AN: I just want to put a big notice here for everyone to see before they read the story, I have adopted this story from N B Higham because we met online and since he has given up on fanfiction, he said I could adopt this story from him because I am a new author and I am his friend. The entirety of this chapter is the four chapters that N B had posted on his profile, I just threw them all together in one chapter, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE feel free to give me suggestions for the story if you have any, it would be GREATLY appreciated!
"With Kakashi always showing up at least two hours late, why do we still bring ourselves here at the time he tells us?" Naruto looked around at both Sasuke and Sakura as he said that, searching for an answer from them.
It was Sakura who answered first, trying to defend Kakashi, "Because it is what our sensei tells us to do, and we should always obey his orders, right Sasuke-kun?"
Sasuke just managed to look annoyed, "It is a waste of my time to sit here waiting for a sensei we know will not show up until later."
Sakura seemed discouraged by that, "I guess we could try training in something right Sasuke? We would not be wasting our time if we actually did something right?"
Naruto however, was beyond being bribed by training, "Well I am sick of waiting around here, when this is not going to make me stronger; I won't become Hokage by sitting around and waiting for a lazy, good for nothing sensei! He has not even taught us anything in the first place! I mean, come on! Think of one thing he has taught us so far, except trying to make us have better team work."
Seeming to think for a second, Sakura opened her mouth several times to try and say something, but every time, she seemed to rethink about it, and close her mouth. After nearly a minute, Sakura finally gave up, and just kept her mouth shut.
"But it doesn't matter that he hasn't taught us anything yet, because he is our sensei, and we should trust that he knows what he is doing right?" Sakura again tried to defend their sensei, even if her argument was obviously futile.
"Whatever, I am fed up with waiting around here doing nothing every day, I am going to go find someone else to train me!" Naruto stormed off, leaving Sasuke and Sakura still standing there at training ground 7, waiting.
"So Sasuke-kun, do you think we could go on a date after we are finished here?" Sakura looked over at Sasuke, hope filling her eyes as she practically begged him to go on a date with her.
"No." Sasuke's answer didn't surprise her, but she hung her head anyway, because she really hoped that sometime, he would say yes to her if she asked him over and over.
With a huff, Sasuke followed Naruto's example, as he too left the training ground. As Sasuke walked away, Sakura called out to Sasuke, "Wait Sasuke-kun, we have to stay here and wait for Kakashi-sensei! He is probably trying to teach us patience!"
Sasuke did not bother to turn around when he said, "Patience will not make me stronger."
Frowning, Sakura stayed there, it seemed it was going to be a lonely two hours for her.
As Naruto ran along the rooftops, he was making his way to the Hokage Tower. 'If Kakashi won't teach me anything, I will have to go talk to someone else, I am sure someone will train me.'
Within a few minutes he arrived at the Tower, dropping down from a rooftop as he walked inside. In a few seconds, Naruto stood before the Hokage's office doors, pushing them open slowly.
Looking up from his paper work, Hiruzen looked surprised to see Naruto, "Oh why hello Naruto, what brings you here?"
Now looking a bit sheepish, Naruto looked down at the ground, "I want a new sensei, Kakashi never teaches any of us anything, it has been over a month already and we haven't learned anything new, all we ever do it D ranked missions, and team building exercises. I was fine with the exercises for almost two weeks, but for the last two weeks I have begged to do something else, but he says we can't learn anything until we are a good team, but we will never be a good team! Sasuke is too self-absorbed to listen anything me or Sakura say, and Sakura is so obsessed with Sasuke that she thinks he will protect her from any harm, and is too focused on him to even listen to anything I say! Our team is a huge disaster."
Naruto let out a breath as he ran a hand through his hair nervously. "I know we are supposed to set aside our differences for the team, but it will never work for us, especially since me and Sasuke both want to learn new things and get stronger, yet we haven't learned a thing, and we probably never will."
Throughout Naruto's whole outburst, Hiruzen sat back with a thoughtful expression on his face. "I cannot pull your team apart Naruto, all of the genin teams are set up so that each team member balances the other out, and that balance is key when your team sees combat. If you are really questioning Kakashi's teaching, if it really is a big problem I could assign you a different sensei."
"Yes!" Naruto beamed a smile at that, "All Kakashi-sensei does is read his perverted book, show up three hours late, make us do the hardest possible D-rank mission, then make us do some ridiculous exercise for an hour, then he dismisses us."
"Well Naruto, I will have to discuss this with your two team mates, and if they both say you need a new sensei, then I will assign you a different sensei, though I bet Kakashi will be very hurt by it, he is really lonely these days, he has almost no one he is close to, I think your team's rejection would hit him hard."
At that, Naruto started to look guilty as the guilt hit him that he would just kick Kakashi off of the team, maybe they could give him another chance? "Well maybe we could give Kakashi-sensei another chance, if he promises to teach us all something for once, and quit all of the team building exercises that are wasting our time."
Hiruzen smiled, sometimes people are just too easy to guilt trip, "That's great Naruto, you should give Kakashi a second chance, you should tell him you are ready to move beyond the team building, and actually learn something okay?"
"Thanks Jiji!" Naruto smiled as he ran out of the Hokage's office, already at a dead sprint before he left the building, jumping up to the rooftops as he headed back to the training ground, before he realized something, 'Wait, now I am back right where I started before I went to see Ji-Ji, and I still have to wait for Kakashi-sensei to show up!'
Now frowning, Naruto stopped as he realized he still had more than an hour to kill before Kakashi would even be there, so he jumped down from the rooftops, now just walking the streets aimlessly.
After nearly half an hour of just walking around, Naruto stopped as he was a sign above a store entitled, 'The Land of Fire's Sword Smith', a store Naruto had never been in before. With a shrug of his shoulders, Naruto pushed the door open and walked inside.
Naruto couldn't help but let out an "Ahhh" in amazement at the hundreds of swords he could see, on racks, on shelves, held by mannequins, held up by plaques on the wall, or on the counter that a man stood behind, whipping a sword off with a cloth.
