Two months into being a shinobi, Sasuke knew about as much as she did while attending the academy. Kakashi hasn't taught them anything, using training time to focus solely on team formations and strengthing their teamwork. Sasuke was getting real sick of that word 'teamwork. The rest of their time together was spent doing remedial chores for villagers and chasing around cats.
D-rank missions. Their sensei had to have gotten some sick sense of satisfaction every time he acquired them one. They were on their way to report back to the Hokage tower, having just finished painting a fence for an elderly matron near the edge of the village.
Sakura was walking next to her, beyond her occasional loudness and being quick to ire (which Naruto and their sensei had fun exploiting) she had grown to enjoy her company somewhat. The two boys were following behind, the taller one's nose stuck in that shitty orange book. The book was porn. Their sensei walked around with a group of children while openly reading porn.
When they realized that fact, Sakura had blown a fuse before turning red from embarrassment. Naruto thought it was hilarious, saying at least he wasn't peeping while she had just accepted it as another terrible quirk about the man. To go along with being late and tending to talk about himself in the third person.
Lastly, Naruto was walking a few feet in front of him, struggling with some brown paint that had gotten in his golden spikes. Having to interact with the villagers almost daily for missions. While being routinely refused by Kakashi to teach them anything that would help progress their overall capabilities, left him not in been the best of moods lately. Catching him staring longer and longer at the emptiness surrounding him, the perpetual hourglass that was his patience growing closer to the bottom. Presumably losing sight of what this was all for, with such little growth if any being made, and she had no idea how to fix it.
"Another successful mission for Team 7, Hokage-sama. Though not without some unfortunate casualties this time." Kakashi said, staring at the only person covered in specks of brown paint, before ruffling Naruto's blond head. Naruto just pushed away his annoying sensei's hand. He had come to terms with the man's insane joy at bothering them.
He could see the old man smiling, no doubt enjoying Kaka-sensei teasing. He loathed coming here, having to wait across from the man who lied to him his whole life, sit there and act like it never happened. It caused hand wringing rage to settle in the pit of his stomach. Sadly he had no choice but to bear it as the 'missions' they had been doing were assigned here.
These missions, if you could even call them that were something he had grown to outright hate. So much so that if Kakashi hadn't specifically said every genin team was doing them and Sakura assuring him, Ino and her team were suffering through the same tedious tasks. He would've been sure these D-ranks were a ploy to keep constant tabs on him by his curators. A small part of him still did, no matter how irrational.
"Well done, the morning is still young, perhaps another one to finish the day?" The old bastards' tone, dripping with sarcasm. He would've yelled 'NO' if he didn't know that's the exact reaction the Hokage was looking for. Instead, he just stared with a scowl seeing Sakura blanch from her standing spot. Sasuke was her usual stoic self though he could see some dread creep through on her face. Kakashi rubbed his chin, no doubt imagining all the ways he'd get to enjoy them suffering from another fucking 'mission'.
"As fun as that sounds, my cute little genin have been progressing well, and I think they deserve a reward. Perhaps we can take on a C-rank today if there any available Hokage-sama."
C-rank? That sounded promising, it had to be better than the D's. He could see his sensei eye smiling at him. He almost smiled back before waiting to find out exactly what was happening.
The aged Kage took a puff from his pipe, shuffling a few papers around him. Iruka, their old teacher from the academy, handed him an envelope. "Hmm, I suppose you are right. We do seem to have one have that is available. It's an escort mission to the Land of Waves. I imagine it'd be a great way for your team to experience their first C-rank mission Kakashi."
Naruto didn't hear what Kakashi's answer was. His mind went still the minute he heard 'Land of Waves'. That was outside Konoha, beyond the home that caged him for his first twelve and half years of living. His body was tingling, a hope he hadn't felt since Sasuke first asked him to leave this place with her. Land of waves, land of waves, he repeated it in his mind over and over again. Please, please, please, ple- "Naruto!" He looked to where Sasuke had called to him. Sakura was staring at him with a confused look, and their masked sensei seemed curious. "What?"
"Kakashi asked if we're fine with taking this mission." Sasuke was studying his face, trying to figure out what was going on. Ignoring her for a moment, trying not to sound too eager, he looked to his sensei, offering a shrug. "Of course." Kakashi stared at him before nodding. "I guess we'll take it then" The aged Kage nodded, handing the envelope that held the details over to Kakashi.
