Chapter 7

"Well this is awkward" Naruto commented. Mostly about the situation he was in. He unwrapped the bloody bandages around her face and arm, and threw them into the fire that he made. He untied the wet headband and left it beside her.

She was unconscious, but she was shivering, so it likely she was experiencing hypo- something. Whatever. What he did know was that if she didn't find some warmth she would die.

He unzipped the Uchiha's flak jacket, the green vest was soaked through and through, with not just water either, seeing bloodied stains on it. The same could be said of her pants and long sleeve shirt. He couldn't just leave her like that; in soaked, dirty, ragged, cold clothes.

He found a very tiny cave, just by chance as he was passing through. It was likely less than an hour away from the town where she was stationed. The place was well hidden, surrounded by various trees and bushes. The cavern was only large enough to sit in, and only reached a few meters in the cliff they were in.

Naruto didn't think walking through the night with his chakra form that lit up his position like light bulb was the greatest idea.

She was obviously still unconscious, and he had only given her enough chakra so that her wounds would heal. The connection between their chakra was made, so she would always have a piece of Kurama's chakra within her.

The girl was lain on a the floor, he had a small blanket with him, but the rest of his supplies he had left with Konan and Yahiko. So he didn't have a whole lot to warm her up other than the small fire that was brewing.

'Well, I got my jacket and rain coat'

His rain coat covered up to his knees, and his jacket would cover up her small frame. To even make sure that she wouldn't get sick or possibly die, he would have to take off her soaked clothes. He pulled down the zipper on her flak jacket and it pulled apart.

"Now I feel like a perv" He stated.

"Only if you think those thought's Naruto" Kurama interjected.

"Well you're definitely not helping" Sighing, he created a shadow clone to go fetch any firewood. He gave it a flashlight for aid in the dark. It would take awhile before His clone actually found any, since the rain made it more difficult.

"Screw it" He kneeled over the girl once again before he thought of a brilliant plan. "Kurama..."

"What do you want?

"Do this for me" He asked. He was only met with silence before it finally answered.

"You can't be serious..."

"I am..." While he would eventually do it. He didn't want to have any perverse thoughts, he didn't want to become like his masters. Reading adult material and peeking on women.

"Go fuck yourself " Kurama simply said.

Naruto found himself within the seal where the fox was kept. Kurama himself had a disbelief look on its face.

"You're an asshole if you think I'll do that, especially for an Uchiha"

"Oh come on! This is why we're here aren't we?" The blue eyed question. He made up some other reason to help convince him. "I mean, If we're going to change the Uchiha we might as well start with one right?"

"HA! Sure, but how will undressing an Uchiha help?"

"Well for starters, she might get too cold and die, all you need to do is take off her wet clothes and put my jacket and coat on her"

As he took off said apparel and set it aside the raven haired girl. He didn't hear Kurama's reply, and within the seal he didn't respond to any other words that he said. In fact, he was pretty sure he was being intentionally ignored.

"You're useless Kurama, we're supposed to be partners " He cried.

He turned his attention to the Uchiha, breathing unsteady, deathly pale skin with blue lips, she continued to shiver. He sighed and prepared to give his attention. He dug into his small bag and took out a small towel, along with a small blanket for her to sleep on. It was better than the cold rock.

Another sigh escaped from him and lifted her torso, struggling to get the flak jacket off. He tossed it aside and started on her long sleeve, it was much more difficult to get out with how more tightly it fit around her. Not to mention the wet fabric that just made it harder.

He grunted in frustration as she had an undershirt on, and to his dismay- but unsurprisingly- soaked. So he took that off and resisted looking at her with just a bra on.

He awkwardly held on to her as he patted her torso dry with the towel, so nothing else would get wet as he told himself repeatedly. Except her wet bra, he imagined the pervy sage saying that, accompanying with other suggestions.

Naruto placed the blanket under her, along with his jacket so that she lay on top of it. Before moving on to her pants. It was even worse than before. Again, he imagined the perverted sage saying how this was to be the first instance of how he took off a girls pants, and how it still counted.

Why was he being constantly thinking of him now? Damn did he miss him.

With her wet clothes settled in a pile, he wrapped his red jacket around her and zipped it up. He ignored the mounds on her chest that showed on his jacket, also a good thing that it went past her thighs. She was around his age, and it showed.

"Thank god it's over" As he placed his rain coat over her, for even more warmth. He checked over his supplies but only found a half filled water bottle and two rice balls. He would have to find supplies later, right now it was far too dark to even look for a town. So the only thing he could do now is wait and watch over her.

Silver, sharp and long. The blade reflected the surrounding light, shadows loomed over her. Droplets fell around her pained face. Mikoto looked up at the attacker, and it descended.

Gasping awake, her eyes shot open in alarm. She saw the dim low rocky ceiling fill her vision. She heard the crackling of a fire to her right as well as the thunder and rain.