The man looked up as he heard Naruto enter the shop, calling out, "Why hello, what can I do for you sir?" the man set the sword down on the counter, stepping around the counter, offering his hand out to Naruto.
Naruto shook his hand lightly, still looking around the shop in awe. "This place is so cool all of these swords look amazing! I didn't even come in here with the intention of buying a sword, but I think I have to now."
The man smiled, "Yes I have been around swords my whole life, my father was a blacksmith, and I have always appreciated swords in particular so this was my dream, I make most of the swords myself, while some come from other places because I can't make those huge zanbatos."
Smiling still, the man added, "So feel free to look around, see any you really like, you let me know, and we will see what we can do about selling you a sword now if we can okay?"
Nodding, Naruto walked around the shop for a few minutes, looking at each and every sword with interest. No doubt his wallet would take a hit if he bought a sword, and he would have to get someone to train him how to use it, but the idea seemed good to Naruto.
After nearly ten minutes had passed, the store owner gave Naruto some advice, "Since you are clearly new to swords, you should get a basic wakizashi, ninjato or katana. Those are three of the basic sword types, so you should start off with nothing fancy, just something like," At that the man walked over to a shelf, "this."
Naruto watched as the man pulled a sword off the shelf, the sword already in a sheath. With a smooth hiss, the blade came out of the sheath, revealing a relatively plain katana. "The katana is probably the heaviest sword a beginner could use, so you may want this, or if you want a shorter blade, there is the wakizashi."
The man held the hilt of the sword out to Naruto, which Naruto took, holding the sword out with one hand, as he looked down the length of the blade. It was very heavy, probably too much so.
"If you would like, you could into one of the back rooms, where I have a training dummy set up, and you could take a few swings and test the sword out." With that, the man gestured towards a door off to the back corner of the store, which Naruto soon went through, which led to a plain room, with a padded floor, and a wooden figure, with thick sticks representing arms, and legs, held up by a metal pole.
Holding the sword in both hands now, Naruto pulled the sword in a slash, noticing that swinging the sword took much longer than stabbing with a kunai. Maybe a sword was a bad idea, unless this one was just too heavy for him now. Whichever the case, Naruto knew the katana wasn't going to work, so he exited the room, back into the main shop, shaking his head at the store owner.
As he handed the sword back to the owner, Naruto asked, "Maybe a wakizashi would work better, it is nearly half the length of a katana, and it would be much faster right?"
The man nodded, "Yes I probably should have given you a wakizashi to start with." Quickly replacing the katana, he had a wakizashi held in his hand within a few seconds. In just a few more seconds, Naruto stood before the practice dummy again, this time holding the much lighter wakizashi in his hands, and with a quick swing, Naruto knew the wakizashi fit him. Even if it was a bit slower than a kunai, it definitely had more reach than a kunai, so that could balance it out.
After asking the owner what the sword would cost him. When he got his answer, Naruto blanched. Looking through his toad purse, he counted out his money, it would go through half of the money he had left, so he would have to try and get him to lower his price a bit.
Trying to haggle the price, the shop owner realized he must be pretty strapped for cash, so he cut him a break and dropped the price down nearly a couple hundred ryo, so Naruto walked out of "The Land of Fire's Sword Smith" with a brand new wakizashi strapped to his back. Considering his new sword, Naruto thought with a laugh, 'Maybe it is time for a new outfit as well. This old jumpsuit is getting rather raggedy now.'
In ten more minutes, Naruto walked into a clothes store determined to buy the most badass outfit he could. After spending less than five minutes in the store, Naruto walked out holding several bags of clothes, which were four sets of the same outfit. 'I bet Sakura-chan is definitely going to like my new badass look!'
After a short trip to his apartment to drop his clothes off and change into a set of his new clothes, Naruto set off to training ground seven, sprinting along the rooftops as fast as he could when he realized he was over half an hour late to when Kakashi would have shown up. 'Aw damnit! Now I am pulling a Kakashi ON Kakashi!'
A few minutes later found Naruto at training ground seven, to find Sasuke, Sakura and Kakashi all there waiting for him, all just standing around doing nothing.
"Hey guys!" Naruto called out, "Sorry I'm late, I got caught on the road of life!" Naruto snickered mentally, pulling a Kakashi by being late, AND then stealing one of his lame ass excuses! Today was great.
Instead of Sasuke and Sakura getting his joke, they both just seemed to be annoyed. Sakura spoke first, "You IDIOT! You get here late for some joke, and now we are late to go get a mission!"
Even if neither Kakashi nor Sasuke said anything, they both noticed Naruto's new sudden outfit change, as well as the addition of a sword strapped to his back. Sakura however, was a little more vocal.
"And what is with the get out with the sword Naruto? It is not like you know how to use that thing!"
"Well, I do not know how to use it yet, but soon I will! Besides, you know you think this sword looks pretty bad ass!" Naruto pulled his wakizashi out with a flourish, trying to show off his new sword.
Kakashi spoke up, "Alright Naruto put your sword away, we do have a client to go meet, and he is a client for a C rank mission, because I think you guys are going to be up for the challenge. He is a bridge builder named Tazuna, heading the construction of a bridge to connect the Wave Country island to The Land of Fire's coast. There is a risk of bandits attacking him to stop that, so he has requested a ninja team to escort him back. An easy enough first tough mission. But we really should get there now, we are about two hours late."
Sheathing the sword, Naruto could not help but exclaim to the entire world, "Alright! Finally we get a real mission!"
As team seven began to head towards the Hokage's Tower, Naruto was practically skipping on the way there, Sakura smiled wide some what sharing Naruto's enthusiasm, and even Sasuke managed to allow a smirk onto his face, his first C rank mission was a step in the right direction, another way to get stronger.
In a few minutes, they were before the Sandaime, and Iruka, ready to get their mission.
Naruto ran up to Sarutobi and Iruka, a bright smile on his face, "Alright! We finally get a real mission! Soon enough, I will take that hat from you Jiji!" Naruto could not stop smiling as he felt giddy with anticipation.
