Second Bite at the Cherry @sakinthra
Alekhine (Intermission Part Eight)

"What? A revolution?"

The pale-haired boy looked back and forth between Sasuke and Karin. Sasuke had let Karin do the talking of course; he wasn't really one for charismatic talks anyway, and it was really Karin who was the brains of this operation regardless. Every time Orochimaru slinked out of hearing range, times that were few and far between, he and Karin worked to pull in another person to their side. Suigetsu was a bit of a wild card. He'd been captured by Orochimaru and used for experimentation, and even now the boy was kept in a sealed water tank, unable to leave without the seal's removal.

"If that means I get to cut that bastard snake up, sure. But then you'll probably just stick me back in the tank once you're done, won't you?" Suigetsu gave Karin a grin.

"Not at all." Karin shook her head. "The plan is simply to ensure your freedom when hell breaks loose, with the promise that you won't harm any of our people. After that, you go where you please."

"And what if I wanna cut you up too, huh? You've done just as much damage to people like me as the snake has."

Karin glanced at Sasuke. Sasuke in turn looked to Suigetsu. He activated his Sharingan, and with a small push of his thumb moved the blade of his sword slightly out from his sheath.

Suigetsu laughed.

"Ah, so you'll sic your dog on me? Priceless, but at least you've got a contingency plan."

"A future Otokage has to be prepared." Karin retorted. "I've even got a little something extra for you that'll whet your appetite. You help us out with this revolution, and I'll point you in the direction of something real nice."

This, Sasuke had not heard from her yet. He turned to her, as confused as Suigetsu. He saw a smile spread across Karin's face.

"What if I told you I could point you in the direction of the Samehada?"

...oh, that was good. Even Sasuke could admit that. Karin wasn't just pulling Suigetsu to her side, she was fulfilling her end of the bargain to him.

Itachi had last been seen in the company of the rogue Kisame Hoshigaki. Sasuke remembered seeing the monster of a sword in that shinobi's hands...and if Suigetsu wanted Samehada, he could be a distraction. Keep Kisame off his back while he approached Itachi. Karin really was a clever girl.

And Suigetsu had taken the bait. His smug look had transformed to one of interest, and he leaned forward in the water, now very serious. "Listen, Uzumaki. You point me in the direction of that sword and I'll do whatever your little heart desires. I'll be the one to unite the seven swords of Kiri once again. That is a promise."

"Unite them?" Sasuke spoke up. "...so you would want the Kubikiribocho, would you not?"

"Well, duh, Uchiha, that's what uniting them means!"

"Then you'll get the blade, once Karin is Otokage. Then, if you still desire Samehada, I shall lead you to it. Our goals will align." Sasuke pressed an open hand against the glass. They could not shake hands, but this was the next best thing. "I will swear if you do."

Suigetsu did not hesitate. His hand also pressed the glass, mirroring Sasuke.

"Better keep that promise. Just when will this little revolution be anyway?"

"Not soon." Karin explained. "We have much to do. But when the time comes…" She pulled out a violet bandanna, making a show of wrapping it around her arm. "Our people will be wearing these. You got that? No chopping up anyone on our side."

"Fine, fine. No chopping purple. But you know...Orochi's not stupid. He's probably already aware you're up to something."

"I know. In fact, I'm counting on it." Karin insisted. "But I've got a trump card. While Orochimaru's dealing with the threat he thinks is in front of him...he misses something obvious right next to him. Don't you even worry."

Sasuke wasn't sure what Karin's trump card was, but as the two of them left Suigetsu's chamber, she did not seem to lose any of her confidence. She was sure of herself, which meant Sasuke had to be too.

The day was coming. The day where he would be strong enough to face his brother. But before that…

Kabuto had told him that Sakura had aided a rebellion in the newly dubbed Land Hidden in Plains. And Sasuke was never one to let anyone show him up.


"Sakura Haruno has arrived, sir. Along with the traitor."

Danzo did not look from his papers. This was typical for him. His agents would often give dozens of reports throughout the day, and if he was too distracted from his other workings by said reports, he'd never finish anything. This news, specifically, did not come as a surprise to him. He had known for several days now that the newly dubbed 'Shinobi Ambassador' would be arrive within the village walls, along with the agent she had wrestled away from him. Her arrival was simply one step of many in his plans.

"Estimated time for others?"

"Sunagakure's shinobi will be arriving in eight days. Iwa will arrive in ten, and the new Plains in similar time. Kusa and Tani will arrive in two weeks time. Ame is yet unconfirmed. Kumo has declined Konoha's invitation, and Kiri is likely still in upheaval, so they are not expected to arrive."

