The Difference Of Knowing:
His encounter with Izumi left him a little uneasy. Her presence here could ultimately jeopardize the mission completely, which was exactly why he sent messenger toads back home. He would continue his assignment and hopefully complete it with no side tracking or anything. Over the years he had developed a sort of awareness about the certain criminal. He remembered as a child he had thought about her constantly, and how friendly and absolutely beautiful she looked. He had been excited to engage in this newly found friendship she had accepted. Honestly, he had believed her to truly be his first friend. It was naive. But, instead his innocent thoughts were destroyed when he discovered the truth. She had done so much, so much to cause harm to Sasuke and to the village. She was a criminal with some sort of twisted ideology, a murderer. And not only that she was after him, him being Naruto the Jinchuriki of the Kyuubi. She had been the catalyst for his departure. Naruto would bring him back though, it was only a matter of time and effort. He sighed, as he walked past the front desk of the hotel.
The female clerk with blue hair smiled genuinely at him as he walked past. He returned her smile with a grin, waving a to her before walking outside and getting smack with cold air. He immediately missed the warmth of the hotel, but duty called. He wrapped a black scarf around him as he kept his robe close, decently covering his Konoha jounin attire. He moved through the cold streets, as his feet pressed into the snow neatly.
Sandals were definitely not the footwear to have on in this type of weather. And each step seemed to place more ice and snow on his feet. He reminded himself to buy some boots or something while he was still in town. He continued to move wrapping his scarf closer to his face. He was almost there, he pressed deeper into the village, moving towards the center where his destination lay.
Finally, he was here, his eyes gazed up at the building. It as small, but resembled that of the Hokage Estate back in Konoha. He was met with security as he entered the mansion. A rushed of men approaching him and scanning over his body with metal detectors. He awkwardly scratched his head, as the machines beeped rapidly.
"What can I say? I'm a shinobi afterall.", he gave the excuse.
The security seemed to back off in obvious concern for their own health.
"You wouldn't happen to be one of the escorts.",
One of? He nodded. "Yep, I guess that's me.",
Relief swarmed over the men, as he felt some of the tension dissipate.
"My apologies sir—",
"Naruto Uzumaki is my name.",
The man who seemed to be head of security nodded, a polite smile forming. "Uzumaki-san. Welcome.",
"Naruto will be just fine.", he again corrected.
He nodded again in confirmation. "Mushi, pleasure to meet you. Follow me, your audience is needed.", the blond gazed at all the men surrounding him. Though they seemed to be less frightened and tense, there was still an aura of distrust. He thought he even heard someone ask if having a ninja was necessary or that it was rather dangerous to bring a shinobi into the village. He shrugged not caring much about their opinion, he just simply had to complete his mission.
They moved towards an elevator where they were again met with metal detectors, and as if it were some sort of loop the detectors went off again. The security stationed at the machine gave him a hard stare before Mushi indicated with his hands that Naruto was clear. He watched as the security again uneasily stepped aside. Finally, they made it to the top floor.
"We are here. The elevator goes straight to his office.", He admired this, actually wondering as to why Baa-chan didn't have an elevator in the Hokage Mansion. There was a loud beep before the elevator stopped indicating they were finally on the floor. The doors slowly opened, as they entered the small office. He walked a few feet in before their eyes met.
"You again?", He stated as he approached the desk. The man sitting there watched in confusion. "What are you doing here?",
Again, black and azure gazed into each other. Izumi watched him her gaze almost seeming to hold a condescending fashion to it. She didn't reply for a deathly silent second. "It would seem as if we've been hired for the same mission.",
Naruto narrowed his eyes at her before his eyes went back to Mushi, whom of which only shrugged. He came closer to the desk, as he stared at the man sitting there.
"Yes, that is correct.", the man stated, moving from his seat. He was an elder man, grey hair painted over his beard and shaggy hair. His eyes were brown and seemed to hold much age to them. "I hired both of you in good faith–",
"I'm sorry, but the Konoha and the Akatsuki have bad blood. They are criminals, do you really want criminals escorting you?",
Izumi had no facial reaction to this. "The Akatsuki will complete any assignment without question. In return all we ask for is compensation.",
This was all extremely fucked up and tricky. What was she really up to? The leader nodded at Mushi, to which the head of security left back into the Elevator.
"To hell with that. She cannot be trusted.",
"I was not aware of such tribulations between the Leaf and Akatsuki. I hired both in hopes of getting the best-—", again he interrupted the man.
