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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.

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