At times that are convenient, I will include a phrase from the manga (translated from Japanese, so it may not be the 'official' English wording). For that and the main ideas behind the characters, setting, plot, etc. of Naruto, I include this:

Disclaimer: Any and all ideas found in the story belong to the originating author(s).

While reading this, you may encounter some Japanese words or phrases that I have worked in simply because I assume most readers will recognize them. I don't watch dubbed anime (I simply prefer subbed or raw), so I don't know what someone who does would know.

Summary: In a battle between Leaf and Sound, Hinata is struck down. When Naruto fails to notice an incoming attack, Kyuubi steps in. :: Time Travel, Demonic :: relationships: Naruto & Hinata (main), Neji & Tenten, undecided

‡» Chapter 1 «‡

‡» Against Death «‡

Haku blinked. One moment Naruto was running at him after he convinced Naruto to kill him, the next he'd suddenly faltered and collapsed a few feet in front of him, yelling in pain. Now he was having what appeared to be a seizure. As suddenly as he started, he stopped and lay still—seemingly unconscious. The odd chakra and killing intent that had been radiating from him before had appeared again when he fell; although, this time the intensity made the earlier feeling laughable. It seemed to be building around Naruto, rather than dispersing. Glancing to check on Zabuza, he noticed that he was trapped by some dogs. He turned to go help when a pulse came from behind him, followed by a silent explosion. The last thought Haku had before he fell unconscious was a confused 'Huh?'

Sakura was really confused. She couldn't see much because of the mist and she'd been feeling this really weird chakra for a while now, coming from about where she thought Sasuke-kun was. Then the mist started to clear away a bit and she could see Kakashi-sensei in front of the other ninja, Zabuza. At least it looked like Kakashi-sensei was winning. Then she'd been knocked back by some kind of explosion, which had cleared out the rest of the mist. When she looked to where the explosion came from (she'd checked and Kakashi-sensei and Zabuza were both looking, too), she saw Naruto and the fake hunter-nin on the bridge. 'I shouldn't be surprised, really. That is Naruto, after all.' Blinking, she looked around for Sasuke-kun and saw him on the ground as well, though he was further away. That was what had her confused. 'Why are they all unconscious?'

Looking back at Kakashi-sensei, she noticed he was fighting Zabuza again, though she couldn't see the dogs that had been on Zabuza before. She quickly looked back towards Sasuke-kun, worry etched on her face.

Noticing the direction and emotion of the girl's glance, Tazuna said, "I'll go with you. Then you won't be breaking your sensei's order."

Sakura glanced up at Tazuna-san and then looked at Kakashi-sensei again. Noting that he and Zabuza were both focused on each other, she said a quick "Ok" and grabbed Tazuna-san's hand before running over to Naruto (who was closer). Seeing that he was just sleeping ('Figures'), she tried to wake him up. Failing, she ran over to Sasuke. Her heart nearly stopped. Bending over quickly, she noticed two things: his skin was pale and cold. She felt her heart break.

Kakashi was having a bad time. He'd had Zabuza trapped and was beginning to charge at him when the large burst of the Kyuubi's chakra knocked him sideways and made him lose concentration on the Chidori. Add the fact that the nin-dogs he'd used to trap the devil were dispersed by the chakra as well, and he had been forced to go back to hand-to-hand combat. But not before he took a look at the others. Thankfully, Naruto seemed fine. Unconscious, but alive. Sasuke on the other hand, he couldn't tell. At least the other boy was on the ground as well. Glancing at Sakura, he noticed her start to run to check on the others. Good. He'd managed to stun Zabuza with a kick for the short time it took him to damage an arm enough to render it useless. Kakashi three, Zabuza one. Taking out Zabuza's other arm was fairly easy, though that sword of his was annoying. "Now both arms are useless. You can't even use seals." Game to Kakashi. Phew.

Before Zabuza could respond, a new voice caught Kakashi's attention. "Ahh, you're being beaten, how disappointing, Zabuza." Looking over, Kakashi couldn't help but wonder, 'Who's the shortie. He's barely taller than Naruto.' "Gatou," Zabuza unknowingly answered Kakashi's question, "Why are you here? And why men are those men here."

While Gatou outlined his plan, Kakashi was only half-listening. His thoughts were on the mob behind Gatou. 'It will be difficult to fight them, with how low I am on chakra. How…' Kakashi's thoughts were interrupted by Zabuza's words. "Kakashi, I'm sorry, this fight is over. With no reason to go after Tazuna, I have no reason to fight you." Considering, Kakashi responded. "Ah, you're right."

