::dodges rocks and rotting vegetables:: SORRY!! SO SORRY! I PROMISE I am going to finish this story! It's hardly begun really, we haven't heard anything about Sasuke, or Itachi, or even left on the mission yet! All I can say is that life has gotten in the way along with the fact that I had other stories screaming to come out and I am totally up to date on my anime and manga and I was not sure how to reconcile my story with the realities of the show. I have decided that I can't but will aim to keep on the straight and narrow from now on, working within the mistakes and discrepancies that I have created. I hope you can all still enjoy if you even remember what the story is about!!

Chapter 17: On the Road Again

Naruto showed up first, running over towards Genma and Ryu waving his hand in a vigorous hello.

"Hey Naruto," Genma said monotone rolling his eyes and contemplating a full mission with the energetic Kyubi container and not thrilled by it.

"Where's Kaka-sensei and Sakura-chan?" Naruto asked.

"Not here yet, you're a bit early," Genma replied.

"Hi, I'm Uzamaki Naruto," Naruto stated happily turning to Ryu.

"Yamamoto Ryu," Ryu replied giving Naruto slight wave.

"You're the hurt one right?" asked Naruto.

"Yep," replied Ryu.

"Let's save the introductions until everyone gets here, ok Naruto? Ryu, why don't you go over to your team and make sure everyone's ready. I have a feeling we'll be leaving soon," Genma said placing a firm hand on Naruto's shoulder and walking him away from Ryu.

"Genma! What's up!" Naruto whined as Genma quickly released his shoulder and instead smacked him upside the head.

"Shut up dobe! Listen for once!" Genma said irritated. "I want you to keep an eye on that Ryu guy."

"Well DUH Genma, that's the mission isn't it?!" Naruto said annoyed as he rubbed his sore head.

"No teme! I mean I have a bad feeling about him. I think . . ." Genma paused as he considered how much to tell the volatile young blond. On the one hand Naruto was a good ninja and he could be helpful on watching our for Ryu, on the other hand if he said too much he might take matters immediately into his own hands for the sake of his pink haired team mate with no evidence and then everything that Genma suspected Kakashi and Sakura were trying to hide would be burst into the open. With that thought firmly in his mind Genma shifted his senbon to the other side of his mouth and continued, "I think that he's a womanizer and he might try and bother Sakura so make sure he doesn't get too close to her ok?"

"You pervert! Womanizer huh? Takes one to know one you know. Well I'll keep an eye out for Sakura-chan but I think I'll watch out for YOU too," Naruto said, nose in the air and arms crossed.

"Don't worry about me, I think someone else already has their eye on her," Genma chuckled quietly spinning the senbon with his tongue.

"WHAAAAAT? Who!" Naruto started.

"Yo," Kakashi greeted as he poofed between Naruto and Genma.

"Hey Kaka-sensei Genma just said someone- OW!" Naruto cried grabbing his butt and pulling out a senbon that was lodged well into it. "What the fuck was that for!"

"Sorry, coughed," Genma said deadpan and gave Kakashi a significant look that spoke of a needed private conference as soon as the mission allowed.

"Coughed! Damn it! I think I need Sakura-chan to heal this or I'm gonna be limping for the next hour!" Naruto whined putting pressure on the wound.

"Tough for you! Now there's no way I can put that senbon back in my mouth!" Genma replied.

"YOU-" Naruto began.

"Naruto, why are you holding your butt?" Sakura asked as she walked up and joined her team.

"Sakura-chan! Can you heal me please! Genma-teme 'coughed' and stuck his senbon up my-" Naruto whined.

"I get the point Naruto," Sakura said tilting her eyebrow. "Come here silly."

"Thanks Sakura!" Naruto said relieved as he hopped over to his teammate and bent over a little to give her access.

Sakura placed her hand over Naruto's wound and in a matter of seconds repaired the damage. It was always interesting healing Naruto, since the nine tails spirit always helped him to heal fast anyway, she liked to see how much energy she actually need to output for different kinds of injuries on him. Job finished she stood up and said, "Let's get moving guys!"

"Murakami-san! Gather your team and let's do introductions on the road!" Genma called as he Kakashi, Naruto and Sakura straightened there packs and headed down the road towards the team from sand.

"Hai!" answered Murakami as his team also gathered and joined in with the leaf team.

