Thank you for your reviews. I appreciate them.
Not much more from me really. Except I will not pump out chapters for the sake of it. I make sure I am happy with them, and revise when needed. I am not going to produce garbage for the sake of it.
There is a couple questions about Naruto's training. I will go into his training, but it won't be in just one chapter. It will be through the whole thing. I take a semi realistic approach to training while keeping in mind this is the world of Naruto. So do not expect Naruto do be able to crack a boulder into two with his fist in one year.
This chapter is a week late. Its only because I edited it like four times before the final product which is below. As I said, if I do not like the chapter I will not put it out. I do not want to give you all trash.
Now I do not own the following items as they or aspects from the below will make an appearance.
King of fighters/fatal fury
Chapter 6: Stand by me.
The day was neither hot nor cold, just perfect. The wind was light, the scent of the forest pleasing. One day had gone by since the rag-tad group had arrived, and set things up. The first couple of days was a quiet affair, with just getting materials needed for camping. But today, today was the first official day of camping. Which led to a very excited Naruto, and almost as excited if just more subdued in attitude Saiyuki.
A snicker woke her from her sleep. Normally a morning person, after all her father made sure she woke up before the sun was up each day to train. Yet out here, camping, she had the rarity of sleeping in. Which was why she was mildly annoyed at being woken up. Slowly her eyes opened when she heard the snicker again. Rubbing her blurriness away she came to a scene which caused her to smile. Naruto stood just a couple feet away, a bucket full of water from last night in his hands.
Behind his glasses he wore she could see his eyes crinkling in excitement and Naruto tiptoed to the sleeping victim, Itachi couldn't help but compare Naruto to an animal stalking its prey. For a near five year old, he moved quite well. The tent barely made a noise as he slid one foot in front of the other. She wondered if he knew he was using the basics of ghost walking or if it was ingrained into his subconscious by that which he contained.
Whatever the case might be, she had to get the hell out of the way, so climbing out of her sleeping bag. Naruto turned to Itachi like a deer caught in the head lights. He placed a finger to his mask covered lips, and itachi nodded, stifling her laugh. She should feel so sorry for her little sister. And she knew she should stop Naruo from doing what he wanted to do. But she just couldn't. Seeing Naruto dump the contents of the bucket onto his target, drop it and make a mad dash out of the tent caused her to roar in laughter.
"I AM GOING TO KILL YOU NARUTO!" Saiyuki shrieked, waking up immediately, soaking wet in her pyjamas. She took chase after the laughing boy who used the fire pit they built for a shield.
"You can't catch me Saiyuki." Naruto teased. "Sheesh Saiyuki, I thought you stopped wetting your bed ages ago." Itachi's brows moved skyward, where did this prankster side of Naruto come from? More so why was he only this carefree around her sister was her bigger question.
"I do not wet my bed you stupid idiot!"
"Hey I am not. Just….oh what did Aunty Anko call me? intemelectually handstamped?" he tried to say.
"Intellectually handicapped Naruto-kun?" Itachi offered.
"Yeah, that!" he shouted when he dodged a lunge from Saiyuki.
"Uhm…Naruto-kun that isn't a good thing you know?"
The boy shrugged. "Neither is being soaking wet like a fish!"
"Oh that is it you are so dead!" Saiyuki screamed, her face turning purple from her anger. She had finally caught Naruto, and began to choke the poor boy. Though her tiny hands couldn't quite fit around his neck.
"Yosh. Why is your little sister trying to strangle my son to death?" Gai asked, as he came up, carrying some freshly caught fish. Itachi waved her hand, laughing, when the kids began pulling on each other's cheeks. Though her sister was angry, she could see the amusement dancing in her eyes so she wasn't too worried about her sister making good on her promise to kill the boy.
"Your son dumped a bucket of water onto my sister when she was sleeping. Which led to this."
"Yosh…Naruto that was unyouthful, apologise to her now!" Gai pretended to be serious. But then it was hard to be serious because he knew Naruto was just goofing off. Genma, the bastard had begun to teach Naruto the fine art of pranking. Stating it ran in his family, so he needed to be taught how to prank others.
"Naruto…apologise." He ordered again. He wasn't mad, but it wasn't okay for Naruto to do such a thing. Especially to a girl who was already having to deal with a shit load of crap from her family already.
"Fine, Yuki-chan I am sorry I did that to you. I didn't mean any harm by it."
"Hn, whatever idiot I am going to go and get dressed." She growled, and stomped off to her tent. Gai frowned at the sullen attitude of the little girl. He wondered, if she was truly upset over Naruto's little prank, or if there was further things going on.
"Why did you do that cub?" he asked turning to his son.
"I didn't meant to make her mad. I thought she would laugh. Genma did it to Aunty Anko once. Yuki-chan always seems so angry I just wanted to make her laugh."
"Naruto." His dad began, letting a fond smile cross his face as he tied the fish up on a branch. "I understand your intentions. But that is not the way to make a girl laugh. Yosh, besides, your uncle Genma also has a death wish for half the stuff he does to Anko."
"It's fine Gai-san. Saiyuki will get over it." Itachi said, not coming to the boy's defence as he really shouldn't have done that. Though, she also could have stopped him as well, so she was just as guilty. She did like the fact that Naruto was just trying to get her sister to laugh. Turning her gaze to Gai, her eyes widened, and a faint dusting of red tinged her cheek. Gai's back was to her, giving her a perfect view of his broad shoulders. His back, taught flesh showing off a well sculpted torso. Gai turned to her, and she felt the dusting of her flush ignite into a near inferno.
Dressed in Shorts, that stopped at his knee caps showing off his muscled calves, and minutely displayed is muscled thighs. His chest, bare to the world showing his powerful chest. He looked like flesh, tightened over muscle and bone. His abs…holy hell his abs were ripped. Kami good sweet Inari you could wash clothes on his abs they were so defined.
His pectorals…she nearly licked her lips at the fine muscle. His arms as she knew were solid, and defined. Not an inch of skin went to waste on this man. Even the scars dancing along his body zigzagging only heightened his features in her eyes. He was perfect. Chiselled from marble, she had never seen a man look as delicious as him.
Woah itachi… what the hell?
But seeing his chest, the droplets of water running along the well-deserved, finely trained crevices had caused Itachi not just to flush red. But felt warm all over. Her stomach twisted delightfully, she just couldn't take her eyes from him.
"Having fun staring sis?"
"I wasn't staring." She lamely defended, caught off guard by her sister who just came out of their tent in a fresh set of clothes. She wondered how the hell her little five year old sister knew just what she was doing. Hell, how did her five year old know half of what she did in the first place?
"Mhmm. I believe you..."
Naruto walked over to the raven haired girl, he rubbed the back of his head nervously, and lowered his gaze. "Hey, Yuki-chan. I really am sorry. I didn't mean to make you mad. Don't be mad at me."
Pursing her lips, and eying the red-haired boy. She wondered just what was wrong with him, was he dropped on his head as a baby or something? Shaking her head, she cracked a rueful grin, despite how annoying Naruto was. She did have to admit, he was fun to hang around. Plus, she could tell he was truly sorry for what he did.
"It's fine fool. Just don't do it again."
"Yosh of course. I promise, and like my dad I don't break my promises."
"So dad, we going to begin training today?"
"Yosh, of course I told you yesterday we would right? I will train you both. Your flames of passion shall reach the heavens and pierce the darkness. And if I fail to train you I will go and fight a grizzly bear, covered in honey, with only my feet!"
"So you don't mind training me…Gai-san?" Saiyuki asked shyly. She lowered her gaze, not willing to get her hopes up. Having asked her father, and even her own mom for training, only to be turned down time and time again for various reasons had torn her trust apart. She had been burned, and her pride to prove to her dad that she was not a failure had instilled in her a deep sense of bitterness. She hated asking for help, hated feeling weak. Which was why she was feeling so meak, and uncomfortable in asking Naruto's dad for help.
"On one condition. I ask that you just have fun. Training should be fun, if you are not having fun then you are not training right. So if you can promise me to have fun. Then I will teach you all that you want. Deal?"
