Naruto: The Uchiha Chronicles Re-Version:

Hey everyone, hope you're doing well. Welcome to the newest chapter of Uchiha Chronicles.

The Fifth Hokage:

Chapter 57: Flight of the Akatsuki

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Tucked away inside the hotel room, Naruto sat on his bed, studying a scroll about sealing mechanics. Considering how important that seal from Jiraiya had been in his fight with Gaara, he wanted to expand that part of his knowledge. He was no slouch at sealing, but he needed to be better. Naruto had long accepted he didn't have the sheer genius of his father when it came to seals, but he still had talent that needed to be cultivated. It had been about an hour since Jiraiya left. His window was wide open, letting in the drunken shouts in the streets below. The scent of cheap perfume and tobacco hung heavy in the breeze.

Even as he worked, Naruto had clones off in the forest working on other jutsu.

Naruto paused as a loud, clear knock rang through the air. Setting the scroll aside, he got up and headed to the door. He paused, feeling for the chakra signatures on instinct.

He came up short when he felt two huge signatures. One was monstrous–dwarfing his own, a truly terrifying feat–so much so it nearly masked the second signature.

He hesitated. There was something familiar about the smaller one. A nervous, twitchy feel to the chakra; the feeling of a Sharingan user. Itachi. The name brought with it an intense rush of anger. He had to stop himself from rushing to the door and confronting the man. Only fifteen feet away stood the man that had broken Sasuki, murdered Mikoto. All to allegedly follow orders. A convenient excuse for being too cowardly to stand up against a cruel command, in his opinion. He'd like nothing more than to beat the traitor down and drag him back to the village.

And yet, the logical side of Naruto knew he stood no chance against Itachi. He bit his lip. After a moment's hesitation, he silently created a clone to distract them and dashed towards the open window.

As he perched on the windowsill, a shout from the hallway stopped him cold. A melodic voice pierced the air, one he was all too familiar with.

"Itachi!"

Sasuki's voice carried through the walls as if they were paper, she sounded angry and short of breath. Naruto cursed, he whirled about and pounded towards the door, throwing it wide.

As the door slammed into the frame, a towering blue-grey skinned man turned to him with a curious gaze. The man looked like some grotesque shark-human hybrid. Curved facial markings mimicked gills on his rigid face, and his blue hair was stylized into a spiky shark fin. Perhaps the most unsettling thing was the small, white eyes, with tiny pupils, they regarded Naruto with cold amusement, like a great white eyeing its next meal. The man smiled, revealing a set of sharp teeth.

Naruto hesitated. The shark-like man had a hand casually resting on the hilt of a bandage-swathed sword. His mind churned, the sharp teeth, and that sword. This man had to be a member of the Seven Swordsman. Naruto's instincts screamed at him that if he tried to go for Senbonzakura, the shark-man would have that sword out before he had his hand on the hilt.

"Oh, if it isn't the Nine-Tails. Say, Itachi, this one's got the Sharingan, just like the girl. Seems like you missed a few when you slaughtered your clan."

"It would seem so, Kisame."

He stared past the shark man, to a tall figure wrapped in a black robe with crimson clouds. Long black hair hung about his face in a loose ponytail. The man glanced at him with an apathetic gaze.

"…You've grown quite a bit, Naruto. I see you're no longer hiding your sharingan."

His body instinctively tensed, surely, Itachi wasn't implying that … "Are you saying you knew all along?"

"Of course. Surely, you've noticed. A person with a dojutsu always has chakra pooling in their eyes, and every dojutsu is unique. I know exactly when you awakened it. Given it was clearly natural, I saw no need to bring it to anyones attention."

"Why would you do that?"

Itachi's head made the barest tilt, "Call it curiosity. I wished to see how far you'd grow with that power."

At the end of the hallway, Sasuki had stood silent, trembling as she watched her brother speak. Finally, it seemed she could take no more.

"Itachi, I won't be ignored. Why are you after Naruto, answer me!"

The elder sibling glanced back in Sasuki's direction. Naruto tensed, he wanted to intervene, but the amused twitch of Kisame's lips told him that wouldn't be easy. So, he watched helplessly as Sasuki was pinned under Itachi's stare.

"My business with Naruto is none of your concern. I'm not here for you Sasuki. I can tell, just by looking at you. You've gotten stronger, but you don't have the hate you need. Now run along and survive a little longer."

Sasuki's face hardened. "I won't let you take someone I love, not again."

She braced her left hand, lightning sparked in her palm. The sound of a thousand birds chirping filled the air, arcs of lightning tore into the plaster as the smell of smoke and ozone filled the corridor.

"Sasuki, wait!"

His cry was ignored. The muscles in her legs tensed, she moved like lightning, her Chidori tearing a scar into the wall. Naruto watched helplessly as Sasuki tried to stab Itachi, only to have him effortlessly grab her wrist. With a causal twitch, her wrist snapped like a twig, the Chidori faded into nothing. Itachi landed a quick kick into Sasuki's stomach, sending her flying into the wall with a harsh thud. Before she had a chance to collect herself, Itachi was on her, grabbing Sasuki by the throat and slamming her against the wall.