Sarutobi chuckled at that, replying kindly, "And I am sure you will someday Naruto."
Addressing Kakashi, Iruka informed him, "Your client Tazuna will be here any moment now, and you will begin your journey to the land of waves right away. I know it is rather sudden to leave so soon, but that is the life of a ninja, you can be called to a mission at any time."
Just like Iruka had said, Tazuna arrived soon enough, walking into the room while sipping at a bottle of Sake.
"What is this? I asked for a ninja team, not some snot nosed brats and a Cyclopes!" The man seemed slightly intoxicated from his sake, yet it was definitely really rude either way.
Speaking firmly, Sarutobi spoke, "I assure you Tazuna-san, the three young ninja are capable of handling any bandits that you could encounter, and Kakashi Hatake is one of the top jounin in the village."
Naruto could hardly believe what he heard. How was Kakashi one of the top jounin in the village? All he ever does all day is be really late, be lazy, and read his porn novel. Either he hid his strength very well, or the village was DEFINATELLY not as strong as people thought. Both were equally disturbing to Naruto.
Tazuna reevaluated his original assessment of the three young ninja, looking over the determined face of a boy with the Uchiha crest on his shirt, so he was obviously better than the others. This assumption was completely backed by the fact that the girl had bright pink hair, and looked like she wouldn't hurt a fly.
The second boy, blonde with blue eyes, was definitely the best looking of the three, from the impressive sword strapped to his back, to the very professional clothing he wore, black cargo pants, a dark gray sleeveless shirt, with a gray vest over it, looking like a gray version of the chuunin vest. He definitely looked the most prepared of three, but the Uchiha kid would obviously be pretty talented.
For what Tazuna was REALLY afraid of, they may actually be enough to protect him from the men he knew Gato would send to kill him. And of course, if the jounin was one of the best in the village, that was definitely a great plus. With Tazuna accepting that the ninja squad would be enough, they headed to the village gates, heading toward wave country.
Haku knew she would always obey whatever Zabuza told her to do, and while this would not be the worst thing she had done for him, what Zabuza and her were going to do, pulled at her heartstrings. To accept the contract from Gato to kill the bridge builder, they would get the money they needed for what they had planned, but they would crush the final hope for the small country that was struggling to be free from Gato's control.
In killing the bridge builder, they would condemn the people to a life of poverty and near slavery. As Zabuza had talked over the little details with Gato, she had decided to walk around the town where the bridge builder lived, and what she had seen had disturbed her.
In the streets, it was rare to see any one out, everyone was holed up in their house, to avoid Gato's thugs. The few people on the streets, were merchants trying to sell what they could, but no one had the money to buy anything, and most of the fruit on the island was past its expiration date.
While Zabuza told her they would do what they had to do to get the money to change Kiri, even if in their efforts to change one country, they doomed another. It was very sad to her, and her heart called for her not to help Zabuza with it, her mind knew she would help him, for it was the reason for her existence, to aid and serve Zabuza.
But again her heart told her that there should be more to life than that, and that she had already paid Zabuza back for saving her those years ago, when everyone else had abandoned her. That part of her told her that killing people was wrong, and it was that part of her that caused her to never kill anyone, even if she had nearly killed many people, she could never bring herself to do it.
But no matter what she thought, she would serve Zabuza, for that was her reason and purpose in life. Setting herself straight, Haku began to walk back to Gato's main base, her mind set back to doing what Zabuza asked of her.
Back with team seven and Tazuna, it had been several hours since they had left Konoha, going at a slow walking pace, since Tazuna would be unable to go faster. As they walked along the road to wave country, Sakura delicately stepped over a puddle, an innocent enough occurrence, if it had rained in the last few days, but as Kakashi realized, it hadn't.
Recognizing the trap that would be set in motion when the whole team had walked by the puddle, Kakashi quickly slowed his pace to walk at the back of the group, and then creating a shadow clone as he substituted with a log, all as he stepped over the puddle,
As he had suspected, as he had stepped over the puddle, two figures rose out of the water, masked men with gruesome claws on one hand each, connected by a long chain. Kakashi observed from behind the tree line as they both dashed very quickly, wrapping the chain around Kakashi's clone several times in a few seconds, then to snap it taught around his body, causing the chakra reinforced chain to snap through Kakashi's shadow clone, which was what Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura and Tazuna saw when they turned around, Kakashi being torn apart by a chain held between two men.
They all got to see as what they thought was Kakashi, torn to shreds by a chain held between two men who had seemingly come from out of no where. One of the man laughed, a short chuckle, "HA! That was too easy! So much for your jounin! With him gone, this will be so easy!"
Sasuke was the first to move, quickly moving towards one of the men, a kunai in hand as he leapt at him. Sasuke prepared himself for whatever counter move the nin would try, but what he wasn't expecting, was for the second man to swing around, nearly catching Sasuke between the chain, but he ducked down below it just in time as it passed over his head. He had seen what that chain had done to Kakashi, and how fast they could kill him with it, the chain would have to be taken care of.
Unlike Sasuke, Naruto froze in surprise, only able to watch as Sasuke reacted instinctively, quickly throwing a shuriken and a kunai through a link in the chain, pinning it to a tree, completely catching the attackers off guard. One of the attackers was jerked violently by the unexpected resistance, falling over onto their back.
Seeing what Sasuke was doing, Naruto jumped towards the nin who was still on his back, attempting to drop a fist into the man's face. What he did not expect, was for the ninja to break the chain free from his gauntlet, swinging the claw up, completely catching Naruto by surprise, as the claw swiped painfully across Naruto's knuckles as he leaped backwards.
Meanwhile, Sasuke was busy fighting their other attacker, who likewise dropped the chain, briefly exchanging taijutsu blows, before a swift kick caught Sasuke in the stomach, bending him over as the metal claw swung at his now unprotected face. To Sasuke, everything seemed to move in slow motion, as he could watch the claw move towards his face. But in reflex, Sasuke pulled out a kunai , intercepting the claw, stopping it from reaching up to his face, before he was roughly shoved over onto the ground by his attacker's superior strength.
