Naruto yawned as shook off the dreams, then, as he did every morning, we stood and tried to find ramen. After three steps, in preparation for the upcoming breakfast, his mind started functioning again and he realized something was wrong. Springing away from the thick blanket he was wrapped in, he barely managed to take cover in the trees just outside of a massive crater, before a teenage girl carrying a small basket walked by.

"Hello?" the girl looked around confused, and slowly, Naruto eased out of his defensive position, behind the tree. "Are you still here?" She set her parcel down, and wandered over to the trees, peaking around them.

"Who are you?" Trying his best to think of how she would know he was there, he nearly fell when the girl returned to her package, and threw it right up to his hiding place.

"My name is Haku. I was out gathering herbs for my sick uncle when I found you lying in that crater. I've been taking care of you for the last day or so." Unwrapping the small bundle, Naruto found the items made by his transformed clones, and a few common medicines made by herbs.

"Thanks. I was wondering why everything seemed breezy." Too surprised at the fight with his clones ending so horribly, Naruto failed to think about the stranger seeing him naked. Putting the few remaining articles of clothing that he left on, he found himself extremely lacking. Apparently, chakra was very destructive when exposed to normal clothing, but transformed clones were barely effected. To make up for the missing parts, he took the clothes back off, and rolled all of it into a small ball. "Don't peek, or interrupt me. This is the first time I've tried this." Haku was already walking away to continue her herb gathering.

Soothed by the lack of response, Naruto placed the clothing ball on a nearby branch, formed his favorite hand-seals, and using as much chakra as he could, turned it into a clone. The resulting Naruto copy then used the transformation jutsu, and changed into the orange jumpsuit Naruto had grown to love. Unbeknownst to the original Naruto, the seal on his stomach glowed for a second, before the clone was broken down, then absorbed, stopping him from creating another internal clone.

"What were you doing out here, anyway? It isn't exactly fun to lay naked in the middle of large, rough craters, so I assume that wasn't intentional." Naruto hopped down from his tree to get a better look at his new friend, and found a lean girl carrying a medium sized basket. From the odd smell coming from it, it seemed to be almost completely filled with herbs and some medicines recently made from them.

"I was training my special techniques." Naruto eventually blurted out. After pausing to figure out what to tell her, he settled on something that seemed as conservative as he needed to be with his friend. "I'm training to become the Hokage... so everyone will respect me. Once I do, I'll help my brother fulfills his goals."

The girl…Haku, then smiled, and nodded her approval. "You will truly become powerful if you have someone to protect, and aid." A quick look at a watch he hadn't noticed on her earlier shrank her gentle smile. "It's been a while. You should get back to your brother."

"Ya, the idiot would probably get killed or something if I'm not there to help him. Thanks for everything. Bye!" Naruto ran into the trees until he considered himself a decent distance away. Pausing only to get onto a tree, he was almost out of earshot when he heard the girl call out to him.

"By the way, I'm a boy!" Almost surprising Naruto off the tree he was balanced on. Once he regained his balance, he was happily off to find his clan-mate, and his team, with yet another friend to add to his short list.

"I'm sorry, but that is all I can do to make this fair. Fight me like I'm a boy, and maybe my hands won't be stained with the blood of someone as innocent as you." A thin wall crystallized out of the ever-present, light mist and within seconds, Haku was flitting through small ice mirrors lodged in trees.

At Tsunami's house.

Two large men walked out of the house, one carrying a small child, and the other a middle-aged woman. Despite struggles from their packages, they made it halfway to the tree line before an orange comet burst out of the forest, and landed three meters ahead of them.

"Put Tsunami and Inari down!" Once the glow from the orange man's entrance died down, the two mercenaries almost fell down laughing. This short, blond-haired little boy was trying to play ninja with them. With a quick glance at each other, the mercenaries dropped their hostages, drew their swords, and rushed the child.