"Get your hands off her–" Naruto wanted to intervene, but Kisame yanked his massive sword from its place on his back, placing it in his way as the shark man wagged a finger.

"None of that, this is a family matter. Let's let them handle it."

"Like hell!" Naruto tried to ensnare the man in a genjutsu, but it wouldn't hold. The attempt seemed to amuse Kisame.

"Nice try, Samehada here makes me immune."

He grit his teeth, staring a hole into Kisame, even as he felt a pulse of chakra from Itachi, centered in his sharingan as he activated his Mangekyo. A whole new type of panic seized him. He didn't know exactly what Itachi's Mangekyo did, but he knew it had some form of powerful genjutsu. One that had left Sasuki in a comma after he used it on her. To see her lying in a hospital bed helpless, he couldn't bare to see that again.

With a renewed determination, he silently activated his Flash Step, disappearing just as Kisame made to swing his blade. He blurred towards Itachi.

Just as he felt his chakra pulse, Naruto managed to push in between Sasuki and Itachi, meeting the spiraling gaze of the older Uchiha's Mangekyo.

The world turned red and black. Harsh white outlines threw a field of negative color into harsh relief, as Itachi's shadowy form appeared before him. The elder Uchiha regarded him curiously.

"So, you've opted to take Sasuki's place. Very brave, but ultimately pointless. This just makes my task all the easier." As Itachi spoke, Naruto found himself being strung up on a black cross, white barb white wrapped around his arm, causing rivulets of ivory blood to pour down his arms and soak into the ground. "Welcome to the world of Tsukuyomi. In here, I control time. A second is an eternity. You shall be tortured, over and over, until I deem fit to stop."

"An eternity, huh." Naruto glared at Itachi harshly. "So, this is what you did to Sasuki that day."

"Indeed, though her ordeal was more … mental, in nature. Yours shall be much more painful." As he spoke, Itachi suddenly had a sword in his hand. He held it loosely, poised to stab into Naruto.

"You really are a sick bastard, aren't you. Using your Mangekyo on your little sister. How's the eyesight doing?" Naruto growled. He strained against the barbed wire, drawing even more blood.

He let out a scream of pain, as Itachi suddenly stabbed him. The sensation of the blade burning through his body was far too intense. As Itachi slowly drug the blade from Naruto's body, he stared at him sharply.

"I see you know the price we pay for the Mangekyo Sharingan. How unexpected."

Naruto panted, glaring a hole through Itachi. "That's not all I know. I know you're a coward, one who thought it made sense to kill an entire clan just to stop a few people from starting a civil war."

The blade bit into his flesh, slowly sliding out with the heat of a white-hot poker. Naruto grit his teeth against the pain as Itachi watched him carefully.

"Now where would you get such a ridiculous idea? I killed my clan to test the limits of my ability, nothing more."

A wet cough slipped through Naruto's lips. He gave Itachi a bloody smirk. "Yeah, that's what Sasuki said you claimed. But let's cut the bullshit, I know the Uchiha were planning a coup d'état."

Itachi stood silent, like a statue. He waited patiently for the older Uchiha to speak. They both knew the jig was up, it was just a matter of if Itachi would drop his façade. Finally, he relented.

"I see. Does Sasuki know?"

He frowned, suppressing a pang of guilt. This was one thing he'd neglected to share with Sasuki, though solely because he hadn't been entirely convinced himself. As it was, one of the biggest questions surrounding the event may have been answered. He'd always struggled to believe someone as put together as Itachi simply snapped. There had to be something more, or at least, that was what he told himself.

"No. I didn't totally believe it myself. Before I told her our clan was full of traitors, I needed to be sure it was true. Tell me, you didn't really snap, did ya?"

"… Indeed. My actions were not born of madness, but necessity. The clan would not see reason, so I stepped in to prevent an even greater tragedy. Despite the necessity of it, the guilt weighed on me. So, I tried to encourage Sasuki to seek to avenge our clan, thus consigning our transgressions to obscurity."

"So, you just killed all those people? The main conspirators, I could understand. But the innocents, civilians, children, your mother? I don't give a crap about your reasons; you crossed a line. You tortured Sasuki, broke her as a person. Some might think you were a hero, but not me. You've still got a lot to answer for.

His words were taken surprisingly well by Itachi. The older man accepted them, nodding in agreement.

'What you say is true. That day … what happened was excessive. Though, if it were up to me, I never would have gone so far. But there were … external forces,

Naruto drew in a startled hiss of air. "Are you saying, it was an order?"

He couldn't believe it; he wouldn't Very few people had that kind of influence in the village. And the most likely person to give the order was the Third Hokage. Gramps would never do that, though.

"An order is perhaps putting it a bit strongly. Ultimatum would be a better word. Had I not done what I did, Sasuki's safety wouldn't have been guaranteed."

"So, like a coward you killed everyone?" Naruto's voice dripped with disgust.

"What would you have had me do? Of all things in this world, Sasuki's life is the most precious to me. Should I have simply allowed her to live in threat? What would you do in my place?"

