Brothers of Sand and Leaf
By Geor-sama
-Chapter 6-

The morning came with a cold sting and the sky overcast a dull gray, providing no warmth to the silent ruins of the camp. The tents had been shredded and the fire had been put out from the dirt of the fights that had taken place. Most importantly however -after the fact that most of the team had survived- was that the food had ruined.

That was why Naruto was standing on the bank of the river, shirtless and preparing to dive into its cold murky depths. The blond had seen the devastation clearly and he knew that it was his fault. Taking a deep breath, he dove into the shimmering surface of the cold body of water in search of fish. The water was icy; creating a sensation off a thousand little knifes piercing his skin.

He turned the sensation out, it was an unpleasant reminder about last night and his fight -slaughter- he corrected himself then cursed mentally. He kicked hard and drove himself deeper into the water, letting the eddies play with his hair as he searched for breakfast and thought about other things.

His three friends who were currently sleeping soundly in the only tent that had managed to avoid taking too much damage. Naruto had kept close to Temari's side for most of the night -much to Sakura's apparent displeasure- leaving only when the pink-haired ninja has asked him to get a fire going.

The bumps on his head told him that he wasn't to return.

So he had built the fire and then spent the remainder of the night staring at Gaara who said nothing. Sakura -once she was sure that nobody was still in danger and that the prisoner they had captured was still alive and subdued- soon joined them falling asleep next to Naruto, with her head resting on his shoulder eventually.

Naruto spotted a fish and reacted with ninja reflexes catching the smooth animal, which was at least as big as his arm. He kicked upwards fighting with it. His lungs were beginning to burn from lack of breathing, but he continued to fight gamely with his prize as he rose at an ever increase rate.

Finally, he broke the surface with a loud in take of air, the fish thrashing wildly. His blond hair matted to his head he wrestled fiercely, forgetting every horrible thing that had happened in the last few hours as he struggled against his prey. Wadding toward shore and fighting desperately with his meal he laughed in pleasure finally feeling the sloping sand banks of the river under his feet.

Climbing out of the water dripping wet and shivering he unceremoniously dumped the fish onto the ground with the other previous catches. Laughing in triumph he collapsed into a sitting position, thinking that he should have fished last night that thought proved to be a mistake.

It only reminded him that Temari had risked her life to save him and that he had slaughtered a ninja, most importantly, it reminded him that it was his fault.

The entire fiasco last night was his fault.

Any sort of delight he had taken in his victory of the fish slipped away, even as it trashed back toward the water. He should let it go, but then everybody would be hungry and it'd be his fault all over again. He hadn't been able to bring Sasuke back, he couldn't help in the village because most of the villagers though they respected him somewhat still didn't trust him, and he couldn't even do simple missions without messing things up.

Everything was his fault.

He looked up suddenly hearing a twig snap and tried to hitch a bright smile on his face as Sakura moved toward him. Her hair was in a slight halo around her face and her skin seemed even smoother in the early morning sunlight. Coming to a stop, she stared at him and then the fish before smiling slightly. "Guess your hungry huh?"

"Nope!" Naruto managed in a bright voice. "I'm just fishing for everybody."

Sakura paused and Naruto felt suddenly uneasy. She was staring at him far too searchingly; what was she trying to see, to understand about him? He actually blushed slightly under her scrutiny and she seemed to exhale very slowly before sitting next to him turning her attention to the dull sky.

"Do you want to talk about..." Sakura hesitated and then glanced at him. "About what you did last night? To that ninja..."

Naruto suddenly looked away from her, gazing at the surface of the water. He didn't want to have this discussion; he wanted to keep it hidden, away from everybody, because even though she had seen the results of that fight she didn't understand. "No." He finally mumbled and then let out a heavy breath.

Sakura was silent for a moment then wrapped her arms around her knees. "W-was it easy Naruto?"

"Yes." Naruto answered without thinking and then realizing what he said quickly explained what he meant, so that Sakura didn't think he was a monster. "I mean Ero-Sennin told me once...that killing a man was easy, it was making the decision to do so that was hard."

