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Underneath It All_Chapter 5 (Part3)

 Ok...this is the third part.....




CHAPTER 5
THE TRUTH BEHIND THE MASK
PART 3


Something tingled in the back of Iruka’s mind before three kunais were thrown in their general direction.

 

Then, ten missing-nins dropped on them from the concealment of the shadows.

 

“ Ambush ! ” Kakashi cried and they sprang into action.

 

Like Kakashi had anticipated, the missing-nins were strong, wielding jutsus that showed their years of experience. Soon, the shinobis from the Leaf Village were reduced to their defense mode, forming the swastika formation with their backs against one another.

 

“ This is not good ” Iruka commented when the enemy’s reinforcements appeared out of the shadows. “ Any plans ? ”

 

“ Kakashi ? ”

 

The Copy Ninja nodded and slowly released his Sharingan from his lowered hitai-ate. The mystical eye glowed red in the darkness, taking the surrounding details. Five against twenty was not a comforting odd, but if they played their cards well, they might stand a chance

 

“ They plan to break the formation ” Kakashi said “ If that happens, don’t get singled out. They will take you down one by one that way ”

 

The rest of the team nodded and prepared themselves for the impeding attack.

 

The stillness of the moment was nerve wrecking and it took all of Iruka’s will power to remain calm. Although he was often sent out on missions, the Chuunin had never encountered a life-threatening predicament such as this. Fear was indeed a dangerous ally for it could be the source of cowardice or the source of one’s strength.

 

Iruka was never the kind of man who feared death, so he would use the feeling to gain enough energy to ensure that he will fight to the end and die if he must, as a proud shinobi of the Leaf Village.

 

But something was tugging at his soul…

 

Out of its own volition, his eyes strayed to the masked Jounin beside him and felt a strange aching deep inside. He was not sure what the outcome of the night’s battle would be. But if tonight would be their last night, then he would only have one regret left in his life….

 

Kakashi…

 

“ Attack ! ” a voice cried suddenly, sending the Leaf shinobis into tauter defense as all hell broke loose.

 

Like they had anticipated, showers of darting kunais and shurikens were thrown towards them, forcing the team to abandon their formation.

 

Both Iruka and Naruto leapt from where they stood, barely dodging the deadly weapons before landed a few feet away from the rest of the team who bravely stood their grounds. With their backs against each other, they systematically began their defense strategy, countering every attack that came their way.

 

Soon, the pungent smell of blood began to fill the air as flesh being ripped and torn by murderous weapons from both sides. Iruka fought as best as he could, trying his best to protect Naruto. Although the missing-nins sustained heavy looses, there were still too many of them to deal with all at once.

 

Suddenly a single kunai was thrown at Naruto’s direction and instinctively Iruka reached out and pushed the Genin aside. Barely dodging the assault himself, Iruka fell backwards and it was then the Chuunin realized his mistake.

 

The enemies had deliberately sent the kunai to separate them and now Iruka fell straight into their trap. However, the fact did not deter his fighting spirit and he fought as he never fought before, putting all he got into every movement and every blow.

 

Iruka took down at least five of them before he felt the aching fatigue in his limbs. But, the desperation to protect the children and Kakashi got the best of him. Ignoring his fatigue, the Chuunin continued fighting. He had lost too much blood and he was starting to get dizzy. Through the haze in his mind, The Chuunin turned and saw a shining katana lunging towards Naruto’s chest…

 

“ Naruto ! ”

 

Withou him even noticing, he lunged towards the boy and used his body as a shield. Closing his eyes he waited for the inevitable.

 

The katana plunged forward, but to Iruka’s horror, the weapon was now firmly embedded in Kakashi’s chest instead of his back.

 

A loud and painful scream tore out from the masked Jounin and the missing-nin smirked with satisfaction having wounded one of Konoha’s most powerful shinobi.

 

“ Kakashi  ! ” Iruka cried and leap towards his fallen comrade. But before he was able to reach him, the missing-nin’s head was rolling on the ground.

