minor changes

“Don’t let Kaisuki through, no matter what.”

Kisame had been hoping that she wouldn’t show at all, that no one would try to breach his perimeter at all. It would be one thing if the rest of Kaisuki’s team showed up; Kisame wouldn’t have a problem kicking them around until Itachi was dead. He had been praying to whoever paid attention upstairs that she wouldn’t come in time, that he would already have left because the battle was over when she finally started heading that way. Even though he wasn’t a sensory type, he had been able to feel the increasingly large bursts of energy from a mile or so away.

By the time Kaisuki had appeared before him, he’d been expecting the air to go still and quiet within another ten to twenty minutes or so.

“I swear to fuck,” Khrai snarled. “Do not make me tell you again.”

He didn’t expect Itachi to win, and he was sure that Kaisuki and her spirits didn’t either. That had to be why she was fully prepared to kill him to get where she was going. The Uchiha wasn’t doing very well. Kisame was surprised that he’d lasted as long as he apparently had.

“Sorry,” the blue-haired Akatsuki member replied with a sigh. “A promise is a promise.”

Something shifted in Khrai’s expression for just an instant. Then, the look on her face changed to an unbridled fury, and his heart twisted at the thought that that anger was directed at him. He didn’t know if she could tell how much it was killing him to just let his partner die, or if she could tell how much he didn’t want to have to fight her. He was doing his best to keep his features schooled to indifference, but it was hard.

He supposed she was probably going to hate him by the end of the day.

“Promise me… you won’t ever tell anyone what I’m about to tell you.”

“That makes it sound kind of serious.”

“I’m not supposed to tell anyone about this, Kisame. Please, promise me you’ll never tell anyone.”

“I… promise, Itachi-san. What’s wrong? Are you alright?”

He was still nauseous. That conversation was almost a day old.

He wished he could just tell Kaisuki, so she’d understand. But he understood – probably more than anyone else at that point – just how important it was to Itachi that the whole thing stay a secret. He would keep his word beyond his dying breath. No one would ever know that he knew. It was his partner’s final request, and he wasn’t about to disrespect the dying wish of Uchiha Itachi, noblest soul in all the Shinobi Nations.

He could see a bruise forming near the elbow of Khrai’s hostess, and he watched it slowly spread down her arm as she suddenly reared back a fist. In an instant, he realized what she was doing, and he instinctively shoved Tobi to the side and dodged out of the way as she released a blast of her corrosive energy. He hadn’t moved far enough, and he felt it just graze his shoulder. It was a searing pain that sent a shock through his body, and she’d barely nicked him. He didn’t want to know what might’ve happened if he’d taken that even just a little more directly.

Khrai launched herself at him and Kisame didn’t bother trying to block, instead hitting the side of her wrist to send her punch off course. He couldn’t use Samehada to drain Khrai’s chakra – it’d probably destroy the poor thing. He could feel it cringing, not wanting anything to do with his current opponent.

Tobi was standing up from where Kisame had shoved him to the ground, and he saw a kunai come out seconds before Uzumaki Naruto jumped into the fray, throwing himself at the other Akatsuki member. They both went flying across the small clearing that was their battlefield. He blocked out the sound of Naruto hollering attacks and Tobi laughing mockingly, concentrating on not letting Khrai hit him directly.

He didn’t want to hurt her, but if he wanted to keep her from going after Itachi, he didn’t have much of a choice. He drew a kunai in the midst of dodging another attack and lashed out with it. Khrai barely managed to avoid the attack, and he didn’t let up, swinging with the kunai and his fist interchangeably. Khrai wasn’t a weapons-user but she couldn’t block a kunai with her arm, so she was forced to redirect and dodge for the most part. He knew he couldn’t give her a chance to swing, because she would take him out in one punch if he gave her the opportunity.

If she could down a tree with a single blow, she could put her fist through his chest without a problem. He didn’t know if she would, but he didn’t want to risk it. He didn’t want to bet whether he was important enough to them for Khrai to spare his life or not. He knew how important Itachi was to Kaisuki, simply because of all that she’d done for him at the risk of ruining her own life. He was close to positive that she would kill him if it meant saving Itachi.

So suddenly that it startled Kisame and Khrai (and probably Naruto and Tobi) into stillness, there was an earth-shattering bang that split through the air. It had sounded like thunder, but louder. Much, much louder. He wanted to look and see what it was, but Khrai’s eyes were wild as she suddenly kicked it into high gear and started swinging again.