"Very well, you're client is already in the village, ready to go. I'll have him brought up here to go over the specifics with you."
Kakashi nodded, reading the parameters before looking over to them. "Go pack for a week's mission out of the village. We'll meet by the gates in two hours. Your dismissed." All three of them turning to leave out the door. He was unable to keep the joy from showing on his face. "Why the heck are you so happy. It's just an escort mission, it'll probably be just as boring as the D-ranks." Sakura said to him as they walked through the tower to the exit.
He shrugged. "Maybe, but it'll be boring outside the village. I've never been outside this place before. Have you?" He was honestly curious, he still didn't know much about Sakura personally. "Yeah, my father is a successful merchant, so it's taken him all around the Land of Fire quite frequently. I used to go with him a lot before I started at the academy."
"What's it like?" Puzzled at the question, she raised an eyebrow. "What's, 'what like'?" He rubbed the back of his neck. "You know going places, is it fun?" She shrugged. "Yeah, I guess, if it's you're first time out of Konoha you'll probably enjoy it."
He smiled at her, her eyes widening slightly. Naruto had never shown this type of emotion towards anything since they've been saddled together. Not wanting to ruin his mood, she gave him a small smile in return. Reaching into the pocket of his orange hoodie, he handed Sakura a scroll.
She took it, trying to figure what it was for. "It's a storage scroll, you can store things in it you can't fit in a travel bag or whatever else you feel like putting in it. I should've given you one sooner, but since we're going to be on the road for a week, I guess it's perfect timing." Giving them a wave. "I'll see you guys at the gates." Naruto, leaving quickly, dust kicking up behind him as he ran off.
Sakura blinked as she saw the orange dot fade further away in the distance before turning to Sasuke. "What's gotten into him?" The raven-haired girl just shrugged. "He's always weird, he just hides it better around you and Kakashi." Before giving a quick bye herself, turning to walk in the other direction, leaving Sakura alone in front of the tower.
It felt like this happened more than the pink-haired girl liked to admit, her being left solo by the rest of her team. Blowing a strand of hair out of her face, she headed home to pack. Walking alone, she felt the nerves she had been hiding start to surface before pushing them back down. They were strong, and it felt like her two teammates were starting to accept her a little more each day. Fiddling with the storage scroll in her left hand, she couldn't help letting a grin fill her face.
As Sasuke approached the gates of the village, it appeared she was the first to arrive. Walking over to the nearby fence, she kicked one leg up to lean against it. It wasn't long before she spotted a bright pink nest of hair making her way down the road. Sakura bobbed her way over a small backpack slung across her back.
"I thought Naruto would be the first one here, from how excited he was earlier." Sasuke shrugged, thinking the same but didn't feel like bridging the topic more. The blond will get here when he gets here.
She could see Sakura fidgeting with the strings of her bag, obviously wanting to ask her something else, but before the girl could get the courage, they were interrupted with footsteps approaching behind them. Their sensei, walking up with an older man with glasses, wearing a funny-looking hat. A towel draped around his neck and a bottle of sake in his hand.
"Kids, this is our client Tazuna." Motioning towards the man who wasn't paying attention to them at all, downing the drink in hand. "Where is Naruto?" Kakashi was staring at Sasuke, infallibly waiting for an explanation. She scoffed, what like she was supposed to know where the blond was 24/7. They did things by themselves despite contrary beliefs.
"I came straight here from my home. I don't know where he is." Her sensei just nodded before turning to talk to the client, Tazuna.
It wasn't long before the orange-clad boy made his way to the gates, jumping down from a roof dashing to offer them his apologies. "I'm sorry, I had to pick something up, and it took longer than I expected." Kakashi just waved him off.
"Mah, mah, it's fine. I'm known to arrive a few minutes late myself. Just don't make it a habit." Sasuke rolled her eyes at the idiocy that seemed to be her sensei, but Naruto nodded enthusiastically, finding it funny.
"As I said before, this is Tazuna. We'll be providing him a safe trip back home. It's still early, but I'd like to arrive at a certain area before it gets dark. So if there are no questions, let's head out." The client finally seemed to pay them some attention and didn't seem to find them satisfactory.
"Are you sure these brats can protect me shinobi-san? I've never seen ninjas with hair color like these before and what's with the orange. Seems counterproductive if you ask me." The drunk man said all this between swigs from his bottle. Sakura was glaring at him, but Naruto was too focused on what was just ahead to care what the man said.
