Pain was already waiting for Obito when he arrived at the cave.
“Do you have it?” the Leader of Amegakure asked. As an answer Obito just summoned the three-tails out of his dimension. The beast was alive but out cold. And soon it would be dead.
Pail nodded satisfied but then asked: “Where’s the girl?”
“Dead” he simply replied without a hint of any emotion. For a split second there was surprise in Pain’s eyes but then it was gone again.
“I see” was the only thing he said before he turned to make some hand signs. “Summoning Jutsu.”
The Gedo Mazo statue rose from the ground and the two Akatsuki jumped on their provided places. Only seconds later the illusions of the other Akatsuki appeared on the other giant fingers. It didn’t take long though until one of them noticed that someone was missing.
“Hey, where’s the bitch?” Hidan asked with a frown.
“Wasn’t she with you Tobi, un?”
“Yes Deidara sempai. She was killed by the turtle beast. Tobi’s so sorry for not being able to save her!” he said, crying faked tears.
“Tch, what a weak bitch. If she would have converted to Jashin he would have saved her.”
“Do you have her body? We could at least try and gain some money from it” Kakuzu threw in.
“But we wanted to eat her” Zetsu said/growled.
Tobi let his shoulders hang, looking at the ground in shame. “No, Tobi’s sorry. After Tobi took care of the mean beast Kazumi was already too deep in the water, drowning to the ground.”
“I doubt that she truly could have served this organization anyway if she died that easily” Sasori stated.
“Yeah, defeated so easily from that turtle… And I thought she had a fucking dragon in her body” Hidan said laughing.
“Still, it was something different with the girl around” Kisame said with a shrug.
The whole time during the conversation Tobi watched closely Itachi. Even though Obito knew that the other Uchiha had been close to the brat Itachi didn’t even show the slightest reaction after hearing the news. He only closed shortly his eyes but when he reopened them they were as calm and emotionless as before.
“Enough! We will now start to seal the three-tails” Pain threw in ending the conversations and everybody prepared for the sealing.
It was early morning, the sun just rose from the horizon and its early lights shone on Konoha. Izumo and Kotetsu were sitting like usually at the entrance, enjoying watching the sunrise. It was then that a figure stepped up at their stand. It was a girl, almost a woman, dressed in a black traveller cloak. She didn’t wear a headband but then again she hadn’t enough chakra to be a shinobi anyway. The lady looked pretty exhausted too.
“Excuse me, can we help you?” Izumo asked smiling at her nicely. The girl looked up at him, smiling back.
“Yes, I would like to move into Konoha.”
It was a few weeks after I was tortured, we just came back from a mission. With me I mean myself, knucklehead, Sakura and Kakashi. We were the new team Kakashi since Sasuke left the village to train and being the experiment rabbit for this pedo-snake-monster. I didn’t mind anymore, it was his decision and unlike Naruto and Sakura I had no urge to try and bring him back.
Anyway, Sakura and I decided to go to the hot springs since this was our first real free time for a long time and the mission had been something else than catching cats – not that I was complaining. When we arrived at the hot springs we found out that our friends apparently have had the same brilliant idea. Ino and Hinata were both already relaxing in the steaming hot water, from Tenten and her team I knew that they were still on a mission.
“Hey Sakura, Tora!” Ino greeted us loudly as soon as we stepped through the curtains.
“H-Hey” Hinata added stuttering.
“Hi, sorry Hinata but Naruto doesn’t come. If he would have known that you’re here though I am sure he would be here now” I said slipping into the hot water. That felt so incredibly good…
“I-It’s okay” Hinata mumbled stuttering. Yes, she and knucklehead were officially together by now though Naruto was still trying to go on an eating-date with Sakura and was still the only one who didn’t really get it but oh well. I had done my job. Speaking about it, Tenten and Neji were getting along very well too in the last time… Maybe I should continue on this level…
“By the way, our team – mainly Choji – had decided to make a BBC meeting as soon as Tenten and the others will come back” Ino said. “You are all invited.”
