An Altered Path
Chapter 4: Wave
AN: Hello all. I'm back again. I know its been a while but truthfully speaking i had absolutely zero motivation to write this chapter. I still didn't feel like writing it but did so just because people were still checking out the story. That said updates for this will be sporadic at best for the time being.
Kazama Naruto. It was a name well known in the Hidden Leaf Village. It was the name of the Sandaime Hokage's adoptive grandson. However it was also the name of the greatest genius to come out of Konoha's shinobi academy in years, the boy graduating two years early at the head of the class. While the word gets tossed out every year within the village it seemed lately Naruto was one that apparently deserved the title. This was especially true as his grandfather had not only not known he was skipped ahead nor did he know the boy had taken the exams and passed with flying colors.
To Uchiha Sasuke the boy was an enigma. He had seen him as they walked through town being greeted by all of the older, more serious kunoichi and shinobi. Still the boy didn't act anything like what a genius was supposed to act like. Every time he could get the chance he was lying on his back doing nothing yet he still managed to best him in everything they did with seemingly no effort. Hell even the damned cat Tora had a different reaction to him as it could be seen even now curled up in his arms while it had taken pleasure in scratching him the hell up.
Naruto himself didn't like either of his so called teammates. He could tell that the intel he had on them was completely accurate. The Uchiha was a spoiled punk with an elitist attitude and an ego the size of the stick up elder Danzo's ass. The Haruno was much worse she never trained, she didn't take her career seriously, and all she did was cheer on said emo Uchiha. He could tell she'd be killed on her first mission. By comparison he liked Tora, then again he'd known Tora for a while. He had stumbled upon her when he was about nine and they had hit it off immediately. He also was one of the few to know that Tora was actually a ninja cat and was brought in to test out gennin teams and get them to train.
Those she didn't like always ended up like the Uchiha feeling like a scratching post. Madame Shijimi was a great actor making it look like Tora's escapes were accidents most people would never know she just liked messing with kids. Still as he entered his grandfather's office and handed Tora off he could only smirk at the small wink the Fire Lords wife gave him as she left the room.
"Well now Kakashi, it seems team seven has completed another mission. If you like we still have a few available today. We have a couple of babies that need babysitting, a fence needing painting, the Inuzuka kennels could use some extra hands…"
"NO TORA COME BACK."
"…or you catch Tora." Naruto could tell the old man was trying to hold back a laugh at that.
"NO. No more chores, I'm sick of doing things that people are just too lazy to do themselves. These chores do nothing to further my abilities or even test them!" exclaimed Sasuke causing both Naruto and Kakashi to sigh while the Haruno swooned.
"I thought Itachi was working on this kids patience and temper." Muttered Hiruzen causing Naruto to chuckle which he hid with a fake cough.
"You idiot! These missions aren't about you, the key word is TEAM. They are exercises to help build teamwork!"
Naruto smirked at the words from the scarred chuunin working with his grandfather. Umino Iruka he'd been his initial teacher and had been the one to recommend he be bumped up to the graduating class. He had also been Hinata's academy instructor and had apparently never liked the Uchiha.
"Calm down Iruka, you and I both know how tiresome D-ranks can be."
Though it was said in a pleasant tone Naruto, Iruka, and Kakashi could all tell it was masking his annoyance at the moment. Naruto was used to it though having grown up with the man he knew his moods well. He had also worked in the tower for a while so he knew his grandfather liked his gennin hazing and was annoyed that someone had the nerve to cut it short.
"What say you Kakashi, do you think your team is ready for something a little higher?" asked the old man.
"Hm, I suppose a C-rank wouldn't hurt." Said Kakashi.
"Very well then." Said the old man before handing a paper to one of his aides who quickly left.
Barely two minutes later the door behind them opened as the aid returned escorting an old man. Naruto fought the urge of curling his lip in disgust as the strong scent of sake hit him. He'd developed heightened senses after the fiasco with the Kumo nin and they were a bitch and a half to deal with.
