“Girl, Leader wants to see you” Itachi said as he entered the living room of the Akatsuki hideout. They just came back from their mission to capture the host of the dragon spirit and Kisame entered the room after his partner but he let himself fall into an armchair, a wide grin on his face. In the living room there were two couches, on one of them sat Hidan who tried to make a conversation with the captured girl beside him. Itachi could tell that Hidan had some very obvious goals with the girl, but she only looked shyly to the ground, nodded and smiled a bit, trying not to anger the Jashinist while she kept her distance from him which frustrated Hidan. The only reason why Hidan didn’t drag her into his room yet was Kakuzu, who sat on the other couch, opposite to his partner. Even though he looked like he only had eyes for his money and nothing else, Itachi knew that Leader told him to have an eye on the girl. And Kakuzu would cut his partner’s head off with joy to separate the body for a few weeks if Hidan would give him a reason to do so.
Behind the couch on which Hidan and the girl were sitting, there was a fireside, even though without a fire. Kisame sat on an armchair on Itachi’s left side; the other armchair on his right was empty. In the middle of the seating group was a small table on which one of Kakuzu’s suitcases was placed. It was opened and revealed the bundles of money.
“So you’re fucking back?” Hidan asked Kisame, while watching angrily as the girl stood up to walk towards Itachi.
“Yep” Kisame answered “mission completed of course although blondie almost blew our target off.”
Hidan snorted, his eyes were still on the girl, to be more precise on her ass. His lips changed into a wide grin as he watched her walking off by Itachi’s side.
“Ouch, what the fuck was that for you damn old bastard?!” Hidan yelled as Kakuzu smacked him on the head. He had attached his arm before and had let it slip under the couch behind Hidan to give his pervert partner what he deserved.
Itachi guided the silent girl through the hallways to the prison cell beneath the earth where the blind girl was in the moment. Although Kazumi had her usual emotionless, but innocent mask, Itachi knew that she cursed every one of the Akatsuki in the very moment for bringing the girl into the hideout. Itachi himself spent half of his life to wear a mask, which never showed what he was feeling, so he could tell. That girl was good, she was almost better in acting like Madara, and Itachi hoped that she would be able to keep her mask for some time.
Itachi took a step to the side and mentioned Kazumi to enter the prison cell. They were underground by now, the air was colder, and the candles on the wall which spent some light flickered in the slight breeze. The door to the cell was solid and made out of iron. It was covered with seals which were the reason why none then the Akatsuki members were able to enter or leave this cell. Itachi made some quick hand signs and guided the girl inside. Three candles brightened the room a little bit and revealed two figures standing near a simple bed. On the bed lay the unconsciousness blind girl, her wrists and ankles were bound to the bed pillars so that she wouldn’t be able to control the earth.
Pain and Konan both looked up as Itachi entered with the girl whom eyes fell immediately on the new captive. Because of the darkness in the room no one saw the sadness and guilt appearing for a brief moment in her eyes.
“Girl” Pain addressed her. Even though Madara gave her a name, he still called her girl. “Is she the dragon’s host?”
Piercing ringed eyes watched the girl carefully as she slowly nodded her head. “Yes” she said quietly, “it’s her.”
Pan nodded satisfied. He knew that the hunt after the Jinchuriki would be hard, but with the dragon spirit he hoped that some damages could be averted. If she would cooperate, he would allow her to train with his members to gain control over the dragon, but if she would struggle and try to escape, he would try to seal the dragon away into the gedou mazou and kill her.
His eyes fell on the useless girl in front of him. Of course he wouldn’t let her free; she knew too much, so the only way out was to kill her as soon as he would hear from his new captive that it really was the host. Though Pain thought that that child was too shy and terrified of him to lie he wanted to be sure. Don’t trust anyone; this was one of the most important rules as a shinobi in this world.
“Alright, you’re dismissed now.” Pain waved towards the door.
“When can I go?” the child suddenly asked with thin voice.
Pain looked into her wide fearful eyes while lying. “As soon as she wakes up and I’ll be sure that you told the truth.”
