Author's note: Hello everyone, I would like to thank everyone who is still reading. I apologies for the mega late update (almost two full years), and hope to post much more quickly in the future. Between college, my girlfriend, family, and work I haven't had much time to do much writing. Then I got this message from a reader of mine (Kage Husha). You can thank K.H. for the update as it was them who reminded me that it had been almost two full years since my last update. I thought I better whip something up, and this is the result.
On a side note, I will now be using the Fourth Hokage's real name: Minato Namikaze. I also don't have a beta right now, so forgive the grammar/spelling mistakes. Anyway, you probably just want to read the story, and for anyone who bothered reading this I applaud you. On with the story.
Italicized – for emphasis/thoughts
Bold – demon or god talking
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, more's the pity.
End of last chapter:
Grass grew untamed around two mounds of earth. The sun reflected off a monstrously huge knife-like butcher blade, which stabbed into the larger of the two mounds. They were graves, graves that he had dug himself just a matter of months ago. It had been the first time he had encountered death on a mission. The burial site of Zabuza and Haku.
He could hear Temari yelling at him, but her voice seemed a distant background noise. I hope this works. Using the last of his chakra Naruto tried desperately to activate his Jikoku Doutai.
He felt the familiar feeling of his body losing definition and then it was over. His eyes slowly came to focus and he realized he was lying on his back in the grass. Temari was on top of him clutching at his shirt. Tears streamed down her face and he could hear her screaming his name over and over, but he just couldn't answer. He was just too tired.
Blackness consumed his world.
The rain started not long after she built the shelter–a small structure made of branches draped over a hollow in the roots of a mammoth sized tree. Temari sat there, back propped against one of the roots, eyes closed, listening to the rain crash like bullets against the muddied earth. Naruto's prone form lay next to her, his head resting in her lap.
Like an angry bee, the memory of what took place those few hours previous buzzed around the inside of her head relentlessly. The more she tried to figure out what the hell had happened the more agitated she became.
It mades no sense.
Temari titled her head forward, peering upon Naruto's face with something akin to wonder twinkling within her blue eyes. When they first appeared in the clearing he was in such bad shape, she thought he was going to die. But now he seemed no worse for the wear, not a scratch or a bruise blemishing his tanned skin.
"What are you?" the hushed words slipped from her lips like water from glass, to be heard by none but her.
She thought back to the first timer she saw him heal, how he had seemed almost downcast, and withdrew into himself. Why would someone be ashamed of such an ability?
Silence brought Temari from her thoughts. It had stopped raining. Removing Naruto's head from her lap, she slid into a crouching position. She pushed through the branches above her to form a hole like exit from the hollow. Lithely crawling out the hole, she jumped away from the tree.
A narrow pond had formed amid the dimpled ground of the clearing. The muddied water covered grass and fallen leaves, dark branches littered the area, their awkward forms protruded from the water's shallow surface like the ribs of some great beast from years past. Amid it all two mounds crested over the surface, miniature islands side by side. Her eyes were drawn to them, and the large blade the stood in the heart of the larger isle. She recognized them as graves, and couldn't help but wonder whose. What importance did this place hold? Why had they appeared here? She knew Naruto could preform a teleportion jutsu, but she didn't know he could travel such distances. This was definitely not fire country.
Naruto landed next to her, catching Temari off-guard. Holy crap he moves quietly, when did he wake up?
"Sorry for getting you involved in this." Naruto said quietly.
"That girl that attacked us, she was wearing a scratched out sound forehead-protector."
Naruto seemed to become even more tense, if that was possible. Temari grabbed his wrist, pulling him towards her. She looked up at his face, trying to get him to look at her. He didn't comply, instead he cast his eyes out towards the graves, jaw clenching and un-clenching, as if some internal struggle was reaching the boiling point.
"Akatsuki. She was an Akatsuki. So far I have been contacted by three of them, Itachi, some shark looking guy and her. They want me to join them." His arm moved towards his stomach, before falling back to his side. "I knew they were dangerous, but I never gave them to much thought because they seemed to keep their distance. Now I'm not sure what to think. All I know is that they are all really powerful, and they want the bijuu."
This left her confused. The bijuu, beasts more powerful than all but the stongest shinobi. Considered by most to be a resource, chakra weapons used in times of war. They wanted to collect them? All of them? To what end? The combined power of such monstrosities could be devastating. "How do they plan to go about doing that? Each of the tailed beast are in the possession of the five great shinobi nations. How can they-?"
