-1

"Ug what happened?"

He didn't know what had happened. He had been laying back relaxing and watching the clouds. True he'd been on a mission but that hadn't stopped him.

He had been looking at a particularly white and fluffy one when something flashed. It had scared him half to death and for a moment he thought some ninja was going to finish the job.

He had tried to jump up and deal with the threat but he couldn't. Hell he couldn't move, shout out, or even breath.

He was sure he was dead.

Then the light just kind of faded away.

Cursing to himself Shikamaru forced his body to move. It kind of hurt, every joint in his body ached. It was worse than when that sand chick with the fan decided she wanted a 'friendly' sparing match.

Looking around Shikamaru's jerked in surprise.

"Hinata? Lee? Naruto!"

What in the world? This didn't make sense. Last he heard Lee was on a mission, Naruto with that toad guy and Hinata, well he didn't know what she was doing but he was sure it was something no where near where he had had been.

"bothersome."

Was it some kind of trick? Was all of this an illusion? He'd never seen a place like this before. The ground was hard, made out of some sort of concrete? Concrete was insanely expensive and impractical. Why lay so much of it down. He couldn't even seen any earth near them. It was all covered up.

Looking up Shikamaru startled again. Good Kami…this building was tall.

In fact all the buildings around him was tall, made of steel glass and some other materials he couldn't name. Could man make such buildings? In Konoha the largest building was that of the Hokage but these…they dwarfed it by several stories.

"uhhh"

Hinata was waking up.

"Hinata. Are you ok?"

She blinked her milky white eyes seemly unfocused. However he knew better. She was probably looking at him really really hard just to make sure he wasn't a fake.

"What happened Shikamaru-san?"

She didn't look to good. Her pale face was even whiter than he remembered and her limps were shaking.

"I'm not sure…but look. There's Lee and Naruto."

Hinata frowned her delicate features showing her confusion?

"Where are we Shikamaru? Why?
"I'm sorry Hinata I don't know. I was on a mission in the Mist. Maybe one of these two idiots know."

Hinata nodded.

"I'll look around. I'm pretty sure none of this."

She gestured to the surrounding buildings.

"None of this is an illusion…but…I don't know."

She looked scared and Shikamaru didn't blame her. He was kind of worried and maybe just a little scared himself.

"Alright take a look. I'll see if I get these to knuckle heads to wake up."

Hinata nodded, and Shikamaru sighed to himself in relieve. Good she was accepting his leadership.

Under normal circumstances he'd been in charge anyway, he was a Chunin after all. However this was anything but normal. They weren't on a mission so the normal chain of command didn't necessarily apply here. It was well within Hinata's right to reject him.

He was glad she was letting him lead. No matter how bothersome it was to be a leader he was still the most qualified here. He had made Chunin on the weight of his brain, the Hokage and the elders had chosen him for a reason and in a situation like this he only trusted himself to get him and his team out alive.

And no matter if I like it or not I got a team. A weird one at that. Naruto Lee and Hinata. Lee is extremely strong…and weird. So bothersome…Hinata's eyes will come in handy and Naruto…well I don't know about Naruto. He's been gone a year and a half. So he could be anything. He does have a Senin one of the legendary three as a teacher.

Shikamaru gently shook Naruto.

"Hey Naruto wake up already. Shhesh and they say I'm lazy."

"Go away pervert ero-senin!"

Shikamaru yelped as Naruto took a swipe at his head. A surprisingly fast swipe, he'd just barely jgot his head out of the way in time.

"Naruto!"

He winced as the walls around them echoed his voice a little louder than he meant for it to. Damn it they needed to be quiet and careful. Frowning he stood up and kicked Naruto.

"Get up!"

Naruto didn't even seem to mind the kick but he did roll over and blink sleepily at him.

"Uh?"

He said brightly.

"Shikamaru?"

"Ya now get up and be quiet."

Naruto sat up and stretched. Shikamaru noted with an annoyed frown that Naruto didn't seem to have any aches and pains like him and Hinata. Bastard.

"Where are we? And why are we a we anyway?"

Ya leave it to Naruto to butcher the language.

