Chapter 1: The Impossible mission
It was the beginning of winter. There was no snow on the ground yet, but it was wrapped in a blanket of leaves from the autumn fall. The wind bit at Naruto's face as he walked down the street towards Tsudane's office. Apparently there was a mission only HE could do.
Naruto was ecstatic. He kept thinking that she was finally seeing how strong he was. He walked down the road with a giant grin on his face. He stopped at Ichiraku ramen on the way over to see if Iruka was there. He wasn't. Naruto pouted for a moment. He wanted to tell Iruka-sensei about is mission!
He continued down the road until he got to Tsudane's office. He walked up the stairs and into her room, to see Hinata, Lee, Tenten, Kurenai, Gai, and Kakashi all standing around Tsunade's desk.
"But why THESE four!" Yelled Kakashi as he slammed his hands down on the table. "It makes NO SENSE!"
"I'm inclined to agree with Kakashi on this Tsunade." Said Gai. "You're going to break up my team for this mission!" Kurenai nodded with agreement and looked at Tsunade expectantly.
Tsunade sighed, "Kakashi, Gai, and Kurenai," she said as she looked up, "I assure you that nothing will happen to these four on this mission." She narrowed her eyes and added, "I've arranged for them to have ample help."
Kakashi snorted, "But that's not the POINT Tsunade-sama." Kakashi sad in a very frustrated tone, "You're breaking up three teams for one mission!"
"Just how important IS it?" Asked Kurenai shooting Tsunade a sidelong stare.
"This mission will change the Konoha as we know it." Tsunade said. "Naruto, please." She motioned for him to come in. "Have a seat. It's important that you hear this too"
"H-hai baa-san…" Said Naruto cautiously as he walked into the room. All eyes were on him as if everything was HIS fault. Something he was quite used to actually… He sat down next to Hinata and the yelling commenced once again.
"So!" Prodded Kakashi. "What makes this mission so important that it will change the Konoha, but you're only sending three Chuunin and a Genin away to do it!"
"It's a diplomatic mission." Said Tsunade, "To the Lightning Country."
Everyone just stared at her. Kakashi's jaw dropped so far that his mask almost fell off.
"How could you…?" Kurenai started.
"How could you even THINK about sending THESE nin on THIS mission!" Kakashi completely lost it. "You've got Naruto, the king of messing up delicate situations, Hinata, the most quiet ninja EVER, Lee…he's Lee… and Tenten, which I don't know ANYTHING about. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!"
"Are you quite done Kakashi?" Tsunade asked. "Now I know this may be a bit of a shock to you, but we have a cloud nin who is willing to take them to the Lightning Country."
"WHAAAAA---" Kakashi started, but was cut off by Tsunade.
"There will be NO discussion here!" Yelled Tsunade.
"Umm…" Hinata started.
"There WILL be discussion here! None of us want our teams…"
"Uhhh…" Hinata started again. Naruto glanced over at Hinata and frowned.
"Kakashi! These nin have been hand-picked by ME to go on this mission."
"Errrr…" Started Hinata again.
"5th-sama, I know that you have…"
"HEYHEYHEY!" , yelled Naruto, which caused everyone in the room to look at him. "You haven't let US have any input on the situation!" Naruto made a face and looked up.
"None of you have tried to say anything." Kakashi said, looking at Naruto.
"Yeah!" Naruto yelled, "What about Hinata? I've seen her try to say something 3 times! And you guys just ignore her because of your stupid adult nonsense!"
"Hinata?" Asked Tsunade, "If you please." Hinata's face turned bright red.
He was listening to her!
"I…Umm…think…that it might not be… too bad of an idea…if we had a jounin go with us…" Hinata said, poking her index fingers together.
"Yeah! Good idea Hinata-Chan!" Naruto said patting her on the head. Causing her to blush even more and make a little "meep" sound.
"Hmm…" Tsunade considered.
"I would feel better about this if there was a Konoha jounin with them…" Kurenai added. "But, I'm still not very happy about it…"
"The question is, who should it be…?" Tsunade asked.
"I don't get it, is this mission THAT dangerous?" asked Naruto.
"Yes Naruto, In order to get to the Lightning Country, on must go through the Sound Country."
"S-sound?" Hinata shuddered.
"Isn't that where that Orochimaru guy is from?" Asked Naruto.
"Hmmm…yes, I forgot about that bastard…"
"Hah! If that Orochimaru creep comes anywhere NEAR us, I'll kick his ass!"
"So, It seems like Naruto is in…" said Gai.
"If he's in, I'm in!" Said Lee, with fire in his eyes.
"If Lee is in, I'm in." Said Tenten staring at Lee with glossy eyes.
"If-f…t-they're all in, I g-guess I am too." Said Hinata shakily.
"YEAHYEAH! Yelled Naruto. "This will be the best mission ever!"
"Well…" Tsunade sighed. "Who's it going to be?" Kakashi and Gai looked at each other.
"Jan!" Yelled Gai.
"Ken!" Yelled Kakashi.
"What th-!" Yelled Naruto.
"PO!" Kakashi and Gai yelled in unison as the swung at each other. Their Chakra filled the room as the two rivals hands met in midair. As the smoke cleared, it showed Kakashi's open hand covering Gai's fist.
"Two out of three," Said Gai.
"You're on." Said Kakashi.
"PO!" They flung their hands at each other again. The smoke cleared once again, to reveal Gai's open hand in-between Kakashi's index and middle finger.
"Scissors cuts paper," Kakashi said with a gleam in his eye.
"CURSE YOU KAKASHI!" Gai said in fury. "YOU WILL RUE THIS DAY! RUE IT!" Gai stormed out.
"THAT MAKES IT 50 to 50 GAI!" Kakashi yelled out the door.
"RUE IT!" Yelled Gai as he stomped through the door.
"What on earth was THAT Kakashi!" Yelled Tsunade. Kakashi looked at her.
"JanKen." Kakashi said simply.
"Why did you just play Janken…?" Asked Tsunade.
"To see who escorts these nin to the Lightning country."
"So you'll do it?" Tsunade asked surprised.
"Yup." Said Kakashi. Tsunade grinned.
"Alright kiddies, pack up. Cuz tomorrow, you're going on a mission."
"WOOOOOOT!" Yelled Naruto.
"C'mon Hinata!" Said Tenten, "Lets go pack!"
"S-sure." Hinata said as Tenten pulled her out the door.
"Why do girls have to make everything into a group project?" Asked Naruto. "Especially something as simple as packing…"
"Cuz girls are weird." Kakashi said. He had already busted out his Icha Icha Tactics and was reading. "C'mon boys, I think there's something Kurenai needs to discuss with the 5th."
"Hey…Kakashi-sensei, BUY ME RAMEN!" Naruto yelled as he walked out the door. Kurenai waited till there was no more audible noise from the boy before she began.
"5th, I know that this is an important mission. But…" Tsunade cut her off.
"Why Naruto?" She asked.
"Yes, and its fairly obvious that Hinata has a crush on him. So why did you put Hinata and Naruto on a mission together? It's insane!"