"I don't know just yet. I just know that they want them, all of them. That's why the want to recruit me I guess."
"What, so you can help them capture the beasts?" Temari asked curiously, not quite sure how he could help. In order to collect the tailed beasts one would have to go up against the hidden villages that possessed them. That would require the power of multiple S-rank ninja, at least.
"Not exactly." Naruto's words came out slow and quiet, and as he spoke he lifted the front of his shirt up, exposing a black seal inked across his skin. "Temari, I-Im a jinchuriki. A host for the Kyuubi no Kitsune." Temari's jaw dropped, shocked. Naruto was a container?! What about the stories of the Fourth Hokage destroying the Kyuubi, that was all a cover?
"Then...that's how you heal so quickly, and the second chakra nature, and that night with the killer intent and the-the..." She trailed off. It made sense now. Naruto's gaze rested upon his feet, as if afraid to look upon her face.
So that's why he looks ashamed whenever he heals.
Temari slid her arms around his torso, learning into his chest, a blush painted her cheeks red. She could hear his heat beating fast as a frightened rabbit. One, two, she counted the seconds before he returned her embrace, overcoming his momentary shock.
"You don't think I'm a monster? You're not afraid?" Naruto whispered into her ear, surprise lacing his voice. How could he think she'd be afraid of him? After all that had happened, she knew he was anything but a monster.
"Naruto, there's a reason they call containers Jinchuriki. It means human sacrifice. You're the jailer of the most dangerous monster in existence. Every breath you take is a sacrifice made to keep the world safe. It's a burden none should have to carry alone."
She snuggled closer to him, listening to his heart thumping in his chest, she let her questions and worries fall away. This felt right. She could feel his breath grow faster, brushing against her skin. It sent tingles dancing down her spine.
"I'm not going back." Temari withdrew, confused. What did he mean? "I can't return to Konoha."
Tamari jumped back in surprize. "We have to go back! Where else would we go?"
Naruto frowned, she didn't get it. "Temari, I can't go back. Before I teleported us out of there I saw something. Jiraiya and Tsunade were talking about me. He's afraid that I'm going to waste my life chasing Sasuke. He said he would refuse to train me. Because of my Jinchuriki status, and being the only Uchiha left in Konoha, Tsunade said I would have to be left under constant supervision. Jiraiya was the only person Tsunade trusted with me, now that he wont train me there is no one who can take me outside the village. I'd be stuck there, like a house cat, unable to look for Sasuke. Do you understand?
Temari opened her mouth to respond, but Naruto kept on going. "I'm sorry that you had to get involed in this. We are in the Land of Waves, a island that sits off the coast of the Land of Fire. I know some people from here that know the route to Konoha. I'll get you an escort as soon as possible."
Temari was dumbfounded. He was ditching her? After all that had happened he was freaking dumping her on some stupid escort? Hell to the freaking no!
"What are you talking about? I'm not going anywhere. Besides, I still have to teach you wind manipulation."
Naruto was taken aback for a moment, unsure of what she was implying. "You want to stay with me? I could be labeled a missing ninja. People will come looking for me. You could get hurt if it comes down to a battle."
"I'm a ninja Naruto. Ninja take risks."
"What about your brothers? I have no family, but you? Gaara and Kakuro will go crazy if you just disappear with me." Naruto sent her a quizzical look, as if trying to figure out what she was thinking.
"We'll send a message to them. Your a summoner aren't you? Give one of your summons a letter to deliver. I know Gaara, he'll understand. Kakuro might not take it so easily, but that's fine. I wont let you do this alone." Temari reached out, grabbing his hand with hers. Their fingers interlocked, and she looked into his eyes with a surety that he couldn't deny. She wouldn't leave him, he knew it. Letting out an exasperated sigh to hold back the smile that was trying to break across his face, he caved. He wouldn't admit it just yet, but he was glad Temari wanted to come with him.
"So you said we are in Wave?"
Naruto nodded, turning to look at the graves. Why here? He wasn't sure why, but a part of him felt attacked to this place. Like there was something he needed to do.
"This is the grave of Zabuza Momochi and his former companion Haku." Naruto's eyes glazed over, replaying the memories of the mission. "They were the first enemies I ever encountered on a mission. I've always wondered if things had happened differently, maybe we could have been friends. It's funny, but I never thought they were that bad. They were just trying to make a better world."