In response, Naruto rushed them back, with red trickling into his eyes. Jumping meters over their heads, he inhaled deeply, and never taking his eyes off them, prepared his chakra one of the strongest techniques he knew. 'Mythical flame technique.' He thought for a second, before he reached the peak of his jump, and released the jutsu.

One massive burst of fire rushed straight down onto them, and Naruto continued to pump chakra into the technique, until he stopped to breath. The flames however, continued to burn, unlike previous tries with the technique, so two large crackling flames stood where the mercenaries had been.

When he finally landed, Naruto ran over to his two charges and untied them, ignoring the two massive bonfires. "Those two ninjas have probably escaped by now, unless their still watching us, but they probably know better than to actually attack us." Inari move to speak, but his mother shushed him so Naruto could continue. "I don't think they'll come back, but I'll leave some clones here just in case. Where is everyone?"

Tsunami stood for a few second, mouth agape. Then, when she realized who was talking to her, she stumbled backward slightly with Inari in tow, adding a few feet in distance between them. "Everyone went to the bridge, because today is the last day of construction. They thought the workers might get attacked, to completely crush our village's hope."

Naruto flitted through hand-seals for a second, before an dozen clones appeared around them. "Guard these two with your lives. They better be safe in the house when they get back or else you all in trouble." The clones chorused 'yes sir.' and Naruto was back in the forest, chakra burning through his veins, and boosting his jumps.

"Uh, Narutos? Why don't you all scan the area in case there are more enemy ninja around." They debated among themselves for a minute before agreeing. Happy that they wouldn't be bored to death, they leapt into the forest, occasionally scuffling with each other playfully. As soon as they were a reasonable distance away, Inari was promptly sick, memories of other deaths rushing through his head.

"Mom, those men didn't escape, did they?" He had taken a few minutes to try to compose himself, but as he gestured towards the two small clumps of ash where the mercenaries had been attacked, he almost vomited again. Tsunami shook her head, woefully. The very fact that Inari was only sick, and not crying in terror made her heart ache.

'So many people have died. So many of out friends and family were executed publicly that he doesn't fear death. At least he's still sick in its presence.' Shaking off her own fear of the orange clad ninja, Tsunami grabbed Inari's hand, gently lead him to a small marsh several tree's were sinking into. Once there, she picked up a large glob of moist earth, and hauled it over to the now remains of the mercenaries.

"Naruto didn't know they weren't ninja, and he certainly doesn't think he killed them. If we can help him by keeping it that way, then we will have to bear that burden." After dropping her second clump of earth, Inari ran past her, to the mercenaries. In his arms, lay a large glob of soil.

The bridge

Ten men charged away from the bridge, sake on their minds, and small wads of cash in their hands. "That's the last of them, Kakashi." The copy nin nodded without looking up from his book, then let his lone eye raise from the page.

"Good, since we can only expect Zabuza to be hanging out somewhere, waiting for them to leave. He's rouge, but at least he's honorable enough to leave civilians alone." Kakashi then glanced toward the end of the bridge, where the worker had left to, only to have his sight blocked by a thick fog.

"Sakura, please guard the bridge builder. Sasuke, get ready to fight Zabuza's associ..." Kakashi didn't get to finish before a large sword sliced through where he had been a second earlier.

"You think too highly of me, Kakashi. I just wanted to defeat the great copy nin of Konoha in a fair fight." The sword struck from above, but Kakashi was once again out of the way before it landed. "Of course, your students and Tazuna are still here, so their fair-play." Kakashi hurriedly rushed to his three wards, while forming hand seals for a technique.

"Hosenka no jutsu!" The flame cleared the mist for a second, and the almost silent footsteps of the water assassin stopped as he lunged to the side to avoid it.

"Are you planning on wearing me out, then attacking with your ally? You against me and my students against you ally, unless you really think you need the help." It took a second for Kakashi's haite to be cast aside, but between him removing it and it hitting the ground, the mist partially cleared, and the hunter nin from the last fight stood before them.

"Trying to jibe me into doing something stupid? I've always wanted to take you down fairly, your suggestion simply drew the rules. Haku, play with the little kids until I finish entertaining myself." The child drew a senbon, and launched it at Sasuke, ignoring Sakura and Tazuna.