'Wasn't I?...' She could smell the musky scent of whatever she was covered by, which smelled like some sort of soup. Most of her clothes seemed to have been taken off, with the exception of her undergarments. She was dry, and she was warm. A feeling much preferable.

For a quick moment she worried, but she felt her limbs were not bound like she expected. Instead it was jacket that she had been placed in, red in color. She turned towards the light of the fire, to see the rest of her clothing hung up beside to dry.

The fireplace was placed just outside the cave, just out of the path of the falling rain. It was dark, the only source of light was came from the fire. The sound of thunder, or explosions sounded in the distance.

It was odd, she didn't feel like she was at death's door. She couldn't feel any of the stinging sensations of her wounds. She crept her hand up to her right cheek where she was slashed across. To feel nothing swollen, or any hints of an outline of a scar. It just disappeared.

Mikoto did however feel exhausted, drained, clumsy, weak.

She could only think that someone with an expertise in medical ninjutsu had healed her. Except medical ninja were far and between, only working on life threatening wounds and such. They were severely overworked and wouldn't bother with such an unnecessary task. The best that they would do is stitch it up, if someone else couldn't do it.

"You owe me y'know? Y'know how awkward it was to undress you?"

'Y'know?' It sounded awfully familiar. A flustered Kushina came to mind.

She sat up, feeling tender and faced towards the direction of the voice. There, sitting opposite of her against the wall of the cave, was a boy, or rather a young man. The flames of the fire partly lit up his features.

At first she thought it was Minato, with the similar blond hair, the blue eyes, and even his facial shape. Except the difference was the three whisker marks on his face. She swore that he had looked familiar, other than looking like he was the long lost brother of Minato.

"Who are you?" She asked. It was clear that she wasn't being held captive, in fact he was looking flustered.

"Uh, Naruto" He replied, turning to look at the fire.

"So you saved me?"

He relaxed significantly, flashing her a reassuring smile. "Sure did, you're not too far from your base I think"

He was likely thankful that she didn't bring up how she was undressed by him. Whatever it was, it was probably with good reason. She remembered feeling so cold.

"Oh, well, Thank you..." Mikoto said quietly. She shivered at the thought at what would've happened. "My name is Mikoto, Mikoto Uchiha"

He nodded. She couldn't shake this feeling that she should remember him.

"Like I said, I'm Naruto. "It looked like he was going to say more before he caught himself. "I'm an orphan so yeah..."

She realized that she had seen the vibrant blue color in his eyes before. She sent chakra to her eyes only to meet with failure, she soothed the slight pain that flared in her eyes. She was too tired to even activate her eyes.

"You hungry?" He asked. Fumbling inside the small pack that was settling beside him. She felt her stomach grumble painfully, she didn't quite remember the last time she ate.

"Yeah..." She looked up to see him handing out two rice balls, as well as a canteen. She controlled herself as she took the items from him. "Thanks..."

She quietly nibbled on her food for a few minutes. She peeked at him, he looked troubled as he continued to look at the flickering fire. "So you're a shinobi..." She stated. and occasionally took bites out of her food.

"You can say that" He yawned.

The clouds were very dark, her sense of time lost, whether the sun had already set or still sometime before it rose.

A silence overcame them while Mikoto tried to come up with questions. She had a sneaking suspicion, but she would have to wait a little before she could use her sharingan. She recalled the clothing that person she had fought when he had infiltrated, orange pants. Like he was wearing right now, even the jacket looked vaguely familiar.

There was no use accusing him out right on that basis, seeing his chakra signature was all she needed. He was no ordinary shinobi if he could just outwit and fight head to head with some jonin. He was capable, if her being rescued was of any indication.

"So why did you save me?" She voiced.

He seemed genuinely surprised at her question. "I mean, why wouldn't I?"

She felt silly for outright asking without giving more details. "I mean, you're not a leaf shinobi..."

His blue eyes blinked a few times before replying. "Do I really need a good reason? I saw someone in need, so I lent a hand"

Mikoto could think of several conclusions, some of them greatly unfavorable.

Mikoto stared in his blue eyed boy; his eyes spoke of loneliness, regret, frustration and sadness. A troubled soul, no different from many people during this time. Except his eyes also carried confidence and unwavering resolve.

She saw no colors or any gear that seemed related to the other villages. So it likely that he lived around these lands, with how deep they were settled in the country.

"You do know where I am from right?"

"Yup, The Hidden Leaf Village, the symbol on your head band" He replied.

"That? That doesn't bother you?" She asked. "It's a bit weird to see honestly"

He laughed, and his expression showed his amusement." Is it bad to help people?"

"No, No it's the opposite"

He smiled easily. "I'm more bothered by the war, but that doesn't have much to do with you, err, well you know what I mean"

She stayed quiet as she finished her rice ball and took a sip of the water. She looked outside, the freezing rain looked terrible to look at. She was loathing to go back out into it.

