Naruto – Returned Love

Chapter 4 – Secrets

"Sasuke! Sasuke!" Sakura called, keeping her voice as low as possible.

A pair of groggy blue eyes slowly opened to the dimming light of an orange sky. It took a moment for him to piece together in his mind all that had happened, but once he remembered, he sat up almost immediately with his back to Sakura. Kakashi was sitting nearby, watching something below very carefully. He could feel Sakura grab his hand as he looked down at the scene himself. Giving her fingers a comfortable squeeze, he caught sight of two men below. Much to his discomfort, he recognized them. Just as he had thought, more powerful shinobi would be sent when the others did not return. Sasuke glanced up to see Kakashi still watching. It was then that he noticed that Naruto was nowhere to be found. As if sensing his question, Kakashi looked up and caught Sasuke's eyes.

"Where is Naruto?" Sasuke mouthed.

Sasuke watched as Kakashi's eye seemed to suddenly sparkle. Lifting his index finger towards his mask, he winked his eye and looked back down at the ground. Frowning, Sasuke looked back down at the ground as well. One of the shinobi bent down.

"He's been here. There are burn marks in the soil. I'd say not more than three hours ago."

Sasuke was about to look up at Kakashi again when a sound like an explosion ripped through the air. Without a second of warning, a huge purple ball of flame was upon the shinobi below. It was so quick that not even Sasuke had seen it coming. Within seconds the ball erupted into an explosion, obliterating everything in its path. Then, as quickly as it came, the ball subsided into nothingness. All that remained was a burned, carved-out pathway that had been created by the firey ball. Sasuke's eyes immediately darted around to search for the two shinobi attackers. He managed to locate one with his eyes. He was hiding behind a nearby tree. The other shinobi seemed nowhere to be found. It was just as he looked at a large old tree that Sasuke noticed someone else. There, crouching like a wild cat, ready to pounce was Naruto. His eyes were serious and beast-like.

"What was that, Kakashi?" asked Sasuke in a whisper.

"Naruto has learned many new tricks while you were gone. You do remember how Naruto used to say that he would become the Hokage someday?"

Sasuke frowned, "Yeah…"

"He's getting scarily close to how powerful the fourth Hokage was. He's suppressed the fox demon and mastered his own chakra. His skills have become not only powerful but cunning."

"Naruto, cunning?" Sasuke said in disbelief. This had to be a joke. Since when was Naruto intelligent or cool-headed enough to be cunning?

Then suddenly, like a lightning strike, a white light flashed through the trees below. A cry rang out and then there was complete silence. Sasuke's eyes immediately flashed to the enemy shinobi. He dropped to the ground like a large wild animal that had been shot with something. Without thinking, his gaze drifted back to Naruto. His eyebrows flew upwards in surprise. The yellow-haired shinobi was gone.

"Those were the only two around for the moment," said a voice behind Sasuke.

Startled, he turned to see who had spoken, only to come eye to eye with another pair of blue eyes. Naruto smiled softly at Sasuke's startled expression.

"I guess you're finally awake then," Naruto said. His demeanor seemed oddly quiet and serious in comparison to the Naruto he was used to.

"What was that just now?" Sasuke asked, still baffled.

Naruto suddenly got a very mischievious smile on his face.

"It's called a wisp. It's an animal that lives alone in the far places of the highest parts of the world. They're so rare that there are almost none who have ever seen one."

Sasuke frowned, "An animal? What does it do? And why was it here?"

"I guess you could say, a wisp is a living form of energy. I happened to come across one and make a contract with it. It was here because I summoned it here."

Sasuke stared at him, half glaringly, half unbelievingly, "You made a contract with an animal that's actually living energy… and one that is almost impossible to find too? How?"

Naruto shrugged, "I saved it from something when it needed help. That was all."

"And what about that contract you had with that toad thing?"

"It stopped working for me when I began to suppress the fox's chakra. I could no longer summon a big enough toad to protect me. Besides, pervy sage was famous for toads. I needed something else."

By this time Sakura was throwing blushing glances at Sasuke, and Naruto had lost most of his interest in talk.

"And what about the chakra issue? How can you summon the wisp without it?"

Naruto raised an eyebrow, "I kinda wish I knew that myself. The wisp doesn't really seem to take much chakra though. At first the wisp I summoned was a lot weaker, but when I learned to master the chakra I have without the fox, it became much easier to extend chakra for summoning in contracts as well."

Sasuke stared at Naruto. How on earth had the complete idiot that he used to know become this intelligent? When had Naruto learned all this stuff? Had Kakashi taught him? Had the great white-haired sage finally gotten something through to Naruto that no one else had been able to, or had it been someone else?

Sasuke looked over at Sakura and Kakashi. Sakura blushed and looked away, and Kakashi's gaze had already been stolen by the clearing below. What new tricks did they have that he didn't know about? There was no doubt in his mind now that the three people that were with him now had a lot more to them than met they eye.

Naruto's eyes followed Sasuke's gaze.

"If you're wondering about Sakura and Kakashi… well, she's supper strong with some wicked healing powers and a temper to match, and Kakashi, he can bend time and space. It used to wear him out, but he can do it without blinking an eye now. They also have a few other tricks, but I'll let you see them for yourself."

Sasuke stared at Kakashi, "Time and space? Looks like you guys were busy while I was gone."

"And what about you? What new tricks do you have that we don't know about?"

Sasuke smirked, "I'll let you find that out for yourselves. Though, what I have probably isn't as cool as your wisp."

Naruto smiled crookedly as he leaned his back against a branch. It was odd to feel respected by Sasuke. But perhaps, after all this time, it was a respect that was well past due.


Hey there! Wow, it has been so, so long since I have updated this fic. Sorry to everyone who has been waiting to see more of it. And sorry for the update being a little short. I can't promise that I'll continue this fic, but all your positive reviews spurred me to write another chapter.

I've looked through this fic a little, and I'm not sure it really is all that accurate, especially in accordance to the Shippuden series, but I guess that's the way it goes when you start something before they make a sequel. So, just so you know, everything in this fic may not fit with the series. Sorry about that. Take it or leave it.

Until next chapter! Cheers! & Have a great summer!