Disclaimer: I don't, and will never own Naruto. But hey, that's what Fan Fiction is for.
Blah, lets just get to the story.
Sasuke, Sakura, and Suigetsu soon arrived at the "Great Naruto Bridge," in the village of the mist. The trip had been relatively silent, if you didn't include the slight bickering between Sakura and Suigetsu.
They had made it through the busy bustle if the bridge, and soon made it across to the other side. The sight that had greeted them was much different then Sakura or Sasuke remembered.
The buildings were all fixed up with countless children running through the crowd. The joyous voices of the street vendors haggling with their customers drifted over to the group. The amount of people living on the street had almost disappeared. The town looked healthy now.
"Looks different since the last time I was here," mumbled Sakura.
"You're telling me."
Sakura looked over at Suigetsu with mild surprise. Sasuke gave 'hn', while they made their way over to the hill on which Zabuza's grave resided. Suigetsu quickly made his way to the sword embedded in the grave while Sakura walked around the hill.
"Ah, now this is more like it!" cried Suigetsu as he hefted the sword. He gave it a few test swings, and then strung it to his back. "We can go now."
Sasuke nodded and Sakura made her way over to them. They slowly made their way down the hill. However, when they made it to the city, they were spotted.
"Oh my! Sakura-san! Is that you?"
Sakura cringed as the group turned around. Tsunami and Tazuna's smiling faces greeted them.
"Ah, Tsunami-san, Tazuna-san. How are you?" asked Sakura politely.
"Fine, we're fine. We just knew it was you Sakura-san! We could never forget that hair, even though it is a bit shorter then I remember," replied Tsunami. "Ah, hello to you Sasuke-san. However, where is Naruto-kun?"
"He's on a separate mission right now," lied Sakura smoothly. "That's why we are using Suigetsu over here. He is Naruto's temporary replacement for this mission."
Tsunami gave a puzzled frown, but motioned over to an area of town. "Why don't you come over for a few minutes? It would be nice to have company."
"Hm, sure. Not too long though," replied Sakura, maintaining a cool façade while ignoring the agitated look she was receiving from Suigetsu, and the slight glare from Sasuke.
The group began to follow Tsunami and Tazuna to their house, but as they were walking, Sasuke grabbed Sakura by the arm, his grip tight.
"Sakura, what are you thinking," murmured Sasuke, his eyes showing annoyance. "We don't have time for this."
"It's so they don't suspect anything. Calm down," shot back Sakura.
Sasuke released his grip on her arm. Tazuna's voice rose out at he announced that they were there. Sakura had to admit, it didn't look very different then how they left it. Not that it needed fixing up in the first place. It was always a nice home.
"Inari-kun! We're home, and we have some guests!" yelled out Tsunami.
When the group arrived inside the house, Inari greeted them. He had grown a bit taller, but his outfit was virtually the same.
"Eh! Sasuke and Sakura are here!" Inari looked around wildly, "But where is Naruto?"
Inari's face fell as Sakura explained the false story.
"Aw, I wanted to see Naruto," said Inari dejectedly.
Sakura gave a fake smile and patted him on the back. "Next time."
- Half an Hour Later -
"Ah, we should get going!" exclaimed Sakura.
They had spent longer then she had planned at the house. She could no longer ignore Sasuke's pointed stares. Suigetsu, however, had taken full advantage of the hospitality. He knew it was going to be the last time for such comforts.
Tsunami looked up, her eyes slightly watery from laughing at Suigetsu's jokes.
"Ok then," she turned to Inari, "See them to the door please."
Inari nodded. When the group arrived the door, Inari poked Sakura. She looked down at him with a questioning look.
"Tell Naruto I said 'Hi' please."
Sakura ruffled his hair and nodded.
At the sound of his alarm, Naruto fell off his bed.
"Tch, kuso!" cursed Naruto as he rubbed his sore head.
