Also, thanks to Shimotsuki, for his beta work.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Never have, never will.X!X!X!X!X!X!X!X
It was with heavy eyes and several groans that the resident Sand kunoichi of the Sound greeted the morning. She mentally ran through the things she had to do for the day and let out a grateful sigh when she realized that there wasn't too much to do and snuggled back under her covers. When sleep didn't consume her once again, her mind started to wander aimlessly before finally settling on the years she'd spent in the village.
For the last three years of Temari's life, she had been put through what Naruto deemed 'training'. To the Sand kunoichi (why she wasn't a Sound-nin yet remained a mystery to her), it had been pure, simple hell. When her fiancé (once again, she didn't know why he wasn't her husband yet) hadn't been instructing her in the swift and precise taijutsu style he'd decided to train her in, she had been picking up various things from his various teammates. And when all of them had been out on missions, she had been training under her supremely sadistic future sister-in-law. They were three very informative years, true, but that didn't stop them from being hellish.
During those three years she spent in Sound, she got to know Naruto well enough to say they were close friends though she point-blank refused to hear anything about their very long engagement. Every time someone else did, she ignored it or subtly (and not so subtly) changed the subject.
Temari also gradually made friends with several of the shinobi there, particularly Naruto's team, since they were the people she spent most of her time around. She got along well enough with everybody on the team, especially Haku, Sakon and Ukon. The others, however…Jiroubo sometimes got on her nerves with all his comments about how a woman should be and Kidoumaru had the tendency to irritate her just for the heck of it.
As for Tayuya…for some reason, although they talked often enough, there was always some underlying tension whenever she was alone with the redhead. It was never really enough to hinder any sort of cooperation or friendship, though. The Sand-nin guessed it had something to do with Naruto's attraction with the musician and not for the first time, she wondered if Tayuya returned that attraction, despite all the harsh names she called the blonde boy. She'd noticed how the other girl would react whenever Naruto would get hurt in a mock battle with his sister ("Fucking dipshit! How the hell did a shithead like you get to be our taichou when you're so fucking careless? Would you hold still, you stupid bastard? You're going to lose even more blood!") and when he complimented her looks ("Huh? Oh…um…really?…I mean, who the hell asked your opinion, asshole? blush").
Yes, Temari decided sagely, there was definitely attraction on both sides. She supposed she was a little jealous about it. After all, the guy was her fiancé. Then again, this attraction had probably been there long before she had arrived in Sound. If she hadn't come, maybe they'd have gotten together eventually.
An image of Tayuya threatening to cut Naruto's balls off with a rusty kunai for dragging her under the mistletoe last Christmas suddenly appeared in her mind.
Or not, she thought with a wry grin as she got off her bed and headed towards the shower. Even if she hadn't come to Sound, those two wouldn't have gotten together for a long time yet, unless some powerful, divine power interceded.
Minutes later, she emerged, dressed in a silk robe, one of the few pieces of clothing she'd brought over from Sand, and drying her hair with a towel. Her teal eyes darted towards the calendar nearby and she couldn't help but smile at the realization that Naruto and his team were due back from a mission any minute now.
Hoping to greet them with an exploding trap or fifty, Temari quickly donned her clothes and made towards the West Gate, a sadistic smirk on her face. It was just about time for some payback for all those hellish years.X!X!X!X!X!X!X!X
As it turned out, she didn't have time to set up the traps. They were already entering the village and definitely looking they'd already gone through several trap-infested forests.
"What the hell happened to you?" she blurted out as a burnt Jiroubo passed by, carrying an unconscious Haku on his back.
"Some filthy bastards ambushed us as soon as we came back," Tayuya muttered, sporting several deep cuts and a limp leg. She was leaning against a makeshift cane for support. "Turns out they were waiting for us. We were deliberately targeted."
Temari frowned at this piece of information even as she took away the badly made walking stick and compelled the other girl to lean on her instead. Together, with the redhead's arm around Temari's neck, they started walking towards the Medical Wing, closely behind Jiroubo and Haku. "None of you have ever come back from a mission, no matter how dangerous, this heavily injured before," she stated, catching sight of the large gash on Haku's back. Any deeper and it would have probably severed his spinal cord.
"That's because whenever we got injured, Haku would always patch us up before it got too dangerous," replied Tayuya, shooting her teammate a concerned look. "The fucktards seemed to know that and they targeted him first."
"I see," the Sand kunoichi murmured. She looked back, expecting to see the rest of the team following them. When she didn't, her heart nearly stopped beating and she froze in her tracks, almost sending an off-balance Tayuya face first onto the floor.
"Geez! What the fuck gives, Temari?"
