A Team of Five
Well ladies and gentlemen I'm officially in the double digits in chapters and triples for reviews. I'm proud I've done well enough to keep you all reading. I've started writing my second story but I'm not gonna be putting out chapters until I've finished this story since my updates have slowed down for this story by itself. Anyway thanks a lot for the support.
Chapter 10: Gathering Mist
As Sasuke was hidden in the mist fighting off Haku's strange mirror technique, and Kakashi was trying to beat down Zabuza and end things, before Sasuke succumb to the awesome assault of the young mist-nin, both Sakura and Hinata stood back feeling useless.
Both knew that they would be little help against Zabuza with such an accomplished ninja as Kakashi fighting. At the same time they would be able to do nothing against the strange bloodline of Haku.
Just as hope dwindled and the mist was about to close in Sakura saw a new figure come from the side of the bridge. With her superior sight even without activating the Byakugan, Hinata could see that the figure that had come on the scene was really Naruto, but when hope started to fill her. She saw him. The one that had stood alone in the mist when Zabuza and Haku stepped forward. The one who radiated with a silent strength.
The mystery warrior was now standing between Naruto and Sasuke. Hinata and Sakura watched them speak for a while and then the samurai drew his sword and charged to counter Naruto.
Kakashi stood, lost in the mist, using everyone of his senses he had to fend of the attacks Zabuza launched from the safety of his haze.
The laughter of the devil of the mist filled the air as the sounds of other battles could be heard all around. Kakashi had seen Naruto come and engage the previously hidden member of Zabuza's team. The fight between Sasuke and Haku was still visible from Kakashi's position as that area seemed free of any of the fog that plagued the rest of the bridge.
"Your brats seem to be having some difficulty Kakashi. I hope they don't die too soon I would hate for you to miss it." The sinister taunt floated in the air, the mist-nin's words seemed to come from everywhere at once. "I know how to defeat your eye. It holds no power against me now."
Tired of the cat and mouse game Kakashi decided to end it now. Sliding a scroll from the pouch on his jacket, he began flipping through hand seals before unraveling the scroll. As the paper summoning flipped through the air, the Sharigan master bit his thumb and ran the blood along the length of the scroll before snapping it shut again.
"I don't have the time to deal with you." Kakashi finished his sealing and slammed the scroll into the ground with both hands. "If I can't see you then I'll smell you out devil."
The sound of ringing metal reverberated around the area as ninja met samurai and kunai hit katana. Naruto struggled with both hands as Ronin deftly flicked his sword with one hand, sending the young shinobi sliding several paces backward.
Before Naruto was fully prepared again, Ronin had already charged and slipped under his adversaries guard to send the spine of his sword into his kidney, dropping Naruto to his knees and his kunai clattering to the ground.
Wide eyed and breathing heavily, Naruto struggled desperately to regain his composure and stand up. It was an uphill battle.
"Do you see yet? No matter how much you want to get passed me you cannot. I am genuinely sorry." The older man's voice remained calm and almost distant.
Shakily Naruto rose to a standing position and got into a defensive stance. His eyes constantly shifting from those of his opponents to Sasuke, who continued to dodge attacks from Haku and the mirrors of ice. His efforts seemed to be in vain, though he was getting faster and dodging more and more he still received the odd hit and Haku was not slowing in the least.
Growling the blonde Genin returned his gaze to the seemingly stoic samurai before him. Breathing heavily Naruto began venting his frustration. "You talk of honor . . . and yet you work with assassins, for a man. . . . that is poisoning this country. What does a man like that know of honor!"
Before he could continue anymore, he was frozen by an intense glare filled with killer intent. "Do not speak to me of honor. I served my liege lord faithfully as a samurai guardian directly under the fire lord." The words almost stung more than Naruto's side, though the voice that uttered them did not change. The young blonde's stance dropped and his face was a mixture of pure shock and confusion.
"But if that's true than why do you now work for that scum Gato, and why do you no longer serve fire country!" Naruto's voice had all the pleading of a person talking with a long lost comrade.
"To serve your master loyally, to fight and to die with honor, these are the only things important to a samurai. But I was unable to do any of those and so I was given the greatest shame of all. I was not given permission to commit seppuku and was cast out by my lord." Ronin continued with almost a hit of disdain in his voice but not directed to Naruto or the thought of Gato. "I work for 'that scum Gato' because that is the fate of a rogue samurai, to work as a bounty hunter and hired killer."
