Silence fell amongst the special talking toads as two ninja randomly appeared out of nowhere. Sure, they recognized and trusted the two ninja, but it wasn't often that a human appeared at Mount Myōboku without being reverse-summoned.
"Hey guys! How's it goin?" the youngest of the two smiled.
"Naruto, Jiraiya, what brings you here?" a small old frog greeted them, breaking the tension between species. The other toads kept hopping along with their day as the white-haired sannin talked with the elder a bit.
"Fukasaku, how nice to see you," he smiled. "You wouldn't mind if Naruto and I had a small battle here, would you?"
"No, not at all. Just make sure you don't break anything too badly and fight in the main clearing as you did when training with me," the old toad gave his permission. Naruto grinned and bent down so he could look at Fukasaku properly.
"Thanks!" he chatted excitedly. "I've been waiting for a match like this for a long time!"
"If it's alright, would you allow me to watch? I would like to see how far you've both gotten in sage jutsu. After all, that's why you came here, isn't it?"
"You're absolutely right," Jiraiya smirked. "And we wouldn’t mind you watching. It will be an epic battle."
The elder toad nodded. "I would expect nothing less from you two." They walked (or in Fukasaku's case, hopped) over to an arena where they could start the battle. The toad stepped back and watched as the two ninja froze and focused on gathering nature energy.
A few seconds later, a red/orange colour gathered around Naruto's eyes. Jiraiya's nose grew bigger and new red lines appeared on his face, covering his eyes. He also gained a white beard.
Their eyes flashed open and all Fukasaku could see was a blur as the men raced at each other, ready to battle.
"Sai, what the hell are you doing?" Sakura marched up to the socially awkward ANBU Root member. He was currently asking a man if he could have his daughter. The man looked as if he was about to punch the poor boy in the face.
"I don't understand what I'm doing wrong. Every person I approach with the request to take their daughters ends up hurting me or yelling at me," he shrugged.
"Sir, I'm very sorry about my friend. He doesn't really know any better," Sakura bowed slightly to the man in apology. He glared and walked away, taking his child with him. She turned to him with fire blazing in her eyes. "Besides, I'll punch you myself!" she raised her fist and Sai started to panic before her knuckles collided with his chest, sending him flying across the thankfully unpopulated path.
She then marched toward him angrily. "What do you think you're doing? People think you're a pervert! Almost as bad as Jiraiya!"
"Why would they think that?" Sai groaned, holding his chest as he stood up, wincing slightly due to the bruise that was forming on his back from crashing into the ground too.
She shook her head and sighed. "You don't just go around asking people if you could have their daughters."
"Well I can't ask for their sons, I need their daughters specifically."
"Why is that?"
"I want to capture the innocence and peace of a young kunoichi, though any civilian child can qualify too."
"You idiot," Sakura shook her head. "Even if you have non-perverted intentions, you have to word it differently, like maybe 'can I borrow your daughter for an art project' and make sure that the parent knows it's strictly for that."
"I see… Those books aren't helping me much anymore. I apologize, Hag," he bowed his head. Sakura's eyes darkened for a moment before she calmed down again. Though she knew he meant well, being called 'Hag' still got to her a bit.
"Sai, could you please find a better nickname for me? And something that isn't insulting?"
He saw the forced smile on her face and remembered that she didn't like his old nickname for her. "Okay Sakura. I'll think of something else." He thought for a moment. "Hey, would you be willing to be my model?"
"I'm an eighteen year old Jonin, not an eight year old, if you haven't noticed."
"I have noticed. You're too tall to be eight, and your voice isn't really high," he said, studying her.
"Anything else that makes me obviously not eight?" she wondered how the boy’s mind worked.
"If you are referring to womanly features like hip and chest size, it's hard to tell the difference. Especially when you wear that Jonin outfit. It hides the little amount of femininity that you have other than your face and hair."
"JERK!" Sakura yelled, loading her fist with chakra and punching him across the village.