He felt her startled gaze on him and he closed his eyes, his voice cracking as he spoke. "I-Sakura-Chan...I don't like the part of me that...last night...I made it without thinking. I was angry, I was hurt, I wanted them to pay fo-for what they-"

"For what they did to Temari?" She finished softly and Naruto shook his head slightly.

"No, I mean yes...but there was what they were going to do her that..." Naruto let out a heavy breath and opened his eyes glancing over at her. "They wanted to...and I could hear them talking about it...and, and...I just..."

Sakura was silent for a moment, staring at the water then looked over at him. "I-Naruto...Last night I made a mistake too. I was on my way to the help out...but for some reason I abandoned them and went rushing to you."

"Sakura-Chan." Naruto managed in a sort of soft whisper and Sakura glanced at him, smiling slightly. The moment lasted for another few minutes and then Sakura looked away, settling to gaze upon the sky once more.


"Hm?" Naruto managed, having managed to lose himself in his own thoughts. Maybe things weren't entirely his thought, and he half wished that they could have opened like this to each other earlier.

"How do you think Sasuke-kun is going to react?"

Naruto jerked as he put all thoughts aside and turned to gaze at Sakura, noting how depressed she was looking. Sighing he looked away from her, voice almost regretful. "He'll fight like last time...he...Sakura-Chan, he won't be the same as when you knew him."

"Oh..." Sakura frowned for a moment, then turned and as if on impulse kissed Naruto's cheek. Staring at her awe-struck, he watched as she stood up and stretched then looked down at him smiling that sweet smile. "We'll bring him back Naruto! I know it."

Naruto stood up, smiling confidently nodded determinedly. She was right; together they could bring Sasuke back!

Sakura felt that the entire world seemed to fit her mood cold and disheartened. It hadn't been so horribly long since she had last spent any time with Naruto and yet he seemed different now. It depressed her because she had always believed that he would always be so light-hearted and Naruto-stupid. Frowning she studied the back of the blonds head as he walked ahead of her, carrying the fish he had caught happily talking.

He was pretending so hard that the melancholy moment -in which he had seemed painfully normal- near the river had never happened. Last night she had compared him to Sasuke because of that killer intent and now she was doing it again, but this time because of how alone and mature he had appeared.

Was Naruto really so different from Sasuke? Maybe they were the same and only appeared different. Naruto certainly seemed to have bounced back while Sasuke had seemed to reveal in it, but they were so similar at times, that it frightened her. Sighing she looked down at her feet, then looked back up realizing that Naruto was no longer talking.

Yet there was something in the air that hinted of danger. She couldn't understand that feeling and almost called out to Naruto when she heard the faint whistling sound. In the precious seconds it took her to locate the kunai she realized that she wouldn't be able to avoid it, she was in essence caught flat-footed.

Just as she prepared to move her body so that the weapon would strike a less vital area her vision was obscured by an orange blur followed by a meaty thunk. Color drained from her face as the worst horrible explanation filled her mind: Naruto had taken a kunai for her.

Seconds later a tall, dark-haired female dressed in a brown jacket and only body netting with a mini skirt held in place by a single belt appeared. Her face was familiar, but before Sakura could try to place a name, she beamed a rather sadistic smile reaching out to snatching her kunai, along with a fish, from an unmoving Naruto's grasp.

"Fresh fish!"

"YOU!" The blond bellowed suddenly dropping the remaining fish as he pointed at her.

The dark haired woman stared at him blankly for a moment, and then blinked. "Do we know each other?"

"Damn it," Naruto grumbled crossing his arms. "You're that sadistic bitch from the exams!" The dark haired woman's eye twitched and Sakura tensed, now that he had said it she remembered this woman and despite her Naruto-ish behavior she was rather dangerous.

Before anything could really happen, a familiar masked ninja walked out of the forest, his single-eyed gaze fixed on a red book and his silver hair was spiky as ever. Looking up he took in the group and then snapped his book shut, grinning -though the only evidence of it was his eye closing in a happy manner. "Yo."

Naruto, getting even louder thrust a finger at his former Team Seven sensei. "KAKASHI-SENSEI?"

