Author Note

Hi there and welcome to another chapter of Nidaime no Sairin.

I have in mind two or perhaps three more missions for Naruto to complete, before beginning the Shippuden timeline, counting with this one I'm starting now. Actually, I had already made up my mind concerning two more assignments, with the last one, being a nice juicy surprise that shall wrap it up quite nicely, in my humble opinion. About the mission I'm in doubt still, I could choose from the filler episodes that are currently available or come up with something entirely new. Well, I shall make a decision about it once I finish this mission, which everyone shall recognize immediately, once you read the chapter's title.

So, I won't bother much with your patience, let's go then.


Nidaime no Sairin

Chapter 25 – Sea Monster

Beta: Scheffinator


One Uzumaki Naruto was seen lying on the cold humid grass with his hands behind his neck, while observing the dark skies above.

He didn't know how he had gotten there, only that he was there and that was all that mattered. The weather was nice, if a bit chilly, as he could feel the calm breeze bathing his skin and swinging his golden locks. Everywhere he looked, he could see glow-worms, lighting up the environment. He could feel this profound sense of peace as if nothing could harm him. There was nothing to be concerned about, only to simply be one with nature. Therefore, taking in slow breaths and releasing it gently, Naruto truly wondered if this was heaven on earth.

"It's truly quite beautiful, isn't it, Naruto-kun?"

Opening his eyes with a smile, he turned to see Kurenai lying down next to him, sideways, facing him. Her right palm was holding her luscious ebony locks, as Naruto's ocean cerulean eyes focused on the red scarlet goblets that looked back at him.

"It sure is, Kurenai-chan."

The woman presented a dear smile at the name as her free hand reached out to his cheeks, before lovingly caressing his face and then his hair. He closed his eyes and simply basked in the feel of her soft touch caressing his face.

"I trust that you're enjoying this, then?" Naruto simply hummed as he once more opened his eyes and caressed her face as well, before his hands got lost inside her luscious hair. The movement only served to shift something in the Jonin's visage as both Chuunin and Jonin got closer together, before Naruto positioned his arms around her neck and Kurenai did the same. When their mouths got within close proximity with one another, their eyes had also met with one another and Naruto was simply marveled at her beautiful scarlet eyes, slightly blinking at him.

Then, the both of them simply closed their eyes as their lips and tongues met, while in a passionate embrace. Naruto could hear Kurenai's soft moan as he held her strongly with his arms, pulling her body up close.

It was quite an indescribable feeling as the make out section continued, unperturbed. The Uzumaki Chuunin would gladly do this for all eternity… however…

The scene, though, stopped, when the alarm clock in his room erupted to life.

It was at that precise moment that the now sixteen to seventeen year old Chuunin Uzumaki Naruto suddenly opened his eyes in surprise as he eyed his ceiling and the sunlight about to say hello for the day.

A couple of blinks to adjust his eyes to the sudden clarity, as he could only mutter one single word, after knowing fully the contents of his dream.

"Wow!"


===With Anko===

At the Hokage's office, Hiruzen Sarutobi had called Anko in about how her assignment was going, regarding the member of the unit called Sound Four that Kakashi and Yuugao managed to capture. The scarecrow Jonin and an elite team of ANBU reached the position the enemies were in, waiting for Sasuke and then engaged. One of the ANBU was killed, but Kakashi's team managed to kill two of them and capture the girl named Tayuya. The only one who got away was the one who shot spider webs and hurled golden arrows from long range. Plus, this guy had a last minute backup that appeared and kept Kakashi busy, a member of the Kaguya Clan, surprising as it was for the scarecrow Jonin to face such a foe, perhaps the first time, ever.

The captured enemy called Tayuya was then taken to Ibiki and Anko for questioning, about any sort of information about Orochimaru.

"So, Anko, tell me? Has she given any information so far?" The snake Jonin though, negated and Hiruzen could see the disappointed look on her face.

"None so far, Hokage-sama. It appears that she has a high tolerance for pain…heh…though it's quite funny to see her cursing dictionary. I have learned quite a few words, myself." Being Orochimaru's lackey, any poison Anko could concoct would be useless, so that left the good old fashioned method of torture until she cracked and started to sing like a canary.

However, that didn't happen. Despite the exhilarating sensation of her screams, Anko couldn't get anything out of the fiery redhead.