After a hearty breakfast of cereal, he stepped out into the sunshine. He began to walk to the Hokage tower in hopes of a mission from Tsunade. On his way, he passed by Shikamaru and Temari eating at some dango shop. He mentally noted this as future blackmail. After arriving at the tower, he raced up to the Hokage's room. He burst into the room with a joyful shout,
A sake bottle slammed into his face. Naruto clutched his nose as he pointed to Tsunade.
"What did you do that for you old hag!"
"Don't call me that, baka!" growled Tsunade in annoyance.
It was then that Naruto noticed the other person in the room. He hadn't seen her the entire time of his return.
"Ah! Hinata-chan!" Naruto cried out happily.
She had changed, that much was certain. Her outfit now was a purple shirt that ended at her waist, which was covered by bandages. Her forehead protector was on her waist. She wore a beige skirt ((think Sakura)), with purple leggings reaching her knees. She wore gloves on her hands. She had her hair up in a ponytail and a kunai holder on her right leg.
Her face flushed slightly as he said hello.
"Hello." She answered.
Tsunade gave a cough as she stared at Naruto.
"I have a mission for you, Naruto, and you, Hinata. So, you came right before I had to call for you. Now, a gennin, during a simple mission, has gotten kidnapped. I want you both to go to the Mist and see what you both can dig up. This is where the child was rumored to have been seen last."
Tsunade drummed her fingers on the table as she moved for a large container.
"This is for a Mist doctor. Before or after that mission, I want you to give this to him. He had requested some of this medicine after his supplies went low. He is also a friend of mine, so don't screw it up."
At this point, she was staring at Naruto. Naruto put on an affronted look.
"Eh! Why are you staring at me!"
Tsunade ignored him as she handed them both envelopes.
"Now, these contain information on your missions. They are both C ranked missions, though the kidnapping can rise, as we still don't know who preformed the act."
Hinata nodded while Naruto blinked.
"You leave tomorrow at seven, so I suggest you both get a good nights rest. Dismissed."
- Five Minutes Later -
"Man, I'm hungry!" moaned Naruto as the two arrived out side. Hinata gave a small nod in agreement. After a bit of persuasion, Naruto convinced Hinata to join him in going to Ichiraku.
"So, what have you been doing lately Hinata?" asked Naruto as they sat down to eat.
"Training, mostly. I've been training with my clan a lot in the past few weeks. However, I still try to make time with Tsunade-shishou," replied Hinata with a small smile.
Naruto nodded thoughtfully as he place his order of Miso Ramen.
"How are Kiba and Shino doing? I haven't seen them yet!"
"Both are fine. I haven't seen them in a while though. They both are going through strict training with their clans now, Shino especially. However, I do not know the reason. All clans have their secrets, so it is impolite to pry."
The two sat in silence for a few minutes.
"How have you been doing Naruto-kun? Did your training went well?" asked Hinata.
Naruto grinned at went into all the details of his adventures, while Hinata attentively listened. The two sat for a solid hour until Naruto finished. After words, Hinata excused herself, saying she had to return home. Naruto nodded, and waved her off.
When the two arrive at the gate, they set off right away. The trip it self was dull, nothing really happening. Well, no, something happened. A rouge bandit, had assaulted them, but he was incredibly weak so Naruto took him out in a single blow. They tied him to a tree while Naruto complained about how weak the guy was.
When they arrive at the bridge, Naruto's mood changed immediately. He began to tell Hinata ecstatically that the bridge was named after him, and that they would have to visit some of his friends after the mission was over.
They arrive in town to start their mission right away. They arranged to meet in a pub in two hours to see if they found anything.
- Two Hours Later -
"I couldn't get anything Hinata-chan!" moaned Naruto as he ordered some yakisoba from a street vender.
After they met at the pub, they decided to walk around to see if they could hear anything around the area, just incase.
"Hm, I think I heard something. Supposedly some thugs had come into town causing some trouble. The towns people had to throw them out, but they were seen in the woods yesterday."
Naruto nodded as he chewed on his yakisoba. When the two finished their food, they threw away the plates as Naruto continued,
"So, we just have to snuff out these guys, right? They might have the kid, right? So lets just get this over with now then.
- An Hour Later -
"Bah, easy!" said Naruto as he kicked one of the bodies.