"N-Naruto…Kidoumaru and the twins, where are they?" she asked, eyes wide at the possibly that…that…
Tayuya rolled her eyes. "They're alive so you can stop your spazzing already. Taichou just wanted to get one of the fuckers alive for questioning and the other two dipshits are covering his back. They'll be fine," she assured her. "Taichou's one of the hardest people on the continent to kill. Spiderboy and the fag won't go down without fights, either."
"Oh…good," murmured Temari. Relieved that they were going to be alright, her mind wandered elsewhere. The 'fucker', as Tayuya had put it, would probably be handed over to Anko to squeeze any information he held out of him. Maybe Anko-san could use some help in interrogating him, the blonde thought with a vicious look. She'd been hoping to try out her interrogation skills on a live subject for some time now but Naruto had always forgotten to bring someone from his missions.
A thought occurred to her then. As Tayuya had said, Naruto and the others were hard people to kill. Naturally, anyone who could do this to them would probably be incredibly strong or just had an overwhelming amount of human resources.
"Tayuya, were the people who ambushed you really strong? Or were there just too many of them?"
The redhead blinked at the question, then frowned as she contemplated the answer. "Numbers we can deal with easily. Taichou's made sure of that," she grumbled as she thought back to her own training under the blonde jinchuuriki. "These guys, though, they had numbers and power." Her frown deepened. "And it wasn't a natural strength, either. It was as if they were on power enhancers or something." She shrugged this time. "But we're pretty sure we killed all the fuckers like them. Didn't feel like anyone was watching and waiting."
Temari made a noise of understanding as they entered the Medical Wing and several medic-nins relieved her of her friend. "I'm going to go wait for them," she said, already heading towards the door. "You going to be alright?"
"Pfft, I'll be fine," Tayuya gave her a dismissive wave as she was set down on a cot. "Give that bastard taichou a slap if he's being too serious for me, okay?"
The blonde kunoichi grinned. "Yeah. Will do." The grin disappeared when she started her walk back towards the Gate, though. It wasn't really a surprise that they would be attacked. Two or three of the several ninja/warrior clans that occupied Rice Country had resented the Village ever since it had taken up residence in the country. But the attacks were usually spur of the moment and had never been sufficiently organized enough to pose a threat. The ambush and the early elimination of the team's medic implied that it had all been planned and that the attackers at least had basic knowledge of the team structure. But which clan would have access to that kind of information? Officially, Naruto's team did not exist. They didn't leave any paper trails and none of the members were even registered as shinobi.
Who, indeed? Temari wondered as she reached the gate. Still immersed in her thoughts yet aware of her surroundings, she leaned against a tree and mentally ran a list of the Sound ninja she knew and any connections they might have to the rival clans. She was starting to have suspicions but before she could come up with anything concrete, a sound coming from behind her alerted her of the fact that she was no longer alone.
Her hand started to reach for her weapon pouch but right as she was about to reach for the flap, her whole body froze.
"Heh, so you're that brat's princess, eh?" was the last thing she heard before a swift chop to the neck knocked her unconscious.X!X!X!X!X!X!X!X
It was with a stony expression that Naruto threw his prisoner into a cell and closed the door with a slam.
"You better hope Haku doesn't die, you bastard," he growled at the injured man. With that, he swiveled on his foot and left for the Medical Wing.
"You think he'll talk, taichou?" asked Kidoumaru, a large cut on the side of his face. Besides Naruto, who had Kyuubi to take care of all his wounds, he was the least injured and had opted to help his captain with the prisoner, instead of following Sakon to get treated.
"Right now, a part of me is hoping he won't," Naruto muttered darkly. He considered all the members of the team very important to him and if anybody hurt them gravely, he made sure there was hell to pay. But if death wasn't an option just yet, being under his sister's 'tender, loving care' was the next best thing. "But if he does have something to say, nee-chan will make sure to get it out of him."
Kidoumaru chuckled. "I almost feel sorry for the guy. Almost,"
Naruto smirked at that comment as they entered the Medical Wing, which wasn't too far from the Interrogation Rooms. The distance wasn't coincidental. The interrogators often had to call medic-nins over to make sure none of the prisoners died during an interrogation. As soon as they entered the wing, Kidoumaru bid his leader goodbye and went to get treated.
"Oi, taichou," Tayuya called out from her bed. "Did you get one?"
The blonde captain nodded as he walked over to the redhead. "I'm going to go find nee-chan in a few minutes so she can get started on him. What did the medics say?"
Tayuya shrugged. "I'm going to be fine but the faggots say I have to stay off my leg for a week or two. Fucking retards," she said, muttering the last part under her breath and causing Naruto to grin at her attitude. It was well known throughout Sound that Tayuya did not like being told that she couldn't do something just because of injury. There had been an incident when she had just started going on missions where she had intentionally disregarded the medic's orders. She'd had to stay in bed for 2 weeks because of her stubbornness. Ever since then, she'd decided to follow orders but that certainly didn't mean she was quiet about it. The redhead peered around Naruto, as if expecting to see someone. "So did Temari slap you like I asked her to? You definitely looked too serious for my liking when you came in."