When Gatou went to kick the unconscious Haku, Zabuza moved in and kicked Gatou away with a growled out "Bastard." Watching Gatou run back towards the mob behind him, Zabuza looked back at Kakashi and rather calmly stated, "Take care of Haku for me, and give me a kunai."

Kakashi narrowed his eyes before giving a quick nod, tossing a kunai, and watching the devil of the mist cut through the rabble to get to Gatou. When Zabuza did break through to him, he stabbed Gatou before decapitating him. The wounds Zabuza had taken, however, guarantied death without immediate medical attention. Once he killed Gatou, he dropped the kunai from his mouth and looked back at Kakashi—though it may have been Haku—before he collapsed forward.

Kakashi narrowed his eyes and glanced over his team, Tazuna, and Haku before going back to the armed mob in front of him. 'Well now, how to get out of here?' He started going through ideas while the group was still stunned from Zabuza's abrupt end. Suddenly, Sakura gave a yell.

Sakura hadn't been paying attention to what was going on around her. She knew she should have been, considering they were fighting and all. But she just couldn't get past the idea that Sasuke-kun was dead. She had slowly been removing the senbon while crying. It took her a few seconds to realize that the voice saying "Sakura, you're heavy" was Sasuke-kun speaking to her. As soon as she realized that he was alive, she couldn't help but grab him in a hug, though she let go soon after she felt him flinch and say that it hurt. When he started to get up she told him not to move and that Naruto and the masked kid were unconscious. Looking around, she saw Kakashi-sensei crouching and Zabuza gone. "Kakashi-sensei, Sasuke-kun is all right!"

Kakashi looked back when Sakura yelled and saw Sasuke standing. When the mob started yelling out, he looked back at them. When the mob started to charge forward, he narrowed his eyes, whispering "Damn."

When Sasuke and Sakura noticed the mob charging, they got into a defensive stance in front to Tazuna.

Kakashi jumped back to Naruto and Haku when the mob started to move, preparing to defend, when an arrow embedded itself into the bridge and halted the charge. Looking for the source, he found Inari and a large group of villagers ready to defend their village. Kakashi had to admire the effect Naruto had on the kid. Looking back to the mob, they were rallying to begin another charge when he thought of Naruto again. A seal later and several dozen or so Kage Bunshin clones stood behind him. Working on intimidation, he was quite glad when the mob fled. Kakashi dismissed the clones and walked over to check on Naruto. Seeing him unconscious—or asleep, he called out to the other two, "Oy, come get Naruto and carry him back to Tazuna-san's house." He then went over to Haku, noticing that he was starting to stir. When he touched Haku's shoulder, he jerked awake and jumped back, stumbling slightly as he landed. Glancing around warily, he saw Zabuza on the ground and ran to check on him.

When Haku got to Zabuza, he fell to his knees and started to cry, repeating a mantra of "I'm sorry" and "I failed" while he checked for Zabuza's vital signs. He let out a small cry of joy when Zabuza opened his eyes.

Looking at Haku, Zabuza spoke. "It looks like it's over for me. Don't cry over me. I've lived my life. You…You weren't just a tool. You were like…the son…I never had. Find…a dream. Live for yourself…Haku…"

Kakashi had come up behind Haku and put what he hoped would be a comforting hand on his shoulder as Zabuza spoke. When done, the effort to speak seemed to have drained Zabuza, and he closed his eyes. Haku jerked forward, crying harder. Sighing, Kakashi said, "He may have been a missing-nin, but he died with his honor." Noticing the snow that started to fall, he looked up. "I suggest we get moving."

Walking up, Tazuna said, "Well, I can call some of the villagers over to carry his body. There is a clearing near my house; we can bury him there, if you wish." At Haku's absentminded nod, Tazuna went to recruit help. Kakashi gave a squeeze to Haku's shoulder before going to check on his students.


Naruto had just managed to hit Kabuto in the chest with a Rasengan—a proper one this time, as he'd finally mastered the move half a year ago. Though Kabuto's healing prevented most of the damage again, Naruto had grabbed a katana earlier in the battle and did not hesitate to decapitate Kabuto while he was still stunned. Ignoring all prior training and his own instincts, he turned and kneeled down and focused entirely on the form in front of him.