"Maybe." Tsunade said smiling. "But Naruto has a way of bringing out the best in people." She started to work on some papers on her desk. "So that's why he had to go. And for Hinata…She needs to build confidence if she ever wants to become head of the Hyuuga house. And to be with the boy she likes for a long time with almost no one else around to talk to…she'll eventually be forced to talk to him. Thus bringing up her confidence."
Kurenai sighed, "Fine, but if something happens to her, I will NOT forgive you."
"Duly noted." Said Tsunade as she continued her work. Kurenai left with an angry glance at Tsunade who didn't look up from her papers.
Chapter 2: One Hell of a Journey
It was the morning after the mission to the Lightning country. Naruto was still asleep. He was late, more so than usual. Fortunately, He wasn't the only one. Kakashi, as usual was late. Lee, Hinata, and Tenten stood at the gate waiting.
"I wonder if we should go looking for them?" Asked Lee.
"I can understand Naruto, but Kakashi-sensei?" Said Tenten, "I mean he's supposed to be our escort…you'd think he'd be here early…" Tenten obviously didn't know Kakashi.
"U-umm, I know where Naruto-kun lives…I could check there…" offered Hinata.
"Cool," said Tenten, "I'll go check Ichiraku ramen,"
"I'll go look for Kakashi-sensei. Let's all meet back here in half an hour." They all left with a nod.
Hinata started towards Naruto's house. She can't believe she offered to go to NARUTO'S house. "Oh no…what do I do when I get there?" she asked herself. She got to Naruto's house in a few minutes and stood outside trying to get enough courage to knock on the door. "What do I do…?" She picked up her hand and tapped lightly, and as if surprised, ducked and covered. She looked at it again, and knocked a little harder. "N-Naruto-kun?" She asked lightly, "are you there?"
"Naruto-kun?" she asked again. She started to knock harder. There was still no answer. There was only one more option. She had to go in. She reached out for the doorknob.
"What are you doing Hinata-chan?" asked a voice from behind her.
"MEEP!" The startled Hinata yelled. She turned around to see Sakura standing behind her.
"You know that's Naruto's house right?" She asked Hinata with her hands on her hips.
"Y-yes, Sakura-kun" She said through her panting. "You nearly gave me a heart attack."
"Sorry." She said. "You looking for Naruto? He's probably still asleep." Sakura made an odd face. She grinned a sly way and asked, "So, do you have something to TELL him Hinata?"
Hinata meeped again, "W-what do you mean Sakura-kun? I came t-to get him for a mission, He's late…"
Sakura sighed. "He's always late." Sakura booted Naruto's door in. "NARUTO! GET YOUR ASS OUT HERE!" Naruto came to the door rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, still in his pajamas.
"What is it Sakura-Chan?" Seeing Naruto in his pajamas made Hinata blush uncontrollably. "Oh, hey Hinata-chan…. HINATA-CHAN!" He yelled. "WHAT TIME IS IT!" He looked at his clock. "DAMNIT I'M LATE! I'M NOT EVEN PACKED!" Naruto started running around. "GOTTA PACK!"
"Hey, Hinata-chan," Sakura said, "I have to go, why not help Naruto pack? It'll go faster." Hinata looked at Sakura and blushed severely and poked her fingers together. "Good luck with that Hinata-chan." Said Sakura with a wink, which caused Hinata to blush even more.
Hinata had never been in another person's house except her own, the Hyuuga mansion. She walked in looking around. She peeked around a corner, "N-Naruto-kun?" She meeped again when she saw Naruto frantically packing…in his boxers. She covered her eyes. "N-NARUTO-KUN! P-put some p-pants on!"
"Eh! HINATA-CHAN!" Naruto quickly grabbed a pair of pants and struggled to put them on. He eventually ended up landing on his face with his pants halfway on. Hinata started giggling quietly. Naruto looked up at Hinata, "Hehe, You know Hinata, You're kinda cute when you smile. You should do it more often." Hinata about exploded with embarrassment.
He called her CUTE! HIM of all people! It was like a dream!
"Umm, N-N-N-N-Narut-t-to-kun…y-y-you should pack." She said about to burst. "D-d-d-do you n-need h-help?"
"Nahh I got this Hinata-chan. Thanks though." He said with his trademark cheek-to-cheek smile. "Tell everyone I'll be there in a few minutes."
"O-okay Naruto-k-kun." She smiled at him and ran out. He thinks I'm cute! She thought to herself. Maybe this WILL be a good mission after all…
After nearly half an hour Naruto came running up to the group. Lee had found Kakashi in about 5 minutes. Tenten was waiting there too, talking at Hinata who was just nodding.
"NARUTO!" Kakashi yelled, "WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG!" He said as he grabbed Naruto by the head and put him into a headlock.
"ACK! I was out late partying last night, so I forgot to pack!" Said the blonde mass of hair coming out of Kakashi's headlock.
"You shouldn't party the night before a mission!" Kakashi tightened his grip, "HAVE YOU LEARNED NOTHING!"
"U-umm Kakashi-sensei…I don't think that Naruto can breathe…" Said Hinata quietly. Kakashi looked down to see Naruto passed out, drooling on his arm.
"Ew." Said Kakashi as he dropped Naruto on his head. Hinata rushed over to Naruto.
"Are you okay Naruto-kun?" She said touching his would gingerly.
"I'm aaa-oookaayy Hiiinaata-chaan." He said swaying back and forth sticking out a thumbs up.
"That was cruel Kakashi-sensei!" Said Hinata.
"He's used to it." Kakashi said without looking up from his book. "I hit him on the head all the time." He pointed forward, "Let's go!"
They all looked at him. "…to the Lightning country…you know…our mission."
"You're weird Kakashi-sensei…" Kakashi looked at Tenten.
"It's all a matter of opinion Tenten…" Kakashi said as they walked out of the Konoha gate.
Tenten was still talking at Hinata who was just listening. Lee and Naruto were talking about training. Kakashi was reading thinking that this would NOT be a fun mission.
It was about two hours after the crew left the Konoha gates. Tenten STILL hadn't stopped talking. Both Naruto and Lee had stopped talking. Kakashi was still reading.
"You know," Naruto said, "We didn't say goodbye to our teams…"
"Most of my team is here," said Lee. "See?" He said as he pointed at Tenten.
"My team would yell at me for leaving…" Said Hinata.
"Sakura is probably happy I left…"
"Hmmm, you guys are one rag-tag group aren't you…?" Kakashi said looking around. "Hey guys…it might be a good idea to stay on guard now."
"Huh? Why?" Asked Naruto.
"Because, Naruto, we are far enough away from the Konoha that we could be targets." Kakashi said. "Some people might not WANT us to get to the Lightning Country. Now that we're far enough away from Konoha that we can't receive backup, we could be attacked. Always keep a hand on a kunai."
"Hmmm," said a Nin hidden in the trees, "It seems Kakashi's with them…The copy ninja…hmm…fun." He leapt to the next tree, completely silent. "This does make things a lot more interesting," he said with a grin. "Maybe I should test him…"
Kakashi looked up at the trees around them. "Stay sharp guys, we're being watched."
