Categories > Anime/Manga > Naruto > The Guardian

Chapter Twenty-three

by SGTBrowncoat 0 reviews

Category: Naruto - Rating: PG-13 - Genres:  - Published: 2014-07-24 - 1093 words - Complete

Chapter Twenty-three

"…Obito? ...Aniki?" Shisui asked, his voice strangled.

Itachi had been very young when the older of his two cousins was believed to have died, but his face was still clear in his mind. The right half of this man's face was horrifically scarred, but Itachi was sure. It was Obito.

"That name means nothing to me." he told Shisui dismissively, "I'm not that person anymore."

"I-I don't understand… You… You died…" Shisui stammered.

"My life was spared that day for a purpose. I was chosen to bring an end to this hell we call reality, and finally bring peace. Why would you want to stop that?"

"What are you talking about?" Itachi asked, he and Hana cautiously making their way back toward Shisui, "What are you planning to do?"

"Mugen Tsukiyomi." Obito replied, "A genjutsu cast on the entire world. No more war, no more false heroes, no more suffering, and no more free will to mess it all up. Nothing but peace. I know you Shisui, Itachi; you want peace as much as I do. Why don't you help me?"

"What do you want with Naruto?" Itachi demanded.

Obito shrugged, "I don't. I want what's sealed inside him. One piece of the Ten Tails that will give me the power I need. The Five Great nations have been using the tailed beasts to propagate war for as long as anyone can remember. I think it's fitting that I use them to stop war once and for all."

Itachi knew that extracting the Bijū from a Jinchūriki would almost certainly be fatal to the host.

"I won't let you have him."

"Then you're just another obstacle in my path."

Shisui's hands were shaking, "You'd really kill us?"

"Life, death… It won't matter either way when I'm done. My reality will be perfect."

Obito began making a set of hand seals, but Itachi was already moving. He threw a kunai straight up at the tall ceiling. It wedged into a deep crack, forcing it open further. The chamber began to quake and the ceiling crumbled down. Itachi yanked his friends into the connecting tunnel just as the debris sealed it off.

The Haimaru Brothers barked wildly. Itachi and Hana quickly got to their feet, but Shisui did not move. He sat propped up against the tunnel wall staring into space.

"Shisui, I'm sorry, but we don't have time for this." Itachi said, putting a hand on his friends shoulder, "He's going to come through that rock any second now."

"I… I can't…"

Itachi had never seen him like this before. Shisui had always the one who could come up with a joke and a smile, even in the worst situations. Now he was a trembling, helpless heap on the cave floor.

"Shisui-niisan… I understand. I don't want to fight him either, but… you heard what he said in there. It's insane. We can't let him do what he's planning. I don't think I'm strong enough. Your eyes might be our only chance of stopping him."

"I'm sorry, Itachi… I can't do it. But…" he looked up intently, "You could. If you had the Mangekyo, you could do it."

The realization of what he was suggesting hit Itachi like a sledgehammer.

"Stop." he ordered.

"I can't fight my brother, but you said it yourself; we have to stop him, and the Mangekyo might be our only shot."

"I said stop!"

"No! You've always been stronger than me! You could put it to way better use than I could! All you have to do is kill me!"

"Whoa! What the hell are you talking about?" Hana exclaimed.

Shisui ignored her. He stood up and forced a kunai into Itachi's hand, "Just do it!"

Itachi shoved him away, "I won't! There's no reason for us both to die!"

"I'm not talking about both of us, I'm talking about me!"

"It is about both of us! I'm going to die anyway; I'm not going to let you die too!"

"Are you both out of your minds?!" Hana asked, pushing between them, "Who said anybody had to die?!"

"I'm already dying." Itachi finally admitted, "It's some kind of rare anemia. I have a few years left, then it's over. I want my death to mean something. If that means taking Obito down with me, then so be it, but not you too."

There was a long silence as Shisui and Hana stared at him, apparently trying to decide if they had heard him correctly.

Shisui fell back against the wall and slid down to the ground, burying his face in his hands, "This has to be some kind of twisted nightmare."

Itachi was suddenly blindsided by a haymaker to his jaw, knocking him to the ground. For a moment he thought Obito had returned, but when the room stopped spinning, it was Hana standing over him, her eyes bright with unshed tears.

"We had a deal! You promised me, no more secrets!"

"…I'm sorry." Itachi said quietly, "I… I didn't know how to tell you."

"And you thought now was the right time?" she asked furiously, her fists clenched.

Itachi had to look away, "I'm sorry." he repeated, then glanced over at the nearly catatonic Shisui, "Hana… Please get Shisui out of here. He can't fight like this."

"And just leave you here? You just said you weren't strong enough to beat that guy."

"I have a plan, but you still have to make it back to the village. If this doesn't work, you have to warn the Hokage. Do you understand?"

"This plan of yours… It doesn't end with you coming back, does it?"

"…Tell Sasuke and Naruto that I'm sorry I couldn't be there for their graduation."

The tears that had been threatening to fall from Hana's eyes finally broke free.

Itachi squeezed her shoulder, "Take Shisui and go. Find Anko. I'm counting on you to get them home."

Hana roughly wiped the tears away with the back of her hand and nodded, "Yes, sir."


Suddenly, Hana's hand slipped behind Itachi's neck, pulling him down to her. Their lips only barely touched, but the sensation put a stop to any conscious thought in Itachi's mind for a few long seconds.

Hana pulled away, "Goodbye, Itachi."

Itachi watched in silence as Hana hauled Shisui to his feet and disappeared into the darkness of the tunnel. One of the Haimaru Brothers hesitated to follow. He turned back and nuzzled Itachi's hand before dashing after his master.

"Take care of them." Itachi whispered into the dark.
Sign up to rate and review this story