Well, damn…Madison reviewed again so here is the update! Anyone have an idea of how I can integrate a kunoichi named Madison into this fic? Maybe she'll be Sasuke's nightmare and have the power to summon the 'LOG' out of nowhere to attack him…if you don't get this pun then go watch Naruto abridged after smacking yourself.
Beta'ed by: "You know who you are!"
Ch.20 Swirl of Red
Jutsu being used
(…) if you see this in-between a break that means there is a lemon there. It will be numbered so you can find it listed with my other fics under the name 'A Midnight Dream'. The lemons will really have nothing to do with the main story line other than being a way to express the strength of the relationship between characters. It's up to you if you want to read them or not.
Disclaimer: Yah, I own Naruto and the five member of my personal harem help my write the story for every chapter before I ink them…for some reason there are a lot of Sasuke posters in my chambers…
Sasuke had left his spot against his tree as he thought, "Who is this girl? Every time she's ever spoken she's either made a fool of Kakashi or described something so brilliantly even the dobe understood it…could she be the reason he grew so fast? It would make sense. A personal trainer like her could cause such a change and if she could do that for the dobe then what could she do for me? But where did she come from? Skill and knowledge like this doesn't come without experience…"
"A sym-bi-ote is another way to say 'symbiotic organism' or another way to put it is something that lives off another being …"
"But, isn't that a parasite Kira-chan? Those are bad and very harmful…doesn't that mean we should get rid…" Naruto didn't get to finish as Kira cut him off just as Sasuke took a seat beside him.
"Close Naruto-kun," said Kira as she wagged her finger. She then touched the ground with an extended claw and what looked like a leach formed out of soil, "a parasite like this insect lives off another by denying it's host so it can gain for itself ultimately harming it's host. Once it's done or the host is no longer useful it moves onto the next. Symbiotes on the other hand like the enzyme that's now inside you Naruto-kun, takes from the host and gives in return so they may both live."
Naruto and Sasuke watched as the soil shaped like the leech fell back into the ground and became an indent in the shape of Sasuke's seal, "So, this enzyme that Orochimaru gave us is a symbiote and it gets to live because it lives inside our bodies and in exchange it gives…something?" asked Sasuke unsure of himself or even trusting what he was hearing.
"Correct, this stuff is just like any other virus in theory. It uses your own blood cells to multiply and survive. The cells of the 'Curse' have a very short life span. Only a few days at most and they can't self multiply so they take over your own blood cells and use them to multiple like any basic virus would. The problem with this though is it takes several of the cells from the 'Curse seal' to control even one of your blood cells. When for most viruses it's cell to cell. So it never can spread that fast. Only just enough to survive it seems…well, without help anyway."
Naruto nodded his head along understanding everything fairly simply. He hadn't covered poisons or diseases too deeply but all viruses acted fairly the same from what he had read. Enter the body, deplete the body's resources so it can multiply causing the persons sickness, and move on to the next host but unlike a normal virus this thing couldn't move on and needed to preserve the host. If it took several viral cells to control one production cell this thing could never do more than merely survive let alone cause trouble.
Then it all made sense when Kira said, "This is where the users chakra comes into play. When you supply chakra in excess to this stuff it strengthens a hundred fold. More than any virus could hope to. The 'Curse Seal' cells gain the power to self replicate and multiply out of control. Faster than even I could keep track of and spread through the body rapidly taking control of everything from cell production to organ functions. As they spread and multiply they release excess chakra several times over what was provided to them in the first place. Not only that but as they spread through the body they begin to strengthen everything from bone density and ones healing factor to muscle mass! All in a primal attempt to protect their host from danger but at the same time this is only temporary and very damaging to the body."
Naruto was deep in thought as he looked at the black and gold over his left arm, "It sounds like the stronger you are to begin with the stronger these things will make you…if only for a little while. The more you give it the more it gives back huh?"
Kira slowly nodded with a small frown on her face.
"But, it seems strange that in exchange for the ability to simply multiply these 'CC's' give chakra and strength…but at the same time the rapid release of chakra and increase in muscle mass must use up the bodies resources and puts it under high stress all at once and when it's over and the stuff recedes…it's a double edges sword basically…huh, when you look at it that way this so called 'Curse' is just a super version of a soldier pill. You gain chakra and strength but you end up crashing later for it…"
"If that's the case why shouldn't we use them as we like? Cost or not there's no reason to hold something back that will only make us stronger…" said Sasuke as he stared at the imprint in the ground and tentatively touched his neck.
Kira glared at Sasuke as she answered Naruto, "Well I guess you could say that Naruto-kun…and if that was all this thing did do…Sasuke…I would say everyone should have one but there's more to it than just that…" Kira was quiet as she pointed to the design on the ground, "After studying this thing for awhile I found that what I just told you is how the 'CC's' should naturally work with only a small side effect of being more violent and irritable because the rapid spreading of them causes the brain to react in a primal way to defend itself by causing aggression…but, this shape that's placed on the skin isn't part of the original enzyme. It's something Orochimaru must have added. The bite injects the 'CC's' and the chakra causes the first portion of the cells to be burst into the seal that shows on the skin…"
Naruto nods trying to keep everything straight as Kira continues saying, "This seal seems to give extra instructions to the 'Cursed cells'. It seems the natural way of these cells is to form a large gathering in one spot of the body and replicate from there as needed but this seal forces them to do that wherever it's possible. Because it's made of the original cells all the ones that follow use it as a blue print when they make more. The added instructions are passed on and are what cause the darker emotions, effects on the mind, and even some others I wasn't able to figure out…it is one complicated code but I do have some good news for you and Sasuke!"
Naruto's head perked up immediately as he looked on with excitement, "What, Kira-chan?"
"I figured out a way to take some of the original 'CC's' from your seals and…well…reprogram them to eliminate not only the increased aggression and effects on the mind but I was able to figure out a way to allow them to accelerate the infection of your body!" finished Kira with a bounce.
