That Something Missing
"I give you the Danger Bear version 2.0! Now banned in the majority of countries due to its hidden nature and many incidents where it was given to children. It may seem like a cute, cuddly toy, but it actually works as a swiss army knife equipped with many useful features. What would your first guess in price be?" Kakuzu announced as he showed off the toy.
"I told you I don't give a rat's ass! Why the hell are we doing this anyway? Can't we just fight and get this over and done with?" Kiba grumbled.
Kakuzu sighed, "Look, as you know I'm one of the leading merchandisers in the black market. I need to know what an average person would think the things I sell would be priced at."
"Yeah, and I told you I DON'T CARE!"
"K-Kiba, we have to play along so that we can go help the others." Hinata tried to reason with the steaming Kiba.
Kiba continued to sulk.
"I believe I can relieve you of your situation" Shino suddenly appeared.
"Hey, you can't be in here." Kakuzu spoke.
"That's where you are incorrect. Hidan has already broken the rule of being unable to leave the grounds, thus the Akatsuki have been disqualified and Konoha is victorious."
"That bloody bastard just couldn't wait..." Kakuzu complained.
"Why did he leave?" Hinata asked.
"From what I heard from Shikamaru, he has taken Temari to this address against her will." Shino then help up the piece of paper Shikamaru gave him earlier.
"WHAT?!" Kiba exclaimed and grabbed the paper.
"I don't really care or anything, but Hidan's pretty terrible, so you guys probably want to leave as soon as possible. He's a weird guy that one." Kakuzu warned.
"Why is he even doing this?" Kiba questioned.
"I don't know. He has some sort of thing against the guy with the ponytail."
"Shikamaru? I wonder what happened. Surely if Shikamaru knew, he would've told us in advance..." Hinata thought out loud.
"The guy's a psycho Hinata. It's probably something he made up in his head." Kiba reasoned.
"Well I've got to let the rest know." Shino then walked off.
"Let's go to the address now Hinata!" Kiba commanded.
Gaara's eyes widened.
"What's up Gaara?" Kankurou asked noticing Gaara was somewhat alarmed.
"Something doesn't feel right..." he murmured.
"The one standing outside the door, come in." Sasori ordered.
Shino walked in.
"What is it?" Gaara asked with a bit of hostility in his voice.
"The game is over. Hidan has broken a rule and the Akatsuki are disqualified." Shino explained.
"What do you mean he broke a rule?" Sasori questioned.
"Hidan has taken Temari out of the grounds by force."
"WHAT?!" Kankurou exclaimed quickly standing up from his seat causing his chair to fall on its back.
"Do you know where he has taken her?" Gaara asked in an icy tone.
"Shikamaru has notified me of this address. He believes that is where Hidan is to be."
"Well even though it's a bit unusual, you two are victorious, thus I shall turn myself in to the family as agreed." Sasori sighed.
"No, you don't." Gaara replied.
"What?" Kankurou said...again.
"If you don't wish to return, then that's completely up to you. I didn't come here to speak to you and hear your story just to force you to come back to us. If I did that, then I would be no better than my father. I only came to listen. You should return when you believe it is right to do so; otherwise everything you've done so far to avoid the family will be in vain. However, in saying that, please come by and visit us whenever you can."
"Alright, enough! Let's go and save Temari already!" Kankurou started to fidget.
"I'll go notify Pain and Konan." Sasori responded.
"EEK!" Ino screamed as the gears started to squeak as she and Chouji was being lowered towards the shark infested pool.
Kisame laughed a cruel and loud laugh, "Great, great, great, GREAT!" he exclaimed as he was exchanging blows with Neji.
Neji continued to speedily attack him silently.
"Do something Tenten!" Sakura pleaded.
"I-I wish I could...but I would just be getting in Neji's way at the moment." Tenten stuttered watching the two in fear.
Neji and Kisame continued to fight and were on par.
"That bloodlust! You are no ordinary kid. What's your story boy?" Kisame cackled.
Neji then managed to land a hit on Kisame's face, "It's none of your concern. Are we fighting or are we talking?"
Kisame wiped his nose as it was starting to bleed due to the hit, but his chagrin did not subside.
Tenten watched Neji and as she looked at his cold eyes, she could feel her legs shaking and her feet going cold.
"Looks like a close match." Sakura commented, "Tenten?"
"I've...I've never seen Neji like this before..." Tenten managed to say softly.
"Well he's probably just feeling pressured. That's what Kisame wanted after all."