"Well, leave her to Ibiki's methods, then. I'm sure he will make her talk in due time." Anko tsked at that, losing one more to the sadist Ibiki. It hurt her even more, considering that this was Orochimaru of all people. "In the meantime, I have a mission for you, Anko." She blinked in surprise at that, in due wonder about being pulled out of an interrogation assignment, just to be placed in a mission outside the village. Highly unorthodox, which only allowed her suspicious sense to tingle in response.

"A mission, sir…right now?" Hiruzen sternly nodded, already picturing the Tokubetsu Jonin's future reaction. Though, considering

"It has been reported to us about a demon of the ocean causing disturbance…" Anko responded to that just like he thought she would…with a big question mark above her head and an indignant snort at the reference. "Indeed, literally a demon in the ocean, or at least so they say…it seems to be the cause of disturbances happening in the distant islands of Sea Country…" The Hokage kept on speaking, but at the mere mention of the country, Anko's mind became adrift. It was like she wasn't in the room with the Hokage anymore and back to the past in her teen body, having to fight tooth and nails to overcome the dreadful pain of being perhaps the bastard Orochimaru's guinea pig in his first attempt to use the Cursed Seal that now rests just beneath her neck on her back.

"Anko, are you even listening?" The Jonin gasped at the village leader's calm but firm voice added by his observant eyes, painfully familiar with what she is thinking about right now.

"Yes sir, sorry about that." Hiruzen sighed in concern about the whole thing. Going down memory lane, Hiruzen felt nothing but guilt over all of Orochimaru's treacherous actions.

What he did to sweet little Anko was perhaps the most offensive of his actions…the girl now turned woman before him was a prodigy in every sense of the word back then, hence why the still Sannin Orochimaru had chosen her as his apprentice. To see her now being one of Konoha's finest, despite the huge adversity she has to fight every day of her life after what happened, brought nothing but pride to the elder Hokage, but also great misery to understand that Anko would be much better off being assigned to someone else, back then.

"No need to be sorry, let us proceed…as you know, Sea Country is made of islands of different shapes and sizes scattered. Recently, in that area, their only means of transportation, ships, are being attacked and robbed of money and valuables. The victims of the ships are the ones who claim that the damage was done by the so-called Demon of the Ocean." Hiruzen allowed some time for the inevitable question to follow-up and considering Anko's status as a Jonin and a highly experienced one in the field, those questions would be vital for the mission parameters to be revealed.

"I see…so the whole scope of the assignment is to take care of this so-called Demon of the Ocean?" Hiruzen snorted at that.

"Not quite…The Land of Sea does not have a hidden village of its own, so they are prepared for contingencies like these attacks, through military cooperation with Water Country, their neighboring country. This partnership happens to be funded by Sea Country paying Water Country a retainer every month, however the ship that takes the funds transfer also has been attacked by the Demon of Ocean. I trust that you understand the severity of the situation, then, Anko." The Jonin nodded in understanding.

"Indeed, sir, without the monthly payments, Sea Country will risk losing Water Country's protection to their shipments across the islands. So, it comes to the reason that they would want to protect the next shipment with the money."

Hiruzen nodded and casually intermingled his hand's fingers.

"Quite right...hence the importance of this C, possibly B-ranked mission, which is not only to rid Sea Country of this Demon of the Ocean, but also to protect the next ship that carries the monthly payment to Water Country."

Anko accepted the parameters of the assignment, but there was something of importance that she needed to ask and Hiruzen was already waiting for the subject to come up.

"Sir, you called me for this assignment for a specific reason." Hiruzen narrowed his eyebrows and Anko did the same as she concluded her questioning. "Is he somehow involved with this Demon of the Ocean?"

Hiruzen could not offer another response than what he did then…by taking a long breath of air and releasing it all in a sigh of dismay.

"So far, there's no intel in this mission linking him, Anko." The entire picture brought considerable pain literally after the Hokage finished talking, as Anko's curse seal flared in pain, making her curse and narrow her teeth in pain. Hiruzen could only focus on the now, unfortunately, but at this point, he wished he had some way of stopping that pain from happening. Naruto did ease Sasuke's situation with his extra layer of sealing protection, but Anko's trigger was different from Sasuke's. To help Anko, they would need to rid her of the Curse Seal entirely and not even Jiraiya had managed to understand the full intricacies of Orochimaru's creation, yet. Mere attempts to tamper with the seal in the past has placed Anko's life in full jeopardy and Hiruzen canceled the tests, after knowing it.

