Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto nor The Gamer. I own nothing, really.

Cover Art: Kissuli.

Chapter 106

"What did you expect to happen, Sasori?" Eiji asked, biting his rations. He'd been eating ever since his fight with Kakuzu ended and for good reason. His body needed sustenance and matter to regenerate. So, he was giving it exactly that. His wound may have closed, but World Ender was still working on his insides. Right at that moment, he could barely function and that was mainly due to chakra and senjutsu shenanigans rather than because of his own body.

Eiji was sure that if he were back in his original world he'd be very much agonizing. Then again, back there Kakuzu's attack would have killed him. Although, it wouldn't have been possible at all…

"Pull yourself together, Eiji," Hachi told him softly, making Eiji shake his head.

"No answer, huh?" He said, focusing his attention on the container that housed the remaining humanity of Sasori of the Red Sand. Tracking him had been a bit of a hassle, what with him switching puppets to try and get away. It hadn't been that bad though. Now with time to get Senjutsu going, that alone would have made the search easy. Not to mention…

"He's a bit dumb, right?" Shirakumo asked curiously from his shoulder and he saw a few of the hunter spiders around twitch in response. "Why put himself… there? Like that?" The spider princess added.

"Because… Yeah, he was dumb," Eiji ultimately agreed. He could have explained all the stuff behind that, but really… he couldn't care less at the moment. So, he left it at that. No need to give depth to such a thing, he supposed. There was also the fact that he was very annoyed with Sasori. "At least this mission is definitely over," He mused out loud with a weary sigh.

[Quest Complete: Defeat Hidan and Kakuzu

Reward:

+ 2 to all Stats

+ Perk Updated: Bloodhound

+ Perk Updated: Resilience

+ Title Updated: The Weaver]

'Okay then,' He thought, unable to even feel happy with the screen. He just wanted to… Eiji sighed, deciding to get on with it and check everything. He was likely to forget if he left it for later, considering how scrambled his mind felt.

[Bloodhound

The user's Stats are increased by 15% when facing a bleeding foe.]

'All stats instead of just Dexterity, huh? That's interesting.'

[Resilience (Intermediate)

The user recovers from injuries moderately faster than normal.]

'It… What happened here? Uh, I think it wasn't Intermediate before?' He wondered for a moment. It'd been a while since he'd given the skill much thought. Especially since its effect was just passive and always there. It didn't require much consideration from his part, really.

[The Weaver

Increases stats when fighting alongside members of the Spider Clan by 20%.

Increases stats when fighting with Nuibari by 35%.

Increases the effects of Bloodlust when using threads by 30%.

Increases the effects of thread-based techniques by 30%.

Increases the effects of Lightning Release techniques by 10%.

Increases the effects of Fire Release techniques by 5%.]

'Well, this is certainly something. Pretty sure most percentages got a little boost, and then there's the jutsu. It's not much, but certainly good,' He mused, deflating wearily as he dismissed all the screens. He'd check his Status screen later. It was just a few stats added, honestly.

"Are you okay, Eiji?" Shirakumo asked, receiving an echo that she couldn't hear from Tsuchigumo. The boy in question though, simply gave her a slightly forced smile.

"I am, just feeling really tired," He replied, taking another bite of his meal. "God, I need a break."

"Maybe when you get back?"

"Maybe," He agreed, even though he didn't believe so. There were still two pairs of Akatsuki members to deal with. Zetsu was out there too. There was Obito. There were several things to keep Eiji busy for the moment, sadly.

There was also the fact that the enemies left out there were the most difficult or unknown.

"Eiji?" Shirakumo asked, her tone still concerned as she poked him on the cheek.

"It's nothing," He waved off. "Thanks for the help, everyone," He called, getting a series of responses before most of the spiders disappeared in a puff of smoke. "You staying around, Shira-chan?"

"Still calling me that, huh?" The spider princess replied with a huff.

"Of course, and that's unlikely to change," He told her with a more honest but still tired smile. "How are things going back home? Your mother is still insisting on Genjutsu training?"

"Yes!" Shirakumo cried out with a suffering sigh. "She'll barely let me train anything else, it's awful."

"Not everything can be solved by throwing poison around, sadly," Eiji commented with a shrug that had his shoulder rider grumbling. "Have you gotten bigger?"

"Is that something you should be asking a lady?" The spider asked back with a mock offended tone. He could hear the humor in her voice though. "I'm a growing spider, you know. Of course I'm getting bigger."

