Author's Notes: First off, I would like to apologize; it took longer than I thought to post a new chapter. I put a lot of thought into what I was going to do for an ending with this story, and well….we are at the end of our story here folks. :( I hope everyone had a happy new year and I hope this year will be better than the last! :) Enjoy the final chapter and thank you for all your kind words and support! :)
Konan shook her head from side to side, causing her hair to whip her in the face, her blue eyes watched as Pein began to advance towards Sakura and Itachi. The whole event played in slow motion for Konan, never before, had she have important people in her life fight against each other. There was something she had to do to stop the endless fighting, her heart couldn't take the torture anymore, and she couldn't watch her precious people fight to the death!
Her eyes traveled back and forth between Sakura and Pein, she could tell Pein was never going to stop his attack. 'He is caught up with his goals that he doesn't know what the action he needs to take….and dare I say it….he doesn't know what the right decision is.' She turned her attention back to Sakura only to see her holding onto Itachi. Her heart ached at the sight, her face turned from heartbreak to determination. 'If I can't have a happy ending…' she thought, as she allowed her chakra to serge through her whole body, allowing her blood line to take over her body. '…then I will give Sakura the happy ending she deserves. You have taught me so much with our time together Sakura, now it is time for me to repay you…'
Sakura couldn't look away from Itachi's cloak, all she concentrated on was the imaginary spot on his cloak, she didn't want to see how her life ended. She wanted it to be quick and painless, but, an urge to look up at the world one last time came over her. As emerald eyes popped out from a pool of black, they were as wide as saucers… 'Konan!' Sakura thought as she released her grip on Itachi and separated herself from him.
Itachi felt Sakura jerk away from his side as he watched the same event unfold before his very own eyes. Kakashi and Naruto stood as still as stone at the sight before them, they couldn't believe it even though they were seeing it!
Sakura felt tears summon themselves to her eyes, she felt them fill her eyes and caused her vision to blur, but the seriousness of the situation made her wipe the tears away feverishly, allowing her to watch the scene unfold.
Konan allowed her paper to surround her body, now was her chance to end this horrifying brawl. She extended her hand outward as she watched the paper surrounded her body and turn herself it into a human paper shell. Without a second thought, she ran as fast as lightning, into the heat of the battle, getting in-between Pein and Sakura. She stood perfectly still, extending her arms and legs out, to cover as much space as possible.
Pein summoned massive amounts of chakra to his hands as he continued to charge towards the group of pesky ninja. 'Now I will end my pest problem once and for all!' He shouted to himself as a burst of chakra flowed through him. He eyed his "prize" like a hunter examined his prey, but felt his breath catch in his throat, right in front of him was Konan. "Get out of the way Konan!" Pein shouted to Konan, while he still continued to fly towards the group behind Konan.
Konan planted her feet to the ground, having no intention to move from her designated spot, she was determined to end the fighting once and for all. She shook her head from side-to-side, knowing full well that Pein saw her defiance, tears started to stream from her blue eyes as she awaited her chosen fate.
Pein narrowed his eyes towards Konan as he watched her plant her feet to the ground. Anger boiled inside him at her rebellious action, now was not the time to prove her point in the matter, he tried to think of several ways to dodge Konan but his attack was already in motion. There was no way he could cancel his attack or even misdirect the power to another direction.
Konan and Pein stared at each other as the attack came closer and closer. Konan smiled softly towards him while his eyes conveyed a state of untold panic. She didn't want to cause him anymore heartache than he had already been through, but he wouldn't listen to her. 'This is the only way to get through to him. Even if it means I have to end my life…'
Pein felt his heart clench inside his chest as he approached Konan, he never wanted to harm the woman he held close to his heart, she was always there for him ever since they were told to start this organization. Now here he was charging at her with a murderous attack. 'Konan, you stupid woman, why won't you move?!' He looked her straight in the eyes as the anticipated blow came. 'Forgive me…' Was all he managed to say to himself as his powerful glowing self plunged into Konan's chest.
Everyone watched the scene unfold as Pein came rushing towards Konan and the two powers met. Pein's glowing body came in contact with Konan's defense shell. The detonation of power exploded into the night sky, it climbed to towards the dangerous clouds and dissolved into thin air. Two bodies went flying in opposite directions, Konan's body went crashing back towards Sakura's group while Pein was sent back towards his side of the battlefield.