"Eh this is the group that spose' to be protecting me? Their just kids, they don't even look like they could protect their own lunch money especially that pink haired one." Said the old man.
"What was that." Said the Haruno dangerously as she took a step forward only to be hit upside the head by Kakashi's book causing her to stop short.
"You're not supposed to hurt the client but protect them baka." Hissed Kakashi before turning to the man.
"There's nothing to worry about sir. This is a low risk mission, besides if anything unexpected occurs I'm a jounin so I'll handle it." Said Kakashi with an eye smile.
"Humph, I'm Tazuna the super awesome bridge builder. You brats are gonna be protecting me back to my home in Nami no Kuni and will do so while I build a bridge to connect our two countries." Said the old man.
"Very well. Everyone pack enough for two weeks and meet at the gate in an hour." Said Kakashi dismissing the gennin while leading Tazuna away.
Seeing this Naruto sighed before shaking his head at his grandfather as he left the room. Seeing this Hiruzen sighed sadly for the boy.
"Iruka, make sure there's nothing off about this mission. I'd hate for something bad to happen on another routine mission for him, especially since this is the first time he's left since." Said Hiruzen.
Twenty minutes later found Naruto being making his way through the Hyuga Compound escorted by one of the compounds guards. Since the incident with the Kumo ambassador all those years ago Hiashi allowed him entrance whenever he liked as long as it was daylight. He had stated that if he ever caught him after dark though he'd be marrying Hinata soon after, he still didn't know if the man had been joking.
It didn't take long for them to reach the main family dojo. Upon entering he could see that Hinata was in the middle of a spar with Hizashi while her cousin Neji, Hiashi, her sister Hanabi and her mother Hanako looked on.
"Good morning Hanako-oba-chan, Hanabi-chibi-chan." Said the blond as he sat beside the woman who hugged him tightly while the little girl glared.
"Good morning Naru-chan, are you here to pick up Hinata-chan for a date?" questioned Hanako.
"No oba-chan. I'd like to live a lot longer for the moment. While I'm pretty sure I can take Neji I'm not crazy enough to go against Hizashi-oji-san or Hiashi-oji-san yet." Said Naruto getting Hanako to giggle.
"Ne nii-san are you and onee-san really getting married?" questioned Hanabi causing Naruto to choke on air while Hanako went wide eyed.
"Where'd you hear that from?" questioned Naruto his eyes darting around quickly.
"I heard one of the ladies outside my room say you would be a good husband for nee-san." Answered Hanabi causing the blond to sigh in relief while Hanako looked contemplative.
"Don't worry about that okay. It sounds like people trying to play matchmaker." Said Naruto.
"Ah but I want you to be my brother." As she said this Naruto swore if she wasn't a Hyuga she'd be pouting visibly instead of just audibly.
"Alright that's enough." Called Hiashi ending both the conversation and the spar.
"How are you doing this morning Naruto-kun?" asked Hiashi causing Hinata to pause for a moment before she continued moving for her towel.
"Pretty good actually. Unfortunately I won't be able to make dinner tonight, the Uchiha threw a hissy fit so I have to go to Nami no Kuni on a bodyguard detail for a few weeks." Said Naruto.
"I see. We will just have to reschedule when you return." Said Hiashi patting the boy on the shoulder as he left the dojo with his wife and youngest daughter.
"So your finally off the reserve list." Said Neji as he approached.
Neji was the pride of the Hyuga clan despite being a branch member. Not only was he the greatest genius the clan had seen in a century but he was one of the few people in the village to possess an Alter. Alter, it was the ability to alter physical matter into a new form and Neji was among the strongest with the ability.
"I'd rather still be on it. Not only am I back to doing D-ranks but I've got two teammates who collectively are worthless. Separately their going to get each other killed I of course won't be there to die with them." Retorted the blond.