"YES" she shouted in joy, her anger to her parents was crushed down by the soaring joy that now filled her. A large hand ruffled her hair, earning a soft smile from the little girl. Okay, Naruto's dad was not like her clan she decided. Well except her sister. Her sister rocked in her eyes. His dad seemed genuinely cool. He did after all when they went to the park bought her an ice cream when he bought his son one.
"YOSH GOOD THEN! I WILL TRAIN YOU ALL YOU WANT!" Gai roared to the heavens, his persona back once more. His fist, doubled and raised to the heavens. "WE SHALL LET BLOSSOM YOUR YOUTH, YOU WILL BRUN BRIGHT LIKE THE SUN."
Both sisters could only gape at the pure horror that fell before them as father and son embraced. A flash of a rainbow, the gleaming song of wind chimes, and the fresh scent of pine bellowed from and behind the father and son. Gai's hotness had now just plummeted like temperatures in the artic during winter. How could she think a man who acted like this could be hot?
But then one look to his body had her mind saying otherwise.
"Make the horror stop sis, make it stop."
"YOSH YUKI-CHAN. THAT IS NOT THE ATTITUDE. LET YOUR FLAMES BURN! Naruto crowed, and somehow managed to grab the stunned younger Uchiha, and pulled her into the father son hug. In her attempt to save her life, she had grabbed onto her older sister who was pulled into a four way hug, crushed between the masked boy, and shirtless man as they shouted out about flames of youth.
"I changed my mind, I don't want to train. Just let me go! NO I HATE RAINBOWS!"
"Kick soft, and slow, do not kick or punch for power or speed right now. We need to get your muscles to learn how to properly punch and kick, and learn accuracy. Then we can pick up on your speed, and develop your power. Remember Martial arts is not learned over night. It takes years, and years to harness your body's full potential. Remember do not force your punch, or kick. Just move, do what feels natural."
The fishing spot the group went to was only thirty minutes away from camp, the forest opened up to a semi wide clearing with the stream's mouth fanning out into a medium paced flowing river. A couple rocks stood out above the rolling water that travelled on down a ways before disappearing downhill. On top of the water silhouettes of large fish flew through the water before dipping down to the river's bed and vanishing. The sun's golden glow and majestic beams danced across the water, casting a glittery diamond affect across the blue surface. This place was truly beautiful and breath-taking.
Itachi didn't know this sort of place existed just a few hours out of fire country. Usually the forest was so thick only a few creeks and streams ran wild. Rivers did course their way through Fire country, but that was more on the borders and more towards the land of rivers. So when Gai had brought them here, both Itachi and Saiyuki had their breath snatched from their lungs. Naruto, as for the red haired boy felt calmer, more at peace out here for reasons he didn't understand. Thought he couldn't see where they were. He could smell, and feel. His bare feet dug into the earth. His nose taking in all the delicate scents.
Itachi had summed this place up quite well. "Heaven" she had said. Gai blushed, and grinned nervously. Telling them it was where he and Kakashi would go when they wanted to get away. An emotion Itachi wasn't quite used to feeling filled her when he mentioned that. She saw the wistful look flash across the big man's face as she drank in their surroundings. She was quite sure what to say to him, so she had laid a gentle hand on his arm, and thanked him.
Gai had brought with him his own forest green keikogi that he had changed into before leaving. And a training Gi for Saiyuki and Naruto. All the keikogi's were of similar design. Sleeveless, and light to wear. Only Gai's had two distinct features. One was the kanj for wood, fire, wind, water, and earth on his right pant leg. And the silhouette of a banzai tree across the back drop of a red sun stitched onto the back. Naruto, and Saiyuki gi was black, and blue respectively. Making Itachi wonder if Gai was going to help her sister all along.
Their hands, and feet were bare, not that Naruto cared, he often walked around barefooted anyways. But her sister definitely wasn't used to the sensation of the forest floor. She grinned when her sister pulled out another sticker from her foot, but didn't complain. She was too focused on what Gai was teaching her to complain. Itachi smiled softly, Gai was being very patient, and caring. Correcting the two kids when they made a mistake. Praising them when they did well. Which was something Saiyuki didn't get much of from her parents sadly.
"Good job you two. When you punch, twist your hand like this. When you kick, keep your knee and leg bent until you are about to make contact, then snap your leg out. Go slow. Good good. Naruto slow down don't try to hit so fast. Saiyuki, don't hit for power. Good. We will stop for now. Good job you two. I am very impressed. You been punching and kicking for a good half hour."
Smiling proudly he instructed to the two kids to sit cross legged in front of him. Not once did they complain about him letting them not hit as hard or fast as they could. In fact, they didn't bitch once about him having them punch, and kick over, and over again. Most kids he knew would have complained about wanting to learn big cool combinations. Naruto he knew never asked for anything, only taking what was offered. Saiyuki however, he watched her, watched the focus on her face, but could see in her eyes she was enjoying herself.
'No doubt she has been starved of attention at home so she is just glad someone is paying attention to her. Your poor girl. I swear as long as I am around you will not be starved of attention.'
"Do you have any questions you want to ask me about taijutsu?"
Both kids thought about the question, both having dozens of questions. Learning something new often created a storm of questions. Neither were immune to the excitement of being taught martial arts. And neither could wait until they could kick some big time butt. But Naruto knowing his dad knew there would be reasons why he was not being allowed to hit as fast as he could. But it was Saiyuki who asked what Naruto was thinking.
"Why did you have us go slow like that?"
Gai smiled, and crossed his arms. Itachi who was sitting from them smiled to herself. Gai wasn't reprimanding her for her question. He was taking their training seriously. Seconds ticked by before Gai answered Saiyuki, he looked around and found a twig near him.
"Tell me something Saiyuki. How old are the trees in the Hidden leaf village?"
Her nose twitched at the weird question. What did a tree have to do with her question or martial arts? "Uhm…really old? I know some of them must be really old."
Gai nodded happily. Pointing to a large oak tree, specifically one Itachi had planted herself under.
"What is the difference between the trees out here, versus the ones back home?"
Both kids, even Itachi all wondered and thought about his question. The kids looked to one another, well Saiyuki looked to Naruto his gaze was up to the heavens. She stared at him, his mask covered face, sunglass-covered eyes. She could almost hear the cogs churning inside his head. It wasn't the first time that she wondered what his face or eyes looked like. His mask, she watched crinkle as he smiled.
"The ones back home are grown in ways to help protect the Leaf village. These ones are wild." He stated proudly. Both sisters adorned shocked, yet impressed features at the Jinchuriki's answer. Gai nodded. "Yes, you're correct. The ones in our home are forced to grow in certain ways. They are designed as such to help cover our home, and to create part of the maze that is our home. These trees are not forced, as such we can see them for their natural beauty."
"To tie this into martial arts, you cannot force it. It is not something that can be taught. If you force your body to do something it isn't used to doing. Or force it to learn something that is not natural you will hurt yourself. Remember kids. Any fool can punch or kick, or elbow, or knee. But only one who has truly learned how to move their body can do this."
In a swift movement, Gai rose to his feet, doubled his fist, summoned his power and delivered a blow to the nearest tree to him so hard, so fast. That all Saiyuki could see or hear was the thundering impact of flesh meet bark. And the indentation of Gai's fist in the tree. But also the crack he had created in the massive ancient giant. Her face slack jawed and mesmerised, not that Itachi's own face was much different, for she barely saw the man move. Turning to the two children, Gai spoke again.
"To learn anything, one must begin, and master the basics. Before I teach you any kata, or techniques. I will teach you both to move. To feel the rhythm of your soul, of your mind, and body. Once you find that rhythm, everything will fall into place. Remember what I told you yesterday. Fear not the warrior who practices one thousand moves but just only once, but fear the man who has practiced one move one thousand times. As you train, your bodies will grow. As you grow you can begin learning more things. But until such time you will be learning the basics. I know they can seem a bit boring. Kakashi, the Sannin, and the four Hokage's all had to master the basics before they became the warriors they were, and are."