"What! I thought this was a diplomatic mission Kakashi-sensei!" Yelled Naruto.
"It's still an S ranked mission Naruto." Kakashi's voice trailed off as he surveyed the area. "Hinata, can you use your Byakugan to see if anyone is around?"
"Y-yes…I-I can try." She said, "BYAKUGAN!" She surveyed the area. She saw nothing. "I-I can't see anything Kakashi-sensei…"
"Hmm," Kakashi scratched his chin. "He's good."
"Kakashi-sensei…" Naruto protested, "If the Byakugan can't see anyone, then there's no one there."
"There IS someone there, Naruto…" Kakashi sniffed the air, "I can smell him."
"RAISEN NO JUTSU!" yelled a voice. A blade of lightning streaked through the air towards Kakashi.
"Oh shi-" Kakashi started to say as the bolt hit him square in the chest. He collapsed to the ground.
"Haha!" The voice said, "It seems that Kakashi is useless without his Sharingan!" A man jumped out of a tree. He was tall, had long blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail. At his waist, he carried a katana. On his head, a metal headband with clouds on it, the symbol of the village hidden in the clouds. He wore a red leather trench coat and white baggy pants. "So, what will you do now that your sensei is dead?"
"Dead?" Said Kakashi as he pressed his kunai up against the man's neck. "Don't be too hasty to kill me off. I still haven't played with you yet."
"Ahhh a replacement jutsu, eh Kakashi?" The man grinned, "clever. You always were quick with your replacement jutsus."
"Hehe, nice to see you too Kaoshi." Said Kakashi. "This is the 'ample help' Tsunade was talking about."
"HE JUST TRIED TO KILL YOU!" Yelled Naruto.
"Haha, yeah. Brings back memories, eh Kaoshi?" Kakashi said to the man.
"That it does, Kakashi. Just like old times." He leaned over the younger Nin. "Who are the runts Kakashi?"
"They're the…uh…diplomats…" Kakashi sighed.
"…WHAT! What is the 5th thinking Kakashi!" Yelled Kaoshi.
"I haven't the slightest…" sighed Kakashi again.
"HEYHEY! We're NINJA!" yelled Naruto, "We got this mission cuz we're the best of the BEST!"
"If you're the best of the best…then why don't you have a Konoha Chuunin jacket…?"
"ACK!…" Naruto choked, "Cuz…I'm not a Chuunin…"
"And the 5th sent you on an S ranked mission? God, she must be older than I thought." He laughed putting his hand on his head.
"Actually Kaoshi…I'm the one who trained Naruto." Kakashi said. "He's actually very strong. He is easily the strongest Genin in the Konoha. Not only that, but he defeated Hyuuga Neji in combat."
"The protégé of the Hyuuga clan!" He looked at Naruto, "Hmmm, guess you're not to be underestimated…"
Naruto smiled, "Hell no! Underestimating me is a HUGE mistake!"
"Whatever kid," Laughed Kaoshi, "Anyways, I'm here as backup. I'll get you to the Village hidden in the Clouds, no problem."
"Alright Kaoshi," Said Kakashi, "The kids just met you, why not introduce yourself?"
"My name's Kaoshi!" He pointed at himself with his thumb. "I'm a master swordsman, an expert in lightning-jutsus, and my dream is to become the Raikage!"
Naruto's jaw dropped to the ground. "IT'S MY DREAM TO BE HOKAGE!" He yelled.
Then, after an incredibly long discussion about becoming Hokage/Raikage, the team of completely random members decided to camp out for the night.
"C'mon Hinata, help me pitch out tent!" Said Tenten.
"O-okay…" said Hinata, following Tenten. Her and Hinata started to get to work on their tent. So did Lee and Naruto.
"So Kakashi," Said the cloud Nin, "Who exactly do we have here?"
"Well, The girl with the buns is Tenten. The one with the huge eyebrows and bowl cut is Lee, They're part of Gai's team."
"Ahh, Gai…What a silly man."
"Indeed," Kakashi nodded with agreement. "Then there's the girl with the duck butt for hair, that's Hyuuga Hinata."
"A Hyuuga! Can she use her bloodline?"
"Yes, but not very effectively, but she's still useful. She's also very shy, so try not to yell at her." Kakashi added, "Lastly we have, Uzumaki Naruto,"
"UZUMAKI!" Yelled Kaoshi, "You mean he's the 4th's…"
"Yes, but keep it down." Kakashi said, "He doesn't know yet."
"Oh, why not?" Kaoshi asked.
"Because everyone in the Konoha hates him. He has the Kyubi sealed in him. So all of the adults blame HIM for the near destruction of the village. So we kept the fact that he was Yondaime's son from the public."
"That's not right…" Kaoshi said angrily, "He should be a hero!"
"Well, you can't tell people what to think…unfortunately"
"Bakas…" said Kaoshi angrily.
"Kakashi-sensei!" Yelled Naruto, "We're all done here!"
"Okkkay" Said Kakashi, "Now two of you go get firewood…or whatever."
"Okay who's gonna go?" Asked Naruto.
"Four way Janken?" Suggested Rock. After 5 minutes the two were decided. Naruto and Hinata.
"Seriously, I SWEAR that paper beats scissors, I mean…it wraps them up and stuff and the scissors can't cut."
"Tough luck Naruto," grinned Lee, "It's you and Hinata." Tenten walked up to Hinata, patted her on the back, and whispered.
"Good luck girl!" Hinata felt her wave of embarrassment come over her. Did EVERYONE know? She looked at Naruto, Well…almost everyone…she thought to herself.
"Fine we'll be back in a bit," Naruto whined, "Just don't eat any of my ramen!"
"HOW could we eat any of your ramen without fire to boil the water?" Asked Tenten. "Hmmm?"
"Well…don't go finding a way!" Naruto yelled as he disappeared into the darkness with Hinata. Tenten moved over to Lee.
"D'ya think she'll even talk to him?"
"Not a chance…" Lee returned. "I have an idea! TENTEN this has to be the greatest idea EVER!" Lee said excited.
"Lee…?" Tenten said blushing.
"LET'S TRAIN!" yelled Lee.
"Oh…Lee, Let's not." Tenten said with a disappointed look on her face.
Naruto walked along with Hinata a few paces behind him. Naruto had a giant frown on his face. He did NOT want to be doing this.
"N-Naruto-Kun…" Said Hinata meekly. "Maybe we shouldn't go so far from the camp?"
Naruto just looked at her. "Well there's no good firewood around here," he said, "It's not like we can go back without firewood." He stopped, "Besides, you've got that cool Byakugan or whatever. Can't that find the way back?"
"I-I suppose…" Hinata said looking at the ground.
"C'mon," Naruto said, "Let's hurry. It's starting to get cold out, and those clouds look like rain." He grabbed Hinata's arm and pulled her along.
After about half an hour of scavenging, the two found enough wood to last the night. They started heading back when, of course, it started raining.
"Come on Hinata! Let's hurry!" Naruto yelled. He pulled her by the arm again. "Hinata, which way to the camp?"