Before the needle had a chance to reach his kunai, a thin pink wire of chakra latched onto it and tilted it upward, forcing Sasuke to dive away instead of blocking it. Rolling, the Uchiha once again was forced to spring to the side while a flurry of needles peppered the abandoned ground. When he had finally gained a sure foot, Haku charged at the boy, three needles draw in each hand. Sakura's panic apology was lost as the two bloodline nin slashed each other up with their chosen weapons, kunai from a pouch and ice needles yanked out of the air.

'He's good. I can't fight offensively for more than a few moves before he overpowers me. I suppose it's time to really bring out my power.' Haku thought. 'Naruto chose a powerful person to protect.'


Kakashi blocked the massive sword once again with two extended kunai he kept for fights with weapon users, before springing away and throwing three normal kunai. Metal clashed with metal, but as he drew more, the air to his side was disturbed, and once again, Kakashi blocked the giant sword. So far in the fight, the mist removed all the value of his sharingan, with him unable to cast genjutsu from it or get any insight into Zabuza's attacks.

"You wish you could stop this jutsu, right? Just try to cancel it and you'll be mine!" the sound echoed around him, destroying the chance of locating Zabuza with his voice.

After jumping over an unexpected knee level slash, Kakashi snapped through a short set of seals. 'Thunder tag technique.' Electricity sparked from his hand and latched onto the large metal blade that almost decapitated him a second later.

"What's wrong? Don't your little tricks work in the mist?" The voice once again came from all sides, but the small hidden locket Kakashi had received from his teacher tugged him towards the right. "So sad…the great Copy-nin was defeated because it was too humid for him." The Water demon moved to slash Kakashi again, but suddenly, Kakashi completed another jutsu.

"Water style: Duel serpents technique!" The mist pulled into a ball of water overhead, then siphoned off into two large snakes, which immediately charged for the rouge-nin. Zabuza dashed away, while sheathing his sword to his back to free up his hands. Ten short seals later, from the ocean condensed into a smooth water dragon, whose massive form towered over the bridge. With a gurgling roar, it charged the two snakes while Kakashi closed the distance between him and his adversary.


Fireballs flew through the air, always being intercepted by needles or missing by a step. For a second, Sasuke stopped to draw breath, but it was forced from his lungs when he was sliced by several needles, and then punched in the stomach.

Steadying his self, he drew a few fast seals that his new brother could do in his sleep. "Fire clone jutsu." The clone steamed for a second, before the two Uchiha launched their bodies away from what quickly became a pile of crossed ice shards.

Pumping chakra into the whole body, the real Sasuke ran head on into Haku, and they briefly struggled in rapid tiajutsu, before he dodged away into the safety of the heavier mist. Where he had been, a streak of flames evaporated the mist, and scorched the ground, giving him a small chance to breath.

Those two breaths cost him, as a needle shot from further into the mist, pinning him between it and a needle that had come from behind. Picking what to sacrifice, he twisted himself slightly, and blocked one needle with his arm and the other with his leg, before he was kicked out of the air, and away from a hail of attacks.

The fire clone, who had taken the brunt of Haku's attack after Sasuke blocked the first two needles, was pierced with needles from all sides and angles. Blood dripping from it's mouth, it threw one last kunai towards where the mist was still thick, before it exploded into a wave of heat, evaporating the steadily thinning mist in that section of the bridge.

"You seem to have great potential. I will be honored to end your life with one of my best techniques." Haku forced the icy patches she had been using on the ground to melt, before it and the last of the mist between Haku and Sasuke condensed into a large ball of water. Expecting this, Sasuke released the favorite technique of his clan into it, trying to evaporate it, or disrupt the chakra building it, but the grand fireball only seemed to waste chakra as the evaporated water was absorbed back into the ball.