There was a lot more things, many things Gai was going to teach them. How to channel their chakra and unleash it in devastating attacks. Not too different then ninjutsu, but yet more complicated and in Gai's opinion destructive. Being stunted in the use of ninjutsu and genjutsu, on his two year mission. Gai had come across methods for unleashing chakra without the use of hand-signs or ninjutsu.
He had taken these methods to heart, learning them. Studying, and harnessing his chakra in ways he never thought he would be able to before until Gai himself had created his own fighting style. He felt excited about finally being able to pass on his own knowledge, that even now was continuing to grow. His two students, their features mirrored his excitement. Naruto he could tell was grinning. And Saiyuki, she was staring in awe at the poor tree that he had dented.
"Now, we will train twice a day. Once in the day once at night. But for now it is time for us to have some fun. Why don't you two go explore while Itachi and I set up for lunch?"
"Yay, let's go Yuki-chan."
"Fool, let go of my hand. Do you even know where we are going? NARUTO!"
Both teens watched on with amusement when Naruto promptly grabbed Saiyuki, and hauled her to her feet. Dragging her off to the forest to go play. Itachi shook her head, smiling softly. Saiyuki; her sister had hung onto every word Gai had said. Enraptured with his display of power, and his gentle, and patient instructions. The green beast truly loved martial arts, more so it seemed to her that he was enjoying being able to teach
He didn't overly complicate his little speech to the kids. Making sure they understood what he meant. Saiyuki was going to do well under his training, that is if they somehow were able to get past her father and clan that is. No doubt they wouldn't allow her sister to train with Might Gai. Even if the training would do a world of wonder for her sister.
Reflecting back on the letter her father gave her. She frowned. Her father had fallen so low, his honor forever tarnished. The good man was gone, replaced by a beast. A monster that was hell bent on the Leaf's destruction. She let out a sigh.
"You okay Itachi-san?"
Looking to Gai she smiled, and nodded her head. She was smiling a lot more lately, specifically when it was around him. Placing a gentle hand on Gai's arm, she marvelled at how hard his bicep was.
"Yeah, I am fine thank you. For bringing us, and taking the time to train my sister. I wish I could dedicate more time to her. But sadly I cannot do so."
Looking out to where the children disappeared to. Gai felt the warmth of her hand, and the near burning sensation it bought to his flesh. He was not blind, Itachi was a beautiful woman with many layers hidden under a mask of calm, collected persona built up over years and years. A defence mechanism no doubt to shield herself. But from who? That was the question Gai wondered. She was easy to read, she was similar to Kakashi in that regards.
"Yosh, it is fine. I enjoy teaching and I am grateful I can pass on my knowledge. You are welcome to join us tonight when we train. Perhaps a friendly spar?" he offered, and she found herself nodding, giving a gentle turn of her lips. "I'd like that. Yes."
Neither noticed the shadow that leapt from one of the trees, moving towards where Naruto, and Saiyuki moved off to.
His smile hidden by his mask threatened to split his face as he and Saiyuki plopped themselves down on a rock that jutted out of the earth on the river bank. He was truly in heaven. He was beginning his training. Not that he realised all the running, and jumping his dad made him do was also training as well. Sure while he wanted to do what his dad did, though he couldn't see it pursay. He could definitely feel the power of the punch his dad did unto the tree. He wanted to be able to do that one day.
He could hear the rush of the water as it led to only the gods knew where. He loved the outdoors, something constantly drew him to wanting to be outside. He didn't really like listening to cartoons, he enjoyed reading. Well, what little he could read as he was still learning. Being outside, it felt like he was free. Free from the anger the villagers had to him. Free from being afraid of his own village.
The outside world, the great outdoors held no animosity. They welcomed all, anyone who ventured into the wilderness was greeted by the welcoming sights, and sounds. The smells he loved, the feel of the grass over the cold stones that made the roads in the leaf village. The wind brushing his hair. This was his paradise. Not that the little boy really knew what that was.
Plus the best part was, the person standing next to him was his friend. Saiyuki. He grinned, she was his only friend. Sure she complained about some of the things he did, and said. But she was never truly mean to him. Especially when he would take his hand and lead him like she often did when he didn't know his way around a place.
The Uchiha girl, he knew there was more to her then what he understood. She always seemed so sad, or angry at the world. Much like how he felt to the villagers. Sure he wanted to protect the villagers, but it didn't mean he liked them. He questioned her sorrow, he had picked up on how his dad talked to her, very gentle and kind. Like how was spoken to when his dad first adopted him. So it made Naruto wonder just really who Saiyuki was. He didn't know much about her clan, except his dad got upset when they were spoken about.
"Watcha thinking?" he asked his friend. Turning her dark eyes to his sunglass covered ones, Saiyuki stared at the boy for a moment. He must have felt her stare because he looked back up to meet her gaze.
"Nothing really. Just enjoying the moment."
"Liar liar, pants on fire. I can tell something is bugging you. You're brooding."
Furrowing her brow, she glared at him, wondering if he had some sort of six sense or not. Naruto, for as little time as she knew him had a way of picking up when others were upset. It was weird, and frustrating to be honest.
"What does it matter? Not like you could do anything about it."
"Well unless if you talk, you never know right? Well that is what my dad says. He tells me when something is bugging me I should talk about it."
"Just shut up okay? What do you know about it?" she yelled out. The training from Gai earlier was indeed fun. She was learning, okay not as fast as she wanted to. That was okay though, she was being trained, training which meant someone was paying attention to her. Someone who wasn't yelling at her, telling her she was no good. Or telling her she was dumb for asking for help. That is all she was told by her dad. That he didn't have time for her. That she should just go and practice by herself. That she was no good. His words hurt. He never told her he loved her. Told her she was doing a good job.
Even her sister who she loved didn't have a lot of time for her. She tried to understand the reasons. Her sister was a shinobi and worked a lot. But it still hurt. To feel so alone in a giant clan that she should feel loved and safe in. But the last few months. Getting to know Naruto, his dad. She saw the love they had for one another. And at first she brushed it off, and ignored the ache welling within her. Maybe it has been a building dam, or maybe it was just how patient and kind Gai was to her. But she felt her anger, her frustration to her family grow tenfold.
For as smart as she was, Saiyuki was still a little child. A five year old girl who wanted nothing more than to be told she was loved. Wanted her father's attention, to be picked up and held like a normal kid. She didn't get any of that. Yet Gai a man she didn't know that well, except he was loud, kind, loved his son and gave her ice cream. Had not only been kind to her. He told her he was proud of her. And had even given her, her own training garb.
Her dad never gave her any of that. As Naruto dragged her from camp, from Gai and the comfort he brought. She realised, if only subconsciously she missed the warmth he gave. Even if it was just an hour ago that he told her he was proud of her. In that time frame, in that loving warmth that faded. She wanted more of it. Which was why she was so upset and confused right now.
"Saiyuki-chan. For whatever is going on, I am sorry. I won't ask you to tell me what is going on. But I just want you to know I am your friend. We might be little kids. But I will listen okay? I may not understand what is going on. Or half of what you tell me since you are a lot smarter than me."
Hearing a faint snicker, he grinned under his mask. Using his sharp little nail he poked Saiyuki's side earning a start and squeal. "Oh is the great princess ticklish?"
"Don't even think about it fool. Want to keep your hand?" she blushed at being called a princess. Nobody had ever called her that before.
"Oaky okay, relax. " he said, but grinned when he slipped off his rock, kneeled down in the water, and kicked his foot as hard as he can. Sending a spray of water up to Saiyuki who thankfully was high enough she didn't get wet.
"You want to die fool?" she growled, and leapt off her rock, and crashed into the red-haired nuisance. The boy squealed when he was pounced. Not one to be able to hold onto her anger, or sorrow for long periods of time when around Naruto. Saiyuki, annoyed at not being able to keep hold of her anger.
"So annoying, let me be mad, and upset. Stop asking if I am alright all the time dummy." She growled, Naruto grinned, pushing Saiyuki off of him. Rolling over onto all fours he leapt forward tackling the girl into the cool shallow water.
"Sorry, no can do tomboy! I don't like it when you're upset."