Hinata was treating the child as Naruto tied up the men. He then took out a black piece of paper and set in on fire. The particular scent would lead the Konoha hounds to pick up the enemies, but would go unchecked by other hounds.
Naruto and Hinata took the gennin back to the city as they went all went to drop off the medicine to the doctor. After successful mission on both parts, they decided to go out to eat as the kid slept. Soon after they left the hotel, they heard a surprised gasp.
Naruto and Hinata both turned around in surprise, and Naruto's eyes widened in delight.
"Tsu-Tsunami! Is it really you?"
The lady gave a nod as she rushed over to the pair. She clasped Naruto's hands in her own in happiness.
"We, we had no idea you were coming to the Mist! Oh my, Inari is going to be so exited to see you again!"
Naruto gave a grin while Hinata looked on confused. Naruto seemed to notice her look, because he began to explain.
"Ah, Hinata-chan, this is Tsunami! I met her on our first C rank mission; the one where we had to help the bridge builder."
Hinata nodded with a thoughtful look. She gave a smile,
"It is nice to meet you Tsunami-san."
Tsunami nodded and said the same back. A sly smile graced her features as she turned to Naruto.
"Ah, I guess I shouldn't interrupt you two on your date. I guess I'll be going."
Hinata's face turned red and gave a wild shake of her head while Naruto grinned.
"Hey, you've got it wrong. We were just sent here on a mission!"
Tsunami's eyes widened in surprise as she realized her mistake. After apologizing, she invited them over to her house, which Naruto quickly accepted. So, dragging Hinata by the hand, Naruto ran over to the house.
"Inari, guess who's here this time!"
Naruto entered the house just as Inari went outside, causing the two to crash into each other. After a slight bit of shock, Inari immediately latched on to Naruto.
"Naruto! I can't believe it's you!"
After everyone went inside, they said hello to Tazuna, to his delight. They exchanged pleasantries as they caught up on old times. However, the mood quickly soured as Tsunami asked where Sasuke and Sakura went.
"I mean, we just saw them yesterday! Plus, I thought you were on a solo mission right now. I mean that's what Sakura to-"
"Wait!" cried Naruto as he cut her off, "They were here!"
He clenched his fist as Hinata looked intently as Tsunami. She began to explain how they were traitors to Konoha for running away to the Sound village. Tsunami looked appalled.
"I, I never knew! I thought they were just on missions here! I mean, that would explain why the sword on Suigetsu's back looked like Zabuza's sword! They most have come back for it!"
Naruto gave a look of confusion at the mention of Suigetsu.
"I mean, they were traveling with another person at the time, and his name was Suigetsu."
After this episode, Naruto and Hinata rapped up their visit. After promising to visit them again, the trip back was unbearably silent in Hinata's eyes. So, she decided to put in her two cents.
"Naruto, you couldn't have done anything. No one had any idea they were even here."
Naruto remained silent while Hinata kept her gaze on him. She felt terrible that the man she had a slight crush on was feeling like this.
"I, I know that Hinata-chan. It's just the fact that they were so close!" Naruto gave a sigh.
After a few minutes of silence, Hinata patted him on the back and gave more comforting words on assurance. This continued for the entire trip back. However, his mood remained the same.
"So, why Karin?" asked Suigetsu.
Sasuke stayed silent as he continued,
"I mean, unlike us, she's totally devoted to Ororchimaru. She'd be the last person I'd go after if I were you. She and I were experimented on a lot. Plus she's got a shitty attitude."
Sakura let out a laugh as the nodded in agreement. Suigetsu looked at her with a grin,
"You aren't much better Sakura."
She promptly responded with a punch on the head, while telling him never to compare the two.
"There are plenty of strong shinobi I could have recruited, but she has unique abilities. I need her for this to succeed."
Sakura wrinkled her nose in distaste while Suigetsu shrugged.
"She is unique, I'll give her that."
- Ten Minutes Later -
Sakura mentally steeled herself as they walked towards a large jailing area. She wasn't the only one, as Suigetsu had become fidgety as they neared the area also. When they reached the door, Sasuke pushed the large gate open with ease.