"Can I ask something?" He asked.

"Go ahead"

"Save someone from your village, or complete the mission?"

She looked at him, he looked innocent enough. "I feel like I'm being interrogated."

He blushed. "I-I didn't mean it that way y'know?"

It made her smile, even a little. It reminded her about Kushina. Thoughts turned to Akira, her fallen friend.

"Sorry, I guess I'll stop there" He said. "I was just curious about a few things"

"You can go ahead and ask them, You did save me after all"

"Maybe I- Know what, never mind, it would have been a terrible joke" He stayed silent, before he spoke more seriously, more sympathetic. "I buried the other kunoichi that was with you"

She felt her throat tighten a little, before she forced it away. "Where?"

"Just outside, you'll see the grave, her headband is on top of it" He replied.

As much as she wanted to see it, she still felt like the world was on top of her. The little energy she had left her.

"You can sleep more if you want, you look pretty tired, not to mention that your clothes are still drying. "

She nodded, uninteresting in talking any longer. She flipped the hood over her face and laid back down.

Naruto took a step out of the cover of the forest and into the road. He saw the incredibly faint smoke rising a distance away, from the town he was heading towards.

He was just a clone, but he was tasked with gathering extra food for Mikoto, not to mention the real him. It didn't look like he could accomplish that, not when he saw the destruction ahead of him. A small wall blocked the sight of the town. As he neared the entrance of the town, the current state was told to him. A nearby post, which he assumed would have held the name of the town was torn down.

The town was surrounded by a small wall, merely to keep out ordinary bandits or wildlife. Most sections were cracked and falling apart, either by time or the most likely, the war. He walked towards the entrance, and even with the wall blocking most of the view of the village, he could guess the destruction of the town with all the smoke and dust in the air.

A building was torn down in the street he saw, with bodies strewn along it. Reaching to the entrance, he took a deep breath and walked through the gate. He heard noise to his right to see someone turning around the corner, fleeing from him.

From what he recalled of the map, the town was small and it didn't seem like it would be a target. Of course he didn't know a whole lot about planning, but it didn't look like an important location.

'It didn't save it at all'.

He proceeded through the town to see if he could be of help to anyone, if they desired it. Mostly, he was just looking to see if there was anything left scavenging for the original.

The mess was chaotic as he walked deeper inside the town. Several buildings were completely torn down, rubble cluttered the streets. A building collapsed nearby, and dust was strewn into the air, further polluting it. He waited for several long minutes until he was certain no one was trapped inside.

He passed several bodies that laid on the side of the roads, he didn't think about whether there was more inside the fallen buildings. There didn't seem to be much, scavengers rummaging about but fleeing whenever they caught site of anyone.

To him, it was clear as to who it was responsible for this chaos. He even caught sight bodies of the attacking shinobi, joining them the Rain ninja defending their homes. The town was nearly deserted, but he kept hearing noise the closer to the center of town he got. Deciding to catch a peek, he decided to see what was occurring.

He climbed up a building to see whether he could catch a glimpse on the noise, which sounded like orders being shouted. 'Leaf Shinobi...' Seeing the familiar forest green flak jackets entering the from the east side of town.

He took an estimate that there might have been about a hundred of them. The bulk moved slowly, making sure that they wouldn't be caught in a ambush. 'They must have been pushed back...' It seemed most of the civilians have been evacuated.

Seeing enough of this, he turned around and made his way to the west. To see if he could gather up any supplies before his allotted time ran out before he made it back to the cave.

He was in no real danger since he was just clone, but he didn't want to have a confrontation with people from his hometown. He quickly put distance between him and the approaching invaders. He tried to search for any markets that might contain food or any gear.

'Comrades...' Even if it was only brief. He had fought and bled alongside the allied shinobi. They fought together to combat an evil, to protect themselves and to protect their homes. Even if it was brief, he considered everyone part of the alliance a comrade. Even if it didn't exist yet, he couldn't get the notion out of his head.

A scream pierced the air, and he turned towards the noise, which seemed to be nearby. He made his way to the approximate location and heard talking as he approached.

"Stop!" He heard a man.

"Screw off!" Another said, which Naruto assumed to be an accomplice of the other. He attached himself on the side of the two story building.

"Please don't!" He heard a woman's plea. Nearing the corner, he peeked down below to see three people in an alleyway.

Standing two meters in the path, a brown haired woman was cowering against the wall, fearing for her life. Another person face down was dead at her feet.

Two men stood in front of the woman, one handled a kunai in his hand while another held him back. Naruto saw the backs of the two, unaware that he was here. 'What are they doing here?' He watched the events unfold, waiting to see what would happen before he stepped in.

