"Itachi! Ameji! You're finally back!" Sasuke cheered as he ran to hug the two people that he'd missed so much as they walked through the gates of Konohagakure for the first time in what seemed like forever. "Where were you for all those months?"
"Uh… It's classified for now," Itachi smiled sadly at his brother, relieved that he probably knew nothing of his capture, and glad that he and the Ishi had abandoned their cloaks at the destroyed base.
"We need to see Lady Tsunade, is she around?" Ameji asked, obviously tired from the journey. Her future husband was exhausted as well, but was better at hiding it.
"I was actually waiting for her, that's why I'm here," the younger Uchiha said. "She should be getting back any minute."
The three decided to wait together, and sure enough, the Hokage was in sight after an hour or so of the couple almost falling asleep on a nearby bench. She was in shock as she saw the two escaped ninja waiting for her. "You… How?" she could barely speak and felt slightly guilty of agreeing to endanger them with a war, though the alternative was worse.
"Sasuke, go home. We have to talk to Lady Tsunade alone," Itachi said in a tone that Sasuke knew not to argue with. The dark haired teen walked off, leaving the blonde to recover from shock. Shizune gaped at them, having caught up to her sensei just then. Guy was just confused as to why everyone was so surprised to see the two. They were just on a really long mission from what he'd heard. Then again, something had been said about them at that gathering, but he hadn’t been paying much attention.
"Guy, your mission is done. Please leave us alone to go over the past few months," Tsunade dismissed him. He bowed and dramatically left the scene, mumbling something about having another competition with his rival.
"It's been a while, Lady Hokage," Itachi greeted.
"Yes it has. Come with me," they went to the Hokage mansion, being greeted on the way there by almost everyone in the streets, proving that they had been thoroughly missed. Once they were inside, Tsunade took her seat behind her cluttered desk, folding her hands on her lap with seriousness and impatience. She didn't need to even ask before Itachi spilled out all that had happened over the months, including the event that had occurred just a few days before.
Amejisuto stayed quiet, only speaking when she was adding something to his story or correcting him.
By the time he had finished giving the detailed report, two hours had already passed.
"So there will be no war," the blonde said happily after a few moments of processing. "Shizune! Send word to the other Kage that the Akatsuki has been destroyed! Immediately!"
"Yes, Lady Tsunade," the assistant ran out the door, ready to spread the good news.
"I’m giving you two a month off of shinobi duties, no matter who objects. Will you return to the Uchiha district?" she inquired.
"Yes. We should get going right away," Itachi nodded, turning to the brunette and holding out his hand. She smiled and took it, leaning on him for a brief moment to signal that she was exhausted.
The Hokage looked at them in shock. "What are you guys doing?"
"Oh I forgot to tell you," the Ishi smiled. "I found out we were engaged within the first two days of being captured."
"Yes, and it was a good thing that we were already in love by that time," Itachi grinned. “Otherwise, I might have gotten more than just a fractured arm.”
"We should seriously leave though,” Ameji yawned before turning to the man. “Is it alright if we stop by the Ishi district?"
He nodded and they both bid farewell to the Hokage before leaving the mansion, greeting more familiar faces on the way to Amejisuto's old home.
By the time they got to her mother’s house, she was extremely jumpy, having left behind her exhaustion and replacing it with pure excitement. She quietly opened her door and whistled softly, the opposite of her signature jutsu, alerting her mother to her presence.
The older woman reacted right away, running to the door and almost knocking her daughter over when she crashed into her to give a hug. She was beaming and struggling to talk through the wind. ‘You- How- You’re back!’ she managed to say.
"We're alright mother," the brunette smiled. "And I already know about the engagement. You don't need to worry about that."
Itachi waited patiently, smiling as the mother and daughter caught up a bit. Eventually, Amejisuto made a promise that she would return the next day.
