Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of its characters.
In a blinding flash of light the two attacks connected chidori and rasengan.
As the glowing white orb that is the rasengan ground against the lightning edge currently being held by Sasuke, Naruto realized that he had just barely saved himself from a world of hurt. The bastard had tried to aim for his chest while he went for his forehead protector. It was only by instinct and sheer luck that he'd realized what was about to happen and had managed to bring his own attack back in to counter the assassin strike.
He smirked as his currently crimson stained and slitted eyes peered into Sasuke's own two frustrated orbs. Only a second later, the one original technique created by the copy cat nin, Hatake Kakashi succumbed to the destructive force and power of the Yondaime Hokage's own signature attack.
Where the rasengan was involved, there simply was no substitute.
Sasuke never knew what hit him.
Dropping down onto the surface of the water on his feet, Naruto watched as Sasuke's form flew threw the air only to crash into the rocks behind. Naruto groaned as he realized he would be the one to pull Sasuke's body free of the rubble and carry him home. 'Damn.' was his thought as he sauntered up to the rocks and began digging out his friend and team mate.
He paused in his efforts a few minutes later as Kakashi and a ninken broke out of the bushes nearby.
"Hey Kakashi-sensei !" Naruto greeted loudly while waving his arms wildy about about.'Thank god someone else can help me get him home' he added cheerfully in thought to himself.
His waving stopped abruptly however when Kakashi got one look at him with a wide open eye and dropped into a fighting stance.
"Sensei… what are you doing? What's wrong?" he asked confused.
"Where is my student, demon…" Kakashi seethed out as he began moving forward into his attack stance.
"Wha..what are you talking about Sensei… it's me…Naruto." He rambled while moving back himself. 'Oh crap, he sees me using the damn fox's charka and the changes and now he probably thinks I'm possessed or something…'
"I'm just using the Kyuubi's chakra right now" Naruto rambled out in an attempt to save his ass. "…Ji..Jiriaya taught me how d..during the month we had to train during the exam…"
Kakashi stopped and looked into Naruto's eyes coldly.
"Naruto…if it is you…then stop it…NOW." Kakashi sternly ordered as his brow creased and his voice ended in a shout.
"O..Okay sensei." Naruto said as he close his eyes and slowly willed the demon's power back into the seal. Now back to normal, he tried conversation once again. "Is..is that better sensei?"
Kakashi looked down for a moment before he dropped down out of his stance and grumbled to himself, not knowing that Naruto's ears were still heightened from the latent chakra in them.
"Damn it Jiraiya, what the hell are you doing teaching him how to channel the Kyuubi's power! It's bad enough that you already taught him Rasengan, summoning, and waterwalking. Now all the damn effort it took to hold him back is being wasted…"
Naruto looked away from Kakashi in shock and forced any excess demon charka from his ears. He didn't want to hear anymore. He had always known there was some reason why Kakashi refused to ever teach him anything and why he had tossed him off on Ebisu when HE was the one who had needed the training the most. Now he knew why…
He was intentionally holding him back…
He didn't want to hear anymore, it just hurt too much and was too sudden.
He didn't have to think about it much though seeing as how Kakashi stopped bitching and walked up to him to examine the rocky debris.
"Naruto," he began in an even voice while surveying the destruction. "Is Sasuke underneath this?"
"Yes…" Naruto answered while his brain processed what was happening around him. 'I'm standing here covered in blood from when Sasuke tried to kill me and he doesn't even care…after I saved him from Zabuza and everything …and he doesn't care?'
"Let's get him out then." Kakashi ordered .
Naruto just stood there not listening to anything. It wasn't until Kakashi spat at him to get it together that he began to move.
Naruto didn't have the heart to say anything in response to the second member of his 'family' betraying him. He just walked to the rubble and began moving rocks.
Kakashi noticed the sudden drop in Naruto's attitude, but he didn't care. His prize student was trapped underneath heavy debris thanks to the dobe in his team. Getting the Uchiha out and back to Konoha was what was important, not catering to the emotional deficiencies of a brat.
A few minutes later they took off with Sasuke bound and unconscious on Kakashi's back and Naruto doing his best to keep up with the jounin while injured.
Neither noticed a pair of calculating eyes hidden behind spectacles watching them.
Halfway Back to Konoha.
Naruto ground to a halt as his lungs seized up desperate for air. Collapsing on the ground with his back to a tree, he just sat and tried to recover some while a fuzzy white began to bleed into his vision. He guessed that the combination of blood loss and exhaustion was finally beginning to get to him. Turning his head he saw that Kakashi had also stopped, though it was obvious that it was only to check on the wounds of the Uchiha. He found it funny that Kakashi kept checking Sasuke's arm and torso in an attempt to discern where all the blood was coming from. It was sad that he himself was so excluded from Kakashi's concern that even basic logic and reasoning were affected. How hard could it have been to see all the blood on him…oh… and the HOLE that Sasuke had put through him that was now open again due to the fact that Kakashi had run his ass ragged.