Flipping Naruto over, Saiyuki pinned him down, his wild red hair becoming undone from its ponytail. Allowing her to see the length of his hair for the first time. When he moved to push her off, she pushed him down again.
"Why? Just stop caring!" she shouted, unaware her eyes were welling with tears. She was so confused. She just didn't understand why Naruto or her dad were always so damn nice to her, when her own mom and dad rarely gave her the time of day.
"Because Saiyuki is my friend. And I don't like to see my friends get upset. So don't cry. My dad says it's wrong to make a girl cry. Say, I got a joke for you. What did the butt, say to the nose?"
"Wha? You moron, how you insufferable. Hmph. Fine, what did the butt say to the nose." She asked, crossing her arms over her chest. She would so regret asking him moments later.
"I don't know, you tell me." he said, and proceeded to grunt, seconds later the cool water bubbled, and rippled to life, following by a smell that. Well to be honest, Saiyuki could only describe as utterly foul, and rancid. She screamed bloody mercy and rolled off of Naruto, gagging and coughing. The said boy cackled loudly.
"Oh man that one was wet. Oh my stomach feels so much better.
"Well I hope you feel better. Blow a hole in your undies or something? Because that couldn't just be all gas…"
Naruto shrugged, and stood up. "Not sure, it was wet. Guess I should check."
"No! Don't check, I am sure you didn't crap your pants. Really, it's okay, uhm hey look, let's go exploring okay?" she said in haste. She really, really didn't want to see Naruto naked. Especially since he would need to untie his belt, and Saiyuki had no idea how to tie these belts meaning he would need to walk back naked. Oh god, she felt sick at the thought. She could barely stand seeing babies being changed and naked. Little own a kid her age. Hell, she didn't even like to bath with Itachi in the hot springs, she sure as hell didn't want to see his ass crack.
Plus, it was easy to sidetrack Naruto, especially with the tempting offer of going to go explore. She had learned quite fast that though his handicap made him nervous on exploring new uncharted terrain. He was still very much an explorer and loved finding new places, smelling new things. How many times they had been caught venturing too far in the Hidden Leaf's own forest?
She lost count.
"Hahaha, relax Yuki I wouldn't drop my pants. Come on lets go do what you said okay? But uhm...can you lead please?"
Reaching his hand out for her to take it. Saiyuki felt a strange warmness inside of her at the trust he often put into her. Smiling gently, she took his hand and led him from the water's edge. And towards a thicker part of the forest. She made sure to mark their path so they could get back to camp. Her sister having ingrained into her that a shinobi always knows where they are at. Plus she had seen it done on tv. So grabbing a rock she would scratch some of the trees.
The two kids allowed a peaceful silence to settle between them. Still slightly angered about her family, she had forgone most of it. Naruto's heartfelt concerned had simmered her stirred emotions a bit. Watching him from the corner of her eyes. She had to think back to the last six months that she had known him. She had talked to other kids if only out of being forced to. She had watched kids play, and just be kids.
However where the forest of the leaf village was filled with wildlife the villagers knew what sorto f animals they would encounter. Here two days away from their home, the two youths were experiencing sights and sounds, and types of animals they didn't know.
"I smell…something…something earthy."
Looking to her friend as she helped him over a tree that had fallen. She sniffed the air, not that it would do any good. But if the scent was strong enough she was hoping to at least catch a small whiff on it in the wind.
"Is it alive do you think?"
Sniffing again, he grinned under his mask and shrugged. "I don't know. But Have no fear young princess for I shall protect you." The exuberant red-head boasted proudly, with a struck pose and all. Baffled, her face mirrored what she thought, and she doubled over, her childish laughter ringing out.
"Really, you save me? puhlease without me you would get lost. I will be the one to save you, you dork."
"Hey I am going to be a big strong shinobi like my dad, and Kakashi."
Moving past a thick branch, Saiyuki raised a brow, and looked once more to Naruto. Finding it funny, but understandable that he called Gai's girlfriend by name and not mom. "So you wear the mask then to honor her at least?"
"Well…no. not at first." He replied, taking careful steps. He didn't mind what he stepped on. He felt more connected to the world around him by walking barefoot then in shoes.
"Not until I found out what she looked like, and how much my dad loved her. So I wear it now to honor her. She was supposed to be very skilled in kenjutsu. One of the best swordsman we had dad says. Now I wish she could have adopted me."
"So why didn't she then? Sorry stupid question."
"No its okay." Naruto said suddenly. Maybe when they first had met he wouldn't want to talk about this sore subject. But six months of knowing Saiyuki, and her being his best friend changed his apprehensive givings.
"The Hokage, I guess he didn't want me to be adopted. Dad swears that isn't true. But if the Hokage is an old man, then why couldn't he have had me adopted?"
The tone of hurt, and anger coming from the usual cheerful shy boy took her by surprise. Not once since she had met him did he ever give off such a tone other than shy, nervous, or happy. "Hey look a clearing, let's go." Changing the subject, if only because she herself didn't really want go and delve back into painful subjects. Not when her own anger had faded mostly. She pulled him along, pointing out the things she could see. He would point out or rather say what he could hear or smell.
The clearing was coming into view, even if she was five years old. When she came to a stop after bursting through the clearing. Saiyuki felt eye breath hitch in her throat. It was a wondrous sight, the stream they were by had widened out into a rushing river. About two hundred feet the river broke through a thicket and crashed down a mighty waterfall. Multiple rainbows arched here and there all the way down the rocky cliffs. By the kids, the land slopped down allowing even for kids to walk down, if they used caution.
"Oh wow. This place is so cool." She said, specifically when she found a cave at the end where the river seemed to just vanish underground. In front of the cave she could see a tall red archway, much like a Shinto shrine had. With something dangling on the archway. She stared, mesmerised at the scene. That was until Saiyuki felt her hand being squeezed, and Naruto tugging on her gi.
"What is it Naruto?" she growled irritably from being pulled from her sightseeing.
"Hey you know that earth smell from earlier? Well I cannot just smell it, but I can hear it. And it is big, loud and coming our way. RUN!"
He shouted. Right when a good two hundred four hundred feet behind them. A giant, snarling vicious looking bear with dark fur roared, and charged to the two. Saiyuki, screamed, with the ages old flight or fight scenario. She grabbed his hand, and made a mad dash down the hill toward the gaping maw of the cave. Running into the flowing river, never taking into account if it was shallow or deep. Thankfully it was shallow enough, waist height as she led them inside.
The bear's roars echoed loudly, amplified by the cavern. Their hearts hammered in their chest. Their ears rang from the beasts thundering anger. Moving deeper, Saiyuki only just took note that the cave grew very dark the deeper they went in. it felt like hours had passed as they manoeuvred to the darkness. A sharp cry from Naruto, his voice echoing off the walls.
"What happened, are you okay?" she asked. She squinted her eyes to see what was wrong with him. But the darkness only allowed for a shadow of his being, outlined with the narrowing light of the sun.
"I cut my foot on something." He groaned, he was scared. He was not above or too proud to deny this fact.
"Dang it, why don't you wear shoes. I can't do anything for you. Not that I would know how to."
"I'm sorry." He whimpered, upset that he had annoyed his friend.
"It's fine, it isn't fine well, it is partly your fault who goes around barefooted any ways?"
Blinking, Naruto out of reaction swivelled his head to the voice. A pointless action.
"Shhh, did you hear that?"
"Hear what idiot? I can only hear the bear back there."
"I…" he stammered, and shook his head. "Nothing, come on we got to keep going. Here, take my hand, I will lead us. I can still smell the water, I think I can lead us far enough away that we won't be monster chow."
"Naruto…Naruto I can't see AAHHH" the Uchiha heiress cried out, before silence consumed the cave. Naruto stared out into the darkness, panicked as he heard his friend's scream. He felt his heart beat begin to rise, his breath coming in short powerful gasps as he tried so desperately to call out to his friend. This camping trip wasn't fun anymore, in fact he wanted nothing more than to go home.
'Breathe child. Calm yourself. I will help you. Your friend is alright. Just unconscious. She is to your left. Listen to my voice, and I will guide you.'