Sasuke regrouped, only to find himself standing next to Naruto, who had also been on the bad end of his fight with the attackers, his bleeding knuckles a clear example of that as he held the throbbing hand lightly with his other. The break in the fight however, allowed their attackers to regroup as well, they now stood shoulder to shoulder, when Kakakashi appeared behind the two of them, each of their heads suddenly caught in his arms, quickly smashing their heads together, effectively knocking them out.
"Sensei! You are alive? We just saw you pulled apart by that chain!" Naruto turned to where the ambush had commenced, but saw nothing there, meaning Kakashi had played the chunin level ninja into a false sense of security.
Sasuke, for his part, just stood there stunned, he had a few moments where the fight was going his was, but it was clear that his opponent had been stronger and faster than he was, and Sasuke felt a smouldering anger at being shown that he was still so much weaker than he needed to be.
Kakashi turned to Tazuna, disregarding the momentarily unconscious demon brothers, his voice growing firm as he questioned him, "Now Tazuna-san, mind telling us why there were two chunin level ninja, Kiri's ex-Demon Brothers on top of that? This is definitely not what you told us to expect on this mission, which means you withheld information about the mission, which is a criminal offence."
Tazuna cringed, "Well uh, things in Wave are a lot worse than what you think, there was a business entrepreneur named Gato that set his sights on Wave, and swiftly bought up all of the shipping businesses, then he drove all the prices up on the island, so he has crippled our economy, and driving everyone into poverty!"
"Things were already really bad, but then he started enforcing rules on the people, using hired thugs to kill anyone that tried to stand up to him. I would have paid for a B rank mission, or even an A rank if we could have afforded it, but it took me weeks to get the money for a C rank together, we simply could not afford anything more."
"My solution to Gato's crippling hold on the island, was to build a bridge connecting Wave to The Land of Fire, so that he could not control everything through shipping. But as we are nearly half done with the bridge, he started threatening to kill me, and everyone that would work for me on the bridge, so we stopped working on it so that I could get a ninja team to help us out, and protect us from the thugs he sent after me. He must have learned that I went to Konoha to get help, so he must have hired those guys to kill me."
Kakashi groaned, he had lied about the mission parameters, and if Gato had sent chunin to kill him, he would probably send someone stronger next time, which his team would not be able to handle.
"I am sorry Tazuna-san, but if Gato hires stronger ninja to kill you, my team will not be able to handle that, I do not want to risk my students' lives on this, I will have to take my team back to Konoha."
Naruto was stunned at that, Kakashi would just walk away from the man pleading for help? "Sensei! We can't just walk away from Tazuna-san like this, he will be killed if we don't help him, and if an entire COUNTRY of people is suffering under the rule of a tyrant, it should be our duty to help! Even if we do not get paid as much as we should, I know that if you are as strong as Hokage-sama said you are, that you alone could handle whoever they send to kill Tazuna-san, and we will be here to help you!"
Naruto was completely sincere in wanting to help Tazuna, and the people of Wave, and Tazuna's story pulled Sakura's heartstrings as well, making her want to help as well.
"Naruto is right Kakashi-sensei, how could we just walk away like that? He is begging for our help, I could never leave him if we really can help them." If Naruto's argument hadn't changed Kakashi's mind, having Sakura beg him to let them help him changed it for sure.
Kakashi sighed, "Well, if Sasuke agrees with you that we should help, we will stay with Tazuna-san and ensure that he finishes that bridge, but Tazuna-san will have to at least pay for a B rank mission, maybe A. Sasuke what do you think?"
Sasuke did not even have to think about it, "If we can help them, we should."
"Alright, that settles it then, we will stay and help Tazuna-san."
Walking over to the surviving Demon Brother, Kakashi bound him, and tied him to the tree with ninja wire, and summoned a dog next to him, who with a few words, raced off in the direction of Konoha. Kakashi grabbed Naruto's sword from the tree, handing it back over to Naruto, who replaced it in his sheath.
Kakashi turned, and the five of them again set off for wave country again. It had nearly been two hours that they had walked, when Kakashi had a weird feeling.
'Why haven't we run into anyone else yet, surely whoever else Gato had hired would have caught us by-' Before Kakashi even finished his thought, he yelled out, "Everyone get DOWN!"
Everyone dove to the ground, obeying Kakashi's order, as they all heard a loud "WHOOSH" go by where they had been seconds before.
Everyone turned to look at the giant sword that had come from seemingly thin air that had embedded itself deep into a tree. As they watched, a tall man, wearing blue cargo pants, no shirt, and bandages wrapping around the lower half of his face jumped down onto the zanbato, chuckling.
"Well, well, well, Sharingan Kakashi! With a genin team no less! If you are defending Tazuna, it is no wonder that they failed." Zabuza was still laughing, obviously thinking they stood no chance against him.
Sasuke's eyes opened wide at that, 'SHARINGAN KAKASHI? Kakashi has a Sharingan? How could he have gotten a Sharingan?'
Zabuza spoke up again, "How about you show me that Sharingan, Kakashi! We both know you are going to need it pretty soon unless you hand over Tazuna to me."
Kakashi did not speak to Zabuza, instead telling team seven to stay away from the fight, and protect Tazuna, and that Zabuza was on a level even with him.
Now addressing Zabuza, Kakashi spoke, "I will not hand over Tazuna-san to you, you would have to kill me to get to him." Kakashi slipped into his fighting stance, as a hand reached up and lifted his headband to uncover his eye.
Pulling his hand away from his eye, Kakashi's eyes were now both locked onto Zabuza, his red Sharingan eye spinning as it gazed at Zabuza.
'So he has a Sharingan! He must have had it transplanted somehow, there is no way he is an Uchiha, he had a lot of history as the son of the White Fang, but how would it have been allowed? My father said he never let any member of the Uchiha clan allow an eye to be transplanted in someone else, he must have been very close to a member of the clan.' Sasuke was completely bewildered by the fact that Kakashi had a Sharingan hidden under his headband.