This was the only warning Sasuke got, before it split several times, and made a large ring in the air around him. Then, as Haku disappeared once again, it broke into sections that hardened into frozen orbs. As soon as they formed, they each started firing frozen needles at him, independently targeting him. Sasuke raced the sprays of senbon for a few meters, before Haku returned to darting around him, turning his mad sprint, into a running tiajutsu fight.

Dodging into one of her attack, Sasuke managed to get Haku between the ice and him for a second, before she replaced her own body with one of the larger ice orbs. It shredded his left arm, and left a few solid needles in his right, before he kicked the ball into the sky, and shattered three noticeably smaller ice launchers. The victory was short lived as he looked around himself, and found nothing but orbs of shimmering, floating ice…


Zabuza sliced through an attacking water dragon, before jumping onto the head of one of his own. The resonating chakra in the air was almost as good as eyes, as he blasted where most of Kakashi's chakra was coming from with three simultaneous water vortexes, destroying the last of the water creatures, but not hitting anything similar to a human body.

That human in question, was above the battlefield, replicating his strangest students attack. Ten clones provided him with launch pads, until gravity got the better of them, and they fell back to the fight, each preparing a wind, water, or fire jutsu. At the peak of his extreme jump, Kakashi closed his normal eye, and pumped extra chakra into the other, causing the sharingan's tomoe to spin with the excess chakra inside of it. Then, using the entire remains of the first half of his chakra supply, he flew through twenty seals, falling directly over where he hoped his clones had forced the water demon.

"I suppose you will always aid me in battle, teacher. Uzumaki style: thunder prince jutsu!" The light chakra trail left by his fall ignited with crackling energy, which then drove through him, following his path, and tracking the magnetic tag he had left on Zabuza's sword earlier. Two meters above Zabuza, a wall of ice orbs intercepted the attack, and fired needles up towards the jutsu stealer, just as they were annihilated.

"Dragon style: dragon breath technique." A familiar Uchiha shouted from the side, and a stream of flames melted through the attack that could have easily killed him.

The still falling Copy-nin added to the attack with his own high speed Hosenka no jutsu, giving him the space he needed to activate his first gate, and land safely. Releasing the gate, he was nearly ripped in half by Zabuza's thrown sword, and a dozen needles, but he blocked the blade with his extended kunai, and several normal kunai intercepted the needles. Running towards the middle of the bridge, he once again dodged the sword, which was returning , via chakra strings, to its master.


"You should be proud you survived this long. This however, will be my last jutsu, and your last fight." Water around them didn't get a chance to collect, as frozen walls built themselves around the two children. Taken back by the speed of the formation, Sasuke completely missed Haku sliding into one of these.

As the transition was completed, reflections of the hunter-nin appeared in all of the mirrors, and Sasuke was struck down by an almost invisible onslaught of needles. After defending for two straight minutes, the attacks slowed for a moment, giving Sasuke time to do his own jutsu.

"Grand fireball!" The fireball roared through the air, until it hit a mirror. Then, for a few seconds the flame licked at the ice, trying the melt through it, but the ice was constantly reforming using the evaporated water from the attack. Finally, when Sasuke let up, his most natural jutsu seemed to have failed him. Turning to another mirror, he noticed the robes the hunter-nin wore had small scorch marks along a side. 'I just need a stronger jutsu.' He started the seals for the dragon breath flame, but an explosion stopped both teens in their tracks.


The blast came from outside the dome of ice, but the gaps where too small to see outside. At the pause of his opponent, Sasuke promptly started the dragon flame jutsu, but as he was exhaling, a familiar voice shattered his concentration, and redirected his attack to the crack between two of the floating mirrors. It easily decimated the area, and partially melted the actual mirrors, but that seemed to make things worse, as the owner of the distracting voice leapt into the hole before it reformed itself.

"Hey, why are you in here? Did I miss something? Where are the rouge ninjas?" Naruto, clueless as ever, had wasted his perfect vantage point and his great ability by joining him in the hunter-nin's attack dome. Even in the face of what probably meant the Uchiha clan's destruction, Naruto was as much of an idiot as ever. It would have been funny if they weren't about to die.