"Who…who are you?" he whimpered, his voice not even echoing along the cold damp walls. Timid, and near broken, his tone was nothing like his usual cheerful boisterous pitch.
'A friend you can say. But we can discuss that later, right now the two of you are in danger. So go, grab her and I will guide you.'
Taking in a much needed deep breath, Naruto clenched his fists, and did his best to steel his resolve. Fear still coursed through him like a wild river. But he would not drown under its pulsing power, not while his only friend needed his help. So, reaching down, he felt his friend lying still. Carefully, he somehow managed to pick her up, and carry her on into the welcoming darkness of the cave.
She groaned, and struggled to open her eyes. There was a painful ache in the side of her head, everything hurt like she got kicked by a bull. She blinked her eyes open, wincing even though the cave was dimly lit. Wherever she was, she it was quite dark in here. She could smell an earthy smell, she could hear the soft trickle of water flowing. Other than her head, she felt fine, tired, and overall sore, but fine.
The ground beneath her felt uneven, she could feel she was laying on something soft, dulling the hard floor. Warily she sat up, taking in her surroundings more. Being raised in her clan, she was taught to always keep a calm level head. To think things through, think before act. Her elders who taught her forgot she was a five year old kid, and any kid, if faced with her current plight would feel fear etch into their beings. Her pupils became dilated, her heart raced. Her palms were dirty, and sweaty. She frantically looked around.
As her eyes adjusted to the dark. She took note of her surroundings. She gasped softly.
Was the best description her young mind could give. The cave had widened up, a small lake forming in the centre. A soft blue glow gleamed up from the water's surface. The water gleaming like diamonds despite no sun light. Above her, the stalagmites, glimmering like diamonds, water dripping from their sharp peaks. The soft gentle song of the droplets hitting the water was soothing. The gentle sound of water flowing…despite her fear she felt a gentle peace wash over her. Crawling forward, the water it looked so pure, so fresh as if untouched by human hands for centuries.
Looking around, the soft glow of the water is what illuminated the dark. Like out of a child's story, the darkness was held at bay by this majestic glow. Saiyuki was in awe at the ancient…sanctuary? It had to be, she could see charms here and there on the walls to ward off evil monsters.
"NARUTO" she cried out when she spotted her red haired friend down by the water's edge washing his feet, and face. His head picked up, his eyes glanced around in his never ending darkness. Grabbing his glasses shouted back in excitement and fear. His voice booming out like thunder across the cavern's walls. He rushed over to her with ease, as if he had memorised his surroundings. He was missing his Gi-shirt, she noted. If only out of habit of her trying to always take in her spatial surrounding.
"I am so glad you are okay. I was so scared you were hurt." He cried, and pulled her into a mighty hug. Awkwardly she patted his back, unsure of what to say as she felt his tears drip onto her skin. She had never seen him cry, only whine when she was mean to him. But never cry.
"Uhm I am okay I think. My head hurts really badly. What happened?"
"Well, we got chased by a monster of some sort. Which forced us into the cave. It grew dark for you, so dark you slipped and hit your head. You got cut, there was…blood." He whimpered out not unlike a fox's whine.
Memories of what happened began to trickle through, she remembered seeing the bear chase them into the cave. She remembered her fear as the cave grew really dark. And she remembered slipping, but that was it. That didn't explain where she was exactly, or how she got here though she could guess.
"How did we get here?" she asked, wanting clarification if only to give answer one of the million questions floating in her mind.
"When you fell, I carried you. I kept following the scent of the water, and the wall until it led us here. I tried to clean your cut with the water over there." He said, and pointed toward the beautiful lake.
"I laid you down, and used my shirt, so you wouldn't uncomfortable. I don't know how long we have been down here. Or if it is even sunny out. I am sorry, the monster was chasing us, I didn't know what else to do."
Looking at her friend with a soft warmth in her eyes. She did something that she never thought she would have ever done. She certainly didn't want her sister knowing or else her sister would tease her to no end.
She placed a gentle kiss on his forehead. A hug, it felt, it would be in her opinion too unappreciative. He had to have carried her, and trekking through the cave, with his own injured foot wouldn't have been easy.
"Thank you, fool."
Naruto wasn't quite sure what he expected. He expected her to yell at him. To hit him and insult him because of his inability to do more. He never expected to feel the nice sensation on his brow that he knew was a kiss. Or to hear her voice so gentle, and honest. He flushed brightly under his mask, and rubbed his head bashfully. Which was interrupted when she punched him in the arm.
"OW what was that for!?" he cried out, and rubbed his now sore arm.
"For being nice, your sweetness is going to give me cavities. I am not a damsel in distress punk."
'But thank you for watching over me.'
His face twisted into a scowl, mumbling something about 'violent girls' under his breath. "Suck it up. Now, is your foot okay, can you walk?"
"Yeah my foot is fine." He answered her, and affirmed this by standing up, and walking over to his discarded top, and tied it back on. Now that both of them were back up, and running. They could work out a way to get out of here.
"The bear…is it around?" she chewed her lip, that big bear made her scared, and nervous. Never had she encountered such a beast before. And without a doubt it would eat them in a heartbeat. She looked from where she assumed he carried them from. He answered her, telling her he could still smell it but barely.
'Well that's good. It means it isn't going to come after us while we are in here. However, staying here is not an option either.'
Glancing around, she squinted, on the opposite end of the lake, by a small ledge looked to be a tunnel. Well she hoped it was a tunnel. It was their only option, she didn't want to be bear chow. And she doubt that the bear would wait much longer before its hunger made it venture into the darkness after them.
Ignoring her headache, she grabbed Naruto's hand, and led him to the tunnel. She just hoped, her sister, and Gai were out looking for them.
The sun was slowly beginning its descent beyond the great horizon. Gai jogged along the water's bank. His mind set with worry, eyes filled with fear. Itachi wasn't far behind him. After an hour had passed with no sign of Naruto, and Saiyuki, he began to worry. After two hours he grew scared, and antsy. But Itachi tried to satiate his growing concern by saying they probably just got lost track of time. Her lax attitude annoyed him. Shouldn't she be showing more concern for her sister?
He knew Uchiha's didn't really show outwardly affection and were hard assess. But he thought Itachi was different then her clansmen. He nearly chastised him until he caught the near hidden fear in her eyes. After the third hour, they began searching for their kids. And now an hour later they had picked up the trail of Saiyuki, and Naruto.
They called the kids names out, but no one answered back. They would stop to find their trail, examining the spores. Broken branches or sticks. The worse flooded through Gai's mind. He feared, the next bend they moved around he would find two corpses. He felt his eyes sting with tears. This was not happening.
How did their camping trip go from fun to all hell breaking lose in three days? This was supposed to be a fun camping trip, not a nightmare from some horror story. Looking back to Itachi her resolved too was cracking, her fears trickling through her stoic mask. Her voice called out to the kids again, unable to contain her worry and fear from her tone.
Their eyes met, and Gai gave her a soft smile.
"We will find them I swear it."
"I…I know, just, if something has happened to either of them…to my sister. I couldn't forgive myself." She whispered softly. Gai nodded, he understood where she was coming from. Yet, he couldn't shake the feeling that her words went deeper than that. Glancing to the latest spore he found. Gai looked to the heavens for help.
'I need your help my love. Our boy and his friend is lost.'
"Gai-san, look. A different spore."
Rushing over to the raven haired beauty, he knelt down, brushing his fingers through the foot print. It was larger, and rounder then a humans. His skin crinkled from his frown. He couldn't tell what type of animal made this imprint but it was big. There was another a few feet away, followed by another, which led down a slightly steep hill. The foot prints followed, a set of smaller ones, which he immediately knew who they belonged to.
"There a cave, the tracks lead there. Something is after them. We must hurry." Itachi called out.
"Yosh, let's make haste."
Whatever is after those kids, if it hurts them the gates of hell will be unleashed.
It felt like they had been walking for ages. Their feet ached, they were tired, and every breath they took became harder, and harder to take in. The deeper they went into the cave, the harder their journey grew. At times, the cave became so narrow it was almost impossible for the kids to continue on. But they managed to squeeze through the rocks just barely. Cuts, and scrapes soon decorated their exposed flesh. There was no choice though, turning back was not an option unless they wish to be dinner for a blood thirsty bear.
