The dark haired ANBU member, Itachi Uchiha, looked around through the crowded streets of Konohagakure, instantly spotting the owner of the familiar voice and walking over to her. "Ah, Amejisuto! A pleasant surprise. Are you looking for my brother?"
The brunette shook her head. "After all this time, please just call me Ameji. And why would I be looking for Sasuke?"
Itachi smiled in amusement. "Maybe because he's one of your best friends and your teammate?"
"No, he's probably training with Naruto. They're so predictable and inseparable so I know how to find them both easily. It’s you I would like to talk to." She nervously looked around after getting bumped into, feeling a bit uncomfortable with the crowds, even though the sea of people was explainable due to them being on one of the busiest streets on a Saturday. "Can we go somewhere quieter?"
The Uchiha nodded and signaled Amejisuto to follow him, leading them both to disappear quickly from the streets and reappear at the Uchiha clan compound. "Would this be suitable?" he asked. The female nodded, looking around and smiling at the familiar charm of that part of town. The houses were all old fashioned, left in white and brown painted wood. The homes had a fancy, traditional style and a proud feeling to them, fitting the clan perfectly.
The police department was near the front gate; the Uchihas were known to be the main police force. Everyone had different theories on why, but no one ever openly questioned it. Next was a bakery, a few small stores that specialised in items for the clan, and the rest was pretty much the fancy houses.
They walked through the streets and reached the clan leader's house, which also happened to be inhabited by Itachi and Sasuke, the leader's sons. It was the biggest in the compound. From the outside, it looked like there were several houses that were connected, and halls and paths to different parts of the house were visible from the outside. The overall look was still traditional but more modern than the other district homes. Itachi led her around the structure to the back garden.
Amejisuto sat on the back porch, facing the pretty garden filled with herbs, flowers, a few trees and berry bushes, while Itachi got some tea and brought it out. "It's been a while since we've had a long conversation. So, what is it that you need?" He asked while pouring two cups and handing one to his guest.
"Well, as you probably know, I've been a member of Team Seven for a year since Sai was assigned to help with the ANBU ROOT catastrophe," she paused and took a sip of tea, noting on how it tasted so fresh. 'Probably from the garden,' she thought.
"Sasuke doesn't say much about your team, but Naruto has told me a few times of your situation," Itachi nodded, listening intently.
"It's not like I hate being on Kakashi's team, it's just that... Well, Sakura and Naruto have been trained by the legendary sannin, Sasuke is powerful with great abilities and Kakashi has been nominated for Hokage twice, and-"
"And you're feeling useless and weak compared to them?" Itachi finished for her. She nodded and looked out to the peaceful garden.
"I'm part of the Ishi clan, the ultimate masters of nature. I'm a Jonin already, yet I'm the weakest link in my team," she mumbled sadly.
"So what do you need?" Itachi already had a general idea of what she was going to ask.
A few moments of silence passed between them as the girl thought about the best way to ask something so time consuming and personal of Itachi. "I would like to be your student."
He smiled warmly. “Are you sure? There are a lot of rules and conditions since I would be training with confidential Uchiha knowledge.”
“Does that mean you would be willing to be my sensei?” her violet eyes gleamed with hope.
Itachi shrugged, looking out into the garden. “I was thinking of taking a leave from ANBU until the chaos was over, and I wouldn’t mind taking a longer time off than intended to train you. You are, after all, an old friend.”
“Yes, but you disappeared for quite a while,” the teenager said with a teasing tone. “I thought it was to avoid me.”
“It was because I was allowed into ANBU, and you know how my father and the Uchiha council are,” he sipped his tea, relishing in the warmth and comfort.
Amejisuto’s eyes opened with realisation. “I completely forgot about the council! You have to ask them first, don’t you?”
“I’ll do that later. I actually find the idea of training you appealing; it would be good practise for me if I ever wanted to do something like be a genin squad leader,” he grinned. “But again, there are a lot of terms and conditions. One of them would be to live with us.”
“I’m willing to do anything,” determination roared like a fire in the Ishi’s eyes.
Itachi poured more tea in their small cups. “Then we should talk to the Hokage tomorrow. You should go home and spend some time with your family soon.”
They sat in silence, enjoying the peace and quiet. Amejisuto’s stomach started twisting with excitement. In the near future, she wouldn’t be the weakest link in any team, thanks to her friend and soon-to-be sensei.
Ten beings gathered in a dimly lit cave, not all of which were human, though they all wore a black cloak with red clouds, a straw hat with white ribbons and a dangling bell, and each wore an individually coloured ring on different fingers.
An odd ‘man’ came out of the ground, surrounded by what looked like a huge Venus fly trap's mouth. He was split in half diagonally; one half being white, the other black. He was the first of the group to speak.
"It took you long enough, Leader," the black half said in a deep creepy voice.
The leader glared with ringed, purple eyes, not amused with the creature. The spiky orange hair and the piercings added on to his intimidating look. "What did you learn while you were spying, Zetsu?"
"It will be harder to get to him now. He’s retiring from ANBU," the white half sounded almost teasing.
"Ugh, Zetsu still creeps me out with his split personalities, yeah," whispered a man with blue eyes and long blonde hair, which was half pulled into a ponytail, to a man with shaggy red hair and hazel eyes that was standing next to him.
"Shut up and listen to the report, Deidara. My patience is thin enough already from your ridiculous outbursts," the redhead growled.
"Sasori, time is money and wasting money is a sin that would be paid for with your life," a tall scary looking man with only cat-like eyes showing lectured darkly.
"Stop scaring the kids, Kakuzu," a blue shark-like man with short blue hair, beady black eyes, and a large wrapped sword smirked, showing off razor-sharp teeth.
"Speak for yourself, Kisame. You scare the hell out of people," a man with a scythe, slicked back white hair and blood-red eyes scoffed.
"Shut up or I will set off the paper bombs that I planted in you," the only woman threatened. She had blue hair with an origami flower on it, gold eyes, and a lip piercing. She was second in command.
"You know I can't die, Konan," the man spat back.
"Tobi's being a good boy, right Orochimaru?" a childish man with black hair and an orange lollipop mask tugged on another man, who had long black hair, gold eyes, pale skin, and somewhat resembled a snake.
Everyone fell silent as they noticed the look their leader was giving them; a death glare that meant business. His intense gaze turned to the plant creature. “Get on with your report,” he sighed, willing everyone to listen. It was about one of the most important targets they ever had to join the Akatsuki: Itachi Uchiha.