The girl nodded, a slight smile appeared on her face as she followed Itachi out.
Konan looked at her childhood friend with sudden sad eyes. “Do you really have to kill her?” she asked silently. “She’s just a child and not dangerous.”
“She knows too much, I don’t have another choice. She could be found by enemies, or blabber something out. It’s too risky.”
Konan sighed. “I know Pain, but still… It doesn’t feel right. Couldn’t she work with us?”
Pain frowned. Konan was his friend, his life saver, but he couldn’t do what she wanted to do. Not this time. The mission to capture the Jinchuriki would be hard enough without keeping an eye on a useless girl the whole time. The spirit host was already enough trouble to deal with.
“She could be our spy beside Zetsu” Konan suggested. She didn’t know why she was so concerned about the child. She killed countless people before; she was Pain’s shadow, a member of the fearsome Akatsuki. Why did she care this much about a little tiny girl? Maybe it was because Konan looked this tiny and thin and helpless too, during the war. Now she was strong, but her sense of protection stayed the same over the years. She protected Nagato and his dog as they were almost starved. She protected Yahiko so that he was able to form the bridge to peace. She protected the citizens of Amegakure as their Lady Angel from the war. And now she wanted to protect the girl from Pain’s death sentence.
Pain closed his eyes sighing. Konan was the only person he listened to, but still…
“I’ll think about that” he decided softly. He would do this, though he was certain that he wouldn’t change his opinion.
But Konan nodded gladly and a slight smile appeared on her lips. “Thank you Nagato.” Though Pain preferred his new name, he allowed her to address him like this sometimes.
“We should go back now and wait until she wakes up” the God of Amegakure said and he left the cell together with his angel.
As soon as Itachi closed the door behind him her mask fell.
“Dammit!” she yelled while she punched the wall out of anger.
Not affected at all Itachi sat on his bed, trying to meditate, while she walked up and down in his room. Two dark brown book shelves, filled to the last spot, were standing in front of the wall on the left side of the door, and the wall opposite of the entrance. His bed was placed on the right side from the door, underneath a window with red curtains. On a red carpet in the middle of the room a small table and two armchairs were placed. A dresser was right beside the door.
“Why is that jerk so obsessed with power?!” she half asked half yelled, referring to Pain. Luckily Itachi put a soundproofing genjutsu on his room since the girl moved in.
“He already is the Leader of ten powerful shinobi, why does he want the spirit anyway? After all he hunts the bijuu, not some spirits!”
“Yes, but that hunt will be risky. Some members could die while capturing the Jinchurikis. The added power could prevent that” Itachi tried to explain Pain’s reason. He did what he could to help Kazumi, he already lied to Pain about her, he let her live, he brought her to the hideout and he retreated with Kisame on the bridge in Konoha. But Itachi couldn’t do everything, he had to be careful not to blow off his cover and if he would have sabotaged the capture from the girl in the Forest of Death, the others would have been suspicious.
Although the host of the dragon who stood in the moment in front of him, clutching her head desperately, did awake his interest. He barely met people who could pretend to be someone else that easily like her. She managed to deceive all the Akatsuki, including Pain and Madara. She had the talent to be a great spy though she probably won’t live long enough for this.
“You do know that Pain will kill you, don’t you?” he asked her with his usual calm voice without open an eye.
“Yes but that’s the least of my problems.” He heard her fall into one of his armchairs. “First I have to save the blind girl. This is my entire fault! I should have beaten you in the forest unconsciousness to escape! What was I thinking to take out the whole Akatsuki? That’s completely stupid! Damn dragon! I’m not even allowed to kill you all. I’m trapped inside this hideout, exactly like that girl. If Pain would find out that she isn’t the dragon host, he’d kill her too. I can’t let that happen!
God, what should I do?”
Sighing Itachi opened his eyes and looked at Kazumi who stared at him desperately and with guilt in her eyes.