"They're just civilians" The one holding the one with kunai said. He wore a bandana on his head, along with the green chuunin flak jacket.

"I don't care" The other one replied coldly. Also baring the green flak jacket. Naruto felt himself clenching his fists painfully.

"What if the enemy comes looking for us?" The man with bandana asked. The other merely laughed mockingly.

"They're all gone, and more of us coming here...So fuck off unless I need to teach you a lesson too" He threatened, roughly shrugging off the hand attached to him.

The man with the bandana shrunk from the glare he sent off before steeling himself once more. "You can't do this..." He replied to the man.

"And? What are you going to do about it?" Turning to face the man. Naruto felt his heartbeat accelerating with each and every moment. His muscles tense, aching for relief and action.

The man with the bandana took a few glances between the man and woman. 'Come on...' Naruto begged.

"I can't watch this..." The chuunin turned away, before walking out of the alley way.

Naruto heard the whimper of the woman below. The man with the kunai turned to the woman once again. He breathlessly watched as the other ninja turned the corner and started running to the south.

'Coward...' He thought. Looking down below to see the man slowly approaching the crying woman. Standing idly by while a innocent person was being threatened didn't work with him. It didn't matter if he was from the Leaf or not.

Naruto jumped down below, a slight splash from the puddle alerted the man. Before he knew it, a roundhouse kick to his side sent him away.

The woman was surprised by the his sudden appearance but was too scared to move, even with his suggestion to run. He made sure that the brunette was behind him to protect her from the man rising to his feet.

Naruto looked at the shinobi that stood before him. ' Why is he doing this?' He saw the symbol of the headband, the chuunin flak jacket of a ninja the Hidden Leaf.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" He struggled not to yell, and he caught sight of the look in his eyes.

"It's their fault...But I don't have to answer to you" The person replied. He saw a wicked smile on his face. It was one that he saw before, the look that was from some of the members of the Akatsuki. Enjoyment, pleasure at hurting others.

He felt the negative emotions of the person in front of him. The need to kill present. 'I can't just...' He gritted his teeth in frustration.

The man grabbed a hold of a kunai and pointed it at him. Naruto took a look at the body from earlier, a young man. Several crimson stains guttered out from multiple stab wounds.

"You're next kid"

When he looked at the dead person at his feet. He knew what he had to do. It was justice. He took a look the man preparing to attack. He prepared to channel to his elemental nature to his father's kunai. The man charged, clearly underestimating his opponent.

It lasted only for a moment.

Naruto breathed in deeply, he paid no attention to the sound of the man's head falling off of him. The body fell back onto the wet concrete, a thud, and sickening sounds were heard. He paid attention to the rain to the drown the sound away. He quickly turned away to the girl, to distract himself over what he'd done.

The woman was leaning over the body of the man. Whimpering and clutching the coat of the person. He walked over to her, but she didn't acknowledge him. He could feel the negative emotions pouring off her, as well numerous approaching ones from the south and east.

"We need to go before more come" He said emotionlessly. She didn't care to respond for another moment. A subtle nod was all he got. She caressed the young man's face, a small cry escaping from her. He looked away for her privacy as she made her silent goodbyes.

Hearing some fumbling, he saw her brandishing a backpack and covered her face with the hood of her coat.

"I'll make sure you're safe until..." He trailed off.

"Thank you..." She replied lowly. Still looking at the ground. She made her way past him and out of the alleyway. He didn't look back as he followed her out. Making their way to the western exit, he made sure to keep on guard.

Luckily, there were no more incidents. The trek outside only took a few minutes. He relaxed a little and he silently accompanied her. Deciding to protect her until she found others, they made their way on the road deeper into the country. The grieving woman made no other comments and he left her alone.

He was in disbelief. Not over for what he'd done, but over his own confusion. He'd knew that he would have to kill, but also of the negative emotions he felt.

Naruto felt it during the war, the white zetsu's all felt the same, clones. Other people from the villages were different, the people he fought with. It was distinct, because there was many of them. The allied shinobi were more unique, but he still felt their emotions. Some were similar, but differed from one another but he kept his focus on the clones.

The things he felt from the man didn't differ much from the people who were in pain, who wanted revenged, who suffered. That man just wanted to inflict pain on others, all for his own enjoyment. He was nothing more than a monster. What shook him up, his sensing abilities were unreliable from telling the monsters apart. They was almost no different from each other.

He silently hoped that when he got better with it, he could tell it apart.

Naruto wandered with the girl, until a caravan came into view. Nothing was said between them, and he wordlessly left.

He wandered around aimlessly, but he didn't care, he was just a shadow clone after all. Reflecting on his dream, he wondered about how he was going to achieve that. The distance he would go to complete it, his mission to accomplish peace through understanding.

He recalled Nagato's words that was said to him. This war involved money, simply that. A puff of smoke ended its existence.