Authors Notes 1) I don't own Naruto or its characters.
2) Thank you to my friend Alex for his help.
3) Constructive criticism is welcomed, as are compliments.
4) The characters are 16 in the first chapter of the story. I have not seen if Sasuke's defection to Sound was successful or not. For the purposes of this story, I am assuming that it was.
"Your ninja aren't moving through the north area fast enough."
"They're encountering a lot more resistance than we initially expected."
"So? Throw some more of the missing-nin in behind them. They're supposed to be our shock troops, aren't they?"
The Rain jounin nodded. "You're right, of course." Motioning to one of his subordinates, he gave the order, before turning back to his companion. "It's too bad we couldn't convince 'The Demon' to join up with us."
The Stone jounin gave a nod. "He would have made things a lot easier. Still, we should focus on what we do have, not waste time worrying about the resources that we could not obtain."
The two leaders of the Stone-Rain invasion force stood in the forest of Konoha, poring over their invasion map. The invasion was not going as well as planned, but they still held the advantage over the Leaf forces. Moving small pieces over the map, they gave their orders, pushing the Leaf ninja back.
The Stone commander paused for a moment, his train of thought interrupted. Something was wrong. He couldn't place it, but there was just something - out of place. He looked left and right, trying to determine what the problem was. Nothing. Everything was fine. Still, something just didn't seem right to him. A voice came to him. It was old, a voice he had not heard in many years. Not since he had been a child, sitting in classes, listening to the instructor drone on in the ninja academy.
"Humans rarely look up. A ninja should remember this and use it to their advantage."
Heart sinking, the Stone jounin looked up. Already, he knew the truth; he merely went through the motions of confirming it. Already, a blur was falling towards him. He didn't even have time to finish his warning cry.
The two ninja landed on the leaders of the invasion force. The cloaked one ripped off the face of his opponent, while tearing out his throat. His teammate sunk a katana deep into the skull of his target, withdrawing the blade as the man fell. Rolling to their feet, Naruto and Hisashi came up ready to fight. The Stone-Rain forces were moving to surround them now, cutting off all the escape routes for the duo. Underneath his mask, Naruto lips curled into a smile, revealing his fangs. Foolish ninja. They should be the ones trying to escape from him.
Concentrating, he sent out a wave of chakra made up of a small piece of his demonic energies. He chuckled when the energy reached his opponents. They shifted slightly. None of them wanted to initiate a fight, despite outnumbering him and Hisashi ten to two, but they held firm, thanks to their training. Naruto took the moment to criticize his teammate.
"I keep telling you, Hisashi, katanas aren't ninja weapons."
"They are in my village. Every one of us knew how to use these with the best of them. We were the best of them."
"Just use your usual trick."
"Too many. I'll pass out, or die."
"So we do this the hard way." With a flash, Naruto moved towards one of the ninja surrounding them. Before the man could react, Naruto had slammed a fist into his stomach. The rain-nin doubled over in pain, Naruto's hand still pressed firmly against him.
The Rain-nin literally exploded, pieces of him flying in every direction. The forces arrayed against Naruto and Hisashi were veterans. They had seen just about everything in battle, and they knew the importance of not allowing their concentration to be broken. Still, the spectacle of Naruto blowing one of their teammates apart was enough to cause even the most hardened of them to flick their gaze his way for just a moment. It was in that moment that Hisashi chose to disappear.
The two ninja closest to Naruto leapt away from him, a decision aided largely by three of their companions who were farthest from the demon choosing to launch various wide range offensive jutsus at him.
A cloud of senbon, as well as a barrage of icicles came streaking towards Naruto. Rolling hard to the left, he managed to almost completely dodge the attacks. It was only a single senbon needle that managed to pierce his Achilles tendon. By the time he had completed his roll, his enhanced healing had already managed to force the protruding weapon out of his body, rendering good as new. He was on his feet just in time to catch the final attack full on.
An elemental dragon, much like Kakashi's water dragon, or Sasuke's flame version, caught him square on. Vaguely, in the back of his mind, Naruto noted that this was the first time he had encountered an acid based attack of this type. Leaping with all his strength, he was able to carry himself out of the attack before the damage he suffered was too serious. Landing on a tree branch, he tore off his acid soaked cloak and mask, trying to minimize any further damage. His appearance sent a fresh wave of panic through those he was facing off against.