Zabuza grinned, "Ahh now that is more like it Kakashi! I am ready for this fight to get under way!"
And with that, Zabuza seemed to vanish to everyone's eyes, as at the same time, a strange, thick mist seemingly materialized around them. To Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura and Tazuna is was just a thick mist, but Kakashi knew better.
"Everyone protect Tazuna at all costs, Zabuza will try to kill him before having to engage me!" Kakashi hoped with all his heart that his students could hold on until he could find Zabuza and engage him to get him away from Tazuna.
"So this is the Hidden Mist jutsu, I must say it really doesn't seem as useful as the academy instructors said it is." Sasuke tried looking through the mist, if he focused, he could just make out his teammates and Tazuna next to him, but after that he couldn't see. In all honesty he was terrified at being unable to see around him, but hopefully Zabuza wouldn't know that.
"Oh so the Uchiha brat is trying to act all macho, lets see how well you do without your sight!"
With almost no warning, Zabuza seemed to materialize out of the mist, his giant zanbato in a huge overhand slash aimed at Sasuke, but even with how fast Sasuke knew he was moving, he barely seemed to be moving, but he reacted quickly.
Rolling sideways, Sasuke watched the giant sword hit nothing but air where he had been seconds before, then it was gone. 'He is so fast!' Sasuke felt so confident, but now he realized that he was entirely outmatched in this fight, even if for some reason, it had felt like Zabuza was moving slower than Sasuke KNEW that he had to be.
Zabuza's voice filled the mist, seeming to come from everywhere at once, as he taunted the three genin, throwing a joke about Sakura's hair, an insult about the Uchiha, and an offhanded remark about Naruto's "pitiful excuse" for a sword.
Naruto was beyond mad, how dare this missing nin make fun of his sword, make fun of Sakura-chan's hair, and insult Sasuke's clan? For whatever reason, Zabuza's offhanded comments ignited something in Naruto. When Zabuza's sword swung down at Naruto, he was not even caught a little off guard, feeling power rush through him, Naruto swung his wakizashi up to meet Kubikiribocho, his wakizashi was nowbuzzing with red chakra that was flowing heavily around Naruto.
With a ringing noise, Naruto's tiny, in comparison, wakizashi, humming full of red chakra stopped the mighty Kubikiribocho, and that more than anything, surprised Zabuza enough that he stopped for a second, to ponder the impossibility that some kid with a shiny new sword had stopped one of the swords of the Seven Swordsman.
That little pause, was enough for Kakashi to dash in, a Raikiri flashing brightly as Kakashi tried to catch Zabuza off guard., and end the fight early. Zabuza of course, simply back flipped backwards, as the energy of the Raikiri faded away.
Red chakra still flowed around Naruto as his rage hit an all-time high, and with a loud yell, he ran after Zabuza, his wakizashi raised in an over hand blow. With no effort, Zabuza raised Kubikiribocho up to block the blow, but was shocked by the force that hit his sword, as with a loud "clang," Naruto's sword left a large dent in the legendary Kubikiribocho.
'What the Hell is this? There is no way that little sword is doing that much damage! But wait, is the boy a harnessing Biju chakra? Even an untrained 12 year old with some Biju chakra can kick my ass apparently!'
Naruto was purely on the offensive, his strength, speed and power enhanced by the Kyuubi's chakra, coupled by Zabuza being caught off guard was putting Zabuza on the ropes for the time being.
Swinging his sword wildly, with little coordination, Naruto was backing Zabuza through the clearing, but within three seconds, Naruto's rage began to ebb away, and Zabuza saw him start to slow down, and with a large side swipe, knocked the wakizashi out of Naruto's hands, and was preparing a death blow when Kakashi was once again backing Zabuza off.
Shocked by Naruto's Kyuubi enhanced abilities, it took him a second to move after him and Zabuza, but it was a good thing he did, as Naruto's rage faded, the chakra too faded away, and as Zabuza knocked away Naruto's sword, he was there, a second Raikiri flashing in his hand as he again tried to catch Zabuza before the fight developed further.
Totally caught off guard by Naruto's strength and speed, and having to deal with him, he did not see Kakashi's Raikiri until he was a split second away, but reacting quickly, he brought Kubikiribocho to block the Raikiri with its broadside.
Seeing the broadside of the mighty sword, Kakashi knew he would have to hope the Raikiri cut through it, or it would be his end if Zabuza went on the offensive, but as he was inches away, Kakashi saw something in the sword, and quickly went to hit it.
Knowing there was no way even the powerful Raikiri could break his sword, Zabuza was caught completely off guard, when it actually did break. Because right there on that side of the sword, had been the diagonal dent left by Naruto's kyuubi empowered wakizashi, going half an inch into the sword, it was all that Kakashi's Raikiri needed to cut through the great Kubikiribocho, even if the Raikiri faded out soon afterwards.
With his sword broken, Zabuza lept back, his hands flashing through hand signs, "Water Style: Water Dragon Jutsu!"
But as the gaint water dragon bore down on Kakashi and Naruto, Naruto and Kakashi both knew that Naruto was not going to be able to move out of the way in time, and the jutsu would surely kill him. But here it was that Sasuke showed his worth, using his Sharingan for the first time, he had copied Zabuza's hand signs on instinct, and pushing all of the chakra he had into the jutsu, he launched his own water dragon at Zabuza's.
Though weaker than Zabuza's own, the water dragons collided, two great forces that fought each other for a few brief seconds, enough for Naruto to move quickly out of the way, and for Kakashi to flash through his own hand signs, as he yelled, "Water Style: Water Dragon Jutsu!"
As the third dragon his Zabuza's that was equal in strength, the two combined water dragons pushed through, and hit Zabuza with two huge masses of water, pushing him back through several trees before the dragons gave out.
And there, lying unconscious was Zabuza, nearly thirty feet back from where he had been, and having gone through at least two dozen trees, his body was battered, and he was surely half drowned and near death.