BYAKUGAN! Hinata looked around. She couldn't see it. "Naruto-kun…I can't find it…the rain…It's too heavy."
"DAMMIT!" He looked at Hinata who was on the verge of tears. "Can you see like a cave or anything to hide in for a bit?" Hinata looked around again. She pointed to her left.
"There's one a little ways that way." Naruto grabbed her arm again and ran in the direction she pointed. Lo and behold, there was a cave there.
"Thank GOD!" said Naruto as he ducked into the low entrance. Hinata followed him and they sat shivering in the mouth of the cave.
"W-what are we going to d-do Naruto-kun?" Hinata asked. Naruto thought for a minute.
He crossed his fingers to make a seal, "KAGE BUNSHIN NO JUTSU!" He yelled. Three clones appeared and ran out of the cave. "Don't worry, we'll find the camp." He said with his signature smile.
Hinata wanted to cry. She felt so useless. The tears welled up in her eyes. "I'm sorry Naruto-kun. If it was Neji here, he'd be able to find the camp easily…"
Naruto looked at her, she was shivering with her head in her knees. Naruto sighed and took off his jacket. He put it around her shoulders. "Hinata-chan." He said as she looked up. "It's not your fault. You just couldn't see it. That's all. I'm sure Neji wouldn't be able to do much better."
"B-but…" she looked down again, "It's always like this. I'm always so useless…"
Naruto sat down next to her. "You're not useless, you just lack confidence." Naruto pointed to himself, "I'm the most confident person you'll ever meet. But that doesn't mean I don't screw up from time to time."
"You try to sleep," Naruto said, "I don't know how long it'll take to find the camp with my clones so…"
"But…Naruto-kun…" she said looking up at him.
"It's okay. I won't be able to talk much anyways. It takes a lot of chakra to keep the clones alive at such a distance." He patted her on the head. "You just rest."
Hinata blushed and looked down at the ground. "N-Naruto-kun…" Before she knew it she was asleep, resting her head on Naruto's shoulder.
"God." Sighed Naruto, "I had no idea that we were THIS far away from camp…" He sighed again, "At least I found it." He looked down at Hinata, "I think I can stay awake till they get here." However, the rhythmic pounding of the rain on the stone above acted as a natural lullaby and put him to sleep.
Chapter 3: TO THE SOUND!
Kakashi, Kaoshi, Tenten, and Lee were headed in the direction the clone had told them the cave was. It was the morning after the storm and everything was wet and squishy.
"So, do you think we'll find them?" Asked Lee.
"Of course we will." Said Kaoshi. "Though…The directions the clone gave us WERE pretty vague…"
"What do you expect?" Asked Kakashi. "To feed Chakra to a clone at that distance? The kid must have been exhausted." Kakashi looked around, "From what the clone said…it should be around here…"
"Kakashi-sensei!" Yelled Lee, "there's a cave over there!"
"Hmm." Kakashi said, "Lemme take a look." Kakashi knelt down to see what was inside. He stood up after a moment. "Did any of you bring a camera?"
"Umm I did Kakashi-sensei," Tenten said. "But…why would you…"
"Just take a picture of what's inside there." Tenten fished around in her bag, after a few seconds she pulled out a camera. She knelt down to take a picture.
"AWWWW!" She squealed, "That's so adorable!" She quickly snapped a few pictures.
"Let me see!" Yelled Lee and Kaoshi, who upon seeing it, started laughing. What was in the cave was Naruto and Hinata sleeping. Naruto's jacket was around Hinata's shoulders, Hinata's head was on Naruto's shoulder, and Naruto's head was resting on Hinata's.
Tenten smiled. "Mwahahaha! Can you say, 'blackmail'?"
"Wake them up." Said Kakashi, "We gotta get a move on if we're going to make it through the sound country today." Lee climbed into the mouth.
"NARUTO-KUN! HINATA-CHAN!" He yelled, "TIME TO GET UP!"
"HOLY HELL!" Yelled Naruto. "What the-? Who the-? How the-?" He looked up, "Oh, hey Lee, you scared the crap outta me!" Naruto looked over to Hinata whose face was bright red. "Mornin' Hinata-chan." She looked at him wide-eyed. They had slept next to each other! Naruto stood up and brushed himself off. He then yawned so hard that it brought tears to his eyes. "That was not the most comfortable place to sleep in…" He said.
Hinata climbed out of the cave, blushing more than usual. Naruto was already looking for something to eat, seeing as he hadn't eaten anything since that afternoon. Tenten hopped over and patted Hinata on the back.
"Good job girl!" She said winking.
"B-b-but…I d-didn't do anything…" Hinata said blushing even MORE.
"I know, but what else can I say?" She said smiling. "Sleeping next to the guy you like? That deserves SOME props."
That's it…Hinata thought, EVERYONE knows…except the one person who matters…
"Aside from the fact that you got lost…I'm pretty impressed Naruto." Kakashi said, "I mean, creating shadow clones and making them go so far away from one's body, that's quite impressive."
"Heh," Naruto laughed, "I've been practicing on my chakra control! Just like you told me to."
Naruto ran up ahead with Lee to talk about training again.
"So? Tell me what happened!" Tenten prodded.
"Nothing really…" She said, blushing more every minute.
"Ohh come on." Tenten said, "SOMETHING had to have happened."
"N-no…nothing." She stuttered.
"Man Hinata," Tenten sighed, "You're so boring."
The party continued northwest towards the thin section of the Sound country. Kaoshi was in front, followed by Naruto and Hinata, behind them were Lee and Tenten, and lastly Kakashi took the rear. Around noon they reached the Sound border.
"Alright guys," said Kaoshi, "It's important that we stay absolutely silent for the next two hours. If we're found while inside the Sound Country, we're completely screwed."
"All right!" yelled Naruto, "LET'S GO!"
"That's the kind of thing we DON'T do." Kaoshi said punching Naruto in the head. "Once we go in, there's no going back. You ready?"
"If Lee's in, I'm in."
"I-I guess I'm r-ready…"
The band cautiously proceeded into the Sounds territory. After a few moments of walking, everything was nearly pitch black. Though they could barely see the person in front of them, they dared not to speak; the sound nin could be anywhere.
They jumped from tree to tree making as little noise as possible. However, their efforts were in vain. A familiar face was already on to the party.
"Orochimaru-sama," said a sound ninja kneeling, "We have visitors. Five leaf nin, and one Cloud nin. One of the leaf nin resembles Hatake Kakashi."
"Then let us be gracious hosts and treat our guests to some company." He snickered.
"Right away Orochimaru-sama." The sound nin said as he disappeared into a cloud of smoke.
The team was darting around the dark forest; everything seemed to be going fine. Kakashi looked around, and sniffed the air. He shot a quick glance at Kaoshi and shifted the headband to reveal his left eye. Kaoshi nodded, started doing a sequence of hand seals, and kept going. Kakashi fell back to accompany the four teen-agers. He shot a glance at Naruto who, upon seeing his left eye, nodded and looked at the others. After a moment they figured out what was going on.
