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

Cover Art: Kissuli.

Chapter 121

[Naruto Uzumaki]

Things weren't going so well, it seemed.

"No shit, what was your first clue?" the Kyuubi drawled from inside his mind, the whole situation bothering it about as much as Naruto expected. Which is to say it didn't, at all. "Good to know you aren't a complete fool."

Which was stupid, in Naruto's opinion. Of course, he knew by then that even if he died, the Kyuubi would be fine… sort of. From what the fox bastard had said, he'd just reform. However, Naruto would bet that it wouldn't be a very pleasant experience though.

"Probably not," the chakra beast replied. "But what can you do, your days are counted, brat. If it's even days and not just hours."

'Thanks for the vote of confidence,' Naruto thought back, even if a small, pushed to the side part of him agreed. His chances weren't looking so good… That only meant he had to find a way to improve them though.

That however… could be a little troublesome, admittedly. If Eiji had made sure of one thing as of late, it was that Naruto knew very well how dangerous Akatsuki could be. His brother had filled his head with all the knowledge he could possibly need to deal with them. What they looked like, what they might be able to do, even some bits and pieces of their personalities. He'd given Naruto all the tools he could possibly need, or as many as Eiji could manage, that is.

Yet, there he was.

The only allies he had in Suna, the siblings, had gone away to some very important meeting that he wasn't privy to. That meant that chances were he would have no back up besides, maybe, the fox. Granted, Suna ninja seemed to be decent enough and they didn't hate his guts like the civilians in Konoha did, but they'd never stand a chance against these S-ranked ninja.

Thus, Naruto had done his best to put seals and traps everywhere. Especially when he heard that the Suna siblings were going away and he wouldn't be able to move back to Konoha. He'd thought, back then, that maybe being attacked wouldn't be that bad. He was confident in his skills, after all, and he thought it was possible he might even be able to deal with them. With some luck he might even deal with them, in a way that would see them permanently not being a problem.

He'd been delusional, evidently.

"Evidently," the Kyuubi repeated his thoughts unhelpfully. God, he could be annoying. "You are one to talk."

That didn't matter, what mattered was finding a way out of his situation before it was too late. The Akatsuki pair had dealt with everything he'd laid out against them. Torn through it all like it was a particularly weak piece of clothing or something, instead of the impenetrable armor he'd thought it to be.

Shields were pierced, traps were avoided, explosions were pushed through. Nothing could stop them, and Naruto soon found out that there was no way he'd be fighting these people and winning. He liked to test the odds, to give it his all for that one single miraculous chance. He'd always been like that.

However, Naruto knew what a lost cause looked like.

Even worse, he couldn't, for the life of him, find a way to give himself the slightest of chances. There was nothing he could do from where he was, hidden under the strongest shield he'd managed to put up, powering it with the chakra of the Kyuubi, piece of shit that it was. Outside, the Akatsuki members were attacking.

It seemed they'd come for round two, as it were.

Sasuke's crazy ass brother and the living sword dude were certainly annoying. Especially the latter one, if Naruto were honest. That sword that could eat chakra was really messing up all his seals. As it was, at that very moment, the weapon was slowly eating away at the energy that powered his shield. Seconds trickled by and they were closer and closer to getting to him.

Naruto's eyes darted around. Surely there was a way for him to get away. Except that there wasn't. He'd tried a bunch of things already. Put up a shield like he had and blow everything up once he got them close? No, that'd only gotten him torn clothes, stinging wounds and nothing else.

He'd also tried to battle. He'd pulled the Shadow Clones that Eiji had taught him, all with Seal Armor on and battled it out. The pair had made him look like they were a small army of civilian kids trying to fight a Jounin or something. It was pathetic.

"Indeed it was," the Kyuubi commented.

'Why won't you help me, you oversized fur ball!' Naruto all but screamed in his mind.

"Because I can't, you infuriating brat," the chakra beast said then, its annoyance bleeding into the words. "I could give you more chakra, but what good would that do? Even if I gave you all my chakra and what that would entail, we are unlikely to win."

'That sounded like it hurt to say,' Naruto pointed out, what little hopes he had were all but dashed by the creature's words. The growl he got in response was somewhat justified, he supposed, both of them were annoyed and scared.

"I'm not scared!"

"Not sure what you are trying to accomplish, brat," the freak with the even freakier sword commented as his weapon continued eating his shield's chakra. "You aren't gonna get away from here, that's for sure."

"Well, I'm not trying to look at your ugly mug even more than I need to, that's for sure," Naruto shot back with a snarl. He continued looking around, pleading for something to give him an idea. There had to be something. There had to be a way.

"Accept it, you are done," the swordsman told him with that half amused half pitying look that grated on the blonde's nerves. What he wouldn't give to be able to blow up his entire stupid face. "At this point you are just being annoying."