Sakura and Tazuna were both kneeling around Sasuke, using all of his chakra like that had left him nearly deprived of chakra, and he was unconscious from chakra exhaustion. Kakashi moved slowly forward towards Zabuza.
Naruto was silent now, trying to process what had happened, he had used the Kyuubi's chakra, and he had felt so powerful. He was holding Zabuza's broken sword pieces, looking at awe at the once great sword.
As Kakashi moved towards Zabuza, he felt sore as he pulled his headband back down to cover his eye, feeling the dull ache from having to use it, as well the amount of chakra he had used so quickly in the fight, it was not often anymore that he used such a large scale jutsu after using two Raikiri back to back like that, and he felt the strain.
Now standing over Zabuza, he slowly pulled a kunai out of a pouch, it always felt like a cowardly way to kill someone, after they had gone unconscious, but he couldn't risk leaving Zabuza alive to come back after Tazuna, he wouldn't be caught off guard by any of their tricks next time, and the next fight would be much harder if he was left alive.
About to kneel down to cut Zabuza's throat, Kakashi's senses heard something, so reacting quickly he blocked two senbon, which he noticed were headed towards Zabuza's throat.
A masked nin, with a mask matching the Hunter Nin of Kirigakure appeared next to Kakashi, "Excuse me, Kakashi Hatake, I am a Kirigakure Hunter Nin, and I apologize for not arriving soon enough to aid in your fight against this missing nin, but it is my mission to see Zabuza dead, and his body returned to Kirigakure as evidence."
Kakashi nodded, "Well I am sure just his head would suffice as evidence, right?" Kakashi noticed the "Hunter-nin" tense as he mentioned beheading Zabuza.
"That would be unnecessary, if you would just allow me-" Whatever the fake hunter-nin was about to say was cut off as Kakashi had another Raikiri in his hand, moving as fast as he could to stab the fake hunter-nin, but Kakashi was tired, and he was not fast enough after using all the chakra he had already used.
The fake Hunter-nin quickly moved back, senbon appearing in their hand as they lashed out, stabbing the senbon into Kakashi's neck, then Kakashi's world was black.
Naruto had seen the Hunter-nin appear next to Kakashi, but he could not hear their conversation. As he noticed Kakashi tense, he began to move towards them, then as Kakashi used Chidori, he began to sprint, but he was too late to help as Kakashi fell to the ground, and the Hunter-nin disappeared with Zabuza.
Naruto was next to Kakashi in an instant, pulling the senbon out as quick as he could, creating several shadow clones to carry Kakashi, as he started yelling, "Sakura! Kakashi is hurt, we have to get him somewhere that he can get help! Tazuna-san how far is to your house, we need to get there quickly!"
Seeing Sasuke unconscious, Naruto created several clones to carry him as well, as Sakura seemed very shaken that Sasuke and Kakashi were now both unconscious. Tazuna sensed their urgency, and he started to lead the way to his house.
Naruto stayed back for a second, grabbing the two pieces of Zabuza's sword as well as his own, still intact wakizashi, before heading off after Tazuna.
After reaching Tazuna's house they met Tsunami and Inari, Tazuna's daughter and grandson. Tsunami had Sasuke and Kakashi laid down on a bed, knowing Sasuke just needed rest, but she did not know exactly what the senbon could have done to Kakashi.
To her own limited knowledge, all she could tell was that the senbon had hit a cluster of nerves, leaving Kakashi in a near death state, while he seemed dead; it was likely he would be awake later that day, while he would be very weak once he did awake.
Within a few hours of reaching Tazuna's house, Sasuke had woken up, good as new, and a few hours after Sasuke woke up, Kakashi had woken up too, though he was fairly weak. Kakashi had mildly severe chakra exhaustion, and it was made worse by how much being put into the near death state had weakened his body.
Two days later, Kakashi was walking, albeit with a crutch, so he took his students out behind Tazuna's house, for a chakra training exercise.
Kakashi slowly lowered himself onto a chair, leaning back comfortably. "Okay guys, this is how it is going to work. You are all going to climb trees, without using your hands."
Naruto was confused by that, "But how can we do that Sensei?"
Kakashi chuckled, "It is simple really, all you have to do is channel chakra to your feet, and it will stick to the tree. Too much and your foot won't be able to touch the tree, and too little and your foot won't stick. Go ahead, try. Just don't get discouraged if you can't do it at first, it may take a while."
Naruto was eager to start, so he quickly walked over to a tree, channeling chakra to his foot, but trying to limit how much he used as he remembered Kakashi say that if he used too much it wouldn't work. Bringing his foot up against the tree, Naruto could not even bring his foot within an inch of the tree, he was using way too much chakra.
Sasuke, while not as eager as Naruto, was excited to learn something new, so after approaching a tree of his own, he channeled chakra to his foot and brought it up to the tree. But to his dissatisfaction, he could not bring his foot within half of an inch to the tree, so he slowly lowered the amount of chakra he used, until his foot hit the tree, and he felt it stick. Leaning back, he brought his other foot up, concentrating on matching the amount of chakra he used on his first step, as the second. But ads he focused on the second step, he lost focus on his first foot, and with a thump, he fell to the ground.
Kakashi laughed, "Don't forget to divide your concentration on both of your feet once you get on to the tree, you have to keep the chakra flow steady as you go, or you will fall right away."
Seeing both the boys fail at their first try, Sakura felt a little nervous to try, but then she thought about how impressed Sasuke might be if she could beat him to the top of the tree. Focusing, she put her foot against the tree, pushing more chakra until she actually felt it stick, leaning back she got her second foot against the tree, and slowly her third.
Going slowly, Sakura was surprised at how easy it was to go up the tree, surely Sasuke couldn't have too much trouble with it if she could do it easily? Before Sakura knew it, she has a dozen steps up the tree, before she felt her chakra flow begin to weaken, so she gracefully back flipped off of the tree, landing back on her feet on the ground with a successful cheer.
Naruto was ecstatic for Sakura, "Wooooohhhhh! Way to go Sakura! You are easily going to beat me and Sasuke at this!"