"Anything else." The answer came readily, easily, to Naruto. "I'd have torn the person that gave me that ultimatum to pieces, told the Hokage, anything. But most of all I damn sure wouldn't just trust the word of somebody who'd order the genocide of an entire clan. Who was it, tell me!"

Itachi closed his eyes, bowing his head in sorrow. "Tear the person to pieces? I suppose you have a point. Perhaps I am cowardly, as you say. If that's the case, I see no reason to stop being cowardly now. You're not in any position to challenge the one I speak of, either politically or physically. And your moral compass is too high to let something like this go unchallenged."

Though he scowled, Naruto silently accepted Itachi's words. It didn't mean he'd stop looking, but there was no way he'd pry the information loose.

"Tch. Whatever. Now, I think it's about time we end this farce."

"Oh? Perhaps you've gotten the wrong impression Naruto. I don't just intend to let you go. My current group seeks the Tailed Beasts, I won't simply let you escape, it would make me look suspicious. Even with a regular sharingan, you cannot break this genjutsu."

Naruto smirked, drawing more chakra into his eyes.

"Who the hell said I had a regular sharingan? Did you think you were the only one with a Mangekyo?" Itachi had no chance to react, as Naruto's eyes pulsed, spinning and morphing into a new design with a three-petal flower.

The illusionary world was torn to pieces, revealing the real world. Naruto felt dizzy and mentally exhausted. He still had the mental wherewithal to notice that Itachi was far worse, his eyes struggled to focus, and blood leaked from one of them. Taking advantage of the distraction, he batted Itachi's hand away from Sasuki, dropping her to the ground where she gasped for air.

Itachi stumbled backwards. His partner looked at him curiously.

"That kid seems awfully awake. You're not usually this sloppy."

"To the contrary, Naruto here is simply resistant to my Tsukuyomi. It seems his Mangekyo can counter my own."

Kisame clicked his tongue in annoyance. "Well, looks like we go with plan b; chop off a few limbs and drag him away. Sharkskin is more than up to the task."

Naruto tensed up, Senbonzakura was drawn in a flash, seals glowing along its length and ready to unleash. Sharkskin was one of the more obscure blades of the Seven, hardly anyone had seen it used. There was no telling what was coming. For a moment, they stood still. Kisame held his great sword in a single hand, regarding Naruto with unabashed amusement, as though he was a little kid brandishing a toy sword. The blue-skinned man twitched; And then he moved, almost faster than Naruto's sharingan could predict. Naruto raised his sword, prepared to meet the downwards swing. He reinforced his arms with chakra, as gleaming steel prepared to meet the bandaged exterior of Kisame's blade.

Just before their blades could clash, the floor began to morph. Hard polished wood shifted to pale pink flesh that spread like fungus, enveloping them in a layer of the spongy material. The floor quickly trapped Kisame and Itachi's feet, holding them in place.

"It seems I arrived just in time. Such a cheap trick, trying to use a woman to distract me."

Jiraiya appeared at the end of the corridor, a woman slung over his shoulder, clearly unconscious. The Sannin gently set the woman against the wall, before turning back to regard Kisame and Itachi.

"So, this is the Akatsuki. Or at least two of you. Your little group has made quite a name for yourselves. I know why you're here. You're after the Nine-Tailed Fox in Naruto, aren't you?"

The two robed men shared a glance, silently communicating between themselves. "I see, so that's where Kakashi got his information."

Naruto squeezed Senbonzakura tightly. "Kakashi? What did you do to him?" He felt a stab of fear to his core. He'd just lost gramps; he couldn't stand losing someone else. His patience danced on a razor's edge, the chakra yearned to race down his arm and into his sword. He would rip them to shreds. He should rip them to shreds.

Consumed by his loss, Naruto nearly lost himself to the whispers of rage.

"Kakashi got in our way, so we incapacitated him." Itachi's drawl was as emotionless as ever.

Incapacitated. Naruto's mind grasped the word, clung to it. His hand steadied on Senbonzakura's hilt. For just a moment, he let his tension slip. Itachi was quick to take advantage.

"Kisame, we're leaving."

Itachi ripped his feet free, turning and racing around the corner. The blue-skinned giant cursed, ripping his sword free of the floor and following after his partner.

"There's no escaping the mountain toads' stomach!" Jiraiya called after them.

As the Sannin gave chase, Naruto followed swiftly, with Sasuki just behind. Together they raced across the fleshy ground, an odd, off-balance chase. They caught up to Jiraiya as the man stared in disbelief at the end of the hall.

The bustling town of Shukuba showed through a hole that had been burnt into the wall. You could see all the way to the edges of town from there. Smokeless black flames flickered at the edges, filling the air with the scent of searing toad flesh. Somewhere, amidst the gambling houses and residences, Akatsuki had gotten away.

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Well, what did you think? The Akatsuki have been repelled for now, and anow Naruto will have to turn his attention back to finding Tsunade. Be sure to leave a comment and tell me what you think!

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RinneTaicho, Signing Off!