"Now I remember, still spirited..." The dark haired woman said in an obviously falsely cheerful voice, before driving her kunai forward in the blink of an eye placing it against Naruto's cheek. The point actually pressed against his skin hard enough so that a bead of blood oozed out. "The name is Mitarashi Anko and you're still the type that gets killed quickly." That said she actually managed a giggle.

Naruto glared at Anko then pushed her kunai away, his voice growing more boisterous than ever as he jabbed a finger into her face. "I'm Uzumaki Naruto, The Next Hokage and your still a sadistic bitch!" That said he crossed his arms kicking dirt onto the woman's feet. "Where do you get off on attacking Sakura-Chan or stealing my fish?"

Sakura gulped unnoticed behind Naruto, worried and little touched that he was concerned about her. It did annoy her that he didn't seem to think that she could take care of herself.

"I think I'm beginning to like you." Anko finally said grinning happily at Naruto.

Sakura almost choked at that declaration. Anko starting to warm up to Naruto was like...well Sakura couldn't think of a good analogy but it was still not the most pleasant thing to have happen. "What are you doing here?"

"Oh," Anko said blinking, as she seemed to notice the pink haired girl as something other than a target. "That old lady, the Hokage, sent me and Kakashi out as reinforcements."

"Oh," Sakura managed while inner Sakura ranted and raved.

Kakashi nodded rubbing the back of his head, amusement in his tone. "She seemed to think that you guys might need the help. Which I guess you do huh?"

"So when's breakfast?" Anko interjected smiling as she bounced the fish she'd taken from Naruto up and down in her hand.

Sakura could only rub her temples and groan, this mission was just getting crazy. First, they lose three members and have three others placed in medical care, then they get an apparently psychotic woman and a seemingly flaky man as supervision. It almost made her afraid of what would happen when they finally reached Orochimaru and Sasuke-kun. What Gods had she upset and how could she get them to leave her alone?

Naruto summed up everything with one, loud word. "Shit!"

Anko grinned as she plopped down next to Naruto beside the fire-pit, picking up her stick of roasting fish. Snorting the blond ignored her and pulled his own fish from the fire, taking a bite while scowling.

"Gods I'm hungry," Kiba mumbled sleepily, rubbing his stomach despite the wounds he was still bearing, as he sat down next to Sakura. As if to emphasize the point his stomach growled. Akamaru barked in agreement and stared hungrily at the roasting fish.

Sakura narrowed her eyes, chewing her own fish thoughtfully. "I'm not even sure you should be moving around yet Kiba-san." When the dog boy had waved her statement off and plucked a roasting fish out of the fire she rolled her eyes.

"So what happened to the real Baki-Sensei?" Kankurō finally asked, pausing in his attempt to repair his puppet to stare at the two Leaf Jonin.

Anko answered, her tone horribly chipper despite what she was talking about. "We'll we found him, he was deader than a doornail. It did look like he put up a fight, it was a surprise attack probably..." She paused as if musing over something and then continued "We guess it was at least two Jonin level enemies. We recovered what weapons we could and a few personal items since he was an ally."

Kakashi cut her off looking at Sakura. "During our search we found Shikamaru, but he was badly injured. So we had to take a minor detour to the nearest village with medical nins, he did however recover consciousness long enough for us to learn a few things. He had trapped one of the ninja that had been following you, but he was almost out of chakra."

"Yes and he said that Baki was an impostor." Anko said then nudge Naruto, who was looking decidedly disgruntled.

"Yes, we guess it was this fake Baki that arrived and since Shikamaru was so concentrated and tired they had an easy job of blind siding him. They left him for dead, we arrived about three days later but thankfully he's alright and should be back in Konoha by now."

Sakura breathed a sigh of relief as did Naruto and Kiba. They're relief was cut short by Anko. "So, what happened with you guys?" At this Naruto lowered his gaze for a moment before glancing at a still sleeping Temari.

"Naruto..." Sakura whispered but Gaara was already talking and he was to the point.

