After over a year of not updating, I am slightly back and I apologize for the delay. I hope you enjoy the chapter, despite that I had to cut it in half.
Don't' forget to give out your opinions!
Chapter synopsis : With clones on the loose, will the Leaf shinobi be able to find the true Naruto? But most importantly, can they catch him before this one escapes the country once and for all?
The Leaf-nins have finally tracked down Naruto, only problem is, they don't know which Naruto is the real one.
Chapter 18 : Never underestimate a fox part 1
Sakura monitored the situation, communications and exact position of all departed teams. Everything was going so-so until each team reported a visual contact of their missing-nin, Naruto.
"What the hell is going on?" Kiba growled into his communication device. He was the first to report in and now every team was saying the same thing.
Sakura couldn't make out any of the voices or what they were saying. But one thing was certain, Naruto knew what he was doing.
"Sakura, have you reached Sasuke and Neji yet?" Kakashi asked her. He was a bit worried about getting no news from both student. In addition, he knew Sasuke would be the type to pursue his own trail before advising anyone else. That was one of the reason why Neji was teamed up with him, in hopes to keep the boy in check. Apparently, that had failed.
"No, something must be interfering Kakashi-sensei." Sakura responded quickly. She sat on one of the chairs around the kitchen table, nervous about how things were turning out.
"Every team listen up." Jiraiya spoke through his com-link, things were chaotic and now he had to turn them back to normal. "Each team, pursue your Naruto. The kid most likely made a few Kage Bunshins to throw us off guard. In order to make the difference between Bunshin and the real Naruto, you have permission to do what has to be done." He gave the last order. An order he never wanted to give.
For the next minute, silence was all anyone heard. No one expected to come to this. Now in order to know who was the real Naruto, they had to use their shuriken or kunai. If it popped in smoke, it was a bunshin, but if it bled, now they knew that it was the real Naruto.
"Are you sure?" Shikamaru asked, he knew that the others would still be shocked by only hearing the order. This was their friend after all and now they had to wound him physically in order to capture and later help him.
Sakura leaned back in her chair, hearing the teams argue with each other and the decision of the senin.
"Do you all understand?" Jiraiya was not one that like to repeat himself.
"Understood." They all reluctantly replied.
"I'll keep you updated on how things are progressing…" Sakura pitched in, still shocked at how the events surrounding Naruto seem to only get worse.
For the first time in his life, Gaara managed to shock his own father. For years, his father had certain control over his action. He only needed to throw the boy on people he wanted kill and that kept him in check. Gaara never asked for anything else than to be able to kill to sooth Shukaku and himself. But now, the boy was actually interested in a person and no one would stop him from learning, understanding and experiencing whatever it was.
"How did it go?" Kankuro asked, sitting on a log beside his sister.
Temari and Kankuro were always nearby whenever Gaara was summoned by their father. It was something they began since they were but children.
"He knows." It was the only reply they got from their little brother.
Temari raised an eyebrow. Gaara was one to rarely give a detailed answer.
"He knows what?" She asked, leaning on her big fan.
"To not cross me when it comes to Naruto."
After hearing their orders, Shino and Kiba exchanged worried looks. They knew now that they had to engage in battle, but attacking and purposely injuring a friend, is never easy.
"You got a plan?" Kiba asked his partner. Although Shino was the very silent type, he always had good battle plans. One that would be less harming to Naruto then what he had in mind.
"Block his way, and I'll confirm his true identity." He spoke no more words than he had to.
Kiba looked down at his companion who was currently keeping an eye on the figure ahead of them. The form had stopped moving and perched itself on the ledge of a roof.
"Ready to go boy!" The boy asked his four legged companion. His only response was a small bark, loud enough for his master to hear but low enough so Naruto wouldn't.
Akamaru jumped on top of Kiba,s head, attaching himself as good as he could while his master jumped down. He roamed the dark streets until he was standing right below the same building where Naruto stood.
"Yo!" Kiba yelled up high, waving his hands. He wanted nothing more than to get the boy's attention, distracting him from whatever Shino was planning.
With all the barking and the yells, Naruto turned his attention below, where he saw something he really didn't want to see.
"Dammit…" He cursed. They had already tracked him down that quickly? And he thought he had at least half an hour start on them. Then again, Akamaru was known to track down people very quickly.
Judging how dog boy was below, Naruto felt best to flee while he could. He quickly gathered chakra to his feet to jump as far as possible to give him the upper hand. Unfortunately, he never thought that the dog would actually block his passage.
"Get out of my way you stupid dog!" He tried his best to push the dog out of his way, but failed miserably.
What happened to be a small dog, quickly grew into a much bigger dog, something Naruto had not expected at all. Now that Akamaru was of the boy's size and forced him to jump backwards. Back to the very rooftop he was trying to leave.
Trying to regain his standing form, he noticed how Kiba quickly joined up with his companion, and now he was stuck with 2 of them to face.
"I beat you once during the Chuunin exam. Or didn't you get enough?" He teased, looking straight into those brown eyes. He didn't particularly hate him or Akamaru, it's just that he didn't need any more crap from Konoha Village and their fellow residents.