They paused for a moment when the air around them seemed to lighten up.
"How long have we been walking?" Saiyuki asked as she wiped the beads of sweat from her brow. Naruto shrugged. "For ages, or at least it feels like it."
Indeed it did feel like ages, her little feet were killing her, they were swelled. And her footwear was shredded, feet bleeding. The coppery sweet scent filled Naruto's sense of smell, it was a pleasant smell, but a smell he knew none the less. Now that he could breathe better he could smell blood. And it was his own he was smelling.
"Are you hurt? Yuki-chan." He called, inching towards his friend. He now more than ever wished for once he could see the world around him. Being blind, sucked, and while he never told his dad. At times he felt so scared of the constant darkness that was his world. Never seeing a sunrise or sunset, only having words to tell him what it looked like, words that meant nothing to him. What did orange, or red, look like, he would never know.
"Tired…I am just tired is all." She answered, and tried to put up a brave front. It was not in the Uchiha teachings to show weakness or fear, despite her young age she took her family's teachings seriously. After all, the Uchiha pride was all that she knew. All that she was taught.
"Hey…hey, what are you doing?" she asked, shocked when she felt Naruto kneel down next to her. His hands, brushing over her arms, as he tried to pull her forward.
"Climb on my back, I will carry you. I can tell you're lying, you're hurt. Stop being such a tomboy, I am scared too you know."
Her brow furrowed, she bit back her sharp retort the inclination that she felt fear. Her red haired companion in the time she had known him had displayed only a small set of emotions. Happy, and joy, shy and bashful. But never pain, or fear, or sorrow. She wondered if he ever felt scared, or alone, like she did. One would think belonging to a clan as large as hers she would have all the friends in the world.
But she didn't. Naruto was her only friend. To hear his own admission, it brought a quiet relief that she wasn't the only one who was scared. That the ball of sun shine too could feel emotions from the opposite end of the spectrum that he displayed. Seconds ticked by, exclaimed by the soft drip, drip, drip of the hidden leak near them. finally, after a long internal battle, she moved forward, and climbed onto his back.
"Ompf" Naruto grunted at the unexpected shift in weight. Saiyuki screeched at him, asking him if he was proclaiming that she was heavy. A question or rather statement he wisely, and quickly denied. Shifting her so he could stand up. He sniffed the air, trying to ignore the strong scent of blood. The air was warming up, the wet smell was fading. Hopefully a good sign that they were nearing an exit. Because to be honest, he wasn't sure how much more of this he, or they could take.
Continuing on, he walked slowly, the added weight of his friend didn't do anything to derail his movements. Despite being shorter than her, he had always had a sturdy body. Whenever he fell from any great height, he had come away with only scrapes, and bruises that always healed fast. Never a broken bone though. And he was so grateful for that as he had slipped, and fallen countless times as he navigated this maze of hell. So far, nothing broken.
The scent of that beast long had disappeared which he didn't know if he should be grateful for. That voice from earlier had quieted down, not the uneasiness he felt however. Or the way his smell seemed just a little bit sharper, his touch a little bit more sensitive. His hearing, a little bit stronger.
"I want to go home and take a nice hot bath." Saiyuki said, after the silence had pushed her too far. She couldn't stand the quiet solitude that accompanied the kids as Naruto carried them onward. Naruto snickered, if only due to the oddity of her choice in topic.
"You, a bath? The tomboy? I thought you would have showered. Not bathed."
Grabbing his pony tail, she yanked hard, earning a cry from the boy. "You jerk! A girl can like to take a bath you know."
"Sorry. Didn't mean anything by it. I am just surprised is all."
Her eyes, dimmed with sorrow, she looked down to his back. "Oh…" she muttered.
"Hey, what's wrong? I didn't mean anything by what I said. Just, I didn't expect you to be the type to get all smelly and smell pretty like is all. Not that you smelling nice would be a bad thing."
She frowned, and then smirked at his rambling. It was always fun hearing or seeing Naruto get all flustered over things. It was his bashful side that often came out when he realised he said the wrong thing, or did something he shouldn't have. She sighed, her family often assumed tings about her for reasons she couldn't understand.
Her dad deemed her playing with dolls, or doing anything girlie was forbidden. Her mom, drilled into her about being a lady. Dressing in the right clothes, holding yourself properly, never speaking when not spoken to. Always making sure the boys were seated first before she was. It was confusing to her, and she hated being told how to act, how to speak, what to do all the time. Sure she didn't like doing girlie things such as playing tea. Or with dolls. But that didn't mean she didn't want to know what it was like to wear a dress. Or have stuffed animals that she secretly wished she could have.
"Oh fuck." Naruto said in a rare vulgar display, she had never heard him swear before. And while she much like Itachi hated swearing. Found it quite funny he did swear. His childish voice didn't match the tone that the swear word dictated. Still, she swatted him on the back of his head, earning another cry from him.
"Don't use such language in front of me. fool. Here I thought you had manners." Her statement was said in jest, her tone light, but serious.
From being a friend, and hero to a fool and potty mouth in just a couple of hours…he was pretty sure his title was going to change again shortly.
"The cave has just gotten really wet. I don't know what is going on, but I can smell water, and salt. I can hear something too."
"Shit." She said, Naruto blinked, his glasses long since lost. He refrained from commenting on her choice of words.
It wasn't just the smell of salt water, or feel of the water. But there was a light about one hundred yards on up. She directed her mule-pack toward the light, which grew brighter and brighter. She knew Naruto was tired, she could feel his sweat drenched clothes. His heavy breathing and how he grunted when he had to step over a rock, or when he cut himself on a sharp jagged edge.
His lungs were really burning, he could feel his skin wanting to heal, only to be re-opened when he stepped on a new sharp rock. He always healed fast, he was grateful for it, nor did he ever question it. Right now though the burning sensation of his skin healing then being re-opened was like fire ripping through his flesh. Both children were cold, and wet. Shivering through their soaked clothes.
Thankfully the light led to an exit, the sound of waves crashing and the feel of the wind never felt so nice. "We're out of the cave Naruto, you did it you got us out."
It was upon those words Naruto collapsed from exhaustion. His face flopping onto the grass mixed sand. He grunted in acknowledgement. The cave had ended, and led to a small cover. Large rocky cliffs formed a u-shape cover. His Gi shirt was shredded, along with his pants, but he didn't care. He was just so damn tired. He barely noticed the sun was setting, and that it was in the evening.
Worried, and scared, Saiyuki kneeled next to him, and wiped his matted brow. She smiled softly. "You big idiot, you did it." she said, caressing him. She knew he was tired, she could see it in his barely moving body. Now, once out of the darkness she could see his caking blood, red angry flesh, and dirt and grime covering his skin. He looked like hell.
He heard tears in her voice, and he raised his hand, giving a thumbs up despite his face planted firmly into the sand. He patted her knee in a comforting fashion, though the sentiment was there. It was comical as he didn't move his body, except to flail his hand around until he found her knee.
Her elation of being out of that damn hellhole was short lived when the cause of their epic journey into the maws of death surfaced through the weird looking trees that now surrounded them. The bear looked as hungry, and vicious as it did hours before. She screamed in fear, as the large brown bear closed in on them. It's maw, dripping with saliva, fangs bared, eyes murderous.
Looking to Naruto, then to the bear she positioned herself haphazardly between the two. She kept her weight off her injured foot as best as she could. A brave front she put up in the snout of death. If Naruto could carry her through the cave, and take care of her. Then she could protect him and die first.
Naruto, he smelled the bear as it approached. Even in his exhausted state, his anger wasn't stilled from how tired he was. Its roar, its scent, saliva, stench. It was overpowering.
'Stand child, borrow my power. Stand and fight or you will die'
That voice from before, so soft, yet it held an authority that even Naruto could recognise.
'I am so tired…what can I do?' he whimpered, too tired to talk. He had used all of his strength and energy to carry Saiyuki who while she was light. Carrying her for what felt like hours, getting injured over and over from the jagged cavern rocks. It took its toll on his strength, and energy.