"I assure you Tazuna-san, that these three are true shinobi of the village. They can deal with anything we'll see on this mission, and if not, you have me." Looking at his three students about to cause them some embarrassment. "What do they call me children?" Sasuke's eye twitching at the man's antics.
"I said what do they call me children?" His tone, becoming sing-songy as he repeated the words. Sakura's face, twisting with anger, undoubtedly wishing to cause the man some sort of bodily harm. Knowing he wouldn't give up till one of them said the words he wanted to hear, pushing her pride aside, she opened her mouth only for her blond friend to save her from the deed.
"They call you the copy ninja who holds over a 1000 Jutsu Kakashi-sensei." His voice was even, no annoyance, still intently focused just ahead. Kakashi didn't seem to mind as he beamed at him, his eyes the crinkliest she'd ever seen them. "As you heard the boy Tazuna-san you have nothing to worry about." The drunken man just burped before slurring something she didn't try very hard to understand. "Let's head out, diamond formation around Tazuna."
They moved through the gates, she turned to see Naruto, who was where they just left from, still inside the village. His eyes meeting hers, he took a deep breath before leaping over the walkway that signaled the exit of Konoha. His cerulean eyes glistening with an abundance of happiness, a smile forming across his face like the sun peeking over the horizon. He ran over to take his place on the left side of their client, Sakura on the right, her in front, and Kakashi in the rear.
She hadn't seen his genuine smile in so long. Finding it fits him much better than the constant cautious scowl he seemed to wear more and more these days. Her thoughts straying to the strength she'd need to allow that smile to become a permanent fixture for him. Itachi, helping Naruto, the power to do what was needed was still far out of reach, and as much as she tried to make Naruto see the side of patience. That feeling of helplessness and action grew just as fast inside of her. Freeing her mind, trying to bring her focus back on the now. She was in point, and she needed to be ready for anything.
They were camping for the night, having been on the road for most of the day. Kakashi called for a rest before directing them to different jobs to acquire the necessities needed. Sakura and Naruto had gotten the wood for the fire and water, while Sasuke had set up the camp.
Sitting around the fire now, thankful to finally allow her legs some rest, Sakura was happily drinking some tea observing her team. Kakashi was reading his porn, ignoring whatever the drunken Tazuna was spouting on about. Sasuke had gone to bed not too long ago, and Naruto was lying down in his sleeping bag, staring up towards the sky, a content look on his face.
The boy was a different person than the one she'd gotten to know since becoming part of team 7. Openly asking questions about everything they saw on the road, giving whoever answered his question his undivided attention (which was her most of the time, as she unabashedly prided herself on being a stout learner of all things), and just all-around happier. Whatever flip had been switched she hoped it stayed like this, as she's never felt more comfortable around Naruto or her squad as a whole. It was starting to feel what she had imagined being on a team was supposed to be.
Taking another sip from her cup, she saw Kakashi carry their client over to a tent, passed out from drinking. Before turning to Naruto informing him, he had first watch. The boy nodded, never looking away from the dark skies. "Sakura, you have second watch. Naruto will wake you when it's time to switch. So try and get some sleep." He waved to her before entering his tent. Finishing her tea, she went to wash it out before sealing it back in the storage scroll. She had to admit it was convenient.
Turning to the ever more mysterious boy, she glanced up to the night skies. Trying to see what had captured his gaze so effortlessly before turning to head into her tent. "Goodnight Naruto, wake me when you're tired." Never looking her way, he stuck his hand up, waving in her direction.
"Will do enjoy your rest."
Naruto had been gazing up among the wondrous black skies for what seemed like hours. Endless twinkles of what looked like silver diamonds seemed to dance among the calmness. Stars. They had them back in Konoha, but they never seemed so close before. He let out a small laugh, trying not to wake his team up.
Being outside the walls, finally getting a glimpse over the horizons of his prison, was everything he had ever imagined. The air was different easier to inhale. The trees, which surrounded the village, were like an eternal map outside it, leading him to new paths he would one day walk. Most importantly there was no one here, like the wind, he walked across the dirt roads only to be forgotten by the next gust. The gazes that followed him his entire life were nonexistent now. The peace he felt was exhilarating and far too emotion-inducing. He put his arms out next to him and closed his eyes.
Freedom. He had begun to wonder what that meant almost two years ago and still hadn't been able to find a concrete answer. But right now, in this moment, this feeling that seemed to envelop him was the closest he's ever felt to solving the riddle.
