TITLE: Bunaíodh de Luíonn or Inception of Lies
CHAPTER: Daybreak: Chapter 2
WORD COUNT: 3,252 words
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Naruto or any of its franchise.
BEFOREWORD: Sorry this chapter is late! I'll try to promise to make the next chapter come out sooner!
Naruto rarely felt this kind of fear.
It was a deep feeling that settled inside his gut and refused to leave. It was the kind of fear he felt when someone he cared about was in danger.
And now, two of those people were in danger.
And one of them was Grace.
He kicked off a branch hard, propelling himself forward at greater speed. They had to catch up to the Akatsuki as soon as possible, and to do that, they had to reach the Sand Village ASAP.
He cursed their bad luck. If only they had stayed longer in the Sand Village! If only Grace had returned when they did!
Why did they have to take Grace?
What was so special about her that everyone needed her so badly? He knew Tsunade knew—Kakashi probably knew… and Jiraiya definitely knew. After the pain of Grace's death slowly began to ebb away, he had questioned his mentor about it, but the older man had always eluded giving an answer.
But this was one time too far. Answers would have to be given, and Naruto would not stop until he had them.
"Naruto!" Sakura's sharp voice brought him back to reality, and he narrowly dodged a tree. "You need to stop drifting off," Sakura said, pushing forward so she matched his speed. "We won't be able to go very fast if someone has to carry you after you get hit by a tree."
Naruto ignored her.
Sakura didn't know what it was like to be hunted. Perhaps that was why he always felt such so close with Grace. It wasn't just that they were like siblings, best of friends. They had a sort of…kinship. They both had deadly secrets, and they were both hunted for those reasons.
If only he knew what her secrets were. At times, he felt hurt that she never shared hers with his, but then again, she always knew about his secret. He knew, however, that they were both hunted for reasons that they had nothing to do with. He didn't ask to have the Nine-Tailed Fox sealed inside of him, and he was sure, whatever it was, Grace didn't ask for it.
He felt the panic rise again as he kicked off harder, ignoring the pain growing in his legs from pushing his muscled too hard. He watched out of the corner of his eyes as Sakura slowly fell behind.
Suddenly he felt a blast of wind as he was jerked backwards and slammed against a tree.
"What were you doing?" someone cried.
He looked up to see four people standing over him.
"What the hell are you doing here?" he demanded as a blonde woman reached out and grasped his hand, pulling him up. "And what was with attacking me, huh?"
"Reflex," Temari, whom he quickly recognized, replied, sounding only mildly apologetic. "What has the four of you all worked up about?"
The teammates looked at each other cautiously, before Kakashi gave Temari the news.
Lee yawned, stretching his arms as he walked out into the street. He had done an extraneous training exercise last night and was now feeling slightly tired. But he would ignore that and work double hard today, he was sure.
"There you are," Tenten scolded, leaning against the side of the building the team was gathering at. "It's not like you to be late."
"Speaking of which," Neji said, looking around with a bored expression, "It's unlike Guy to be late."
"You don't think he died, do you?" Tenten asked, sounding nervous.
"Of course he didn't!" Lee cried. "Why would you even say that?"
"I've never known him to be late," Neji replied, cutting Tenten off. "It is a valid question.
"It's not a very nice one. He probably went to Head Quarters already." Lee said.
The other two glanced at each other, their faces mimicking slight humiliation that Lee thought of this first.
"There you are."
The three ninja turned their heads to see their former sensei and team leader walking towards them, looking uncharacteristically grim.
"Why the long face, Guy-sensei?" Tenten asked. A sudden sensation that all was not well crept up her spine, causing her to shiver involuntarily.
"I have some bad news about our next mission," Guy said, speaking slowly.
"What is it?" Lee asked, frowning.
"The Kazekage has been kidnapped, and we're to catch up with Team Kakashi and help with the rescue." He said. "We're the only team available—besides Team Kurenai, but they have no leader."
"We should leave immediately!" Lee exclaimed. "What are we wasting time for?"
