Sorry for the wait!
Once again, Haku was lifted off the ground by Sasuke and strangled with one hand, while sliding a kunai across her arm, bringing forth a trickle of blood. It was a poor method, but Sasuke had almost exhausted his chakra with earlier attempts, so he was keeping it as simple as possible. Two meters away, Naruto leaned against a tree watching the exchange, sharingan taking every detail in.
"I'll ask you again. How did you become powerful?" The heir of the sharingan clan growled. Haku, despite his best efforts, would not respond, ignoring crisscrossing lines of ripped flesh. She didn't even struggle, remaining limp in his hand, gazing endlessly into the wall of trees behind them, as if she could see paradise and was willing to abandon her body to reach it. If it weren't for her strong pulse, Sasuke would have sworn he killed her earlier, but either way, he wasn't getting results. "Pathetic." He released her, and glared, trying to remember any special techniques his family had for interrogation.
"It's useless. She hasn't spoken even once since we finished healing her. Come on, we're strong enough as we are." Naruto shifted uncomfortably, and deactivated his sharingan. "At first I thought she deserved this, but she doesn't even put up a fight."
Sasuke continued glaring at Haku, but his speech changed targets. "You have the adult sharingan and a mastery of seal-less jutsu. I barely have the sharingan. Together, we would barely noticeable to Him." The fact he was also getting revenge for his defeat was made clear by a kick to Haku's stomach. The girl limply rolled a few feet, before hitting a tree.
"Alright, but developing our own power is more important than figuring out hers." Sasuke, who had been preparing for a sharingan enhanced genjutsu, stopped mid hand-seal, easily detecting Naruto's message. 'I won't help you figure out her power, but if you want to become powerful, then I'll support you fully.'
"Fine, but she has to be useful to us in some way. Come up with some good ideas or I'll go back to finding things out from her." Naruto pushed chakra out of his hand, and barely focusing, transformed it and the air around it with metal chakra into a kunai. The metal chakra simplified the process, but solidifying the air into the shape he wanted was still annoyingly difficult. Thus, in battle he used simpler, smaller shapes in large numbers. The blade was immediately plucked from the air and tossed to Sasuke to add to his weapon pouch.
"I thought of that earlier and I've come up with four good ideas. The first is you marry her." Sasuke turned to Naruto and projected a killer's intent. It was the only jutsu he had managed seal-less, but Naruto shrugged it off immediately. Their sharingans seemed to resist the demonic images, whether it was active or not. "Ok then, I expected that. Next is, we hire her as a bodyguard or something."
"Right, maybe you need a little girl keeping you safe, but I'm fine." The permanent annoyance and gloom that permeated through the true Uchiha was broken and, though he didn't show it, he was almost happy he had a little bit of family remaining.
"Hey, you just find me a ninja and I'll crush him!" Sasuke almost laughed at the idiot, but Naruto could see he was restraining himself. Avengers don't laugh, after all. "Alright then, the second best was we replace Sakura with her on our team. The problem with that one is Kakashi probably won't let us." Kakashi had been drilling one thing into their heads before the Wave mission began, and it was "Value your teammates over your mission." and crap like that. His time would have been better spent training Sakura, or replacing her with a competent girl like Tenten, as both boys ignored it for the most part.
"That's a minor problem, but there are easy ways to get around it. Your final idea?" Sasuke thought about the path Naruto's ideas had been following and predicted the next. Surprisingly, it wasn't actually too bad.
"You probably just guessed it, but it isn't really a new idea. It kind of just adds to the last one. We add her to our clan. Then she, as a citizen of Konoha, will be an available ninja, and they have to let us pick her when we force Sakura out of the team. Once she passes the basic exam, that is." Sasuke nodded to him, which was his normal equivalent of saying nice job. Then he glanced down at the konoichi at his feat. Slowly, he lifted her up and gently propped her against a nearby tree.
"Would you like to have a purpose?" A spark returned to her eye and without hesitation, she smiled.