Kaoshi had it all planned out. The first wave of sound nin would get hit by his genjutsu and be stunned long enough to kill them. Kakashi would do the same in the back. Hopefully, the kids wouldn't do anything dumb and get themselves killed. Then they would get into a defensive formation, with Kakashi and Kaoshi in the front and back, the two boys covering the left and right, and the two girls in the middle for ranged support. It seemed simple enough. As soon as he had finished devising his plan, the worst possible thing happened. Hinata slipped. Fortunately, she landed on her feet.
Then, as if on cue, six sound nin leap out of the bushes and surround Hinata. She quickly activated her Byakugan and got into a closed stance. Another four sound nin followed the first group. Naruto saw this happen and jumped from cover.
"HINATA-CHAN!" He said diving into the circle of shinobi. He landed, kunai drawn, and positioned himself with his back to Hinata's.
Kaoshi looked down and saw the situation. He looked back and saw Lee and Tenten in a similar predicament. Kakashi had his hands full too. Kaoshi looked ahead and saw four sound nin waiting for him. There was only one word that could correctly portray his emotions at that point in time.
"Fuck." He said as the four nin converged on him.
Naruto and Hinata stood back-to-back looking into the faces of ten sound ninja. They all wore the sound shinobi Chuunin jacket. Naruto felt Hinata shivering with fear. Before he could say anything to comfort her, two of them jumped towards Naruto.
Naruto ducked and the first Sand nin's attack went harmlessly over Naruto's head. The second came at him with a kunai. Naruto blocked with his own kunai and parried. This gave him enough time to use his favorite jutsu. He crossed his fingers across his chest.
"KAGE BUNSHIN NO JUTSU!" He yelled as four clones appeared. They quickly surrounded the off-balance ninja. "U!" "ZU!" "MA!" "KI!" The clones yelled as they each kicked him into the air. The real Naruto floated above poised for the last blow. "NARUTO RENDAN!" He yelled as he delivered the final hit.
The sound nin fell to the ground unconscious. He glanced back to see how Hinata was fairing, only to see her collapse to the ground.
"HINATA-CHAN!" He yelled. The Sound nin just laughed.
"Is this all you leaf nin are?" They retorted.
"There's a lot more to us than meets the eye…" Naruto said, fighting to control his anger.
"Not much to this one," said one of them as he kicked her.
"DON'T YOU TOUCH HER!" Naruto yelled, holding back the Kyubi with all his will power.
"Oh, we'll do MORE than touch her once we're through with you and your friends." They all started laughing.
Naruto snapped. The Kyubi chakra started to leak out. He looked up at them with his red eyes and said,
"Once you're done with ME? Hah, I can take all of you single handedly." He said with a wild smile.
"You seem pretty confident SQUIRT." They said chuckling. The nine remaining sound nin got ready, "Let's see you back up that confidence."
Naruto sneered. "Well, at least I have some faith in myself. The only reason you guys are so confident is cuz there's nine of you." He chuckled. "It took nine of you to take out one little girl. Now THAT is tough."
"SHUT YOUR MOUTH YOU ASSHOLE!" One yelled as he charged Naruto. "WHAT DO YOU KNOW!" He swung at Naruto who sidestepped and jabbed a kunai with an explosive tag attached to it into his back. He then kicked him into the air and watched the explosion. Naruto laughed.
"Apparently I know how to kick your ass." To this comment, another of the sound shinobi rushed him.
"Take this you cocky bastard!" The nin's punch collided with Naruto's face, which turned into a log. "Wha--? Replacement jutsu!" Naruto appeared behind him smiling.
"Hidden Leaf Ancient Taijutsu Supreme Technique!" Naruto yelled as he jammed an explosive kunai into the rear end of the shinobi. "ONE THOUSAND YEARS OF PAIN!" The sound nin flew into the air and exploded. Naruto stood up and glared at the remaining seven sound nin. "Three down," He said with an evil grin.
Two more attacked him, one punched with his left arm, the other with his right. Naruto leaned back, dodging the punches, and jammed two more explosive kunai into the arms of the two attacking sound nin, trapping them together. The two tags exploded, blowing away their arms and most of their torsos.
"Who's next?" asked Naruto, who at this point was more Kyubi than he was himself.
"I've got this one." Said a rather large sound nin coming from the back.
"Kayake! This one isn't worth your time! We can…" The big ninja grabbed him by the face.
"You obviously CAN'T take him." He yelled. "I've already lost four of you to him! I won't lose any more!" The big man put the Chuunin sound nin down. "Okay BOY, I promise this will be over quickly." He charged.
"You're right," Naruto said, as he easily dodged the attack and rammed a rasengan down his throat. "It was over fast." The blood-covered Naruto stood glaring at the remaining five shinobi. "So?" he growled. "Is that it?" The last of the group fell all over themselves trying to run away. Naruto watched them go as he heard a noise at his feet. It was the sound nin he had K.O.d earlier. He grinned as he jabbed an explosive kunai into him and flung him at his teammates. "Present for ya." He said as the kunai exploded.
Naruto walked over to Hinata. She was still breathing. A wave of relief washed over Naruto. The Kyubi's presence in him faded away. He looked at her for a moment. She really WAS cute. After a few moments she opened her pale gray eyes.
"N-Naruto-kun?" She said, immediately snapped awake in response to seeing him covered in blood. "A-are you okay!"
"I'm fine." Naruto said with his trademark grin. "I'm gonna be Hokage, these guys are nothing compared to me."
Hinata looked around. She saw the corpses of the ten sound nin. Wide eyed she asked,
"N-Naruto-kun? Did YOU do all this?" Naruto looked around at what was left of the bodies.
"When they knocked you out…" he said ashamed, "I kind of lost it…and I killed all of them…I don't even remember what I did…it just happened so fast…"
"Hey guys!" Lee yelled as he came out of a bush, carrying Tenten on his back.
"Hey Lee." Said Naruto. "You guys look a little beat up."
Lee smiled, "Yeah, they sent 7 Chuunin after us." He pointed to himself. "but they where no match for me and Tenten!" Tenten smiled and nodded.
"Lee really did all the work…I just got hurt."
"Nonsense! You gave me the motivation to win!" He smiled, "That's something!"
"Haha, sounds mildly familiar…" Said Naruto. "So, do you know where Kakashi or that other guy are?"
"I saw Kakashi-sensei run off into the forest, and that other guy I have no clue." Said Tenten.
"Great…" Naruto said, "Now what are we gonna do?"
"U-umm…We could try and find them…" Hinata said.
"Naw…Then we could get lost." Naruto pointed out.
"If only there was a way to stay here and go looking without moving…" said Lee.
"OH!" Naruto yelled. He broke out a scroll and bit his thumb. He placed it on the scroll and slid it down till the end, causing a long trail of blood. "Summoning no jutsu!" yelled Naruto. A little frog appeared.
"Great idea Naruto-kun!" Said Lee.
"What do you want!" asked the frog. Naruto explained the situation and the frog hopped off in search of the two men.
"What now?" Asked Hinata. Naruto looked at her.
Chapter 4: To Hell and Back Again
Kakashi stood in the middle of a circle of corpses panting.