"Just don't let anyone hear you say that in the street." Said Hizashi as he made his way over.
"I wouldn't even think it if you'd have taken me on your gennin team." Retorted the blond with a smile showing he was joking.
"Anyway keep working on that chakra control Naruto." Said Hizashi patting him on the shoulder and making his way out with Neji who just smirked.
"So you can't make it to dinner." Said Hinata as she sat down beside him.
"It's okay. It's not the first time, though I was getting used to having you around again." Said Hinata.
"Pretty soon it will be you cancelling." Said Naruto with a chuckle.
"I'll try to put it off longer. Are you sure you're ready for this though?" retorted Hinata.
"It's nothing I haven't done before Hina-chan. But if you mean the team then no, that's nowhere near ready." Said Naruto with a sigh.
"We should have been placed together." Said Hinata.
"Nah, we spend a lot of time together. This is for the best, this way you can step up and take control of your team." Explained Naruto.
"You'll be careful, right?" questioned Hinata worriedly.
"Of course I will. I'll be back before you know it."
Not far from the dojo Hanako sighed happily as she watched them hug and part ways before deactivating her Byakugan. Turning towards her husband she grabbed his arm and began walking back towards her garden.
"You know Hiashi-kun, Naruto really would be a great husband for her." Said Hanako causing him to misstep.
The members of team seven had all arrived right on time for their newly assigned mission. Kakashi of course was the last to arrive but seeing as how he was leading the client no one raised a fuss about it. Naruto found that he and Kakashi were the only ones there that weren't lugging around packs as both held their possessions in summoning scrolls. After a quick equipment check Kakashi was satisfied that Sakura at least did that right and the group headed out of the gates.
I'd like to say that the journey was silent and enjoyable but that would be a lie. Instead the first leg of the journey consisted of Sakura pestering Sasuke and the three males trying to tune her out with varying degrees of success. The second leg had at least been a bit educational as Kakashi had given a brief lecture about Nami no Kuni after Sakura had asked if they had a ninja village. It was as they were walking after this when he noticed it out of the corner of his eye, something seemingly insignificant but with the weather they'd had lately very out of place, a puddle.
Turning slightly he could see that Kakashi had also seen it and fell back to walk just ahead of him. As they passed it the blond mentally counted down and was not surprised when a pair of nuke-nin burst from the puddle and moved to launch themselves forward. Flipping his hands into a ram seal he spiked his chakra causing the explosive tagged kunai he'd dropped just behind the puddle to detonate throwing the nuke-nin forward.
The explosion caused two things the first was causing the nuke-nin to launch forward unexpectedly and the second was catch the attention of the rest of the group. As such Sasuke, Sakura and Tazuna were just in time to see the two nuke-nin be caught by a double clothesline from Kakashi straight to the throat sending them down hard.
"Nice timing with the explosive Naruto-kun." Commented Kakashi causing the blond to smirk.
"Wait what just happened?" questioned Sakura confused.
"You two need to pay more attention to your surroundings if you'd actually like to continue to live. Those two were hiding within a puddle of all things when it hasn't rained in months." Commented Naruto shaking his head in disgust.
Before they could travel much more however a figure leapt out of the trees behind them to land amongst the group. The figure turned out to be a woman who wore a rust orange skirt and fishnet shirt above which was a jounin flak vest and a tan trench coat above that. She had purple hair that was pulled back into a tail and a Konoha hitae-tae on her forehead.
"Good I caught you guys in time." Said the woman.
"What's going on Anko?" questioned Kakashi.
"The old man sent me as backup. We got some intel that Nami no Kuni was undergoing a hostile takeover headed up by some slime called Gato. Tazuna-san's bridge poses a threat to that. However having a bridge connecting Hi no Kuni with such a prominent trading center is too good a chance to pass up. So long story short you get another jounin for back-up." Said Anko with a grin.
"Well then since this is your specialty these two are all yours." Said Kakashi motioning to the downed nuke-nin at his feet.