Sasuke however, was not so happy for his teammate, 'If Sakura can do it so easily, why can I not do it just as easy?'
Kakashi could sense Sasuke's displeasure, "Don't be too discouraged by her doing so well guys, the less chakra you have, the easier it is control it. The more you have, the harder it is to control, which is why Sakura can do it easily, she has less chakra, and the both of you are having trouble, you both have more chakra."
"Though Sakura can do it easily, she won't be able to do it for as long as you and Naruto will once you both get the hang of it, so the more that you do it, your control will get better, and the more Sakura does it, the bigger her chakra reserves will get. It is an easy win-win for all of you."
Kakashi stopped talking after that, pulling out his signature Icha-Icha book out of his back pocket as he read quietly, keeping track of his student's progress with a few glances every once in a while.
Sasuke and Naruto nodded, resuming their efforts, both trying twice as hard as before as they tried their hardest. It would be hours before Naruto got more than a few steps up the tree, while Sasuke had gotten nearly a dozen steps up. Sakura however had tired herself out after getting all the way to the top of the tree several times.
When the four of them were called in for dinner several hours after that, Naruto vowed to stay out until he got all the way to the top of the tree, Sasuke nodding along with him, so the two of them stayed out while Sakura and Kakashi headed in.
Naruto was gritting his teeth with effort, he was a little over half the way up the tree, farther than he had made it before. Sasuke was trying just as hard as he was, but he was several steps ahead of him, just that much closer to reaching the top first.
Naruto and Sasuke shared a knowing look between the two of them, and just like that, there was now an unspoken competition between the two of them.
Now that they were competing, they both tried just that much harder to beat the other, as Naruto started to catch up to Sasuke, and as they both neared the top of the tree, he even got ahead of Sasuke by a step, both concentrating as much as they could, as they got neck to neck.
Six steps away from the top, then five, four, three, two, one, then as they both reached the top, Naruto was quick to proclaim, "I totally just won that Sasuke! You know that I did!"
Sasuke shook his head, "It doesn't matter, Dobe, I am just going to head back in to eat."
Naruto laughed lightly, "Sounds like a plan to me!"
The two of them walked in together, bickering in an actually friendly manner through the meal. Sakura shook her head and laughed at the boys, but still glad that the two of them were getting along well for the time being, better than the usual anyway.
No one really took notice of Inari, sitting quietly and picking at his food until he spoke up, "Why do you even try to get stronger? No matter how strong you are, you can't beat Gato! He just kills whoever tries to stand up to him! And he will kill you too if you don't stop!"
"What is your problem Inari! We are here trying to help you, and save you from Gato, and what he has done to the whole country of Wave, how can you say we shouldn't try to help you? We can help you, with the training we have, and since we beat the people Gato sent after your grandfather the first time, we can beat them the next time they come after us! How can you be so ungrateful to us, we are only here to help you!" Naruto was furious that Inari would just talk to them like that, put them down for trying to help, risking their lives to help them!
Inari was nearly in tears, "You don't know what it has been like here! You do not know the suffering that everyone here has gone through! You come in, the Konoha ninja, acting all tough like you can just stroll up and stop Gato, but you can't!"
Now that REALLY made Naruto mad, "I don't know what suffering is like? I have lived a life worse than anything ANY of you have had to deal with! I grew up in Konoha living in the slums, I lived on the street for nearly a year without a home! I came through all of that, and I even became a ninja! I went through Hell, but I never gave up! The worse thing you can do, is give up when things get tough, that is when you need to dig deep, and show everyone what you can do! I never give up, and that is my Shinobi Way!"
Inari looked down quietly, before getting up and running up the stairs as tears flowed down his face. Naruto looked down at his food, still pissed off, so deciding he needed to get away, he quickly ran out of the house, and out into the woods.
It was nearly ten minutes before Naruto stopped running. Needing to let out some anger, Naruto created several dozen shadow clones around him, quickly ordering them all to fight him, he launched himself into the fight, as he kept destroying his clones, Naruto noticed something.
As the last clone was destroyed, Naruto tried to focus. Digging through his memories of his fight, he noticed that there was more there than what he had done. He could see himself, the real him, fighting the clones. He watched as he punched himself, or maybe it was a clone?
'I made sure all of the clones were only deflecting or blocking, so how do I have the memory of being hit by a clone, I am pretty sure I was never hit by any of my clones. Maybe it is the memory of the clone? But if the shadow clones give me their memories why have I never noticed it before? I mean, the only times I have used them was against Mizuki and when Kakashi-sensei and Sasuke got hurt, so maybe I was just too preoccupied to notice?'
Naruto created one clone, giving it a quick order, "Think of a number, but don't tell me, then dispel." His double-ganger nodded, before dispelling. Immediately, the number 9 came up in his mind. 'Oh this is so COOL! I wonder what happens if I watch myself fight my clones?' Quickly, Naruto created a dozen clones, ordering one to stand aside and watch.
Destroying clone after clone, Naruto just kept creating more and more, going through dozens at a time as the one clone stood to the side and watched. As Naruto kept fighting through clones, he had a thought, "Maybe I can use clones to learn tree walking faster, and maybe that can work as well."
Naruto destroyed the last clone, and nodded to the clan standing aside, making it dispel. Focusing on the memories of his clones, Naruto noticed that the more memories he had to look through, the harder it was to clearly view any one of them. But with some effort, Naruto picked out the one clone's memories, watching as he made a few constant mistakes as he fought his clones, things that he would have to work on when he could.
But quickly acting on his tree walking idea, Naruto created three clones that quickly ran towards separate trees, each working their way up the trees, reaching the top at slightly different times, they then walked down, something that was definitely a lot more of a challenge than climbing up, as you had to use more chakra to hold yourself in place as you fought gravity as it tried to throw you down to the ground.
Having the clones dispel, Naruto got the memories of what amount of chakra each clone had used, which varied slightly between the three of them. Seeing that the clones each had a varied amount of success, Naruto could see which amount of chakra worked best, more so than the other two.