Naruto and Sasuke were silent for a moment as they thought about what they had just heard, "Ok, so let me get this straight Kira-chan. By changing some of our 'CC's' you can use them to change all the others. By doing this you're going to get rid of the part that makes them turn us bitchy and evil…but you also plan to help them infect us faster? What's that supposed to mean? Wouldn't that be a bad thing?"
Kira just sighed exasperatedly as she hunched her head, "Why do you have to catch everything I say Naruto-kun? Why can't it ever be, 'Oh, the great Kyuubi said it so it must be true!' No, every time I go to explain something to you it takes forever because you catch every little thing and have me explain it…"
Sasuke's eyes go wide. He didn't know what to say or if he should even say anything but before he could he heard Naruto begin to speak. Sasuke listened carefully as his eyes sharpened, "What was that? She said she was the Kyuubi! Impossible! That's ridiculous and even if it meant anything they didn't react to me being around to hear it? Should I say anything…no it doesn't matter. For all I know that was simply a nickname or title like other famous shinobi have. What does matter is that I now know she's the one that caused the changes in Naruto…I'll wait and see…"
Naruto only blushed as he lowered his gaze, "It's not that I don't believe…or trust you Kira-chan…it's just that…well before you came no one was ever willing to teach me…I always had to figure things out for myself or spy on other people's lessons. I even had to fight for Iruka-sensei's attention during the academy days since there were so many other students…it's just nice to have a teacher to myself that will teach me…I'm sorry if I'm being annoying…I really don't mean to be…"
Naruto heard a slight sniffling sound as he looked up at Kira to see tears freely falling from her eyes before she fully glomps him to the ground as she said, "I'm so sorry Naruto-kun…I didn't mean it like that…"
Naruto only needed a moment before he wraps his arms around her and brushes the back of her hair, "Hay, you know it hurts me worse when you cry then it does when I do…"
"I'm sorry…" said Kira once more before she hears…
"You two do realize I'm right here?" asked Sasuke from his spot a few feet away.
Kira just sits back slightly as Naruto leans up again. Kira just glares at Sasuke for a moment before she says, "It's more fun when you're not around Sasuke-teme…"
Sasuke glared harshly as his 'Sharingan' activated out of instinct, "I guess he only lets Naruto-kun call him that…" thought Kira as she waved him off passively, "but anyway to answer your question, if you try to hold the 'CC's' back or even let them grow naturally they will fight the whole way. It would be painful and take years of time to fully spread even if you used them regularly. During this time the dormant cells will randomly awaken as your chakra flow increases for Jutsu or other matters. That way they can expand further and keep their hold on you but not only could this cause Jutsu to fail but you could literally be doubled over in pain. There's a good chance they would eat all the chakra you have at the time and then flood you with twice what you had before without any way of getting rid of it…"
"So if we help them get the job done faster then they will settle and just wait around for us to call on them and make us stronger?" asked Sasuke with a smirk.
"Yes," said Kira as she lowered her head back down to rest it on Naruto's chest, "Until there is a high enough concentration of the CC's in your bodies they will constantly awaken whenever there is a chance to spread. If this is allowed not only would it be inconvenient but dangerous. In my opinion the only safe thing to do is to make them finish spreading as soon as possible. Not only to put this useful turn of events under your control Naruto-kun but to mess up whatever plans this Oro-teme had…"
"Hmm?" was the only sign that Naruto was interested in what she had just said.
"You're enjoying holding me a little too much aren't you?" asked Kira playfully toward Naruto as Sasuke snorts and turns his head away.
"First, I don't get to do this often enough Kira-chan. Second, the sun isn't even up yet and you're nice and warm. And lastly, if you didn't want me to enjoy your scent so much you shouldn't have made my nose so strong…that at the moment is a little more intoxicating then whatever that snake freak has planned…I'll deal with that after breakfast…"
Sasuke sneered as he turned, "I'm heading back to the house now…let me know if you ever figure this out and what you need to make my potion." Kira was about to say something but Sasuke cut her off, "Don't worry 'Red' I won't tell Kakashi. This thing sounds far too useful and all he wants is to seal it away…" Sasuke then disappeared from the clearing in a puff of smoke.
"When did Sasuke learn 'Shunshin?" asked Naruto, "I guess with his 'Sharingan' he's going to be picking up a lot of new Jutsu…damn it…"
Kira was still seething over Sasuke's nickname for her but still said, "Remember Naruto-kun, Jutsu may be useful but there are many powers out there more useful and you have learned many of them. Also it's not the number of Jutsu. It's the quality and how they're used…and you have some of the best!"
Naruto just smiled as he leaned forward and continued to stroke Kira's hair. Kira just relaxed as it seemed Naruto started to doze off slightly still holding her in a sitting position, "Well this is going to be uncomfortable in a little while…but oh, well. You're going to be doing some rough training over the next few days to get a handle on your Kitsune bi and doujutsu…so I'll just let you enjoy this…"
(Present Day…Day 5)
That had been the day after Naruto had woken up with the 'Cursed Seal'. Just four days ago. Kira had said she would need time to create the new 'CCs' in order to put her fix on the seals and that until then just to keep training and ignore it the best they could. She said that Kakashi's seal should hold it back fairly well and until she had the stuff ready there was no point in telling Kakashi about the seals anyway. She knew she couldn't hide it forever but after the potion was administered there was nothing he could do.
In between training Kira had grown to love scaring Naruto with her new fox form size by sneaking up behind him but was always careful to keep out of sight of the others. 6 less tails or not who wouldn't be scared witless about seeing her fox form? No matter how much Naruto loved the girl that form just sent a shiver up his spine but Kira just said that it was the point. It wasn't meant to be cute. It was meant for surviving.
