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Hikari to Yami

Chapter 7: Waves at Dusk

"An actual Uzumaki? Are you certain?" Zabuza questioned Haku when she returned and told him about her encounter with Naruto.

"Fairly certain," she answered. "From what I've read in the scrolls you've gathered over the years, the Uzumaki were brought to near extinction and it's unclear how many survived. Naruto-san revealed to me that his mother was an Uzumaki, so that makes him a half-blood; but no less a member of the clan."

"We need a way to be certain, Haku," he muttered thoughtfully before heading to a shelf filled with various scrolls and books. Finding the one he needed, he tossed it to her, and she caught it easily. "Next time you meet him, have him look at that. It's got some sealing formulas unique to the Uzumaki Clan in it, and a lot of Uzumaki seals required blood to use them."

Realization dawned on the ice kunoichi. "You wish to test the legitimacy of his claim and see if his blood activates the seal."

"Exactly. When will you meet him again?"

"Tomorrow evening," she replied, though her expression slowly morphed into one of guilt. "Lord Zabuza… If he truly is an Uzumaki, will we have to kill him?"

A raised brow from him let Haku know he was listening.

"What I mean is…he's like me. We both could be the last of our clans, and I can tell in his eyes and in his voice that he's suffered like I have."

She looked to her most precious person; her eyes riddled with indecisiveness and pleading.

"Can we not have him join us…?"

He smirked behind his bandaged mask. "Quite taken with him already, eh?"

She didn't react to his teasing, and actually nodded in response. "We could understand each other…"

The smirk remained for a moment before he sobered his expression. "He's a Leaf Ninja, Haku. A Genin at that. I doubt he'd be willing to run away just because a cute girl asked him to."

This time, Haku did blush because Zabuza complimented her. "I still wish to try…"

"As long as you don't give away who we really are."

She smiled gratefully to him. "Thank you, Lord Zabuza."

"Barrier based seals can be both a broad subject and a specialized one, Naruto-kun," Yugao – or rather, her Shadow Clone – explained, sitting at a table with her temporary student in Tazuna's home.

Kakashi and the other Genin of Team 7 were with Tazuna at the bridge, Tsunami was cleaning the dishes used for breakfast, Inari was sitting outside on the docks, and the real Yugao was performing reconnaissance. This left Naruto with her clone, learning the basics of barrier fūinjutsu.

Although originally, the plan was for Team 7 to go with Tazuna as a group, Kakashi and Yugao agreed that leaving someone behind to look after Tazuna's family could help the man focus on completing the bridge. While Shadow Clones were very useful in being multiple places at once, they were left with only part of the host's chakra stores and dispelled in a single blow unless enhanced with more chakra.

Neither of the Jonin class shinobi wanted to waste that much chakra. They needed to be conservative with their stores to be more efficient in their prioritized duties.

"How so?" he asked.

"Well, think of it like the different branches of shinobi techniques. If you're aiming to go broader in your training, you'd study multiple subjects; but wouldn't particularly specialize in any of them. Does that make sense?"

He hummed to himself for a moment before the answer came to him. "You're saying some barriers can block multiple things, but they won't be as effective as one the blocks specific things. A barrier that focuses on fire-based attacks would be better than a basic barrier against Fire Style Ninjutsu, but it'd be useless against other elements."

"Very good," she praised with a fond tone that he smiled at. "Broader barriers are easier to make because they simply create a wall or dome of chakra. This kind of barrier is what we'll focus on for this mission."

"That makes sense. No point in going too deep in this kind of fūinjutsu when we won't stay here longer than necessary," Yami commented.

"Gotcha. So, how do we start?"

"Well, first you create the center symbol," she began.

Tsunami observed the lesson, having finished cleaning so she could get a better look at the young blonde teen. Her father had told her that it was the blonde who had forced the ultimatum upon him after his ruse was discovered, and he was holding a bit of a grudge against the boy.