"I could have escorted you myself. She is an S-class shinobi wanted in five nations. What she did is unforgivable. And unfortunately, this isn't one of them. However, I have a duty to capture her!", He withdrew a kunai, as he immediately got into an offensive stance.
She stood solid still, simple muttering the simple words. "You can't.", as her eyes converted to a crimson red.
"Stop this madness. I have no intentions of having two shinobi fight within my village. If you wish it I can have you both escorted out and just bring my own security. However, there being a bounty on my head has made me easy pickings for shinobi alike. All I ask is for protection for my journey. That is it! I do not wish to know about the bad blood between you two I just want to get my money's worth. Can you two please do that?",
The boy stood, Kunai still gripped tightly in his hand. He wanted to capture her, he wanted to take her back to the village and place her in prison for her crimes. Not only would she be punished but that would ultimately bring Sasuke back and from there he would figure everything out. But a few things were keeping the boy from doing what was on his mind. One, capturing Izumi Uchiha would be a difficult task, one that would possibly required all his efforts. Possible, yes. But, not something he could do easily. And two, in the event that he was able to defeat her, how would he get the girl back all the way to the village without any trouble. This of course, is without accounting for the damage he may sustain from the battle.
"I have no interest with you at the moment, Naruto-san. However, if we both share the same mission then I will tolerate you in order to complete my assignment.", she stated, deactivating her Sharingan.
"Yeah, and what if I refuse to work with you and instead capture you for your crimes?"
He spat as a small condescending smirk fell upon her lips.
"You could try.",
"Listen! You both are high caliber Shinobi if there is an issue between you two I can make arrangements to remove one or both of you from this mission."
"No!" Naruto and Izumi said simultaneously
"That will not be necessary.", Izumi assured.
"Not at all." He agreed.
"Then you two will set aside differences? I can tilt either way."
The two ninja eyed the other, a silent agreement being made between the two. She didn't seem very interested in him. Maybe she had her own obligations opposed to that of the Akatsuki?
"Fine." Naruto turned towards her looking for a facial reaction. She gave none, not even a twitch of her facial muscles. She was so odd and emotionless. Almost like a machine in a sense.
"Very well.", the leader stated. "The name's Asura, and I'm the leader of this small village. I wish to be escorted to the village hidden in the snow. You two are my escorts. I was just speaking with Izumi of defensive measures and what I should be expected to do."
Asura gestured his hand towards Izumi. "Yes, it would be within your best interest to leave all your men here and just have us as your protection. They will do no good against ninja and unfortunately may lose their lives."
"I agree with Izumi-san."
Naruto nodded, he admitted that this was true.
"She also agreed that we should leave immediately and that my belongings should be minimal."
"That's correct, bring only what you can carry."
He nodded again. "Sounds like she's got everything covered concerning explanations and security."
"She does.", Asura confirmed.
"Fantastic." He stated blandly.
"We should leave now and not waste any more time." She moved towards the exit, making sure it was clear that she was in charge of the operations. He rose an eyebrow, silently agreed. The faster this was finished the faster he could get to capturing the girl and moving on to his promise to one of his close friends.
"Now?" Naruto complained.
"Yes, it's only logical if we wish to finish this in a timely manner.", Naruto mumbled under his breath, but couldn't argue against her logic.
"Even if I hadn't packed, hell I don't even have any boots!"
She rose an eyebrow at him as if to say 'really?'. And without another word, Izumi was leading the two out of the village and onto their journey.
It had become dark and Naruto estimated it to have been about four hours into their journey. Walking was a minor annoyance he would much rather jump across the canopies or maybe even run along the forest floor. Unfortunately, Asura wasn't a ninja and incapable of doing any of those at their level. He shrugged, walking beside the man, developing a newly found sense of respect for the him. He had explained to Naruto about his past and how he gained power through a small coup that successfully removed their former tyrant of a leader, this all occurring recently. He explained to Naruto that this was why he was visiting the village hidden in the snow, in order to improve relations, despite them being inferior in size and military strength.
"I see you're trying to incorporate ninja teachings into your village."
"A very wise decision, your village is extremely vulnerable without ninja protecting it, I'll tell you that.", Naruto stated this with pride and gave his newly found friend an honest look. "I believe your best course of action would be to go through completely with this. In addition to this, I believe Konoha would probably be the most viable village to attempt and set up a shinobi military state",
"For now I'm only doing what is most convenient." He gave a smile with his elder face.