"By the Kami," one of the Rain-nin cried. "It's actually a demon!" The shock of realizing what they were facing caused those attacking him to pause for a moment, buying him the time his body needed to heal. Below him, the dragon vanished from existance, as its stunned creator forgot to continue funneling chakra to it.
Hisashi took that particular moment to remind the combatants that he was part of the fight. The mystery of where he had gone to was solved as hands of earth shot out of the ground, latching on to one of the Stone ninja, and pulling him into the earth. At the same time, Hisashi came crashing to the surface as well. Leaping out of the ground behind one of the Stone ninja, his katana sliced into the man's back, completely severing the unfortunate shinobi in two.
While Naruto and Hisashi's attacks had whittled down the number of ninja they faced, it had not done much to improve their position. They were now on opposite sides of the battlefield, each one being in the midst of all the shinobi from one of the two invading villages. Hisashi found himself once more in the centre of a group of hostile ninja, the last three Stone fighters forming a triangle around him.
Naruto meanwhile, was dodging for all he was worth. His impressive display with the Rasengan had convinced the four Stone-nin arrayed against him that they did not want to let him get too close to them. He found himself dodging one kunai after the other, his opponents making sure to keep up the barrage so he could not move forwards. He had dodged the first few, and was considering just taking the hits to get into taijutsu range, when the projectiles he had already dodged began detonating. These guys had a lot of explosive tags, and they definitely weren't worried about the cost of replacing them. Gritting his fangs in frustration, he rolled behind a large tree, swearing under his breath.
Hisashi blocked a thrown kunai, and spun gracefully, launching his katana at one of his opponents. Taken aback by the unexpected maneuver, the Stone-nin was barely able to twist his body in time, avoiding the unconventional ranged weapon. Seeing their prey without his impressive weapon, the Stone-nin charged. Racing through the seals, Hisashi clamped his eyes shut, as he called out a warning to his partner.
"Naruto! Light show!"
It was like the Sun-nin exploded in a burst of light. The pupils of those caught unaware shrank smaller than pinpricks, trying to protect themselves from the sudden flash. One of the three fighting Hisashi had his jugular sliced open seconds after the attack, while he was still stunned. The other two were just regaining their sight when they each felt a hand clamp onto their shoulder. Both jerked as a current began to race through their bodies, dropping to the ground as their muscles went spastic.
Having been protected by the tree, as well as his friends warning, Naruto was unaffected by the attack. Rolling out from behind the tree, he found an unpleasant surprise. Two of the ninja had been completely turned away from Hisashi. They had barely been affected by the jutsu at all. Two explosive kunai slammed into him, detonating almost on impact. The demonic ninja fell to the ground, his ribs and internal organs showing. Blood gushed into the air as he screamed. Hisashi was already concentrating, less than a second away from exhausting his chakra to avenge his friend, when the shadow clone vanished.
Twenty Narutos piled out from behind the tree he was using for cover, charging at the shinobi who had tried so hard to keep him at arms length. By now, all four of them were able to fight again; they sent kunai flying at the multitude of targets as they scattered. Within moments, eight Narutos were cut down. Almost instantly, there were thirty more taking their place. Two of the Stone-nin were down in seconds, unable to dodge the initial wave. The third surprised the shadow clones, reversing his retreat to come flying at them. The clones were unprepared for the sudden shift, and began getting decimated as he flew through their ranks. Six clones exploded in smoke as he moved forwards, landing blows on them. The seventh clone was the last standing between him and a break for freedom. To his credit, the Stone-nin landed a good hit to its ribs, before taking a step to continue forward. Rather than vanish in a puff of smoke however, the seventh clone grabbed hold of his arm, and with an impressive twist, tore it completely off of the Stone-nin's body. The Stone jounin had accidentally found the real Naruto.
The last ninja fighting against the two missing-nin managed to evade the attacks of the clones swarming at him. He was a pragmatist, and knew it was time to get away. Within seconds, he had vanished beyond the trees. In all honesty, against a normal jounin, he would have had a damn good chance of getting away. Against a former chuunin who had ended up merging with what was probably the most powerful demon to ever walk his particular plane of existence; not so much. But still, he was good. Naruto didn't even try to toy with him, and he still lived for over a minute.
Hisashi had just finished his kills and retrieved his katana when Naruto reappeared in front of him. It was clear that his demonic friend was still ready for a fight.