"Father, you're back earlier than expected," Sasuke greeted, looking up from his dinner.
"The same goes for you," Fugaku replied, barely paying attention to his son as he grabbed a plate full of food that Mikoto had saved for him and left to eat in his office.
"Hey, say something to your son," Mikoto whispered, seeing Sasuke's annoyed expression at his father blowing him off yet again.
"While your brother is away, you must be the pride of the clan in his place. Do not bring shame to this family," he said before leaving the room that was now filled with tension.
"Ah, what he means is keep doing what you're doing," the Uchiha woman forced a weak smile. "I'm going to go clean up his office before he finishes eating. You know how he loves to work in a clean place…" she walked off.
Sasuke sighed and got up, leaving the house to go find Kakashi. At least his old sensei wasn't a complete disappointment among older men. Soon, the Uchiha district was behind him as he ran towards his team leader's apartment. He knew not to go to Naruto's house, since he sensed Jiraiya's chakra when he got into the village and felt his and Naruto's overwhelming chakras disappear.
Once he reached Kakashi's home, he knocked on the door but sensed no one was there, so he decided to go to the Hokage to see if she knew where the man was. While walking to her office, he ended up seeing her in the halls of the Hokage mansion.
"Lady Tsunade," he bowed.
"Hey brat," she smirked when she saw his eye twitch. Aah, she loved teasing the young Uchiha. "Did you need something?"
"Yes. Would you happen to know where Kakashi is?"
"Kakashi's at the lake," Shizune answered. Sasuke had barely even noticed she was there before.
"Thank you," he said before running off to the lake. Once he got there, he was surprised at the sight of his old sensei petting a walrus from a bridge.
"Oh, hey Sasuke," he greeted. "Wanna come pet Maiya?"
"What's wrong? She won't bite, if that's what you're scared of."
"No, I'm just shocked that for once, you weren't lying about where you're going," the Uchiha activated his sharingan to make sure the aquatic animal wasn't an illusion or a transformation. Nope, it all checked out. "What's a walrus doing in Konoha anyway?"
"I have no clue. Mikuno just asked me to watch her walrus for her while she was away. It's a good thing we ended the mission when we did; Maiya was feeling really lonely," the white haired Jonin patted the creature and made a few cooing noises.
"How did I not know there was a walrus here," Sasuke mumbled to himself.
"Hey, would you be a good little boy and swim with her? I don't want to catch a cold right now."
"What about me?!"
"You have Itachi or Amejisuto or even your parents to take care of you if you do. I only have Sakura and Tsunade," he sighed. "Maybe Sakura will be able to heal me with her love."
Sasuke punched him, sending him flying into the water where the walrus happily swam circles around him. "Great. My sensei is a pedophile. You truly take after Jiraiya," he shook his head.
"I was kidding!" Kakashi yelled as Sasuke walked away, disappointed that he had no adult males that he could manage to stay around freely for more than five minutes.
"No you weren't," he called back, deciding on looking for Shino or Shikamaru. At least they weren't complete morons.
"Amejisuto, it's time to wake up. Pain is calling for everyone to gather in five minutes," Itachi poked the sleeping brunette, who groaned and opened her eyes.
"Why didn't you wake me up sooner then?" she asked as she got up, brushed her hair and put it in a high ponytail before throwing her cloak on over the clothes she slept in.
"I thought it would be best to let you sleep as much as you could. By the way, we're still allowed to train as long as we don't try to escape, alright?"
She looked at him and nodded. "It'll feel good training again. I felt the effects of lounging around for two weeks when we were on our mission."
"I did too. Now, let's go," Itachi hugged Amejisuto before taking her hand. She blushed and looked at their intertwined hands. "I liked when we did this. It feels nice," he explained.
They walked to the main gathering room where most of the other Akatsuki members were already gathered and waiting. "Finally! You lovebirds took forever!" Kisame said.