Abruptly, her eyes flashed red for just an instant, before returning to blue again as she swung directly at his face with her left arm. He barely managed to avoid the speed of her punch, and he felt his back hit a tree. Khrai swung again and he leaned to the side to avoid it, a sickening crunch informing him that the the spirit had just broken Kaisuki’s knuckles, perhaps most of her hand.

Her eyes flickered to red again and they started to water, her movements hesitating for just a second or two. He took advantage of the moment and grabbed her throat roughly, slamming her to the ground as hard as he dared, planting a his knee on her hip and holding his kunai at the ready in a way that he hoped was relatively threatening.

Her eyes were wide, flashing between blue and red, and her expression had gone completely blank. It seemed like Kaisuki and Khrai were fighting over who was going to control the Yurei’s body. He was just doubting that Kaisuki was going to win that fight when her eyes abruptly settled on Saeka’s familiar pink. He could feel Kaisuki’s body temperature rising almost frighteningly fast, to the point where his hand was starting to hurt where he was holding her by the throat.

The youngest of the spirits stared up at him, and he could see the pain in her eyes as clear as day. His stomach flopped, but he didn’t look away. He hoped she could see how much he understood how she felt. He hoped she could see that he didn’t want to fight her, that he wanted nothing more than to let her go save Itachi. He felt like his poker face was wavering, but he didn’t know if it was actually revealing anything.

“Saeka,” he spoke quietly, his voice barely above a whisper. Tobi and Naruto wouldn’t hear him. “I’m sorry… but please don’t make me hurt you.”

She didn’t reply at first, her eyes suddenly welling up with tears. He still wanted to look away, but he waited. Saeka didn’t like to speak much when she was upset, but he was sure that she would say something. He could tell that she wanted to. Then, her tears spilled out of her eyes and her lower lip started to tremble, and he had a feeling he knew what was wrong.

Then, she softly said: “Itachi’s dead.”

Kisame stared at her only long enough to really take in the atmosphere. The air, which had been charged with chakra that was spilling out from jutsu being used a mile away, was still and quiet. Everything had calmed down. He retracted his hand from her throat and stood up, holstering his kunai as he went, and turned to Naruto and Tobi. They hadn’t moved very far away. Tobi had to have seriously worn out Naruto just by running around and letting the younger shinobi expend a bunch of chakra trying to hit him anything, because his fellow Akatsuki member was still laughing and Naruto looked both furious and exhausted.

“Tobi!” He hollered, ignoring Saeka getting up beside him as he started walking towards Tobi. Both he and Naruto had turned to Kisame, and he continued, “We’re done here.”

Naruto blanched, but Kisame didn’t bother to talk to him. Tobi stared at him for a moment before asking in a much different voice than usual, “Is he dead?”

“Yea,” he replied simply. “You’d best grab his body before these kids get there and steal it.”

He felt a burst of heat to his right a moment before Saeka suddenly said, “Naruto, I’m going ahead.”

Naruto blinked, switching his attention to the girl standing somewhere behind Kisame, “What? Wait, Saeka, don’t-…”

Before the blond could finish, Saeka took off past Kisame, past Naruto, and past Tobi, moving far too fast for any of them to really see her. Naruto looked back at Kisame and Tobi warily, uncertain as to whether or not he wanted to move. The blue-haired Akatsuki member shifted his attention to his fellow member, who sighed loudly.

“Well, then I’ll get over there quick,” he announced, sounding rather bored. “I’ll see you later, Kisame.”

He grunted in reply, and a moment later the Akatsuki member had disappeared into thin air. Naruto glanced at Kisame one last time, before taking off at a run and leaping off into the trees. Saeka was probably hoping that, if she got there fast enough, Izumi would be able to save Itachi. But they were a little over a mile away, and it would take her longer than three minutes to get there. There was no chance of survival.

His partner of seven years was dead.

Kisame wasn’t entirely sure how he felt about it. He wished he hadn’t had to sour his relationship with Kaisuki in order to fulfill that promise, but he supposed it was fine. Akatsuki might’ve eventually cottoned on to the fact that Kaisuki and he were friends, and the girl would’ve gotten hurt. At least this way, he wouldn’t have to worry about it. She wasn’t vengeful, either, so she wouldn’t have a reason to go looking for him.

Itachi was dead and he’d probably never see Kaisuki again.

