara’s eyes soften just so slightly. Gaara had never seen someone remain so calm before him, even now with these threats this boy seemed unafraid. “Naruto, I think I underestimated you!” Gaara said as his voice returned to its normal pitch.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————

Itachi could see the Hokage Monument in the distance, a sore memory of the past he had to leave behind, ‘clap clap clap’ came the sound from just beyond the trees. “Ah Itachi, you’re so predictable. Using the old ANBU routes into Konoha knowing it would be the least guarded.” Itachi knew this voice, he watched as a young Uchiha walked out the nearby bush. “Don’t try your fancy eye techniques, this is just a shadow clone.” Ratio Uchiha stood facing Itachi now. Itachi regretted not bringing Kisame along but he couldn’t risk it. “So you know.” Itachi began, calm as always. “You know my abilities and you still stand before me?”

“I do not wish to kill you Ratio Uchiha.” Itachi face was like the faces on the monument, like stone, unmoved by the threat ahead. “It is because I know you, Itachi, that I stand here. You may be powerful but your jutsu has weak points.” Ratio remained calm as he circled around slowly, Itachi noticed as he walked he dropped a pebble to the ground. It must be for him to keep count of how long he has this clone for.

- Years before -

A young Ratio and a young Itachi stood face to face in the combat ring, “Get him Itachi!” was being sung by all the children around, “I don’t want to hurt you.” the young Itachi began, giving out his hand to the young Ratio. Ratio merely slapped the hand away, “We must fight, but I don’t want to hurt you either.” with that a large laugh began to grow around them. “Begin” the teacher shouted, Itachi immediately jumped backwards making hand signs, “but that’s?” came the whispers, “Fire Style: Fireball Jutsu.” Itachi finally shouted, a flame bursting from his mouth moving quickly towards Ratio.

Ratio quickly moved to the side dodging the attack, Itachi watched, confused by Ratio’s lack of effort in a counter, Ratio just stood watching as Itachi landed 3 feet behind back from his original position. “I knew you would do that!” Ratio shouted, Itachi felt the floor beneath him crack but before he could react he had plummeted to the bottom of a trap hole pushing him outside the ring radius. “That was a dirty trick.” the kids mumbled, “Ratio is disqualified” the academy teacher finally spoke out, “You may not tamper with the battle area before a sparring match Ratio.” the teacher looked towards Ratio as he walked disgruntled to the other students.

- Present -

Itachi remembered though Ratio wasn’t strong in jutsu, he was extremely intelligent at planning battles months before they happened, “Why Itachi?” Ratio spoke again, Itachi couldn’t figure it out, asking questions would just waste time and if he can only maintain the jutsu for so long then why would he ask now. “Why what?” Itachi replied watching as Ratio circled behind him, “Why did you betray the village and the clan that adored you?” Ratio asked, dropping another pebble. “I was bored. The Uchiha had become to powerful, the village became too safe.” Itachi replied, his eyes analysing Ratio’s actions, like this all his jutsu would be useless, “Hmmm, nah I heard you where ordered to kill all the clan but couldn’t do it.” Ratio’s smug voice came from behind Itachi no further than 10 yards. “And done” with that Itachi saw Ratio drop the final pebble in his hand. The air around Itachi began to suffocate him, “What is this!” Itachi demanded watching Ratio smiling as if he had won a game. “Its a pretty basic jutsu actually, see each of these stones have chakra pouring through them, I drop one every so many yards and encircle you, once the jutsu is activated all things within the circle have their chakra absorbed by the stones. Of course at first it’s almost all the chakra but as the stones become full it’s more a gradual drain!” Ratio spoke uncaring of the suffering he was inflicting.

It felt as though Itachi’s skin was burning and his body couldn’t move. “But you shouldn’t be able to do a jutsu like that!!” Itachi was barely able to cough out, “You made a mistake, Itachi, one you have always made when fighting me.” Ratio began, almost saddened by this fact. “When we were younger you underestimated my ability to plan out and my tactical ability, now you underestimated my jutsu ability.” Ratio paused, allowing the full weight of his statement to reach Itachi, “I did not use this jutsu, I have in my control 5 High level Genin. They where more then enough to handle this jutsu… and this.” with that the floor beneath Itachi became soft and his legs slowly began to sink, with all his strength drained he could barely move and as he struggled he dipped further and further into the cement-like sand, his hand falling to the ground. “Goodbye my friend, maybe now I will have the true strength to be an Uchiha” Ratio said, raising his eye patch. Itachi looked into his eye, the Sharingan blue instead of the usual red and all he could feel was suffering.