Naruto continued to look on with a mixture of pity and understanding. "I'm sorry for whatever happened to you," his voice took on a hardened edge as the blonde slipped into an offensive stance, "but if you or anyone else gets in the way of me helping my friends, I'll kill you."
Ronin closed his eyes and collected himself. This was not going to be a merciful attack, Naruto had left him no choice and now, because he wouldn't stop, he would strike him down. The samurai raised the Tetsu-ko over his head for a downward swipe that would split the ninja in half.
In the middle of Naruto's mad, blind charge at his opponent he was blind sided and tackled to the left. He was brought down hard but it saved him as the deadly blade of the rouge swordsman was driven into the concrete tearing apart right where the leaf shinobi would have been a second later.
Turning around Ronin prepared to slash Naruto and whoever had rescued him. What he found was Naruto and Sakura in a heap with Naruto being pummeled for not getting of her. Before he could process any more than that. A blinding pain in his chest registered to his mind and fell to one knee propping himself up by his katana.
Naruto and Sakura had picked themselves up and were now standing beside Hinata, Byakugan flaring, sliding out of her Jyuken stance. They stared down at Ronin until he forced his breathing steady and shoved the pain to the back of his mind. Standing up he surveyed his situation. Naruto wasn't much of a problem, but with three ninjas he may have some difficulties. But just as a plan started to formulate in his mind.
"Naruto we'll take care of him you go for Sasuke-kun." The pink-haired one called over to the boy at her right.
"What? No, you two won't be able to . . . " Naruto was cut off by Hinata who stood on the other side of Sakura.
"N-Naruto-kun go. We can handle him." Hinata's eyes never left the ash eyes of the swordsman.
Naruto looked to his companions. They didn't look away from Ronin, waiting for an attack. He couldn't believe they had come for him. He wasn't stupid, he knew he couldn't take the samurai on alone. He had no choice but to put his faith in them.
Nodding his head. Naruto turned back to Sasuke and Haku. Sasuke was slowing down and looked much like a pincushion.
"I still cannot allow that. I'm sorry Naruto-san but if you try to pass I will be forced to kill you."
"And that's exactly why we're here." Sakura grinned wickedly and gave Hinata the signal to enact the rushed plan they had devised after seeing Naruto engage the third member of Zabuza's team.
Sakura rushed straight at the somber warrior, throwing kunai to his left and right, making it impossible for him to move to either side. As she reached him, Sakura slid past him to reveal Hinata behind her with a chakra charged palm directed at his abdomen. Attempting to leap back Ronin found himself locked in a bear hug from Sakura. Hinata's attack connected and blood escaped from Ronin's mouth.
Naruto couldn't believe it. He couldn't even get a hit on this guy and yet the two of them worked together and were kickin' his ass. He was confident that they had a hold of the situation now and leapt off for Sasuke.
Sasuke found himself in an odd situation. On the one hand he was beginning to pick up on the actions of his opponent, while on the other he only managed to dodge about eighty percent of the senbon. Meaning he was taking on more hits than he would have liked.
This had been going on for a while now. Haku would move around from mirror to mirror and attack at high speeds, while Sasuke dodged. Every so often the Uchiha would send out his own attacks but to no avail.
Finally he was wearing him down. The boy looked like a human pincushion and though he had purposely avoid critical areas, Haku knew the dark boy wouldn't last much longer, the fatigue coupled with blood loss would soon catch up to him. The effects could be seen even now.
That's when it happened. Sasuke took a bad hit to the back of his leg and he fell to one knee and couldn't get back up. Haku stopped moving and looked down on the younger boy. He could respect his will but the fact was, he was a dead man walking from the moment he was trapped in the mirror jutsu. The ex-hunter-nin raised his needle to give the finished blow as Sasuke kneeled before him with glazed eyes, desperately trying to get his leg working.
"You never had a hope of defeating me. Your low-level fire jutsu can't melt my ice and you can't move fast enough to catch me. Your too young, you don't have what it takes to kill your own heart and take the life of another. I don't take joy in killing but as a shinobi I am able to plunge a kunai in my own heart an fulfill my role as a tool." "Die well."