"Damn…I didn't think they'd send four Jounin after me." Kakashi stood catching his breath. "Dammit…I'd better find the kids." He moved his forehead protector back over his eye. He started off in the direction in which he had last seen them. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a little frog. He picked it up.
"HEY YOU!" It yelled, "Put me down!"
"That's no way to talk to someone bigger than you," Kakashi said, "For all you know, I might EAT you if you annoy me."
"H-HEY! I'm just doing what that yellow-haired brat told me to do!" Kakashi looked at him in surprise.
"Naruto! He's okay? What about the other kids? Where there any other kids with him?"
"Y-yeah. There was a meek lookin' girl with short black hair and gray eyes, a kid with HUGE eyebrows, and a girl that had buns in her hair." Kakashi sighed a sigh of relief.
"Good. Which direction?" Kakashi said putting the frog down.
"Just follow me." It said.
Naruto, Hinata, Lee, and Tenten all sat in a circle. They were talking about the mission.
"How did WE get this mission anyway?" Complained Naruto. "I mean this has to be an 'S' ranked mission at LEAST!"
"Yeah," said Lee. "But it's good training!" Lee said with fire in his eyes.
"That's the spirit Lee!" Agreed Tenten.
"A-at least the company is good," Hinata said with a smile. They all looked at her. It was very out of character for her to say something like that. Naruto put Hinata in a headlock and started to give her a noogie.
"Hey! That's the way to be Hinata-chan!" Her face turned bright red. She looked around and noticed that everyone was laughing. She gave a little smile before joining in.
A rustle in the bushes suddenly interrupted the group's fun. In an instant, Lee and Naruto were on their feet ready to fight. Kakashi came out of the bushes. Everyone let out a sigh.
"Hey there." Said Kakashi. "how is everyone?"
"Fine Kakashi-sensei." Said Naruto. Kakashi walked up to the group and inspected everyone. Naruto noticed something odd about Kakashi's face, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.
"Glad to see you're all right Kakashi-sensei." Said Lee.
"Well, this Sharingan of mine…" Naruto interrupted him.
"THAT'S IT!" He yelled as he nailed his sensei in the face with a wheel kick sending him flying.
"Naruto! What the HELL?" Kakashi said.
"Kakashi-sensei's Sharingan is in his LEFT eye. Not his right." And sure enough, the headband was over the Kakashi impersonator's right eye.
"Dammit!" Yelled the sound nin as he turned back into his normal form. "I'll get you!" He lunged at them. When he was about ten feet away, the real Kakashi appeared behind him and yelled,
"Hidden Leaf Ancient Taijutsu Supreme Technique! 1,000 YEARS OF PAIN!" Which sent the sound nin reeling into a tree trunk, knocking him out.
"Now THAT is the real Kakashi-sensei." Said Naruto with a smile.
"Alright everyone, you've had enough time to relax, It's time to move out." Said Kakashi.
"What about that Kaoshi guy?" Tenten asked.
"He's fine. He and I went through this last night. If we get separated from him, we head north till we hit the ocean, then head east. That should bring us to a small neutral country just southwest of the Lightning Country."
"You've got this all planned out. Don't you…" Asked Naruto.
"A good Ninja is always prepared Naruto?"
"Isn't that the boy scout motto?"
"No, It was ours first." Kakashi said angrily. "…thieving bastards."
"So…North?" Lee asked.
"Yes," Kakashi said, with his usual, pleasant demeanor. "Let's move out." Kakashi said heading north. "I want to get the hell out of this country by nightfall."
"K-Kakashi-sensei… don't we have to worry about any more sound ninja?" Hinata asked quietly.
"Of course we do." Said Kakashi. "But It's much less likely now. We've killed every last attacker. So there are none left to bring back the news of their defeat, or victory. My guess is that they'll wait till tomorrow before sending anyone else out. Hopefully by then, we'll be long gone."
"…isn't that just a speculation Kakashi-sensei?" Asked Lee.
"Yup." He said. "We could STILL be attacked at any second. I'm just saying that the chances are in our favor at the moment."
"Gee, that makes me feel so much better." Sighed Naruto.
Hinata looked up at Naruto. He was walking next to her with his pouting face on. She giggled slightly. All of a sudden her head started to swirl, she started to lose her balance and fell into Naruto.
"H-Hey! What's the big…" he stopped and looked at her. She was sweating and more pale than usual. He took off his headband, brushed Hinata's hair off of her forehead, and placed his forehead to hers. Her face turned bright red. "You're feverish," He said. Hinata just stared at him. "Hey! Kakashi-sensei! Hinata's gotta fever!"
Kakashi walked over to her. "Hmm…" He said. "Hinata, give me your right arm please." Hinata complied. Kakashi pushed up her sleeve to reveal a bloodstained bandage. He slowly took it off and looked at the wound. It was red and swollen. "Yup, just as I thought." Kakashi said. "Poison."
"W-WHAT!" Yelled Naruto. "POISON!"
"Yes, poison Naruto." Kakashi made a few seals for an analyzing jutsu. "Hmm…it's not serious." He said after a moment. "But we're going to need to keep you from moving around too much… after all, any poison can cause severe damage if not treated properly." Kakashi said as he took some fresh bandages out of his pack. He started to wrap Hinata's arm when he noticed she was crying.
"T-this always happens…" She said through her sobs. "I'm always so useless…"
"Hinata-chan…" Said Naruto.
"It's always me," she continued. "Never anyone else. Even when we had C ranked missions, Kiba and Shino would always end up having to save me. I just can't do anything…" She stopped for a moment to catch her breath. "I wish I didn't come on this stupid mission!" She said finally.
"All done." Kakashi said as he finished bandaging her arm. "I suppose I'll have to carry you…" Kakashi went to go pick up Hinata when Naruto stopped him.
"I'll do it Kakashi-sensei." He said with a smile.
"Any particular reason Naruto?" Kakashi asked.
"Yeah. You're the strongest of us, so it makes sense that you be the most mobile." Naruto said. "Right?"
"I suppose," Kakashi said. "But can you handle it?"
"Phht." Naruto scoffed, "I'm gonna be the Hokage Kakashi-sensei. Carrying Hinata-chan will be easy for me."
"N-Naruto-kun?" She asked as he kneeled down with his back to her.
"Hop on Hinata-chan." He said with his smile. She climbed up onto his back, riding piggyback. "I'm all set here Kakashi-sensei." Said Naruto.
"Okay. We can STILL make it out of here by nightfall if we don't make any more stops." He looked at them, "Am I clear?" They all nodded. With that, they left.
They group was going along at a good pace. Kakashi in front, Lee who was still carrying Tenten, and Naruto and Hinata in the back. Naruto did this intentionally, so that she could cry without everyone else watching. Her tears were starting to leak through his shirt. He glanced over to her. She had buried her head into his shoulder. Naruto sighed.