The teams began a simple traveling formation with the team leaders Murakami-san and Kakashi taking the lead, and the other two Naruto hadn't met yet running with Genma in the rear, leaving himself, Sakura and the hurt guy in the middle. Naruto just made out the one he'd learned earlier was Ryu leaning towards Sakura and saying something the beginning of which he missed but ended "- you just whore yourself around huh, fondling your own team mates ass."

To his great surprise Sakura didn't haul off and punch him, as he would have expected, she actually stumbled a step and he saw her eyebrows knit tightly together. Naruto was shocked and extremely angry at how this guy was treating his friend, but lacking another explanation he figured she was just trying to ignore the guy in order to preserve the mission. After all she was supposed to be ready to heal the guy. Naruto decided to take Genma's advice on this guy and he figured that until the guy need healing he didn't need to be within speaking distance of his Sakura-chan. He would also do his best to keep the guy healthy so Sakura wouldn't have to get close enough to heal him.

Naruto grabbed him by the elbow and pulled him a good 10 feet in front of Sakura smothering him with questions about Suna to keep his mind away from his friend.


Sakura was so startled by Ryu's comment she didn't even respond. In fact she barely noticed when Naruto grabbed him not to gently by the arm and pulled him in front of her so that she was running behind the two of them while Naruto made loud constant conversation.

Sakura took deep breaths attempting to calm her recently re-agitated nerves wondering how the hell she was going to get through this mission. Maybe Naruto would keep him distracted the whole trip. God knows he can talk long enough. Fortune decided not to smile on her however because as they had continued at a good pace for nearly and hour and a half Sakura suddenly noticed a change in Ryu's footsteps and before she or Naruto who was still beside him noticed, he fainted dead away falling at an alarming rate from the branch he had just landed on. Sakura was barely able to leap underneath him and catch him since she was following behind them. Kakashi and Murakami-san stopped immediately and Genma and the two other sand nin landed beside her immediately helping her to find a safe flat place to lay him out. Before she could even begin to muster her chakra to examine him his eyelids started to flutter open and he looked up dazed and confused.

"What . . . what happened," Ryu asked stiltedly.

"You fainted," Sakura said quietly nervous at their proximity. She mentally shook herself and gathered her chakra to inspect him. Tsunade was right of course, his body seemed to be in fine shape, she could see no reason why he would have fainted. "What is the last thing you remember Yamamoto-san?"

"Naruto saying something. Or asking something. Yeah he was asking me something," Ryu answered slurring slightly.

All eyes turned to Naruto who, now the center of attention, turned a bright red and quickly closed his eyes scratching the back of his head sheepishly.

"What were you discussing Naruto," Kakashi asked blandly, eyeing Genma significantly.

"Umm, I don't - I mean – I'm not sure what-" Naruto stammered.

"It doesn't matter," Sakura cut in quickly. "How do you feel now?"

"Fine, my head felt a bit foggy there but it's clear now," Ryu answered smiling brightly and sitting up, "Good thing too, I hear sometimes when people aren't thinking clearly they can assault people for no reason. I would hate to think that my foggy head could cause someone potentially permanent harm."

It took all of Sakura's strength not to begin to cry or punch him so hard into the ground the term face plant would take on an all-new meaning. Fortunately Kakashi and Genma came forward and pulled Ryu to his feet quickly, and if they dusted him off a little hard well, stubborn dirt stains can be hard to remove.

"I think we should re-arrange our dynamics considering Yamamoto-san's condition. Kenta-san would you have Masaru-san and Takumi-san flank their injured team mate so that if he falls again they can catch him?" Kakashi suggested, going on at their nods, "Genma, I'd like you up front with me and if Kenta-san would be so kind he could take up with Sakura at the rear and help keep an eye on Yamamoto-san."


The new formation was taken up and they started off again, jumping into the tree tops.

Kakashi and Genma sped together silently in front until they had gained enough distance not to be overheard but still in sight.

"Kakashi I want to know what's going on. I think I figured it out already but I think I need to know," Genma asked quietly senbon laying still in the corner of his mouth.

"Figured out what?" Kakashi asked.

"Don't give me that bullshit!" Genma started roughly.

"No I'm serious I need to know what you figured out and how. It's important," Kakashi answered seriously.

Genma eyed him suspiciously and then decided to answer, "First tell me if I'm right."