When Hinata had first seen Kira she almost fainted from shear horror until Kira's normal sweet voice reached her even if a bit deeper and demonic sounding. It had taken a few days but now it was almost a common sight for Naruto to see Hinata napping against Kira's fox form after a hard spar or training session away from the others…
It was hard for Naruto to train by himself anymore. It seemed that ever since Orochimaru had attacked them Kakashi didn't want either boy alone for more than a few hours at a time. Naruto at least was able to get away with Hinata and Kira…pushing Sasuke's buttons seemed to be Kakashi's new pass time since the Jounin never left him alone.
As far as Naruto could tell from the way they trained it was always, 'Copy this with your 'Sharingan' and then we will work on perfecting it.' It really annoyed Naruto that it was that easy for those two. Just see a damn Jutsu to learn it and then just perfect it. It was so unfair but when he thought about half the things he could do compared to Sasuke it seemed to be a fair trade. To him at least. Besides he decided that he'd figure a way to do something similar eventually.
Training though…training seemed to be Naruto's problem. Not that he wasn't making progress. It was how to use what he was leaning. He still needed to figure out a style for himself. A way to bring everything he knew into one functional wrecking ball. So he decided to take a day just to decide. To set out everything he knew and try to see what could be used together…
The entire problem with the seal…to Naruto at least was pushed to the back of his mind. He couldn't do anything about it, couldn't use it, and couldn't even examine it because his scanning jutsu seemed to make it expand!
So he decided to take his skills step by step. He turned back to his Taijutsu first. It was simple to decide that the forms and general style of Jyuuken were superior to his medic-nin Taijutsu and yet because he couldn't see the tenketsus even with his 'Shinkirougan' he was limited in what Jutsu he could learn from the style.
Also the 'chakra scalpel' was far too useful and multi functional to just abandon. So the easiest way to fix that problem was keep the core of his taijutsu style 'Jyuuken' but finish the new manipulation he had created for it. Taking the medic-nin 'Chakra scalpel' form and ability to damage internal tissues but have it formed using a Jyuuken manipulation. This way not only would he keep the cutting and muscle damaging ability of the scalpel but add the damaging effects of a Jyuuken strike.
It sounded simple enough but Naruto quickly found that the 'chakra scalpel' lost a lot of its power to affect tissues when formed with the Jyuuken manipulation rather than medical chakra. Instead of the clean and deep cut the normal scalpel would make it seemed to almost shred the tissues. At first it was disappointing but in the end Naruto figured it was for the best. Better to do damage to both muscles and chakra together since he couldn't make full use of the Jyuuken style which he had to admit would be better if he could. He decided to call it 'Masao-Moroha' (Ghastly pale-Double edge) since the mixing of medical chakra and the Jyuuken manipulation created a blade easily seen by the naked eye…a blade of a ghostly white-grey color…
His Genjutsu was next on his list and this had him extremely depressed. Even though his control was back to where it was before the setbacks of his second tail forming he still couldn't for the life of him do any Genjutsu but Bunshin, Henge, and Kokuangyou which still confused him to no end. By all rights the A-rank Genjutsu should have been out of his league and yet it just came so naturally. After speaking with Kakashi and Kira, Naruto decided that his Genjutsu was a hopeless cause so in place of that he turned to the abilities of his doujutsu to play with people's minds.
It was strange…when Naruto began training with his doujutsu again to expand his illusion abilities everything had changed. Before Naruto had to channel different amounts of chakra to his eyes to see in different ways. To change distance, see the chakra aura, to affect people's minds, or even to just see things is slower motion but ever since his second tail had formed he saw things differently…
(Flashback: Day 3…Afternoon)
"Ok, Naruto-kun. We were able to get pretty far yesterday but today I want to focus on your doujutsu and what may or may not have changed. We found out yesterday what happened with you Kitsune bi…and just to let you know my hair still hasn't grown back yet…" said Kira as she held up the tips of her hair.
Naruto just blushed as he said, "How was I supposed to know that would happen! All I did was store up youki like normal and released it…I didn't think it would explode like that…or electrocute us…"
Kira just puffed out her cheeks as she remembered how frizzed her hair had been. She may not be a girl that prides herself on looks but there are certain things that she didn't stand for, "Well I did tell you to take it slow because the increase of youki in your system would make it far easier to use those techniques…but you are right that you couldn't have known about your chakra natures…"
Naruto scratched the back of his head for a moment, "Yah, umm, what happened yesterday anyway?"
Kira sighed as she said, "Like I said yesterday Naruto-kun it will be easier if I explained the elements correctly when everyone is here. Especially after talking to Kakashi yesterday I found out that humans truly know nothing about the true nature of the elements other than their own delusions caused by the machinations of their own techniques. So it would be better to correct everyone at once but I suppose the easiest way to explain it for now would be that your strongest nature is wind…but it seems you are starting one for fire as well. How you have done that so soon…I have no idea since you haven't used a single Katon jutsu to my knowledge. Even so it's still nowhere near ready to use or train in but enough to cause what happened yesterday." Naruto just nodded along as he continued to gather and release small spheres of Foxfire, "But since Kitsune bi compresses your chakra together the mix of wind and fire created a small electric charge along with the normal Kitsune bi. That's also why it has that light purple color. Your blue, my red, and the small charge of electricity. Understand?"
Naruto again nodded as he stood up, "Kay that makes sense so now what Kira-chan? You said you wanted to work on my doujutsu before I interrupted?"
"Yes, well…as you know I explained that when the second tail formed it aligned all you abilities to work together right?" asked Kira only to receive yet another nod from Naruto, "Well It seems to have done the same thing for your doujutsu as well. Before you had to focus a lot on the amount of chakra to use its various abilities…now it seems to have altered the way you will see things altogether."
"Change the way I see things?" asked Naruto as he scratched his head, "What do you mean exactly Kira-chan?"