"Hinata-chan?" No answer. "I know you're upset Hinata-chan." He said as tenderly as possible. "I know how you feel too." She remained silent. "Back when we first became Genin, I was always messing up. Sasuke was always saving me. It pissed me off." He noticed that her sobs had stopped. "So, one day…I just got so fed up with being useless…that I decided something. I took an oath that I would never have to be rescued again. But no matter how hard I tried, I always messed up." Hinata shifted her head so that she could see his face. "I couldn't figure it out. Was I just that weak? I thought that was my problem so I trained. But no matter what I did, Sasuke always had to save me." He smiled weakly.
"Naruto-kun?" She said shakily.
"But, every time he saved me. It motivated me to try harder, so that one day, he wouldn't HAVE to save me." His smile grew wider. "I said to myself, 'One day Sasuke, there will be a Naruto who doesn't need to be saved. A Naruto, who instead of making stupid mistakes and getting angry about them, would remember them and learn from them." He looked Hinata in the eyes and said, "Every mistake is a lesson given to you by a hard teacher. The more lessons he gives to you, the more he'll force you to learn. Cuz you never know when he's gonna give you a pop quiz, and if you didn't study, you'll fail. And in the world of Shinobi, failing doesn't mean taking the class over again. It means you die."
"W-what are you trying to say Naruto-kun?"
"What I'm trying to say, Hinata-chan, is that you need to take each mistake you make, analyze it, figure out how and why it happened, and learn from it." He smiled. "If what you're saying, about you always making mistakes even more than me is true. And you do what I just told you. You'll become an even better ninja than me."
Hinata just looked at him for a second before burying her head in his shoulder again.
"Hehe, no problem." He smiled, "And about you wishing you never came on this mission…I think the only person who thinks that is you." He stopped, "Well, at least I'm glad you came."
"…N-N-Naruto-k-kun…" she stuttered, face completely red. She buried her head deeper into his shoulder in hopes that he wouldn't notice.
"Not far now!" Kakashi yelled from up ahead, "I can smell the ocean so we're getting close!"
"Awesome." Said Naruto.
Fifteen minutes later, the group arrived at the ocean. The sun was already bleeding across the sky.
"Hmm… I'd say we have less than two hours of daylight left…" said Kakashi. "Think we can make it?"
"Hell yeah!" Said Naruto giving thumbs up.
"All right," Kakashi said, "Let's go."
After two uneventful hours, the company reached the Sound Country border. The sun was down already so they easily spotted some lights from a village.
"Think we can get rooms for the night?" Asked Naruto.
"Possibly," said Kakashi, "But we'll have to take off our headbands before we go in."
Naruto hated the thought, but agreed nonetheless. Hinata and Tenten were already asleep, so it Lee and Naruto made a big production out of getting their headbands off without waking them up. They succeeded after about ten minutes.
While all that was happening, Kakashi took the opportunity to put on a disguise, as not to be recognized as the renowned "Copy Ninja." All he did was take of his Jounin jacket and Konoha forehead protector. He replaced the protector with just a regular blue headband. So, Kakashi was just wearing a black t-shirt, a mask, and pants.
"Okay you guys," The transformed Kakashi said, "Let's go." They set off towards the village.
Chapter 5: Room and Bored
The group wandered through the town. It was a small, poor town, but everyone seemed friendly. People welcomed the group into their town asking questions of various sorts. The most common response was, "Just passing through." One man directed the party to a small inn called "The happy dog's inn and Tavern". Kakashi liked the name and decided to spend the night there.
It didn't take them long to find it. It seemed to be the only place for adults to get a drink though. They walked through the doors, a few heads turned to look at them but quickly back to what they were doing.
Kakashi walked up to the bar. The burly bartender looked at him frowning.
"How would I go about getting some rooms?" He asked.
"That depends on if you got money, and how many people." Said the bartender.
Kakashi put some money on the counter. "Five, two women and three men. Separate rooms if that could be possible."
The bartender smiled, "Well I've only got two rooms available. They're right next to each other." He handed Kakashi two keys. "Rooms 204 and 206. You and the two boys will be in room 206."
"Thank you very much sir." Kakashi said.
"No problem," said the man, "Just don't go messing up my rooms."
"Will do." Said Kakashi, "Come on." He said to the boys. They followed him up to the rooms. Kakashi unlocked the door to the girls' room. "After you put them down on the beds and come into our room."
"Kakashi-sensei," said Naruto with concern in his voice. "What about the poison in Hinata?"
"She hasn't moved in a few hours." Kakashi said, "It was a weak poison and will have minimal effect at this point. She'll be fine after a nights rest."
Naruto sighed with relief.
A few minutes later Lee and Naruto walked into the room. Kakashi was already asleep.
"…That was fast…" said Lee.
"I'm not really sure why, but his Sharingan uses up a lot of chakra…"
"Oh." Lee looked over at the other bed. "So…who gets the other bed?" He asked.
"Huh?" Naruto looked at it then at Lee. "I'm too tired to fight for it, you can have it." Naruto said and sat down in the chair by the window.
"Thanks Naru…" But Naruto was already asleep. "Hmmm, we DID have a rough day…" A few moments later Lee was out cold too.
When Naruto woke, the sun was already high in the sky. He could hear birds chirping outside as he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. He looked around the room. Kakashi was already gone. There was a note on the dresser. Naruto picked it up and started to read it.
I'm off trying to find Kaoshi. You're free to wander the town if you can stay out of trouble. Try to get back to the inn before nightfall.
P.S. I mean it, don't get into trouble Naruto.
Naruto made a face and crumpled the letter.
"I don't get into trouble anymore…" He said walking over to Lee. "Lee, get up." Lee rolled over in bed ignoring Naruto. "Ugh." Naruto got a cup of cold water from the bathroom and dumped it on Lee. Needless to say, Lee woke up.
"What?" Lee shook his head splattering water everywhere. "How are you?"
Naruto stared blankly at Lee. "Umm…fine." He rolled his eyes. It was almost impossible to take Lee seriously unless he was fighting. The eyebrows and all… "Lets go wake up Hinata-chan and Tenten." Naruto and Lee left their room. Naruto knocked on the door. There was a voice from inside.
"HOLD ON!" It was Tenten. "We'll be out in a minute!" she yelled again.
Fifteen minutes later, they still weren't ready. Naruto and Lee were sitting against the wall waiting.
"God damn!" complained Naruto, "How long does it take them to get ready?" The door behind them opened.
"It takes as long as it takes! Jeez." They turned around and looked at the girls. Upon seeing them, both of their jaws dropped. Tenten was in a pink kimono with red flowers on it. Not far behind her was Hinata, who was wearing a light blue kimono with yellow flowers on it. Not only that, she had her hair pulled back in a very short ponytail. Aside from Hinata's face being bright red, the two girls made quite a sight. "Judging by your faces, I think you agree that the wait was worth it. Hmm?"
Naruto grumbled, not wanting to agree. Lee nodded with a smile.
"You bet Tenten!"
"You really think it looks good Lee?" She said blushing.
"Yes you both look great!" Tenten giggled and hopped over to the stairs.
"So?" she said, "Shall we?" The young shinobi walked out of the inn onto the road.
"So, where should we go?" asked Naruto.
"We were up early this morning, so I took the opportunity to ask the barkeeper if there were any good shops around." Said Tenten. "There's a market up the road a bit."