After a few minutes of walking down hallways filled with prisoners, a sight that Sakura and Suigetsu really didn't want to see appeared.
"Ah, what do we have here? Pathetic Sakura and a bitchy Suigetsu."
The female's eyes, however, lit up as they landed on Sasuke. Still, she kept her cool look as her hand rested on her hip.
"So it's true then," muttered Karin.
"Oi wench, Sasuke's got a proposition for you, but before that, can you take us to a room or something. We've been walking for hours and I'm too tired for us to stand around while you talk." Suigetsu said as he called out to Karin.
- Five Minutes Later -
"What! You want me to go with you! I'm in charge of the place!" cried Karin, clearly flustered. "What about the prisoners!"
"Orochimaru is gone, so just let them go. What else were you going to do?"
When Karin didn't reply, Sasuke addressed Suigetsu.
"Set free all the prisoners."
Suigetsu gave a smirk as her began to lift himself up, "Still acting like the boss eh?"
"Don't you dare!" screeched Karin.
Sakura put her hand to her forehead. "Gods Karin, shut up! Orochimaru is dead. What else are you going to do?"
However, Karin wouldn't give up. "I still refuse! I'm not in any obligation to follow your orders!"
Suigetsu seemed to ignore her as her left the room to free the prisoners.
"Geez Karin, if you feel that way, Sasuke will just get someone else. Please, just stop your whining. You're giving me a headache!"
Karin backed up to the door and a soft clicking noise was heard. Sakura raised an eyebrow in confusion and a hint of amusement as Karin took off her glasses and placed herself next to Sasuke.
"If you really want me to come, I'll go with you," said Karin in a coy and flirty manner.
Sakura had half a mind to rip out her hair, but she didn't want to ruin the chances of Karin not joining them. However, if Karin took it too, far, things might happen. Sasuke had a false look of confusion as he asked,
"What brought that on? You changed your mind pretty quick."
Karin gave a small smile. "I was just thinking that I was getting tired of this place anyway."
The door handle began to shake while Karin continued to press herself on him. Now Sakura was getting pissed.
"Would you back off?"
His voice went unheeded as she continued to speak.
"We don't even have to take stupid Suigetsu or pathetic Sakura with us! We only need each other."
Anger was pouring off Sakura in waves as she placed herself in front of Karin.
"Karin, stop whatever the fuck your doing, now."
Karin shot her a dirty look, but continued her hold on Sasuke. Sakura began to crack her knuckles in anger, and was about to pry her off him when the door was blown open. Karin quickly rushed away from Sasuke while Sakura quickly sat down.
"Lets get out of here Sasuke, Karin clearly doesn't want to come," said Suigetsu from the doorway, his left arm bulging from using the sword.
"It seems she changed her mind," sneered Sakura.
"I-I did not! It's just that . . . I need to . . . I'm actually headed in the same direction you guys are! Pure coincidence!" shouted Karin as she hastily put on her glasses, her face flushed. "Yeah . . . just a little while!"
Suigetsu let his bulging muscle back to normal as he continued,
"Then Juugo is last then."
Karin quickly jumped up in protest. "Wha . . . Juugo! You can't take him along!"
Sakura shrugged in annoyance. "Your only going to be here a little while, so what do you care?"
"Yeah, that's right! So what! You want to go? Then come on!"
"Gods Karin," drawled Sakura. "Shut up! No one wants to hear you whine! I hope you don't do this the rest of the trip!"
Yay! Another chapter finished. It's a bit longer then my other chapters, coming in about twelve pages. I know that it is still a sucky number, but I just wanted to get in some Naruto and Hinata, just so the story wont stay on Sasuke and Sakura. Note, NaruHina is a slight pairing, so don't expect another thing like this again. Oh, and Tsunami only noticed them due to Sakura's pinkish hair, in case that wasn't clear. Juugo is next, so I'm sorry he wasn't in this chapter! Also, unlike others, I'm not a total Karin hater; so don't expect too much bashing. I just don't like her with Sasuke, but I love her with Suigetsu.