"Remember how you had to adjust your chakra precisely to see differently? Well now all of that…actually it would just be easier if you activated your 'Shinkirougan' and saw for yourself."
Naruto wasn't sure what to expect so he slowly focused chakra to his eyes until he could feel them tingle like they always did. As Kira watched from across the clearing she couldn't help but think, "If you think my fox form is disturbing Naruto-kun…you should see your eyes activate…"
Just as before Naruto's eyes disappeared into endless black pits surrounded by the clear whites of his sclera before the inner edge of his pupils seemed to burst into flames before forming a solid ring of orange-red flame before a deep red slit appeared in the middle of the eyes. Naruto seemed to blink several times before his eyes began to water…it only took a moment before his eyes returned to normal and he needed to cover them.
"So what did you see Naruto-kun?" asked Kira as she handed Naruto a piece of cloth.
Naruto took a moment to whip his eyes before saying, "It…it was like seeing everything at once…it was so strange and overwhelming. Everything was pitch black with different colored outlines that showed their details. Everything was so clear and focused because of it. I could see the chakra coils overlapping your body, your aura, even how you were going to move. It was like everything was happening at once…my head hurts…"
Kira was quiet for a moment before she said, "I thought as much. In the Kitsune clan there are two paths our doujutsu can follow. Everyone turns down one of the paths eventually. At first I believed you would be like me Naruto-kun and have the eyes of a tactician but it seems you are truly a warrior at heart…"
"What do you mean two paths? What's the difference?"
"One path allows for greater abilities but at the cost of only being able to use one at a time. These are the eyes of a tactical fighter used to dissect an enemy piece by piece through study. All the abilities of the doujutsu are greater with the tactician eye but one because all the focus is on the one ability being used. These are the eyes I posses Naruto-kun."
"And the other?" asked Naruto as he stared into Kira's normally pale red eyes that now burned crimson with a ring of red flame in them.
"The other is the eyes of a warrior. They may possess weaker abilities but they see everything...just by activating your eyes you are able to see the chakra system, slow your perception of motion at will, see the aura to predict movements, use the aura to decipher elements and jutsu, use any powers over the mind…anything the doujutsu can normally do. The only thing that even takes more than your will to use is changing distance. These are the eyes of a fighter. They sacrifice greater ability for being able to fight without splitting their focus to control the doujutsu. It's actually fitting for you Naruto-kun…all we need to do is get you used to the rush of information like before. You're already used to reading what your eyes show you so all we need to do is get you experienced with seeing it all at once."
Naruto nodded his head as his eyes blazed to life once again, "This really is going to take some getting used to…"
"Whys that Naruto-kun?" asked Kira with a raised eyebrow…
"Every time I try to look at your face my eyes focus in on your chest…and it's getting distracting…"
Kira just fell to the ground laughing, "Well at least I know where your subconscious is at the moment! But let's save that for later…" finished Kira in a purring voice…
Over the last 5 day Sasuke had mastered the 'tree climbing' and 'water walking' exercises along with balancing a small stone in his hand. Kakashi said it normally took weeks of training for each exercise but with the extra jutsu, medical, and weapons training they all had been going through it had been much easier for the genin to master them.
Sasuke still wasn't satisfied with being the last one to finish but Kakashi had said it was because his training until now was more for power then control. Sasuke had also learned a basic lightning jutsu to work with his sword. It was called Raiton: Dark Current apparently it was originally meant to be used in Taijutsu for a quick advantage since it was short range. The electricity was chakra charged air around the hand that was then used to hit the opponent to cause a pause. At first Sasuke had no interest in the jutsu saying it was too weak but Kakashi had been very insistent that it was to build on for future Jutsu.
Hinata over the past 5 days had shocked them all. Not only had she finished the first 15 Jyuuken Kata but she had also finished mastering 5 Suiton Jutsu that Kira had taught her:
Suiton: Mizu Bunshin (Water Clone) D-rank: Just as any other Bunshin jutsu it creates a copy of the user. The only difference in the Mizu version is that the clones are only one tenth the strength of the original and are limited on the distance they may travel from the original.
Suiton: Suiro (Water Prison) C-rank: Traps an opponent in a sphere of water that restricts their movement. The user must keep contact with the sphere to maintain it.
Suiton: Mizudan (Water Bullet) C-rank: Fires a variable sized sphere of hardened water. Comparable to the Katon: Goukakyuu no Jutsu.
Suiton: Suijinheki (Water Wall) B-rank: Creates a wall of water to protect the user. Highly effective against Katon and Suiton jutsu. Effect on other elements seem to vary depending on rank.
Suiton: Suigadan (Water Fang Bullet) B-rank: Fires a stream of compressed water that can be manipulated by the user. Like the Mizudan it can vary in power.
After speaking with everyone and seeing their progress Kakashi was extremely happy with all the progress they had made and had given them the day off but what truly made the Genin happy was the announcement that tomorrow they would begin their chakra alignment training!
Sakura yawned loudly out of boredom as she sat at the end of the bridge reading a scroll yet again. She was very glad that Naruto carried so many scrolls with him otherwise she would be board out of her mind. Even if this one wasn't her normal idea of pastime reading. This one was on the various types of weapons and how to forge them along with basic alloys and their uses.
"All alone and board are we? Where are pretty boy and fangs?" asked Tazuna.
Sakura looked to Tazuna with a slight smirk, "Kakashi-sensei gave us all the day off so we drew who would come here…I lost obviously…so Sasuke-kun is probably still training and Naruto-kun is off somewhere with Hinata and Kira doing who knows what…"
Just then an average looking man with a black shirt and tan pants called out, "Tazuna can I talk to you?"
Tazuna looked back at the man with interest, "What's wrong Giichi?"
"I've been thinking it over and this bridge…I want off the job Tazuna."
"Wh-Why! You of all people! And out of nowhere like this?"