'Do I matter that little?' he asked himself.
Naruto turned his head away once again so that he wouldn't see Kakashi and Sasuke OR start thinking too hard about the fact that the number of people on the planet that actually gave a damn about him had decreased by two.
That single action was probably what saved his life seeing as how it allowed him to see the Kunai flying at his head.
Naruto used what little energy he had left to fling himself away from his seated position and used the inertia in the roll to jump back up on his feet. Taking a defensive stance he observed his surroundings.
Kakashi was now standing in some sort of altered fighting stance with Sasuke strewn over his shoulders and was himself taking hold of his immediate environment while maintaining a defense.
Looking up to the surrounding trees, then down and to the right, and finally to the left, Naruto saw nothing. After a brief memory covering Sasuke's participation and humiliation in their first genin test with Kakashi registered in his mind however, he jumped back and looked at where he had been standing before, expecting an attack.
He had forgotten to check behind him however…
"Close Naruto-kun , but you forgot the most obvious one, Behind." Snickered the nin with spectacles from before
Naruto instantly recognized the sly, insulting voice.
"Kabuto…" Naruto growled out while trying not to move against the kunai blade that was now at his throat.
"Oh, come now Naruto-kun. I thought that you would've worked past that foolish aggression by now. Afterall, you DID strike me with that infernal rasengan of yours. You ought to feel a little relieved. If anything, I'm the one who should feel hatred." Kabuto finished after digging the blade in a little while mentioning the rasengan.
"Screw you." was Naruto's blunt reply.
"My my my, I see you still haven't developed any manners, but I must say I was rather impressed with the way in which you defeated Sasuke-kun. It's not often that anyone can move faster than the Sharingan can track and yet you managed to do just that. Not to mention my surprise when I found out about where your little technique there came from. The Yondaime Hokage's own signature move, and to master it in a week no less? Inpressive indeed… Hmm, I wonder sometimes if the little Uchiha is really the superior choice…but I must digress at the moment."
Kabuto eased up on the blade just slightly and moved his face away from Naruto's ear to look directly at the other nin in front of him. "Kakashi-san, surely YOU aren't going to attack me with that jutsu you're preparing."
Naruto also brought his eyes back to focus on the nin in front of him. Shocked, he saw a Kakashi that now had his sharingan revealed and was now holding one wrist pointed downward while charging chakra.
More specifically, the chidori.
"Ka..Kakashi-sensei?" Naruto questioned with audible fear.
"Who are you kidding Kakashi-san?" Kabuto questioned mockingly while moving Naruto into a better human shield position. "You already know I'm at least as good as you and you're going to try and hit me with that while supporting Sasuke-kun? Don't make me laugh Kakashi." Kabuto's warm smugness suddenly turned into an ice-cold manner. "You will never hit me. The most you will do is waste chakra and kill Naruto. I can always throw him at you or just dodge the attack entirely. Face it Kakashi, you're not going to escape with both of them here. You can not protect Sasuke and fight me and if you do try and fight me after dumping him I can just slice Naruto here so that you can think about him slowly bleeding to death while we battle."
Naruto's eyes were wide as the facts of the situation were laid bare, but he felt slight relief as he saw Kakashi slowly power down his attack and slide back into a defensive position.
"That's much better Kakashi-san, now if you will be so kind as to unbind and wake up Sasuke-kun with a simple jutsu, we'll be on our way." smugly ordered Kabuto.
Time passed and Kakashi stood there as if debating something within himself and Naruto began to get a sick feeling in his stomach.
"What are you waiting for?" bellowed a now visibly angered and impatient Kabuto.
Naruto's feelings increased in their volatility when he saw Kakashi slowly raise his head and make eye contact with him.
Kakashi spoke his name softly but sternly.
"Yes…sensei?" Naruto asked while all the while hoping that his fear was not about to come true.
"Naruto… I am sorry for this Naruto but this is what must be done for the good of the village…"
"Wha what are you talking about sensei?" Naruto stuttered out with a broken voice and tears beginning to collect in his eyes. 'please…please don't' he begged in his mind.
"Naruto, it is as simple as this. The life of a ninja is the life of a tool. Uchiha Sasuke is a valued tool and represents the future of the village, you are not. You are a painful relic of the past that represents the weakness of the Leaf. You are and always have been a liability Naruto. "
Naruto's expressive blue eyes widened in terror and shock.