"Back to town, then?" As he asked the question, he slid his katana back into its case. Before he could get an answer, there was a massive explosion from the west. Hisashi grimaced; Leaf forces probably weren't setting off explosions inside their own village deliberately, so it was doubtful the blast signified anything good for the side they were attempting to aid.
Naruto's face also held a worried scowl as he answered his partner's previous inquiry. "Oh yeah, back to town."
"Damn it," Jiraiya shouted, his ears ringing from the blast. "Are you alright, Gamabunta? What the hell happened there?" He rubbed at his eyes, trying to clear the smoke from them.
"I'm fine. If I had to guess, I'd say that our fireball found a broken gas line or two, Jiraiya."
Cursing, the sannin managed to get his eyes to stop watering, and surveyed the damage. What had once been close to two full blocks of the village, were now rubble, with a tremendous cloud of smoke billowing out of them. "Bloody hell, Tsunade's going to kill me when she sees this. At least we took out that scorpion, though."
"Well-" Gamabunta's response was cut short as he was forced into a quick jump backwards as wickedly barbed tail came shooting out of the smoke at him. Landing, the giant toad quickly snatched his dagger out of its sheath, taking on a defensive position. The wind finally began removing the smoke from the explosion, revealing an ebony black scorpion that rivaled the great toad in size. It snapped its claws, hissing in anger.
"Useless little rats! Do you have any idea how much that hurt?"
"Okay then," Jiraiya's voice deadpanned. "The rider's gone. So we killed the summoner, but not the summon."
Gamabunta shifted his dagger to an offensive position . "No worries. I'll take care of it."
Both of the summoned animals dashed towards each other. As they neared, the scorpion's tail came cutting in low, only to be knocked away by a downward parry from Gamabunta's dagger. The toad quickly shifted his grip, sending the blade plunging towards the other animal's face. Both sets of claws clamped down on the blade, immobilizing it, as the scorpion again sent his tail at Gamabunta. This time, aimed at the toad's head.
Jiraiya stopped that attack, both hands grabbing onto the tail just below the deadly, stinging blade. Shaking with exertion, the sannin managed to hold the summoned monster's tail up for the moment, keeping it from piercing the flesh of his ally.
Sasuke crouched on a rooftop, looking at the battle Jiraiya and Gamabunta had found themselves in. He should go to help. It was his duty; he had re-sworn his loyalty to Konoha and the Hokage. Not for the first time, he found himself trembling with anger as he remembered Tsunade's words.
"Your clan is dead, Sasuke, and you have failed in your quest for revenge. You were too weak to kill your brother. Too weak to carry out his orders. And now, you will be executed for your crimes against Konoha." The Hokage paused in her speech, giving Sasuke a vindictive smile. Behind the bars of his cell, the final Uchiha merely stared at her, refusing to give her any satisfaction with a response. Undaunted, Tsunade continued.
Your clan will be remembered as weak fools, who failed to recognize the threat within their own ranks, and paid for that failure with their lives. You will be the sniveling coward whom your worthless traitor brother deemed too weak to bother killing. The one who betrayed his friends in a failed attempt at vengeance, and who was eventually put out of his misery. And that, Uchiha Sasuke, will be the legacy of your clan.
Unless of course, you take our offer. Re-swear loyalty to your home village. We offer you a final chance to serve us loyally and well. Who knows; if you do a good enough job, perhaps the Uchiha will be remembered in some small positive way. The choice is yours, Sasuke. I'll leave now so you can consider it.
Howling with anger, Sasuke sprang to his feet. Looking into the street below, he saw a young genin darting from cover to cover. One of the messenger corps, no doubt. Vanishing from the rooftop, he appeared in front of the startled youth. "Do you know who I am?"
Dumbfounded and alarmed, the shocked boy could only nod. Satisfied, Sasuke continued. "Then I suggest you shut up and pay attention." Thrusting his right arm down, he braced it with his left and concentrated. "Chidori!" Glaring at the genin, he continued. "See how I braced my arm?" The trembling boy nodded. "Good," Sasuke thrust his left arm down into the same position the right had just been. "Brace this arm for me."
Jiraiya's arms felt like lead. He had been holding the scorpion's tail for over a minute now. Rather than attempt a new attack, the scorpion seemed dedicated to overpowering the sannin. As Jiraiya franticly searched for a way for him and Gamabunta to defeat the beast, the chirping of birds came to his ears.