Kakashi remained silent neither agreeing nor disagreeing.

"Fine, I believe that Ryu guy got fresh with Sakura and I don't mean in the charming way like I do. I think he's hurt her and I suspect she somehow came to you for help. I'm not sure what you did but since he apparently didn't have bodily injuries I don't think Sakura pounded him too hard and neither did you so you must have done something to mess with his head," Genma concluded.

"Right so far," Kakashi answered quietly, "How did you figure it out?"

"Come on man, I can put the pieces together! She's at your place, you go to her place to get her clothes, that Ryu guy tells me she's a cock-tease-" Genma was cut off in his listing as Kakashi grabbed his flak vest and pulled him closer in mid leap almost causing the two of them to end up in a mangled heap on the forest floor.

"HE SAID WHAT!?" Kakashi whisper/screamed into Genma's ear.

"Damn it man!" Genma said pulling loose from Kakashi's grip and irritatedly shifting his senbon to the other side of his mouth, coincidently the side that Kakashi was on.

"Tell me exactly what he said to you," Kakashi asked menacingly.

Genma recounted the conversation that he'd had with Ryu earlier that day mentioning the blacked out bits of memory and the insulting things he had said about Sakura.

"Well it's not as bad as I thought," Kakashi thought out loud to himself, "but still might need to be fixed."

"What's going on Kakashi? What did you do to the guy?" Genma asked curious.

Kakashi glanced quickly away from Genma and scratched the back of his head, a hint of a blush might have been visible from the space between his mask and his forehead protecter.

"Kakashi!" Genma said sternly.

"Well, in the heat of the moment, it could be that I used my mangekyo on him," answered Kakashi.

"What!" Genma yelled earning him interested looks from the ninja behind them. Kakashi turned back crinkling and eye and waving to show everything was ok.

"Shut up Genma!" Kakashi strained through clenched teeth.

"Right sorry, now you did what to him exactly," Genma said putting another senbon in his mouth as he had inadvertently spit the other one into a passing tree.

"I put him in a genjutsu where he raped himself for each time he did so to a girl and then commanded him not to get near Sakura or tell anyone what happened," Kakashi explained calmly.

"Damn man! Make sure I never get on you bad side," Genma grumbled eyeing Kakashi, "Well it looks like you literally fucked his mind man. You might have to fix that before we get to Suna and they figure it out somehow."

"I know, I know. I really didn't expect it to affect him like this. I've never had something like this happen before. I've told people to forget things many times in past missions and I've never heard of any black outs or fainting." Kakashi said worried, "I think I'm probably going to have to remove the genjutsu but I'll need your help to get him away from the others. Sakura doesn't know what I did and I don't want her to find out. She made me promise not to hurt him."

"Oh, so that's why you didn't arrange an 'accident'," Genma replied understanding dawning on him.

Silence passed between the two friends each in their own thoughts.

"Did you learn anything about that guy from his team leader?" Genma asked.

"A little. We talked a bit while we ran ahead. It seems he just passed their Jounin test a short time ago. Kenta-san said this is the first time he's been teamed up with him he's met him a time or two and apparently Hashimoto Masaru and Hamada Takumi have worked with him before. Kenta-san said the Ryu struck him as an ok guy, thinks with his dick too much but on a mission he's a valuable asset. Apparently he has a knack for inventing new jutsu. Kenta-san was perplexed as to why he was sent on this bodyguard mission as usually he stays in Suna working in their headquarters." Kakashi told Genma.

"I chatted with those two while we ran," Genma replied. "Masaru says Ryu has some mad skills and he hopes that he'll snap out of whatever funk he's in. He strikes me as and arrogant little bastard. Takumi didn't seem to like Ryu or frankly Masaru at all. He said he's worked under Kenta for years but I really couldn't get much out of him. I don't think he feels comfortable talking to a leaf ninja after the 'attack' on Ryu."

"Yeah, it's going to be difficult to get Ryu by himself, and I really need to rest up if I'm going to use the mangekyo again without showing any strain. Are you in Genma," Kakashi asked turning to his friend.

"Was there ever a question?" Genma asked smirking around his senbon.

OK my grandparents are here from New York and I must visit with them so please forgive me my short chapters! Hope you still enjoy and I will make sure NEVER to let it get that long between updates!