Creating a dozen more clones, he set them to climbing trees, as another dozen were created as Naruto launched himself into another fight.
It would be hours before Naruto would quit, hours after dark had fallen, he sat down and leaned up against a tree, 'It is a nice night, and this tree sure does seem so comfy, I might as well just sleep out here.' Closing his eyes, Naruto let sleep slide over him as he continued thinking about what he could use the newly discovered shadow clone's ability for.
Opening his eyes slowly, Naruto sat up off of the tree, cracking his back. "Ugh, in hindsight, sleeping up against the hard tree really wasn't a good idea." Naruto grimaced at how stiff his back felt. Standing up, he took a look around.
The sun was filtering through the trees, it really was a beautiful sight. He could hear birds chirping, the sun was shining, and it was a warm morning. It was such a beautiful morning, all of the anger Naruto had felt towards Inari was gone by now, 'I just feel bad for yelling at Inari like that, I just couldn't believe he would just give up like that, because no matter, you never give up.'
Again looking around in a circle, Naruto wasn't sure how far into the woods he had gone, but he could tell since the sun was rising to his left, the house would be off to the right, because Naruto could see the sunset from the window of his room every night.
So moving at a slow jog, Naruto started towards Tazuna's house. After running for nearly two minutes, Naruto started to wonder how far he had run in the woods the night before. 'Well I think I ran for at least five minutes before I stopped, then I was moving around while I fought my clones for hours, so who even knows how far out I got?'
Moving through the forest, Naruto caught sight of something white off to his left, when curiosity got the better of him, he decided to check it out. Moving closer, he saw it was a girl kneeling down among some flowers.
"Oh excuse me Miss but what are you doing all the way out here in the woods?" Naruto wasn't sure if it was rude for him to just ask her, but he was curious why someone would be so far out in the woods so early in the morning.
The girl turned to look at him, showing a very pale face, long beautiful black hair, and she was wearing a beautiful white kimono, she really was very beautiful. "Oh well why are you all the way out here Sir?"
'Wow she has such a beautiful, soft voice.' Naruto really was stunned by how beautiful the girl was, "I was out late last night training!" Naruto felt proud to proclaim that he was training to help save the Land of Waves. "Me and my team are here to protect the bridge builder Tazuna, so he can finish his bridge and get everyone out from under the tyranny that Gato has put them under! I was out training so late last night that I decided to sleep out here, because it really is beautiful out here, wouldn't you agree?"
The girl smiled, a warm smile that made Naruto's cheeks red, and gave him butterflies, "Yes it is very nice out this morning, a perfect morning really. And since you told me why you are out here, I guess I can tell you why I am out here so far. My friend is very sick, so I am out gathering some herbs for him that will help him get better sooner." The girl knelt down and plucked a few flowers, taking a few steps to place them in a basket that Naruto hadn't noticed.
"Oh well I could help you! I always want to help people in need, that's why when my sensei was going to have my team leave Tazuna when he had lied about the mission, I told him we couldn't do that, and after seeing how bad the village here has, I know that I will do whatever I can to help them."
"Is it really so bad around here? Me and my friend are just passing through, I haven't really been into town yet." Haku was a little worried, 'How bad is it around here? And if me and Zabuza really do kill the bridge builder, are we really condemning this country to poverty? I don't think I could do that, maybe that is why Zabuza forbid me from going into the town, I knew that we would be doing a bad thing by helping Gato, but Zabuza needs the money to help Kirigakure, but is it really worth it if we doom one country to save another?'
Naruto still had a bright smile on his face, hoping the girl couldn't see his blush, "Well my name is Naruto Uzumaki, what is yours?"
"My name is Haku, and if you want to help, I am looking for white four pedaled flowers, they have short stems and grow very low to the ground." While Naruto didn't know it, the flowers would help Zabuza recover from the fever he had gotten after being nearly drowned under the combined force of two Water Dragons.
Naruto's smile widened, "Sure thing Haku, I will have it done in a second!" Naruto held a hand sign, and a dozen Naruto's poofed into existence around him, running off in random directions to search for the flower.
"My Shadow Clones will find those flowers soon enough, much faster than just the two of us could, don't you wait!" Naruto felt proud to show off his clones, hoping to impress Haku, the only time he had ever tried to impress someone else so much, was Sakura when he tried to show her he was better than Sasuke.
Haku did smile again, "That is a really cool jutsu Naruto, I am sure they will help, it could have taken me another hour to get enough flowers." 'And since Zabuza won't be expecting me for another hour, maybe I should check out the village and see if it as bad as Naruto says it is.'
Naruto and Haku watched as clones ran all around, searching all over for the flowers, running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off. Haku giggled as several clones came running back with handfuls of white pedaled flowers, several of them running into each other as they ran, causing a mass dispersal as several clones ran headlong into each other in their rush to get back.
Even with all of the clones tripping over each other, a couple of them still got through, dropping the flowers into Haku's basket, as she smiled and said, "That's enough, thank you."
Naruto sent a mental order to his clones, and the remaining half a dozen clones all dispersed themselves, leaving little clouds of smoke in their wake.
"Thank you Naruto, and thank you for your help, but I really must get going, my friend needs to get better as soon as possible, so I should get going and get these to him." Haku knew who Naruto was, but she could never kill someone, it was the one thing she wouldn't do for Zabuza.
Naruto smiled nervously, "It was no problem, I was just glad to help out. But I hope we meet again someday, you seem like a really nice person Haku."
Haku smiled wistfully, "I would like that Naruto, and it was nice meeting you." Bowing slightly, Haku turned and walked away, soon getting out of Naruto's line of sight.
'Once this mission is over, maybe I can get Kakashi-sensei to stay around for a little while, I would like to talk to her again, maybe I could get Haku and her friend to stay in Konoha.' Turning away, Naruto started his jog back to Tazuna's house.
AN: I just did some editing, based off of suggestions from previous reviews given to NB that he never took care of, but other than that, this is his work, but hopefully I can do a good job continuing someone else's story.