 

Iruka watched horrified as Kakashi drew the blade out from his chest. Blood was dripping from his chest and there was a frightening look in his eyes that resembled those of a wild beast. With the bloodied katana in his hand, the wounded shinobi let out a feral growl before he lunged himself at the remaining ninjas, decapitating them within seconds under his murderous wake.

 

A cold shiver ran down the Chuunin’s spine as he was reminded of the incident he witnesses five years ago, when Kakashi was still an Anbu. He had seen the silver haired Jounin in his killing-Sharingan mode and even then, the horror was nothing compared to what he was seeing now.

 

Echoes of anguished screams rang through his ears and soon, there were nothing left of the missing-nins except for bloodied body parts thrown askew here and there.

 

Silence.

 

“ Kakashi-sensei ! ”

 

The sound of Sakura’s voice broke the spell and finally Iruka saw that the rest of the team members were crouched around Kakashi who was slumped on the ground.

 

“ Kami-sama…” Sasuke gasped, his voiced sounded strained and gruff. There was unconcealed sadness on his normally placid face as he knelt down beside his teacher, examining the wound.

 

There was a brief silence before the Uchiha suddenly got up and turned towards the others with determination etched on his handsome young face.

 

 “ Iruka-sensei, you and Sakura look after him ! Naruto and I will be back with the healer-nins ” he said and without another word the two Genins disappeared into the forest so fast that the Chuunin could barely see their movements.

 

“ That bad eh ? ” the wounded shinobi asked, trying to make some humor out of his current condition.

 

Sakura silently nodded. Then, she took off her hitai-ate and used it to stop the rush of blood from the Jounin’s chest, putting pressure onto the opened wound.

 

Kakashi gave a painful groan and tried to slap her hand away.

 

“ Sorry sensei, I have to stop the blood flow ”

 

“ Sakura…I..Iruka…”

 

Iruka’s felt as if his whole body was paralyzed. He had to force his feet to move closer and almost chocked when he saw the state Kakashi was in.

 

Be strong Iruka….Be strong !

 

“ I’m here ” the Chuunin replied in a voice hardly above a whisper. Slowly, he dragged his feet closer, sat beside the Jounin and took his bloodied hand in his.

 

The Copy Ninja gave a sigh of relief before he coughed and spurting out more blood.

 

He’s chocking on his own blood !

 

Without hesitation, Sakura raised his teacher’s head and gently placed it on her lap. She then realized that Kakashi was having difficulties in breathing and leaned forward “ Kakashi-sensei, we have to the take the mask off ” she whispered, emerald eyes rimmed with tears.

 

The Copy Ninja nodded weakly before closing his eyes.

 

Taking that as consent, the Genin gently eased the blood soaked mask from Kakashi’s face and for the first time saw her teacher for what he truly was. With great care, she began to clean the blood stains from the Jounin’s pale handsome visage.

 

“ I’m so sorry sensei ” Tears streamed down her face. They had always wanted to see what Kakashi looked like under the mask, but this was not how she wished the circumstances to be.

 

“ Don’t be ” he whispered and slowly turned his head towards the silent Chuunin, hands gripping the other’s tightly. “ R..Ruka..”

 

“ Yes ”

 

“ Forgive me ” he whispered with blood dripping from his mouth “ I never did want to let you go, Ruka ”

 

Iruka leaned forward and gently wiped the crimson stain from Kakashi’s lips “ Hush now Kakashi-sensei , ” he said , forcing a strained smile “ Rest. We’ll talk later ”

 

Kakashi shook his head weakly; his breathing labored “ N..never did w…want to give you up ”

 

Iruka started to panicked.

 

“ Please hold on Kakashi-sensei. The boys are getting help ” Iruka said, gently stroking the mass of spiky silver hair “ Please hold on…”

 

“ Ruka…” Kakashi whispered and slowly closed his eyes “ To keep you safe ….” he explained weakly “ Forgive me…”.

 

“ Kakashi ? ”

 

There was no answer.

 

“ K…Kashi ? ”

 

“ N..no…Please…” Iruka begged and knew that for the first time, his heart was truly and utterly broken. 

-TBC-

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