"Two of the ninja ambushed Naruto. He took care of one, the other escaped. I took care of that one." Gaara paused seeing the incredulous looks he was receiving and raised an eyebrow.

"He took care of one?" Kakashi said, looking at the blond closely, but Naruto didn't pay attention and then without a word got up and moved over to sit beside a still sleeping Temari. Shaking his head the white haired Jonin looked back at Anko who was looking bemused.

"I found the fake Shikamaru, he seemed injured but wasn't clear where." Shino answered, having finally come around from the blow Gaara had given him last night. He also refused to tell anyone else, he kept hinting that everybody might not be who they seemed. That's why we concocted that story about 'local kids playing ninja'."

"Didn't you realize he was a fake?" Kankurō said, muttering something that sounded a lot like 'leaf idiot' afterwards.

"It was obvious," Shino said, apparently unphased by the rebuke. "He had Shikamaru's voice down, but he didn't have his speech pattern or his pheromones. Even my bugs noticed the difference in chakra types. I just decided to pretend to go along with his lie, hoping that I could discover who else was involved."

"But why'd you two go so far from camp last night?" Sakura asked, frowning.

"That...I don't know. He suggested it and I went along." Shino answered simply and then was quiet for a moment. "I don't suppose you thought to keep him alive."

"Of course I did!" Sakura said defensively. "I've even tried to intergate him, but he's not talking."

"Lame ass," Kankurō muttered and then raised his voice ignoring the glares from Kiba and Sakura. "That explosion started the fight here in camp. Me and the dog boy were blindsided by that fake Baki, I recovered quick enough but that idiot dog was just getting his ass kicked."

"What was that?" Kiba shouted attempting to get up but Sakura pulled him back down.

"Meh, anyway I called for Sogetsu-"

"Screamed like a little baby you mean!" Kiba shouted cutting the puppeteer off.

"Another spirited one..." Anko muttered grinning but kept silent at a look Kakashi tossed at her.

"Whatever leg humper!" Kankurō said derisively to the angry looking ninja. "Anyway after I called him I tried to help the moron there, but I couldn't do much since Sogetsu attacked me. I was forced to retreat but I guess since the bastard is still alive he didn't need my help that much."

"What happened with Sogetsu?" Kakashi asked, studying the sand ninja closely.

"Wasn't much of a fight. He got over confident and I poisoned him...he decided to try and blow us both up, but I was already moving by the time he was halfway through his hand seals." Kankurō snorted looking back at his severely damaged puppet. "Not that Karasu faired as good. I'm not even sure if I can fix him with the stuff I have on hand."

The forest was silent, which considering the last few hours wasn't surprising. Even the birds were singing only once every so often while the more timid animals stopped every few minutes as if ready to flee at a moments notice. Added to this was the faint buzz of the few conversations from the camp.

Not that Anko cared, she was staring disdainfully at the surrounding foliage, loathing this forest for all of its greenness. It was too much like the forest around Konoha for her liking, the only reason she'd even take this mission was to get the hell out of that village.

Sighing she came to a stop and turned to find Kakashi leaning against a tree, folding his arms and staring at her expectantly. "Well?" He asked after a moment, foot coming up to prop itself against the trunk.

"Hmm?" Anko said and then seeing his eye narrowed sighed in annoyance. "It's obvious isn't it? Ten to one, this whole thing was an attempt by the Sand to kill someone in the group. Probably Naruto since he's the biggest threat to them."

"Oh?" Kakashi said, humor in his tone. "I thought he was just a spirited kid that was going to die first."

"I was at the exams," Anko said simply. "He's going to get killed, but he is powerful. There's no getting around that and since he's the one that stopped Gaara the Sand are going to want his head." Smiling she crossed her own arms. "If you think about they have been rather smart about it. I mean, first they lure Sakura and Gaara away, probably the two most helpful to Naruto...then they launch an ambush on Naruto, taking out Temari while there at it."

"This fake Baki attacked Kiba and Kankurō..." Kakashi added, sounding bemused.

"Hoping to have them killed so that when Gaara and Sakura returned to camp the boy would loose control over his brothers death and slaughter the fake Baki."