“We’ll be there right Tora?” my teammate asked and I nodded.
“Sure and I bet if Hinata will come, Naruto will be there too” I said grinning and I felt Hinata sink deeper into the water, probably with a big blush on her face.
Ah, I already loved my new job.
A day later I and Sakura were walking down the streets. We just have met Team Guy who had come from the mission and agreed on coming to the BBQ meeting today in the evening though Lee had said that he had to train first. Man, that guy could truly never get enough training.
Sakura just tried to tell me some boring stuff about a boring topic when I suddenly felt an all too familiar presence. My eyes widened.
No, that couldn’t be…
Before I could figure out if it was really the person I thought I just have sensed, the presence was gone again. It was so weak that I had problems in trying to detect it. I concentrated hardly. I had it again.
“Hey Tora, what’s wrong? Why did you stop?” Sakura asked but I already didn’t hear her anymore.
“I just sensed someone… Continue on, we’ll see each other at the barbeque, until later!” I called out and then was gone before she could say even one word or stop me.
The presence was going away, no more like fleeing from me. I rushed through the streets, pushed people away, not caring for their cries and yells. My heart was pondering.
Could it really be…?
I was getting closer to the person. When the figure was about to run into an alley I slammed my feet into the ground and rose a wall from the earth, cutting the person’s escape route. She was trapped.
I slammed her into the wall.
I was sure by now that even though her chakra signature was much weaker and almost not recognizable, it was her. There was no mistake in it.
“Kazumi” I growled through gritted teeth and pressed her against the wall. Surprisingly she didn’t even fight back, she was completely relaxed. What was going on…?
“Tora… I should have known that I cannot deceive you. Of course you would detect me no matter how much I try to disguise myself. It was a mistake coming near you but I just couldn’t resist it.”
“What the hell are you talking about? What are you doing here in Konoha? What are you planning?!”
“I arrived a few days ago and entered the village totally legally. I don’t plan anything. I’m here to start a new life, the life of a civilian because as you might have noticed Masayoshi’s chakra is gone, this is all my own and it’s not even close enough to become a ninja.” I furrowed my brows in confusion. I couldn’t detect her lying but what she told me sounded just so weird.
“Please, I will give you the answers you want, Tora but we should go to a more safe place where-“
I interrupted her by grabbing her collar and dragging her with me. I jumped with her on a high roof – if she really said the truth and had lost her chakra, she couldn’t jump off on her own without being hurt badly – and then I asked: “Okay, now explain and don’t dare to lie to me!”
Kazumi sat down with a sigh. And then she told me everything that had happened when I hadn’t been present. She told me about hers and Itachi’s relationship – I felt like I had to throw up by hearing this – his sickness, the plan on getting Sakura to heal him with my help, the failure and then Tsunade healing him in the end. Kazumi told me about the secret identity of Tobi. And she said that because of her actions in Akatsuki Masayoshi had denied her any further help.
“I was slowly losing my power and even though none than Itachi had yet seen it would have come out someday. Also, when Masayoshi was about to become strong enough she would have left my body as a host anyway. Pain only accepted me because of that power; he would have killed me when I would have lost it, the same goes if I would have tried to run away. That’s why Itachi came up with the idea of faking my death. It had to happen in a way that no one would be suspicious. So when Pain assigned me on a mission to capture the three tails with Tobi I let myself being defeated. Before that, Itachi had taught me a jutsu he knew from his anbu days, one that makes you appear dead for a few seconds. Masayoshi had already left me during the fight but she had left some of her chakra inside of my body to protect me and together with the jutsu I was able to take a fatal blow without being further damaged while in the meantime I appeared to be dead. Tobi believed it and Itachi saved me from that sea and treated my wounds.”
After that their ways have split apart but Kazumi decided to travel to Konoha and maybe even move into the village.