"I don't know. Go wake up Lee."

Naruto tilted his head to the side and for a moment Shikamaru thought Naruto might argue his tone. Just like with Hinata he was trying to portray that he was boss.

Naruto's eyes were mere slits as he opened his mouth. Shikmaru mentally sighed as he readied himself for the inevitable. But then something amazing happened…Naruto paused. He actually paused as he seemed to think it over and then he finally just shrugged it off and went to do as he was told.

Shikamaru let a rare smile grace his lips. Looks like the Senin had beat some sense into that thick skull after all.

"Hey Hinata, what do you see?"

Hinata sat there silent for a long moment her shoulders and stance seemed extremely tense and that was not a good sign.

"Bodies."

"WHAT!"

That was not what Shikamaru expected to hear.

"Oh god. There are bodies everywhere!"

It was then that Shikamaru got a good look at Hinata's face. She was crying. The tears looked unnatural with her pale eyes. They glistened as they fell off her face.

"As far as I can see. In every house, in the streets. Blood and death!"

Naruto gulped loudly as he tried with more vigor to wake up Lee. Shikamaru couldn't be sure but he thought he heard Naruto mutter something about so that's why it stinks of blood here. But that didn't make sense, he couldn't smell anything. And Shikamaru was sure that Hinata would say something if she had smelled blood.

"Was there a struggle?"

Hinata nodded.

"I see some streets with signs of a fight…but mostly."

Hinata took a ragged breath.

"It was mostly a slaughter."

She closed her eyes letting her family blood limit close off.

"I can't tell what happened though. This isn't right. The fight scenes look wrong. Not like any battle fields I've ever seen."

Shikamaru nodded his forehead bunched up in thought.

"Are there any signs of life? Hopefully none hostile life?"

Hinata hesitated.

"I think…I think I might have seen something that way."

Hinata pointed into what should be west. Although for now all rules even those of directions were off.

"I couldn't tell."

"Well we better head that way then."

"Hey!"
Naruto said as he stood up. Lee was still snoring away.

"What if what Hinata-chan is seeing is the enemy. The guys who are doing the slaughtering?"

Shikamaru shook his head it was a valid concern but their options were few.

"This has to be the first step . Find someone…hopefully none hostiles and question them. Try to figure out what is going on. If it is the ones that caused this slaughter we try and restrain them and force answers out. Or back out, we'll decide when we know more."

Naruto's eye twitched but he finally did back down.

"ok. That makes sense."

With a grunt he bent over and picked Lee up.

"He's out cold. Doesn't matter fuzzy eyebrows fights better asleep than he does awake."

Shikamaru raised an eyebrow but decided not to comment…or even ask what Naruto was talking about. He really didn't want to know.

"Alright lets move out. Standard formation and keep out of sight."

With that the four of them leaped away. Heading toward what might or might not be really big trouble.

(few hours later)

Hinata wiped the tears from her face. Kami this place was hell…pure hell. Everywhere she looked terrified faces of people…men women and children looked back at her with lifeless eyes. What hit the hardest were the babies. Slaughter where they lay, in cribs, play pens or even in their mothers arms. It was like…like an army came through and with a hatred that she could still taste in the air tried to wipe the ground clean of human life.

She didn't like blood and violence. Despite her occupation, if bloodshed could be avoided she did so. She was even training in her spare time to be a medic-nin. Not that her father and other family would let her actually be one. Still she studied and practiced in secret, hoping one day to maybe save someone's life for once, rather than take it.

It was surprisingly easy. She had always heard that medical training was hard. Only for the best of chakura controllers. Granted she was rather good at controlling her Chakura but she didn't think she was at their level.

Maybe the difference was at how much she enjoyed it.

They are all dead. Already cold even, the blood is dried and flies are swarming. Its to late for anything I've learned to help.

Hinata wanted to cry again. She felt the tears stinging in her eyes. However she kept them to herself. After all it had been so long since she last seen Naruto-kun and she didn't want him to think she was a crybaby.

He's gotten so tall. And he's all arms and legs although I'm sure he'll fill out when he's older. He's also grown out his hair. Its still wild but doesn't look so much like a sea urchin now. He's so handsome. Naruto-kun.