He sighed heavily, looking up at the sky. Clouds were rolling in from the direction of Sasuke and Itachi’s battlefield. Deep rumbles of thunder shook the air, and it seemed like it would rain. He turned in a random direction, away from where the others were headed, and started walking. He hadn’t been completely alone in a long while, but he hadn’t missed the feeling.

Guess I’m back to square one.

Kaisuki wanted to disappear.

Not die. Disappear. In much the same way Saeka always did when she was upset. She didn’t really have the option of isolating herself in her memories like the youngest spirit did. She couldn’t run and hide to escape from the emotional typhoon that was raging within her. Even if she was alone, she wasn’t alone. Khrai and Izumi and Saeka were always with her, and it was comforting in some ways, and terrible in others. She had no way of escaping “others,” and just thinking about it wore her out.

Itachi and Sasuke were gone. She was caught somewhere between unrelenting anger and nauseating anxiety. On the one hand, she was furious at Sasuke for killing Itachi, and she was furious at Itachi for going and getting himself killed, and she was furious at Kisame for keeping her from saving Itachi. She didn’t know what Itachi had said to his partner to persuade him to keep Kaisuki from getting to their battlefield on time, but she wasn’t sure she cared. She was nowhere near as mad as Khrai, but she was still pretty angry. She didn’t wish death upon either Sasuke or Kisame, but she wanted to punch them both hard enough to break bone.

Khrai’s impossible fury had driven her into the furthest reaches of Kaisuki’s mind to “let off some steam.” The Yurei had gotten the impression that the elf was trying to refrain from hunting down and butchering Sasuke and Kisame.

Alongside all of that anger, though, was fear for Sasuke’s safety. He wasn’t in the area, so far as Saeka could tell (Kaisuki was endlessly proud of the girl for not disappearing as well). He shouldn’t have had enough chakra to move, let alone disappear off Saeka’s radar in the amount of time he’d had. All Kaisuki could think of was Teara’s words.

“I’m following him so I can make sure he doesn’t get himself killed.”

What if he had made off with Sasuke? Saeka had told Itachi that Teara liked to break people for fun, and Itachi had been Teara’s responsibility. She didn’t know if he would get in trouble since the Uchiha had been killed. She didn’t know if he would be angry with Sasuke for taking his charge’s life. She and her spirits had seen neither hide nor hair of Teara since his run-in with Khrai. For all they knew, Itachi was no longer his problem.

Then there was that masked man who had been with Kisame, who had supposedly come through to collect Itachi’s corpse. Obviously he’d done what he’d said he was going to do, but had he picked Sasuke up while he’d been at it? Why would he do such a thing?

What the fuck is going on?

She turned around to start walking back the way she’d come, startling herself when she nearly walked into Naruto. They had caught up, then. She stared at the ground a few feet ahead of her and walked around him. She didn’t want to spend another moment looking at the carnage the two brothers had wrought upon what had once been an Uchiha hideout. The whole building was in so many pieces, there was no way to tell what the place had even looked like before Sasuke and Itachi had started fighting.

“A promise is a promise.”

“Kaisuki? Where are you going?” Naruto called after her. She stopped abruptly, but didn’t turn around.

“Home,” she quietly replied. She wasn’t even sure if he had heard her, but she didn’t care. She continued walking, not bothering to see if the rest of her team was following after her. They’d all end up back in Konohagakure. They all knew the way. They didn’t need to travel together. She could go home an hour ahead of them. It didn’t matter.

At that moment, she felt like nothing mattered.

She was sure it wasn’t permanent. Eventually she’d get over it. Soon or later, she’d get past the jarring shock of realizing that the one thing she had been striving to prevent at all costs, had happened. Her worst nightmare, essentially, had happened. She’d been doing everything in her power to keep Itachi alive, and he’d gone and gotten himself killed anyway.

How long had he been plotting to fight Sasuke while she was away? Was it recent? Was it as recent as him hearing that Sasuke had killed Orochimaru? Had he thought he could win? She didn’t imagine why he would – after his one-sided fight again Sumi, he knew for a fact that he couldn’t fight. She didn’t even know how he’d managed to last as long as he evidently had without starting to spit up blood.

Kaisuki,” Saeka’s suddenly spoke in a small voice. Kaisuki faintly wondered where Izumi was, but she didn’t ask. The irou-nin was probably hiding out somewhere until she calmed down. She knew how much Izumi had adored Itachi.

Saeka, who had paused momentarily, continued. “Are you okay? What are we gonna do?