Frankly, the young woman was on the fence about how to feel about the Uzumaki boy. True, he had forced a choice on her father, but he was the one who helped convince his teacher to continue protecting him. And with that, he was also partially responsible for acquiring backup for the mission.

Without the boy forcing her father into a corner, Tsunami doubted that she would've seen him come back home; her last words being a wish for his luck and safe travels.

Because of that, she chose to remain grateful to Naruto and the others for their help in keeping her family safe, and in their future attempt of removing Gatō from the Land of Waves.

Continuing her observation, she watched as the masked woman helped the young teen finish what she heard was a "barrier seal" and help him stick the paper tag to her home's front door. A small smile adorned her visage as she saw how relaxed Naruto appeared around the woman.

His smile helped set her mind at ease, and as strange as it was, she chose not to question it.

After placing seals around the various points of entry – windows included – Naruto was informed by Yugao's clone that he needed to link everyone to the "master key" of the multiple Barrier Tags. She, being a clone, had Naruto hold on to the master key by means of a seal placed on his right palm.

The Uzumaki was then told that he'd need to have everyone place a drop of their blood on the master key, which he found to be an unappealing order since the seal was literally inked on his skin. Knowing he'd have to have people drip blood on his hand was, in a word, disgusting.

But he made sure to do so, with Tsunami helping him get Tazuna and Inari to link themselves to the seal. He was grateful to her for convincing them, knowing that he wasn't on the best of terms with the two males of the family. Still, it all paid off, and the house was now secure from intruders.

The following day, Yugao would go over a Perimeter Seal. It acted as an alarm of sorts, going off whenever someone not keyed in crossed the boundary line that would be set up. The young Uzumaki was already making plans to recreate the seals he learned and will learn, mentally noting to set them up for his apartment.

He was worried about some of the bolder villagers taking advantage of his absence to vandalize his home; something he found ironic since his reputation as a prankster also had many in the village label him as a vandal.

Currently, he was meditating on the roof of the house so that he could speak with Yami and the Kyuubi.

"I've been thinking about the mission so far…"

"How so?"

"It's too…quiet. Don't you think?"

"Hmm… You may be right. So far, you've only encountered those two Mist shinobi and that Hunter Ninja. You'd think someone like Gatō, given the reputation both that bridge builder and your sensei told you, would be willing to hire more ninja to dispose of the stupid drunk."

"Maybe he has, and they're lying in wait for an opportunity to strike?"

"Maybe… I'm wondering if Gatō is just waiting for Tazuna to finish and kill him then, like I mentioned before…"

"You can't rule that out, Hikari. Stay on your guard. Anyone could be working for him…like that girl from the other night."

"Haku? Why do you think that? She looks like she hates the bastard as much as the other people he's screwing in this place…"

"Which is the perfect cover for her to use on some sap like you."

Naruto frowned at the insult. "You didn't see her eyes, did you? You're always so untrusting of others that you don't even look at them… You just immediately assume that they're out to hurt us."

She frowned back and got in his face while the Kyuubi watched with an interested smirk.

"And did anyone look at us when they were treating us like we were less than dirt? Did anyone who called you a freak, a demon, a waste, or a bastard care to give us a chance?"

Unfazed, Naruto calmly replied, "She had the same eyes we have, Yami… The same pain…"

Yami kept her frown.

"You may not believe her, but I'm not going to just look for the worst in someone who can understand the pain that we feel… She could be a friend to us, Yami… Don't you want someone you can call a friend?" he asked softly, looking her in the eyes.

"…she could hurt us," Yami argued, speaking just as softly. "She could just be pretending to be our friend…"

He smiled and cupped her cheek, making her eyes widen in surprise at the sudden gesture.

"Sometimes…you just have to take a risk. I mean, I did that when I started listening to you. Without taking that risk, I would never have accepted everything I kept denying about myself and my life, I would never have learned about my parents, and I would never have gotten your friendship and support."