Sakura watched the two bodies fly across the sky like rag dolls, her whole body flinched, when she heard them hit objects with unimaginable force. Crystal tears started to slide down her cheek as the after smoke faded away. "Konan!" Sakura shouted to the older woman, as she ran towards the fatally injured woman. Itachi, Kakashi, and Naruto watched Sakura run towards Konan, but returned their attention to Pein, if he tried attacking Sakura they would retaliate with full force.
Sakura ran towards the fallen Konan and fell to her knees. Her worried emerald eyes scanned over her body, and her tears began to fall faster. "Konan, how stupid are you? How could you do this to yourself?!" Sakura shouted as she allowed her emotions to take control.
Her hands flew all around Konan's body like wild fire, her healing chakra danced around Konan's body trying to patch up every torn tissue and muscle fiber in Konan's body. Sakura knew that Konan was a lost cause, but, that didn't stop her from pouring every bit of chakra she had into Konan's body. She felt her teammates and Itachi's stares on her, but she didn't care, a friend was a friend and because of her stubbornness Sakura was one that never gave up.
Deidara, Kisame, Tobi, and Hidan ran towards their fallen Leader who was lying on the ground. "Leader, you ok?" Kisame asked as they all circled around Pein.
They watched as Pein's eyes slowly opened, but it was not a pretty sight. His cloths looked like Swiss cheese and blood was pouring from his opened wounds. Pein slowly got up and looked himself over, but before his followers knew what happened, he poofed away. They looked back and forth between each other and heard a rustle in the treetops above. When they looked above, they saw another Pein jumping down from the branches.
"This isn't good." Itachi said emotionlessly as he examined the new Pein before them.
Kakashi stared wide-eyed towards the unmarked Pein. "We are in for a long night…" Was all he managed to say as his brain tried to rack up another plan. 'It must be one of those tricks Jiraiya told Tsunade-sama, in his letter, before he died….' Kakashi thought to himself in horror, there was no telling what this Pin could do to them.
Naruto stared at the man with an evil eye. 'He doesn't even care that one of his own died by his hand…' Naruto thought solemnly while he watched Sakura try to heal Konan with every technique known to a medic. His eyes became sad and then he turned towards Itachi. Who would have ever thought that his best friend would fall for an Akatsuki member and the older Uchiha for that matter? His straight face slowly turned into a small smile. 'He has defended her even when this Akatsuki leader threatened Sakura-Chan…' He continued to stare at the Uchiha and when Itachi felt his stare Naruto quickly averted his eyes to Sakura, as if he wasn't looking at him at all. '…it's more than Sasuke-Teme would ever do for Sakura-Chan…' He thought once again with a growing smile. 'Maybe he isn't as bad as Sasuke-Teme says…'
Pein turned his attention towards the green light around Konan, his anger was rising with every passing second. 'They killed her!' He shouted to himself, not believing that Konan was died from his own hand. His hands turned to fists, the only display of angry emotion on Pein,. He glared towards the group of four in front of him, they would pay dearly for what they did to Konan. 'Time to finish what I started.' He thought as he walked over towards Konan's fallen body.
Sakura was working franticly on Konan's body. The blood was rushing out of her wounds faster than before and Sakura was afraid she couldn't keep up with the blood flow. She would clot the blood flow, and right as she did that, another two wounds would burst open, waiting for her attention. "D-Don't worry K-Konan. I-I won't let y-you die.." Sakura told Konan at a whisper, exhaustion washing over Sakura's body.
By some miracle, Konan's hand closest to Sakura placed itself over Sakura's glowing hands. Sakura stopped her healing and followed Konan's hands to her face, Sakura felt her heat jump up in hope, maybe Konan would live after all.
Konan weakly smiled towards Sakura and shook her head from side-to-side. She watched Sakura's eyes drop with sadness and watched the famous flash of determination cross those emerald eyes. Sakura wasn't going to give up on her, for she continued to heal her broken body even faster than before. "S-Sakura…" Konan weakly said, trying to get the young woman's attention.
Sakura paid no attention to the barely audible Konan, she would save her! Konan raised both of her hands and rested them on top of Sakura's glowing green ones. "K-Konan…w-what a-are you…?" Sakura couldn't form a complete sentence, shock taking over her whole body. Konan shook her head, from side-to-side, to Sakura and her eyes wandered over to Pein. She watched as he walked towards them, but she returned her focus back to Sakura. "S-Sakura, it is u-useless." Konan spoke weakly. "P-Please…" Her vision turned towards the angered Pein, causing Sakura to look in that direction, color drained from Sakura's face and her blood ran cold. She felt Konan's hands tighten around hers, causing her attention to return to the woman below her.