Seeing a hint of the sun peeking across the night skies, he begrudgingly got up to wake Sakura. He needed some sleep no matter how much he wanted to stay out here. As he tip-toed across the campsite to get to Sakura's tent, he heard the tent across from hers ruffle before the zipper opened up. Sasuke emerged with a strong case of bed head. Not even trying to hide his smirk, she just glared at him. He put his hands up in protest.
"Why are you still up? I thought you had first watch Sakura should've woken me by now." He shrugged, finding no reason to lie. "I lost track of time. It's pretty out here, ya know?"
"Hn." Giving her a glare of his own as Sasuke maneuvered around him to wash her face in the water he and Sakura had provided. With the sleep washed from her eyes and usual attentiveness back to normal, she raised her eyebrow before pointing to his tent.
"Go to sleep. I'll take watch until Kakashi wakes up. I've slept more than enough." Naruto just nodded before going to collect his sleeping bag. Sasuke was brushing her teeth. He threw his sleeping bag in his tent before deciding he needed to pee, stepping into the foresty area.
When he came back to the campsite, Sasuke was sitting on a log, brushing her hair. He took a second to admire its length. Sometimes it was easy to forget she was a girl. With the way she acted and how long he'd known her, she was just Sasuke to him. Noticing his stares, she stopped brushing her hair staring back in annoyance.
"What?" He just shook his head. "Nothing, It's just your hair is really long. I guess I never noticed before." Watching him for a few seconds before resuming brushing her raven locks.
"Yeah, I've been thinking of cutting it. Especially if we're going to be doing more traveling missions, it's a nuisance to take care of." Taking a moment to look at the brush she was holding before continuing. "My mother used to brush my hair for me as I sat between her legs as a kid. Always rambling about how pretty and healthy it was. It's one memory I can look back on and smile. So I've always kept it long, not wanting to dishonor that memory and her in any way."
Naruto took on her words carefully. Sasuke hardly talked about her family, the only other time being the Itachi stuff. So her telling him about this moment felt important. "I'm sure your mom would want you to do whatever would make you the happiest." Naruto said before heading to his tent.
"Good night weirdo." He heard Sasuke whisper to him before he turned around to say it back. "Night Sasuke... and bye the way, if it means anything, your mom was right." She blinked at him, her brushing stopping before continuing a second later. "What?"
"Your hair, your mom was right. Long like that, it's pretty." With that, he quickly jumped into his tent, zipping it up. Letting his head rest against his pillow, sleep coming almost instantaneous.
Outside the tent, Sasuke was staring at the tent her blonde friend had just entered. As she continued to brush the rest of her, she let out a small sigh. Maybe she'd keep it this length for a while longer.
She had been on watch barely even an hour, her abundance of hair now put up in a high ponytail before Kakashi had woken up. Directing her to wake up her teammates before going to wake up Tazuna. Moving over to Sakura's tent first, the girl was a light sleeper, as she had woken up on the first call of her name. Asking if it was her shift watch, giving Sakura a quick shake of her head before promptly briefing her of the situation.
Walking over to Naruto's tent, the blonde being much harder to wake. Having to shout his name before he finally stepped out of his tent, rubbing his eyes. The spikes in his golden mane were still in the perfect place, leaving her imperceptible to how that worked.
"Get dressed, we're leaving as soon as everyone's ready." Giving her a sleepy 'hai'. Ten minutes later, they were sitting around the smoking remains of the makeshift firepit, eating some breakfast that Kakashi had seemed to whip up.
"We have to take a ferry across the river to get to the Land of Waves, so we'll head there as soon everyone's done with their meals." Kakashi instructed them while magically eating his food without ever appearing to remove his mask. The client groaned, rubbing his head. She and her two teammates promptly finished what was left of their food before moving to clear the rest of the camp.
A few hours later, they had finally arrived by an ocean. The sun was still high, figuring it to be around midday. Naruto was dragging a little ways behind, his lack of sleep catching up to him. A ferry in the near distance catching her eye, she lead them over to it. Kakashi, going ahead to speak with the captain.
"How do you know if you get sick on boats?" Naruto said beside her, opting to let out a sigh for her answer. He pouted at her, before asking Sakura. He didn't get much help from her either, Sakura choosing to ignore him altogether. The pink-haired girl had been uncharacteristically quiet since leaving this morning. "Whatever, if I throw up on one of you, don't blame me."