She didn’t reply for a long few moments, and she could feel Saeka’s presence starting to fade away as a result. Finally, she replied dully, “I’m going home for a while. Just until I can pull myself together.” She didn’t bother answering the first question.

She was surprised that her practical nature had remained intact. It felt like everything else about her was gone. She knew, logically, that she couldn’t just sit around and wallow in self-pity forever. She needed to find Sasuke, and she needed to resume tracking Teara. She couldn’t really even afford to be going back to Konohagakure to take a break. Sasuke could be in danger for all she knew. She ought to just go back to what she was doing and try to push through the feeling of loss.

“A promise is a promise.”

She wanted to find Kisame, as well. The huge man didn’t have anyone else, she was reasonably certain. Akatsuki wasn’t a good place to find friends, and Itachi had been his partner for seven years. Kisame hadn’t been alone in all that time, and he probably thought she hated him after Khrai basically tried to kill him. Even if he decided he wanted nothing more to do with her, she wanted to apologize for Khrai’s actual attempt on his life.

She had had to fight tooth and nail with Khrai to make her pull punches and stop trying to go for the kill. The elf’s anger had been close to berserk. It had startled Kaisuki how angry she was, but then, as she’d realized what was happening, she’d become frightened. Not for her own safety, not for fear of sustaining her own injuries (such as her extremely broken knuckles), but because she had seen that Khrai was trying to kill Kisame. Without any form of remorse, she had gone in for the kill in a blind rage.

It reminded her of how Saeka had been when Kaisuki was younger.

“I’m sorry…”

She would find him and they would talk, but… later. She needed to give herself at least a day or two to lock herself up in her bedroom and not speak to anyone. She was sure her team was worried. She was sure they were confused as to why she was acting the way she was acting. Sasuke wasn’t dead, so far as they knew, so she had no reason to be upset.

They still didn’t know she’d been traveling with the late Uchiha and his partner. She didn’t want to tell them. She probably wouldn’t, despite Izumi and Khrai’s advice. What they didn’t know couldn’t hurt them. If they found out later and disowned her for it…

Well, she thought bitterly. I’ll already be all set up for my life as a missing-nin if that happens.

Kaisuki wasn’t entirely sure why she had thought that she’d be able to sit still for more than a couple of days.

By the third day of her “break,” she was already gone. She had purposefully avoided her team during her short stay in Konohagakure, because she didn’t want to deal with their questions about why she had been so devastated when Sasuke hadn’t been killed. She didn’t have any answers for them, so she avoided the questions altogether.

The feeling of loss and grief was still strong, but the anger towards Sasuke and Kisame had dissipated in record time. She was hurting, but she wasn’t crippled by it. What was important was that she secure Sasuke’s safety and get back to hunting Teara to figure out what exactly he was up to.

Although, she felt that it was more important that she find Kisame and talk to him. He had never mentioned anyone else by name with any amount of fondness, so she could figure that he was probably dealing with Itachi’s death on his own, and that wasn’t okay with her. He had really, genuinely cared for his partner. Kaisuki had seen firsthand just the kind of panic he’d immediately succumb to when Itachi was having a major health crisis. He was good at handling that panic, but it was still there and it was usually visible in his eyes.

She vividly remembered the look on his face as Izumi had been resuscitating Itachi.

The trees flew past her as she leaped through their branches. She didn’t know where Kisame was. She’d been traveling for a two days, and Saeka had yet to pick up on his chakra signature. She still had a few hours of sunlight left, though, so she didn’t let up. She was determined to find Itachi’s partner, and every moment she was resting was a moment she could’ve been searching.

She wondered if the way she was feeling about finding Kisame was how Sakura and Naruto felt about finding Sasuke. The only real difference was that she was reasonably certain that Kisame didn’t hate her, and she doubted he would be trying to avoid her.

I can feel him,” Saeka suddenly said, surprising Kaisuki. “A mile and a half north of us. Take a hard left and go straight.

Kaisuki obediently switched her direction upon landing on the next branch. She was closing in on the western borders of Hi no Kuni, nearest to Ame no Kuni. Ame no Kuni was not an ally of Konohagakure. She wasn’t entirely sure how many miles she was from that border, but she hoped it was a decent distance.

Saeka, can you tell which direction he’s walking?” Kaisuki asked, frowning worriedly. She didn’t want to have to sneak into Ame no Kuni.

Saeka hummed, and then replied, “Feels like he’s heading towards us, actually. You should be running into him in… I’d say thirty minutes, at this pace.