The senbon whizzed through the air with a whistling sound. Sasuke looked up and froze with fear as the world seemed to slow to his eyes and his death rained down on him. Then everything seemed to go black . . . no orange.
Naruto stood with open arms before Sasuke. Several needles stuck out from his torso as he glared up at the mist-nin hiding in the mirror.
"D-Dobe?" Sasuke looked up with wide eyes at his orange clad companion.
Sucking in breath Naruto stood straight, yanking a senbon from his stomach. "No one. . . fucks . . . with the teme . . . but me . . . asshole."
Removing the last of the kunai, Naruto felt eased as the holes closed with a hiss. Though no one noticed this accept Naruto but he didn't see anything weird with it as it had always been like that. Whenever he got injured it would heal within a days time, no matter how bad.
Sasuke finally go shakily to his feet and pulled the shard needle from his leg. Turning around, Naruto flashed him the trade mark smile. "You . . . you idiot! We could have destroyed the ice if you had stayed out there!"
Naruto's face fell into confusion. "Huh? Wait a minute I just saved your sorry ass. You should be a little more grateful."
Sasuke crossed his arms a turned away. "I had everything under control."
"Sure you did. You were a second away from becoming a human-kabob."
Haku sweat dropped.
A senbon embedded itself between the two drawing their attention back to their predicament.
Naruto and Sasuke looked up and glared hard at their assailant. Growling, Naruto leapt into the air at the mirror containing Haku's image. "Naruto don't!" But it was too late, Haku had switched mirrors and struck Naruto with several times before changing again. As Sasuke stood back and watched he could just barely see the image of Haku moving that he couldn't see before. At the same time, without his knowledge, his eyes had flashed crimson.
With a thud Naruto hit the floor hard. He got up slowly and once he was standing he attacked again. It happened just as before, except this time Sasuke managed to almost follow Haku's movements as his eyes once again briefly turned blood red.
This time when Naruto stood, shakily, Sasuke stopped him from attacking again. "That way won't work he's much faster than either of us. But I have a plan."
After a quick talk Naruto suddenly launched into another attack. This time when Haku shifted mirrors Sasuke unleashed the grand fireball jutsu at the mirror he was traveling to next.
It was amazing, it was like his brain processed everything faster and his eyes could move faster than his body could ever hope to move. Sasuke moved as fast as he could to intercept Haku, but missed as he disappeared within another mirror of ice.
Naruto landed back on his feet since he hadn't been repeatedly stabbed with senbon again. He watched on as Sasuke seemed to predict Haku's movements. He wasn't moving faster than the missing-nin he was just always there first.
Sasuke wasn't getting anywhere with this course of action so Naruto decided to make himself useful and began throwing kunai at Haku but didn't come close to catching him.
Haku attacked again catching both off guard, while they were still in the air he attacked striking both Naruto and Sasuke with numerous needles before they could land. The two landed in a heap on the ground below, and breathing heavily Naruto shakily stood up and Sasuke, who had retained by far the most damage, got onto one knee as he tried desperately to get control over his breathing.
"You see? You can't win. You don't have the intent to kill necessary. I fight for my precious person, when fighting for those precious to us that is how we become truly powerful. You can't defeat me." Haku looked down on the two ninja with pity hidden behind his mask.
Without warning Haku sent a wave of needles raining down on Naruto. Once he was out of the way it would be much easier to take care of the Sasuke who was able to keep up with his speed.
Naruto didn't stand a chance, his vision couldn't even follow the speed at which the senbon traveled. Let alone his body keep up. Sasuke on the other hand could follow the deadly needles with the Sharigan that now flared in place of his onyx eyes. On eye had a single tomoe while the other had two. The last Uchiha wasn't even aware he had activated the famous bloodline of his family but he knew he could follow the attacks of their opponent. He also knew if he didn't do something Naruto would be killed.
Said ninja stood frozen with his eyes shut tight ready for the pain that would soon ensue but none came. Naruto slowly opened his eyes to see Sasuke standing before him just as he had before. Only this time the senbon had been aimed at vital areas.
Sasuke coughed up blood as he sank to the ground. Naruto caught him on the way down, laying him on his back. The dark avenger looked up at Naruto with unfocused eyes. "N-Now we're even drop out."
"You bastard I didn't ask you to save me!" Naruto yelled down at Sasuke but he was already gone.
