Chapter 7 : Dangers that are found in sake
Three days have passed since Team 7 had left Kounami, the port-town where they had met Tazuna's friend Hosho, and one day since Hosho had took them with his small ship over the Kaainte channel and into the Wave Archipelago.
After they have disembarked on the Wave soil and parted with the gangly man, the Konoha shinobi and the master bridge-builder continued on to the Shuukuyuu, Tazuna's homevillage.
It was a misty morning as the group impatiently trudged along the dirt road, ponds of various sizes and an occasional small lake noticeable among the sparse woodland on the both sides of the road. They were only a couple of hours of walking away from their destination, and everyone of them was looking forward to finally finishing the tiresome journey.
"You just had to have a drinking competition in that tavern, didn't you, Naruto? If you hadn't gone and gotten drunk and made a mess, we would have already arrived!" asked an annoyed Sakura as she stomped along the path, trying to refrain from hitting her moronic teammate.
A snort and an angry retort answered her.
"I had gotten drunk? Are you blind or just that good at lying to yourself? If I remember right, which I do, it was Sasuke who had gotten drunk and later proceeded to make a mess with throwing up all over the place and getting sick."
"Shut up." A growl followed Naruto's claim, this was one coming from Sasuke.
"What? It's the truth! How am I to blame if you can't hold your drink? It wasn't me who had created a slime paradise out of the common room." defended a mocking Naruto.
"That's enough, Naruto. You are partially guilty. After all, it was you who had originally thought of the idea and you who had insisted that each of you drink four cups of sake. What were you exactly expecting to happen?" asked Kakashi in a deadpan voice.
"Not to mention, whose fault was everything that followed your little 'drinking contest'." concluded Kakashi, irritated at the memory.
"There, that's the fourth one! Okay, Sasuke, let's get this thing rolling!" said a determined and sober Naruto as he finished gulping down the fourth cup of sake. However, he silently promised himself that he won't taste it ever again. It was bitter, strong and tasted horribly. Not to mention that it smelled as bad as an abandoned public privy, albeit in a different manner. As for Sasuke …
A drunk Sasuke was trying to stand up, although not much successfully. Hiccups could be heard as he valiantly tried to drink his last cup. "E-e-eh, wait a hic m-moment. I s… hic s-still have one l-left." slurred Sasuke as he visibly tried to steady himself.
"Huh? Well then, what are you waiting for? I'll admit that it's awful, but that's no excuse for trying to cheat." asked the impatient Naruto.
"I am not trying to c-c-c … hic cheat! I am an Uchiha, Uchihas don't need to hic cheat to win!" Sasuke replied in drunken fury, which was replaced a moment later with a fierce pride apparent in his words.
"That's all fine and dandy, but how about proving it, eh?" Naruto scoffed haughtily and challenged the other boy.
"Fine!" shouted Sasuke and with that, he drank hurriedly the remainder of his last cup and pushed himself off his seat.
"Let's go, Naruto!" dared Sasuke his teammate a second later, with a taunting smirk spreading on his face.
His only answer was Naruto starting to smile viciously. The two of them, completely lost to the outside world and focused solely on one another, missed the expressions of horror on Sakura's and resigned dismay on Kakashi's, Hosho's and Tazuna's faces. Kakashi hadn't known that his students were planning on actually fighting, he had let them have their drinking contest thinking that they merely wanted to prove themselves better than the other by seeing who could drink the most. And he knew better than to deny them that contest, as undoubtely they would have done it anyway when he wasn't on his guard or they would have done something different, and that something would have probably been even worse. After all, many young men had the same foolish idea of competing in outrageous, sometimes crazy and for onlookers often very amusing games when they were in their teen years, like Naruto and Sasuke were. Actually, if he was truthful to himself, he himself had once participated in such a contest when he was younger, trying to outdone Obito in drinking a special brand of sake by the name of 'fire breath'. Well, Obito had nagged him and mocked him for several days before he agreed, but that still didn't change the fact that he had tried to use that chance to try and show up Obito yet again. It had been a unique occasion for his team to see him drinking, as the ninja code frowned severely on those consuming substances with such effects like alcohol. It had possibly been a first time that he had disregarded the ninja code so calluosly. And the last time he did such a thing, as the consequences of drinking entirely too much alcohol were very upleasant the day after. He had thereafter focused on behaving like a true shinobi with even greater fervor. At least that was so until Obito had sacrificed himself for Kakashi. There, Kakashi become also lost to the outside world as his reminisinces owerpowered him.
Meanwhile, the other visitors of the large and busy tavern; unruly sailors, smugglers, townspeople, travelers and other customers watched in curiosity and incredulity as the two young ninja who had earlier that evening beaten up the few ruffians who had tried to give them problems when they and their companions had first entered the Smoking Whale, faced off in the biggest empty space the tavern had to offer.