"We haven't come across many hostile rogues, but the little we have we've been able to bribe them into leaving us in peace." He shook his head. "I wish to terminate that fear and prospect from my people."
Naruto found himself thinking very highly of the man as they continued to speak, keeping their conversation centered around the village and Asura's leadership skills. The man was a honest and decent individual with the village's and it's people's best interest at heart. He had the ideology of a kage, and Naruto couldn't help but wonder how different this humble man would be if he held the power of a shinobi, if maybe he had been born into a large shinobi village. Would he still keep his humble nature? Or would he be consumed by his own power. Would he even be powerful. Naruto gave the man the benefit of the doubt and as per his personality remained as positive as possible.
They continued their reach through the cold wind and layers of snow. Naruto wrapped his scarf tight around his body as the snow began to intensify, the day was slowly transitioning into the early evening hours and the sun still held it's position in the sky, but slowly descended towards the horizon. They would reach their next village by the time night fell. The blond had talked with Asura nonstop, their conversations jumping all over the place. At the same time, the loyal shinobi had made a small habit of gazing over at Izumi every so often almost to keep an eye on her. She walked beside the two, keeping up pace and seeming to keep herself keen and light on her feet. She never ventured into their conversation, and Naruto couldn't help but be cautious of her. Her Presence was overwhelming obvious. He couldn't shake her from his mind, her being his enemy and just untrustworthy. He made note to not let his guard down around her.
Suddenly, Izumi's eyes swirled. Her black eyes turning crimson. Naruto put his arm forward, pushing Asura backward as he withdrew a kunai.
"We have company.", Naruto stated. The area was quiet. Small snowflakes lightly glided onto the ground slowly accumulating into to piles of snow. Asura stepped back but calmly listened to her shinobi protectors.
Izumi shook her head in acknowledgment. Naruto gave the perimeter a round over, he counted multiple shinobi massed. Rogues maybe?
"I count more than ten." He angled his Kunai and stood calmly. "I believe they're after our friend here."
The Akatsuki girl lifted her sleeve revealing a long Katana. It's blade reflecting the sunlight from above.
"I don't see anyone!" Asura stated, his face perplexed. Of course, he wouldn't be able to, he didn't have the shinobi training that he and Izumi had their eyes were keen to such things.
She turned to him. "You stay with him, I'll counter flank them." Her words came out as an order, and Naruto found himself not liking to take orders from someone he wasn't exactly on good terms with and that was an understatement. Before he could protest, however, she disappeared in a blur of black.
He stood quietly, his eyes senses completely alert as he awaited the imminent attack.
"Naruto, where are they. At least give me that."
"We're surrounded." He twirled his Kunai in a circular fashion around his middle finger before finally catching it. Asura gave him a concerned gaze before Naruto shook his head.
"I think Izumi-san and I can handle this, have faith." He stated with a smile, placing his hand on the man's shoulder. "Now be on your toes here they come!"
The air became quiet, the only noise coming from the air being the wind blowing heavily against the two. Naruto breathed calmly, his breath becoming visible showing how absolutely cold it was. They were taking an awfully slow time and Naruto humorously wondered if they have run off even though the ninja had a number advantage. Soon he found that that just wasn't quite the case at all, he knew shinobi all too well and the desperate ones were in some ways the scum of the planet.
It began as a sliver metal pierced the air, sending heart churning sound of a projectile breaking the sound barrier. Naruto blocked the attack, with ease before noticing the small paper tag attached to the kunai. His eyes swapped to it and to Asura within seconds, before he dashed at the man and tackled him into the snow.
The tag exploded, evaporating snow instantly and leaving a crater.
Two shinobi appeared before Naruto. They wasted no time in attacking Asura, their swords only wanting Naruto's companion. With little time to react, the blond dashed forward and slit his kunai across the necks of the two assailants. Easy! They fell into the snow like ragdolls as he watched for more. Instantly a swarm of senbon was thrown his way, before he found a heavy sword colliding with his kunai. He backup defensively as a headbandless shinobi attacked him viciously. The two weapons making contact repeatedly producing small yellow sparks as the sound of metal impacting one another rang throughout the forest. The shinobi was quick, but nothing Naruto had not been through or couldn't handle, he was faster. And the boy proved it in one quick attack that sent the man flying into the white ground, as Naruto sent him one kick. The shinobi looked genuinely concerned that he had not been able to predict that kid, and Naruto wasted no time in silencing the shinobi in the ground, the snow becoming drenched in blood. Sloppy work, but it did the job.