"Tazuna we go way back and I want to help but we can't risk Gato taking a contract out on us too! You have those ninja to protect you but we all can't be protected by them! Please just give it up! If we lose you we don't only lose this bridge but everything!"
"I can't do that Giichi…this bridge isn't just mine but everyone's. It's everything we've been working towards for our city. When it's finished it will bring trade, money, work, and life to our country. It will give new life to the Land of Waves!"
"But we're talking about LIVES here! Your LIFE Tazuna!"
"And what kind of life is it under Gato's FOOT!" screamed Tazuna gaining everyone's attention, "It's afternoon already so why don't we call it a day everyone!" called Tazuna over his shoulder as he turned, "Giichi you don't have to come back tomorrow…"
Sakura just listened to everything carefully as she watched from her seat. This was definitely something the others would want to hear. This problem with Gato went far deeper then she had thought.
Tazuna then walked up to her and motioned for her to follow which she did after a moment. Her job was to guard the bridge builder…not the bridge.
Naruto had never really trained for a cause before. He had always trained for himself, his own goals, and ends…learning the basics of chakra control well before his classmates, straining his body to perform the kata of whatever style he was using as perfectly as he could. Usually he even went long into the night trying to finally gain mastery over an exercise or jutsu. Yet all that had never been for any other reason than to reach his goals. Even after he had met Kira and everything had gotten better it was always his own goals, to make Kira proud, to do what his mother had wanted, to find what he truly wanted...
Now he felt a new determination inside of himself. This feeling of doing something for someone else was a very empowering feeling. The rush it gave him was enough to make him forget his tired body and to push himself well past his normal limits. Even Kira was getting worried about how long Naruto had been training.
He was going to show Inari that heroes do exist. If he could get stronger, faster, better, then he could protect everyone. There was little doubt in his mind that he would need all the strength he could get in the near future with Zabuza still alive. So he set out to continue his training on his own until it was time to meet up with the others…and training was never easier then with Kage Bunshin.
"There's no point in using those for training now Naruto-kun. You'll only hurt yourself if you try to learn anything more with them within the next few months…" said Kira.
"Few months? What happened to years?"
"Your healing is far greater than it was before Naruto-kun. Not only that but most of the stress from before was taken care of by the 'barrier' healing when you got your second tail but it's still not wise to do anymore training with them at the moment…"
"Actually I was just going to have them go over my Jutsu and chakra control again just to be safe and to save time by them doing it."
Kira had a thoughtful look before she waved her hands in a 'so-so' way. She watched as Naruto created a few dozen clones and handed out tasks before he whispered to one clone. Quietly enough to where even she couldn't hear it.
"What was that all about Naruto-kun? What did you ask that clone to do?" asked Kira as she watched Naruto go through several Jyuuken stances.
"I just asked it to work on an idea I've been having for awhile. I saw it done once so I thought I'd give it a try…you'll see soon. Either it will work and I'll have something to brag about or it will fail horribly and you can laugh."
"I doubt that I would laugh Naruto-kun but I bet this has something to do with that Jyuuken training you were doing before we left doesn't it?"
Naruto just gave Kira a foxy grin that was only enhanced with his new fangs. Kira just couldn't figure out why Naruto hadn't flipped about the fangs like he had when all the other changes happened. She was just hoping he was getting used to them, "Because there are going to be more every time he gains a tail…Naruto-kun what are you going to be working on?"
Naruto just smiled at Kira without even a pause in his flow as he said, "I'll be working on my 'Shinkirougan' while I go through the Jyuuken Kata I know and then move on to catching up with Hinata-chan. She's already memorized up to the 19th Kata and has almost mastered the 16th."
"That sounds good for now…but why not take a break Naruto-kun? The Jyuuken style is very powerful and seems to fit you well. Especially with the new manipulation you created…" said Kira as she raised her hand only for it to be surrounded by a ghostly white chakra.
Naruto's eyes widened as he asked, "How…how did you learn that so quickly? I never taught it to you…"
"Our doujutsu…you've used this enough times that it was rather easy for me to learn it."
"You mean you learned a new and experimental chakra manipulation that took me weeks to create by watching me do it a few times?" asked Naruto shocked.
"The only ability of our doujutsu you're missing is advanced memorization. With that many things become possible…including this."
Naruto blinked slowly as the gears slowly turned in his mind until they nearly broke, "Wait I thought memorizing things instantly was the only ability of the 'Sharingan' we were missing? If that's true shouldn't I be able to copy jutsu too! Didn't you say that we didn't have that one?"
"I said we didn't have 'instant' memorization. What makes the 'Sharingan' able to copy jutsu so effortlessly is that anything the user sees is memorized…any little detail. We just have advanced memorization. If we can study it long enough we will memorize it. The 'Sharingan' only has to glance at it."
"So how long does it take to memorize something with our eyes?"
"For me it's just under a minute in most things but since most jutsu are performed in seconds it really isn't helpful but it is how I learned the forms for the Jyuuken so fast!" finished Kira as she stuck out her tong.
Naruto looked livid, "YOU TEASED ME BEFORE SAYING YOU WERE JUST BETTER AT JYUUKEN THEN ME AND NOW YOU TELL ME YOU CHEATED!"
Kira pouted as she said, "Is the 'Sharingan' cheating?"
Naruto's new training drive to help Inari may have helped him push harder than he ever had but it was because of this empowering feeling that he finally pushed himself too far into the early hours of the morning. Somewhere around 4 in the morning he finally collapsed of exhaustion in both body and chakra depletion. Kira knew it was bound to happen sooner or later so once it did and she moved him into a more comfortable possession she decided that a warm night like this was fine to sleep under the stars. So she returned to the seal to continue her work…
Around him in the small clearing was kicked up piles of leaves and grass. Many trees had shuriken and kunai stuck in them. One tree could have competed with Sasuke's for slash marks. One entire side of the clearing looked like death itself had touched it. Black trees, charred ground, and the smell of poison in the air were what met the senses.