"Get Away!" his raven haired protector shouted out. He heard the fear in her voice, he could almost imagine she was quaking, her body quivering like jello. A scream ripped through her, piercing the jinchuriki's very soul. He had ever heard such a shrill sound ever, and to hear it coming from his usually tough friend?
The age old human instinct, fight or flight. An interesting psychological concept. Its simple meaning, anyone could understand. Either turn in fright, and run for your life. All your energy leaving your neocortex, driving all of your energy into your reptilian brain. The part that controlled your instinctual behaviour. One in flight mode could run faster than ever. Yet the opposite end of flight was fight. To rise up to the challenge before you and make a stand.
And that is what Naruto did. Like a bursting dam, he allowed his anger, and fear, his dying hope of being found to flourish. He felt his mouth peel back, his canines nearly catching on his mask. suddenly, he wasn't feeling so tired, so exhausted. No, as the damn shattered, his senses grew. His wounds healed, his irises dilated. He was tired of running, suddenly, the monster before him became the only thing he smelled. He felt is bones harden, his body became heavier, yet it didn't make his movements cumbersome.
A growl of his own ripped from him, his hair tingled, erecting. He pushed his hands down into the sand, pushing his body up.
'Stand up kit, stand up, fight, protect your friend, stand your GROUND!'
Unbeknownst to him, or his surroundings, Saiyuki turned when she heard the animalistic, doglike growl come from behind her. She gasped. Naruto, who was nearly unconscious was standing, or rather crouching, his fingers flexing, his mask crinkled around his mouth. His eyes, still closed, still kept his color a secret, but were squeezed shut with complete concentration. Another growl, a flex of his fingers, his nails looking razor sharp. And surrounding him, rising up was the most beautiful of golden glowing, translucent bubbles radiating from the ground, and his body, dancing in a seductive dance around him. The very air around him, basked in a soft golden ethereal glow.
That was when the world, and time exploded once more around them. She felt herself being knocked to the side. All hell broke loose. Winded, growls, and grunts, snarls, and roars threatened to rupture her ears. Her world spun from being batted away, but when it settled, she felt her heart fly up into her throat. Naruto, was somehow fighting this large blood thirst bear. She watched, as his fingers gleamed with that golden glow, she watched his hands swipe across in long arcs, the glow ripping, burning the flesh of the bear. That golden power flew like lightning from his fingertips, and feet, as he kicked, scratched, punched, and did all that he could to keep the giant heavy weight at bay.
Yet Saiyuki, despite still being scared. Was not afraid of what was going on with Naruto. No, she was mesmerised, enchanted like a fairy tell princess raptured by grand stories of heroic princes. She watched in awe, words not able to describe this fight that her friend was taking part in. All to protect them. The Uchiha pride kicked in, especially when she watched the bear bat Naruto a good eight feet away. She heard the blow, saw it, and almost felt it herself. He rolled, cried out in pain, but leapt back to his feet and charged.
Not to be out done, her pride demanded her to aid him. Looking for anything, she found a few good sized rocks that she could throw. And throw as hard as she did. A useless weapon, the bear's bulky hide acted like a shield fending off a sword. Her brave attempt to help her friend wasn't in vain for her rocks did distract the bear long enough for Naruto to get a good hit on its eye, blood didn't spurt out as the golden arcs that danced across his fingers soldered the wound. But even the fierce assault from the red-haired boy couldn't last for ever. And Naruto found himself rapidly tiring, his body felt like liquid fire ran through his veins. And that, when he paused to catch his breath was a fatal action.
He quickly found himself pinned by the massive paw. His energy, his strength tried to push against the mighty paw of the bear to keep it from crushing his chest. Like breaking a walnut, the weight of the bear and its strength soon over powered and began to crush the golden armor that surrounded Naruto. His bones which felt so strong, like he could lift a boulder felt like they were going to crack.
"Run Yuki…RUN!" he yelled in desperation. Feeling the air being pushed form his lungs. He turned his face to her, his clothes torn even more. His keikogi was almost nothing but torn rags. Even in his situation he only wanted to make sure his only friend was safe.
"You idiot….I…Get away from him you stupid bear." She screamed at the top of her lungs, and threw the last rock she had with all her might. Being hit in the snout angered the bear. It turned its massive heard to her, and roared. Letting his beaten foe where he was, it began to stalk to its new prey. With each step it took closer to its meal, Saiyuki took a step back.
She was beyond terrified, beyond scared or any thought. In fact as she stared at her impending murderer, she truly didn't feel anything. She didn't know she was shaking, or her heart was hammering in her chest. She couldn't hear, or see, or feel. She felt nothing. In her shocked state, she never noticed the figure of Gai flying toward the bear and kicking it in its head. Or see her sister launch a fire jutsu, creating a wall of flame to act as a shield between the bear, and the two children.
No, all she knew or saw was Naruto's battered body before the world around her faded to black.
Night had fallen upon the world, the creatures of the night having ventured from their homes. Their haunting songs rang out through the forest in a sort of haunting serenade. The glow of the fire basked the two of them in warmth, but did little to relieve them of the fear they had both felt earlier. The wood popped, embers cackled as they danced to the heavens.
Itachi had just finished checking on her little sister before moving to sit near Gai. The large man stared at the dancing flame, mesmerised from their seductive dance. His thoughts were elsewhere, having left the camp sight, and Fire country completely. His eyes reflected the orange glow. His jaw, set firmly, face twisted into a frown.
He had come so close to losing his son today, he had never felt so much fear in his life. Hearing the bear roar, feeling the power that he hadn't felt since that fateful night. His body shook at the thought. Gai had faced many life and death situations, he had come close to dancing with the devil a few times. But never had he felt such terror. Or helplessness.
If even only for this one time he was indebted to the best that lie within his son. Even if the Kitsune forced its power out of Naruto purely on the basis of survival. He was grateful. Yet, a part of Gai the part that was thinking rationally couldn't quite help bit differentiate the power used earlier, versus the power five years ago. Back then, the power, that chakra was vile, angry, and full of hatred. Yet today, it felt nothing like it did five years ago. It felt, calm, tranquil, oh make no mistake he felt the terrible force that the Kitsune possessed today. It just wasn't as vicious as it was.
That questioning thought had begun to open up many new doors, allowing a tsunami of questions to surge through his mind. His thoughts, so rampant, and frenzy that they had caused a mass headache to thunder through his head. So he closed those doors, if only to save himself the stress of worrying about the unknown. He would come back to those doors later when he could think more clearly. One thing was for sure though, things with his son had changed.
There was going to be questions he was going to be forced to answer. He wouldn't lie to his son, he has had that enough in his young life. He sighed, the Green beast had known from day one he couldn't shield his son forever. He just didn't expect for this shit to happen so soon. He thought he had a few more years. His son as smart as he was, or as dumb as he was with some of the things he did. Naruto was still too immature to understand, and grasp who he was, what he was, where he came from.
Rubbing his face vigorously, as if that would wipe away all his worries, and fears. He continued to stare blankly into the flames. Saiyuki when she had woken up a little while ago had told them what happened. They had wandered off downstream. And were playing, the bear came, chased them into the cave. His son's heroic efforts in taking care of Saiyuki. He smiled, proud of his son's strength and tenacity that he displayed.
"Keep staring, and you will go blind you know." came Itachi's soft voice that thankfully drew him from his thoughts. He stared at her, she had changed into a pair of shorts. That in his opinion were far too short on her. Her tank top didn't hide her bosom which he bashfully noted was impressive. He turned away, now wasn't the time for him to be checking her out. Not that he would leer at a woman. His dad had taught him better than that.
"Joining my son in a world full of eternal darkness is the least of my concerns. Besides, if he can do it, then I can too."
"Yes, that is all the world needs. Two blind taijutsu loving maniacs running around shouting about youth. And challenging the populace with competitions that would kill most normal people."