Sasuke leapt off the rooftop, landing on the enemy summon. A chidori in each hand, he raced up the back of the scorpion, plunging one of the lightening attacks into the back of its head. The chidori barely sank into the scoprion's flesh before dissipating; its energy spent piercing through the animal's diamond hard exoskeleton.
The scorpion screamed in pain. Its tail snapped back like a whip, sending Jiraiya sailing headlong into a nearby building. The tail whistled through the air, as the scorpion attacked the ninja perched on its back. Ignoring the danger, Sasuke sent his second chidori into the wound that his first had created. The chidori sunk deep into the wound, tearing through flesh to sever the delicate nerves running down the scorpions back. At the same moment, the tail slammed it Sasuke, running clear through him.
The enemy scorpion disappeared, defeated, in a puff of smoke. A wide hole through his body, Sasuke tumbled down. He was barely aware that Gamabunta caught him before he hit the ground.
Carefully holding the mortally wounded ninja, Gamabunta grabbed Jiraiya, who also seemed to be out of it. His powerful muscles firing, the toad gave a great bound, aiming for the Konoha hospital.
Shikamaru barked orders to his runners, his normally calm face anxious as he stood over the battle map. On all sides of him, people shouted to one another. The Nara genius stood in the center of the tumult, attempting to keep control of the situation.
"ANBU report a lessening of enemy attacks in the northern sector!"
"Maito Gai and his former students have regained control of the market square!"
"Two Arabume report that they are attempting to reinforce the Inazuka Kiba's squad."
"The eastern side of the village is still mostly under enemy control. As far as we can tell, Hyuuga Hinata and Hataka Kakashi are still fighting behind enemy lines! Messanger corps ninja are unable to get through the heavy fighting to make contact with them."
The rapidly flowing information would have overwhelmed many people, but Shikamaru processed all the information as quickly as it was spoken. Almost instantly, he was barking out orders.
"Tell the ANBU to keep up the pressure in the northern sector, don't let the enemy breathe. Get two chuunin teams in to reinforce Team Gai. Tell them to expect a counterattack. Try to stop the Arabume, they can't go in alone! And damn it, get Hinata and Kakashi out of that deathtrap they're in!"
"Need some assistance?"
The voice startled Shikamaru. Quickly he recognized it as The Masked Demon, the most wanted missing-nin in the known world, the one who had warned the village of this very attack. He had come back.
"What-" Shiakamaru's voice died the second he turned to look at the new arrivals. Every person in the command post was staring in shock and fear. Hisashi stood beside Naruto, but it was doubtful his presence even registered in the minds of those he and Naruto had come to help. All eyes were drawn to his partner. Naruto had lost his cloak and mask in their last battle, and was now dressed only in a basic black ninja uniform. For the first time in years, he stood undisguised before people, allowing them to see what he was.
He stood close to six and a half feet tall, a far change from his childhood spent being one of the shortest people his age. His hands now resembled claws, with wicked nails stretching from each finger. His lips were drawn back revealing a mouth filled with fangs. His eyes no longer held the blue orbs they once did; now containing the black slit pupils of a predator, resting on blood red irises. The whisker marks on his face were wider now, and his once pure blond hair had streaks of red running through it. It took a several moments to realize this however, as one generally found their attention first drawn to the two long fox tails wrapping and unwrapping themselves from around his waist.
Shikamaru had long known about Naruto's containment of the Kyuubi. He was a genius after all, and it didn't take too much work to figure out why the boy that every adult hated was pulling red chakra out of his body every so often. He had never said anything to anyone, figuring the Hokage wouldn't let Naruto be a ninja if the risk was too great, and respecting the fact that his friend obviously did not want anyone his age to know about his prisoner. Once he overcame his surprise, he recognized who he was looking at.
"Shikamaru. We gutted the enemy command post," a growl escaped his lips as he spoke. "I'm going to go save Hinata and Kakashi."
Shikamaru found himself nodding numbly, still too shocked to act with his usual clarity. "Sure. Tell them to pull out to the new line, and reinforce the ninja there." He spoke calmly, almost as though his mind had left his body alone, so it could solve some other problem.
Naruto and Hisashi turned to leave, but Shikamaru called out to them again.
"Wait! Would- would the two of you split up?"
"Why?" The question came out as a suspicious snarl.
"Shino has gone to rescue Kiba. I think he'll need help, and I have no one to spare."
Hisashi put a hand on Naruto's shoulder, stopping him before he could answer. "We came to help. If we're needed in different places, fine. Just give me a guide."