Hinata. Kabuto had just stabbed her in the stomach with a kunai; one that Naruto knew was poisoned. He also knew that the poison was lethal. Tsunade had determined that the poison was the same that was on the Kusanagi. Sickly pale and breathing in soft gasps, Hinata lay on her back, cradling her stomach with her arms while holding the gash closed with her hands. She was still aware of her surroundings, as she whispered "Naruto-kun" when he cradled her in his arms.

Really, how could the world be so cruel to him? First there was Kyuubi—the bastard fox that he is—and Konoha's treatment of him. The Akatsuki were after the fox—and therefore him, too. Then there was Sasuke-teme and his betrayal. Though, they'd figured out that the curse seal he got was designed to almost force him to go to Orochimaru. It was too late though. Orochimaru had killed Sasuke, and taken his body, not two months ago. Konoha was slowly crumbling from Orochimaru's assault. Sand wasn't able to help because Orochimaru had engineered Stone declaring war on them (there was no proof, though).

And now Hinata was dying. He'd just gotten to really know her seven months ago, by accident really. He was headed for one of the training areas that were used less frequently to practice various jutsu, mainly Rasengan. He didn't know that Hinata had fallen asleep at the base of a tree. Imagine his surprise when she let out a rather loud (for her) shriek after he used Rasengan on the other side of the tree she was resting against. She turned a really dark red when she saw him though. After apologizing profusely, which in turn made her get redder, he asked her if she could help him with getting the Rasengan right. Considering the Hyuuga expertise in controlling chakra in the hand, he thought this was a good idea. She fainted. After waiting for her to wake up, she agreed. Taking her to eat ramen as thanks, he'd asked if she could help more. After a week of training, he'd gotten to know her more and, well, asked her out. After another faint, she again agreed. They'd steadily grown closer, and he'd even worked up the courage to tell her about Kyuubi after about two months. That decision was helped by Sakura, both in her encouragement and continued friendship after she found out about Kyuubi. When Orochimaru started sending out patrols to take out any Konoha ninja leaving the Fire Country border, Tsunade decided to reform the groups to four instead of three. Somehow, he'd gotten in with Hinata's old team.

Since then, there had been the declaration of open war between Leaf and Sound and two major battles. This was the third. The first battle was fought near the border between Fire Country and Orochimaru's territory, where Konoha managed to repel Orochimaru. The second took place near a prominent village in the north-western corner of Fire Country, near Waterfall. This third battle was right outside Konoha itself and its defenses were being steadily worn down.

As it was, Naruto didn't sense or notice the blade of highly compressed air sent his way. However, Kuuybi did. At the end of the short fight with Kabuto, Naruto had gotten hit with the poisoned kunai. This wasn't lethal to him, but it did slow his movement considerably as it was purged from his system. Since there wasn't enough time for Kyuubi to make Naruto move, and the trajectory of the blade was such that it would hit his neck, Kyuubi fell back to his last resort to remain alive. He was actually interested in testing the technique, as he'd only developed it after his…imprisonment. He was sure it would work. He wasn't certain of the consequences but he wasn't going to be the one paying them, and as such he wasn't going to press the issue. He also didn't like how events had been developing, especially with the Akatsuki. He wasn't certain of their goals, but the idea of humans manipulating demons in any way was not something he would tolerate. So he pushed as much chakra as he could through the seal using Naruto's building rage at Hinata's imminent death, formed a sphere around Naruto and twisted.

All Naruto and, unintentionally, Hinata felt was a sudden jerk and searing pain before their spirits left their bodies. Kyuubi really couldn't help bringing her as well, as the technique affected a small area around Naruto. She wasn't an enemy, so it shouldn't matter. Kyuubi directed the sphere of chakra containing the two spirits through the rift to the earliest focus point he could sense. He'd be pulled along, due to his tie to Naruto's soul. Interesting, how you had to not have a physical body—and yet be alive and have enough chakra—to be able to use the technique. Not to mention that the human concepts of time and space would prevent them from even thinking of it. Only the fact that he was tied to Naruto rather than the other way around made it so that he couldn't just go back to before he was sealed. Having memories of the future could be fun in so many ways.


Naruto woke up screaming. He was out like a light the next second from Sakura's punch. Ten minutes later he woke up in a more peaceful manner to find Sakura apologizing. "Gomen ne Naruto, you scared me when you screamed out like that."

"Gomen, gomen. But what happened? Where am I? Why am I here? What…"

"Calm down Naruto, you in Tazuna-san's house. Sakura, go back to Sasuke on the bridge." Kakashi said as he walked into the room.

At that, Sakura perked up. "Hai, sensei."