"Huh, that's nice. You'll be as big as your mother in no time, I bet," He mused, considering that it was something he hadn't considered. Of course the spider would get bigger as time passed. Gamakichi did too, even if it was only in between time skips that weren't shown. It was still a weird thing to notice.

"You think?"

"Yeah, I do," He said, setting a foot over the canister that contained Sasori and settling with just looking around. With a small smile still in place, Eiji summoned a clone and sent it away towards his team. He'd take a little break where he was, maybe draw the sight before him with the small stream of water running through the forest, the trees and some rather beautiful wild flowers around. It was nice, and it was, perhaps more importantly, calm.

Silence was something that was getting rarer and rarer in his life.

"Eiji?" Shirakumo whispered, seemingly noticing the change in the situation.

"Say, Shira-chan," He started, getting yet another huff from the now not so little spider. "I'm gonna draw for a bit, do you want to pose?"

"Ah, um… No, maybe some other time," She replied, slightly caught off guard. There was a moment of silence as Eiji pulled out a notebook from a storage seal before pausing.

"Huh, this is just the height I need," He mused, noticing that his leg was at the perfect spot for him to draw on. "Thanks for that, Sasori," He added with a slight smirk.

"What are you going to do to him?" Shirakumo asked hesitantly. Why she was nervous, Eiji didn't know.

"Well, I'll just drop him at the T&D department," He waved off.

"... Are you gonna stay shirtless?" She continued, and that question made him pause. 'Right, I did that… Not that there was much left before,' He thought, looking down.

"Right, thanks for pointing that out, Shira-chan," He mumbled, pulling a storage seal.

"Don't mention it," The spider said, all but beaming at him.

Eiji, meanwhile, felt his face twitch as he considered taking a second set of clothes that he had stored. His body was still regenerating, and one of the reasons he'd chosen to take off the most damaged part of his outfit was that it felt awfully restraining while he struggled to recover from his wounds.

Thus, he decided on a different piece of clothing. Taking out a coat that he carried around just in case. It was, funnily enough, very similar to the one he'd used for his original ninja outfit, back when he'd just become a genin. Putting it on, he was still practically shirtless, with nothing under it, but it felt free enough not to bother him while World Ender continued working.

With that out of the way, he focused on his notebook.

[}-o-{]

It was almost reluctantly that Eiji found himself walking back to his team, which was why he didn't just Flicker or tree hop there. Instead, he took the scenic route, as it were. Even if it meant going back home with their mission finished, it also meant following a now almost usual routine.

Go on a mission. Almost die. Survive. Come back.

Rinse and repeat.

Eiji was growing tired of this. Tired of training. Tired of fighting. Tired of almost being on the verge of the Void. Tired of being at peace knowing that it was merely temporary. He was tired of it all.

And worse still, he couldn't stop.

What would happen if he stopped? His friends were stronger than their canon counterparts, in some aspects at the very least. That didn't mean they would be able to deal with the threats of the future though. There was nothing saying that things wouldn't go to hell as soon as he took himself out of the picture.

"Just a bit more, Eiji," Hachi reassured. "Just a few more fights and it'll be done."

She was right, but it didn't help nearly as much as he thought it should.

"Took your time, huh, Fearless Leader?" Tayuya greeted, being the first to notice his arrival. She sounded subdued, but still very much herself. That was good, he might have forgotten himself a little when he'd dropped Kakuzu before going after Sasori. "New fashion choice? You'll distract the bimbos, you know?" The redhead asked, getting scandalized bristling from both blondes in the team.

"Sad," He replied blandly. "I wanted to distract you."

"Wh-Huh?" Was Tayuya's disgruntled response, clearly caught off guard.

"Man, can you draw a picture of that face? I want it saved for the ages," Jirobo asked, smirking, if only slightly.

"I guess," Eiji answered with a shrug.

"Everything okay, Eiji?" Temari mumbled concernedly as she approached him, albeit hesitantly.

"I'm… fine," He said, but obviously nobody bought it. Yuki chose that moment to approach him and rub her head against his leg. Closing his eyes, he slowly breathed out. "Nothing too bad," He amended, placing a hand on the dog's head. "So, everyone's ready?"

Looking around, it seemed to be the case. Jirobo was standing next to the incapacitated Hidan and Kakuzu, ready to pick them up. Eiji was glad for that being taken care of. He didn't even want to see the pair if he didn't absolutely have to.