Yami couldn't say anything, too stunned to respond to his words.

"Trust me on this, Yami-chan…just like I'll trust you to help me if I'm wrong…"

He pulled his hand away and faded from the mindscape, and already she missed the warmth his touch gave her.

"Well, that was interesting… Should I think of potential wedding sites, Tomato Girl?" the Bijuu teased with a smartass grin.

If there was one thing the children of Kushina Uzumaki were destined to inherit above all else, it was her temper.



Naruto suddenly winced and held his head as he heard the faint echoes of shouts and fighting in the back of his mind. Sweatdropping, he cut the connection to his mindscape and leapt down from the roof, landing soundlessly on the ground before strolling over to the tree he perched upon the previous evening.

It didn't take long for Haku to arrive, and the duo greeted one another with a shared smile.

"Good evening, Naruto-san."

"Hey, Haku. How's your father doing?"

She smiled a bit wider at his concern. "He's doing fine. The herbs help him keep his strength up. How are you doing?"

"Honestly? I'm a bit on the fence…" he confessed, sitting on the ground so that he could lean back against the tree.

Haku sat to his left and looked at him curiously. "What do you mean?"

"…I feel bad about how much I'm enjoying myself out here. This country is suffering because of Gatō, and I'm happy because I'm not back home. I guess…I'm guilty about my feelings."

She frowned sympathetically. "You're unhappy where you're from…aren't you?"

He scoffed and hugged his knees to his chest. "That's an understatement… I'm seen as a freak or a waste of space by the majority of my home village. Only a handful of people have looked past the rumors about me and see me for who I am…"

"I see… You're judged for something you can't control, aren't you?"

"Yeah," he sighed out before looking at her. "You know exactly what that's like, don't you?"

She smiled hollowly and nodded before looking up at the night sky.

"…do you wanna talk about it?"

Looking back at him, Haku saw a mix of understanding and curiosity in his gaze. Instead of immediately answering, she decided to take a chance on a hopeful whim. Reaching down, she plucked a thick blade of grass and held it up to eye level, slowly freezing it solid with her bloodline before Naruto's eyes.

"This…is my bloodline from my mother's side," she confessed. "I was born in a small village in the Land of Water, during a time called the Bloodline Purges."

"Wait… They were killing off people with bloodlines?" Naruto questioned in shock. "That's… That's awful…"

"My mother lived in hiding to avoid being killed, and she fell in love with my father and had me. When I was a child, I awakened my bloodline and showed my mother, but she wasn't happy for me. Instead, she was terrified of what I had done and made me swear never to show anyone."

A bitter smile formed on her face.

"I was too young to understand then, but I could tell she was scared. Unfortunately, my father had witnessed what I had done. He was a supporter of the purges, and he accused my mother of seducing him so that she could have another bloodline freak…"


"He killed her…and he tried to kill me, too," she pressed on, tears falling as her voice started to crack. "I was so scared… I didn't know what to do, so I acted on instinct…" She sniffed and wiped her tears before finishing, "It was over in an instant… I made an ice spike that pierced him through the heart, killing my father…"

Naruto couldn't speak, not knowing what he could say about what she had gone through.

"I only remember living out on the streets after that… I didn't bother begging for food. What my father did and what I did in response broke me to the point where I gave up; content to just wait for the end to come."

A gentle smile formed on her face before she spoke again.

"Then…he found me. Someone who saw potential in me and saved me from my own misery. He raised me and taught me how to protect myself. To me, he's my most precious person; my real father…"

The blonde Uzumaki slowly nodded as she finished her story. "He pulled you out of your darkness…"

She smiled and nodded once. "He did. I've promised myself that I'll do whatever I can to repay him; that I'd help make his dreams a reality."

"He's lucky to have you…"

"I say it's the opposite, but I appreciate your words, Naruto-san." She shifted on the ground, turning her body so that she could face him fully. "Do you mind sharing your story?"