Standing from where she was kneeling by Naruto, Sakura headed out of the room. As soon as she was out, Naruto asked, "Ano, Kakashi-sensei, how'd I get here?"

"Well…" After a quick retelling of the fight on the bridge, Kakashi went straight to the point. "Now, care to tell me what happened out there with Kyuubi?"

Naruto scrunched up his face in thought before answering. "I dunno." To which Kakashi sighed, thinking 'I thought as much.' "Well," Naruto elaborated, "after Sasuke fell, I remember getting really mad but then I kinda blank before I'm talking to Haku and then there's a lot of pain…wait, how's Sasuke?"

"He's fine, though he was a little tired for a few days after activating his Sharingan for the first time." Seeing Naruto about to speak he said, "Turns out Haku did the same thing to Sasuke as he did to Zabuza."

"Oh. What about Haku and Zabuza?"

"Zabuza is dead." Naruto's eyes widened. "I spoke with Haku after we buried Zabuza. He's coming back with us." Naruto's face took on a confused look. "I don't imagine Hidden Mist would be very receptive. Anyways, the bridge is almost done, we'll be leaving in two days."

At that, Naruto gave a sharp glance at Kakashi. "Eh? How long was I asleep?"

"Almost two weeks."

"WHAT??" Naruto jumped out of bed and started running around, gathering his clothes and gear. "Two weeks of Sasuke-teme training without me. How am I supposed to get better if I sleep all the time?" He suddenly paused with his shirt half-way on and asked, "Kakashi-sensei, who's the hebi-teme?"

With a somewhat confused expression, as far as anyone could tell, he responded. "Who?"

"Ano, what was his name…" Naruto's face became an intense mask of concentration before he looked at Kakashi. "Ah, Orochimaru."

The reaction from Kakashi was not was he was expecting. Kakashi was suddenly showing full attention, a rare state for the laid-back jounin. "He's a very dangerous missing-nin, why do you ask?"

By now, Naruto was about to go out the door. Determined to catch up on training, he quickly answered. "Oh…I had this weird dream. Oh well."

Narrowing his eyes, though only one was visible, Kakashi followed Naruto out. 'Why would Orochimaru be in Naruto's dream?' "Naruto, how do you know Orochimaru?"

Naruto shrugged. "Never met the bastard." Kakashi sighed.

By the time they reached the outside, Kakashi had reverted back to his normal self, book included.


Naruto had thrown himself into his training. Except for when he was on guard duty on the bridge, Naruto was constantly running around the village, going up and down trees all the while. He'd also taken to dragging himself up trees by his hands. When Sasuke first saw this new training method, he'd made only one comment, "Baka."

What he didn't know was that Naruto was trying to increase his chakra control in his hands so that he could be sure that if the Rasengan was an actual jutsu, he could use it. He simply thought that if it worked for his feet, it could work for his hands.

While he was guarding Tazuna, he practiced his Kage Bunshin no Jutsu.

Haku mourned Zabuza for the first day after the battle. The second day however, Naruto encouraged him to talk some.

Sasuke trained in activating his Sharingan and keeping it active, incorporating it into his taijutsu practice. He avoided company, for the most part, feigning disinterest in everything but his training.

Sakura alternated between guard duty, watching Sasuke, and endurance training.

Kakashi read his book. He was either guarding Tazuna (while reading), overseeing his students (while reading and occasionally yelling out a suggestion), or lounging about (while reading).


The journey back was rather anticlimactic, considering the attacks encountered on the way to Wave.

Haku was rather subdued still from Zabuza's death. Though, he had furthered his friendship with Naruto a bit.

Kakashi was reading yet again.

Sasuke was being grumpy and staying away from Haku, nursing his injured pride. He was also trying to figure out what had happened during the fight. He wasn't about to ask though, as the only people who might know were the ones he refused to approach: Haku and Naruto.

Sakura was alternating between trying to engage Sasuke in conversation and looking down at the road. She had been useless in that fight and she hated feeling useless. After the two weeks of endurance training she had done, she couldn't notice a difference. She'd determined that she really needed to train more, and was trying to figure out how. 'I'll ask Kakashi-sensei about that when we get back.'