"…D-don't let m-my e-efforts g-go to w-waste…" Konan continued, noticing that Pein stopped dead in his tracks once he heard her voice. She turned her head towards Pein and shot him a small smile. "Y-you will a-always be i-in my heart P-Pein…" Konan softly said as her head sank to the ground and her eye lids slowly closed.
Sakura's body froze in fear, her hand traveled to Konan's wrist, only to feel no pulse. There was no breathing pattern, nothing, that indicated to Sakura that Konan was still alive. Sakura's tears streamed down her face, and she was afraid to look up at Pein, she could only imagine his state of mind.
Pein stood still as stone as he watched the one woman that ever understood him, the one person that allowed him to be his true self, slip away into the blanket of darkness that would never bring her back. He looked towards Sakura and his anger erupted ten-fold. "How dare you." He stated soullessly as his eyes traveled back to Konan's lifeless form.
Sakura felt shivers travel down her spine as she slowly stood up, only, to come face-to-face with Pein. She could feel her teammates tense up when Pein took a step closer towards her. "You will pay for that." He said darkly, as he got ready to attack the stunned Sakura.
Up in the clouds above, the family of demons watched the tense battle from beginning to end; now they were anxious, as they watched Pein walk towards Sakura. Shukaku and Kyuubi exchanged looks between each other as they glared down at Pein. Nobu and Emi held their breath, hoping the worse wasn't about to come. Anri felt her heart skip beats, as she prayed to the higher power, that Sakura wouldn't be injured by Pein.
"Hey Tae…"Kyuubi called to Tae, while a plan formed in his head.
Tae, reluctantly, broke her glaze away from the glowing water, and stared at her younger brother with an agitated look. "What Kyuubi?" She said with a growl.
"Can't we, somehow, interfere with the outside world?" He asked as Anri gasped at his words.
"Brilliant Kyuubi-San!" Anri shouted delightedly as her attention on the battle was pulled away and now was on Tae. "Tae-San, if we could interfere with the world below us, we could save Sakura…"
"..And even kill that man that restrained us in that dreaded container." Riki interjected, trying to work in getting revenge on the man that caused him and his family so much grief.
Tae studied her family before her, and then looked down at the glowing water, only to see Pein waiting for the right time to strike. She thought back to all the stories she heard from their mother about this wonderful place, trying to see if there was any way they could connect their powers with the human world, but she couldn't think of anything. Her ice blue demon-like eyes scanned all around, not excepting defeat, there had to be something that could connect them to the human world. Finally she was staring right back at the glowing water, until her demon eyes light up like a Christmas tree. 'That's it!' She thought to herself in delight.
Her brothers and sisters watched Tae turn around towards them with a twinkle in her eye. "I know what we can do…" She told them as she gathered each and every one of them to come in a circle. 'We have one chance to get this done right.' She thought determinedly as she began to tell the plan to her siblings.
Sakura had to think of something fast, she needed to prolong Pein's course of action, but with the look of complete emptiness and betrayal, it didn't seem like she could do much to keep him from attacking her. "Listen to me.." Sakura said simply, as she watched his body for any indication of movement, when she saw his eyes glued to hers, she continued on. "Konan wouldn't want you to attack us…she would want you to continue your life without anger clouding your life." Sakura tried to say, knowing full well it was all empty words towards the man, and she was right. Pein stared at her with mocking eyes as he erupted into a fit of sarcastic laughs.
"Ha, ha, very funny Tamer, do you think I care what you say?" He said in a malicious tone. Sakura gulped and took a step back towards her teammates, while he continued on with his comments. "You're just prolonging your demise." He stated coldly as he began to summon chakra to his hands. "Now…it is your time to parish!" He shouted madly, all the anger, all the sadness, and all the emotions he locked up inside himself were showing their true colors as he charged towards Sakura.
Itachi, Kakashi, Naruto, Deidara, Hidan, Tobi, and Kisame watched Pein run madly at Sakura, some wanted to jump in the way, while others just watched the scene unfold, and no one knew what to do. Naruto didn't want to see his best friend die right before his eyes, and he looked up towards the crying sky. 'Don't let Sakura-Chan die!' He pleaded towards the clouds as the thunder storm continued above him.