"No, it's not that. I think he's actually lost sight of Ino and Chouji. He's fighting because...well I think he actually wants to kill Kisame."
"What?! No way is he planning to kill anyone! He just needs to defeat Kisame so he can free our friends!"
Tenten continued to watch the two in silence not convinced by Sakura's words.
Time ticked on and there was only about three minutes left on the clock.
Ino started to sob as she could see the shark in clear vision whilst Chouji tried to comfort her.
At about this time, Neji then caught Kisame off guard and under foot him causing him to fall onto his back.
Neji straddled him and started to punch him hard in the face over and over.
When he finally stopped, Kisame looked back at him and grinned, "Didn't expect this, but here." He handed Neji the remote.
Neji then threw it over to Sakura who pressed the button to stop Ino and Chouji from being lowered. It then zipped them over to solid ground and lowered them onto the floor.
Ino and Chouji sighed in relief.
However, Neji wasn't finished. He grabbed Kisame by the collar and threw him to the edge of the pool where he held him hanging.
"Stop Neji! That's enough!"
Tenten ran over to him and hugged him tightly from behind, "Please, don't do anything you would regret!"
Neji froze, his hand didn't move from Kisame's collar and his eyes weren't moving either.
"Let go." Neji spoke.
A pained expression came across Tenten's face, but she did as she was told and stood up while letting go of Neji.
Neji then also stood up and walked to the wall and sat down in an exhausted manner without saying another word.
"Tch! I knew I shouldn't have had girls involved. Ruined all of my fun." Kisame complained sitting up while rubbing the back of his head.
"You should be grateful! If it wasn't for Tenten you would be shark food by now." Sakura rebutted.
Kisame gave her a look of boredom, "Please..." he then jumped into the pool.
Sakura screamed whilst the rest of them look at the pool in shock.
All except for Neji who was just staring at the floor in front of him as he sat against the wall.
Kisame then surfaced and put his hand on the shark's head, "This guy is my shark. He's been taught to resist the scent of humans. He's pescetarian to say it simply."
"So, you mean, Ino and Choujo would've been fine either way...?" Sakura questioned.
Kisame laughed, "Did you really think I would actually murder a couple of kids for a stupid reason like this? I just like to push buttons, killing isn't my idea of fun unless it's absolutely necessary."
'So the option is still there...' Tenten thought to herself.
"Wahh! Thank god we're still alive!" Ino started to cry while being in Chouji's arms.
"You heard the guy Ino. We were in no danger with the shark anyway." Chouji comforted.
"Yeah but even then, salt water is TERRIBLE for my hair."
"Sorry to interrupt." Shino entered the room.
Everyone's heads turned to look at him.
Shino explained the change in situation and everyone's face, besides Kisame's, turned into a look of horror.
"We better get going!" Sakura cried out.
"I'll call my chauffeur to pick us up right now!" Ino grabbed her mobile from her handbag that was left by the entrance.
"Then let's get to the front of the school now!" Chouji walked over to the door.
"I-We'll catch up to you guys later..." Tenten announced whilst looking back at Neji who hasn't even moved an inch.
"Ok..." Sakura answered, and they all left the room.
Kisame look over to Tenten and sighed, and then he also left.
Tenten stood still staring at Neji as she didn't know what to do. Eventually she sat next to him and they sat together in silence.
"Hinata's father and my father were twins." Neji began to speak, "Since Hinata's father came into the world first, he was named to be the heir of the company; whereas my father was left with the duty to protect him as his personal body guard. One day there was a huge threat against our company and they were asking for the head of the company to go to a certain place alone. Of course, the family wasn't going to allow this, thus my father volunteered to go in his stead. My father always wore a mask in public, thus no one besides the close family members knew that they were twins. The details of the event that day are very vague; I was only five at the time...however..." Neji's words drifted off.
"Yes?" Tenten asked.
"The real goal of the enemy organisation wasn't to just bring down the head of the company, but to also kidnap his daughter, Hinata. They knew by asking for her father, most of our forces and security would go with him, leaving our home vulnerable. Hinata and I have been living together since we were born, in a large estate and whilst this was happening, we were told to stay in a room together at the back of the house. Of course as they planned, they reached to where Hinata and I hid. A single man entered our room and found Hinata hiding behind the dresser. I was hidden on the other side of the room. As he went to grab Hinata I...I..." Neji swallowed loudly, "I grabbed a knife I had with me for protection and stabbed the man from behind. I killed him...at the age of five..."
"Oi! Pain! Where are you?!" Naruto screamed out as he was running.