"…Now. I have a team lined up to work…" Hiruzen was about to pick up his charter with the info separated by his secretary, when Anko protested, before a knock could be heard with the team of available Genin he had selected to assist her.

"With all due respect, Hokage-sama, but I want to choose the people I'm working with in this mission." Hiruzen hummed in thought at that and Anko amended. "Considering just what I may face out there, or whom I may face out there, I believe I have the right, sir." Anko then waited for the village leader to give her his consent about her freedom to choose the members of her team. Though, something told Hiruzen that he already knew just who Anko would decide to pick for this mission.

"Alright Anko, I shall allow you to pick the members of your team. Please, give me the names, then."

Anko merely smirked at the question and replied on just whom she wanted for the mission.


===With Naruto===

A few minutes later, Mitarashi Anko left the Hokage's Office and immediately knocked on Naruto's door, practically dragging his ass away for him to buy her breakfast.

So, here both were now, as Naruto had to release a long sigh in dismay at seeing the woman emptying her set of dango and even his own.

"Not to sound ungrateful for the invitation for breakfast here, but I kind of figured that I would at least get to have some…, considering that I am paying for this." Anko was ignoring the sass, while her mouth was full with the sweet food delight.

"Ahh…nothing better than sweet dango first thing in the morning." Anko then pointed all three of the straws through Naruto, who was resting his head with his hand, already used to this sort of thing.

"I would have agreed with you, if I at least was able to eat one…you do understand that I was just dragged to a mission, by you for that matter." The trench coat wearing Jonin just smirked and calmly drank her tea.

"As if you needed the energy, my little fox." Naruto's eyebrow ticked at the mention and Naruto had to hear the growl from within his stomach at the mention.

"...that's not the point and you know it." Anko merely shrugged it off and Naruto decided to change the subject. "Ok, can I at least ask why you decided to bring me along and why only me and not a full fledged team?" Anko stayed quiet and was suddenly serious at the mention of the assignment, but Naruto wasn't done. "It's quite rare for the Hokage not to assign a full squad, considering the mission happens to take place in another country." Naruto turned to focus on what was perceived both in front of him and through his sensor capabilities. The sight of a serious Anko was nothing new…they had missions together before and she knew how to be a professional when the situation demanded. The problem was that he could see the occasional tension in her shoulders and even some ill attempts at controlling her anger.

Plus, her chakra seems to be in complete disarray and much of it focused on a single point, near the back of her neck, which was quite familiar.

When it seemed that Naruto needed to talk once more, Anko had decided to explain, this time with the same eased expression as before, as if nothing happened.

"What…I thought you'd be happy to be on a mission with me and no one else…" Naruto then saw the face that foretold him when she was about to easily turn the tables on him. "Oh…now I understand."

Anko was caught sneering and Naruto looked at her in doubt.

"What are you talking about?"

"Well….I do wonder if perhaps there was another Jonin you wished to be leading this mission? Perhaps, a drop dead gorgeous brunette with red penetrating eyes and ruby lips, hmmm? So, you two could be alone, together." Naruto seemed assaulted by the mention and he couldn't help but blush momentarily, precisely because it so happened that he now remembered the nice dream about him and Kurenai sharing a kiss. Anko, for her part, had forgotten all about the mission mentioned and just held her stomach, laughing uncontrollably for a while, before placing a sly hand over her mouth and moderating her laughter.

"Oh, you do, don't you? My my…Naruto-kun…I didn't realize you had a thing for older women? Do I need to be careful? Or could it be just a thing for Kurenai-chan?"

"Hey, it's not that…" Now, it would be the time for a perfect comeback, but he couldn't find the words that would sound convincing. Naruto had spent a fair amount of time hanging out with Kurenai and once more the dream came to mind.

Anko, for her part, only chuckled at her little blond friend for messing up with the words right now. Truth be told, Anko had noticed an interesting conversation she had with Kurenai when she mentioned the movie that Naruto made with Princess Koyuki and how interesting it was to see the raven haired Jonin's expression at the mention of her prodigy student participating in a make-out scene with the Princess. Anko was practically salivating as the novel was coming to a juicy part and she couldn't help but smile in mischief at the prospect of perhaps giving them both a push so to speak.