"There's more," Guy continued. "It appears that the people that kidnapped Gaara are members of a terrorist group called Akatsuki, you remember being briefed on them, correct?" His younger teammates nodded. "Well, they've also captured Grace."
The stunned silence that followed was only interrupted by a sharp intake from Tenten. "Grace?" she asked, sounding panic stricken. "What do you mean, they've captured Grace?"
"Just what I said," he answered. "I t appears that the Akatsuki has been after her for a while—and now that it is more well known that she is alive, they must have jumped at the chance to get their hands on her."
"Now we really must leave," Lee said darkly, "We don't have any time to lose!"
I felt a sharp pain as I opened my eyes, blinking in the dark to clear them of spots. Where was I? It did not take long for me to realize I was in a cave, and a few moments of deductive reasoning told me exactly where I was.
As my eyes cleared, I saw that Gaara was tied up a few feet away from me. I tried to stand up but found that my hands and feet were bound. Cursing, I struggled into a sitting position. My whole body was sore and my dress was in ruins. My head still hurt and I could feel sweat dripping down it.
I licked my cheek and frowned.
That wasn't sweat.
I didn't remember receiving a head wound. , it must have happened after I passed out.
My eyes widened as I sat up, alert. What happened? If Gaara and I are both in this cave then that means… but did Deidara succeed and blow up the village? No, that's impossible. If Gaara is here than that must prove that Deidara did not succeed, right? But still…I shuffled over to Gaara, bending over to put my cheek against his chest.
It was faint, but he was breathing.
"Gaara," I whispered.
He didn't move.
"Gaara!" I said, louder.
I heard noises far away, but from the sound of it, someone was nearing. I heard loud footsteps enter the hall. Quickly I fell down and closed my eyes, hoping to fool whoever it is into believing I was still asleep.
"I'm not going to let you take any credit here," a man I recognized as Deidara said.
There were two footsteps. Who was the other person?
"I have no interest in the Kazekage," a man said. "I'm just here to see to the girl."
The voice was familiar. I knew I had heard it before.
"Hey, she's my catch as well—I'm not going to let you take any credit for her either!"
"Pain is well aware that you caught her. I was given explicit orders to take care of her." Deidara's companion said.
The person stopped right in front of my face. It took all my resolve to steady my breathing—but try as I might, I could still feel my heart speeding up. The person crouched and touched my face.
"She's awake," The man said, removing his hand.
"Really?" Deidara asked, sounding curious. "I didn't notice."
I felt the person grab my jaw, jerking it. I opened my eyes and stared up at…
"Itachi," I whispered, staring at the man.
Naruto furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. That sounded an awful lot like… "Lee?" Naruto asked out loud, turning his head just in time to see something large and green slam into him. Naruto skidded against a tree, gasping for air as he looked up to see Lee grinning down at him. "Why does everything have to be hitting me?" He growled, accepting Lee's hand as the older boy helped him up.
"Sorry about that," Lee said, "I guess I was just moving too fast."
"What else is new," Kakashi muttered as he stepped forward. "Where's the rest of—"
"Lee, you fast devil," Guy said as he suddenly appeared, "This won't be the last—ah, Kakashi, looks like we've made it in time."
"I guess that means that you're our back-up team," Kakashi said, letting out a sigh.
"Our what?" Sakura asked, absentmindedly swatting at Lee as he attempted to kiss her hand.
"Back-up," Lee answered.
"That's good, but we're wasting time—"
"We have to wait till the rest of their team catches up," Kakashi said, interrupted Temari. "Besides, we could use the rest."
It was only a few minutes before Neji and Tenten caught up to their teammates.
"Took you guys long enough!" Naruto and Lee grumbled in unison.
"Give them a break—we had a few hours on them," Sakura said, smacking Naruto's arm.
"Ouch," he winced, rubbing it and glaring at her.
"Kakashi," Temari spoke up, "I'm going on ahead. You guys should rest," she nodded at Guy and his team. We're two days from the Sand, perhaps less if at the right speed. I don't want to waste any time." She turned to go.