"That's fair… I was born on a very infamous night in the Hidden Leaf. The Kyuubi attacked that night, killing many people, injuring many others, and causing a lot of damage to the village itself. people wanted someone to blame after the Fourth Hokage defeated the Bijuu…"

"…and they blamed you," Haku finished, deducing where he was going.

"Yeah… If they weren't giving me looks of hate or fear, they were ignoring my existence; treating me like a ghost nobody could see. I tried to get them to see me by pulling pranks throughout the village, but that only made things worse for me. I didn't care, though, because they finally acknowledged me. Even if it was to yell at me or call me a monster, they stopped ignoring me…"

"I see…"

"Lately, I've had someone force me to accept everything I was rejecting about my life; all the pain, the anger, the sadness… It's been hard, but I'm rediscovering myself, if that makes sense."

"It does. Rejecting everything made you live a lie. You're now finding out who the real Naruto Uzumaki is for yourself."

He smiled sadly. "Back to what I was saying earlier… I'm happy being away from the village because I don't need to be around the villagers and their judgmental gazes or words. Out here," he gestured to the trees surrounding them, "I can be free. And yet…here I am feeling good about myself when this place is suffering…"

Haku smiled and rested her hand atop his own, getting his attention. "That just shows me that you're a good person, Naruto-san. You don't let yourself ignore the pain of others for the sake of your own happiness. You have an incredible amount of empathy, and I admire that."

"…I don't know if it's admirable…"

Gently, she grasped his hand and squeezed it. "I hope you don't stop opening your heart to others, Naruto-san…"

He stared at their joined hands for a few moments before raising his gaze to her smiling visage. Slowly, he smiled back and squeezed her hand back before they both let go.

"Thanks, Haku…"

She nodded before reaching into her kimono and pulling out a scroll. "I almost forgot to give you this."

Reaching for it, he asked, "What is it?"

"You said that you were an Uzumaki, and I remember that they were masters of the sealing arts. My father collects artifacts from old ruins during our travels, and he found this in what he assumed was an old Uzumaki outpost."

Unfurling the scroll, Naruto studied the various notes and formulae that were written within. 'Kyuubi…? Does this all look legit?'

A small grumble was heard before the fox replied, "Looks pretty complex. Uzumaki were damn good with stuff like this. I'd say it looks legitimate."

Rolling the scroll back up, he made to return it to Haku, but she held up a hand to stop him. "Isn't this your father's?"

"When I told him about you, he said that it'd be better off with you. He can't make heads or tails of it; but he did mention how it was rumored that most Uzumaki used blood for their seals to lock them away from would-be thieves."

He looked down at the scroll in his hand. 'A seal where blood is used as the lock and key…'

"I should probably get back to my father before he starts to worry.," Haku began, getting on her feet. "If he's feeling better by morning, we'll be leaving this place to continue our travels."

Naruto forgot about the scroll he had been given in favor of looking to the young woman in shock. "You're leaving…?"

"We need to. Gatō is still a serious threat here, and we only planned to stay until my father was well enough to travel again."

"Oh…" he muttered sadly, also getting on his feet. "Will… Will I see you again?"

She gave him a somber smile and rested a hand on his shoulder. "I hope we will meet again, Naruto-san… I enjoyed getting to know you these past couple of nights."

He weakly smiled back. "Me too, Haku…"

The two shared a brief hug, and Haku whispered, "Don't be afraid to do what's necessary to be happy, Naruto-kun… Even if it means leaving the people you care about."

When he pulled back, he asked, "What do you mean?"

She didn't answer, choosing to just give him one last smile before turning around and leaving. With her gone, Naruto was left contemplating what she could've possibly meant by her words.

'Is she saying…that it's okay to run away if it means I'll be happy?'