Snoring fitfully, in the middle of this Naruto lay ignorant of the birds that landed on him. Not even the bird that stood on his hitai-ate that was chirping quite loudly could awaken him. Those were natural sounds and smells that his mind and body ignored even in his sleep. But a new scent wafted up into his nose. It was foreign to nature, thus potential dangerous. In an instant his mind was awakened and his eyes snapped open with his hand snapping automatically to his kunai pouch.
What he saw was a slender figure standing over him starting to reach down, probably to poke him out of curiosity. With the way the hair was so long and silky it seemed to Naruto that this was young girl about his age.
"Be careful Naruto-kun this girl feels familiar and I sense…I'm not sure…just be on guard."
Naruto gave a mental nod as he instantly went into analysis mode as he looked the girl up and down. She had long black hair, soft features, slender body, form fitting pink kimono, and a black choker. Her scent is what caught his attention thou. It was of water and the forest but the girl didn't seem wet? But that was just the surface…something far too familiar lingered on her skin. A smell that all seasoned shinobi seemed to carry. The smell of old blood…
She wore a slightly surprised gaze due to the abrupt way he'd awoken. She quickly covered it with a kind smile as she knelt down next to him saying, "You shouldn't sleep out here or you'll catch a cold."
"Who are you?" he asked, wiping the sleep from his eyes but still watching her.
"Just a friend," she said simply. "But you can call me Haku if you like."
"Haku?" he said looking at her. "Hmm, well I'm Uzumaki Naruto…What are you doing out here so early Nee-san?"
"I was collecting herbs to be used in an ointment I'm making," Haku answered smiling again.
"An ointment?" he questioned. "You mean to heal someone? I have a very good friend that makes ointments! Can I help?"
And just like that, Naruto set about helping gather the plants to help this person. It was actually kind of relaxing to him. To go through the various plants on the ground, looking for the specific kinds, and checking for quality. Picking them helped to relieve a bit of the tension that had been building up in his body for some time. He was actually learning of many plants he had never known to be used for healing. Of course herb and medicine mixing was still further in his med-nin training but now he thought maybe medicine mixing wouldn't be so bad for a specialty. He had learned early on that the smell of disease was more then he could take…
"Thanks for helping." said Haku when the basket was noticeably fuller.
"You sure are working early." Naruto observed as he sat down on the ground.
"You too," Haku pointed out. "What are you doing here at this time of the morning?"
Chuckling at the memories of his own teammates asking him that very question only several days ago he answered honestly if bluntly. "I'm training!"
"Really…wow." Haku said. "But…why are you training?"
"Because…I need to become stronger then I am now. There's something I need to do…and I need to be stronger to do it."
Kira was listening carefully now. It was strange how the link between them worked. She could tell emotion and instinct between them but deep thoughts were lost on her but what she could tell was that this girl was having an effect on Naruto she had never seen before…an almost serene aura he had only given off when they would nap together…she didn't like it.
"But you look pretty strong already," the strange girl said quietly. It was indeed true. Though they were mostly hidden underneath his shirt, Naruto's muscular arms were leaving distinguishable bulges in his sleeves.
"No, I need to be stronger!" he said as he clenched his hands and bared his fangs. "That's the only way I can prove that heroes exist!"
"Heroes?" Haku just seemed to tense slightly, "What do you mean?" she asked after recovering from the flash of fangs.
"I need to prove to a gaki that just because his father died…that all heroes aren't gone. I need to prove that there still are heroes in the world." Naruto said quietly.
"Really," Haku said slightly disappointed. "So you train for other's to recognize you as a hero?"
"Hmm, no…I used to do that years ago. I usually train for myself and my own dreams but now I want to help this kid and his family." the look of confusion on his face brought small chuckles from Haku but what he said made Haku seem deep in thought. "What's so funny?"
After regaining some composure Haku asked the question that would change Naruto's life. "Do you have someone who is important to you? Not just someone you want to help but someone that is precious?"
Naruto's confusion only deepened. "What is this girl trying to say? Is she talking about family?"
Thoughts of Haku's own precious person brought a wave of snapshot memories through her. Though many were not happy she was content with knowing she'd found someone who didn't hate her for her bloodline. Looking up after being drawn reluctantly from her memories Haku looked thoughtfully at Naruto. "When a person has something important to protect," she said in gentle but serious voice. "That's when they truly become strong."
"Yup!" he said happily. "I understand that very well! I have a couple and one very important one."
This brought a small smile to Haku. Then remembering that Zabuza needed these new herbs she stood up and started to walk away. Stopping momentarily she said, "You will become strong…let's meet again somewhere."
"Sure! By the way is someone sick? If the ointment is to help someone I'm a med-nin. Maybe I can help?" Naruto asked happily with slight concern.
Haku had to think fast. She had not known about this. If she brought this boy maybe she could force him to help Zabuza but on the other hand he was the one that harmed him, "No, no one is hurt or sick Naruto-kun. It's just a muscle relaxant."
"Ok, just promise to show me the mix sometime. I'm always up to learn something new!" called Naruto as he finally noticed three things. First, the color of nail polish, second a scent he recognized after her clothes waved slightly, and lastly she was carrying several senbon on her right thigh.
"Oh, and by the way…" Haku had her back turned so she couldn't see what Naruto's reaction would be. But she was willing to bet it would've been hilarious to watch. "I'm a boy."
It was silent for a moment as Haku waited to hear a gasp…"No you're not…" this caught Haku by surprise. No one had ever called her on her bluff. As she turned to face him Naruto walked right up beside her and said, "You don't have an Adams apple. Even with that choker on I would notice, second your scent is definitely female, and lastly your bone structure is that of a female…hunter-san."
Haku's eyes opened wide as she launched away from him before throwing 3 senbon, "When...how…how did you know?"