Naruto looked at his only friend, clearly not liking the idea. Hisashi met his gaze, refusing to back down. "Go save your old sensei."
"… Don't get killed."
The Stone ninja dropped dead to the ground. Overtop of him, Kakashi stood, slowly rubbing his wrist. He heard the death cry of Hinata's opponent as well. There were no enemies about. It seemed as though he and Hinata were to enjoy their first moment to catch their breath in over an hour. He looked at his companion, who had discarded her weighted jacket long ago. She was breathing heavily, holding her side where a rather powerful taijustsu ninja had scored a hit on her.
"Hinata, I really think we should abandon this position."
The Hyuuga jounin instantly shook her head. "Do whatever you want, Kakashi, but I'm staying. Our orders were to hold this position on the line."
Before they could continue, they each felt a distinctive chakra pulse. Someone was trying to use a genjutsu on them, an attempt that was instantly doomed to failure due to the powers contained in their eyes. Both Konoha ninja fell back into combat stances, ready for trouble.
The genjutsu ended as clearly as it had started. Kakashi, puzzled, glanced over at Hinata. She seemed just as confused as he was. Quickly, he went back to attempting to spot any danger.
"There's no one but us left in the line, Hinata. We should fall back."
"I said I would hold this position, Kakashi, and I will. I gave my word, and I'm not taking it back. That's my way of the ninja."
"That's a good ninja way, but it's still time to leave!" The new voice seemed to ring out from all sides, startling both Hinata and Kakashi. Suddenly, they found a new ninja dropping near them. His appearance caused both of them to swallow in surprise.
"Shikamaru's orders. I'm supposed to get you two to pull back to some new line that was set up. By the way, I caught some idiot who was using a genjutsu on you."
Nodding numbly, Kakashi realized that this stranger, he was trying desperately not to hope it was who he suspected, had blood dripping from his han- from his claws.
Naruto surveyed the two of them, feeling the bloodlust from his last kill fade, to slowly be replaced with apprehension. His old sensei, and the quiet weird girl who had always been nice to him, even though she never seemed to be able to talk. He wanted to say it was good to see them again, that he was sorry he had been gone for so long, but the words just wouldn't come out. What would they think? What would they say? Kakashi would know what he was. Would he decide Naruto was what the villagers had always been afraid he would become? And what about Hinata? She didn't know about the Kyuubi. What would she think? Naruto shook his head, trying to dispel the fears. He could feel anger beginning to grow within him again. Whenever he became scared, he started to get angry. It was the demon's instincts. He just couldn't help it.
"Let's go!" Naruto's roar cut through the silence, as he tried to purge the anger and fear from his body. "Move it! I tore a lot of guys apart, but there's still a lot more."
"Nar… Naruto-k- kun. Is, is that you?" Hinata winced at her voice. She hadn't talked like that for years, but she was so confused. Was it really him? Alive, and here, after so many years? Why had he left, and what had happened to him? She was almost shaking. She couldn't be like this. She had to show him she wasn't weak.
"It is." He seemed nervous for some reason. But he was here. He had come back. Why? She had to know why he had come back. Dimly, her mind registered something about Kakashi shouting something at her about it not being the time, but he too seemed shocked by his old students return. It was just too much for any of them to handle. Everything seemed awkward and forced. Of the three reunited ninja, not one of them could properly handle the situation.
"What- what happened to you?" She regretted the question almost before she had finished it. Anger and hurt flashed across Naruto's face. He thought she was afraid of him.
"I came to help you all because you people used to be my friends! Just link up with your comrades, I don't care what you think of me anymore!" He clenched his fists together so hard that his claws cut deep gouges into his palms. His blood flowed freely down his fingers to drip onto the ground.
"Our comrades, Naruto. Yours as well." Kakashi spoke calmly, doing his best to draw his former student's attention. His mind was a mess of emotions at the moment, but he was handling it better than the other two. He didn't know what was going on, but Hinata was almost in tears, and it seemed like Naruto was almost ready to attack her.
"I see how you all look at me! I hate this place!" Naruto was out of control. As far as he was concerned, every one of his fears about returning home was coming true. Everyone was afraid of him. He would be hunted down and killed now that they knew about him. His demonic instincts were raging, screaming for blood. He was seconds away from making the worst mistake of his life, when the Stone-nins saved the day.