The Black Flames 9 – Burden

“Ah man, these meetings are boring…” Kisame complained as he stretched ,walking out of the cave, “What is our next mission?” Kisame asked looking down on Itachi as he moved forward. “We are to stay hidden for a while, Pain said we should meet again for further instructions in 48 hours,  he is placing a lot of faith in Orochimaru, we are merely backup.” Itachi answered feeling annoyed by the question. “I think we need to look for a place to stay first of all near enough to Konoha, but not so close that we are spotted.” Itachi walked slowly thinking of when he would see Naruto again, but his mind quickly changed to his younger brother, ‘Sasuke’ he thought to himself almost trying to force the good memory of his younger sibling behind him, it serves him no purpose. “Itachi..?” Kisame began, as he saw the young Uchiha walking deep in thought.

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“Lord Kazekage.” came a voice from just behind the door. The Kazekage did not want to be bothered now, his mind was everywhere, seeing Gaara lose control over the Shukaku, he needed to deal with this threat immediately. “Come in.” he finally replied, watching as a young man walked through the door, looking frightened as as he approached the desk, “My lord” the young man looked tired “Yūra, you know your mission, why are you here?” the Kazekage asked as he moved some papers around his desk, seeing the crisis his village was in. “Lord Kazekage, I do not believe I am capable of this mission.” the man named Yura stumbled on his words as he spoke. “That is why I said you must take him far outside the Village, then attempt to kill him, if you should fail I will subdue the Shukaku again!” Kazekage was short and to the point, his voice uncaring of this young man dying by his son’s hand. “You know the situation we are facing, I cannot risk my stronger ninja. We need them to complete missions. If you feel the task is too dangerous I will deal with you myself! Do you understand?” With that the Kazekage turned away again uninterested in the young man shaking before him. “Get your affairs in order,” the Kazekage finally spoke waving the man to leave his office at once.

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The sand whipped around Sasori as he looked deep into the desert, “This is the border between the Land of Fire and the Land of Wind,” Sasori’s voice carried deep into the desert. “You see the difference in prosperity between the lands, one beautiful and green while the other is a barren wasteland!?” Deidara could hear the emotion in Sasori’s voice even though he hid it well. “So what arewe blowing up today?!” Deidara started, quickly moving towards the pouches on his side. “There will be no need for that today, I have a sleeper agent in Sunagakure, he will deliver the young Jinchuriki to us with little resistance.” Sasori answered, unmoved by the young man’s sighs of protest. “You will send guided missiles to the following points, so stop whining! We need to have the Kazekage busy as my agent hands over the boy!” with that a large smile grew on Deidara’s face. Sasori saw a mirage grow as a man and a small boy made their way to them, the boy walked a few steps away from the adult, crouching as he moved. “Lord Sasori, as you ordered!” the man named Yura began as he bowed, “This is the boy, his name is Gaara.” the young boy moved towards Sasori unafraid, his eyes dark and scary. Sasori saw the mark of love etched on his forehead, his red hair and pale skin only highlighted his dark ringed eyes more. “My name is Sasori, this is…” Sasori was interrupted by the sound of explosions, he could see the flames already beginning to rise in the distance. “Ah man! What art that would have been and I couldn’t even appreciate it!” Deidara said, smiling with pride. “As I was saying Gaara, your purpose was taken from you, that Village hated you, I offer you a new place free of all this! Do you accept?” Sasori watched waiting for the boys response.

The words were like water to Gaara, they flowed through him without him listening. He had needed a reason to live for so long and found his reason would revolve around himself alone and so he didn’t answer. Walking past Sasori was his way of accepting the offer. He was confined within Suna, he could only kill those villagers but now he had free reign to kill further, to justify his existence more, to be the monster his father created and feared.

 

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