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Akatsuki; The Rise And Fall Of...

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His feel slapped heavily against the rain soaked ground as he thundered through the streets. His heart slammed into his rib cage, fear willing it to break free. His lungs ached and burned in his chest, silently begging him to stop and allow more oxygen to fill them. He valiantly ignored them, forced himself to go faster, pushed himself harder. He had to put more distance between him and... them.

He could hear them gaining on him, could heat their footsteps slamming on the ground and the echoing splashes as they barreled through puddles he'd avoided. His caution had cost him. It wouldn't be long before they were right on top of him. He pushed himself harder once more.

If they caught up, he wouldn't survive. They'd eat him alive, and he knew that was more literal than figurative. They were sick. And they were twisted. They would do anything to keep their secret safe.

His fingers slipped into his hoodie pocket as he ran, fumbling over the pathetic little pocket knife hidden there. He dared to sigh, pulling it out and flicking it open, gripping it tightly. His pitiful defense against the men chasing him. It would do no good against the fucking meat cleaver Juugo carried. He was fucked.

Fuck.

He skidded into a couple out on date night, inches away from accidentally stabbing the man as the two collided. The man shouted at him, cursing at him for his careless movements. He ignored the man. Juugo and Kiba were almost on him. He didn't have much time.

Forgoing an apology, he turned down the next alleyway, racing between two apartment buildings and knocking down anything the cluttered along the walls. Anything the could be used as an obstacle. He continued to ignore his lungs screaming in his chest.

Something crashed behind him and he turned back onto the main street. He sped across the road and into the opposite alleyway, praying the crash was his pursuers falling, slowing them down. But he knew his luck that night. Juugo probably barged right through his obstacles like the fucking tank he was.

He could see cars passing slowly by at the other end of the alley, could almost taste the freedom their cover would provide. His lungs, though still aching and burning, seemed to sing joyously to him at the prospect of a break.

He skidded to a halt as someone stepped into view at end of the alleyway, effectively blocking his escape. His stomach coiled into a tight knot as his lungs rejoiced at the break. He glared at the figure blocking his path, unsure as to whether or not they were friend or foe.

The sinking feeling in his gut told him it was the latter.

Another loud clatter sounded behind him and he chanced a glance back. Juugo hobbled around the corner, Kiba hot on his heels with a feral grin plastered across his face. He bit his lip, looking back to the figure before him, his worst fears realised. They had him trapped.

"What?" The person - a woman - cackled quietly to herself as she watched him. "Did you really think you'd get away with it?" She asked, sneering at him. She made no advancement towards her prey. The two goons behind him, however, did. He tensed as he felt them inch closer towards him. He returned his attention to the woman, trying to place where he knew her voice from. "Did you really think you could fuck with us and get away with it? Oh, Neji, you poor, naive little boy."

He - Neji - growled low in the back of his throat and sent the woman his best glare, mind whirring. "So, are you the one in charge? How about you and I take a walk together? We could stop off at the nearest police station and you could turn yourself in. It would save me a lot of trouble."

The woman barked out a harsh laugh, throwing her head back with pure mirth. Neji shot a look over his shoulder during her temporary distraction. Juugo and Kiba stumbled closer to him. The woman's raucous laughter died down to a quiet chortle and she covered her mouth delicately with her hand. "Oh yeah, I can see what the boss liked about you. Not afraid to speak your mind. That's what got you into trouble in the first place, right?"

Neji stiffened, Kiba now right behind him and pressed against his back, tauntingly. His fingers trembled around the pocket knife as the younger male pressed his own blade teasingly into the base of his spine. Kiba chuckled softly into his ear, pushing the blade gently into his skin and running his tongue over the shell of Neji's ear. The older man shivered with disgust.

"Drop it." Kiba growled, running the blade up and down Neji's spine twice, letting it rest below the ribs on his left side on the second run down. His free hand ran up Neji's right arm, the fingers slipping around Neji's throat. Reluctantly, the older man let the pathetic blade tumble from his fingers, clattering loudly against the concrete.

"Not feeling talkative anymore, Neji?" The woman ahead laughed, stepping forward and into the light. Neji's breath caught in his throat. His heart stopped. His eyes widened in recognition. "What's wrong? Weren't expecting to see little old me?"

Neji shook his head wordlessly, staring at the woman before him, hardly daring to believe what he was seeing. She smirked at him, her gaze flicking behind him. She jerked her head and unbelievable pain shot up Neji's spine. He screaming, being pushed to his knees by Kiba's blade.

"Bitch." He hissed out through gritted teeth, glaring up at her as she closed in on him.

"Dear, sweet, Neji. Don't waste your breath, love." The woman knelt down in front of him and gripped his chin with perfectly manicured nails. "I have a few questions for you and I would prefer it if you didn't die on me right away."

"Fuck you." He grit out, spitting at her and catching her cheek. Kiba growled, twisting the blade and Neji screamed out once more. The woman threw his chin from her grip and pushed herself to her feet, storming away from the three men and wiping the saliva from her cheek.

"I doubt he has any useful information, anyway." She said, glancing over her shoulder at him, her eyes cold. "Kill him."