Her face no doubt was redder than a tomato now. Hinata shook her head and forced herself to concentrate. Now was not the time to think about her crush on the blonde haired boy.

Wait…

What was that.

Hinata came to a suddenly halt. Almost causing Shikamaru to bump into her.

"What?"

He said concerned.

Hinata didn't answer as she stared.

They…they are alive! Oh thank god…who ever did this missed somebody.

Hinata did cry this time. Relieve pouring out of her.

A small group of people had managed somehow to hide. They were in a small what looked like a wine cellar. Made sense since she could see that this was a liquor store of some kind. The entire building was filled with wine and other bottles.

"I found survivors."

Hinata frowned.

"We need to get them out. The rooms sealed I'm seeing signs of carbon monoxide poisoning."

Shikamaru nodded and in the secret code of Konaha told Hinata to go ahead and that him and Naruto would back her up…out of sight just in case this was a trap.

With a happy leap Hinata jumped off the roof they had been on and landed lightly in the street. She opened the door her hand shooting out to grab the tiny bells that hung above the door to warn the store owners of customers. Stepping inside she doubled check that those in the cellar were the only living people around.

It all looked clear…

Hinata suddenly gasped as finally noticed something she hadn't before. She was so focused on looking for the living that she missed the old woman dead on the floor. She had been gutted. Blood was literally all over the place.

Pausing for a moment Hinata came to a decision. It wouldn't be good for the survivors to come out and see this.

Gently she moved the old woman into the corner and closed her eye lids. Looking around Hinata yanked a large cloth like thing that was hanging on the wall. Looked like some kind of advertisement billboard. Although she didn't recognize the language written on it.

"I'm sorry."

She whispered as she draped the cloth over the woman. She then focused on figuring out how to get the people below out.

Even with her eyes it took a moment to find the latch. She pulled it and stepped back not sure what to expect and half expecting a deadly trap of some sort.

Hinata felt her ears pop at the change in air pressure as a door in the floor popped open and air rushed into the hole below.

Careful was a ninja's middle name and Hinata knew it so she didn't go rushing into the hole. Instead she studied the people inside.

What she saw almost brought her to tears again.

There were 8 people in this tiny room. Hinata looked them over taking in all the detail.

Two were a couple no doubt and they had a young child. The little girl couldn't have been more than 8. There was an old man and a young man who was probably his son. They were both wearing the same shirt. They must either work at this place or own it. There were 3 other young men, not much older than she was. One of them looked hurt, some sort of cloth had been ripped to bandage his arm. Even from where she stood she could smell the burnt flesh. Other than the one man, they all looked healthy enough especially now that fresh air was getting to them.

Oh god…

Hinata suddenly thought as she realized something.

There is no way out of this room from the inside. The door only opens from the outside. The woman…the old woman.

Hinata looked over to the woman it was then she noticed something she had missed before. The old woman she had cancer, it was in her lungs, her spleen and even had begun to grow in her brain. With Ninja skill she surmised what must have happened.

The slaughter began…and as the attackers came close no doubt they all crowded into the cellar to escape, all except the old woman. She was dieing anyway. So she gave her life to close the door and protect the few people she could. Maybe the old man was her husband, the boy her son. Or maybe she just saw strangers that she could save. It didn't matter.

Could I be that brave? Face certain and painful death, and not just death…but death alone. Alone in this store as the attacked forced their way in.

Hinata shook her head violently. She had to stay focused.

"Hello!"

She called into the cellar. There was silence.

"Please come out. This place isn't safe, the cellar doesn't allow air in."

Hinata sighed in relief when she saw one of the young men poke his head out. He stared at her a long moment before looking around. His glaze fell on cloth covered woman. He seemed so sad until he managed to hide it. He looked back at Hinata.

"Please come out."

Hinata asked shyly.

Slowly the man came out and after making sure there was no one else he called for the others.

"Looks clear."

Hinata took the moment to study the man some more. He was tall with buzzed short blonde hair and sharp features. He was wearing some kind of camo. In fact so were the other two young men.

"Who are you!"