His blue eyes widened as he watched a hole in the sky open up, to unveil, a trail of red chakra flying down towards them at the speed of light. "What the…" He said to himself as he tried to follow the chakra's trail. Itachi and Kakashi heard Naruto's puzzled statement and turned around only to see a red stream of color flying right at them. "Run for it!" Naruto shouted, as he grabbed Kakashi and Itachi, and fled behind a tree ten feet away. Kisame, Deidara, Tobi, and Hidan saw the flash of light too and fled towards the rock that was further away from the battle.
Pein didn't worry about anything but the person in front of him; he would kill the woman that caused his precious person to die right in front of him! 'You must die Demon Tamer!' He shouted as he extended his glowing blue hands and began to use al his momentum to land a hit on Sakura.
Sakura heard her teammates flee from behind her, but she was too preoccupied with Pein running at her with a murderous vibe around him. While Sakura watched the man come running at her, she felt a strong presence, over her head. She looked down at her feet to see that the ground was no longer green, but the color red, she looked up at the sky to see red chakra spiraling towards her. 'What is this?!' She thought to herself in panic as the chakra went right in-between her and Pein.
Before anyone knew what happened, the red chakra came in between Pein and Sakura, dissolving Pein's attack into thin air. Pein stopped dead in his tracks as he watched his attack, once again, being blocked. That was the last straw for him, his eyes became wide with anger and he glared at the red obstruction in front of him. "You won't get rid of me that easily!" He shouted, full of rage, as he sprang back and came at the red barrier with full force.
Sakura watched, wide eyed, as the infuriated man, came running head first into the dangerous blob in front of her. The red blob felt Pein flying towards it, with unimaginable speed, and it started to retaliate. As Pein got close enough to the blob, a strike of red lightning flew towards Pein. The impact from the two attacks caused a bright light to erupt, making everyone cover their eyes, to avoid the blinding light.
Sakura peeked from behind her arm and saw Pein face down on the ground. Her attention then turned towards the red blob, but it was gone? 'Where did it go? Something that big can't vanish without leaving something behind....' Sakura thought as she looked at the ground, only to see Pein's body, motionless. 'Did it…did it kill Pein?' Sakura asked herself as she cautiously walked towards Pein's body. As she walked towards his body, the dark clouds began to recede back into the night's sky, and the moon shined brightly on the battlefield.
Sakura stopped her advancement and looked around at the beaten up area. Blood was splattered everywhere, giant craters were engraved in the ground and trees cluttered the floor of the forest. As her eyes scanned the rest of the forest, she saw a light shinning on the river behind her.
She turned around and narrowed her eyes towards the river, trying to get a better look at the water. As she strained her eyesight, she saw reflections of Tae, Kyuubi, Anri, Shukaku, Nobu, and Emi waving toward her. Sakura blinked a few times, trying to prove to herself that she wasn't hallucinating, but when she looked back at the river, they were gone. 'What was that…?' She thought to herself as she continued to study the sparkling water under the moonlight.
"Sakura-Chan!" Naruto shouted towards Sakura, as him, Kakashi, and Itachi came running towards her.
Sakura turned away from the river and looked up at the three men. Naruto shot her a bright smile and smothered her with a bear hug. Kakashi smiled a small smile towards the hugging friends and he turned towards the sonic Itachi, who was watching Sakura silently.
Itachi watched silently as Naruto hugged Sakura, until she turned blue, once Sakura was released from Naruto's hold he turned his attention to the fallen Pein. He bent at the waist and examined Pein's fallen body closely, Sharingan eyes trailed all over Pein's body, looking for any signs of life. He returned to standing up straight and looked back towards Kakashi. "He's dead." Itachi said quietly.
On the other side of the forest, Kisame, Hidan. Tobi, and Deidara rose up from behind the rock only to stare at their fallen leader. "We better get out the fuck out of here." Hidan said urgently. Kisame nodded his head as they began to flee the scene. "What about Itachi?" Deidara asked. Hidan looked over his shoulder and shot the Uchiha a nasty glare. "Who give a flying fuck about the pretty ass, if he wants to fuck himself over, be my guest, let's just get the hell out of here before we get screwed over." He mumbled as they disappeared from the scene.
Kakashi saw movement out of the corner of his eye and watched as the remaining members of the Akatsuki left the scene. "What are we going to do about them?" Sakura asked as she and Naruto turned in the same direction as Kakashi and Itachi were facing.
Kakashi looked towards the runaway Akatsuki members and shook his head. "We will let them go for now…besides…" Kakashi stated as he looked towards Itachi. "…Itachi's coming with us…" Kakashi said steadily, as he glanced down at Sakura, waiting to see her reaction to his words.