"You are dismissed."

The agent left, as silently as he had arrived. Two weeks, then, until everyone had arrived. Two weeks to ensure every piece was in place.

There was much to do, so much to do, always so much. But for Konoha?

Danzo would do anything.


In the darkness of his room, Shikamaru moved pieces on a dusty board. With near silent taps, he pushed piece after piece into place. He did not stop until each side was set up in starting position.

The starting positions, however, were not equal. That was not how this game had begun.

The opposing side had gotten a plethora of time to set up their pieces. To some, the game might have seemed decided from the start.

But Shikamaru wouldn't give up this game so easily.

He moved a single piece on his side of the board. It might be some time before he could move a piece again. All of the pieces had not yet arrived. In a small box next to the board, the remaining pieces waited.

There was still time. And Shikamaru had one advantage that the enemy did not.

He was aware of all of the pieces on the board.

The enemy was not.

1. Chapter 1 848 0 0 2. Chapter 2 3162 0 0 3. Chapter 3 2532 0 0 4. Chapter 4 2819 0 0 5. Chapter 5 2551 0 0 6. Chapter 6 2767 0 0 7. Chapter 7 2188 0 0 8. Chapter 8 1950 0 0 9. A Brief Intermission 949 0 0 10. Chapter 10 4053 0 0 11. Chapter 11 3692 0 0 12. Two Worlds Away (Intermission Part Two) 1320 0 0 13. Chapter 13 3836 0 0 14. Chapter 14 2739 0 0 15. Chapter 15 2390 0 0 16. Failures (Intermission Part Three) 2824 0 0 17. Chapter 17 3234 0 0 18. Chapter 18 6529 0 0 19. Chapter 19 4214 0 0 20. Three's a Drag (Intermission Part Four) 2630 0 0 21. Chapter 21 3341 0 0 22. Chapter 22 2924 0 0 23. Chapter 23 6969 0 0 24. Chapter 24 3801 0 0 25. Chapter 25 4158 0 0 26. Alliances (Intermission Part Five) 2667 0 0 27. Chapter 27 6918 0 0 28. Act One Epilogue 30 0 0 29. Act Two Prologue 1 0 0 30. Chapter 30 7214 0 0 31. Chapter 31 3687 0 0 32. Other Worlds, Other Minds (Int Part 6) 7031 0 0 33. Chapter 33 2703 0 0 34. Chapter 34 2734 0 0 35. Chapter 35 3454 0 0 36. Chapter 36 3502 0 0 37. Chapter 37 2836 0 0 38. Sparks (Intermission Part Seven) 3351 0 0 39. Chapter 39 3664 0 0 40. Chapter 40 4064 0 0 41. Chapter 41 4611 0 0 42. Chapter 42 3675 0 0 43. Chapter 43 3720 0 0 44. Alekhine (Intermission Part Eight) 1118 0 0 45. Chapter 45 6405 0 0 46. Chapter 46 6106 0 0 47. Chapter 47 4601 0 0 48. Chapter 48 4531 0 0 49. Chapter 49 3483 0 0 50. Coming Storm (Intermission Part Nine) 7177 0 0 51. Chapter 51 4480 0 0 52. Chapter 52 5763 0 0 53. Chapter 53 3722 0 0 54. Chapter 54 4708 0 0 55. Chapter 55 5271 0 0 56. Chapter 56 5280 0 0 57. Sounding Thunder (Intermission Part Ten) 2812 0 0 58. Chapter 58 9001 0 0 59. Chapter 59 4492 0 0 60. Chapter 60 5379 0 0 61. Chapter 61 9941 0 0 62. Chapter 62 8222 0 0 63. Chapter 63 4430 0 0 64. Chapter 64 4766 0 0 65. Chapter 65 7008 0 0 66. Chapter 66 5769 0 0 67. Act Two Epilogue 2816 0 0 68. The Months Between 9232 0 0 69. Act Three Prologue 96 0 0 70. Chapter 70 5300 0 0 71. Chapter 71 5013 0 0 72. Chapter 72 4580 0 0 73. Chapter 73 5123 0 0 74. Chapter 74 3585 0 0 75. Chapter 75 3963 0 0 76. Chapter 76 4747 0 0 77. Chapter 77 3671 0 0 78. Chapter 78 2347 0 0 79. Chapter 79 5030 0 0 80. Chapter 80 3135 0 0 81. Chapter 81 4371 0 0 82. Arbitrium (Intermission Part Twelve) 3793 0 0 83. Chapter 83 3219 0 0 84. Chapter 84 2189 0 0 85. Chapter 85 2827 0 0