The anticipation of seeing his parents suddenly hit him hard as they walked to the Uchiha district. Would they be mad that he chose love over honour? Would they be disappointed that he left behind everything to save his apprentice and fiancée by joining criminals? Would he be banned from being the Uchiha Clan leader or even worse, banished from the clan itself?
"Itachi! Amejisuto!" Mikoto ran to greet them with happy tears and a smile, smothering her eldest son in hugs and a few kisses. "I missed you both so much! Welcome home! The others are already having dinner, but you're only a little bit late," she babbled on, happy that she was reunited with the two.
The tension and unease that Itachi had felt before had vanished with his mother's cheerfulness. They left to the Uchiha estate and Amejisuto and Mikoto were chatting non-stop the whole five minutes.
Once they finally reached his home, he hesitated before stepping inside. The first person he saw was his father, who was waiting for him and his apprentice. "You're back," he said with no emotion in his voice, though Itachi could see that there was a glint of pride in his father's eyes.
"It took us longer than expected,” Itachi replied, sitting down at the table. He and Amejisuto had barely eaten in the past few days, and it was now apparent as he dished out delicious food onto the plate that had been set for him, thanks to Sasuke informing their parents that he was back. He looked over at his bride-to-be, who was smiling and conversing with Sasuke.
“The Hokage had many consultants on how to help you two,” Mikoto spoke carefully, still trying to keep Sasuke from knowing what exactly the two had been up to.
“There was initially a few plans, but all of them would have most likely ended in more deaths than it was worth, or your deaths,” Fugaku continued. “Lady Tsunade eventually decided that you would figure it out yourselves. Not even Jiraiya was permitted to go near you, since it was too risky.”
Ameji looked down at her food with a sad look. “It was only with the sacrifice of a friend that we were able to get out.”
The mother looked questioningly at her son. ‘She found out he loved her,’ he mouthed. Her eyes grew wide and her lips formed an ‘oh’.
“How could you make friends in a place like that?” the father sounded slightly disgusted.
“He was also forced to be there,” the brunette defended. “And are missions that they go on much different than ours? Either way, a leader tells the ninja to kill or steal. The people we were with just took some extra things.”
It was then that Sasuke decided to pop into the conversation. “What kind of mission did you guys go on?”
Itachi looked at his parents, who both sighed and nodded, giving permission. “Well… We weren’t exactly on a mission…”
“I was kidnapped by the Akatsuki and Itachi was forced to join to keep me safe, but don’t worry, we didn’t kill anyone except this rogue ninja from Suna that even Lord Gaara wanted dead,” Amejisuto summed it up, though with an annoyed tone from being so tired. “I was informed that I am arranged to be married to your brother, which is fine because I love him. Oh, and also, this might be news for all of you, but a few days ago, before my friend Deidara blew himself up to kill off the other members while Itachi and I escaped, we found out that the true Akatsuki leader was Madara Uchiha.”
The whole table was silent.
“That’s terrible,” Fugaku finally broke the silence.
“Yes, it was,” Itachi sighed.
“No, I meant there is a possibility that your friend’s sacrifice has been for nothing. If Madara had survived this long, he might still be alive.”
“It was a pretty big explosion,” Amejisuto argued, shuddering at the possibility of the man still being alive.
“Let’s hope that it was destructive enough.”
Konan woke with a gasp, immediately sitting up and looking around. "You're finally awake," Pain smiled softly that his best friend was alive. She was relieved to see that he was alive and well, saw that Madara and Zetsu were there too. They had all survived Deidara's self-destruction thanks to Madara’s special sharingan.
"What happened to everyone else?" she asked.
"The Uchiha and Ishi escaped, but Orochimaru, Kisame, and obviously Deidara, are dead," her old friend answered.
"We have a new goal: Destroy Konohagakure. Make sure our old members get killed during the process," Madara ordered, sealing the fate of that village. Pain and Konan nodded, knowing exactly how to get it done. They had a few tricks up their sleeves still…
The old Uchiha narrowed his eyes behind his mask. "They will all pay."
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