Kabuto's own eyebrow rose at the interesting turn of events.
"Kakashi-sensei …please…please!" Naruto pleaded with Kakashi as Kabuto stiffened his grip on him to hold him still.
"I'm sorry Naruto, but Sasuke is both needed and wanted more than you…Good bye."
With that, Kakashi formed a quick seal as he and Sasuke poofed into smoke and left nothing but lingering mist in the air.
Naruto stood shock still.
There it was. The absolute truth in all its horrific glory. He was abandoned to his fate at the hands of a known traitor while weakened and left for dead and all because he wasn't worth it. Sasuke was just worth more than him. Sasuke was the rookie of the year. Sasuke had a bloodline limit. Sasuke was the most trained so far. Sasuke …was loved and wanted.
In all cases, he was not.
Naruto stood shock still as tears began to fall from his eyes to the ground and his heart shattered into pieces. He didn't even sense the blow connecting with the back of his head…
"Well shit…" Kabuto eloquently commented as he looked down at the prone form in front of him before leaning down to pick Naruto up and hoist him over his shoulder. "Well." He mused to himself. "I guess something is better than nothing. He does have the Kyuubi after all and Atkatsuki wants it. He'll be good for leverage at least…"
He stopped after a few steps and a thought.
"Orochimaru-sama is still probably going to kick my ass though….."
Kabuto continued on his way and then stopped again.
"Damn it… that's REALLY going to hurt. To hell with you Kakashi!" he yelled while sparing an angry glare towards Konoha.
Entrance to Konoha
Walking in through the main gates, Kakashi was surprised to see Tsunade, Shizune Jiraiya, and nearly all the mobile genin gathered there, including the sand genin. Regaining his composure, he readjusted Sasuke to his arms and moved towards them.
"SASUKE-KUN!" squealed Ino and Sakura as soon as they saw the boy in Kakashi's arms. A second later they were flying towards him and their true target.
Kakashi just flipped over them without a second thought and proceeded towards the Hokage, Tsunade. "Hokage-sama," he greeted her and received a nod. "Would you please look after Sasuke. I believe he is wounded badly somehow as you can see from the amount of blood on his arms and torso."
Tsunade backed away slightly as Shizune stepped in to cover her mentor and her fear of blood which still wasn't completely gone.
"I'll get him Kakashi-san. Just set him down right here"
Kakashi did so and Shizune kneeled down and began a scanning justu as she undid the binds on him to better examine him. Sakura and Ino were also now on either side of him holding one of his arms.
The area was nearly silent as Tsunade, Jiraiya, and Hinata began to get a bad feeling. They were beginning to wonder where Naruto was and why Kakashi hadn't mentioned him. They stood in silence though, hoping that Shizune would finish with the immediate business soon so that they could get answers.
Surprisingly, It was actually Garra that took the initiative and broke the awkward silence.
"Where is Uzumaki Naruto?" asked Garra gruffly as he walked up to Kakashi.
Tsunade, Jiraiya, Hinata, Shikamaru, Tenten, Shino, and even Kankuro and Temari turned to listen to Kakashi. All present were beginning to worry about where the individual that had changed so much for better was. They waited expectantly for answer.
They didn't expect just what that answer would entail.
Gasps erupted from the group and looks of horror and grief quickly appeared on their faces.
Jiriaya had to move behind Tsunade to keep her from falling to the ground while Hinata stood there clearly in shock trying desperately to convince herself that she had not just heard what she had heard. Shizune had stopped dead in her tracks looking down with wide eyes. Garra though stared directly at Kakashi as if boring into his soul.
"What happened…Kakashi?" Gaara demanded while attempting to calm the demon within.
Kakashi looked down at Gaara with a faint smirk.
"I don't have to tell you anything sand genin. I answer to her not you." He said while pointing at Tsunade as she sat crying on ground on her knees hugging Jiraiya.
Gaara's calm demeanor began to give way along with the appearance of a facial tic and the aggravated movement of his surrounding sands.
Shukaku was not pleased.
Kakashi's attention, however, was diverted from Garra and his sand to another genin.
"Was it the traitor?" seethed Shikamaru as he slowly started taking steps towards the downed Sasuke while pulling out multiple kunai.
Kakashi noticed the move of aggression and quickly repositioned himself in between Shikamaru and Sasuke.
"Stand down Shikamaru." Kakashi ordered. "Sasuke was not the one to kill Naruto."
"Bullshit Kakashi!" Shikamaru retorted. "What the hell do you take us for? Idiots? It's obvious that that's Naruto's blood all over the damn traitor over there! You're not fooling anyone!"
