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Sakura looked at her watch, raised her eyebrows, and walked back inside. "Okay, everyone. It's been a half hour, so I think it's safe to..." she trailed off as she stared in disbelief of the scene before her.
Lee and TenTen shot around the room, throwing ping-pong balls at each other. Sasuke was leaning up against the wall with an amused smirk on his face.
"Lee-kun! Come back here and fight like a man!" TenTen complained as she unleashed another barrage.
"Do you think I'm insane?" Lee said with a laugh.
"Hey!" Sakura called out. Lee and TenTen froze in mid-duck/throw and Hinata looked up from her book.
"Sorry, Sakura-san," Lee said.
Sakura pointed to her watch. "We need to get back to the room."
Lee and TenTen quickly threw the ping pong balls back in the nylon sports bag they had found them in while Hinata put her book back on the shelf.
Jiraiya had a raging headache by the time he managed to dispel the genjutsu he'd been put into. "Damn him."
((The instant Jiraiya had landed on the roof Itachi had been occupying earlier, the buildings spun around him. "Shit!" He put his hands in the release seal. "Kai!" No effect. "Dammit! I'm going to have to wait for the chakra to disperse. I hope Kakashi can handle the situation until I get there."))
He jumped off the roof and headed in the direction of the hotel. "Please don't let me be too late."
Sasuke did not like the dark hallway they were greeted with when the group reached their floor. "Hinata, your Byakugan."
"Nhm. Byakugan!" Hinata saw someone on the floor of the hallway outside their room. "Kakashi-sensei?" She scanned further. When she saw that Naruto was no longer in his bed, the bottom dropped out of her stomach. She gasped loudly and bolted down the hall.
"Hinata! OI!" Sasuke called after her.
"Please, let me be wrong!" But Hinata knew she was right as soon as she saw that it was indeed Kakashi on the hallway floor.
"Kakashi-sensei!" Sakura yelled as the rest of the group caught up to Hinata.
Hinata looked up at Sakura. "Can you heal him?" she asked, knowing Sakura was much more advanced in medical jutsu than she was.
"I can try," Sakura replied. She knelt down next to Kakashi and began to work.
Hinata took this as her cue and ran into the room. "Naruto-kun!" she called out in desperation.
Tomoyo blinked the sleep out of her eyes and stared in confusion at the panicked girl in the center of the room. "What's wrong?"
Sasuke appeared, silhouetted in the lantern light from the hallway. His hands were clenched in anger. "Itachi took Naruto," he said in a voice which seemed to drop the temperature of the room a few degrees.
Tomoyo leaped out of her bed, ignoring the mild headache this brought. "Where's Kakashi-kun?!"
"Out here," Sasuke answered.
As Hinata, Sasuke and Tomoyo entered the hallway, Sakura stood up, regret etched deeply into her face. "I can't help him. The genjutsu did too much damage."
Upon seeing Kakashi, Tomoyo dove to the floor. "Kakashi-kun!"
Sasuke sighed. "Alright then. The five of us," he said, pointing to all the teens, "will go after Naruto. Tomoyo, will you take Kakashi-sensei back to Konoha?"
"Are you insane? I'm not going anywhere while Naruto is in danger! Not to mention you're a bunch of genin. There's no way in hell you're going to beat Itachi!"
"That's why we need you to bring re-enforcements. Not to mention that you're the only one strong enough to carry Kakashi-sensei."
Tomoyo frowned. "Alright...but don't engage the enemy unless you absolutely have to."
Sasuke narrowed his eyes at Tomoyo. "Don't talk to me as if you're still a Konoha ninja," he said coldly.
Tomoyo glared at him but kept silent.
"Sasuke-kun!" Sakura admonished.
Sasuke ignored her. "I'll leave markers along our trail," he said to Tomoyo. "Catch up when you can. And we'll need the Godaime." He turned to his comrades. "Let's go."
Tomoyo let out a sigh of worry as she watched them run down the hallway. "Please God, let them be safe."
As soon as Jiraiya caught sight of the Konoha team he knew he hadn't made it in time. He changed direction and proceeded to catch up with them.
"Sasuke," he said as he fell in step with the team.
Sasuke jumped a little at Jiraiya's sudden appearance but recovered quickly. "Where the hell were you?!"
"This isn't the time for that," Jiraiya answered, barely managing to push down a feeling of guilt. "What kind of head start does Itachi have?"
Sasuke sighed. "At best- about ten minutes. At worst...nearly a half hour."
Jiraiya's jaw clenched in distress at Sasuke's answer. "Lee, you and I will move ahead. The rest of you catch up when you can." Lee nodded and the two sped away.
Sasuke let out a breath of irritation, but he knew there was no time to argue. "Keep moving," he ordered, feeling the need to remind everyone who had taken command of the mission.
It had been almost an hour and Hinata couldn't hear much besides the blood pounding in her head. She had been so desperate to reach Naruto that she had actually pulled ahead of the group by twenty yards.