"Oh you get me the sweetest gifts Kakashi." Said Anko.
"You should thank Naruto he giftwrapped them I just set them down." Said Kakashi.
"Well thank you wonder boy, you're a real sweetie." Said Anko before grinning darkly at the two nuke-nin and dragging them into the woods.
For a few moments there was silence before a loud and pained scream ripped through the air causing Sakura to wince. Several minutes and screams later Anko returned minus two nuke-nin whistling a jaunty tune.
"Ok, those two nuke-nin, were a pair of former Kiri chuunin called known as the Demon Brothers. Surprise, surprise their on Gato's payroll and todays lucky target was Tazuna. They didn't know much more except that Gato had hired a jounin as well but they didn't know who." Informed Anko.
"Well that's no problem as the two of us are jounin ourselves." Said Kakashi with an eye smile.
The next morning found the group boarding a small boat whose owner proceeded to sneak them into the country by way of rowing through the concealment of the mist. They had rested the night near the border and had gotten an early start so they could get in using the morning mist. As they rowed passed they could all see the incomplete bridge and had to admit it was an impressive sight. Finally the boats owner took them as far as he was willing to go and they got off with Tazuna thanking the man for his assistance.
It was as they were walking on the shores of Nami no Kuni that Sasuke suddenly whipped out a kunai and threw it into the bushes to his side. As they moved over to check what he hit they found a small white rabbit scared shitless of the piece of metal death that had nearly skewered it. Kakashi and Anko were even more on guard though recognizing its fur coloring as out of season and had only just barely managed to yell out a warning and pull others down before a massive zanpato flew over them taking off a few inches of Kakashi's hair.
"Well now if this isn't a surprised. 'Copy Ninja' Hatake Kakashi, and Mitarashi Anko 'Konoha's Black Mamba'. No wonder the demon brothers failed." Said a new voice its own standing on the hilt of the massive weapon.
The voice belonged to a man who stood at about 6 ft. in height and had short spiky black hair. His torso was bare except for the belt which was definitely used to carry the weapon and he wore a pair of somewhat baggy stripped pants. He had bandages wrapped around the lower portion of his face like a mask and wore wrist-warmers that extended up to his elbows on his hands and a matching pair on his legs.
"Well if it isn't A-rank nuke-nin Momochi Zabuza. I didn't think a guy like you would stoop low enough to work for a slime like Gato.
"Meh, we all need funds Hatake." Retorted Zabuza with a shrug.
"That said hand over the old man and you and yours can all go about your business." Said Zabuza.
"Well you know that's not possible, it's bad for business." Retorted Kakashi.
"Oh well can't say I didn't at least try the easy way." Said Zabuza disappearing along with his blade.
They didn't have to look for him for long as he appeared standing upon the water with one arm held straight up and the other held in front of his chest his hand in a half seal.
"Kirigakure no jutsu."
With that intoned name the mist around them thickened to the point where each person could only see a few inches in front of their face.
"Eight points the larynx, spine, lungs, liver, jugular vein, brain, kidney, and heart. Now which vital organ do you want to get struck at?" echoed Zabuza's voice from seemingly all around them.
Sasuke shook as the killing intent of the area began to affect him while Sakura was shuddering in undisguised fear. Naruto narrowed his eyes as he tried to peer through the mist and held a pair of kunai in a reverse grip while Anko simply smirked and held one of her own kunai.
"You guys hang back. For a guy like this I'll have to get serious."
With that said Kakashi reached up and pulled his hitae-tae so that it sat straight across his forehead revealing his hidden eye. The eye itself was scarlet red with a black pupil, three black como markings surrounding the pupil connected by a dotted line.
"Well would you look at this revealing the Sharingan right from the jump." Stated Zabuza with a chuckle.