Naruto easily blocked the senbon with his claws and decided to bullshit for some leverage, "I knew when I woke up. Your scent is the same, your nail polish is the same…" then he activated his doujutsu and said to send a shiver down her spine, "and your chakra signature is the same…"
As Haku tensed and drew another senbon she tried not to lock eyes with Naruto as she asks, "So you aren't going to let me go are you?" she then eyed his equipment behind him.
Naruto feels the bead of sweat roll down the side of his face as he thinks, "Damn, it's still too hard to keep it active for long. I can barely stand this pain," Naruto looks on as his 'Shinkirougan' fades with a board expression he asks, "Are you going to attack me? Because, if I wanted to attack you…I would have done it before I said anything."
Haku looked on dumb struck for a moment then asked, "Why didn't you? We are enemies with different goals and you said before that you wanted to protect the old man."
"I don't see the old man around here…" said Naruto as he acted as if scanning the clearing, "and I was never paid to kill you, only to stop you from killing Tazuna. Besides I hear that Gato is pretty famous for killing off the Nin he hires instead of paying them anyway. I think that's why he hires nuke-nin isn't it? That way the villages aren't after him. Either way I see it…Gato kills you for failing or you kill Gato for betraying you. Either way it's better for you to be alive."
Haku left her stance and can't help but giggle, "You're probably right Naruto-kun. I have gotten the same feeling from him many times."
Naruto then looks horribly confused as he asks, "Then why do you work for him? Just leave his service and we won't be enemies anymore. We could be friends!"
"That would be nice Naruto-kun but I live for Zabuza-sama and that means for his wishes as well. Very few will hire missing-nin and Gato has offered to pay a lot. We need the money…" Haku then looked down.
Kira began to tell Naruto what to say hoping to get through to the girl, "You need the money because the hunter-nin are after you? You can't go to any large village because you will be found and can't even stop running." Haku looked up into Naruto's slit blue eyes with the purple ring and found something she had never expected to see…caring, worry, hope, "Take me to Zabuza, let me talk with him."
Haku looked up horrified at the thought, "I can't do that!"
"I will come on your terms Haku. I will leave all my equipment other then medical supplies if you want. You can even leave me instruction of when and how to meet you. I'm putting my trust in you not to kill me so please trust me a little and give me the chance to end this without a fight!"
Haku thought it over for a moment before saying, "Come back to this clearing in the morning two days from now. There will be a note with instructions to follow. Do not deviate from them."
"As you say Haku-chan…" Haku had to blush at that being the first time someone had called her that.
"OK, Kira-chan why did I just do that? This could be very dangerous and when Kaka-sensei finds out I'm dead."
"Trust me Naruto-kun there is a very good reason for that. I will explain tonight when you go to sleep. We will be having another night time training session…"
Haku was leaving the clearing with her mind heavy after speaking with Naruto. When she spotted the other boy from the genin team approaching she continued on her path, ignoring the questioning look on the boy's face as she passed.
Deciding to ignore the strange girl, Sasuke walked forward to where he could sense Naruto's chakra. He found the blonde sitting on the ground, seemingly contemplating deep thoughts while mumbling to himself.
"I've seen a LOT of weird stuff in this world," the blonde was saying as the Uchiha approached. "But THIS one takes the cake!"
If he had anymore enlightening thoughts it was not to be as the Uchiha smacked him over the head. Grasping his throbbing cranium Naruto glared up at his rival as he exposed his fangs on instinct, "What was that for teme?" he demanded angrily. It was too early to get into a fight already. Especially, since he had just made a date with the enemy.
"It's been a while since you called me that, dobe. What were you doing last night?" Sasuke demanded with an equal amount of anger as he looked around the destroyed clearing.
"Oh, just some training last night with my abilities…trying to cut down from 4 ninja to 2 you know." said Naruto innocently as he looked up at Sasuke.
Sasuke glared as he pointed to the blackened spot, "That would explain the kunai, shuriken, and slash marks but what about the spot of death over there."
Naruto looked over and made the OH face, "I was working on controlling my Dokugiri better. The poison is always the inhaled kind but I was able to make it flammable at some point awhile back so I'm trying to see what else there is." Naruto then made a few clones to collect his things as he said, "Let's head back. Breakfast is almost ready by now!"
Sasuke just grunted as an agreement, "Why…am I always behind you Naruto? We were always equals…rivals and now everything I accomplish you seem to surpass without even knowing it…" thought Sasuke as he stared at the patch of death. His fists tightened as he thought back to the destruction his Katon jutsu had caused.
Before Naruto was out of sight he looked back just one more time thinking about Haku…
Later that morning after Naruto, Hinata, Kira, and Sasuke had left to do some last minute training before starting on their new elemental training Kakashi was doing some light training of his own by doing pushups with one finger while Tazuna and Sakura sat on his back.
"I keep meaning to ask you…you know I lied to you about how dangerous this mission was to get you to come…so why did you stay?" asked Tazuna.
"To know what is right and choose to ignore it is the act of a coward. 'Like master like man'. Those are the teachings of our previous Hokage. This is the shinobi life, we may obey orders but we do not dance to the tune of whoever pays the piper…" Kakashi then stands up as he flexes his hand, "I'm nearly healed thanks to Naruto…the last time I did this it took months to rebuild my body correctly and with him I do it in about a week."
Tazuna just nodded his head as he thought over Kakashi's words.
Kakashi then turned to Sakura and said, "Let's go find the others so we can start on your affinity training."
Sakura only nodded as she stood up and followed her sensei.
As Haku stood by Zabuza he looked in pain as he squeezed an apple with his left arm. He succeeded in crushing the apple but he instantly flinched in pain as his muscles smashed under his skin.
