Kazumi looked up when someone knocked on the door.
“Come in as long as you’re not Hidan” she said. Because of she hasn’t to be watched anymore she got her own room. It was bare except for a bed and an empty dresser.
The door opened and Itachi entered. She smiled at him. “Is Hidan still frozen?” she asked curiously. She had left the room to be away from the Jashinist when the ice would melt.
Itachi nodded as he closed the door and stood in front of her.
“And what are the others saying about my piece of art?” She smirked.
“Kisame, Deidara and Tobi are laughing at him the whole time, Kakuzu is glad to have some silence from his partner, Zetsu discusses whether it was a smart move from you to anger the immortal member, and Sasori left with me” he reported with a blank face.
Kazumi nodded chuckling. “So, why did you come?” she asked patting the sheet beside her to mention him to sit down, but Itachi stood.
“I wanted to help you securing you room so that Hidan or any other member can’t slaughter you in your sleep” he said with such a serious tone that Kazumi had to laugh.
“Oh Itachi, Tora was right, you have to smile and relax more often. But I gladly accept your help.”
Together they sealed the room so that someone could only enter when Kazumi would allow it, which she thought was a good idea by living with several criminal killing men. Furthermore Itachi created a limited genjutsu that would make her door look like the one from the storage room.
They were both sitting on the bed after the work was done.
“I guess from now on I have a new enemy” Kazumi said sighing. “Oh my, hopefully Hidan will calm down until Pain will send me on a mission with the zombie duo…”
They just sat there for some awkward minutes in silence until Kazumi broke it.
“Itachi, I think I didn’t tell you yet but I’m really grateful that you helped us, especially Tora. Without your help we wouldn’t have made it so far” she said seriously and thankfully.
“You’re still in Akatsuki and didn’t manage to escape.”
Kazumi shrugged. “Well, I’m alive, aren’t I? Also I have a feeling that it won’t be that bad, and when I’m frustrated I have Hidan whom I can beat. Now with having Masayoshi’s complete power I’m certain that I can defend myself against Akatsuki, when it becomes necessary. Also now I can help you gather information, sabotaging Akatsuki, making sure that some innocent souls will be spared, and killing the rotten ones… And I’m here with you.” She smiled at him softly but he kept his blank expression.
Without her even really noticing, Kazumi moved forward to him, becoming nervous all of a sudden. His onyx eyes only looked at her, neither telling her to stop nor to go on. Kazumi leaned closer to him, hesitating, but Itachi didn’t move back so she didn’t stop either. Their lips almost touched slightly when suddenly Itachi pulled his head away and stood up.
Kazumi blinked some times, forcing herself out of the dizzy state she suddenly was in, and looked up at him confused. “What?” she asked.
“This doesn’t work. I know you… like me, but we can’t be together. Kazumi, I don’t want to hurt you by permitting your feelings, when we both know that I’ll die soon. We have to stop now.” And with that he turned around and left the room. Kazumi kept sitting on the bed, her heart was beating fast and she still felt his closeness and warmth. Her hand traced up to the silver necklace.
She sat there for quite some time and was first yanked out of her trance as Hidan’s yelling and cursing was heard through the base.
After I don’t know how many hours, I walked out of the Hokage tower. I had told Granny Tsunade everything, okay, almost everything. I hadn’t told her Itachi’s secret as he apparently didn’t want anyone to hear it. After Tsunade had told me several times though that I should stay with the truth and not invent constantly something to let me appear more awesome, I had told her only the truth although it was pretty annoying and boring after that.
Leaving the tower I could feel the last sun shine on my skin and I was very hungry, but firstly I wanted to search one of my friends, the Konoha 12, though now they were only eleven because Sasuke had left to join that monster snake, which was something that I could never understand.
I came to the bridge where I’ve met Kisame and Itachi the first time, remembering with a smile the way Kisame had taunted me by calling me a blind little girl.
I crossed the bridge and then found finally someone I recognized all too well. Smirking now I quickened my pace and turned around several corners, sneaking up behind them. Sadly it didn’t work because Akamaru of course had sensed me coming and now barked loudly and happily. I felt Kiba turn around when I stood directly in front of him.
“Hi!” I said, smiling widely.
“T-Tora?” I sweat dropped though as I heard him sniffing me. “Yeah, that’s really you! What happened to you?” I pet Akamaru who had grown surely a bit since the last time I’ve met them which seemed to be an eternity ago.
“So Kotetsu and Izumo didn’t lie when they said you returned. But seriously, where were you? After Naruto had returned from the Forest of Death without you, we searched every day the forest after you although they forbid it us because it was too dangerous and all. But we never even found a trace of you!”
“I know, I was kidnapped, by the Akatsuki, but I escaped!”
“Akatsuki?! Why did they kidnap you?” I heard worry in his voice.
“It was because of my awesomeness of course. But they didn’t do anything to me, I’m fine. However, I’ll tell you everything later okay, but now I really have to eat something first. I’m almost starving… You and Akamaru can come with me!” I said smiling and Akamaru barked in agreement.
“I’ve got a better idea” Kiba said, took my arm and dragged me along the streets.