Just as he said this the nuke-nin appeared behind the Sharingan user and bisected him with his giant butcher knife only for Kakashi to fall into water. In the next instant Kakashi appeared driving a kunai through Zabuza's throat only for him to do the same. In the next Zabuza appeared once more and kicked Kakashi in the stomach after having missed his initial attack with his sword. The force of the kick sent Kakashi flying back before he landed in a roll that sent him into the water.
Taking a moment to recover from the attack the leaf jounin moved to leap from the water only to find he was trapped in a large bubble with the masked nuke-nin holding it. Before Zabuza could even say a word outside of his jutsu's name a large purple snake leaped out of the water straight towards him forcing him to leap away and release his jutsu.
"Thanks for the hand Anko." Called Kakashi without turning to face the woman who now had the snake coiled around her body as if it was embracing her.
"You got lucky that last time, but the same trick won't work on me twice." Stated the Sharingan user.
Zabuza scoffed and began flying through seals at an astonishing rate an action Kakashi mimicked. At the same time the two finished their chain of seals each of them calling up a large serpentine dragon from the water that clashed and took each other out. Once again in unison the two of them started up another long chain of seals only for Zabuza to pause halfway through upon seeing a copy of himself across from him. That pause slight as it was had been all the opening Kakashi needed to finish the chain of seals before the original caster could.
"Suiton: Daibakufu no Jutsu (Water Release: Great Waterfall Technique)!" exclaimed Kakashi.
Immediately afterwards a swirl of water appeared in front of Kakashi before it surged upwards high above them and then back down forming a massive wave of water. Zabuza had no time to react as the wave slammed into him with crushing force carrying him through the forest slamming through trees in the process before meeting a boulder strong enough to halt it. Kakashi immediately followed in the attacks wake and came across Zabuza sitting against the cracked boulder looking like a puppet with its strings cut.
"As I said Zabuza, I see the future and yours is death."
Before Kakashi could act on his words however a trio of senbon flew through the air and embedded themselves in Zabuza's neck knocking him over onto his side.
"Well look at that you were right, he did die."
Turning towards the voice Kakashi saw a figure garbed in blue robes with a white porcelain mask covering their face the symbol of Kiri etched into the upper portion. In the next instant the figure he recognized as a hunter-nin had appeared between him and Zabuza.
"If you'll excuse me I have work to do." Said the Hunter-nin before both they and Zabuza's body along with the blade vanished in a whirl of water.
Shrugging his shoulders Kakashi made his way back through the forest to meet up with his team, client, and Anko. As he reached them he saw Anko idly cleaning her nails with a senbon of her own. He and Anko shared a brief look before he turned his attention to Tazuna and ask him to lead the way to his home.
It didn't take them long to reach the house of the bridge builder and they had no more encounters to interrupt them. Tazuna's house set on the outskirts thankfully so they didn't have to go through the entire village to get there. They were greeted by Tazuna's daughter Tsunami who opened the door for them after Tazuna had knocked in a specific pattern. Tsunami was a rather warm woman who had greeted them all politely and scolded her father for not informing the shinobi of the full dangers of the mission after she had invited them in. they had also had the distinct mispleasure of meeting her son Inari who stated quite plainly that they should all go home if they didn't wish to die before turning his back on the group and leaving.
"Well Tsunami-san do you happen to have a place we can all rest, we're a little weary from the journey." Said Anko.
"Of course this place used to operate as an Inn so please follow me."
Tsunami led them through a hall which held several rooms Anko and Sakura taking one while the boys and Kakashi had the other. Almost immediately upon entering Kakashi collapsed on the single futon that was kept in the center of the room. Seeing this Naruto sighed and went about removing his own supplies for their stay in Nami no Kuni.
AN: That's it chapters done. I know its pathetically short but once again I had no inspiration for this fic, hell I'm surprised I actually managed to write the whole thing in the few hours I had since my last update, not counting the time I spent sleeping lol. Anyway thanks for reading and leave reviews. Till next time LATER.