Naruto grimaced. He suddenly knew why he had come here. He never truly viewed them as an enemy. Zabuza wanted to get enough money to finance a rebellion to overthrow a tyrant. The Mizukage, a cruel leader whose rule had led Kirigakure into a period of fear and blood. Had his goals not been admirable? He could not help but feel as if those two had been pitted against insurmountable odds, and left no choice but to run and take what ever jobs they could.
"Temari, you think that sword could be used similarly to your fan?" Naruto asked, feeling drawn to the blade. Temari look over at it, noting the large hole near the tip.
"Well, not as effectively, but it is fairly wide. It guess it could work. Though with a blade like that, you'd be better off just channeling your wind-natured chakra into it to increase its cutting power, and using it in close quarters.
Naruto grinned. Maybe Zabuza could help him make a better world, or at least his blade could. Jumping on the surface of the water, he landed on the wet, grass covered grave. His arm lurched forward, gripping the massive handle tightly. Flexing, he eased the blade out, careful to keep his balance.
"Wow it's heavy." He grunted as he hefted the sword. Looking over at Temari he swung the blade around, trying to get a feel for it. It was just so damn big! He didn't know how effectively he could wield such a blade. I have three years to learn.
"There's a town about ten minutes that way. I know a family there, we might be able to stay there for the night." Naruto said, pointing with the sword. Hopfully there's some kind of weapons shop in town I can stop by to get a holster for this thing. "Tomorrow we can try and figure this whole thing out."
The man she simply knew as 'Leader' sat before her, leaning forward in his throne-like chair, fingers rapping against the stone armrest. He only did that when he was anxious. She didn't like it when he was anxious. Shikyo gasped as a wave of killer intent, greater than any she had ever felt before, wrapped around her; a suffocating blanket that sent her heart into a frenzy.
"What?" His red eyes, burning like coals in the shadows from behind a curtain his wild blond hair. Shikyo fell to her knees, right hand edging slowly towards the largest of her bells.
"It's likely Naruto now thinks I attacked him and his friend. With this newly awakened ability, all efforts in tracking him could prove fruitless." Shikyo's voice did not display her fear, instead it remained steady and strong, though it failed to maintain its former cocky air. She looked up at his face, attempting to read his features. His face remained dark, un-impressioned, void of emotion.
"At least he is no longer in the village." The killing intent lessened, until only his ever constant aura remained. Shikyo breathed, letting her hand fall to her side. What had she been thinking? If he attacked her, she wouldn't last more than a few brief moments, not unless he wanted her to.
"By himself, he can be more easily persuaded to join us, and Konoha will be unable to interfere. Hopefully this can be fixed." The leader seemed to relax, leaning back in his chair.
"Shikyo, one more thing." He looked down at her, eyes flashing dangerously. "Next time I call, you will come." She nodded, before standing up and disappearing in a poof of smoke.
"Zetsu, what of this new ability?"
The darker side of Zetsu's facde began to smirk. "It was exactly as you predicted. The seal is feeding off the beast's chakra, using it's power to awaken abilities within his eyes." Zetsu paused, and the white side of his face picked up from where he left off.
"The Mangekyo has been known to have power over the Kyuubi. The Fourth's abilities with sealing jutsu were so great, he was able to create a mechanism within the seal capable using the Kyuubi's own chakra as a power source. This mechanism works to create special predefined jutsu, specifically designed for Naruto by Minato himself. The more of the Kyuubi's power Naruto uses, the faster the eyes will advance.
"During his encounter with Shikyo, Naruto awakened another ability. I couldn't get all of it, but from what I saw I'm guessing Naruto has a sort of second sight. It will allow him to see places far away from him, which he can simply spy on or use Jikoku Doutai to teleport to."
The blond smiled as Zetsu finished his little explanation. This was getting interesting. You'll be mine soon Naruto.
"Zetsu," He paused, absently fingering the chain that hung around his neck,"find him before Konoha does. Make sure they don't get close to him."
Author's Note: Wow, that was almost painful to write. The whole thing took me about four hours, more or less. Pretty crappy, but what you going to do. Hope you enjoyed it. I'll try to update in the next week/month, but no guarantees. Leave me some reviews with your comments, and opinions. Oh, by the way, the more reviews I get the faster I update. Each one is a little reminder that I need to start on my next chapter. Had I not received that message from Kage Husha just as I had a little bit of wiggle room in my schedule, it could have been another year before I wrote this.
Oh, random challenge. If I hit 700 reviews then I'll post the next chapter the day of/after the 700'th review, and give the 700'th reviewer a shout out. Lol, as I'd get 700 reviews with this crap. Dare to dream. :D