"Wait!" Naruto said, springing forward, "I'm coming with you. I've had enough rest."
"Naruto, we should stay together," Kakashi began.
"We're ready to go," Guy said, "You didn't have that much time on us. Let's go," he nodded at his team members who nodded back.
"This is why I'm glad that old hag sent your team, Guy-sensei!" Naruto said, grinning.
As the rest of the team set off, Temari felt a deep foreboding as they approached the Sand Village.
"Ow," I muttered as I rubbed my wrists.
Itachi stood in front of me, looking down at me with an expressionless face. He placed the kunai he had used to cut the ropes on the lamp table next to the bed where I sat.
I must say I'm relieved to no longer be bound, but I am feelings somewhat apprehensive being held captive in a bedroom. Not that I'm expecting Itachi to try anything, it honestly doesn't seem in his character, but still, it is a little… disconcerting. "I didn't know this place had bedrooms."
"Sleeping quarters," Itachi said, facing away from me as he walked to a desk, looking through a book that was laying there.
"I see…" I said, scanning the room. It was empty except for the bed and the desk. In fact, it seemed like it hadn't been used. Ever. "Tell me, what are your… plans for me? Surely you're not going to kill me."
"My 'plans' for you are to keep you safe until Pain has a use for you."
"Well, as much as I would love to meet Pain, I'm afraid I am one hundred percent certain that your 'plans' will fail." I answered, still looking around.
"I am well aware of your… gifts." Itachi said, still facing away from me.
My eyes rested on the kunai on the lamp table. I reached out and grasped the handle. "Although," I said, "I am surprised that you are here. I was under the impression that you would be elsewhere."
I slid off the bed, walking towards him as silently as I could. I raised the kunai, aiming for his head with the handle. Hopefully I can knock him out and escape this room.
Suddenly Itachi disappeared.
"I'm surprised," Itachi whispered from behind me. "I would not have thought you capable of murder."
I took a sharp intake of breath. He grabbed my hand and pressed on my wrist. I let go of the kunai and it clattered to the ground, "Well who knows if I would be able to go through with it."
Itachi let go of my wrist and I spun around, backing up to the desk.
"I can assure you that your safety is of top priority of mine."
"Because Pain has instructed you?" I asked, raising an eyebrow. "Sorry, that's not going to cut it for me."
"Yes, because of that." He took a step towards me, "But also because you are very special to someone."
"Sasuke?" I asked, my voice quavering on the word.
Itachi said nothing.
"Sasuke," I said, "Probably won't even—" my eyes widened.
It was all making sense. I was right. Itachi was not supposed to be here. Because this isn't Itachi! It was… "Sasuke?" I asked, taking a step towards him.
"I've done the best I can," Akai said, stepping away from Kankurō. "I've had training as a medical ninja—but I'm nowhere near the level of Lady Tsunade. I'm afraid we'll just have to wait until Team Kakashi arrives. Sakura Haruno was Lady Tsunade's student. I'm positive she will be able to help him."
Baki nodded grimly, watching as his former student twitched in pain, unconscious.
"He's going to live, though, right sensei?" Mi asked, looking on with worry. The girl was unusually quiet in the silent hospital wing.
"What was he thinking, engaging with the enemy," Baki muttered. "Things have gotten so complicated in just a few hours."
"That's usually how warfare goes," Akai said, wiping her hands off. "Nothing goes as planned. And if it does, well, something else went horribly wrong." She sighed and flicked Mi on the head. "Go tell Chiaki and Kin to get ready. Team Kakashi should be arriving in the next day. It's been almost one day since we've sent out the alert to the Leaf. Once they've rested and Sakura has seen to Kankurō we will be heading out."
"You'll be going with them, will you?" Baki asked.
"Yes," she said, turning to look at him. "Grace was under our protection, and unfortunately, we were too distracted to properly fulfill our duties. I won't let that happen again."
Mi shook her head as well.