"The two that ambushed Naruto would of course escape and all the witnesses would be gone, the mission would be aborted and all would be well." Kakashi finished and Anko grinned brightly.

"It's scary how well you can read my thoughts." She chirped happily. Mentally she was running along other thoughts that she was sure Kakashi would never think about. Not because he wasn't intelligent enough, but because he never thought along such lines. She could very easily believe that Orochimaru had planned this whole thing just to test the various ninja.

Kakashi sighed, his eye narrowing in boredom. "To bad they forgot that Sakura is Naruto's friend and any attempt on him would take priority over everybody else and that the two in camp obviously made mistakes."

Anko couldn't help but smirk. "This mission was almost destined to fail, none of them should have been sent. You need Jonin's for this type of situation...and not even normal Jonin's." Mentally however she couldn't fault sending Naruto or Gaara if you needed to send Gennin's. They were pure power after all.

"Enlightening." Kakashi said in a bored tone, pushing off the tree. "Well, we better tell them the mission is still on."

"Whatever." Anko said indifferently and Kakashi paused staring at her. Noticing his attention she raised an eyebrow, licking her lips suggestively. "What? You want to take a moment...and work on our teamwork?"

"Uh, that's ok..." Kakashi said, waving a hand. "Maybe later."

"Spoil sport." Anko muttered playfully, making up her mind. "I'm going to go visit the prisoner..." Kakashi nodded and turned, pulling his book out to read it. "Hey, check page 205!" Anko called out, grinning wickedly. "I'm limber enough for that."

Kakashi promptly disappeared in a puff of smoke and the woman couldn't help but chuckle. Who said Kakashi was unflappable? Shaking her head she turned and started toward the area where Sakura had said they were keeping the prisoner.

The sooner she had information the sooner she knew what exactly they were dealing with. She just wished she had remembered her thumbscrews, but since she hadn't she'd just have to get creative.

Sakura sighed striding into the clearing to stare at the restrained ninja. Gaara's sand prison had proven more than suitable for the task of controlling the man and she had never asked to remove it. To be honest she hadn't done much in way of interrogation, mainly because she wasn't sure how to go about it. She did however know one thing, this guy was from the Sand.

His reaction to finding Gaara watching from a distance as she attempted interrogation had proven that. He had been so terrified that nothing she did seemed to get his attention. Pausing she stared at the disgruntled looking man, then crossed her arms. "You're really annoying."

At this the man spit at her and the pink haired ninja scowled as it landed on her foot. "Fine...I've tried being nice..." That said she uncrossed her arms and concentrated, surrounding her hands in a blue glow.

"A congestive heart failure is the gradual loss of pumping power for the heart." Sakura said in a hopefully conversational tone. In truth she was ready to retreat once more, she didn't want to cause this sort of pain. It didn't matter however, she couldn't retreat because this was about Naruto's safety. That was paramount to her.

She struck with precision, the flat of her palm striking the upper left part of his chest. Concentrating she found his main capillary and using her chakra started manipulating the pathways in and out of the heart. Her green eyes narrowed and then looked up at his surprised face, then saw the panic forming. It was like a wild beat trying to break free.

"I'm slowing your have maybe another minute before you die from heart failure." Sakura hissed then released the hold over his heart, so that it returned to normal ensuring that he didn't die on her. He looked horribly relieved and she took a deep breath. "Just tell me what I want to know an-"

He spit once more, spittle dripping off of her cheek. Sakura lost it for a minute her hand sliding up to his throat before striking with her medical technique, cutting off the blood flow to his brain for three seconds, then released it before brain damage could occur. "You will tell me what I want to know."

"Death is nothing." The man hissed looking defiant and Sakura took a step back, looking as frustrated as she felt. Then she heard clapping and turned to find a smirking Anko walking into the clearing.

"Bravo." The older woman said, coming to a stop halfway to the man. "Maybe there's hope for you yet."

"I-I was just trying..." Sakura stammered, worried about what kind of trouble she'd get into for her tactics.