A group of Stone ninja came over the rooftops, killer intent radiating strongly out of them. Before Naruto or the others could react, a kunai embedded itself right into the center Hinata's ribs, with enough force to knock her off her feet. Her eyes wide in surprise, she began to fall, giving out a cough as she did. Blood splashed out of her mouth and onto her chest.
Eyes wide, Naruto stared. His mind raced back to the preliminary bouts for the third round of his first chuunin exam. He remembered the pride he had felt for the little girl, that like himself, refused to give up. The horror he felt as he saw her vomit blood onto the ground, and realized how seriously injured she was. And then, as suddenly as him mind had traveled back in time, he was in the present again, looking at an injured Hinata. In his unbalanced state, it was just the trigger needed to push him over the edge.
"You hurt my friend!" His scream was filled with surprise and terror, before changing to a tone of pure hatred. "I'll kill all of you!"
Kakashi grabbed Hinata and ran for both of their lives. Behind him, screams of both rage and pain tore through the air.
Kiba gritted his teeth, trying to stand up. A strong hand, pressed against his chest, kept him pinned to the ground. He glared at his old teammate, still trying to regain his footing. "Let go of me. I need to fight."
"No," Shino spoke in the same emotionless tone he always used, whether he was ordering dinner, or trying to save someone's life. "You need to lie down, and let me bandage the hole in your chest, so that you stop bleeding."
"Damn it! Akamaru's still fighting, I can't let him fight alone."
"He is not fighting alone. My sister is battling with him, and the other two members of your squad didn't get hit as bad as you."
"They aren't strong enough." Kiba was still trying to wrestle his way out of his friend's pin.
"Kira is. I gave her most of my kikai bugs. And the others will just have to hold their own. Now sit still, so I can treat you."
"Lie down!" Kiba had kept track of the number of times he had heard Shino yell over the years. This marked the seventh such occasion. Giving up, he relaxed on the ground.
Arabume Kira danced away from her pursuer, doing her best to keep him from realizing he was being led. The missing-nin she was baiting seemed all too willing to play the fool. Kira was by far the most expressive member of the Arabume clan, but she was still a member of the Arabume clan. Throughout Konoha, they were known for two things. The first, was the bugs that lived within their skin, aiding them in battle. The second, was the dead emotionless stare that seemed to be their default expression. Kira easily kept that mask up, not giving the missing-nin any indication that the little kunoichi chuunin he was fighting was leading him into a trap.
There! His back was turned to the shadows of the alley; he seemed completely unaware of the allies she had concealed in the darkness.
The kikai bugs swarmed over the unsuspecting missing-nin. Thousands of them dug into his skin, drawing the chakra out of it. Usually, once a wave of the Arabume clan's bugs swarmed over someone, the person was doomed. Every once in a while, an enemy ninja might hold a ninjutsu that could defeat the bugs, usually something that was fire or teleportation based, but it rarely mattered. The enemy only had a couple seconds to perform the jutsu, and it was nearly impossible with all the bugs ripping through their flesh and leeching their chakra. It took an exceptional ninja to escape the Arabume trap once it had been sprung. The missing-nin currently being devoured was competent; of that there was no doubt. But he was far from exceptional. Soon, only a husk remained.
Crouching near the shriveled corpse, Kira allowed the bugs to climb back into her body. She'd have to remember to thank her uncle. He was the one who had first shown her how to perfect that trick.
She spun at the sound of someone landing behind her, willing her bugs back out. It was too late, however. A heavy blow sent her tumbling across the missing-nin's body. Rolling quickly to her feet, she surveyed her newest attacker. This new threat proved to be a Rain-nin with an ugly scar running across his face. It looked as though she would have trouble fighting with this one.
Unless, of course, she never had to fight him at all. Akamaru slammed into him from behind, howling as his body spun. The lone gaatsuga attack could have been stronger had Kiba added his own, but it still got the job done fine. The last thing the Rain-nin felt was the incredible pain of his body being shredded.
"Good boy, Akamaru! Once we get out of this, I'm buying you a whole bunch of treats."
The Akita barked happily, wagging its tail at the suggestion. Akamaru liked this girl. She was related to one of Kiba's old teammates, and whenever she saw him, she was always sure to scratch his ears and spoil him.
"Get back to Kiba, and my brother. I don't like leaving them too unguarded. I'll be along in a moment." With a nod of his head and a yip, Akamaru bounded down the street, off to make sure the two men they were trying to protect were still safe.