Thus, he turned away immediately after checking.

Everyone else was relaxing, although it looked more like waiting than actually just messing around. That was… good, Eiji supposed, taking another ration from his storage seal and opening it. Starting to eat once more, he found his attention focusing on the person that seemed to want it the least.

Fu.

As the girl gave him a very hesitant, slightly scared smile, Eiji tilted his head.

Then something occurred to him.

"Kabuto," He called, making the medic stand straight. "Is there any way to store those two in a seal?"

"Ah… not without killing them," He said. "And I'd say that they could be… temporarily like that, but with these two's special conditions, I doubt that's doable. It's a risky process anyway."

"I see," Eiji mumbled, considering what he wanted to do and the problem the two Akatsuki members represented. Then a smile formed on his face. "Shirakumo, do you think the spiders could keep these two safely contained? Maybe Sasori too?" He asked, making the spider on his shoulder shift a little as she considered the question for a second.

"Sure, I'll have to ask mum, but there shouldn't be a problem," The small white spider replied, making him nod. "Be right back."

And with his summon's gone and the situation somewhat, maybe resolved, he returned to his plans. Plans that needed some help from the recent, if temporary, addition to their little team. The Seven Tails Jinchuriki didn't look any more relaxed than she did before, but he didn't much care for that at the moment.

"Do you know any nice sights around?" He asked, making the girl, and everyone else too, blink. "I feel like sightseeing a little. Might just sit around and draw a bit, or something. I want a little vacation," He explained, before taking another bite of his rations. He tried taking a deep breath in, but while it didn't hurt anymore, it still felt very strange.

"Ah… I know one or two?" The girl replied, looking very confused. "Are you sure we shouldn't just… go straight to Konoha?"

"Hmmm," Eiji hummed, crouching down next to Yuki and giving her a thorough petting. "Nah. So, about those sights?"

"Eh," Fu started, looking around for help and getting only shrugs from all of them. "There's one not too far from here, if you want to go right now," She offered.

"Hm, not yet," Eiji decided, sitting on the ground and letting Yuki rest her head on his lap. "Take a moment to rest, everyone. I'm sure everyone's tired after the battle. You can take the opportunity to tell me how it went with Hidan."

"Can we just… not?" Tayuya asked, groaning and making Eiji raise an eyebrow as everyone else seemed to have similar reactions. "That was entirely too annoying. God, I'm glad we destroyed that weapon."

"Indeed," Jirobo agreed with her, for once, grimacing in turn with the redhead.

"Well, that's… ok?" Eiji mumbled, this time being his turn to be confused. "Guess we can leave that report for later."

"Or never," Tayuya muttered under her breath.

"So…" The leader prompted.

"What exactly would you like to see?" Fu offered with a nervous smile. At least she didn't look terrified anymore though. Eiji would count that as a victory, he supposed.

"Well-"

[}-o-{]

'Nice sight,' Eiji mused, as he continued drawing what was in front of him. A particularly nice spot on the cliff that went through a side of Takigakure. The place was far away from the village, of course, but in the distance, one could see the waterfall that named it. It was barely distinguishable, but it added nicely to the picture.

Thus, he continued adding to the notebook where he'd drawn sights from Iwagakure. The calm valley before them joining the imponent mountains and harsh extensions of rock. Maybe he'd look for a smaller waterfall nearby to add to that. There were a few spread all over the cliff, after all.

"Maybe you could add these sights to the Mindscape?" Kage suggested and Eiji had to pause at the idea.

"That's actually a good idea," Hachi commented, echoing his thoughts.

"Why do you sound surprised?" The original Orochimaru look alike asked. "Oi!" He protested when he was only met with silence.

Tuning out a mocking remark from Hachi, Eiji focused on the outside world once more. On what he could see and what he could hear. Tayuya's eerie but beautiful music reached his ears from where she'd sat not so far away. The rest of the group sat around doing their own thing. Yuki, for example, had taken a break from keeping him company and was now resting her head on Kabuto's lap.

Eiji was fine with that, he'd gotten a little better after moving and having something to take his mind away from things. Besides, Shirakumo was still with him after she'd delivered the message from her mother and the prisoners had been taken to the Spider Domain. Currently, the white arachnid was hanging from a thread over his notebook, slowly rotating.