Turning to let her clueless friend know that they couldn't possibly know until he rode on a boat in the first place, but seeing Kakashi wave them over got in the way. With their client in tow, they joined him.
"It'll be about a two-hour trip. Hopefully, none of you get seasick." Their masked sensei informed them,
"They wouldn't tell me, so who knows." Naruto said looking towards her and Sakura. Kakashi just blinked before deciding he didn't much care, turning to hop aboard the ferry. Flicking the blond on the forehead, she pushed him to follow, the boat departing as soon as they were all safely aboard.
Standing near the end of the ferry, Sasuke was leaning against the railings, enjoying the sound of the splashing water, a small mist glistening over her porcelain skin. Gazing across the sea, thoughts of their travels so far running across her mind. Though not as exciting as she hoped, the mission still beat D-ranks any day of the week.
Feeling someone lean against the railings next to her, turning to meet Naruto's tired eyes. He was so stubborn. "Why aren't you asleep? There better not have been any available beds if you're out here right now." He just hung his head.
"There was, but Sakura wouldn't leave me alone. She thinks I didn't wake her up for the shift last night on purpose or something. Saying I must not think she could keep us safe. So I just gave up and came out here." His eyes were closed, with his head almost luling over the railings. She pulled on the hoodie of his sweater, making sure he wouldn't tumble over.
"I'm assuming you didn't try assuring her she was wrong?" Throwing his hands in the air, he gave her a duh look. "Of course I did, multiple times. I told her I just lost track of time, and before I knew it, you were awake. So I just decided to let her get some more sleep. That's the last time I try doing something nice for her." Sasuke just shook her head.
"You can be quite ignorant at times, you know that? Everything you told her was true, but to Sakura, it just seems like an excuse from a teammate that didn't think she could handle the responsibilities. Especially since she doesn't have the greatest confidence in herself already." Naruto gave her a look. "And you would know all that how?
Scoffing at his sarcastic tone. "I just pay attention, something you don't seem to do much of. Sakura is constantly looking for assurances during team training from one of us or Kakashi. She second-guesses her decisions, even when she knows they are the right ones, and is always comparing herself to Ino." Her blond friend's face softening at the answer. "Oh, I didn't know that." His voice was small, feeling some remorse.
"Of course you didn't, so now go find her and apologize again. This time, making sure to tell her you don't find her a liability in any way." Shooing him away, he slowly walked to find their pink-haired teammate.
As she went back to watching the crashing water, she couldn't help ponder when had she'd become so much more perceptible to others' feelings. It is easy to miss the modest progress you tend to make along the way. Especially when you are so hyper-focused on a singular goal, that at times (like it did just before they left for this mission), feels so impossible to overcome. She needed to remind herself of that more often.
They were finally in the Land of Waves, having departed from the boat a little while ago. They were walking to Tazuna-san's house, where'd they be staying for the night before heading back home tomorrow. Back in the diamond formation around Tazuna-san, Sakura was on his right. Her thoughts strayed back to the boat. Naruto had apologized, assuring her it was just a coincidence Sasuke had woken up first, and he figured It'd be unnecessary to wake her then. He even went as far as to say he had no qualms about her abilities. It was unexpected but still nice to hear, even if she felt she had overreacted. It was just some times her-
Disrupted from her thoughts with the sounds of chains behind her, Sakura turned to see what was happening, only to see Kakashi being torn apart in a rain of blood. Two masked ninjas, emerging from the woods around him. She froze, did their sensei just die? With the sound of a heartbeat thrumming in her head, she saw the two ninjas running towards her.
"Guard Tazuna Sakura!" She heard Sasuke yelling at her from the front of the group, rushing to get closer to them. Naruto was on her left, a kunai already in his right hand.
Everything happening in a matter of seconds, she moved directly in front of Tazuna-san in a guarded stance. Taking out her own kunai, she waited for the two ninjas. Both of them were sporting a metal gauntlet, with chains dragging between them (the ones that killed Kakashi-sensei).
They were graining ground faster than she could blink. What the hell was she doing, she was going to die. Right as they were about to reach her and Tazuna, a kunai passed by her peripheral, hitting in between the circled part of the chains, jerking them back maybe a half foot, before an orange blur tackled her to the ground and a boom rocked the area in front of them.
Her head was ringing as dust flew around her. Coughing, she covered her eyes. Feeling a body move off her, she attempted to stand up, looking for Tazuna. The man was a little bit away, eyes wide, and dust on his clothes but otherwise just fine. Trying to steady herself, she felt a hand on her shoulder. "You ok?"