"That's one way to look at it," Yami commented. "It's also something I've said to you as well, Hikari. If it means you can be happy – be free – then I wouldn't take running away off the table…"

Naruto stayed silent at that, choosing to return to the house so he could sleep. Unfortunately, sleep wouldn't come with everything that would weigh on his mind.

Around two weeks later, the bridge was nearly finished. After learning from Yugao's clone about the Perimeter Seals that worked in conjunction with the Barrier Tags, Naruto joined his teammates in looking after Tazuna and his crew as they worked.

When a couple of the members quit out of fear of Gatō retaliating against their "rebellious acts", Naruto decided to pitch in by creating a multitude of Shadow Clones to assist in the construction effort. While Tazuna was still holding a grudge against the Uzumaki boy for before, he couldn't deny that his clones would be a huge help.

So, reluctantly, the man accepted the aid and guided the assortment of blondes through the construction process. After the first day, Naruto had gained the memories of his clones and could confidently say he had a basic understanding of construction.

When he returned to his apartment, he would look over anything that would need fixing. No point in living in a dump if he could fix it, after all.

Later that evening, Yugao had pulled Team 7 aside and revealed that she had everything she needed to start the final part of the mission.

Removing Gatō from the Land of Waves

"Gatō has hired Zabuza Momochi to dispose of the bridge builder. His plan is to attack Tazuna on what he assumes will be the last day of construction, when he believes the hopes of the people will begin rising once more."

Naruto frowned at this. "He wants to completely crush their spirit; remove any other ideas of rebellion from their minds by killing Tazuna."

"What about the bridge itself?" Sakura asked.

"Unclear for the moment," Yugao replied before turning to Kakashi. "It wouldn't be a stretch to say he plans for Zabuza to destroy the bridge itself before killing Tazuna."

Kakashi frowned thoughtfully. "It's a decent strategy. But, if Zabuza has been spying on us while we were protecting Tazuna, he must know that destroying the bridge would be a waste of chakra."

"What about Explosive Tags, or dynamite?" Sasuke chimed in. "Those shouldn't take too much chakra."

"True, but if Gatō is the kind of man rumors claim him to be, I doubt he'd want to spend more money than he needs," Kakashi shot down calmly.

"…what if it's all a setup?" Naruto spoke up, earning their attention. "Sensei, what rank would you say Zabuza is as a ninja?"

"His most recent entry in the Bingo Book puts him at A-Rank Jonin level."

"Don't you think someone with that kind of skill and reputation would charge a lot of money for their services? Why would Gatō spend that much money on Zabuza when purchasing loads of dynamite, like Sasuke brought up, would be the cheaper option?"

Yugao realized what Naruto was implying. "Gatō wants Zabuza to exhaust himself destroying the bridge and fighting us so that he can simply cut Zabuza out of their deal. Shrewd, underhanded…and very probable."

Kakashi nodded in agreement, giving Naruto his signature eye-smile. "Nice deduction there, Naruto."

"I'm only looking at it from the most selfish of perspectives. Why do anything yourself when you can have someone else do it for you before reaping in the profits?"

Both Jonin fought a wince at that, understanding just how Naruto came up with his deduction. No doubt some of the villagers wanted to avoid paying Naruto his due reward for some of the D-Rank Missions Team 7 completed. All they'd need to do is file a complaint about the blonde Uzumaki, and his pay is put on hold until the matter is resolved.

'Damn those people,' Yugao mentally growled, scowling behind her mask.

'Kushina-senpai would paint the town red if she knew what the village has done to your son, sensei…' Kakashi thought sadly.

Sakura looked uncomfortable and asked, "What makes you think of something like that?"

Naruto shrugged and asked back, "What's the biggest goal for anyone who owns a business, Sakura?"

"Profits and reputation," she immediately answered.

"I said goal; not goals."


"Why would he risk his profits by spending a lot of money on someone like Zabuza? It goes against that goal."

"But what kind of profit does Gatō stand to make here?" she fired back, only to be surprised when it was Sasuke who answered.