"Watch out, this guy uses ice and fast attacks." Naruto nodded. As his head rose, his eyes went red, and the three tomoe within, began rotating. Repeating the same short hand-seal combination that he was famous among their group for, he jumped into the air, clones appearing, and following suit.

All but one of the flying Narutos were sliced out of the air, as needles maimed the group rapidly. That single Naruto bounced off a mirror above, and seemed to chase after air, before he quickly turned in another direction. Before he could reach another mirror, he appeared to be swatted out of the air, head moving in the direction he must have been hit from.

Hitting harder that seemingly possible, he rolled from where he landed, and summon more copies to duplicate the earlier effect, before drawing a large breath. Catching on, Sasuke redid his last jutsu, and together they fired up to the central ceiling mirror. Eyes picking up on something faster than he knew he could comprehend, Sasuke saw something disrupt the flames, but it was not needed. The hunter nin, barely avoided both attacks, falling to the ground instead of being completely incinerated.

As time seemed to slow down, and Sasuke did the hand seals for the Grand fireball jutsu, Naruto spewed blue fire at the 'boy' and chased him from the ground to a mirror, then back across the arena. As the fire split the field, and went from melting mirror to melting mirror, a blurry figure slid from ice shards, and slush, and then danced around the attack to an un-melted ice wall. Naruto released the attack to breathe, but the short gasp of air let the hunter nin escape from the arena temporarily, and reappear behind him. 'His' image in only one mirror, Haku constructed two small frozen orbs to launch his attack.

"Look out!' Sasuke tried to say activating their body flicker, improved from the one Naruto stole from Kakashi. Charging at speed that seemed natural with his steadily improving sight, he neither spoke, nor seemed to move fast enough as the thin needles flew towards his brother. Grabbing onto Naruto, he whipped him around, and shielded the shorter boy from a flurry of attacks, that never seemed to stop. As blood dripped from his neck to his ankles, he managed to look past Naruto and see his own torn form fall in a mirror, red eyes replacing his black ones, and a single comma swirling slowly in each. Then, darkness crept up from the edge of his vision, leaving only his own reflection in his sight.

Slowly, the shadows around him congealed into his older brother, whose sharingan seemed to adumbrate his iris and pupil. Those eyes pierced his soul, but Sasuke drew the little strength he had left, and glared up at him, his sharingan almost glowing in the darkness. Frowning as if he had been disappointed, Itachi closed his eyes slowly, bones ripping though his back. As the new additions to his skeleton grew flesh and the bones became recognizably bat-like wings, Itachi took to the air in a just of wind, leaving only darkness behind. A whisper of "You are worthy.' rang through the thick air. Weakness slowly overtaking him, Sasuke closed his eyes.


"Sasuke!" Naruto watched said boy fell onto the ground, needles covering all visible areas of his body. Using something he had only briefly studied, he pulled at the metal and ice with his chakra. They responded quickly by flying past him into one of the gaping holes from the Uchiha duo's attack. Without the thin weapons, small punctures and cuts released their torrents of blood freely, wetting the back of the now tattered Uchiha brand shirt. Then the bleeding slowed to a stop, and Sasuke's wheezes grew quiet.

"You killed Sasuke." Without most of the mirrors to use, the hunter-nin released her jutsu, and stepped out of the thin layer of ice.

"Give up now and I may be able to spare you." Haku, charred, but still able to fight stepped forward, talking in as calm of a voice as she could manage. She had slain many ninja throughout her career, but the most dangerous were, almost always, those who were protecting their special people.

"You killed him!" The red eyes that had been rotating earlier formed a perfect circle, as they gazed up to stare Haku down. The air pulsed, before red chakra seeped from his eyes and stomach until it covered his body lightly, and heated the air around him. Everything about him seemed to grow tainted, as his whiskers grew into thick slashes, his teeth and nails elongated and his already demonic looking eyes developed a line splitting the circle through the center. Zabuza's mist jutsu finally cancelled, so all eyes easily locked onto the red figure crouched within the melted mirrors.