Kira took a moment to survey the street, and surrounding rooftops. She paused, her eyes flicking back to the corner of a storefront window. Something just didn't feel right. Nervously, she looked around. Everything seemed fine, but still… it was off somehow.
She sent bugs flying out in every direction, while taking a purely defensive stance. It didn't take long for several of the bugs to return, complaining that something didn't make sense to them. Facing the area her bugs had pointed out, Kira formed her hands into the seal needed for one of the earliest ninjutsu she had been taught. "Dispel."
The genjutsu before her flickered and vanished. What had once been a large advertising poster plastered on a storefront, was now a tall, scrawny kunoichi. The woman wore a Rain forehead protector, along with a jounin vest. Slowly, she clapped her hands.
"Nicely done. I'm impressed by the way you used your bugs against the missing-nin. And it was certainly surprising to see an Inazuka dog fighting alongside an Arabume kunoichi. Interesting."
Kira spat on the ground. At the moment, she didn't really feel like keeping up her clans calm façade. "Damn it, how many of you are there? Every time I beat one of you, I end up finding another. What does it take to get rid of all of you?"
The malnourished woman before her laughed. "Oh, my dear. It will take more than your pathetic village has. You're fighting against the combined might of two villages, along with just about every missing-nin on the continent. Your stupid village has no chance alone."
"They aren't alone!" The new voice drew the attention of both kunoichi. A lean, black haired youth stood on the rooftop of the building the Rain-nin was relaxing against. He held a katana in his right hand. With an easy flip, he tumbled to the ground, landing between them. Confidently, he pointed the katana at the Rain-nin. "They have a couple of freelancers."
Glancing over his shoulder, he winked at Kira, "I imagine you're one of the Arabume I'm supposed to back up. I already found your clanmate. He's ready to move out with the injured shinobi he was attending to. You head out. I'll handle business on this end."
Kira considered for a moment before beginning to depart. As she left, she had a few tracking bugs slip out of her wrist, and sent them to try to sneak onto the new arrival. His presence seemed a bit too convenient.
Hisashi grinned as he stared down the Rain-nin. "Genjutsu user, eh? It's rare to come across someone focused primarily in that field. This might be fun."
"I doubt it," the kunoichi drawled at him. "It's rare to find someone who actually knows how to defeat my more complicated illusions. They're really quite good." The kunoichi's entire body began to droop. It looked as though she was melting right before Hisashi's eyes. "The one I cast while you were chatting with that little Arabume is one of my favorites. It's nearly unbreakable."
All around Hisashi, the world seemed to begin to melt. The streets, the buildings, his katana, even the air around him seemed to be dripping like wax. A wave of vertigo struck Hisashi. The blob that was previously the Rain-nin blurred in front of him. Before he could react, he felt a deep gouge open along his arm. His katana tumbled into the blurred mass that had been the street.
Stumbling back, Hisashi clamped a hand over his wrist, trying to stem the worst of the bleeding. He always hated having to use his bloodline in desperation. The extra chakra drain from using it made it a very poor last resort. His eyes flashed to the yellow hue they always took when he used his clan's power. Surges of electricity sizzled out of his body in all directions. He poured the energy into the air, trying to disrupt the jutsu he was trapped in. It worked. The illusion fell away to reveal a very surprised Rain-nin standing before him. She leapt back, surprise across her face.
"What the hell?" She was running through seals as she growled the question at him.
Hisashi allowed himself a small smile. "My clan's bloodline ability." Without another word, he mustered all the chakra he had left in his body to send a bolt of lightening at her, just as she finished her seals.
It was Hisashi's turn to find an unpleasant surprise. Several in fact. The lightening bolt struck home, and dissipated harmlessly in front of him. His eyes widened in shock. The Rain-nin gave a wide grin. "I'm more than familiar with your clan, Hisoka bastard." Hisashi gasped, her words had come in his childhood language. "I spent a little time in the west, when my village decided to try and find new allies. I had contact against your clan all those years ago, and I developed this protective ninjutsu just for when I had to deal with you worthless pieces of shit." The kunoichi threw back her head and laughed as Hisashi collapsed.
She strode forwards confidently, kneeling down to grasp Hisashi's throat. With an evil grin, she began to squeeze. She could feel her hand tingle as she began to choke the life out of her opponent. "Poor little fool. Your ninjutsu don't work, you're all out of chakra, and you can't fight with an arm all torn open. What are you to do?"