At first Sakura couldn't believe her ears, she turned her head around sharply, as she blinked confusingly towards Kakashi. "Y-you mean…" Sakura stuttered as she tried to contain her shock from her ex-Sensei's statement. "…he can…." She tried to continue her sentence, but the excitement didn't allow her to continue.
Kakashi nodded his head towards the, now bouncing, young woman before him. "Yes Sakura, he is coming back with us." Kakashi said happily. Sakura was as happy as a clam, she jumped on Kakashi and gave him a big bear hug, not letting go until she squeezed the life out of him. She then turned towards Itachi and jumped on him, she held on him like a leach, and hugged him with every ounce of physical power she had.
"Let's get going before anything else comes our way." Kakashi said as the four of them jumped up into the trees and traveled towards Konoha.
Kakashi was in front while Sakura, Naruto, and Itachi were beside each other, Sakura in the middle of the two men, while they continued to run as far away as possible from the forest grounds. Naruto looked over towards the sonic Uchiha and eyed him over with a calculating glance. "I guess you're not too bad…" Naruto said as he watched Sakura stare at him with suspicion. "But if you ever hurt Sakura-Chan you'll have to deal with me!" Naruto shouted protectively as his threatening stare turned into an accepting smile. "I'm sure we can convince Baa-Chan to let him in, right Sakura-Chan?"
Sakura giggled lightly as she nodded her head towards Naruto. "Right Naruto." She said with another bright smile, happy that her best friend accepted Itachi, even after everything that has happened.
"Naruto get up here." Kakashi ordered, trying to give the couple a minute of alone time, when he heard Naruto groan out in agitation he couldn't help but smirk. 'Everything is slowly returning back to the way it was…except for a few things…' Kakashi though with a smile as he glanced back, briefly, towards Itachi. '…it will be like old times…well almost.' Kakashi thought to himself as he patted the sulking Naruto on the back. "Come on Naruto, lets give them a few minutes alone." Kakashi instructed.
"But Kakashi-Sensei…!" Naruto whined as he crossed his arms over his chest while skipping over branches. He finally was able to spend some time with Sakura and now he had to wait in line for her, it wasn't fair, what happened to friends first?
Sakura turned her smiling face, from Naruto, up towards the man that was running beside her, she never felt this happy in a long time. Itachi felt her eyes on him and he turned his attention towards her. "Hey Itachi…" Sakura began to say, as she reached for his hand, hiding under the cloak arm sleeves, and gently squeezed it. His eyes roamed her face as she tried to find the right words for her next statement, he simply squeezed her hand back knowing that was the boast she needed to get on with what was on her mind.
She felt his overly large hand squeeze her petite sized one and she continued on with her statement. "What will happen with Sasuke? He is still going to look for you." Sakura said worriedly as her eyes trailed from his straight face to the branches, afraid to look him straight in the eye with her blunt question.
Itachi felt a small smirk move across his face, she was always too worried for her own good, he pushed his hand away from hers, and before Sakura knew what was happening, she was being thrown into the air. He saw the look of confusion cross her face and he caught her in his arms bridal style. His black eyes looked down on her as his head came closer towards her. "Don't worry about my little brother Sakura.." Itachi said as he planted a light kiss on her lips. "…he won't know what to do with himself when he comes for me." Itachi said as he smirked his way into another kiss.
"Hey are you two done with the smooch fest already?!" Naruto yelled, his patience dwindling down, causing Sakura to blush as bright as a tomato, and causing Itachi to glare lightly towards the annoying blonde.
"I'm not going to get use to that." Itachi murmured under his breath as he sped up, with Sakura still securely in his arms, as he caught up with Kakashi and Naruto.
Sakura giggled lightly at his statement and watched the scenery blur past her. She rested her head on Itachi's chest as she thought about all her adventures. 'Who would have ever thought an under-dog ninja like me would have ended up going back into the past, only to fall in love in the future?' She thought, as she looked up towards the sky, where she knew her Demon friends would be watching her. 'And who would have guessed that I would be the one that saved the powerful Demons?' Her interest then turned towards the three men that surrounded her. 'This is a new beginning for me… I lived my past, I'll live in the present, and I'll just have to wait to see what the future has in store for me…'
Author's Note: I'm going to cry everyone! I can't believe that this story is over! :( I had so much fun writing this story and I would like to take this moment to thank everyone that reviewed, favorite-ed, alerted, and even acknowledged this story. I never had so much success with just one story, and all your encouragement really helped me! :) A special thanks to those who were regular reviewers, you have a special place in my heart! :)
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