“I wanted to see you, I wanted to check if you’re fine and alright. I was worried that Hidan might have hurt you more badly than I have thought. I never… wanted this to happen. I never wanted you getting tortured; I never wanted to use you. I’m so sorry... I know that there are no words that could right the wrongs I have done and I don’t even ask for forgiveness. If you want I will leave immediately and you will never meet me again, I swear. I… I just wanted to be sure that you’re fine…” I could hear the sadness and guilt out of her voice. It was clearly that she was telling the truth.
Without saying anything I pulled her into a tight hug. First I felt Kazumi tensing up but then she relaxed and hugged back.
“W-Why?” she asked and I knew that she was crying.
“You are my friend. I’m just lucky that you didn’t turn into an evil asshole and even though I still can’t believe that you and stuck-up-ninja are… well…” I couldn’t bring myself to speak that word “I’m just happy that everything is okay between us and that you managed to escape Akatsuki too.” I pulled back and smiled at her.
“Thank you Tora, thank you so much” she said sniffling. “I actually never wanted you to see me because I was afraid of you reaction but now I’m glad that you noticed me. And I’m glad that you are okay.”
“Ts, please, I’m fine. Although, after you told me that you and stuck-up-ninja are together I feel a little sick by now…”
“Idiot!” she hissed and punched my arm. I laughed and after a while she joined me. It was like the good old times in the Akatsuki base.
“So, you’re not angry on me anymore?” Kazumi carefully asked but I waved it off.
“I might be a little pissed off from the fact that you left me in the dark for such a long time but now that you’re here in Konoha and completely defenceless, I’m sure that I can pay you off” I said with a mischievous grin and I felt her shriek back but then she sighed.
“Well I guess I deserve that.”
For a while we just sat there on top of the roof, silent. The sun sunk deeper and deeper but it was still warm and nice.
Then I had an idea. “Hey, I and my friends here from Konoha, we meet us today in a BBQ restaurant. Why don’t you join us? Or is there a chance that anybody could recognize you?”
Kazumi chuckled. “I cut my hair and dyed it black; also I use contacts and make up. Believe me, I look completely different, that’s why I was actually certain that no one would recognize me.”
“Except for me” I said with a grin.
“Yes, except for you of course.
“Well then, let’s go because I’m getting hungry” I said as my stomach started to grumble. Kazumi chuckled.
I grabbed her collar and once more dragged her through the streets until we reached our destination.
“Tora, there you finally are! We were already worried that you might get yourself lost!”
“Like that would ever happen, knucklehead” I replied coolly as we entered the barbecue restaurant.
“Who’s that girl beside you?” Tenten asked curiously. I didn’t hear a yelp of surprise or recognition from Sakura so I guess that Kazumi was indeed well disguised.
“She’s the reason why I came so late. I ran into her, we got into a talk and then I decided to drag her along. She’s new here in Konoha.”
“Didn’t you say back then that you sensed someone’s presence?” Sakura asked.
“Eh… never mind that” I said waving it off and sitting down on the desk were the others of Konoha 13 were assembled, pulling Kazumi down next to me. Now to think of it, we were only Konoha 12 because of emo kid’s leave… Maybe Kazumi could fill his space.
“What’s your name?” Kiba asked. I froze for a split second. She couldn’t say her present name and-
“Ishi Kaneko” she said smiling happily. “It’s nice to meet you all.” I frowned. Ishi… Ishi…. Wait, wasn’t that her actually birth name? Well then, I guess that would work too, hopefully.
“It’s nice to meet you, Ishi!” Naruto yelled. “I’m Naruto Uzumaki and the future Hokage, believe it!”
“Naruto just shut your mouth” Sakura growled irritated. The others instructed themselves as well and then the evening of eating, chatting, joking, laughing and enjoying life began.
I just felt so happy. I was once again together with my friends, and this time with all of my friends. I was so glad that Kazumi wasn’t the evil person she had acted like but still my friend. I was glad that she was here, with us, in Konoha. I was glad that it seemed that we finally had our lives that we wanted, back. We were not being hunted by the Akatuki anymore, we were saved from our not so pleasant past, and we were about to start a new life within this beautiful village, surrounded by friends.
We were happy.