"You know, if you ask nicely, I could teach you a few things…perhaps even give a crash course on a few interesting subjects." Naruto slightly shuddered at the suggestion and even the followed flicker of tongue like a snake preparing for the trap.

"Ah…no, thanks. There is no need for that." Jiraiya giving some of his books to read was bad enough as it was. Though, Anko wasn't deterred and kept on going.

"My oh my...how devious of you Naruto-kun…perhaps kissing wasn't the only thing that happened with the princess …perhaps, she had later extended the invitation to her room and…you know." Anko finished with a suggestive wink.

Naruto responded by releasing a sigh in dismay.

"You're never going to stop, are you?" Anko could only smirk, knowing the sign of him admitting defeat.

"Of course, not…what gave you that idea?" The Tokubetsu Jonin only smiled with her eyes closed, as she finished commenting. "You two are providing me the most fun I had in years…even more so than my two favorite activities, sex and torture, not necessarily in that order." That alone made Naruto shiver slightly. He has known her for quite some time now and still gets the chills. At this point, everyone he knew had already warned him about Anko's mannerisms. No mental breaks, whatsoever, Yuugao-sensei said one time.

"Okay, funny, can we get started on the mission now?"

"Hah, spoilsport…fine, go pay the bill and we shall go. I'll explain the mission parameters as we travel." With a grunt, Naruto got up from the table and Anko merely observed him complain, while getting inside the restaurant.


===Towards Sea Country===

In no time, Anko and Naruto stood over a cliff observing the Islands that formed Sea Country.

During the trek there, Anko revealed to Naruto just about everything the Hokage told her. Seemed quite straightforward if not for the fact that Anko would space out sometime during the explanation, causing quite the disturbance in her chakra flow. Being somewhat friends with her for a few years and hearing bits and pieces from Yuugao, Kurenai and other of his peers, Naruto understood some of her story, which was in a way similar to Sasuke's. The Sannin Orochimaru had also placed a curse seal on her, though unlike Sasuke, Naruto could never feel her chakra in disarray. The curse seal, as far as his knowledge extended, tampered with the person's chakra, altering its nature. Without something to restrict its actions, the bare attempt to mold chakra brings immeasurable pain.

"First time here, Naruto?" The Chuunin nodded, looking around.

"Yeah, I went towards Water and Wave Country on some assignments, but never here. I take it that in front of us is the mother island, right?" As soon as the words left his mouth, Anko's eyes lost their color as she looked at the aforementioned island and trembled, going down the images of her fragmented memory lane. Something happened here…something painful, though she couldn't for the life of her, remember. Fragmented images of her younger self-running for dear life and snakes going after her and then images of jars stored inside some laboratory, but nothing concrete, aside from the immeasurable pain.

Naruto immediately noticed as the curse seal flared to existence and he got ready to intervene, if necessary. Perhaps, call off the mission or send a message to the Hokage.

"Is something wrong, Anko?" The foreign voice alerted the Jonin and she turned to her coworker. "Your chakra is flaring uncontrollably…is the seal acting up?"

Despite her knowing about Naruto using some advanced fuuinjutsu to help Kakashi subdue Uchiha Sasuke's curse seal, hearing him openly talking about it forced her on the defensive.

"Don't bother about it. It's fine. Now, please go ahead and take care of the arrangements for the boat transportation."

"Why…what are you going to do in the meantime?" Now that her chakra returned to normal levels, Anko returned to her usual self and smiled at him.

"What…I don't think you need me to hold your hand throughout the entire mission, now do I?" Naruto grunted at that and Anko continued. "Go on already, I shall take care of something important and I will meet you there, afterward." Naruto merely observed as she immediately vanished. Figuring that he couldn't do anything against it for the moment, Naruto himself vanished towards the harbor, in order to secure their method of transportation and then wait for his partner in crime to judge him worthy of her almighty presence.

Back to Anko, she landed close to their previous location and ran towards another ledge. In between steps, her arm ached as the curse seal flared up once more.

When she looked down, this time, she could see a long wooden dock as the image of herself as a Genin standing next to her Jonin sensei Orochimaru, showing off her knowledge of the islands that formed Sea Country. She tsked at the memory of happiness when he praised her knowledge of the island's names. She wanted to be just like him. Strong, intelligent, recognized by everyone….