"The ports. Gatō runs a shipping company in the eyes of the public, which means he stands to reap in profits by monopolizing this place," the Uchiha stated. "He could then expand to various other port towns."

"Where he'd do the same thing that he's doing to Wave; break their spirit and take over," Naruto finished.

Sakura looked horrified at that. "That's awful…"

"Which is why we're stopping him," Kakashi spoke up with another eye-smile that eased her worries.

"Senpai, what do you think we should do?" Yugao asked the man.

Kakashi hummed to himself while cupping his chin. "We have a pretty solid guess on what Gatō is planning, and Tazuna said that he needs maybe a day or two to finish. This means that Zabuza will come either tomorrow or the next day."

"We could always go after Gatō right now," Naruto suggested. "Maybe even make a deal with Zabuza to give him what Gatō was gonna pay him if he gets mad that we went after his client?"

"That's one option…"

"What if we tried to explain things to him when he tries attacking the bridge?" Sakura suggested.

"I doubt he'd listen to us," Sasuke shot down with a scoff. "He'd just assume we're trying to avoid a fight."

"Sasuke's right, Sakura," Kakashi told her. "Zabuza has no reason to listen to us without solid proof, and all we have is speculation."

"I think Naruto's suggestion is the best option we have, senpai," Yugao spoke up. "The two of us can go deal with Gatō and his men while the Genin stay here and look after the client and his family."

Kakashi thought it over and nodded in agreement before turning to his students. "Keep Tazuna and his family inside behind the barriers until we return. Understood?"

"Yes, sensei," the trio of Genin replied.

"Naruto," he continued, "keep watch of the seals. Make sure they stay maintained until we return."

"How will we know it's you who crossed the perimeter?" he asked.

It was a valid question, so Kakashi responded by pulling out a kunai to nick his thumb before going through handseals. When he finished, he placed his palm on the ground, producing a sealing formula that created a small burst of smoke. When it cleared, a small pug with a blue vest and Leaf headband was seen sitting before them.

"Yo," he greeted, his voice deeply gruff despite his smaller stature.

"Team, this is Pakkun. He's one of my ninja hounds," Kakashi introduced. "He's an excellent tracker and has worked with me for years. He knows my scent better than anyone."

"So, he'll be able to tell us if you're nearby," Sakura spoke up, earning a nod from her teacher. "He could also memorize Cat-san's scent as well."

"I can keep track of various different scents, girly," Pakkun casually boasted, sounding remarkably calm as he absently sniffed. "For example, your hair has my favorite shampoo in it. I like it when Kakashi uses that shampoo during my baths."

Naruto and Sasuke both blinked before slowly turning to their kunoichi teammate, who looked like she wanted to have the ground swallow her alive.

"T-That can't be right," she tried to argue. "You're a dog! You must mean that they just smell similar!"

Kakashi, deciding to troll, eye-smiled and spoke up, "Actually, Pakkun prefers floral green shampoo. I got some odd looks the first time I bought some in the female section of shampoos at the store." (1)

Sakura's face turned into one of horror. "No…" she muttered before racing off upstairs and wailing, "NO…!"

Naruto struggled to stifle his laughter, leaning against the wall, and banging his fist against it in a vain attempt to stave it off. Sasuke couldn't help his amused smirk at what had happened.

Yugao only shook her head at the antics of her senpai while Kakashi kept his eye-smile. "Well, we'll be back. Stay vigilant, boys."

He then walked out of the room to explain to Tazuna's family what was going to happen while Yugao approached Naruto and knelt down to his level. "Keep them safe, okay?"

"You bet," he replied, smiling at her.

She cupped his cheek for a moment before standing up and leaving the room.

"How are you so chummy with one of the Black-Ops, loser?" Sasuke asked.

Naruto gave him a blank look and fired back, "I don't bug you about your life, bastard. Don't bug me about mine."

He then left the room, leaving Sasuke frowning at the blonde's words.