"I'm told I'm good at that," The blonde replied with a grin.

"Don't I know it," Kyubi muttered at the back of his mind, but Naruto ignored it.

"So, I'll keep it up, if it's all the same to you."

"It's really not."

"Too bad, I guess."

Even through the exchange, Naruto's mind kept working, kept searching. There had to be something. Time was passing, days were passing, and help wasn't coming. His chakra was slowly but surely being drained as he tried to maintain his defense up. Even with the Kyubi supplying more of the stuff, they'd both run out eventually. It was only fortunate that the shield was preventing the sword from just eating up all his and the Kyuubi's chakra much faster.

Suddenly, Naruto knew how this pair was supposed to take down what was basically a natural disaster turned into a weapon.

Exhaustion.

"Well, it was good knowing you, brat… Or not, really," the fox said then and he resisted the urge to roll his eyes. "You could have been worse, I guess."

'Same,,' Naruto thought, his shoulders dropping. Was that it? After all his struggles, after everything he'd gone through… Was that how he'd end? In the middle of nowhere, alone. 'Fitting, in a way,' He mused, not even sad. He was more… disappointed.

If nothing else, he'd wanted his life to end differently than how it'd started. Or how he remembered it starting. Naruto had always been alone, when he was younger. As he grew, he made friends, he formed a new family for himself, he got a girlfriend. Life was looking up, he'd even started looking forward to the future. A future in which he had even more people to love and that loved him. A future in which he wouldn't be alone.

But there he was, by himself.

As the reality of his situation started settling in, Naruto thought about all that he regretted. He thought of those things that he'd wanted and would never get. And, maybe surprisingly for other people, he didn't think about the fact that he hadn't made Hokage. That was the furthest thought from his mind.

'I wish I could see Hinata again,' He thought to himself. How he hated that it'd taken him so long to realize that the girl cared so much for him. The one girl that had given him a chance and truly looked at him. That small family he'd sometimes imagined would never happen now, it seemed.

'I wish I could see Eiji again,' He thought, knowing that his brother would blame himself for this. So much work was put into making sure Naruto was safe and all that had been for nothing. The blonde lamented that loss, but not as much as he lamented that his kids and Eiji's would never play together.

'I wish I could see everyone else again,' He continued, thinking about the rest of the group. He'd sometimes fantasize about his friends and him when passing by a bar or such, back when his life was duller, sadder. He'd imagine what it would be like, to be there with friends of his own, sharing tales of old missions and memories made together. But he'd never get the chance to do that.

"Alright, brat," the Kyuubi said, and if he hadn't known better, Naruto would have thought its voice sounded softer. "This is ridiculous. How about we both go out with a bang, yeah?"

Naruto chuckled to himself, drawing curious looks from both Akatsuki, from what he could tell ('Don't look at Itachi's eyes, ever, Naruto,' Eiji had told him). Inside him, chakra coursed, too warm for comfort. Not quite burning him, but it was certainly uncomfortable. He could put up with that much though.

'You know what, Fox,' Naruto replied, feeling the shift in his body. His eyes grew sharper and he knew they were now red and slitted. His nails and fangs lengthened and sharpened. His hair grew wilder, swaying with the wind generated by the energy overflowing from him. 'Let's do it.'

The Akatsuki shifted, clearly seeing the attack coming. That was fine. More chakra was given to him and his coils started burning, but that was fine too. The cloak around him grew denser and denser. What was once a reddish mist became a bubbling, much more solid veil. It didn't stop there, though. On his head, the energy shaped two ears, not unlike those of his partner and tenant. Behind him, the chakra formed a tail, and then two, and then three, and then it kept going.

"Kurama," the fox all but whispered. "My name is Kurama, kid."

'Well, Kurama,' Naruto started, already feeling his emotions growing more erratic, more wild, with every passing second and every bit of chakra that was fed to him. 'Let's see how much we can make them hurt, shall we?'

The cloak grew even denser, so much so that Naruto's body almost couldn't even be seen, but the Kyuubi kept going. More and more tails appeared until they stopped appearing. After all…

He already had nine.

"Took the words right out of my mouth, brat."

Akatsuki had already jumped away, but that was hardly all that inconvenient. The shield around Naruto came down, the drain on his reserves going with it. Instantly afterwards, he rushed them. They'd come to hunt him, the least they could do was fight him.

Clones appeared, all of them just as filled with chakra as he was. He wouldn't be able to use his seals, but that was, unfortunately, for the best. It'd become obvious that they couldn't do much against this pair. Or the shark guy, at the very least. That one could disrupt whatever he set up too easily with his stupid sword.

'The hard way it is,' Naruto thought as he dashed towards one of them. His clones divide themselves, choosing one of the two and focusing on him. Maybe he could win, maybe he couldn't, but one thing was for certain.