Tenten started to walk off dragging Hinata behind her. Naruto looked at Lee.
"Just like girls…clothes and shops…" Naruto started after her Tenten and Hinata. Lee was not far behind.
It wasn't long before they found the market. It was the center of the village and took up about 60 of the entire village. Tenten was in heaven. The Konoha was not known for its variety of shopping choices, seeing so many selections, she about died.
Then Tenten got a brilliant idea. "Let's split up!"
"Huh?" Naruto said confused, "why?"
"A bigger group is more suspicious right?" she pointed out. "If we're supposed to be incognito, we should try to draw as little attention to ourselves as possible."
"That makes sense…" Lee said.
"Also if Hinata and I split up, we can each take half of the market and meet in the middle and tell each other where the good shops are so we save time!"
"You know Tenten…You're the queen of ulterior motives," said Naruto.
"So, do me and Lee and you two sound fine?" She said ignoring Naruto.
"Whatever." Said Naruto, who wasn't thrilled to be shopping in the first place, let alone shopping without Lee around to talk to.
"Okay, so see you in like five hours?" Tenten asked. Before anyone could answer she added, "Great! Later Hinata! Later Naruto!" She dragged Lee away into the crowded area.
Naruto looked at Hinata. "Do you even like shopping?" He asked.
"N-no…not really." She said looking down.
"Great!" Naruto yelled, "Me too! Now we don't have to go shopping right?"
"What else is there to do?" She asked him.
"What else ISN'T there to do?" He said grabbing her by the arm and pulling her. "Let's go have some fun!"
"W-what!" Hinata was confused. "What do you mean 'have fun'?"
"We're just gonna goof off!"
"G-goof off!" Hinata wasn't sure what that meant.
During those five hours. Naruto showed Hinata the finer points of pranking. They played practical jokes on a lot of people. He taught her how to determine a good ramen stand from a bad one. They did things that she'd only dreamed of before. They saw a movie, ate lunch together, and for a little while shopped. All things they did that day she thought would happen on a date.
As they were passing a shop Hinata noticed a necklace in the window. She quickly opened her purse and counted her money. She walked up to the counter, Naruto not far behind.
"E-excuse me…sir?" she asked. The owner turned around and looked at her.
"What can I do for you miss?" He said with a smile.
"How much for that one?" She pointed to the necklace.
"That? You've got a good eye miss," He took it out. "Usually something of this quality could easily go for 250 at LEAST! But today, miss, just for you I could part with it for 150."
"Oh…" she only had 80. "Sorry to have bothered you." She started to go out.
"Hey, Hinata-chan?" said Naruto, "You really want that necklace?"
"How much do you have?"
"Here's the next lesson Hinata-chan." Naruto smiled. "Bargaining."
"Can I see that for a moment?" Hinata turned around to see Naruto looking at the necklace. "250? For an idiot maybe. You couldn't sell this for 70."
"Really now?" He said. "I say I could sell it for 135."
"I don't think so," He said, "You're a smart man and your business tactics are well refined…but I still say no more than 80."
"Hmmm, you're a tough one." Said the storeowner, "120."
"Done!" The shopkeeper handed over the necklace.
"But I only have 80!" Naruto took the money. She noticed him count it slowly and deliberately. She wasn't too surprised when it came out to 100.
"See?" He showed her, "You have 100, and I'll spot you the other 10." He paid the man and gave Hinata her necklace. "You should count more carefully Hinata-chan." Once they were out of the shop Hinata tugged on Naruto's arm.
"Thank you Naruto-kun." Naruto shrugged.
"It was only 10."
"No Naruto." She stopped, "You didn't have to do that. I saw you slip 20 in there."
"Hehe. Got me." He scratched his head. "You said you really wanted it. And since we've become such good friends on this mission I figured I'd be nice."
Friends! Suck good friends!
"S-still…Thank you." She said with a slight smile.
"No problem Hinata-chan." He grinned his trademark grin and kept walking.
After a while they caught up with Lee and Tenten. It hadn't quite been the five hours, but everyone was beat.
"Let's go back," said Lee. "I'm more tired than I was last night."
"Great idea Lee!" Tenten started rummaging around in her bags, "I bought this great game we can play!"
"Just how much money DID you bring anyways?" Asked Naruto.
"Ummm…I think…900." Her three companions nearly feinted.
"Are you RICH or something?" Yelled Naruto.
"Don't worry, I still have more at the inn." They almost feinted again.
"Speaking of the hotel," Hinata said, "I'll pay you back for lunch and the necklace when we get back."
Naruto patted her on the head, "I already told you not to worry about it."
"Ooh! Necklace! Lemme see!" Tenten was practically manhandling Hinata's neck. "IT'S GORGEOUS! How much did it cost!"
"Well, he wanted to sell it to her at 150, which was way to much."
"150! I would have paid 250 at least!"
"Hinata? Remember what I said when the shopkeeper told us that it was worth 250?"
"Umm…" 250! For an idiot maybe! "Yes." Naruto pointed at Tenten,
"I think I just proved my point." Hinata started giggling.
"Naruto that's terrible…"
"But funny." Naruto and Hinata were laughing for a while until Tenten said,
"Look at you two. You look just like a couple."
Hinata's face turned bright red. Naruto wasn't too far behind.
"Er-err…Ummm. Maybe, we should go back to the inn now."
"Y-yes! Good idea Naruto!" Hinata said. Hinata and Naruto rushed off towards the inn.
"Great." Said Lee, "Now look what you did…"
"I-it just slipped…"
"Now both of them will be uncomfortable around the other…"
"Let's go back…we might be able to salvage SOMETHING…"
Chapter 6: Three is Company, Four is Just Awkward
Naruto sat alone in the guy's room. He was trying to figure out what had happened that day. Everything was going great until Tenten opened her mouth… It wasn't Tenten's fault though.
Naruto was just plain confused. He wasn't the only one however. Just one room away, Hinata was thinking the exact same thing.
Neither of them could stop thinking about it.
"Why was that so embarrassing!" Naruto yelled, punching the bed. "I mean, if someone said that about me and Sakura, I'd have said YES right on the spot without any thought. In fact if it was most girls, I would have agreed right away…" He hit the bed again. "WHY IS SHE DIFFERENT!" Naruto flopped down on the bed. Good thing Kakashi had put up a sound proofing jutsu around the room the night before or this would have been even more humiliating.
"DAMMIT!" He looked at the ceiling and sighed. Maybe…It wasn't that bad. Them looking like a couple. She was nice, cute, and fairly smart… "NO! THE GIRL I LIKE IS SAKURA! SAKURA!"
"Really Naruto?" Asked Kakashi who was standing by the door. "It seems like you should try to convince YOURSELF of that before you go yelling again."
"Shut up Kakashi-sensei!" Naruto exploded, "What do you know!"
"I know that you're incredibly confused." Kakashi said walking towards him, "You can try to figure this out for yourself, or you can let me try to help you." Naruto glared at him for a moment. He looked at the ceiling again.
"Kakashi-sensei…why is life so confusing?"