The man demanded with a sharp voice. He obviously didn't trust her, but he no doubt knew what was happening before she came along. The man owed her his life as well as the lives of the others below.

"My names Hyuuga Hinata. I'm a Shinobi from the village hidden in the leaf"

The man titled his head.

"I don't know what a Shinobi is or a hidden leaf. But…"

He paused.

"Thank you for letting us out. I thought…we were all."
He gritted his teeth as he glanced over at the old woman again.

"It was still better than being slaughtered by the covenant."

"Jean? Oh god honey NO!"

"MOM!"

Hinata winced as the old man and the son ran over to the woman. They both collapsed on her crying. It broke her heart to watch.

"How did you find us?"

Another man in Camo said as he walked up to her. He was holding some sort of metal object…a weapon of some sort? It didn't look sharp, but something about it hit her 'that's a dangerous weapon' sense. Something every good ninja had if they wanted to live long.

"I'm good at finding things."
She semi lied something about this was wrong. How could they not know what a Shinobi was…or her village. Konaha was the largest Ninja village out there.

"I'm Tucker. That there is Church and the one with the plasma burns is Simmons."

Hinata could tell both men didn't like her answer but the decided it wasn't something to argue about now.

"the old man is Jim Cobb and his son James. Over there is Millie and Nicolas and their daughter June."

Hinata bowed low to them which they seemed to be surprised over.

"Excuse me."

Hinata began her shyness coming out now that she had these people out of danger. She touched her forefingers together and looked away.

"Please…can you tell me what happened here?"

That seemed to really surprise them all.

"How could you not know? The covenant hit us. In fact…"

The man called Tucker said looking up.

"I'm surprised they haven't glassed the planet yet."

"Glassed? I'm sorry what is a Covenant?"

This time they didn't just look surprised but shocked as well.

"Hinata!"

Hinata turned as Shikamaru dropped to the ground. The survivors all jumped even the old man and son who were still mourning. The man called Church jerked his weapon up to point at the new comer.

Shikamaru studied the people in the room. Finally after a long moment he muttered how bothersome and walked into the store.

"We really don't have time for cloak and dagger stuff. So I'll just say this all in one breath. We don't know where we are, how we got here. There was a bright light and suddenly we found ourselves waking up in a city that looks like nothing we've ever seen before. We don't know what a covenant is or what glassed means although it can't be a good thing. And we also don't know why we are in a city full of corpses. So please explain so maybe we can all get out of this alive."
Shikamaru ended his speech with a nod.

"but…"

Began Tucker.

"How can you not know what the covenant is? We've been fighting them for ten years? Everyone even in the outer colonies know?"

"Define We?"

This got another weird look.

"We…the core…as in Humans. The covenant are a group of different alien races that are trying to destroy humanity."

Shikamaru blinked as he tried to figure out what alien races meant. He had never heard the word before.

"So the Covenant are something other than human? Are they Demons?"

Church looked confused and it seemed to be more than he could wrap his mind around that someone wouldn't know what the covenant was.

"No…Of course not. The covenant are aliens. You know creatures from another planet?"

Shikamaru scratched his head in thought.

"It seems…something stranger than even I imagined has happened today. But perhaps we should discuss this after we get to safety."

Hinata looked up from where she had been kneeling beside the old man. One hand was on his back gently trying to comfort him as he mourned his wife.

"Are we still heading West?"

Shikamaru nodded then once again focused on Tucker.

"you're welcome to come with us."

Tucker frowned deeply as he glanced at his buddies. They seemed as confused as him but he was the superior officer here so it was his decision.

"Ya…sure why not."

Shikamaru gestured silently to Hinata. She nodded as she then focused on getting the old man up and moving. He was semi draped over his dead wife but moved when prompted.

He heard her whispering to him.

"Please Jim. She gave all that she had left for you and James. Don't make her sacrifice mean nothing."

The old man nodded and shakily stood up. He had to be at least seventy, old although healthy enough it seemed. Still no matter how healthy he was he was still a 70 year old man. He would slow them down considerable. In fact all of them would. They weren't ninja's.

"Alright unless anyone has anything to say, we're heading west."