He wouldn't go down without fighting, believe it.

[}-o-{]

[Eiji Satou]

Kage and Hachi remained silent as he Flickered again, and again, and again, without stopping even for half a second. He felt their presence, right there, as if they were about to speak or about to take control. That was all they did though. They never said anything or so much as tried to move any part of his body or his chakra. If Eiji was honest, he wasn't sure if they were trying to be comforting or if they were getting ready for a fight.

Either way, they didn't explain themselves either, so he wondered if it was both.

He didn't have much time for those idle thoughts, however. No, instead, he needed to go faster, push harder. Akatsuki was at Suna and they were hunting Naruto. Taking into account the time a message would have taken to be delivered all the way to Iwa, things weren't looking good, that was for sure. That didn't matter though, he'd save his brother or so help him, Eiji would raze the world to the ground.

'What happened to the spiders I set in Suna, dammit?!' He cursed to himself.

Tsuchigumo wasn't helping all that much to keep his calm. The chakra beast was angry, to say the least. In another bout of almost inconsequential thoughts, at least as far as the situation at hand was concerned, Eiji wondered if she was angry because Naruto was in danger or because Eiji himself was angry. He had never had the chance to truly introduce her to anyone just yet, so if she even cared about anyone, it was because of the things he'd told her.

Eiji had, obviously, spoken at length about his chosen family and his friends. To the point that he guessed the young chakra beast probably cared about them to some extent. However, the umbedrilled fury that overflowed him through their connection was certainly a little over what he'd have expected.

It was definitely his own emotions getting the better of her.

At that point, that was fine. Eiji didn't much care for where this wave of extreme support came from. He and his mind occupants could worry about if this was a bad influence on the young thing after his brother was safe. As it was, he was grateful for the influx of chakra and power that were given to him.

The landscapes blurred as he leaped again and again, his Body Flicker taking him further. Maybe it was a fool's errand, but he had to try. He'd never forgive himself if he didn't try to get to Naruto. The "what if" would always eat at him and he knew it.

And if there was the slightest chance, then he had to take it. Naruto, his brother, was a resourceful little shit. If anyone could stall Akatsuki for a few days, it was him. Eiji could imagine the blonde, setting up traps and cackling as his would-be attackers struggled to get past, more amused than worried. 'If only,' He thought to himself.

'Come on,' He urged his body. 'Just a little faster, just a little further,' He pleaded. His legs burned, not only because of the exertion but because of the insane amount of chakra that was being coursed through them. World Ender had to work overtime just to keep them from breaking apart with the frankly crazy number of Flickers he'd already gone through and would likely go through in the future.

Tsuchigumo was a godsend and he would forever be grateful for her. Eiji wasn't sure how much he was eating from her reserves, but it couldn't be a small amount, even for a chakra beast. It was a shame that with their need to keep her secret, they'd never been able to test her limits.

"She still has plenty, don't worry," Hachi mumbled, almost as if she were afraid to speak. She needn't have worried. Eiji might be feeling his wrath burn a hole in his chest, but he knew very well who was deserving of it and who wasn't. When he got his hands on Akatsuki, he swore to God that he'd-

"Are we going to use simultaneous control?" Kage asked, and Eiji was very sure that it was to keep him focused. To stop him from spiraling into a bloodthirsty frenzy. He was grateful for it, even if he was also annoyed.

"Let's not. I'm not sure how well I can work with you guys like I am right now," He muttered, as if he were pushing the words through his teeth, even if he was speaking in his own mind. The two mind dwellers receded a little after that.

Eiji couldn't help it, he was just so… Angry, worried, afraid. All of those emotions filled him, burned and froze him. He'd been so close to getting everything he wanted. He was practically touching world peace. Akatsuki was half way done and he was getting progressively stronger. His preparations were going well too, in that regard.

And now… Now Naruto could be dead any moment.

That boy that had dragged him to eat ramen and decided that it was a good time to change how he viewed life and his goals. That boy that had probably saved him from being alone and drowning himself in training and paranoia. That boy had suffered so much and still came out half decent.

The boy he'd practically raised.

The ground under his feet cracked. The next step pushed the dirt down. The next one left a small crater. 'I need to go faster,' Eiji urged himself once more. A picture of Naruto's wide smile appeared in his mind. 'Faster,' He repeated, and the Flickers started taking less time and went further. Chakra moved even faster, burning his body even more, but that wasn't important.

"If you are going to be the next Hokage, then I'm going to be the next Shinobi no Kami."

'We aren't there yet, Naruto,' Eiji thought to himself, as if his brother could hear him. 'You can't die yet. Don't make me a liar. Don't make me go back on my word.'

He wasn't even sure where he was at that moment, but what he knew was that he still hadn't reached Naruto.