“This whole situation” she whispered “is just too big for me. I can’t handle it, everything gets worse and worse but I can’t do anything against it.” For the first time since he met her Itachi saw despair in her eyes. Before, she always found some strength, she thought about plans to manipulate, to escape, to help the blind who only lay in the prison because of her. But now it seemed that she just had given up.
“You don’t have to do everything alone” Itachi said. Though he actually shouldn’t care for other persons he didn’t want her to be killed by Pain. It wasn’t her fault that she had crossed their ways at the wrong time. It was all a big coincidence, a coincidence that might kill both of the girls.
“This blind girl isn’t helpless, and she seems to be smart. Even though you think you have to solve the problems on your own, it’s always good to give some of the pressure away, to share it. Maybe you have on your own no chance against Akatsuki, but if you’ll team up with the blind you two could manipulate the others a little bit longer, until your dragon will be strong enough.”
Kazumi looked thoughtfully on the ground. “But how shall I team up with her? As soon as she wakes up Pain will interrogate her. He won’t let me near her. And the prison cell is locked with genjutsu and seals! There is no way that I could explain everything to her in time!”
Itachi only smirked. He knew it was risky what he was planning to do, but he was still loyal to Konoha, and the blind girl wore a leaf headband and had to have the trust of the Hokage. Itachi wouldn’t let Akatsuki get their hands neither on the spirit nor on the extraordinary abilities from the blind. He would help them as much as he could without revealing his true intentions.
Finally the Uchia said: “I think I could let you speak with her for some minutes.”
The sadness in Kazumis eyes turned into happiness and relieve as she smiled trustfully to him. “Thank you Itachi. Thank you so much.”
As I woke up, it was cold and my whole body was aching. My arms and legs were numb and I needed some seconds until I could feel again.
I lay on a scratchy uncomfortable bed, my wrists and feed were tied and I could still not see. Not with my eyes, not with my feet. I was trapped like a stupid mouse; the only thing missing was the final blow to crack my neck.
After a few minutes I thought to hear a door opening and someone coming in. I had to concentrate really hard to hear the person’s light footsteps.
I already had opened my mouth and had breathed in the air that I needed to scream and curse bloody murder, as a quiet voice from a girl whispered: “Please don’t scream, I won’t harm you, I’m not your enemy. Instead I’ll help you escape.”
I held my breath to let her continue.
“My name is Kazumi, I’m a captive too and actually the reason why you are here. You are right now in a hideout from the Akatsuki near Amegakure. I’m sorry for all this and that they managed to kidnap you, but I have kind of a plan to escape and need your help!”
I still held my breath, though it became slowly painful.
“I know that their Leader thinks that you are the host of a powerful dragon spirit, that’s why they kidnapped you. I know that you woke up a few days ago near Konoha with lack of memories and that even though you’re blind you can control the earth. That’s why they believe you’re the host. But you’re not, I am. I am the host of a dragon spirit.”
I coughed violently, gasping and looked at the darkness that should be the face of the girl.
“You are the host?! Wow, never thought I’d meet the real one.”
I could feel her smiling. “Well, I hoped I would never meet you, because I definitely didn’t want you to be a captive too. But like I said, I have sort of a plan but it will only work if we team up.”
I shrugged as much as I could with the ropes and in my position.
“I’m in” I said simply. I mean obviously I was in a cell, and the captive of an insane criminal organisation. Though I had no idea if this girl really was on my side, I didn’t have another choice than to trust her if I wanted to escape. Although I hated it to admit that I needed her help, but this was a life-or-death-situation, I didn’t have the time to be full of my ego.
The girl, Kazumi, sighed in relief. “What’s your name?” she asked.
“Tora, the last name I don’t know. You said that I’m here because of you, why?”
“I’m sorry but I don’t have the time to explain everything to you. Well meet up again later, but now I have to tell you what you should tell Pain, the Leader, if he’ll interrogate you.” She hesitated for a moment but continued with a sentence I’ve never expected: “And one thing: Tora, though you lost your memories, I could maybe help you regaining it. I know something about you, about your past, that’s why you ended up here.”