"Yugito," He called them, having picked up on something that nearly ruined his mood. "Stop it," He said calmly, when the woman went to say something. Probably to lie through her teeth about not having been fishing for information from Fu, he activated Bloodlust. "You will stop, or I'll kick you back to Kumo. You are being allowed to be here. Don't think you are indispensable."

"Bimbos, honestly," Tayuya muttered with an illusion as she started playing once again.

"Sometimes, Tayuya, sometimes it feels like you are right about things," Eiji commented with a shake of his head. "What a world we live in."

"Oi, what's that supposed to mean?" The redhead protested. "I'm always right."

"Sure you are," He replied blandly, as he focused back on his notebook. Still, he kept an "eye" on Yugito and Fu. There was silence on that front now, which he was fine with. Well, if it weren't for the fact that it clearly made the ex-Taki nin uncomfortable. That's when a saving grace appeared in the shape of Jirobo approaching the two and speaking to the younger girl.

"Good. Remind me to do something nice for him," Eiji thought.

"Sure," Hachi agreed absently.

Thus, his pencil continued moving over the page as his mind all but drifted off to the tune of Tayuya's flute. Shutting down his own thoughts became extremely easy. He didn't want to think too hard about it, but he appreciated that fact. With some luck, his team would keep an eye out for him, because at that moment, he couldn't be bothered.

Soon, not even the sights ahead held his attention as his mind took him somewhere else. What his thoughts came up with was a dream world, a place where Akatsuki was out and there was no risk of Madara and Kaguya. A world of peace where he could just… rest and do whatever.

What would happen then?

Eiji was surprised to find that he'd prefer to stay away from the battlefield if he could. Staying at Konoha working behind a desk sounded like an absolute perfect future, funnily enough. Maybe not drowning in it, but having easy and definitely not too stressful work waiting for him instead of deadly battles that decided the fate of the world sounded nice.

"Maybe you can revisit that idea of working at a restaurant?" Kage pointed out and Eiji could almost see a smirk on his face.

"Now there's an idea," Eiji agreed with a grin of his own. "Didn't expect that from you though."

"Eh… Staying in one place and studying, improving, researching, sounds good to me," The man said absently.

"Hm… Maybe we can see about getting you and Hachi actual bodies," Eiji mused distractedly. "I'm sure I can tweak the Shadow Clone technique in some way, probably."

"We'd appreciate that, Eiji," Hachi told him, although her tone sounded strange. He couldn't quite place it, but surely they'd tell him if something was going on.

So, he continued his daydreaming. Kage was onto something. Having a restaurant to work at occasionally sounded pretty good. Helping his village by just existing and maybe doing some decision making and paperwork for it too. That sounded easy and calm. A nice change from what his life had been ever since he graduated.

'How do people in this world manage?' Eiji had to wonder. He was barely into his ninja career and he was already so very done with it all. 'How long has it been? Two years?' He wasn't even sure anymore. The point was, he had barely been a ninja for that long and he was already fucking tired of it.

Sure, his career was hardly normal and he knew it, but still.

"Most prodigies and geniuses aren't the picture of sanity for a reason," Hachi pointed out, and Eiji had to admit she had a point there. Suddenly some things about the world made entirely too much sense.

'God, I should really have just gone civilian,' He lamented.

"Never too late for that, huh?" Kage asked casually. "Granted, we have a few crazies to take care of beforehand."

'One can only hope, Kage,' Eiji thought, sighing and looking at the finished drawing before him, back in the real world. Passing the page, he wondered what he would draw next. 'One can only hope.'

[}-o-{]

"Everything is under control, right?" Temari asked for the hundredth time, not that Eiji could blame her. Besides, her worrying meant he could just relax, so that was good in his books.

"Yes, it is," Shirakumo answered, and while she couldn't do so, Eiji knew she would have rolled her eyes at the Sand ninja. "They were already subdued. We have specialists with venom that can keep them out for as long as we need to. Nothing will happen. Even if they wake up, they'll be too weak to do anything at all."

"You are paraphrasing your mother, aren't you?" Eiji asked, quite sure that he was right on the money.

"Of course not," Shirakumo denied, in a way that told him he was right. He chuckled to himself as he continued walking. Really, sometimes she was just too cute for her own good.

"I have to say, I'm enjoying this," Jirobo commented with an expression that mirrored Eiji's own. He was clearly doing just as he said, which the leader was happy about. Taking the slow and long way back to Konoha was a personal decision, but he'd have been a little quicker if his team was boring themselves out of their minds.