"It seems that most of your strength has returned but your muscles haven't recovered yet Zabuza-sama. At this point you could barely wield your sword…I need to keep Zabuza-san here for one more day…just one more…forgive me Zabuza…"
"I can see that Haku! I thought your ointment was supposed to fix this…how long until I will be able to attack again?" asked Zabuza with annoyance clear in his voice.
"I would say two days until you can use the arm without pain. Three until you are completely healed."
"We will see…" said Zabuza as he griped his sword only to wince again…
When Kakashi gathered everyone together he looked over the four Genin with pride and confidence. All of them had gone further than he could have dreamed in such a short time. Team work, chakra control, jutsu, weapons, everything he could think of was beyond his expectations for them and he knew they were ready for this even if every other sensei would kill him once he returned to the village.
They may not have the rank or the experience most shinobi had when they learned this but these ones certainly could handle it. It was only Kira's cold eyes that set him on edge. She sat in the branches of a nearby tree as if waiting for something…
"Alright everyone before we can start your training for your elemental affinity we need to know what it is and to do that we use these…" Kakashi then pulled out six small square pieces of paper and handed each of the genin one of them before calling out, "Kira-san, come down here please! If you plan to follow my team around forever you may as well keep up with them!"
Kira just seemed to snort as she jumped down from the branches and grabbed the paper saying, "There's nothing about the elements I can learn from you. If anything I'm going to have to correct you here…"
Sakura looked on with a small amount of distain for the way Kira spoke to Kakashi. The other genin…they knew better then to question Kira about a statement like that. Kakashi himself was just as apathetic as even if his jaw line had become more ridged.
"How is this going to tell you our elements Kakashi sensei?" voiced Sakura asking the question everyone was thinking but mostly trying to clear the air.
Kakashi continued to glare for a moment before he said, "This paper is made from a very special tree. It reacts in a special way to a person's chakra depending on what element you are:
Earth: it will turn to dust
Fire: It will blacken
Wind: It will split in half
Water: It will moisten by collecting water from the air
Lightning: It will crumple up
"Kakashi-sensei what if we don't have an element?" asked Hinata.
Kakashi looked at the genin and said, "Everyone has an element inherited from their parents. Then rarely some people have developed a second one after many years of training and using the jutsu from that element. I myself have Lightning and Earth nature chakra."
"Cool, which one did you start with and how did you get the second? Also is it possible to be born with two chakra natures?" Naruto fired off one after another.
"Whoa, slow down Naruto…I started with lightning chakra and developed my earth chakra because…during the second ninja war I copied many Doton jutsu. After years of using them it just happened. When I started training in my element it was just like that. As for having two chakra types at birth…it's very rare. When it does happen it's because of a bloodline limit that gives someone the control over a sub element, such as our Shodaime's Moukuton (wood) Jutsu. Normally the only people that can use these elements are people that have trained for many years not only to gain the elements needed but to learn to combine them correctly. Hardly anyone in history has ever accomplished this without being born with the ability."
Everyone looks on in interest as Kakashi continues, "This is one of the reasons why the Shodaime was so famous. He was one of the few people in history to use Moukuton. Even being able to use a sub element is a very large advantage but don't be disappointed with whatever you have. Every element has its strengths and weaknesses. Now all of you channel some chakra into your paper so we can begin your training."
With barley held excitement all four genin hold their paper between their middle and index finger just as they were shown…as the small glow of chakra reaches the paper…they all gasp…
Kakashi…couldn't believe it. It was hard to understand what had happened here. Hinata's by far was the most normal out of all the Genin even at a horribly powerful scale. When one has the Suiton affinity the paper normally dampens slightly…Hinata's arm was surrounded by water up to her elbow…
Sakura…Kakashi had no idea what to make of it. Her paper had become ridged and hard as steel with edges that could compare to the highest quality kunai.
Sasuke was one he thought he could understand. Sasuke's paper had split in two with one instantly crumpling while the other blackened before turning to ash. Kakashi was relived as he finally recognized the signs…until the piece that had crumpled began to slowly vibrate. At first Kakashi didn't think much of it. Not until the ground formed a small crack under it…
Naruto was another he was at a loss for. Just like Sasuke's paper Naruto's had split in two only one piece to split in half again, then again, and again until only shreds remained of it…but the other…didn't seem to do anything. As Naruto slowly picked it up he asked, "So I have wind but what does this mean?"
Kakashi was at a loss as all the genin held up their cards until, "Sakura's is the sub element of Menton (Metal), Hinata-chan's and Sasuke's are at the level of an elemental manipulator like myself and you Naruto-kun…"
As everyone looked to Kira with straining eyes Kakashi asked, "You knew about this didn't you? When you said you'd have to correct me you knew that they were different…so I assume you know what caused this?"
Kira turned as she slid off the branch she had returned to and landed next to Hinata, "I told you all that most of Naruto-kun special powers came from his highly powerful chakra…so how could any of you think that him lending you chakra every time you ran out during training wouldn't have an effect…"
Kakashi's voice was crisp and harsh as he stared at Kira and Naruto, "What has happened…and what are the two of you. I've held back these questions for as long as I can but now I need to know who is this girl and what have you done to my genin!"
Kira smirked, "Genin? You've had more contact with Naruto-kun's chakra than anyone else Mister Cyclops…" Kira then looked back into Naruto's eyes and what she wanted was clear. Naruto only smiled, "As for who I am…maybe this will seem familiar…"
As the clearing filled with black smoke and the ominous feeling of true demon youki Naruto couldn't help let a single tear slide down his cheek…he would most likely lose a friend this day…
And now we have come full circle. The next chapter will be the first completely new and never before seen chapter! After that I hope to get onto a schedule of updating twice a month so I'm expecting the next update to be around the end of this month. Keep watch and remember to vote for Naruto's demon form if you haven't already! Cut off is June 16th unless I decide to lengthen the poll. Not many people have voted…only about 113/1811 that have this fic on alerts…