"There's no point in yelling out his name Dobe. If we just follow the directions, we will meet him eventually..." Sasuke sighed as he followed behind.
"How do you keep up with him, Sasuke?" Itachi asked and was also following them.
"Hey! There he is!" Naruto exclaimed a sped up.
"Tch" was all Sasuke said as he matched Naruto's pace.
"Well if it isn't Naruto." Pain mentioned as he stood next to Konan and Sasori.
"Let's get this started Pain!" Naruto ran towards him at full speed holding his fist out.
"Now wait a moment Naruto." Konan stood in front of Pain with her hand out in front of her.
Naruto slowed down and stopped in front of them.
"Sasori...?" Sasuke questioned when he caught up.
Itachi stopped a bit further behind the two and looked at Pain.
"As much as it pains me, there is to be no battle between us Naruto. Sasori has just informed me that Hidan has broken a rule and we are now disqualified from the competition. Victory goes to you." Pain explained.
"Who gives a crap about the battle competition or whatever? I'm just here it take you on!" Naruto babbled.
Sasuke hit him across the head, "Just calm down will you. What has Hidan done?"
Sasori then filled them in on the details.
Shikamaru stared at the rather daunting church.
Whilst holding onto his pair of given gauntlets, he circled around the building to see if he could get a vision of the inside.
Unfortunately, the windows were completely blocked out by pieces of wood nailed onto the building as you normally see on abandoned buildings.
Shikamaru sighed as he knew he had no choice but to blindly enter and face what Hidan had planned for him.
He could feel his feet getting cold, but he persevered and opened the front double doors.
They were heavy and creaked.
He looked into the church, but it was pitched black and the light coming from outside only managed to give vision on the aisle and the bench seats that were lined up as usual.
He walked further into the church along the aisle and after a few steps, the door shut behind him.
Shikamaru froze as he was standing in pitch darkness. He couldn't even see his own hands even if he held it in front of his face.
After a moment, a spotlight was switched on and he could see Temari tied onto a crucifix hanging from the ceiling.
Except this crucifix shape was a triangle in a circle, instead of the usual cross.
"Temari!" Shikamaru yelled out as he ran to her.
"Shikamaru!" Temari cried back.
"Well isn't this sweet?" Hidan's voice could be heard.
Another spotlight switched on to show Hidan who was seated on the bench at the front row with his face painted black and white.
"You bastard!" Shikamaru started to advance on Hidan.
"Uh-uh! I wouldn't if I were you~" Hidan cooed as he held up a remote with a big red button on it.
"What's that?" Shikamaru asked as he stopped moving immediately.
"You do something I don't want and I press this button. When I press this button, well let's say you'll understand the term 'fallen angel' in its literal meaning."
Shikamaru gritted his teeth.
"Let go of me for god sakes you bastard! Hanging up here is really annoying! Couldn't you be normal and lock me up in a cage or something?" Temari complained as her wrists were getting really sore.
"A cage is hardly representative. The crucifix is much more symbolic...don't you think so Shikamaru?" Hidan grinned evilly.
"What do you want?" Shikamaru spoke in a threatening tone.
"You really don't know do you?" Hidan asked.
"Of course not! Otherwise I wouldn't have let any of this get this far."
"Does the word 'Jashin' sound familiar to you?"
Shikamaru raised his eyebrow, "Yeah I remember reading it in a police file. It was the name of some crazy cult."
"A cult? Is that how it was listed on the file? A cult?! It's a way of living! A religion! Our saviour! Our god!"
Shikamaru continued to look at Hidan as he continued to rant, "And what does it have to do with us?"
Hidan paused, "It has EVERYTHING to do with us! Aren't you meant to be some sort of genius with a super-fucking-brain?"
Shikamaru thought for a moment, "So you're a follower of this 'religion' and now you're angry because the police took down the whole organisation. I still don't get what that has to do with me specifically?"
Hidan's face could be seen being filled with rage even though it was hidden behind the paint.
At that moment he brought out a gun and pointed it at Shikamaru.
"He-hey! What do you think you're doing?!" Temari screamed out.
Shikamaru dropped his gauntlets.
Hidan came over and kicked them away; then he returned to where he was standing originally.
"It wasn't the fucking police that shut down the organisation, it was your DICKHEAD FATHER that tricked and arrested MY GRANDFATHER."
Shikamaru stared at the gun and took a deep breath, "So it was your g-grandfather that led the, uh, religion."