"Huh?" Anko looked confused then grinned. "Oh, didn't she teach you anything? You're suppose to torture prisoners, how else do you get answers?" Glancing at the still defiant man she turned slightly serious, crossing her arms. ""So he won't talk?"

"Nothing useful." Sakura muttered looking down. "I tired everything I could think of..."

"How about the others?" Anko asked, only to frown when Sakura shook her head. "Why not?"

"I-I don't trust any of them to manage this." Sakura looked defiant herself. Let this woman just say one thing against her decision. She'd kick her ass and Inner Sakura was nodding vigorously, cracking her knuckles. "The information is important and I wouldn't let any of them put it at risk."

Anko raised an eyebrow, tilting her head slowly then grinned. "He's right you know. Death is nothing. There are much worse things...and I know quite a few." Her grin turned wicked. "Why don't you go back to camp for some lunch? You're not suited for this type of work anyway."

"But that'll only take a few minutes..." Sakura frowned, wondering what Anko was playing at. Besides she was suited for this task! It was a job all ninja needed to know how to preform.

"Ten minutes, to be exact." Anko said dismissively, producing a kunai testing it's edge. "Just him t me and get lunch...this isn't for a silly little apprentice of that hag."

Sakura clenched her fists just barely keeping from slapping the black haired Kunoichi. Fine, if that witch thought she could do so much better and in such a short amount of time, let her. Sakura knew better, it'd be impossible to get him to talk in ten minutes when she hadn't been able to the entire time they had had him. Turning she walked out of the clearing, leaving the delusional woman alone with the prisoner.

Temari's body ached in a hundred different places and she had a horribly bitter taste in her mouth, but that was nothing compared to the ringing in her ears. Her mind was even sluggish to get moving, the last thing she remembered was Naruto talking about some sort of new technique and then her world was blank.

Opening her eyes to slits she stared up at the obviously makeshift roof and groaned.

Her vision was obscured a minute later by a whisker faced, blond haired, blue eyed boy. He was staring at her intently, almost as if he was unable to believe what he saw. Well obviously he was alright, which didn't surprise Temari at all since it was Naruto. It did however surprise her when he touched her shoulder gently and mouth her name.

She tried to give him a reassuring smile but was sure it came out as a grimace, but the blond didn't seem to notice. Naruto had been harder to read than the other Leaf ninja, but right now it was obvious he was happy and relieved to see her awake. Temari couldn't help but blush at that realization, he had been worried about her.

Finally her hearing cleared and she could hear the faint sound of his voice, asking if she was alright. Nodding she struggled to sit up, only to have the blond take her arm and ease her up into a sitting position. Then before she could find her voice to ask, he was offering her some water. Sipping gratefully she studied what she could of the camp, noting that it looked like a battle had been waged.

Then she saw Kankurō moving toward her and she inwardly groaned. He might have been the most talkative and acceptable brother but he did tend to get on her nerves quiet a bit.

"Sakura-Chan said that you might be a little woozy when you woke up." Naruto said, from what seemed like a million miles away. Shifting her eyes to him he smiled, continuing. "You got hit by a poisoned kunai and needles. But you're find now and, and..."

"Yes?" she managed to rasp out, wincing at the sound of her own voice.

"Nothing." Naruto finished lamely and then before Temari could grill him over the truth Kankurō was there and he told her everything that had happened while she was out. The sand Kunoichi tried to stand the instant she heard that Sogetsu had organized an attack on Naruto., then stopped when she learned he was dead along with everyone else involved.

However, learning that Baki the mentor they'd all had for so long, was dead she grew silent unable to really process the fact. He had been more like a father to them than their real one, he'd been the one that explained the birds and the bees to them. He had been the one to tell Temari how to handle the other girls in the village and how to get revenge on her brother Kankurō.

Sighing softly she laid back down, hearing that they had one more day of rest and then they would be moving. Her sense of loss could be set aside until after her mission was accomplished and she was safely back in the Sand village. She felt Naruto settling into a sitting position beside her and couldn't help but smile despite herself, closing her eyes. At least she had him.