Tsk, how naïve I was…back then. Grrr!' The pain flared again and it only made her snarl in even more anger at both him and herself for her damn naivety.


===With Naruto===

The sun was about to settle for the day and the beautiful orange hue in the sky together with the seagulls making themselves known, painted the picture of life in a town close to the harbor. Naruto took his sweet time admiring it all and comparing it to life back home. The feeling of the water in the atmosphere had awakened his chakra coils, just like it happens when he is in Wave or Water Country. Thus, he can't help but feel the utmost relaxation and belonging when in close proximity to the water. It also brought a sense of nostalgia as he remembered the feeling he had when he paid a visit to the cave where the Nidaime used to train him in. Taking a deep breath, Naruto's nostrils were assaulted by the salty air. A smile soon formed on his lips as he looked around, in order to look for his and Anko's transportation.

However, while looking around, his eyes caught sight of a man wearing a cooking uniform and a girl his age, conversing. She had shoulder length black hair, divided evenly in both sides, black dull eyes and was seen carrying a rather large backpack. Her body was mostly wrapped by bandages, which struck out as peculiar in his mind. Plus, Naruto could feel a rather large amount of chakra and surprisingly enough, an affinity for water ninjutsu that rivaled his own perhaps, even stronger. Looks alone wouldn't be enough to identify this girl as a kunoichi, but his sensor capabilities helped fill the missing gap.

He was close enough to hear their conversation as the man gave the girl money, while holding a tray of good quality fish.

"Here you go." The girl took the money with her hands, looked at the amount given and then looked at the man accusingly. The cook took a step back in apology. "Sorry, miss, but I can't give you anything more than this." The girl didn't say anything back, though, and simply bowed and kept on moving. The man scratched his head in apology, before Naruto decided to approach him.

"Oh hi there…I couldn't help but notice the price you paid for the high quality fish, just now." The cook at first looked offended by the stranger simply approaching him and accusing him, before Naruto realized his mistake and amended. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply anything…I was just looking for transportation to the mother island when I came across your conversation with that girl." He looked at the black-haired girl's back and the man looked also, before sighing in dismay, knowingly.

"It's not that I am price-cutting…but because of this 'demon of the ocean uproar', customers are completely staying away from these parts. What I paid her is the market price, nowadays."

Remembering about his assignment, Naruto figured it was time for some information gathering.

"I heard about this demon of the ocean, but I figured it was just a rumor." The man hummed, looking offended once more, but since this guy appeared to be an outsider.

"It's not a rumor, I can tell you. This port once thrived with various boats coming in and out with various different goods for trade. Once the attacks started, people had simply taken their business elsewhere. You say you're searching for transportation to the mother island, well, good luck finding someone willing to take you there, right now." Naruto wondered about that, though he figured that it wouldn't hurt talking to the boat owners later on. Now, his curiosity returned to the girl with bandages, slowly walking away. The reason for the dying curiosity was the glares sent by those she passed by…grownups pointing fingers, whispering comments about her…kids who were sitting on the sideways, not so subtly, pointing at her while chatting with their friends.

It seemed closer to home, than Naruto realized it.

"Say…about that girl, what can you tell me about her? She supplies your stall with food? Is it her occupation?" The cook crossed his arms and nodded.

"Yeah, she is a female diver from a small town on the cape of Mother Island. She brings her business here, because the mother island folk just don't want her business anymore. An incident happened some time ago, about people from the mother island being spirited away. Rumors said that that girl was the only one who suddenly returned one day." Naruto kept on looking at her back, as he remembered a similar story…the story of a lonely kid standing in front of a group of adults, openly dismissing his very existence…or looking at him and seeing another entity entirely…one resembling a fox with nine swirling red tails. "She lives alone nowadays, you see and with her appearance…and the bandages, you know…you hear things, I too feel a little bit creeped out." Something about the man's description irked Naruto, but he had a mission to attend to.

"Oh okay, then, thanks for the info, then. Do take care, mister." The cook was slightly taken aback by the sudden dismissal and walked back to this stall.

The Chuunin, in the meantime, turned to every boat owner in the port region, but everyone gave him the same negative answer. Just about everyone dismissed his pledge to take him to the mother island today, only tomorrow morning.

One man that seemed more open to explain things, at least informed him that in early evening and night time is when the so-called demon of the ocean attacks.