On the ground, Hisoka Hisashi choked, trying to gain air. With effort, he gasped out a few words. "Last- last of my clan."
"Is that so?" The tingling had spread up the Rain-nin's arm. She supposed it was the last attempt the boy had at trying to muster up a jutsu with his bloodline limit. "Well, I guess you're about to see your entire family again."
"Mother… was last- of her clan, too." The Rain-nin frowned. Something was definitely wrong, she had just realized. Her grip began to loosen from Hisashi's throat. She was running out of chakra.
The last ninja of the Hidden Sun grabbed the Rain-nin's hand, pulling it off of his throat, but keeping a firm hold on it. Hisashi glared at the panicking kunoichi. "Both of my parents gave me their bloodline limits."
Shit! He was draining her chakra right out of her body. Was that son of a bitch kidding? Two bloodline limits?
With her free hand, the Rain-nin made a fist, and slammed it into Hisashi's face. The blow cracked his head back against the ground, but he kept his grip. Another blow connected, weaker than the first, but it still hurt like hell. Hisashi tried to bring his gashed arm up to block, but the muscles were too damaged. Gritting his teeth, he took blow after blow. The punches were growing weak. All he had to do was hang on a little longer. After a few more hits, the blows stopped; the Rain-nin collapsing overtop of his body. Still, Hisashi hung on, not releasing his grip until after he felt the final wisps of chakra flowing into his body. Groaning, he pushed the Rain-nin off of him, and tried to sit up.
His head exploded in bursts of pain. His eyes rolled backwards, and when he opened them, he was lying back on the ground. He had his chakra back, but now he had a concussion at the least. On top of that, while the tear through his arm had pretty much stopped bleeding, he was dizzy from all the blood he had already lost. His vision started to blur. It looked like he wasn't going anywhere for a while.
"Well, well. Looks like coming into the village after him turned out to be a good idea." Hisashi almost cried. The new voice was still speaking his language, not the one he had learned from Naruto since coming to this continent. Two faces leaned over him, it was hard to make out any features, as he was looking up into the sun, but he knew who they had to be.
"Hey there, boy. Quite a chase we've had to go through to find you. Bet you thought you had got away clean, didn't you?"
"We've got to get out of here, now!" Yet another new voice emerged, this one coming from the same direction the two standing over Hisashi had called from. "Four teams of Konoha ninja coming right at us."
"What?" The man standing above Hisashi was clearly infuriated. "Damn it, grab the kid and let's go."
"No, leave him. They're headed straight here - either for him or us. We need to get out of here fast! I told you guys that entering this village was too risky right now."
"But we have him!"
"He'll slow us down too much. Move."
"Shit!" The ninja who was standing over Hisashi glared down at him. "We'll get you later." And then, in a flash, they were gone.
Hisashi lay on the ground, not understanding. They were running? Konoha ninja were coming to save him? It made no sense.
He heard the sounds of ninja landing all around him, and then, someone else was standing above him. This one leaned down over him, her head blocking the sun and making her face visible.
"Hey there," cried the exuberant Arabume kunoichi. "A little bug told me you were having trouble with that Rain-nin you said you could beat!"
Despite everything that had just happened to him, Hisashi couldn't help but smile. "She wasn't so bad. It was those others…" His voice trailed off as his eyes slid closed. The last thing that registered in his brain was the voice of one of the Konoha ninjas.
"Ah, damn. Looks like we better get him to the medic-nins."
NOTES AND AN ANNOUNCEMENT
Well, this chapter came somewhat quicker than the last. Only a two month gap. I am emboldened by my success to state I will try to have the next out in a month and a half. Also, Alex the Editor is back, so anyone who noticed an increase in grammar skills this chapter has him to thank.
This Is The Important Part!
I feel bad about the fact I don't always answer a lot of the questions people ask. I used to send a personal answer to every person that asked, but I'm getting too many to do that now. However, lately I have received a few private messages where people have said they are confused about what is going on, so I guess I need to answer again.
One week from the day this chapter is posted, I will make a new post. It will not be Chapter 8, but the answer to every question I receive from now until next week. I have always tried to avoid answering the questions inside the story, or writing Authors Notes like this, because I feel it is bad to artificially pad the word count of the story. Still, I feel I've become a real jackass on not answering questions for everyone, so I'm sorry I haven't taken the time to respond to everyone who took the time to write to me, and I'll do this as way of an apology.