His eyes instantly snapped to Asura, as two of the their attackers moved towards him. He narrowed his eyes vowing that he'd protect this man with his life and within seconds Naruto was before the man. However, before Naruto could react and save him, a flash of black blur appeared behind the two. And before he could even help, they were dead with one sweet swish of her kunai. Naruto stood still as he watch the girl take on the remaining shinobi, her bangs moving elegantly as she outmaneuvered the men. Before defeating thiem in a series of taijutsu or her weapon. It was all mesmerising. There was something about her movements and the motions that came with it that made Naruto...well admire it. From the way her pontailed hair swished in the air, to her delicate facial features. If you had never known of the girl's origins you would assume that she were just an innocent girl. The whole entire situation was weird, but the only frequent word that seemed to pop in his head was beautiful.
Friends don't abandon their friends, she would be back!
He heard his younger self say, and suddenly a wave of nostalgia hit him like a whale.
"That's all of them." She stated calmly fixing her Akatsuki robe.
"Kami…" Asura stated, his breath heavy and eyes bulged.
Naruto shook his head clearing his mind. "Asura, you're not hurt or anything?"
Naruto approached the man placing a hand on the elder man's shoulder. Izumi also approached from the other side.
"No, no. I'm fine, completely OK! Thanks to you two!" He assured.
"Then we should keep moving." The Uchiha stated blandly, taking the lead yet again. Naruto squinted his eyes, then smiled at Asura and allowed him to walk in front of him.
"That was… exhilarating, absolutely mesmerizing." Asura said simply. Naruto's eyes went towards the long jet black ponytailed hair of the girl.
"Yeah, it was."
Their first stop was a small village about 20 miles from their original point. The cold was finally getting to the blond's feet and Asura had offered to buy him snow boots, to which Naruto declined.
Izumi figured they'd rest in the nearest hotel for the night and so they had. The hotel wasn't bad, but it wasn't luxurious, what it lacked was a bathhouse. Which wasn't that large of a deal, but she wouldn't mind one.
So, they came to a conclusion on rooms. They had given Izumi her own room, to her dismay, due to her being a girl. And Naruto and Asura stayed in the same room for safety purposes.
"So, two rooms for you three, Asura-san?" The young male at the desk stated in confirmation.
"Yes." The man handed each of them their own individual keys.
"You'll find your rooms on the second floor.",
The three nodded, but Naruto broke away from the group. "I'm going to go see if I can get a bite to eat. I'll meet up with you later." He told Asura, but eyed her skeptically before leaving. He left both Asura and Izumi alone, and a suffocatingly awkward silence followed.
Not that she cared, she just wanted to get to her room and take a proper shower. Fortunately, she had packed her luggage into a small scroll. Finally, the two parted, their rooms being across from one another and Izumi entered her's.
To say the hotel room was bad would be a lie. It definitely wasn't the worse room she'd ever stayed in and hell it wasn't the best either. But, it was actually nice and clean, a small fridge laying off in the corner, a flat screen television and two beds. Izumi withdrew her robes and the clothing under it before heading into the bathroom. She instantly went into the tub and turned on the water, which was lukewarm at first but thankfully, slowly transitioned to a nice warm feeling. The girl allowed the water to roll across her back before she began to cleanse her naked body. Normally, it wouldn't take so long to shower, but the warmth was a huge relief to the icey cold air outside. So, she found herself in the shower longer than expected.
She removed herself from the shower and covered herself nicely with the clean towels that had been left for her in the bathroom. Izumi sighed drying her hair and body before stepping outside of the bathroom leaving her towel. She would have kept her towel on normally, but she figured she could pick up her scroll and get her clean clothing. And that was when she felt his chakra. Her eyes went to the door as there were two knocks before it opened.
"Listen, I need to tal—" he stopped mid-sentence before his eyes went completely wide. His mouth agape and his face frozen. There was silence and a short pause as the two eyed each other. Suddenly Izumi felt her face becoming a small tint of red. They stood, Izumi completely nude and Naruto just standing in her door way.
Her eyes narrowed. "I think you should leave!"
"Uh–yea- sorry!" Within seconds Naruto was gone and the door closed shut. And the girl walked to the door and locked it.
*That's all folk! Hopefully, this chapter did not disappoint. Tell me about it in a review!
*In His Own Right should be updated within the next three week!