"I'm sorry about the insistence sir, but I really need to be at the Mother Island tonight. Isn't there any other way?" The kind old man eased his shoulders and crossed his arms.

"Well, I seriously wouldn't advise it, but while I can't take you there, it doesn't mean I can't land you a little boat I have…though you would have to row it yourself."

"That's fine by me, thank you for the help." The kind old man had given him the direction to where the small boat was anchored and Naruto soon got to the location of the boat, just as Anko morphed behind him.

"Took you long enough, I was about to go without you…." If the Jonin seriously wanted to catch him by surprise, she had another thing coming and by now, she knew that when it comes to Naruto, catching him by surprise was almost impossible.

"Oh, don't be like that, grumpy…you are way too young to behave like an old man." Naruto snorted, while Anko immediately jumped at the boat. "Congrats about securing transportation, Naruto. Now, let's head out quickly before the night begins…from what I heard around these parts…

"Yeah, it's when the demon of the ocean attacks. I know that, too." Anko chuckled at the complaint, as she took a comfortable seat and let him do all the work. "You could have accepted the Hokage's offer for a team, you know, at least I wouldn't be doing all the heavy lifting while you sit there, all comfy." At that, the woman faked being offended at the comment.

"I'm quite hurt at your lack of chivalry towards a lady of my prestige…you should feel honored to be my chauffeur."

As Naruto used the driving stick of the boat to push them away, he figured that this back and forth between him and the snake Jonin would always be in her favor.

"Know what, forget I said anything."

"What, ending so soon? I was just getting started here. You know, Naruto, you can't allow the woman to get over you so easily, or else Kurenai won't respect you as a lover." Anko smirked as that once more got to his skin and Naruto was reminded once more of the dream he had of him and Kurenai.

"Would you stop with that, already, jeez." Anko chuckled once more at the denial, while Naruto started rowing.

Neither of the Konoha shinobi realized that they were being watched.


===In the middle of the way===

Anko was just getting comfortable gazing at the dark skies above and the quiet waves, while as per the usual, the blond Chuunin did all the work, rowing the boat.

"So, I take it you're not going to share with me what you've been doing while I managed to get our transportation."

"I have already told you…information gathering, just like you, it seems. Anything interesting to share?" Naruto considered anything related to the mission Anko was already familiar with, so he turned to explain about the girl he saw at the harbor that granted his interest.

"Oh, moving on already, huh, but then again, you youngsters have such a short attention span." Anko opened her arms and commented in derision, earning a tick of Naruto's eyebrow in response.

"Not going to comment on that…no, what brought about my interest was that despite the local vendor saying that she was a local diver that sells fish for him, her body was filled with bandages and I could sense a large chakra capacity and high affinity for the water element ninjutsu, perhaps even stronger than my own." Anko knew when it was time to joke around and when the mission turned serious. And what her coworker shared, while it wasn't related to the mission, for now, it very well could be. A random person showing up out of nowhere, with sudden knowledge of chakra and worst of all, with a strong water affinity. This needed to be verified, as soon as possible.

"Hmmm, anything else worth mentioning about this girl of yours?" Naruto nodded, remembering about the explanation the vendor gave.

"Yeah, apparently, there was an incident a long time ago in this place where people started disappearing…but the vendor didn't know why…only that this girl was the only one from her island to suddenly appear. Do you happen to know about this? Anko…Anko…" Once more, the flashes started to appear in her mind, about her time here with her sensei. When they got inside some dark and ominous laboratory, Anko stood in front of a big water tank and inside was a strange creature. At the time, Anko got scared and wondered about the legality of it all…how Konoha could have sanctioned such a study, according to her sensei. When her name got called over and over again by Naruto, she had awakened.

"Anko…you spaced out on me, once more. What's wrong?" The woman shook her head to rid her mind of the dark memories to focus on his question.

"I didn't hear about this right now, but rather from a long time ago, Naruto." Anko was now looking deep down towards the dark ocean's reflection and Naruto merely observed. "A spiriting away that occurred ten years ago in the Land of Sea, but it wasn't the work of a demon. At the time, my sensei Orochimaru kidnapped humans to use as test subjects for his research at the time." Naruto's mouth hung open at the name, but Anko just decided to go through with the explanation, since this girl that Naruto saw…it was perhaps too familiar to dismiss it. "The bastard always did his research on kinjutsu, though it took the Sandaime Hokage a few years to catch up to it and shut him down. Orochimaru escaped Konoha soon after and proceeded with his experiments, unimpeded."