Red irises were the only thing visible in the darkened room, other than a slit of skin suggesting a pale, almost sickly white face. Despite the room being almost pitch black, the figure seemed to be focusing on a sole entity and after several minutes of patient, motionless waiting, the next person finally decided to speak.
"You may give your report Itachi." The second person had a calm, male voice and spoke almost lazily, but that neither seemed to annoy or even be noticed by the oldest remaining Uchiha.
"Wave has been liberated from Gato's influence, but power still belongs to our organization, though some branches have become unruly. The majority of the rouge nin population was undisturbed and the more powerful ones are being monitored by our agents. Outside of our extended group, our reputation occasionally attracts attention, but that is taken care of whenever a serious threat comes forward. No Hidden village has figured out our true purpose yet."
"What of your wanderings? What did you find then?" If Itachi was surprised, however unlikely that is, he didn't show a flicker of it.
"I was looking for signs of Orochimaru making an attempt at either my brother, or the nine tailed fox."
"Hmm, if that is all, you may go. And, if you ever suspect he is going after either, feel free to act on your hunch." He paused, and then continued. "Your new assignment is to monitor Suna with Kisami. If brother Orochimaru is doing more than we expected, take action as you see fit."
"Very well sir."
"Oh, and one last thing. Don't let you visits interfere with your work. " An amused smile became visible through the shadows.
"I won't sir." There was a small sizzling noise and a hint of yellow, before the second person disappeared. After a second of waiting, the illuminating eyes closed. Then the room fell completely silent.
Kakashi hopped from branch to branch, using the proper body flicker, to race his students back to Tazuna's house. He beat them by a full minute and spent the time scanning Ichi-Ichi paradise while propped against the side of the house, before two bulbs of chakra burst through the trees and landed a few feet away from him. The blobs quickly faded away to reveal Naruto with Haku on his back and Sasuke who was staring a hole through Kakashi's book. After they caught their breath, Naruto let Haku fall off of him, but surprisingly, she actually stood instead of limply collapsing.
"What exactly were the three of you doing out there?" They didn't answer, so he tried a joke. "If you need pointers, chapter thirteen is more than sufficient as long as you keep everything safe, and don't bend to hard…" Sasuke strode over to him and stared into his natural eye.
"We're changing our third teammate. We will trade Sakura for Haku." With a sigh, Kakashi closed his book and slid it into one of his pockets.
"I was hoping you weren't going to ask that." Kakashi took a moment to think of a way to keep Sakura on the team, without problems later. The boys were stubborn enough alone, but with them working together it would be a chore to dissuade them.
Naruto took the pause as his chance to speak. "You knew that we were going to though. Your fast, but nothing escapes sharingan eyes."
'I must be getting rusty with the B rank missions I've been getting. I either need a good handful of S ranks, or to train with Guy for a few days. Sasuke shouldn't be able to catch me like that just yet.' "Alright, you caught me. That doesn't change my answer." Naruto growled and Sasuke looked ready to break his mask of emotion to do the same, so Kakashi quickly did damage control. "I would let you trade if you got majority, voting among yourselves for it, but think about poor Sakura." The boys still looked mutinous, so Kakashi tried one last evasion. "Besides, you would need either the Hokage's approval or the councils…" He thought about what he had said for a second. 'SHIT!'
Both boys, though more Naruto than Sasuke, relaxed, and grinned. "Easy." The Uchiha we rich by any ones standards and held a lot of the town's wealth, so bribing and pressuring the council would be a breeze. Furthermore, the Hokage would sell his soul for Naruto, so both groups were in the children's pockets. "We'll finally be rid of Sakura." Both boys stated.
"Alright, until I feel we're ready to make the change, this will be a four genin team. In a month or two though, Sakura will be gone." Though for a while, Haku had been radiating tiny amounts of chakra almost giddily, she was now looking sadly towards something that gasped in horror at the end of his statement. Naruto and Sasuke fell into their fighting stances, but it was awkwardly unnecessary.