Naruto though, had his mind running in circles. He hadn't told Kakashi-sensei about his 'dream' for two reasons. First, he couldn't figure out what it was about. 'It was like a movie. I saw my life until now, but then if went on…chuunin exams…Gaara, another jinchuuriki…oyaji dies…Ero-sennin and Tsunade-baachan…Sasuke-teme runs off…the hebi-teme Orochimaru…the war…GAH' Naruto brought his hands to his head in frustration. 'Was the dream the future?' Which led to the second reason, he didn't want to be called crazy. He was certain that Haku had died in his dream, if it was a dream. That part was fuzzy anyway. So if Haku was alive, it couldn't be the future, right? But then, that Orochimaru guy was a real person, and he knew that he had never met or ever heard of him. 'Does that mean that the rest of the dream was true? Well, if it is, then I'm going to try out some of the jutsu I remember from it. Rasengan looks so cool! I could see about asking…' His eyes opened really wide at the next thought, 'Hinata,' which derailed all others. It was a good thing he was behind everyone, or they might have seen the sudden and uncharacteristic blush.


Hinata jerked awake and sighed. Then she remembered the dream and blushed. 'I had a dream about Naruto-kun again'. Though she had to admit, this dream was strange, even for her; especially since she remembered the dream to be her past, present, and what seemed like her future. She even remembered dying at the end, held by Naruto-kun. Focusing back on the room she was in, she immediately went into alert—she wasn't on a mission and it wasn't her room. She calmed when she recognized that she was in the Konoha hospital. Checking herself for injuries, she couldn't find any. Odd. Her last memories, before the dream, were of training with her team. 'I was sparring with Shino again, and went to strike him with my right palm, but…' After that, she drew a blank. Looking down at her hands, she thought, 'I must have not noticed an attack and it knocked me out.' She looked at the door when she heard movement and watched a Hyuuga guard enter.

"Hinata-sama, I am glad you have awakened. I will fetch the doctor immediately."


After the door closed, she went over her dream again, for lack of anything else to do. 'Ano, Naruto-kun and I were fighting a ninja named Kabuto who was working for…Orochim-maru?' She knew that he was an S-class missing-nin; her father had made she memorize the bingo book. She also knew that Naruto was currently on a mission in Wave Country. That was certainly true. She hadn't seen Naruto-kun for several weeks, plus however long she was in the hospital. Her pale eyes widened when she suddenly remembered a rather interesting fact in her dream. Naruto was the carrier for the Kyuubi. 'If Naruto-kun really is…Then, it would explain the way he is treated.'

That fact only made her admire him more.

Determined to talk to him on his return, if he wasn't back already, she waited for the doctor so that she could hopefully be released. She only hoped her courage didn't fail her again.


When they finally checked in at the Konoha main gate, Kakashi turned around and stated, "You have the rest of today and tomorrow off. I'm going to turn in the mission report. Haku, follow me."

All four responded with a quick "hai" before splitting up.

Naruto immediately headed off to pay homage at Ichiraku's, but paused half way there. He really needed to know if that dream was of the future. So instead he headed for his favorite thinking spot: the Hokage Monument. Once he was perched on top of the monument of the Sandaime Hokage, he tried his best to think of a way to prove the dream right or wrong. 'Hmm…Best way would be to wait to see if the chuunin exams start, but that's not for another two weeks. Ehh. Uhh. Geh! Where the hell am I?' He'd just opened his eyes to find himself in this weird grey hall. He was stopped from exploring by a now familiar dark chuckle. 'Kyuubi!' He headed to where he thought it was coming from.

He stopped when he came up to the large gates and saw the demon itself for the first time (minus the dream).

"So, my pathetic jailor has shown himself."

Bringing a fist up, Naruto responded in kind. "OY! Don't call me pathetic you stupid fox!"

"As brazen as I remember from the future."

That got Naruto's attention. "So that dream really was the future? How did…?"

Kyuubi narrowed his eyes. "A jutsu I developed while stuck here in case you should fail to stay alive. It brought the memories of our future selves back in time. Do not ask how, you would not understand." Naruto was about to shout back when Kyuubi spoke again. "Find the girl, she was brought back as well."

"Hinata? How did she…?"

"I do not wish for events to go as they did. I do not like this…Akatsuki. Nor do I like the snake. The girl is a bonus, as two agents are better than one. You will both train." Kyuubi gave a vicious grin. "It is time my influence is felt again, if at least in part. Find the girl and bring her somewhere private, away from the village if possible. Then we will begin. Go."

At this point Naruto was forced back to awareness. 'Well, being trained by the Kyuubi should be cool. Who knows what jutsu it could teach me! Besides, if it wants to fight Orochimaru and the Akatsuki, I'm all for it!' Nodding once in a decisive manner, he headed off to where he thought Hinata's team trained.