"You got lucky that time!" Kiba shouted back, doing his very best to distract the blond.
While insults were being shot back and forth, the boy was unaware of the thousands of bug creeping, crawling behind him. Slowly they took possession of his feet, making him unable to move. Then they made their way up and to this point, it didn't go unnoticed by the blond.
"What the..?" Naruto panicked. He couldn't move his legs anymore. He looked down and then it clicked. Bugs. Thousands of them. And that could only mean one thing. Shino was here too.
"Don't fight it." Shino spoke, appearing behind his captive.
"Nice plan buddy." Kiba prepared his kunai and put Naruto to the ultimate test.
"Aren't you suppose to bring me back alive?" Naruto asked, his eyes focusing on the kunai at all times. God knew how painful it could be to be stabbed with one of those, especially in the hand.
"We are aware that you made bunshins to throw us off track. This way, we know if you're the real Naruto." Shino made a short explanation.
The bugs now paralyzing his entire bidy, except for his head, Naruto was at the mercy of his former comrades. Kiba slowly approached his friend, and picked the right spot to stab.
A kage bunshin would explode on impact of any object piercing the body, or even being thrown against an object.
The other possibility, well, at least his hand would be the only thing wounded.
"Come on this ain't funny you guys." Naruto said, panicking at the sight of the kunai approaching more and more his hand.
Kiba stabbed the boy's hand, and now they waited for the results.
Blood or smoke?
"Dammit!" Naruto shouted, he was angry. Angry that he was found out so soon.
The bugs all dropped to the floor.
Both Shino and Kiba looked down at the remains.
"Guess we got the bunshin after all." Kiba confirmed, putting back his kunai in his pouch.
"I'll report it in." Shino informed the boy, while his bugs gathered back to him.
They were but minutes away before making contact with their Naruto, but when Shino reported back, Gai had to stop in order to listen carefully. After all, they could have just found the real Naruto.
"Kakashi! Report is coming." He waved to his rival in his clad green suit.
"Hai, hai." Kakashi replied, landing next to the man. Sometimes, he found himself humiliated just being next to the man.
"We got a bunshin on our side." Shino reported the incident to all the other teams.
"That only leaves 3 teams now." Gai said after hearing the report.
"Let's hope we have the real one then." Kakashi let out, jumping ahead. He needed to have a serious talk with each member of team 7 when this will be all over.
"Sasuke. Kiba's team got a bunshin. That only leaves 3 teams." Neji informed the Uchiha over the communication device. The young Hyuga was going back and forth on channels to be up-to-date with what was going on.
"What a surprise." Sasuke shot back, concentrating on the fresh tracks he had just found.
Despite his too many goofy moments when they were together as a team, Sasuke noticed how Naruto, when the moment called for it, knew how to use that brain of his.
"I'm getting closer…" He whispered in the wind.
They stopped for a moment.
Shikamaru wanted to be sure they weren't being thrown on the wrong pass again.
"You done yet?" Jiraiya asked, a bit annoyed of taking time to analyze everything. He really wanted to find Naruto. Fast.
"He's here." Shikamaru stated, getting back up on his feet. He barely had time to continue with his phrase when multiple kunai were thrown their way.
Jiraiya quickly moved in front of the Chuunin, making several hand signs before tapping the ground with them. A wall of mud spurted from the ground, creating a safe thick wall to block the attack.
"Why can't you leave me alone!" Naruto shouted from his rooftop, ready to send another wave of weapons.
"Naruto! Stop this now!" The old man ordered, his wall of mud crumbling down at his feet.
"Make me." He dared them, unleashing his second wave of attack.
Jiraiya was not happy with the situation. He knew that it would call for a confrontation but he didn't think Naruto would attack head-on.
"Leave it to me." Shikamaru whispered.
Things were about to heat up.
He had finally caught up with his student, but things were far from doing ok. They tried the talking approach, and it failed miserably, but now Kakashi managed to corner Naruto, and this time , the boy had no escape, either it was up, left, right or down. His only way out was straight ahead and that's where Kakashi and Gai stood.
"There's no where else to go Naruto." Kakashi used a much softer voice, hoping that the boy would finally calm down.
"Naruto-kun, it would be best to calm down and come with us." Gai said to him with a smile. He knew how serious the situation was, but he was doing his best trying to calm the boy down.
"No chance in hell I'm going back to that damn place." Naruto informed them, using his mouth to distract them while he reached behind for a weapon. "So you better back off and leave me alone unless you want me to tap into Kyubi's chakra."
Hearing that threat, Kakashi knew that now things were going to get harder. So now, he had to stop being soft on the boy, and be hard, just like he was with Sasuke after his encounter with Itachi.
Before Naruto could even prepare for his attack, the copy-cat shinobi was already behind his student. The kunai Naruto held, was now pressed against his throat, while his other arm was twisted behind his back. Kakashi had the upper hand this time, but what happened next, he didn't expect at all.