Fortunately, it wasn't the case. Even Yugito, who seemed to be the most dedicated to following missions and such, didn't say anything. Granted, it was probably because she was actually fulfilling a mission of information gathering for her people regardless of what they did. Eiji didn't care much about that anymore. He stopped her from poking Fu too much because the girl deserved better than to be interrogated all the time, especially if she didn't even know it was happening. At least after just getting out of the situation she had.

"I never got to explore like this," The aforementioned girl mused from next to him. "I didn't remember these places being as beautiful as they are."

"It's quite the change, when you are just passing by and when you actually pay attention," Eiji said, a slight smile on his face as his eyes moved to the side and followed the stream they were traveling by. His head, meanwhile, moved along with the music of Tayuya's flute. The redhead seemed to have decided to go with a more lively song. As he gave the tune a little more attention, it added a bounce to his step. "Nice song," He commented, his grin widening the smallest bit.

"She's nice when she is…" Fu started, before trailing off as she struggled to come with a world.

"Not talking?" Eiji finished, chuckling at the girl's slightly panicked expression. "You are not wrong," He added.

"Not wrong at all," Kabuto said, joining the laughter together with Jirobo. "Are you still doing fine, by the way?" The medic asked, turning his eyes towards Eiji, who nodded.

"I'm fine. You got that antidote right, it seems," He answered. Sasori had added a little gift to that blade he used to draw Eiji's blood. The thing had even managed to add two more levels to his Poison Resistance, which was no small feat. After all, the skill was quite advanced already.

[Poison Resistance – Lvl 39

Reduces the effectiveness of poisons by 39%.]

Regardless, Kabuto had always kept an eye on the things Sasori was given to tinker poison wise, that and whatever the puppet master could possibly get his hands on by himself. Thus, he had quite a few antidotes at the ready. None that had helped with this particular one, but World Ender had given the medic time to make one.

"Let me know if there's anything of note," Kabuto said firmly.

Eiji was pretty sure that the ex-spy was worried he'd think he'd betrayed them too. After all, Kabuto had been the one to suggest recruiting Sasori. Eiji and Hachi didn't think that was the case though, Kage was a little less sure, but overall they'd decided that it was unlikely enough to give him the benefit of the doubt. They'd keep an eye on him though, just in case.

"Sure, I'll do that. For the moment, relax, will you? That's the whole point of us doing this," Eiji told him.

"It's weird, you know? I'm almost expecting wires or a sword or something to come flying at me," Kabuto commented wryly, drawing a laugh from the leader.

"I know what you mean," Temari agreed with a chuckle. "It's been a while since we had so much time without training. Even when we were out on missions," She added. "It's nice, but I guess I got used to the training."

"Well, you can train by yourselves, if you want to," Eiji told them with a shrug. "I think I won't for a while. I can watch and give you pointers if you want them though."

"That'd be appreciated," Jirobo nodded, and that was that from him. He was a simple man, Eiji had found. It was a nice thing, really, considering how overcomplicated everything seemed to be.

"I don't know, I'm quite enjoying the break," Tayuya mused through her sound illusions. "I wouldn't say no to some help tinkering with genjutsu though."

"We can do whenever. I'm just tired. As long as I don't have to put much effort into it, I'm game," Eiji shrugged before bringing a hand up. Wires followed it in the air as he started shaping them into things, mimicking a wild flower he'd see on the ground, a particularly pretty rock, trees, birds, anything that caught his eye even for a moment.

"So, modifying and possibly making genjutsu doesn't require effort?" Yugito asked with disbelief in her voice.

"Jutsu creation has become easy with time," He answered, grinning widely. He knew how ridiculous that sounded, but it was the truth. Maybe it was the System, maybe he was just naturally talented at that, maybe it was something else. Regardless, it was a welcome thing, that was for sure. If only because it had given him the possibility of making his biggest trump card so far.

It was a matter of time before he'd have to use it too.

Shaking his head, he focused back on what he was doing. There would be a time to worry about those things, but that time wasn't then. He just wanted a bit of peace and quiet. Actual rest instead of just more training with a few things sprinkled in between, that's what he needed.

For however long he managed to get it, he'd enjoy it.

[} Chapter End {]

Hey guys! How's it going?

Well, for some reason, I like this chapter. Like, a lot. With some luck, you guys will think the same.

I don't have much else to say, really.

Hope you enjoyed the chapter.

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