Okay, thanks.” She replied quickly. The fact that Kisame was heading towards her was a bit of a relief, but she couldn’t help wondering why he’d been so close to (if not within) the borders of Ame no Kuni. How had he even gotten in? Ame no Kuni was an isolationist country, much like Tsuki no Kuni. They didn’t let people who weren’t natives into the country. They didn’t accept refugees, they didn’t accept immigrants, they didn’t accept anyone who didn’t have proof that they lived there.

Although, she supposed she was jumping to conclusions. For all she knew, he was just aimlessly wandering around the borders of the other countries. For all she knew, he was picking up a client on the border of Ame no Kuni. She couldn’t be sure what was going on until she saw him.

She could feel a pit of anxiety forming in her stomach. She was afraid that he might not forgive her for Khrai going berserk on him, or that he might just not want anything to do with her now that Itachi was out of the picture, or any other number of scenarios. If he thought she hated him, all she had to do was correct him. But if he hated her, she didn’t know what she would do.

Kisame didn’t come across as the type to hold an unnecessary grudge, but Khrai had tried to kill him. Whether it had been Kaisuki’s will or not, it was inexcusable. She needed to figure out a way to overpower Khrai so that she could when she needed to.

The elf had yet to return from her disappearance. It’d only been a couple of days, though, and Khrai was the type to stay angry for a long time. Izumi had been coming and going, sticking around for a few hours at a time until something reminded her of her emotional agony and she felt the need to go off and be alone for periods of time.

Saeka was the only one of the three spirits who had been consistently present, and while Kaisuki was very thankful for it, she couldn’t help wondering why Saeka had stuck around. Normally, when something terrible happened and the youngest spirit was upset, she would retreat as far back as she could go to hide. Kaisuki had wondered periodically if she was sticking around because she didn’t want to be alone, or if she was in denial, or if she was just not as affected as the rest of them. It was strange because Saeka had adored Itachi, for reasons that her hostess didn’t know.

She supposed that it might just be the result of the girl learning better coping mechanisms through watching her hostess. If that were the case, Kaisuki couldn’t help feeling a bit proud of herself for teaching the most emotionally volatile of her spirits how to remain calm in the face of tragedy.

You’re coming up on him,” Saeka told her, startling her out of her thoughts. “You should drop out of the trees, he’s not up in the branches.

Kaisuki did as told and got herself down to ground level, realizing that she had been traveling over a narrow, unkempt path. She started off at a brisk pace, looking around herself warily. The path she was on probably led straight to Ame no Kuni, hence why it was so unkempt. The fact that Kisame was on it was further convincing her that he had to be coming from the hostile isolationist country. With any amount of luck, she wouldn’t run into border patrol.

She turned her attention to the area in front of her and spotted a familiar spark of blue. Before her anxiety could get the better of her, she started walking faster and called out, “Kisame!”

She wasn’t entirely sure when she’d stopped referring to him as “Kisame-san,” but he hadn’t minded so she hadn’t worried about it. She saw him look up and suddenly stop walking, surprise (if not wariness) showing clearly in his expression. She grinned before she could help herself and jogged over to him.

“Hi,” she greeted a little breathlessly once she had reached him. “Firstly, I just wanted to apologize for Khrai trying to kill you. I don’t hate you, I’m not even mad at anyone, I’m just really fucking confused as to everything that happened and… well, we can talk about that shit later.” She paused, her eyebrows knitting together as she scrutinized Kisame carefully. He was staring at her with an unreadable expression on his face, and she wasn’t sure what to make of it.

“Secondly,” she continued, speaking a bit slower than she had been. “I’ve been worrying about you for a few days, since Itachi’s… I mean, I didn’t have any reason to think you have anyone else you can call a friend. So… are you okay?”

Kaisuki could sort of tell that asking after his welfare had surprised Kisame, even though he didn’t really show it. He was still staring at her, but his expression hadn’t changed. For a moment, she wondered if he was considering whether or not he believed that she didn’t hate him.

But, after a pregnant silence, the lacking expression on his face shifted into a sad smile. She’d never seen him look so tired. He reached out and patted her head affectionately, and she could feel that something was different. Something had changed. She didn’t know what, but something had happened outside of Itachi’s death.

“You’re a good kid, Kaisuki,” he said softly, lowering his hand with a sigh. “I’m glad you’re back and alright.”