Kakashi read his book while leading Haku to the Hokage tower, giggling every minute or so. He also secretly observed Haku, who was becoming nervous. When he reached the tower and brought Haku to the Hokage's office, he stopped and said, "Wait here, I'll call you in when the Hokage wants to talk to you directly."

Haku gave a nod and walked over to the wall to wait, mindful of the two guards watching him.


Once the doors to his office closed, the Hokage looked up from the damnable paperwork and smiled. "Ah, Kakashi. I heard you ran into some trouble."

"Hai, Hokage-sama, but my team pulled through. I submitted the mission report but thought you may want a more private report concerning one member."

"You mean Naruto."

"Hai, Hokage-sama."

The Hokage sighed, massaging his forehead. "He insists on troubling me even while away from the village."

"More like trouble follows him." Kakashi decided to jump straight to the point. "During the last fight, I felt the Kyuubi's chakra."

The Hokage sighed again. "Two sources of trouble and only one person. Very well, report."

"I'm afraid I don't know much other than the fact that I felt it appear twice, but as far as I can tell, the seal is intact. During the fight Naruto ended up unconscious. He did not wake up for 12 days. I asked Naruto about it the day after he woke up, but he said he only remembered being really angry. However, I have the boy named Haku that he was fighting. As stated in my report, Haku wishes to join the Leaf now that Zabuza is dead. He is at least low chuunin level."

"Really?" Smiling, Sarutobi continued, "Call him in."


When the doors in front of him opened again, Haku tensed. Kakashi poked his head out, and Haku was fairly certain he was smiling. "Come on in." Haku quickly obeyed.

He tensed further when the doors closed behind him, though Kakashi's presence was somewhat reassuring. The gentle smile on the face of the elderly man behind the desk helped to calm his nerves further. When he reached the desk, he stood at attention.

"Kakashi here tells me you wish to join Konoha as a ninja." At Haku's affirmative nod, the Hokage continued, "You were Zabuza's companion, were you not?" Again, a nod. "He was the one to train you?" Nod. "I would assume that you have no ties to another village then. I see no reason to refuse you, provided you swear loyalty to the Leaf."

Haku blinked. 'That is all?' Seeing the expectant look on the Hokage's face, Haku answered. "Of course, Hokage-sama."

"Good. Tomorrow you will be evaluated to determine your rank. A jounin will meet you outside the tower at…" Sarutobi glanced over at a sheet of paper. "9:00 AM. Until more permanent accommodations can be found, I will arrange for a room at one of the inns. If you would wait outside while I speak with Kakashi, he will take you there."

Registering the dismissal, Haku bowed and retreated to outside the office.


Once alone with Kakashi again, the Hokage continued his instructions. "Tomorrow I will have Morino Ibiki join you in evaluating Haku. See if you can get the story of the fight with Naruto from him." Writing something down, he gave Kakashi a note. "Give this to the secretary. You should be given enough money for his meals and two nights at the Leaf Inn. Anything else?"

"Well, I don't know of the significance, but Naruto did mention dreaming of a person he called the hebi-teme. Orochimaru."

With a frown, the Hokage lit his pipe. "It is odd that he should show such familiarity. Did Naruto mention meeting him?"

"That's the strange part. He said he's never met him. Perhaps he saw him in the bingo book?"

"Likely. I wonder if there is a tie between Orochimaru and the Kyuubi surfacing. I'll be calling in Jiraiya to look at the seal, anyways. He's more knowledgeable on such matters. Besides, his next book is scheduled to be released in two months."

Kakashi grinned under his mask. "Best news I've heard in a while."

The Hokage chuckled good naturedly. "Indeed." Looking down at his paperwork, he sighed. "Dismissed."

‡» Chapter Notes «‡

Kusanagi is the name of Orochimaru's sword. I don't remember the manga ever mentioning it being poisoned, but I assume it is. The name translates to "grass-cutter" or "the sword of the snake" (in old Japanese) and is said to have been made from (or found in) one of Orochi's tails. Orochi was a snake demon with eight heads and eight tails, so I thought it ought to have an effect even against Kyuubi.

‡» Author's Note «‡

Comments welcome. Opinions, too. Suggestions would be appreciated, as I have no plot set past the chuunin exams, but I plan on detailing the three year break and need a few ideas for that. Other than that, please point out any mistakes I made.

Anyways, I tried to keep speech and thought as close to how it is in the original.

I hope you enjoyed reading.