"What's so funny?" Gai asked, not understanding at all why the boy would laugh when it was obvious he had lost the battle.
Unlike Gai, Kakashi now understood why the boy laughed.
"He's a bunshin." Kakashi told the other Jounin. Striking the boy with his own kunai.
The bunshin Naruto simply vanished from Kakashi's grip, to only prove him right.
"This is not good." Gai let out, knowing that only 2 teams were left, and they had lost contact with one of them.
After a cat and mouse race, and thanks to the darkness, Shikamaru was able to expand his shadow to immobilize their target, Naruto.
"Good job boy." The old man congratulated him.
He headed for the boy, and knew what had to be done. In order to travel back safely to their Village, he would have to seal temporarily Kyubi's chakra.
"How long can you hold?" He asked the Chuunin.
"Ten minutes. But try not to take that much time." Shikamaru informed him. He really didn't want to hold him longer then he had to.
"Jiraiya-sama! We had no luck on our side." Gai reported, before continuing. "We're heading your way and should be there in 15 minutes."
Jiraiya wanted nothing more than to curse. Now the only possibility were that he had Naruto, or it was Sasuke's team that had him. And he prayed that it wasn't the Uchiha who had him. God knew what would happen if those two went at it. Chidori versus Rasengan. Another incident just like the hospital's rooftop. An incident that didn't need to be repeated.
"Don't take this the wrong way Naruto, but I have to make sure to seal him off for now." He told the blond, unzipping his jacket. Revealing the light tanned skin of Naruto's chest.
A sight Shikamaru would have preferred not to have seen. But then he couldn't take his eyes off the boy.
Naruto was tapping in his chakra, but it wasn't enough, he needed more in hopes to break Shikamaru's jutsu. And for that, he needed Kyubi's. The moment he began tapping into it, the seal appeared around his naval, a sign Jiraiya didn't want to see at the moment.
"Shikamaru. What you see here, stays between us. Is that clear?" Jiraiya was dead serious. Shikamaru felt it. Whatever that seal was, no one wanted the others to know about it.
"Yeah…" Shikamaru was rarely taken off guard, but seeing a seal appear like that, wasn't something you saw every day. And he knew that those kinds of seal were used only when necessary. What secret did the boy have?
Jiraiya knew that later he would need to explain himself to the young Chuunin. After all, Asuma had made it clear that you give only a small clue to Shikamaru and he'll be able to figure things out… But for now, what mattered was sealing Kyubi's chakra. He brought his hands together to perform multiple hand signs, but then he was interrupted.
"Something's wrong…" Shikamaru was almost trembling. His shadow was having problems hanging and controlling Naruto.
Naruto's form, began to move slowly, thanks to some help from that fox tenant of his.
"Dammit!" The old man cursed. He needed more time to finish the proper signs, but couldn't. He settle for the next best thing.
He punched Naruto right in the stomach. By immediately doing so, Shikamaru felt it as well. The blond crumbled to his knees, gripping the very arm that had just hit him.
"Only one left…" Naruto whispered, before disappearing before the Senin's very eyes.
"Oh no…" He was shocked. He was so sure that he had the real Naruto, but he was tricked. And tricked perfectly. Since when was Naruto that good at doing his Kage Bunshing anyway?
"This is not good. That means Sasuke and Neji are tracking the real one." Shikamaru let out, resting on his ass. Just immobilizing that kage bunshin took a lot of his energy. He could only imagine if it would have been the real one.
As agreed, Sasuke turned back his communication device to the right channel. So far, all teams ended up tracing bunshins, now only 2 options remained, himself and Neji.
"Neji reporting in. I ended up with a bunshin as well." He reported in, knowing that the news couldn't be too good.
"Then that means we lost him!" Kiba yelled at his end.
"There's one lead left." Neji corrected. The moment he would continue on with who was tracing the last lead, he could already predict their reactions.
He knew Neji was about to reveal him as the person tracking Naruto. But that didn't matter, one way or another he was going to stop Naruto from escaping.
He jumped ahead, not once loosing site of his former teammate. And now was the time to act. He quickly reached for his back pouch for a handful of shurikens. The shurikens flew straight down to Naruto's running form, giving him the distraction he need to land ahead of the blond, blocking his way out of the village.
"What the…?" Naruto barely had time to register what was happening when multiple shurikens came raining down on him. "Kuso!" The blond cursed, instinctively reaching for his back pouch.
Standing his ground, he deflected most of the shurikens, but one manage to hit him in the left leg. Before he could properly take care of it, his attention was required in front of him, where an old rival stood.
"I made contact and I confirm." Sasuke talked into his device, his eyes focused on the blond. "I've located the real Naruto."
Naruto grabbed the shuriken embedded in his leg, first removing it and then he threw it at Sasuke's feet.
"Get out of my way." The blond nearly growled.
"No." Came the cold answer.To Be Continued
There you go, shorter than I expected, but I thought I should make it in 2 parts, or else the update would have taken a bit longer. In addition, I thought you guys waited long enough for an update ;)
In any case, let me know if you're still a loyal reader of my work ;)Ookima