Chapter 27

Soft, wet drops fell from the gathered clouds in the sky. The atmosphere of Konoha was melancholic, and it was as if nature itself was crying for the loss of the highly respected Sarutobi descendant.

Most ninja and quite a few citizens were gathered on the top of the Hokage mansion. Usually, funerals weren't held there, but Tsunade insisted on letting it take place due to Asuma's great influence and high achievements.

The people closest to him were standing in the front of the crowd. Their tears blended in with the rain that dripped down their faces, disguising the pain. Most didn't enjoy crying, but it was hard not to when a loved one died.

Kurenai was crying the hardest, cradling her stomach and weeping that the baby growing inside of her would never know its father. Ino was bawling; her whole body was shaking as she cried almost as hard as when he actually died. Choji was trying to stand as still as he could but the occasional sob made him appear as if he was jumping every few seconds. Shikamaru was one of the only ones who succeeded in staying still and keeping quiet as tears ran down his face.

"And we will all remember Sarutobi Asuma as a brave leader, a strong teacher and a wonderful friend," Tsunade choked back a sob before stepping away from the shrine and into the crowd as they started to line up to put flowers, pictures and other small gifts on it. After a while, the crowd started to dissipate, leaving only Kurenai and Shikamaru standing there.

"He asked me to be your child's sensei," the teen broke the silence. Kurenai looked over at him with mostly dull eyes.

"We both agreed that we would want her to be under your care as she grows up," she replied.

"I'll do it."

The woman looked over with slight surprise. "You decided so quickly?"

"It's time for me to grow up. Asuma-sensei taught me the real goal as a Konoha ninja - to protect the king," he walked closer to her and placed his hand on the small bump on her belly. The kunoichi smiled faintly.

"I'm putting my child's future in your capable hands."


"What a fitting day for rain," Itachi mumbled, sitting down against a tree in the training grounds.

"Why? Did something happen?" Amejisuto asked, taking a seat next to him after finding as dry of a spot as she could.

"I don't know, but the atmosphere is depressing enough to make rain the suitable weather," he mumbled, looking up and closing his eyes to enjoy the feeling of rain on his skin. The brunette laid her head on his shoulder. She inhaled deeply and smiled.

"I love the smell of rain. It's so fresh."

They sat in silence, enjoying the small water droplets that fell lightly on them. The tree they sat against protected them from being completely soaked but still allowed a bunch of smaller drops to pass through the leaves.

"I'm surprised Kisame hasn't been running around screaming for joy yet," Ameji joked.

"I wonder if he would transform even more into a shark when touching water that isn't part of a jutsu like mermaids have to be wet to have fish tails," Itachi chuckled at the thought.

"Maybe we should ask him sometime," she smirked. "Or just dump a bucket of ocean water on him."

They laughed for a while before settling down and enjoying the peace of the rain, though it still felt like a sad day for a reason unknown to them.

"Hey, if you aren't going to train then get out of the training fields," Kakuzu interrupted the silence.

"Are you going to train?" Itachi asked.

"No. I'm already as good as I'll ever get, which is better than pretty much everyone," he bragged.

"Then you should stop being such a hypocrite," the Uchiha said as he closed his eyes and continued letting the rain fall on his face.

"Sorry Kakuzu, but you aren't our leader or me so I doubt he would listen to anything you tell him," Amejisuto shrugged. "And I'll always stick to Itachi since Hidan and Orochimaru scare me and I don't want to run into them alone."

"Fine. I'm not allowed to hurt either of you, so count yourselves lucky that I'm not mad and decide to break the rules," he walked away.

"Well, that was pointless," the brunette sighed.

"You're afraid of Orochimaru and Hidan?"

"I have a feeling that Orochimaru would take any opportunity to dissect me and Hidan … Well I would just rather stay away from him when I'm alone."

"Understandable," Itachi agreed.

After another hour or so of sitting there in silence, the rain started slowing down even more and disappeared completely. The fields around them were now visibly muddy and slippery, and as they walked back to the hideout, they almost fell several times due to the lack of use of chakra for balance since they didn't want to waste any of it on something normal people could do without it.

The Akatsuki leader was waiting for them at the entrance. They both stopped in front of him and bowed.

"Pain," they greeted.

"Both of you come see me in the main office once you're all cleaned up," he ordered before walking away. The two looked at each other and shrugged, though Ameji had to hide her uneasiness. Pain still scared her slightly, though she knew he probably wouldn't hurt her, especially if he wanted Itachi to stay in the Akatsuki.

They went straight to their rooms, walking barefoot the whole way there due to their shoes being muddy, and quickly cleaned themselves up and took showers. Once they were presentable, they left to go find the leader.

He ended up being in the main office like he said with Konan and Orochimaru, who made Amejisuto take a step back, hide slightly behind Itachi and grab onto his hand.

"You wanted to see us, Pain?" Itachi entered the room. Amejisuto did too after a moment of getting over her shock and unease.

"Yes, I have a task for you two," Pain started. Konan stepped forward and gave them a picture of a young teenage girl with long purple hair, blue eyes and a purple Kusagakure band on her arm.

"Her name is Suttefani Soule. You will find her, and you will capture her."

"Is she a Jinchuriki?" Itachi questioned.

"No, but she knows a lot of information about us and needs to be interrogated. We can't kill her just yet," Pain said, hiding a true motive.

"She isn't on a mission right now, so she should be somewhere in Kusa. I will find and inform you on her whereabouts if she ends up being sent away, but I'll leave finding her in the village for you," Zetsu smirked before fading away into the ground.

"Now go. You have two weeks," the rinnegan user ordered. The two Konoha ninja bowed once more and ran out of the room. They already had things packed in the teleportation drawer for missions that they weren't expecting, so they just left the hideout straight away in the direction of Kusagakure.


"And just where are you three going?" Tsunade stared angrily with her hands on her hips, making her look like a small barrier and stopping a few shinobi.

"You know perfectly well, Hokage," Shikamaru said dully, having suspected the blonde of catching on to them leaving.

"We have to go," Ino stepped forward, not showing her fear of being punched back to the flower shop.

"He was our sensei. W-we need to avenge him," Choji stuttered slightly, doing the same as Ino but less successfully.

The old woman sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose in annoyance. "Even if I was willing to let you go, there would be no way you would be able to do it with just the three of you. There needs to be a four-man squad."

"That's why I'm volunteering to go with them, Lady Tsunade," Kakashi appeared in front of them.

The blonde glared at him for a long time before sighing. "Fine. Just please don't get yourselves killed." She watched as they bowed and left, leaving her praying that she wouldn't lose another so soon.

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