"Now go! Give them the message," Akai said in a slightly scolding voice as Mi hopped into motion, disappearing from the room.
"You really care for them, don't you?" a voice said from the door.
Akai and Baki turned to see an old woman walking towards them.
"Lady Chiyo," Baki said, surprised.
Akai blinked, looking at the woman thoughtfully, before bowing with Baki. "Yes, they are like daughters to me."
"Hmm…" the old woman stopped by Kankurō's bed, gazing at him as an old man entered the room.
"And Lord Ebizou, such a pleasant surprise," Baki said. "I'm so glad you accepted our summons."
"Quit your prattle," Lady Chiyo snapped, her eyes shifting to Akai. "I've seen you somewhere, perhaps on the battlefield. My memory places you with the White Fang—but that would mean you are an enemy." Her eyes narrowed.
Akai's eyes widened slightly and she took a step backwards, her hands before her submissively. "I suppose I am somewhat related with the White Fang, but I am not your enemy. I knew his son when I was a child."
"I see…" The woman turned to Baki. "Why are we so heavily relying on foreigners to do our work for us? In the old days we would not need to have others come to our aide."
"The Leaf is our ally now," Baki said, sounding as though this were not the first time this subject came up. "We had the Peace Treaty resigned not a week ago."
"Yes, yes, by that weak little tart from the Leaf—I heard of it. I also heard that this girl got herself captured—not only that, but she managed to somehow make it easier for our Kazekage to get captured."
"Grace is just a stupid—" Akai put a hand over her mouth, her cheeks tingling pink, "What I mean to say is, Grace does not always think before she acts. I know she had your village and Kazekage's protection as first priority. She is not trained as a ninja—"
"And therefore has no business dealing with the affairs of ninja!" Lady Chiyo retorted. "Just like those simpering lords and ladies who deign to claim that they have authority over us," she snorted. "They're all just flowery weaklings. That's why the girl was kidnapped in the first place."
Akai said nothing.
Lady Chiyo looked back at Kankurō, her eyes darkening. When did we need to depend on our enemies? She thought.
He said nothing as I took a step towards him. "Sasuke?" I asked again.
Still, there was no response.
It had to be him. Who else? I know that Itachi was not here, he couldn't be. Sasuke must have found out I was captured and came as soon as he could to rescue me. Itachi would not be so concerned for my well being.
I rushed forward and wrapped my arms around him, squeezing him tightly. "I'm so glad you came," I whispered, "I'm so frightened. They've gotten Gaara too. I know Naruto is coming but still, I'm so glad…" I trailed off. I looked up at him. That's strange. He should have flown off the handle at my mentioning of Naruto.
"Sasuke?" I asked.
He looked down at me.
And then it hit me.
This was not Sasuke.
I let go of him, backing up. I felt my face burn as I stared at the man who I had just hugged. I had just hugged Itachi. "That… I thought…"
"I'm very well aware," Itachi said. He sighed. "It is common under your circumstances to associate anything possible to something similar; A defense mechanism." He looked at the door. "I must go. You will stay in this room, understand?"
I nodded, my face still burning.
He took a step forward and took my chin in his hand, forcing me to look up at him. I held his eyes for as long as I could before looking away. Either by embarrassment or something else, I don't know.
As I heard the door shut, I still stood there, like an idiot. I can't believe I just hugged Itachi. And I called him Sasuke. I put my fingers to my lips. At least I didn't kiss him. But the strange thing was that I wanted too. I don't mean I wanted to kiss Itachi, but when I thought he was Sasuke I wanted to… Well, I suppose that answers how I really feel about Sasuke. I sank to the floor.
I felt exhausted.
And I only hope that Naruto… or Sasuke, come as soon as they can.
To be continued…
Well, what do you think?
Again I apologize for its lateness. Life, you know, is a pain in the butt.
Anyway, the next chapter should come sooner; I'm starting to get into a roll for this story. And I'm starting to go through some serious Sasuke withdrawal so don't be surprised if he makes a cameo soon.
Thanks for reading! Don't forget to leave a review ;)