She could make out the blonde hair in the dust. She nodded before looking around. The dust was settling, and she could make out one of the masked ninjas, bleeding profusely, his left arm that held the metal claw lying on the ground. She moved to make her way towards the other ninja, who was stumbling back to his feet. Naruto gently grabbed her arm, she glanced at him before he just pointed to a tree behind the man.
Sasuke jumped down from the said tree, kicking him across the head, flashing through hand signs, attempting to finish him off before Kakashi? Walked over carrying the one with the missing arm under his waist like a sack of potatoes.
"Sasuke, hold off I need to ask them some questions." She never thought she would be happy to see those damn crinkled eyes. "Go ahead and bind him before he wakes up." He turned his gaze towards them before giving the blond a stern stare.
"That was stupid Naruto, you know how dangerous your explosive tags can be and to use them as close as you did next to Sakura, even Tazuna-san. You could've severely injured one of them just as easily you did this man." Pointing towards where blood was still leaking from a jagged stump.
Naruto didn't say anything, his eyes glued to the dirt they stood on. She could make out his right hand trembling. Their client was finally up and standing next to them now. "I'll deal with these two." Kakashi said, throwing the unconscious ninja Sasuke had tied up over his shoulder.
"When I'm finished with them, we'll be having a talk of our own Tazuna-san." The goateed man giving a quick shake of his head.
"Are you guys ok?" Sasuke's voice cut through the silence as she walked up to them. Nodding, she looked at Naruto, his hand no longer appeared to be shaking. Her raven-haired teammate saying something to him she couldn't quite hear.
She wasn't mad at Naruto, he saved her. Wanting to say something but was still too shaken for words to form. If he didn't do what he did, the outcome would've been less than favorable for her, as much as she hated to admit. She couldn't do anything, her style not being suited for direct confrontation. The C-rank mission was finally starting to feel different from the boring D-ranks, and right now, she wasn't so sure that was a good thing anymore.
A dark room illuminated by a small lamp, only the clattering sound of metal on metal, signaling its occupancy. A shirtless man with a mask over his face sat on the end of a couch, sharpening what appeared to be a large blade of sorts. The only door to the room, gently opening before an effeminate boy walked in, followed shortly by two large men and a shorter one.
"Master Zabuza, Gato is here to see you." The pretty boy said, motioning to the men that walked in with him. Specifically, the short one, his hair greased back, with small shades barely covering his eyes.
"Zabuza! It seems the old build bridger went and hired some ninja from Konoha. They've appeared to take out the two brothers I hired just after arriving here, in Wave country. So here I am at the supposed best, you are still for hire, I assume?" A sleazy smile, covering his plump face.
Zabuza rose from the couch, strapping the large blade behind his back. "Small bits of fake power truly do make the weak feel emboldened. Your man will not escape death a second time. Make sure to have my money ready." Glaring at the small-statured man. "Now leave before I decide to kill you first." Gato laughed, before turning to leave. "Don't fail as the other supposed demons did."
He tightened the grip on his blade, allowing the urge to mangle the human filth to pass.
"Haku, tomorrow you'll go into town to gather information on the Konoha ninja." Haku nodded before exiting the room.
The shirtless man removed the sword from his stern, falling back onto the couch. Working for scum like Gato was never the plan, but it was a job.
Being raised as a demon to slaughter whoever his village deemed necessary, he learned quickly to look past certain flaws. Coming to revel in the depraved acts he committed. So when the Mizukage went nuts and ordered all his ninja to purify any Kekkei-Genkai holders, he never batted an eye. Gathering his blade that had made him famous, he sat out to do what he had been forged for.
Until he ran into a small child, who held one of those Kekkei-Genkai. Maybe it was the eyes, the eyes of a child who were empty, without a purpose. He honestly couldn't tell you what exactly was running through his mind that day, but he wanted to help him the way he wished someone had done for him.
So he fled with Haku, both on the run ever since. Spending the rest of his days escaping from Kiri Hunter-nins and working for hire, gathering money for the resistance and the person he believed would eventually become the future Mizukakge, Mei Terumi.
He knew his role, and he'd continue it as long as needed because a tool without a purpose was one destined to be forgotten.
I did the wave mission blah, whatever. It's important but it'll be over the next chapter... hopefully. Then we can start getting into more of the AU parts for the story. Anyways let me know what you thought. Until next time take care.