"You needn't die as well. Please submit." Haku didn't step back, but every instinct she had honed over the several years of studying under Zabuza screamed to run.

"YOU KILLED MY BROTHER!"the ground rippled like water under Naruto's feet, and he seemed to radiate evil for a brief moments. "I'LL KILL YOU!" A malevolent wave of energy swept over the bridge, bending the metal, and cracking the cement. Only the bloody Uchiha at Naruto's feet seemed to be unaffected, as the energy lapped at them like the ocean's waves.

Haku finally took a step back, but the enraged boy in front of her took notice of only his target, and running in a line through her attacks, punched her in the stomach. Haku started to double over, but the boy hadn't finished yet, and proceeded to knee her in the head, warping her metal alloy mask. Launched across the bridge by the attack, she almost hit the ground, before Naruto was above her, and punched her into the stone, taxing her heavily chakra enforced body. Even then, she was unfortunate enough to bounce off the ground, and back up to the almost magically fast kick in the stomach, splitting her bottom two ribs along way.

This time, she did reach the ground, and skipped across the concrete like a smooth stone across water, before she bashed against one of the bridge's support beams. Desperately trying to escape, she built ice walls between her, and the demon-boy, but as she slipped into her own, he plowed through the others, and grabbed her arm. Screaming both internally, and externally, Haku did the only jutsu she could think of helping her at the time; the simplest and weakest jutsu she had left.

"Icy fingers: frozen assassination technique." Through her damaged mask, she coughed up blood onto the arm as she whispered the technique, secrecy long forgotten. Her hand latched onto his arm, and glowed a cool blue, before steam rose from the area. That spot on his arm, froze over for a moment, then seemed to return to normal, before the pain reached Naruto's simplified mind and he threw her away from himself on instinct.


As Naruto started glowing red, Kakashi hands glided through various hidden pockets. Finding the scroll he needed, he yanked it out, spun it on his pointer finger, and stopped to the tiny opening. In a practiced motion he bit his thumb and unfurled the scroll midair, whipped his blood down the center, from end to end. Then, he fluidly closed the scroll, and propped it on his wrist while forming a short chain of hand-seals.

"Earth style." He finished the jutsu's seals and slammed the scroll into the ground, alerting his target that their battle continued. "Tracking fang technique." Writing coursed over the ground under him, before a mass of cracks appeared, then stopped. Seconds later, the concrete beneath Zabuza's feet was ripped apart like dirt and with almost rabid ferocity, howling dogs latched onto his arms, legs and shoulders.

"Those are my personal ninja-dogs. And this, is one of the only original jutsu in my entire arsenal." He crouched while forming seals with his right arm, before punching the ground. There was a twitter of electricity, signaling the technique was ready, and Kakashi charged as fast as he could, nearly opening the first chakra gate on instinct, but stopping himself, already too injured to safely battle with it. His hand, which had been resting on the ground, was sang with blue electricity and he almost left a glowing streak as he ran at speeds only well trained Nin, or Uchiha could either manage or even see.

"No!" A female voice gurgled, but Kakashi was already pronouncing the technique.


Haku finally came to a stop, bones all over her body broken . Resigning herself to death, she dropped the jutsu that held her mask on and almost let her body go limp against the cool chill of the newly completed bridge's support beams, before she heard barking and howling. Looking past the red blob once again stampeding towards her, she managed to see Zabuza pinned down under a mass of dogs, before her instincts went into overdrive.

Screaming "NO!" as best as she could, she formed an ice mirror in front of her, and launched her near dead body into it, a blood stained hand brushing against the furious claw of her pursuer who was luckily stopped by the metal she had been resting on. Using the speed gifted by her bloodline, she closed the distance between Naruto and Zabuza at a rate she knew could push her already broken ribs into her lungs and destroy what remained of her arm and leg muscles, but her last mission called too strongly to stop. In front of Zabuza, she made a mirror of ice once again, before flinging herself out, and into the running copy nin.