"I see...so you believe that he is somehow involved in this demon of the ocean?" Anko nodded, while crossing her arms.

"Your girl at the harbor sounds a bit too much to be called as a mere coincidence. My gut tells me that we shall meet her real soon as we proceed." Any word Naruto was about to say went to the back of his mind.

"Anko, someone is approaching…" The Jonin got up from her sitting position and looked around. A few seconds later, Naruto realized that the rowing board got stuck in something and he couldn't control the boat anymore. Up ahead, a sudden whirlpool started forming and Anko turned to Naruto to see him fighting with the rowing board.

"Naruto, leave the boat for now. Let's see who we're up against." Naruto and Anko then jumped on top of the water, as they observed the boat getting dragged by the whirlpool.

Anko merely looked at her coworker from the corner of her eye and Naruto nodded, earning a smile from Anko, before she ran towards the position of her opponent. Soon enough, an arm stretched from beneath the water and ensnared her body. Anko only smirked, appreciating the line conduit for a personal favorite technique of hers.

Katon Ryuuka no Jutsu (Fire Release: Dragon Fire Technique)

The arm served as a conduit for the line of fire that Anko released from her mouth, until it blasted on the water surface, forming a column of fire. She, then, landed on top of the water, while observing her opponent, only to see a body of water forming and then dissipating, indicating a water bunshin. The same arm came from her back to ensnare her once more, but before the foe was able to do so, Naruto had arrived and unleashed his sword to slash the man's arm off, forcing him to retreat his previous strategy and go below water once more. Standing back to back, Naruto and Anko stood in position, before a hand appeared to grab Naruto's foot and drag him below water. Of course, the hand was just too slow and Anko used one of her hidden snake hands to bite the man and inject a kick-ass poison on him.

"Anko, it appears they are all below water…allow me." The snake Jonin licked her lips in anticipation as she loved when the kid got serious.

"Go for it." Naruto went through a large series of hand seals and extended his chakra throughout the immensity that was the ocean beneath them.

Suiton Suishouha (Water Release: Water Shockwave)

Placing both hands on top of the water, a strong swirling force began around both him and Anko, but if one were to look below the surface, a fierce water hurricane began to climb down in rapid speed, dragging all three of the enemies with it, sending them all to opposite directions. Anko merely observed as the water around her rescinded its strength and looked back at her partner in crime. The kid surely evolved even more in the water ninjutsu department. There was no waste of chakra, all perfectly executed to perfection and considered it was an A-ranked technique and she couldn't feel any strain in his coils, was enough for her to attest that very few in Konoha nowadays could match him in water ninjutsu.

"Nicely done, now it appears our boat is in ruins, so we would need to walk the rest of the way to Mother Island." Naruto snorted at that.

"Oh, so the great Anko doesn't want me to carry her…I could summon a few clones you know…" She enjoyed the jab and smirked back at him.

"Nah, I wouldn't be a good boss to you if I took advantage of you like that, best to save that for later, but thanks for the offer, though."

"I was being sarcastic, if you don't know."

"Oh I know…however, I tend to be a more literal kind of girl, so I shall cash in that offer later on. Now, let's get going to Mother Island and get some sleep. We have a meeting tomorrow morning"

With a grunt at once more losing the verbal battle, Naruto and Anko had decided to run the distance needed to reach the shore of the Mother Island, before finding a nearby inn for the night.


Author Note

And here it is for now.

It was such a joy to bring Naruto and Anko together in a teasing back and forth kind of friendship. Actually, if anyone is my reader since the beginning of my time in fanfiction, Anko was my choice for Naruto's pairing in two of my previous stories, called Tired (complete) and Meshii (hiatus right now, but planning to continue later on). She shares a bond with him that canon could seriously explore it further than it had. Actually, the only times they got to interact together was at the Chunnin Exams and this mission to Sea Country. Well, not in my story…she shall be the link between him and Kurenai, befriending them both and setting things up, so to speak.

As to Isaribi, she shall play a more central role in the next chapter when it's time for Naruto and Anko to confront her.

Please give me your thoughts.

Next update: Avalon Bond