It was late in the evening as Naruto sat outside the house while some Shadow Clones patrolled the perimeter and checked on the seals. He was worried about his superiors; though, he mainly worried about Yugao. She looked after him for years, never treating him unkindly and being someone that he knew he could trust.

He cared about her, which made him worry despite her being an ANBU.

"Stop worrying so much. She and Hatake are both highly skilled Jonin while Zabuza is one man," Yami spoke up. "We already know that Gatō wouldn't enjoy paying so much money for an A-Rank ninja, so it's highly doubtful that the man has any associates working with him."

'I know,' he replied. 'Still… I can't help it…'

Within the seal, Yami smiled faintly. "I know you can't, Hikari."

'I just hope that-' Naruto began before cutting himself off when a pair of his clones randomly dispelled. 'Something just got passed my clones. The Perimeter Seal is going off.'

"Kid!" he heard Pakkun call out, running over from the front door. "A pair of scents I don't recognize are closing in!"

Naruto wanted to curse. Of course, the moment when Kakashi and Yugao are both away from the house, someone makes a move. It could only be one person, too.

"Come on out, Zabuza!" he called out to the trees surrounding the home. "I know it's you and someone working with you! It's too convenient that someone is coming after us the very moment Kakashi-sensei left us alone with Tazuna!"

His yelling got the attention of his teammates, and Sasuke joined him outside while Sakura stayed with the family in the house. As soon as the Uchiha was beside him, a heavy mist started rolling in from the woods, reducing visibility to practically nothing.

A chuckle echoed from every direction before the boys heard a gruff voice mockingly call out, "Not bad there, kid. Finally figured out I had someone watching you all, huh?"

"We had a hunch," Naruto replied. "Nobody came to bother us or Tazuna for practically half a month. He was almost starting to think Gatō packed up and left after hearing we joined the old man here in Wave."

"What better time to strike than when your target's guard is down?"

"He's got a point."

"Not helping, fox."

Naruto chose to ignore the background commentary.

"You're wasting your time, you know?" Sasuke decided to speak. "Kakashi and that ANBU are on their way to deal with Gatō as we speak. He hired you to deal with the bridge builder, but that's pointless if your client is taken care of, right?"

"True," Zabuza mused aloud from the mist. "But that doesn't mean I can't repay Hatake's kindness by killing off you two brats."

Both boys froze when they felt the man's killing intent spike…as well as the edge of a massive sword tickling the prepubescent hairs on their necks.

"All I need to do is twitch my wrist," he spoke calmly, yet menacingly, "and Hatake is down two of his three brats."

One of Naruto's eyes turned ruby red while both of Sasuke's eyes turned red with two tomoe in one eye and a single tomoe in the other. Both were then engulfed in smoke and replaced by the remaining pair of Naruto's clones, reappearing safely away from the man as he casually cut through the necks of the clones and dispelled them.

"Oh? Wasn't expecting there to be an Uchiha brat here," he mused with a chuckle. "Congrats on awakening your eyes, by the way."

Sasuke looked surprised at his comment for a moment before he composed himself when Zabuza lazily rested his sword atop his shoulder.

"Too bad you won't live long enough to enjoy that Sharingan of yours," he finished before vanishing into the mist.

Naruto, thinking on the fly, grabbed all of the Explosive Tags he had on him and threw them all around him and Sasuke while priming them with chakra. He then pulled out two spare Barrier Tags before slapping them on himself and Sasuke just as the explosions went off.

The multitude of blasts cleared away a good chunk of the mist surrounding the teens, and they were kept safe thanks to the Barrier Tags; though that didn't mean they escaped unscathed. They still had some small burns and scuffs from the explosions, but not enough to impede them.

Zabuza, having stayed out of the explosive range, clapped mockingly as his sword was strapped to his back. "Not bad, kid. But you wasted a lot of resources there, didn't you?"