“Kiba, what are you doing, where are we going?” I asked him when we made our way through the people.
“You’ll see…” was all he said, and I knew he was grinning widely. That bastard.
Slowly I had an idea where we were heading and a small smile made its way up on my lips.
“Did they already rebuild the building?” I asked as I was sure where exactly Kiba was dragging me.
“Of course they did.” He opened the door and I followed him inside the building. It smelt deliciously after food and I almost started drooling, while my stomach grumbled loudly.
“Hey guys, look who I just found on the way here!” Kiba called out proudly and stepped aside. “It’s Tora!”
Kazumi didn’t know how long she just sat in her room, gazing into space, still feeling Itachi sitting next to her and their lips almost touching. Deep in her heart she knew that Itachi was right, they couldn’t be together. She was now part of a criminal organization, there was no room for feelings like love, especially not with a member who was known for his coldness. She could almost hear Pain’s voice explaining her how distracting feelings were.
Finally she stood up, sighing slightly. Yes, she understood why her feelings and reactions were stupid and out of place, but she didn’t understand Itachi’s reason.
Kazumi, I don’t want to hurt you by permitting your feelings, when we both know that I’ll die soon.
He was so determined to die by his brother’s hand. Kazumi hadn’t told him yet that she had seen Sasuke in Orochimaru’s hideout; she hadn’t told him that there had been such coldness in the younger Uchiha’s eyes which even had scared her. He wasn’t the same boy like in Itachi’s memories anymore. Itachi’s death wouldn’t change that. She doubted that he would return to Konoha after he got his revenge. Hatred wasn’t a feeling that disappeared that easily, when it once found ones heart, it stayed there. Sasuke was far away from winning over his hatred, he only would end up hating something or someone else, never losing the cold stare in his eyes. Unless someone would push him back to his old self, someone like Itachi, but for doing this he had to be alive.
She couldn’t let Itachi die for nothing; she couldn’t let it happen that this good soul who was actually a tragic hero would die.
She stood up, and walked out of the room. The genjutsu and traps had worked; Hidan hadn’t found her and just had given it up in the end. She walked through the corridors until she stopped in front of a door and knocked. Just a few seconds later the door opened and green-red eyes glared at her.
“What do you want? I won’t give you money” Kakuzu growled out but Kazumi just said:
“I don’t want your money.” This sentence relaxed him a little bit and he opened the door slightly wider.
“What do you want then?”
“Can you give me your bingo book? “
He narrowed his eyes, watching her suspiciously. “Why?”
She shrugged. “Because I want to make myself useful and look some persons with a great bounty up which we could collect…”
“I’ve got all the possible targets in my head already.” Kazumi looked at him pleadingly and finally Kakuzu sighed and walked into his room, returning some moments later with a book which he handed to her.
“I only give it to you because you seem to be neat. But if you won’t give it back to me in the same state how it is now, I’ll cut your heart out.”
She nodded, taking the book with a smile. “Thanks Kakuzu.” He grumbled and closed the door but she returned to her own room. The rest of the day Kazumi sat on her bed and flipped through the bingo book, searching. When she was finished, it was too late to go to Pain so she lay down in the bed, holding the book closely to her body, smiling slightly.
With a wide smirk I sat down next to Shikamaru. There was a heavy silence and I imagined their surprised faces staring at me in disbelief.
Kiba sat down next to me, putting an arm around my shoulder.
“What happened?” Neji was the first one who found his voice again though he sounded suspicious. Maybe he thought I was brainwashed or was turned into a zombie or an enemy in my body, whatever.
“I knew you’d return one day!” Lee yelled happily from the other side of the table. “I knew your fire of youth would burn hot enough to find your way back to us!”
I rolled my eyes but didn’t stop smiling.
“Were you lost in the forest?” Choji asked. “You must be starving then. Hey, can we also have the next two pages, please?” he ordered.
“She can’t be starving, just look at her figure.” Ino, she hadn’t changed one bit.
“So tell us, what happened?” Tenten asked excited, awaiting a great story that I was about to tell her certainly.
“It’s rude awaiting her to tell what happened without giving her first the chance to eat.” In the first moment I didn’t know who spoke but then I felt these tiny creatures falling on the ground and knew that this had to be the insect guy Shino.
“Don’t worry, I can eat and tell in the same time” I said, picking up chopsticks. As soon as the first meat piece was placed into my mouth I started telling. This time though I didn’t hold back one bit with my imagination and told the whole story in a way that it even sounded for me unbelieving. But I didn’t care, and none of the others interrupted me, they just listened and ate, asking once in a while some questions.
After that they told me that Naruto had left with the man who Naruto only called Pervy Sage, and that Sakura was training now the whole time with Tsunade. Lee offered me to join team Guy until team seven would be complete again. They also told me that the Chunin exam which was cancelled the last time because of all the dragon spirit and Akatsuki stuff, would take place soon and that they would all participate. They also asked me if I would try becoming a Chunin and of course I said yes.
During the whole evening I was happy. And this time we sat there until we finally became tired, and not because Choji destroyed the whole barbecue restaurant.