Though it only took a few more seconds, it felt like hours to Kakashi as he realized Sakura had been to their side from the start, probably coming out of the forest after practicing and had slowly been drawing closer and closer to them. She had been walking wearily, so her footsteps hadn't made him alert and because of her low chakra stores, she didn't have enough chakra for him to sense. The fact that she came from his sharingan side, which was now covered, didn't help much either.
"Sakura." She took a few steps back, before turning around and running back into the forest, tears already streaming down her face.
Sasuke watched her disappear disinterestedly, and then returned his full attention to Kakashi. Naruto, on the other hand, struggled with letting her go, before he exploded at his brother.
"Sasuke, we can't just let her go! Come on, she may be weak, but she's our teammate right now. Besides, she won't last very long out here…a rabbit might attack her or something." Sasuke rolled his eyes, but didn't bother thinking it over as he and Naruto sprang as one, racing over the swamp's foliage to track the girl down.
When only Haku and Kakashi remained, the girl whispered something to herself, and it was almost swallowed by an uncommonly warm breeze before Kakashi's now enhanced hearing picked it up. "I'm sorry I stole your purpose."
Ten squads of clones, in groups of ten Naruto and one Sasuke, darted through the forest, none but the originals taking Sakura's real route. While Naruto and Sasuke were perfectly capable of tracking her, Sakura, if attacked by a wandering nin…or anything really, wouldn't stand much of a chance. Within five minutes, she was too tired to continue and sat down on a fallen tree's trunk to finish crying.
"Pathetic." Sasuke almost seem angrier at her for crying than he was for her not being as strong as she could be. "We found her, so I'm leaving." Naruto watched as Sasuke disappeared up a tree, but the sound of branches being disturbed didn't go very far off. Forgetting about his brother, Naruto returned his attention to Sakura, waiting for the right time to approach. It took a few minutes, but she finally looked calm again, so he rose from his hiding place and approached her, making it three steps, before a crippling spike of chakra pushed its way out of him.
"What…" Before he could completely articulate his confusion and pain, another wave of chakra, stronger than the last, shot through him. A large red paw print appeared over the seal on his stomach and despite his own chakra and his orange jumpsuit, visibly glowed. Curling into a ball, Naruto fought to push the chakra back down, as the clones in his seal did the same.
Another small wave of red fluid ripped through the halls, coating the floor in blood-like slime. Wind Naruto, the wind clone general, which Naruto absorbed weeks earlier jumped over it landing on the roof of the tunnel.
"Great! Now I can't even walk on the ground!" The several clones around him laughed at his annoyance, but stopped short when they realized that some of the others didn't know what was happening. Shadow had wandered off early on, and then Metal, Fire, and Root went searching for him. That had been months ago in the seal, but they had yet to find anything other than red glowing floors around Kyuubi's cell.
Water, who was their current leader due to Naruto being in Wave country, shook his head at Wind's comment. "Forget about that. We need to focus on getting to Kyuubi, and stopping him. This is his chakra after all." The other clones though the plan over for a few seconds, before agreeing. "Alright, Wind, you stay here in case the others come back. Everyone else, follow me." The three going to Kyuubi took off, before Wind could protest. Alone, he tried to contain his anger for what could have been hours, until it exploded out of him.
"Damn, it's always the same! Everyone else gets to use their chakra almost daily, but never me!" Wind punched a wall next to him, creating a small indent, but as he removed his hand it automatically started repairing itself. "Why am I the only one with only five jutsu?" Konoha's library and the forbidden jutsu scroll combined produced five mostly pathetic wind jutsu. Naruto only bothered to learn three. "Great wind gale, wind sickle, lesser whirlwind. How am I supposed to use those? Push a ninja away from me? Spin him around? Sickle is barely useful when compared with any fire jutsu! I want to make tornadoes! To fly!"