With milliseconds to spare, Kakashi cancel the jutsu, merely sending the critiacally injured hunter-nin flying into her master and de-summoning his dogs. If he had opened the first gate, he would have had no choice but to cut straight through her, and try to get Zabuza as well.

The two rolled a few meters, before Zabuza managed to stop them with his one good arm. The dogs had torn his shoulders and arms apart with their fangs, and his leg weren't much better. Both were out of the fight, so Kakashi retrieved his dropped haite, and blocked the sharingan, stopping the chakra consumption that came with it.

Back with the two rouge ninjas, Zabuza was gushing blood, and Haku seem not to far from the same, but as always, there was something left for Zabuza to do. "You're to good a person to die like this with a master like me." He mumbled to her near unconscious body. Trying to respond, she almost passed out, but Zabuza continued before she could force herself to succeed. "We both know I'm dead, but I can still save you. If you hadn't taken such good care of me..." For the last few days, she had been pumping him full of nothing but medicines, and his weak bloodline would make sure he still retained him. All it did was keep his body strong for long periods of time, while maintaining anything in his blood. Poisons would easily kill him, but this one instance, he was almost happy it had plagued him his whole life.

He then bashed his wrist against the large sword now strapped to his back, then brought the cut to her mouth. "Drink up kid. I don't want you coming to the place I'm going for a long time. Find a new master, or find a new purpose." Haku acknowledged the order by draining blood from the cut, pulling various medicines and body enhancing serums into herself. The very same serums she had injected into him only a few days ago, to speed his recovery from the first fight.

"All my possessions and assets have already been signed over to you, so do with them what you see fit." Haku gained a warm glow, and some of the lighter bruises faded. "You made me proud." Zabuza's blood trickled slowly from his several wounds, and with the last of his strength, he cast aside the ever-present, human sized blade. "I always told the others I would die like this; bloody and torn, next to my one love. I'll miss those bastards…" Silence consumed its swordsman master.


Naruto, shook his head, before gazing back at the bridge. He felt, for lack of better phrasing, new. He stood up, and almost stumbled at how unnaturally light his body seemed, before he remembered what was happening. Glancing around, he immediately saw a melted and dented support beam to the bridge, which, from what he could tell, seemed to have been hit by a flying bull.

Ignoring the haunting ache that came when he related the dent to something crashing into it, he ran to the other end of the bridge, where Sakura, Tazuna, and Kakashi were tending to Sasuke and a badly injured girl.

"Took you long enough idiot. I could have done it better though." Hearing that insult, probably made Naruto the happiest he had ever been, to date. Grinning, he sat by his comrades and the two strangers to their group before a question that seemed important popped into his head.

"Where the hell did that bastard go? The one that almost killed Sasuke." Kakashi rolled his eye and poured another serum into Sasuke's and then Haku's mouths. When the vial was empty, he tossed it over his shoulder and responded.

"She is out cold in front of you." Kakashi blocked the punch to her head, and twisted Naruto around to pin him. Surprisingly, Naruto put up a decent fight compared to when Kakashi had done the same weeks ago, but even the increasing power and potential of a demon host couldn't beat experience and skill. Once Naruto had calmed down a bit, he was released and Kakashi continue. "She will be our ward until she's healed and ready to live on her own." At Narutos angry growl, his eye curved slightly. "She didn't want to kill Sasuke. If she did, then she would have done so when we first encountered Zabuza. She is doing what all ninja have to do, follow orders."

She twitched, but continued to breath lightly and Naruto couldn't help but feel sympathy toward her. "I won't attack her, but if she tries anything, she won't get the chance to see me before I destroy her." Happy at winning the blond over, Kakashi hefted the girl onto his shoulder. Tazuna duplicated this with Sasuke and almost dropped the new sharingan user when Naruto lifted Zabuza and his sword with the same amount of effort. Stepping over an obscenely obese man who seemed to have been decapitated, and around several dead mercenaries, they trudged onward to Tazuna's home.

AN: doesn't it make you feel all warm and fluffy?