"Ah, you finally got the picture. Because of your meddling father, our whole organisation crashed, my grandfather was taken away from me and my family imploded. The only thing that kept us together was our faith and hope; and your fucking father took that away from us."
Shikamaru gulped as he continued to stare at the gun, "Well the whole police force was in on it too, you know?"
Hidan moved closer with the gun, "DON'T FUCKING TRY TO SHIFT THE FUCKINGBLAME! WE KNEW THE POLICE WERE ABOUT TO GIVE UP, THEY HAD NOTHING SOLID ON US. THEN YOUR 'HEROIC' DICK OF A FATHER WENT UNDERCOVER DETECTIVE ON US AND CLOSED US DOWN! THE COMPLETE BLAME GOES TO YOUR FATHER!"
"Well if your 'religion' was all about 'salvation' and whatever, then even if they went undercover, if you guys weren't doing anything wrong, it wouldn't have even mattered" Temari butted in.
Hidan then pointed the gun at her, "Shut up blondie."
"Temari, their religion was all about sacrifice." Shikamaru explained.
"S-sacrifice...?" Temari stuttered with her focus now on the gun.
"Human sacrifices..." Shikamaru expanded.
"Yeah and so bloody what? All religions, even the 'legitimate' ones, have at least one passage about sacrifice. Sacrifice is necessary to truly be close to god. To be close to the almighty Jashin! We didn't cover up our ways with pretty little lies and stories and told it as it is. To be truly clean is to make sacrifices."
"Even though other religions also mentioned sacrifice, they left it in the past. They thank those who have been sacrifice and honour them to this day; they don't still continue to do so now." Shikamaru argued back.
Temari gasped, "You don't mean that they...r-really 'sacrificed' people recently."
Hidan pointed the gun back at Shikamaru, "Yeah and you know fucking what? They gave their consent to become a sacrifice! No one was fucking forced to do anything. They wanted to be sacrificed for the greater good, to become everyone's salvation. The Jashin brings out the good qualities in people, teach us to not be selfish, taught us to find balance; and because our organisation got closed down, their sacrifices were in vain!"
"Don't try to shift the blame for those people's deaths onto Shikamaru. You guys were the ones who talked them into throwing their life away!" Temari yelled out.
"You really wanna die don't you hun?" Hidan pointed the gun back at Temari and unlocked the gun.
"Hey, hey, she just likes to mouth off a lot. You know how troublesome woman are right?" Shikamaru tried to bring Hidan's attention back to himself.
"What do you mean by 'troublesome'?" Temari argued back.
"Temari this isn't the time to talk about this right now."
"The hell it is!"
"SHUT UP OR I'LL KILL THE BOTH OF YOU RIGHT NOW!" Hidan demanded and bellowed.
The two fell silent instantly.
"Oh, you know what? I've got an idea." Hidan grinned menacingly, "I'll let you decide Shikamaru. Should I shoot you or your pretty girlfriend? The other one will survive."
Shikamaru gulped again, but the answer was obvious to him, "Shoot me."
"YOU IDIOT! DONT JUST THROW YOUR LIFE AWAY LIKE THAT! HOW CAN YOU DO THIS TO ME HUH? ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE ME LIVE MY LIFE KNOWING YOU DIED THIS WAY? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I DON'T NEED YOUR HELP SO GO AW-"
"AND WHAT?! JUST LET YOU DIE? DO YOU ACTUALLY WANT ME TO TELL HIM TO SHOOT YOU? DO YOU?!" Shikamaru cried out to the point where his words nearly got caught in his throat.
Shikamaru looked over to Temari and completely forgot about the gun for the moment.
He could feel his brain pulsing, his heart racing and his palms getting sweaty. He looked into Temari's eyes trying to convey his feelings through them; however he didn't cry. He was prepared for this from the very start, he didn't need to cry.
Temari's eyes were already filled with tears at this point and as soon as she saw Shikamaru's, the tears were falling non-stop; and for once, she didn't even care.
Pride was no longer a factor that mattered; even to her.
"Well this is rather nice and easy. As the way with Jashin, I'll let you have a moment to think to yourself before I shoot you to your death." Hidan steadily held the gun at Shikamaru.
"No...please don't..." Temari quietly pleaded.