Unable to take it any longer, Wind did three hand seals and clawed towards the thin layer of chakra on the ground, shooting thin blades of wind at it. The red chakra churned at the contact spot before returning to normal and continuing through the channel. But, after a few seconds it was disturbed again. A large glistening claw rose from the chakra, grasped him and dragged him straight into the sludge below.
His yells were immediately muffled by surging spiritual energies, as he was dragged impossible far down, into the red sea, until Wind was finally flung out into a dark chamber.
Coughing and spitting the liquid chakra out, Wind didn't notice several beings surrounding him until it was too late and a furry, almost inhuman hand descended upon him and lifted him to his feet.
"Thanks. Shadow." The general of the shadow clone group grinned at him, displaying impossibly sharp teeth.
"No problem. Want to join me in training? You be able to show the others just how strong you are." The four tails swishing behind Shadow were ignored, until the longest perched itself on Shadow's shoulder.
"Sure! Hey…why do you have…" The appendage whistled through the air, and struck Wind through the chest, but before he even realized that had happened, chakra was covering his body. As the final clone started his transformation, Shadow turned around to face the being behind him.
"There, I've got the other four strongest of us. Now we just need to escape." The demon fox preened himself over three large bulbs of red crystal, five tails flowing in an intangible wind behind him.
"Patience, we must wait until the seal is broken or weak enough to overpower. Until then, know this. You've done well my son. I'm proud of you." Shadow threw him a confused look before realization dawn on him.
"You're using me!" As soon as the words left his mouth, Shadow turned tail and ran for his life. Making it halfway to the bars of the cage in record time, he stopped short when his own tails released a small pulse of chakra, resonating with Kyuubi's. Involuntarily, he turned on the spot and looked into the demon's eyes, knowing that this was the end of either his free will, or his life. The last thing he felt was a savage tug in his head, before all awareness ceased.
"Don't you have something to say to your father?" The demon growled down to the Naruto. It was an odd habit, but most tailed-demons, although asexual in their natural forms, preferred to borrow only one gender when in human or animal form. They could use either gender to produce heirs in a natural fashion, but those born from that would be part demons and lack most of their demon parent's power. It wasn't a bad existence, unless they remained trapped in the mortal world and few clans discriminated against them in the demon realm.
"Father?" As information implanted itself into his mind, overwriting most of Naruto's life, the Naruto shadow-clone rose. After a minute, he finally finished processing his new life, and prostrated himself under his superior. "Thank you for liberating me from the illusion placed over my mind, father. How may I serve you?" The king of the tailed-demons curled a tail around his new 'son', and stalked back to the center of the seal. Lying in his usual spot, directly over the seal, he let the child find a warm, comfortable place, before addressing him.
"All in due time, my heir." Naruto grinned happily at being addressed as his fathers heir. It was the single greatest form of acknowledgement among demon clans, other than be born or becoming a tailed demon. "For now, we will simply wait until your brothers awake. Then, we escape." Shadow smiled up at his 'father' proudly.
Original AN: Yo! Sorry about not updating for so long, but things have been bad for writing. First I was on punishment (long story), then my computer crapped out, and then I got an F in history (which got me back on punishment)! No worries, I'll be back to my regular skill level soon, and by then, I'll be updating regularly. Look out for the next Chapter, and the update for my HP Story!
Special thanks to my buddy, Static44 for being my beta. You da man, bro!
Original BETA Notes: Barely ANYTHING for me to edit… He's gotten better! ()
Seems as if Naruto has a bit to worry about… Wonder how that situations going to be fixed. Oh, and Haku-chan is going to be member three! Alright! (Don't really like Sakura that much. She yells too much and hits Naruto)
Until next time.
New AN: hey, I just finished editing the chapter a bit, and changing a few things to make more sense. The Kyuubi/Shadow exchange got more explanation, and I modified a little in the rest of the chapter. Know what this means? New chapters will be up soon! Oh ya, and Static wont be beta-ing for a while, so please forgive the mistakes that will now appear. He may be a god-like writer and editor, but I'm only human…or a demon…whichever.