He had killed for her. That was one of the most romantic things she had ever heard of. Drifting off her she couldn't help but dream; An enemy was hovering over her, looking triumphant. Then Naruto was between them, attacking the ninja with everything he had driving the boy away. He turned then and knelt lifting her up into his arms, facing moving toward hers for a kiss...

She jerked awake when the hand touched her shoulder. She had to fight to keep from cursing them for disturbing her dream. The only thing that really kept her from loosing her cool was the voice that was whispering in her ear. "Te-Chan." Making an 'mmm' sound she sat up, finding that it was indeed Naruto at her side.

"Upsey daisy Te-Chan. Kakashi-Sensei says that we need to get moving."

Temari felt her cheeks flush suddenly as what he was calling her finally penetrated her sleep doused brain. Te-chan? What the hell was that? "Watch it with the Te-chan whisker boy." She murmured getting up slowly, taking his hand, surprised at how stiff her body felt.

Sliding her foot under her fan she flicked it upwards, grabbing it with a twirl before sliding it home in her sash. Her arm and back groaning in protest. Hopefully they wouldn't be attacked anytime soon, otherwise she shouldn't be of much use.

"Sakura-chan said you'd probably be too stiff to move that fan." Naruto said, sounding impressed. "I'll get you some fish Te-Chan." That said the blond turned marching off as if on some great quest.

She didn't mind him calling her that, really she didn't, but she could see Kankurō who was standing nearby the makeshift tent and he was laughing. Before Temari could successfully follow Naruto, the boy in the black body suit was at her side, smiling insipidly. "'Oh Te-chan, your sooooo beautiful!'"

"Kankurō," Temari said after a moment of angry silence. "Keep it to your damn self. I'm not in the mood to-"

"I bet you would be if Naruto were-" Seconds later he was leaping away as Temari pulled her fan, slowly, but angrily.


Gaara's flat voice interjected from nowhere, freezing both of his siblings in their tracks. Striding out from among the trees nearby he stopped between them, arms crossed. He didn't say another word, as if daring them to attack each other now that he was in the middle. As if anyone would be that stupid, Temari thought angrily. She was upset however that he had decided to keep her from killing that bastard.

"We are the only Sand ninja left." Gaara said coldly. "We will not fight among ourselves." Then slowly, he shifted his gaze from the camp to Kankurō who took an involuntary step backwards. "You should spend less time teasing her...and more time trying to repair your dolls."

"Yea!" Temari interjected for no other reason that to annoy Kankurō who wouldn't dare attack or even tease her now. Her defiance died quickly however when the red head turned his gaze on her. Those eyes were still as cold as ever, despite his seemingly new found humanity.

"You should not pick a fight now in you're condition." Gaara paused, a faint smile cracking his blankness. "I will have to keep you and Naruto separated if you're going to be so stiff afterwards."

Temari stared at Gaara blankly for several long minutes until what he was insinuating started to sink in and she blushed seven kinds of red. HOW DARE HE! Worst yet, Gaara had just made a joke and he was looking entirely too pleased with himself.

Temari couldn't help but watch in fear as he started forward, speaking softly with a blushing and laughingNaruto when he reached the boys side.

Unable to believe what had just happened, she turned to stare at her other brother who was just standing there looking as if he had seen true terror. Not that she could blame him, but she couldn't help but get a final dig in on the boy. "Te-chan doesn't seem so funny now does it?"

Kankurō nodded distractedly, before he turned rushing to work on his dummies.

Temari smiled turning back to watch Naruto who was talking happily and trying to steal a pre-cooked fish. Te-Chan really didn't sound all that bad, actually it sounded rather...nice.

She was Te-Chan.

Her smile brightened despite herself.


This chapter came a bit later than I had meant it too. It also strikes me of less quality than I'm used to producing. It was just diffcult to write, explaining everything and make it all flow properly, this chapter isn't my favorite.

I hope at least that you might enjoy it and forgive me for this. Also, I hate ot disillusional any Baki fans, but he is dead. Sorry, he was diffcult for me to write and I had to do something with him and since I don't mind killing a character I did so.

Other than that, the next chapter should be up sometime next month, around the 10th.