Another series of gasps left the lips of the genin before quickly being replaced by something else.
Snarls came from the assembled genin as they went from shocked to angry. Kakashi, Sakura, and Ino quickly found themselves being surrounded by Shikamaru, Shino, Tenten, and the sand genin while Shizune just backed away from them and Sasuke with her own face filled with anger and disgust.
"What are you talking about you idiot!" Ino and Sakura suddenly shrieked in near tandem. Sakura looked at Ino and continued. "Sasuke-kun would never try and kill Naruto. He's not like that! That baka just went and got himself killed by being a…"
Sakura's speech was cut off by a flying kick that connected to her head and sent her crashing into a nearby building.
Everyone looked behind Kakashi to see an enraged Hinata with an extended foot.
A snarling, shaking Hinata put her foot down and proceeded to walk towards the fallen form in front of her before quickly picking up the girl by her collar.
"YOU…" she screamed as she shook Sakura by her collar and tears fell from her eyes. "YOU BITCH!"
'SLAP' Sakura's face turned to the right.
'SLAP' Sakura's face moved to the left.
" TO CALL NARUTO THAT…"
"AFTER ALL HE'S DONE FOR YOU!"
Hinata slapped Sakura once more before holding her up as she roared and prepared to send a severe jyuken strike into her heart.
Her strike was halted before she even had a chance to thrust forward.
Hinata cried in anguish and turned to striker the interloper that now held her wrist with a tight grip but found that she was now being brought into a forced hug and her arms were held behind her.
Shino forcibly held her as Hinata cried.
Sakura, to stunned to move, just slid to the ground.
The other forces brought their attention back to the traitor however and began moving forward again against Kakashi.
Just as they were about to launch an attack though, a commanding voice called them to a halt.
"STOP RIGHT THERE!" raggedly ordered the Godaime Hokage, Tsunade as she sat up and moved away from a grim Jiraiya.
Tsunade's eyes became cold as ice as she made eye contact with all of the others present.
"No one…and I mean no one… is to touch the Uchiha until I say so." Everyone, even Gaara, was disturbed to some degree by the icy manner Tsunade now spoke in. "Hatake-san, rebind the Uchiha. We have no need for him to run free and defect again. We've already lost too much. Yamanaka, YOU, get the hell away from him. Uchiha Sasuke is now a missing nin and as such will be treated as so…"
"Hokage-sama, surely" Kakashi tried to plead.
"SILENCE!" roared the slug sannin as she brought her heel to the ground and created a crack in the earth.
All were quiet.
"You, Hatake-san, will speak only when I command you to do so. Is that understood?"
Kakashi began to give a verbal respons before Tsunade cracked her heel once again.
He just nodded.
"Good…now, Hatake-san, you will tell me what exactly happened to my little…" Tsunade trailed off with a tear rolling down her chin as she realized what she was about to say. "what exactly happened to Naruto on this god forsaken mission."
"Ummm, hokage-sama. If I may, perhaps we should move this into a more 'secure' location."
"No" Tsunade growled out as Jiriaya moved to stand beside her. "You will tell all of us here and now."
Kakashi stood there weighing his options and decided that the path to self preservation lay in a lie.
He sighed and began…
Thinking on his feet, He quickly spun a tale about finding an unconscious Naruto near an exhausted Sasuke and about how he managed to carry both of them on his back for awhile. That, he suggested to them, was how Sasuke was covered in Naruto's blood.
Inwardly, Kakashi congratulated himself on that one as everyone looked on in rapt and grim attention soaking up every single one of his details.
In any case, progressing to Naruto's death, he relayed the story of being ambushed by Kabuto and having to drop the two boys to fight the nin. He told them that they fought close range for a while before he ran Kabuto off, but not before he had managed to sneak past Kakashi and deliver a lethal move on Naruto.
Yep, Kakashi thought to himself as he saw the grim response, I've still got it.
'Well time to finish' he thought.
"…and then I just picked up Sasuke and headed here. It was the best choice at the moment, considering the circumstances."
"That's exactly what happened?" Jiriaya asked grimly as he stared Kakashi down.
"Exactly." responded Kakashi cooly.
"Alright then, I guess that's all from you for right now Hatake-san." spoke Tsunade wearily.
Kakashi let out a breathe of relief at the lack of anyone questioning his story.
"Thank you Hoka.." he began only to be interrupted by her once more.
"Bind him, Gaara, Shikamaru. Don't let him escape."
In an instant, Kakshi found himself under both the Kagemane and the hold of Gaara's sand and only one thought came to mind.