"What were you doing in there? Oh wait, I bet I know what it is," Hidan winked. "I knew you guys were secretly naughty."
The brunette flushed red from anger and embarrassment. "It's not like that, pervert!"
"Stop making them uncomfortable Hidan, yeah," Deidara glared, trying to defend his friend.
"All of you be quiet," Konan entered the room, making everyone (except Hidan) straighten up slightly.
"It's time to extract the tailed beast from the recently captured jinchuriki," Pain said, walking behind the bluenette.
"What is the next one, yeah?"
"The six tails. Zetsu and Konan have successfully captured the five tails and we will do the extraction before the next team leaves, which will be me and Konan. Let's go to the extraction statue," he turned and signaled the rest of the Akatsuki to follow.
"E-excuse me, but does that include us too?" Amejisuto asked.
"Yes. It will go faster if all members join in."
"Leader, there are eleven of us and only ten fingers on the statue," Orochimaru pointed out.
"Zetsu is about to leave for a spy mission to see where the six tails is. He's the type to move around and travel, and it will allow you powerful shinobi to do the extraction," as he said that, the oddly coloured plant man faded into the ground.
"Goodbye," the white half smiled creepily, sending chills down the Ishi's spine.
The group followed the leader to a large room that didn't have any designs on the walls. It was just a huge, dreary cave with an odd looking statue in the back. It had several eyes, spikes coming out of it and two 'hands' raised and chained together.
Its size was intimidating, and even though it was just a statue, Amejisuto was reluctant to get any closer to it. Unfortunately for her, Pain ordered everyone to get on their respective fingers.
"Uchiha, you get the right ring finger. Ishi, you go on the right pinky," he told them. They hopped up and felt uneasy as a strange chakra flared under them. 'Is this really a statue?' the brunette wondered.
Pain held up his hands and demonstrated which seals to make and what to say to activate the jutsu while Konan carried in the almost-dead jinchuriki and placed the body on the ground between the hands and head of the statue.
"I'll give you all of your chakra but don't try to escape, alright?" the orange haired man warned the Konoha-nin before releasing the chakra barriers he placed inside the two newest members.
The instantly felt their chakra return of full power. 'Too bad we can't use any of it right now other than to do this weird extraction thing,' Amejisuto sent her thoughts to Itachi.
'Yes, but it isn't a good idea to waste it right now. I have a feeling this is going to use up a lot,' he thought back. She nodded, making Hidan and Orochimaru look at her oddly, before preparing to perform the jutsu in sync with everyone else.
"Okay, we're ready," Konan called before jumping to her spot.
"Three, two, one," Pain counted. "Now!"
Everyone quickly did the hand seals and focused on visualising their energy mixing and surrounding the body, lifting it into the air, and reaching within it to take the beast out. Amejisuto was surprised to see a red fluid seeping out of the eyes and mouth of the body. Blobs of it went up the mixed chakra path to the statue's mouth.
She and Itachi noticed one of the eyes slowly opening. It was a bit creepy, but the Ishi decided to only focus on getting the entire demon out of the soon to be ex-jinchuriki. She blocked out the strange sound of the extraction, the choking sounds that were coming out of the body and the weird feeling of foreign chakra mixing with hers.
She blocked out the eerie vibe she was getting from the statue, the nervous sensation she was getting from the strange looks she was receiving, and last of all she blocked out the thought that she was killing an innocent person that could've been just like her friend.
'Naruto… How is he doing?' she wondered. 'What about the rest of the Uchiha family? Sasuke? Sakura? Kakashi? Tsunade? Even my mother and Sora! What's happening to them?' She couldn't help but worry about all the people she was taken from, and a wave of homesickness washed over her. That and guilt once she looked over to the man standing only a few feet away from her. Guilt that it was her fault they were both involved in killing this poor man, that it was her fault he was away from his precious brother and parents. Sure, he reassured her constantly that it was his choice to go after her but…
'I wonder how Itachi truly feels about all this…'