He grinned, he couldn't help the twitch of his lips. He learned, and was still learning about Itachi's wicked sense of humor, and quick wit. His eyes drifted to her on their own accord. The Itachi he knew, compared to the Itachi she showed the world, was two different people. Not too different then how he acted around most people, versus the deep thoughtful intelligent man that he was.
"Couldn't be worse than two doves pretending to be ravens, locked in gilded cages. Unable to spread their wings and take to the skies."
A slim brow rose up with amusement, a powerful blush threatened to spread across her pale features. So looked away, wrapping her arms around her chest. She wasn't used to compliments, as such she didn't take them well. Sure, her suitors complimented her often, but there words were vain, and full of underlying deceit. The man before her, she doubt he contained a vicious bone in his body.
"Well, aren't you the poetic one? It never ceases to amaze me just how different you present yourself to the world, and who you truly are."
He shrugged, unsure if to take that as a compliment or not. Scratching his chin, making a note he was going to need to shave when he got back. He lowered his gaze to the two tents. His concern must have been written across his face, because he felt Itachi sit next to him, her soft voice tickling his ears.
"They are safe, thanks to you, and Naruto-kun. For that I am eternally grateful."
"I didn't do anything, it is my son who deserves the thanks."
Her eyes widened, before taking on a darker tone. Did this man's humbleness never stop? It was infuriating with how modest he was. Itachi had never met a man, or person as modest and considerate as he, all hidden behind a goofy mask that sadly the world had taken for granted.
"Sorry to sound so rude but that is bull-shit."
Gai's expression as comical. Itachi wasn't one to swear, in fact she hated using any vulgar vocabulary, even damn, or shit. So rare that it was for her to swear that she could probably count on one hand how many times she had sworn over the years. Still, she found it quite funny the way his eyes widened, and his jaw unhinged like an old rusted gate.
"Naruto cared for my sister when she was knocked out. Then, he carried her when injured for the gods know how long? Only to confront and fight the bear? Then you! Jump kicking, and wrestling the bear like it is an everyday occurrence before killing it with your damn bare hands? That is not something even a skilled shinobi would do. So please, do not give me your modest crap Gai. My sister, and I, my clan we owe the two of you a great deal of gratitude."
Again Gai shrugged, his eyes flickering with worry, and concern. Occasionally they drifted to his tent, where his son was resting. His wounds were slowly on the mend, he would need a couple days before he would be up and at em again. If he lost his boy…he didn't know what he would do. No that was a lie, he would join him in the afterlife.
"Everything is going to change now." He murmured when Itachi shifted closer to him. Only a foot apart, despite the cool air he could feel the warmth of her being. He found it strangely soothing which he was grateful he was too worried to ponder on it.
"What do you mean?" she asked softly. Her focus never leaving Gai's chiselled features. She was worried for him, and about him, she had never seen him look so sombre or frightened as he was looking now. His voice was neither the poetic charming tone she had come to enjoy in their private banter. Nor was it full of passion when he spoke of the things he loved, or loud when he wore his mask of village idiot. It was strangely hollow, eerie to listen to. It bugged her, and she wanted nothing more than to hug him, but she refrained. Only if out of her own torn emotions about everything going on around her.
"You possess a keen mind. I am sure you are aware of the cruel task that has been placed upon his young shoulders. Of the difficult road he will walk, how the world will constantly try to crush his blossoming spirit. It doesn't take a genius such as yourself to figure out what he is, Itachi." He said in a rarely used angered tone.
She nodded, kept quiet while trying to choose her words carefully. She didn't wish to upset him more than what he was. Before she could speak, he shook his head, and smiled softly.
"My apologies, I should not have spoken to you in such a manner. It is most unbecoming of me, and unyouthful. I am grateful Saiyuki, and Naruto are safe."
Again she nodded, and turned her own eyes to the fire. "Do not apologise, he is your son in all but blood. You hold him above all else, it is only natural. And, yes you are correct. I know who and what he is. I am not blind, unlike most of the villagers. And I am sure they would be so ashamed and angered on how those they died for treat their legacy. But I am sure they would be eternally grateful, no I know they are for what you are doing for him."
The words were so easy to flow from her mouth. Filled with honesty, not forced. She meant everything she was saying to him. She didn't need to lie or exaggerate, never to this man. He had always treated her with kindness, with respect and as a human and woman. She watched him, he wouldn't stare at her chest, or admire her long legs. He would make sure his eyes were always on her own. Never gawking or ogling. A true gentleman. That didn't mean he was perfect. He had flaws, maybe they were not so announced or visible to the world like others. But they were there. Like her, she knew he didn't trust easily. He was paranoid, constantly surveyed his home before sleeping.
He had more alarms, and defence seals in, and around his him that could be deemed unhealthy. He rarely spoke how he felt, almost as if he was trained to be submissive. Oh sure he would tell you if you were doing well with something or not. But if someone had an idea or wanted to do something he always seemed to go with the ebb. Always giving, never taking. And she had watched as others took advantage of that, and it pissed her off.
He laughed bitterly. "I have done nothing to be proud of. Me and our foolish lord both have right royally screwed up with Naruto. I didn't fight hard enough to take him in years ago. I should have just taken him and fled our village. All my faith, all my trust in our Hokage has fled me like the summer winds welcoming the fall, and winter. I have tried to forgive him, but I can't. My cub tries to hide them, but he still has nightmares. He still doesn't trust others. I even have caught him pick pocketing people we pass sometimes. Yet, I cannot blame him, nor would I. yes stealing from your own countrymen is illegal. But when it is done as a habit because he still even if he doesn't realise it thinks I will still leave him?"
"And now, this, the Kitsune has arisen. Maybe it is a one off, maybe it isn't. But there is going to be questions from both kids. And how do I answer them? Do I tell him the truth? Do I lie, do I tell a white lie, and feed him just enough to satiate his curiosity? And hers? What if that power comes back? What if someone lets leak through angered lips what or who he is? What if our enemies find out? I have known I would need to be honest with him one day…"
"But, you didn't think it would be so soon?" she finished softly for him when she felt his body shake, his shoulders shook with barely controlled emotions that wanted to burst out like a coiled spring from a tightly closed box. He nodded, and for the first time, in a very long time a tear slid down Gai's cheek. That single clear drop was all it took. She wrapped her arms around Gai, and held him close to her.
He didn't cry out, or sniff, he just sat there in silence, as she held him. She let him cry, let him battle his emotions in her comforting embrace. She looked to the heavens, her eyes searching the dark skies.
'Captain, he needs your help. Please help him…' she prayed quietly. She rubbed his back, and just stared at the fire. If her confusion over her course of action was clouded before. Now, the thick mist had instantly cleared at hearing this man sound so broken. She knew her decision, the letter, her clan. Her mission. The villagers.
She didn't know what the future would hold after tonight. But quietly to herself, for Saiyuki, for Naruto, for Gai and herself she made a promise. A promise that she swore she would do all that she could to keep. She made a promise to the heavens, to the departed.
'I will keep them safe. Please captain, and Fourth Hokage give me the strength I need to protect them…'
End. Damn this chapter was hard to write took me two weeks as you can see. A lot of you wanted more Naruto and Saiyuki time so I tried to make this chapter more about them. While progressing everything, and also developing the characters more.
I want to say in this fic, my Itachi is not going to be a damsel in distress. She won't be indecisive in what she wants. I know a lot of fics place the girl as confused in what she wants etc. But like in the manga, Itachi had a will made of iron. Sure he made mistakes, and mine will too of course. But she won't be a confused helpless little girl.
And I hope the fight scene with the bear was fun. I tried to make it real, without going into great detail. I am sure some of you wanted for Naruto to kill the bear, I am sure but there is not now way in hell a 5 year old can. Sorry I couldn't delve too far from reality in that regards.
As for a couple things. Some of you asked if he will have the sharingan, or kekkei genkai.
I can tell you right now he won't have a Sharingan. I want him to be blind. However I know some authors like to say if he will use ninjutsu etc or tell you of things they got planned. I am not that nice lol. If I tell you it will spoil it. I got ways of making my Naruto not op. I swear to you he won't be op, godly, invincible etc. I did though leave a small hint as to what I do got planned just to tease you all.