"Crossed the border into the Land of Wind, I think," Hachi told him and that made sense. The colors of the passing landscape were turning more and more yellow as he moved. The ground under started being sand instead of dirt. That was as much as he could tell, but that was all that he needed to know.

He was moving on a straight line to Suna, after all. Hachi, Kage and liberal use of Web Sense was enough to keep him on track and prevent him from veering off route. Once there, it'd be child's play to find Naruto, he'd just have to follow the trail of destruction. Hell, there had to be Suna nin around that he could ask.

Or "ask" if they were too incompetent to give him his answers quickly enough.

"Senjutsu?" Kage suggested and Eiji considered that.

"Do you think you can pull it off?" He asked.

"Maybe," Hachi answered instead of her twin.

Considering the Akatsuki members that seemed to be after Naruto and the fact that he didn't have his team with him…

"We'll risk it," Eiji decided and he felt the shift on the twin's presences as they started the process of gathering Natural Energy while he ran. He'd trained them with mindscape artificial natural energy, but even if they'd gotten the hang of it a little, it wasn't enough to want to risk it… But desperate times call for desperate measures, as the saying goes.

He'd have to trust them, but at least there was a bright side. With some luck, the twins would probably notice if he was about to be turned into a stone statue and they would stop. With two of them, one would likely keep track of things and smack the other if they messed up. All the while he'd be fighting with Tsuchigumo's aid. A perfect arrangement, all things considered. And if all else failed, however… Well, he'd have to manage without Senjutsu.

Certainly quite the loss, but it'd have to do.

Eiji was nervous though, so very nervous. Not only in the case that he failed to reach Suna in time to help Naruto, but in the case that he didn't. Would he be able to help him? Would he be enough against Itachi and Kisame? He had his doubts, if he was honest. Tsuchigumo might be the key he needed to cover that gap, but these people were Jinchuriki hunters. He couldn't very well put all his faith on a chakra beast with those two put against him.

Then again, so had the other members and he'd managed against them while hiding his full potential. Surely… Surely Tsuchigumo stacked on top of everything else would be enough. Yes, she had to be. The chakra beast herself growled something at him that sounded both determined and reassuring.

Surprisingly – or maybe not, considering that she was connected to his mind in a way that not even the twins were – it worked pretty well. He'd put a lot of work into things, maybe less so as of late, but he couldn't bring himself to regret it. With how short a time he'd had to relax, he likely wouldn't have made all that much progress, if any at all.

"You did as good as could be expected of you, Eiji," Hachi said softly.

"Put those thoughts away, focus on the now," Kage told him.

Eiji guessed they weren't wrong, but it was rather difficult when such a battle was right there waiting for him… If he was lucky that is… Tsuchigumo growled, but not like before. This wasn't threatening, it was… comforting.

He took a deep breath in, barely taking a second's pause from his continuous Flickering. He continued immediately afterwards, but that was enough. He did his absolute best to keep his mind calm, in the middle of the storm of emotions.

Eiji was still angry, worried and afraid, but that was all. He needed his head in the game or he'd be dead. He needed to keep his cool at least a little or, even if he was on time, Naruto would die regardless. That tempered his raging emotions. It helped him solidify them into something else, into a weapon.

No doubts, no regrets.

Eiji would do all he could and it would be enough.

Because it had to be enough.

He was almost there, but that only made him want to go faster. Just a little more and he could reach Suna and then-

His next flicker was interrupted by a strange wind. A wind filled with leaves that were…

His eyes widened.

'Konan,' He realized instantly as he looked at the pieces of paper that started circling around him. He half a mind to unleash Conflagration on her then and there, let his aura of fire deal with her. However, that would be too easy, and the world wasted no time in showing him as much.

A sardonic smile formed on his face.

"Of course," He muttered. "Because why the fuck not, right?" He asked, his voice turning into a growl as Tsuchigumo sent him straight into Chakra Beast Mode, her leg equivalent to the tails of the nine sprouting from his back. One, followed by another and another and then a last one. Four spider legs extended from his back, shaped from the dark blue chakra of a new beast.

"Eiji Satou," The voice of the newcomer greeted him. "You've been a distinctive thorn on our side for too long."

"And you've been one on mine for even longer," Eiji replied, his eyes darting around and already going through plans and ideas. 'I really hope that Mettle of Man works.'

"I'd tell you to surrender, but I know that would be useless."

"You got that right… Let's get this over with quickly, okay?" Eiji replied, cracking his neck. It seemed that the time to talk was coming to an end rather quickly. Which was good, because he really didn't have it in him to wait much longer. His brother needed him. "I have places to be… Pain."

[} Chapter End {]

Hey guys! How's it going?

I'm not… I don't even… What the hell?

You know what? Fuck it. I'll just roll with things.

I hope you enjoyed the chapter.

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