Disclaimer: Ok everyone, you know the drill, I don't own Naruto or have any copyrights, etc. Anyway, this is my first fic, so be gentle. There are SPOILERS in this. Also, I'm gonna be exploring a pairing that no one has done so far that I can see, so I hope no one will get too mad with my surprise, which will come later.

p.s. I'll stay IC as much as possible, I promise (well, Naruto's gonna be OOC, but that's pretty much it, and maybe Sasuke). And finally, which is most important, this is not, I repeat, not, YAOI!

Chapter 1,

Chasing Shadows

"C'mon already!" exclaimed an extearmly annoyed Naruto, running ahead of everyone then turning around, examining them with hisblue eyes. He had grown since he had gone off to train with Jirya, enough to the point that he was as tall as, if not slightly taller than, the rest of the rookie 9.

"Calm down Naruto, we'll be there before noon. We've made good pace after all." Yamato replied, yawning. He was an ANBU of Kohona, assigned by Tsunade to take over for Kakashi while he recovered from the battle with the Akatsuki. He was a tall, gangly man, about the same height as Kakashi, though much thinner. He had spiked black hair, kept back by his fore-head protector that was shaped like the first Hokage's and he wore the normal ANBU armor.

"I just wanna get this over with so that we can get Sasuke back and get rid of that bastard." Naruto replied, pointing angrily at Sai, who simply smiled at the mad blonde.

"You're just mad because you're not as good as me." Replied Sai, smiling at Naruto in that way that he knew annoyed his teammate. He was the same height as Naruto and he was always smiling, though the smile never touched his cold, emotionless eyes. He wore a black vest and he had mid-length black hair. As far as anyone could tell, his main weapon was a paintbrush and scrolls, which he used to create jutsus.

"You cocky bastard! I'll teach you about who's the better!" Roared Naruto, charging at Sai, only to be intercepted by Yamato.

"Do we need a repeat of last time?" Yamato asked, giving Naruto that same creepy stare that he gave him at the beginning of the mission three days before.

Naruto just glared, then turned his back on them and started marching forward.

"Naruto, wait up!" Sakura called out, running to catch up with The fuming blond, her pink hair flowing behind her. "Listen, you shouldn't let him get to you like that, just learn to ignore him, like I did." She said in a low voice as they walked on.

Naruto shot a glare back at Sai. "I'll just be glad when we get this over and we've got Sasuke back." He grumbled.

Sakura sighed, readjusting her gloves. "I know… but Naruto, you know that Sasuke's considered a missing-nin, he'll have to stand trial for leaving." She said gloomily.

"I know." Naruto said, looking up at the sky, remembering the fight between him and Sasuke. It had been a long, bloody battle. In the end, Sasuke had won, but just barely.

"Look, we're here." Yamato said, startling Naruto out of his memories. Looking forward, Naruto saw a cloaked figure standing on the bridge.


"Hey Hinata! We've almost reached them!" Kiba called back, riding atop Akamaru, who was wagging his tail as he followed Naruto's scent. Kiba no longer wore his overcoat, instead going for a short-sleeved shirt. Akamaru had changed drastically, he was now big enough that Kiba rode on top of him instead of vice-versa.

"Ok. Guys… Thank you for coming." she said, Straightening herself, making sure that nothing was wrong with her appearance. She hadn't gotten much taller, but she had filled out nicely as a woman, and could make any guy in Kohona blush with her looks. "Today is the day. Today, I'm gonna tell Naruto that I love him!" She thought, clenching her fists in determination.

"No problem, I had nothing better to do anyway. Besides, knowing Naruto, they'll need backup." Said Shino, shielding himself from the sun with his parka. The young, mysterious man had become even more mysterious over the last three years, never showing his face in public for reasons that Hinata nad Kiba could not figure out for the life of them.

"Look! There they are!" Exlaimed Kiba, pointing at the figures in the distance.

End ch.1

Ok guys, review!