Shikamaru took this time to think to himself and reminisce. The moments he helped and enjoyed doing cases with his father, the many heated arguments he got into with his mother over little things, his time at school being chased by girls, only to redirect them back to Sasuke, the time he was laying in his quiet spot at school about to take a nap until Temari showed up. That was when he met her for the very first time. He knew she must have been new since he has memorised all student that attend Konoha High. At the same time though, he even let himself get cocky to think she was like the rest of the girls; but he was very wrong. She wasn't cute at all. She snapped back at him and even left with a snide remark. Even though he brushed it off by labelling her 'troublesome', he was probably interested in her since that very moment. As he got to know her, she made him forget of even thinking about having a simple life like he previously wanted. How could you have a simple life with a prideful and even boisterous woman like her? She had ruined all of his future plans, but he didn't care. He wanted to see her more in his future, even if she turned it completely upside down. He wanted to spend even more time with her, get to know her, see more of her other side that she doesn't show to the world. He wanted to know more of her secrets, like her fear of lightning and that she, like him, still craved company even though she looked like she'll be perfectly happy to be alone.
"Ok, I think times up now." Hidan announced.
"Please...no..." Temari continued.
Shikamaru closed his eyes, the thought of wanting to spend more time with her and know more about her kept repeating over and over in his head.
"You're missing something. They way you are now, you will go far, but without it, maybe not far enough." Asuma's words then came into Shikamaru's mind.
"Don't worry, you're a smart kid, it'll kick in when it really counts for sure," he remembered Asuma also saying with a large smile.
'Heh, I guess I'll never know. I guess I wasn't as smart as you painted me out to be Asuma. I failed this lesson...my last lesson'
Shikamaru could feel himself choke on the word 'last' in his head. Again the thought of wanting to be with Temari repeated in his mind, mixing in with the words of Asuma.
Shikamaru's mind started to spin, he was losing focus, and he was losing his grip on leaving in peace.
"Ready to say goodbye Shikamaru?" Hidan asked the rhetorical question.
Shikamaru's whole body started to shake. He couldn't understand why. Could he be scared? Is he in fear of the idea of death?
'I want to be with Temari, I want to spend more time with her, my father, my mother, even my friends. I may not get my peaceful life, but I...I...I...I...WANT TO LIVE!'
"NO!" Shikamaru suddenly cried out with tears breaking out and streaming down his face.
"Too la-" Hidan was cut off as the doors of the church suddenly flew open and an arrow came flying through the air, piercing Hidan's arm that was holding the gun.
"GRAH!" Hidan cried in pain and let go of the gun involuntarily.
Shikamaru dropped to his knees and stared at the Hidan who was rolling on the floor in pain.
"GUYS!" Temari cried out in relief to see the rest of their gang, as well as some members of the Akatsuki, appear in front of her.
"Temari! Shikamaru!" They all cried out as they entered the run down church.
Shikamaru was in a complete daze. Even as Chouji, Ino and Hinata ran over to him.
Eventually he snapped out of his world and looked over at their smiling faces in relief.
He looked back at Hidan again, and then noticed that he was no longer lying in agony, he had the gun in his left hand.
"I-I'm not gonna...let..." He pointed it over at Temari.
Shikamaru's mind went blank, his legs sprung back to life, he could feel his heart pumping rapidly again as he ran towards Hidan.
"Temari!" Tenten screamed out.
Sakura, Hinata and Ino squealed.
Naruto and Kiba tried to run to Hidan, but they found out too late and wouldn't make it in time.
Temari stopped breathing, she was but a deer caught in the headlights.
"Die!" Hidan pulled the trigger.
Shikamaru ran in front and got shot.
Naruto and Kiba then pounced on Hidan, pinning him down and took the gun away from him.
"SHIKAMARU! SHIKAMARU!" Temari cried out feeling nothing but hopelessness as she was still hanging from the ceiling, unable to move. The tears fell even harder.
Shikamaru's mind stayed blank. He could hear everyone speaking over each other, but was in a state where he was no longer matching the voices to names or faces.
His vision was starting to blur.
"Oh my god Shikamaru!"
"He's bleeding too much!"
"We have to stop the bleeding!"
"Call an ambulance!"
"I hear sirens...is that the police?"
"How did they know about this?"
"They're too bloody damn late."
"Someone still needs to call an ambulance!"
"Get me bandages or something to stop the goddamn bleeding!"
Shikamaru closed his eyes and let himself be engulfed by the darkness.
Temari calling his name was the last thing he heard.
Phew! What a long and eventful chapter!
I hope it was ok. So much going on, I'm completely exhausted haha!
Was it maybe too long of a chapter?
Thank you all for your patience, I'll try to write the next chapter soon.
I guess this is the end of the Akatsuki vs. Konoha arc.
So now we're nearing the end...so sad! But long overdue I guess.
I wonder if this counts as a cliffhanger...?