Naruto frowned. "Temari? I haven't seen her yet."
"What? She told me she was going to go wait for you and those two shitheads at the gate," Tayuya mimicked his frown but then shrugged although the frown remained. "Maybe she just got tired and went back to her room."
"Maybe," he nodded, turning towards the door. "But it pays to be sure. I'm going to go check on her. I'll see you later, Tayuya-chan."
"Yeah. See ya, taichou."X!X!X!X!X!X!X!X
"WHERE IS SHE?" Naruto roared angrily as he stormed into the interrogation area. The guards all jumped to attention but they were largely ignored as the blonde headed for the cell he'd thrown his prisoner in earlier. He glowered at the man from behind the bars as all of the guards hastily filed out of the room. They had witnessed what happened to prisoners when their leader's son got this way and weren't very eager to witness it again.
"I don't know what you're talking about," coughed the man, clutching his injured arm to his chest.
Naruto slammed his hands against the bars, pacing and snarling outside of the cell. "Don't lie to me, you BASTARD! WHERE DID YOU TAKE HER?(!)" he demanded as he started pacing. He'd searched everywhere, her room, the library, her training grounds, the armory, heck, even the makeshift hotsprings his sister had set up not too long ago. And Temari hadn't been in any of those places. Naturally, Naruto could come up with only one solution. She'd been kidnapped. And his mind had come up with only one suspect. The events, the ambush and then Temari's sudden disappearance, had been too well-timed and too close together to be anything but related.
"Who? I swear to Kami, I don't know what you're talking about!" insisted the prisoner, becoming a bit more frantic when his captor started to radiate red, malovelent chakra.
The blonde jinchuuriki growled out loud, combing a hand through his increasingly wild hair as he continued his pacing. A few minutes later, he stopped in front of the cell, taking a few deep breaths and earning the frightened yet curious gaze of the only other person in the room. Naruto turned back to the man, looking a bit calmer now. He crouched down so he was eye to eye with the older shinobi.
"What's your name?" he asked. While he looked calmer, the tightly leashed anger in his voice was evident.
"Touji-san, you probably have a few precious people in your lives, don't you?" Naruto smirked at the man's wide eyes and went on without waiting for an answer. "Well, I have a few precious people of my own, as well. One of them happens to be the girl your friends kidnapped today. She's got blonde hair she ties up in four ponytails, carries a big fan around, usually wears a Suna forehead protector around her neck and answers to the name of Temari." His smirk widened viciously when he saw realization dawn on Touji. His voice dropped to a whisper as he looked his prisoner in the eyes, his own flashing a menacing red. "Now, Touji-san, let me tell you what's going to happen to your precious people if you don't tell me where Temari is."
Touji tried to back away as the teenager's hand reached through the bars but in his weakened state, he wasn't fast enough for the Sound Elite. He was grabbed by his shirt and pulled against the prison bars hard enough to knock the breath out of him. But breathing was the last thing on his mind when Naruto started speaking directly into his ear, describing in vivid detail the absolute massacre that would occur should Temari not be returned to him. Every severed limb, every mutilated body, everything was described to the most miniscule detal, down to the blood splatters on the wall. And then came what would happen after. The sacrificed innocents, the children that would die so snakes, numerous, bloodthirsty snakes the size of houses, could be summoned to feast on and further desecrate the bodies of the dead.
It was simply too much for anyone to take, especially for one who was as unexperienced in mental torture as Touji.
And so Touji broke down, spilling everything he knew. And with each confessed word, Naruto got angrier…and angrier…and angrier.
"Bastards," he growled under his breath several minutes later as he wiped Touji's blood—and various other things—off his hands. "After everything tou-san's done for their worthless clan…" His lip curled into a snarl and a dark look was etched onto his features as he strode out of the Interrogation Rooms. He took one last look at his prisoner's body before setting off, leaving it for others to take care of.
Touji had been good for something and that was information Naruto would have otherwise spent days trying to gather. The jinchuuriki was merciful so he would grant the now departed shinobi one, small concession. The massacre wouldn't occur exactly as he had described. But there was no mistake in Naruto's mind on what would happen.
Anyone with the surname of Fuuma who got in his way would die a horrible death. As for the rest of the cretins…che, who really cared what happened to them?
Author's Notes: Well, the mass execution of the Fuuma didn't occur in this chapter as I had stated in the previous one. Also, Anko's boyfriend didn't show up either. Have no fear, though, they'll both be in the next chapter.
Until then, see ya.