"I'm sorry for you lose. He was young I didn't wish to kill either of you, but it was for my precious person. It is my dream, my goal in life, to protect and serve him." Haku said from above in his mirror of ice.
One thing that had always made Naruto stand out were the strange marks that ran up his cheeks. There were three small lines that wen the length of his cheeks on both sides. But now they seemed think like scars instead of lines and they ran the length of his face from jaw to eyes.
Growling and with a hard, stone cold look in his eyes Naruto stood up staring down Haku, who's face he couldn't even see. His voice was even but with all the underlying menace that it took to send shivers up the spine of Haku, no matter how well trained he was. "Dream? Sasuke had dreams, important people. You son of a bitch he was my friend!"
That seemed to be the last thread of sanity Naruto could retain. Something inside seemed to snap and his chakra flared, raging uncontrollably. Haku was completely shocked. The chakra of the younger boy before him seemed impossible. It poured from his body and seemed to be taking its own shape. The evil head of a fox hung over Naruto before all the chakra returned to him. The strangest part of all was it was a deep red.
After all the energy had returned to him, Naruto stood back up from the position he had taken on the ground. Standing on all fours like an animal. His face was in shadow until he looked up into the invisible eyes of the mist ninja. The eyes that were once a deep sea blue were no a demonic crimson. The human pupils had been replaced by feral slits running the height of his retina. Even his hair seemed more spiked, and stood further on end.
In another burst Naruto released a wave of chakra shattering the mirrors circling around him in one attack. Haku, who was unprepared for this, spun through the air before hitting the ground hard.
He got to his feet just in time for Naruto to come storming across the bridge and deliver an earth shaking blow to the face. Haku's mask shattered as he fell the ground again.
Growling with unchecked fury Naruto glared down at the one who had killed Sasuke. Then it hit him. This was the boy he had met while training. How could he have not remembered it? Haku that was the name of the boy in the meadow, he couldn't believe he had forgot.
Haku stood back up, he didn't get into any type of stance. He just stood in front of Naruto ready for the death blow. But it never came. Naruto had calmed down, he was thinking clearly and the affects of the red chakra had receded. Leaving Naruto looking like his normal self.
"Well then why don't you finish me? Where is all the intensity you had before?"
"The one you spoke of that day, your special person, it was Zabuza? Why are you so ready to die now?"
"As Zabuza-san's tool I am worth nothing if I am weak. You beat me, I am no longer of any use to him. Please I don't like putting you in this position but give me an honorable end."
Naruto looked down at the kunai he had pulled, ready to strike Haku in his blind rage. He was all ready to drive it into his throat and avenge Sasuke. But now?
Haku closed his eyes and opened his arms to reveal his torso. Ready for the end, ready for his end. Naruto drew his arm back and was ready to launch himself forward. Inches from Haku's heart, Naruto shut his eyes and put all his force into the next lunge but all he hit was air.
Seals and letters began pouring from the scroll as they seemed to break and fissure the earth, traveling out from Kakashi's position. As the jutsu completed the mist began to fade to reveal Zabuza about hundred yards from where the Konoha-jounin stood. The reason for the clearing mist became evident as Zabuza was revealed to be held in position by several large dogs with blue coats and Konoha forehead protectors.
Kakashi casually walked up to Zabuza as the mist began to fade. The mist-nin glared back as Konoha's assassin slipped into a new stance.
"I promised to kill you last time. This time I'll get you for sure. I know over a thousand copied techniques but you will fall by a jutsu I created myself." Kakashi went through a series of hand seals in a blur and thrust his palm down, with his other hand wrapped around the wrist of the first.
The wind began blowing around Kakashi's arm and power was gathering around his clawed hand. Suddenly his fist exploded in static chakra as the air was filled with the harsh screeching of unseen birds.
"There's so much chakra it . . . it's actually visible to the eye!"
Ok it's a little smaller than I wanted, I wanted to put Sakura and Hinata's fighting with Ronin in I really did. Especially since everyone wanted a little more action on their part. But if I did I wouldn't been able to update for another week. Of course anyone who reads my profile for updates on my story would know that already but whatever. Of course my trip would been the next chapter won't come out for a while unless I just put out a small one. Anyway throw me some reviews I wanna see plenty when I get back.