Naruto growled at him before creating a Shadow Clone that had a pair of ruby red eyes while Naruto's returned to their natural blue. Saying nothing, he and the Yami possessed clone charged him while Sasuke threw shuriken that curved around the blondes and headed for Zabuza.

The man scoffed at the pitiful assault and easily batted away the metal stars with a wide sweep of his sword that Naruto and Yami avoided by leaping over and sliding under the sweep respectively. Naruto cocked back his fist while Yami whipped out a kunai to thrust.

"Like that will work on-" the man began before he was cut off by Yami suddenly turning into a cloud of dark wisps that swirled around his head and clouded his vision from Naruto's attack. Unfortunately for them, Zabuza had mastered the art of Silent Killing and honed his other senses so that he didn't need sight to fight. He simply raised the flat of his blade to catch the punch and smirked at the frustrated growl. "You're pretty loud, brat. Gotta learn how to shut your mouth in a fight."

"Maybe you should listen to your own advice," Yami spoke through Naruto's clone as it reformed behind Zabuza and used a pair of kunai to slice the backs of the man's knees. The clone smirked at their success before becoming shocked when the body of Zabuza turned into water and splashed onto the ground. "The fuck…?"

Both blondes heard Sasuke cry out and turned to see him flying at them while another Zabuza was seen with his leg outstretched in a boot kick. Sasuke tumbled on the ground, righting himself with a roll before landing back on his feet between them.

"I'm genuinely impressed. That odd clone of yours managed to get the drop on my Water Clone," the man praised before he grinned behind his bandages. "A shame that it only carries a tenth of my strength, isn't it?"

Naruto and Yami both growled while Sasuke glared at Zabuza's mocking tone.

The man started flying through handseals and spoke again, "I don't like copying someone like the Uchiha or that Copycat sensei of yours," he ignored Sasuke's snarl at the insult, "but I'm done playing with you brats. Water Style: Exploding Water Shockwave!"

Through his bandages and from his mouth, Zabuza spit up a tremendous amount of water that flowed out as a large wave that threatened to sweep the Genin away. What was worse was that Zabuza managed to position them so that they were standing in front of the house. If they tried to dodge, the wave would simply crash into the building and damage it enough for the barriers to fall apart.

Naruto swallowed anxiously as the wave came closer and closer, and he couldn't think of a plan to get him or the others out of this mess. Pure survival instinct took over, and Naruto ran in front of Sasuke and Yami with his hands stretched forward in a seemingly futile attempt to stop the rushing water.

"Naruto, get out of there! We gotta move!" Sasuke yelled at him as he prepared to leap up into the trees.

Yami frowned at Naruto's actions, wondering what her lighter half was doing before she heard the Kyuubi chuckle. "What's so funny, fox?"

"See for yourself."

Heeding the Bijuu's advice, she turned back to Naruto as his form was outlined by a massive surge of chakra, raging like an azure blue fire that surrounded him. Before the eyes of her, Sasuke, Zabuza, and – unknown to the Genin – Haku, the azure chakra brightened to a pure white shade and left his body before forming a massive triangular wall of light that acted as a dam and had the water wave split off in two directions; missing the house entirely and leaving everyone stunned at what the Uzumaki boy had just done.

"Try all you want, you no-brow son of a bitch!" Naruto growled out. "Whatever you throw our way, I'll stop it!"

He stood tall in the face of his powerful foe, unafraid behind his shield of pure light.

"I'll reject it all!" (2)

1~ Apparently, this is a real thing! Pakkun enjoys the same shampoo that Sakura uses lol

2~ Pretty sure a lot of you can tell where I got this from

And that's the end of this chapter. Wave Arc finishes up next time, and Naruto has revealed his light power that is the inverse of Yami's power of darkness.

Will this newly awakened power of his be enough to hold back Zabuza and Haku before Kakashi and Yugao can return?

Until next time!

Stay safe! Stay healthy! Stay positive!

Dreaming of the Future