"How did you know?" inquisitively asked Kakashi seeing as how he was now resigned to whatever was in store for him. Worst case scenario, he could always use a self cast genjutsu or chakra shielding to alter or conceal his true memory.
"It was obvious to us." replied Jiraiya as he moved in front of him. " First off, it was obvious that you're lying to keep Sasuke safe. If Naruto had really just bled on him that badly on your back, you would not look as well as you do. The second biggest tip was the battle with Kabuto. He's at least as good as you are. Once again, where are the battle marks? Where are your missing kunai? Your story just isn't believable! In short, you really do suck as a liar Kakashi."
Kakashi shrugged slightly. "oh well…"
"Jiraiya, are you ready with the seal?" interjected Tsunade as she moved behind Kakashi and raised her hands to each temple on the side of his head.
"Yeah, I guess." was Jiraiya's gruff reply. He knew he was probably going to need to get REALLY shit faced after viewing what he was about to see.
"What are you doing?" asked a tired Hinata from the confines of Shino's embrace and the gathered friends of Naruto.
"We're going to use a memory extraction technique on him. It works using both of us." Tsunade saw a confused look and decided to save them the trouble of trying to figure it out. "We developed it when we were younger and worked on missions together. I send specific shocks and signals to Hatake-san's brain here and it forces his short term memories to rise up in clarity. Jiraiya's technique there extracts that memory via a viewing jutsu. Unlike regular memory extraction techniques, this technique can not be hampered in any way."
Kakshi's eye widened in fear.
"We WILL get the truth…. Now, Jiraiya…BEGIN."
Jiraiya heard Kakashi scream in agony and activated the jutsu…
The events flew past in the blink of an eye, but the implications and truth of the incident were far more worse than he had thought they would be.
He was able to hear Kakashi's thoughts and while looking out he saw that Naruto had heard his painful remarks.
He saw the bloody form of Naruto and looking at his clothes instantly knew what had happened in the battle.
He saw Naruto trying desperately to keep up with Kakashi while injured and the look of agony in his face when he realized he meant nothing.
He…He saw the terror, the hurt, the suffering, the …betrayal… in Naruto's face and eyes as Kakshi abandoned him to his death without any effort to save him whatsoever.
Coming out of the jutsu, Jiraiya just fell back flat on his ass and did something he hadn't done since his wife or adopted son had died.
The genin were very wary of what Jiraiya must have just seen, but Tsunade was frantic. She knew for a fact Jiraiya had only publicly cried on two occasions ever and if he was now…
"Jiraiya!" she yelled as she fell down in front of the sannin before her and grabbed his shoulders. "What happened?
Jiraiya didn't answer her, but merely pushed her away as he leapt up and forcefully punched the still bound jounin in the jaw as hard as he could.
He felt Kakashi's jaw break under the blow but it wasn't enough. He knelt over his form on the ground and began mercilessly punching him in the face as strangled sobs and curses erupted from his mouth.
He could feel the nin's life underneath him coming to an end when his own assault was stopped. For him though, it wasn't a wrist that grabbed him, but strong slender arms that wrapped around his sides and a soothing voice he rarely ever heard.
"It's…it's okay, Jiraiya." Tsunade murmured as her own voice cracked as she tried to calm down the toad sannin and stop his lethal pounding of the copy cat nin.
"No Tsunade…it's not…it's so… so much worse…" he cried as he grabbed her arms. "He left him Tsunade….he left him!"
"I know Jiraiya he already told us." She barely cracked out assuming that to actually see it was much worse.
"NO!" he surprisingly roared. "He left him there ALIVE with Kabuto. He didn't even TRY to save him! He…he just ran…."
"wh what? I don't understand" stuttered Tsunade as a cold chill ran over her as well as all the others present.
Jiraiya's eyes lit with rage, sorrow, and frustration once more as he stood and turned to face Tsunade as tears fell from his own eyes.
He grabbed her by the tops of her own shoulders and brought her close fast. Making a quick hand seal he placed one finger to his temple and one to Tsunade's.
A flash of light in Tsunade's vision contained the shared memories that Jiraiya had just given her.
A minute began outside as all looked on at the Godaime Hokage standing there in front of Jiriaya awaiting the answers to the real question as to whether or nor Naruto was dead.
The minute passed and a woman's eyes suddenly filled with more tears than she had cried in years when a sorrow filled scream erupted from the lungs of the first woman hokage.
Jiraiya held the woman as she had held him after viewing the heart wrenching scenes.
He knew how much seeing the boy's spirit crushed had hurt him. He also knew what was going to hurt her more once it hit home.
Naruto , if he wasn't already dead, was now in the twisted clutches of Orochimaru and Kabuto.
There would be no rescuing him.