She frowned slightly, “What happened?” She asked bluntly, “Outside of… yea.”

He chuckled, the sound rather hollowed. “We should walk while we talk,” he said, starting around her. She turned on the ball of her foot and followed after him. After a long few moments of silence, Kisame started talking again. “I’m ditching Akatsuki.”

Kaisuki almost stopped in her tracks. Instead, she quickly looked up at him, both startled and confused. “Why?” She wanted to know, even though she was reasonably certain it was absolutely none of her business.

“Because,” he began, looking around warily. “Teara joined, and Pain and Konan were acting strange.”

“Pain and Konan?” She repeated.

Kisame glanced at her as he started unbuttoning the uniform cloak that Akatsuki members wore, before tossing the article of clothing off the path. “They were my employers.”

Kaisuki nodded. “Acting strange how?”

“I’m not sure how to describe it,” he replied slowly. “They seemed too familiar with him, even though they supposedly only met him today. They’re usually pretty distant, even with me, and I’ve known them for a decade.”

She already had a bad feeling. Khrai was still missing in action, so she couldn’t ask for her opinion, but if she had to guess what Teara was doing in Akatsuki, she would assume that he was going to take over Akatsuki via demonic possession. If Teara had all the members of Akatsuki under his sway, he would be an even more dangerous enemy than he already was. If the other members were even half as skilled and strong as Itachi and Kisame, it would be a big problem for them to all be possessed.

She wanted to tell her team, to warn Konohagakure and literally everyone else in the Shinobi Nations, but no one outside of her hometown would believe the story about demons until they saw it for themselves, and she couldn’t explain how she’d come by the information without revealing that she was traveling with Hoshigaki Kisame. She would just have to try and handle the situation herself, if it was at all possible. She wished more than anything that Khrai would get over herself and return from wherever she’d disappeared to, but she knew that the elf took forever (at least compared to Kaisuki) to get past even the smallest thing once it had set her off.

“What are you planning to do?” Kisame asked, glancing over at her. “Gonna go back to tracking Teara?”

Kaisuki scowled at the ground ahead of her, before nodding slowly. “Yea,” she replied. “Nothing better to do, and I want to know what the fuck he’s doing.”

There was a brief pause before she suddenly recalled the other thing she needed to do, “Oh! Hey, this is kind of… well, I guess it’s not really random, but… whatever, have you heard or seen anything regarding Sasuke? He wasn’t at that place he and Itachi were fighting, and he wasn’t on Saeka’s radar. He should’ve been too tired and injured to move, and I… I’m worried that Teara may have made off with him or something.”

Kisame hummed thoughtfully before slowly replying, “No, I haven’t seen or heard anything. Teara also looked… I don’t know if I wanna say agitated, but that’s the only word that’s coming to mind. If he’d already exacted his revenge on Sasuke for killing Itachi-san, he’d probably have been in a better mood.”

Kaisuki nodded, frowning. Where was the remaining Uchiha, then? “Who was that masked guy you were with the other day? Is he sketchy enough to kidnap Sasuke?”

Kisame snorted. “His name is Tobi, and… I don’t know about him, honestly. He wasn’t there to greet Teara, which he should’ve been if he was a real member, because we always get together when someone joins the main ranks. I’d heard of him, but never laid eyes on him until he showed up while I was keeping perimeter for Itachi-san, and he said that he was there to collect the body.”

Kaisuki glanced over at him, and saw that he was scowling darkly. “I got the feeling he knew more about Itachi-san than he was letting on. No one else in the organization was supposed to know just how sick he was, so I don’t know why this random prick would’ve had no faith in his ability to kick his little brother’s ass.”

Kaisuki nodded, deciding not to comment on his obvious irritation with “Tobi.” She chewed her lip worriedly. Kisame didn’t know anything about the masked guy. She doubted Tobi was an imposter, and with every moment that she thought about it, she increasingly wondered if he had made off with Sasuke. He was the only unaccounted person who had been in that area. Teara had been nowhere around, so he didn’t even make sense as a suspect.

Where are you, Sasuke?

Her stomach twisted as her imagination chose that moment to provide her with all the gruesome images it could come up with. She needed to find him. Teara could wait. She didn’t intend to try to take him to Konohagakure, she wasn’t going to ask Khrai or Saeka to kill him, she probably wouldn’t even approach him. She just wanted to make sure he was safe and healthy and okay.

She had already lost Itachi. She wasn’t going to lose Sasuke as well.