Naruto and Sasuke began circling around one another and suddenly lunged at one another. Or more truthfully, Naruto lunged, and Sasuke stumbled after his failed lunge. The result was, a Sasuke missing Naruto by a meter, and Naruto colliding harshly with Sasuke and surprised with Sasuke's state, falling with him to the wooden floor. An iritated Naruto, snarled as he prepared to hit Sasuke, but a sight of Sasuke lying almost unmoving and quite green in his face stopped him and alarmed him.
"Hey, bastard, what's wrong ?" after receiving no answer, Naruto began to panic. "Oi, Sasuke, answer me! What's happening? Are you alright? Hey, say something. I didn't hit you so hard. Sasuke, answer me!"
Sakura watched on in fearful shock and the entire tavern was silent as they watched the two boys on the floor of the Smoking Whale.
Naruto's frantic yells as he knelt by Sasuke's side and the sudden silence in the noisy inn startled Kakashi out of his memories and he appeared by Naruto in an eye-blink.
"What happened, Naruto ?" asked Kakashi in his rarely serious, sharp voice.
"I-I don't know. He was fine one moment, but then he stumbled and th…. Kakashi-sensei? Why are you …" started to ask Naruto as he saw his teacher hurriedly backing away. Immediately, his question was answered by a green wave of puke flooding his senses.
After several moments of overwhelming revulsion holding his senses captive, the cheerful voice of his sensei brought him back to reality; "The wonderful sensations that you are experiencing right now might be the answer to your question."
As soon as Naruto registered that, an another wave of vomit, this one a mix of yellow and green filled his vision yet again. The sounds accompaniying it were the winces and sounds of disgust produced by onlookers. Slowly, Naruto turned his eyes towards a rapidly-breathing Sasuke, who, after puking several more times all over the surrounding floor, concentrated on refilling his lungs with air, his face now resembling more his usual pale color and not sickly green of before. Naruto narrowed his eyes that much that his face truly resembled that of a fox.
"Sasuke." Naruto's voice was oddly blank, no emotions apparent in his voice, only his narrow eyes revealing his anger. However, his expression was immediately exchanged with that of an insane berserker. "I am fucking going to tear you limb from limb!" Naruto roared as he threw Sasuke as hard as he could into the tables of nearby spectators, and charged after him, all the while howling in frenzied fury and anger, his mind focusing only on beating the god out of Sasuke.
As was the case in infamous and crowded taverns such as Smoking Whale, no great reason was ever needed for the short-tempered sailors and various drunkards to start an all-out brawl. And Sasuke smashing the table with his dead-weight and spilling the drinks of several rather nasty cuthroaths was more than enough excuse to start a miniature war in its own right.
Hatake Kakashi sighed as he prepared to stop his students from getting killed, or in a much more likely case, to stop his two male students from killing anyone else, including each other. Not to mention that it would be probably him who would have to pay most of the damage to the propery. 'Just wait until I get my hands on you, you troublesome brats. You are going to regret ever being born.' were the rather blood-thirsty thoughts on the mind of the usually laid-back jounin.
"Huh? What happened?" asked loudly the rather confused Naruto as he suddenly woke up in a simple, and not very clean, bed. He was in his customary sleeping clothes, a white shirt and orange shorts. In a bed next to him, a heavily bruised Sasuke was suddenly waken up by the noise. They were alone in a small room with a large window.
Immediately, Sasuke groaned and covered his ears.
"Quiet Naruto! My head's killing me." As soon as he fully opened his eyes, he instantly shut them again.
"What the …? Why is it so bright?" asked Sasuke as he grimaced in pain.
"I have no idea what are you talking about. It's same as ever." Naruto furrowed his brow. "Better ask, what the hell is that smell!?"
"Shut up! You are too loud. My head is going to split open if you continue to rave like that." said the irritated Sasuke.
"Wait a second … I remember! You puked on me, jerk" snarled Naruto as he started to rise from his bed, although without much success.
"What are you talking about?" Sasuke asked as propped himself at the end of the bed, trying to have as good defensive postition as possible, Naruto's body language suggesting an imminent attack.
"Yes, you did! Twice!" shouted Naruto as he finally managed to stand up.
His voice and movements were however cut off by a steely and malicious voice.
"Well, well, what do we have here? Two little brawlers up to no good yet again." Their jounin sensei had just entered in their room, his ever-present book nowhere to be seen. Nor was his often jovial expression present either, a strange light shining in his one visible eye.
"Eh? What are you talking about sensei?" asked the perplexed Naruto.
"You two had single-handedly started a riot last night! Not only that, but you have caused the most damage out of everyone who participated. Do you have any idea how much money did I have to pay to the owner because of damage to the inn? Well, you are about to find out, as we are going to have a nice, long, 'chat' about the proper conduct of shinobi during missions." Sasuke and Naruto saw a sinister smile forming beneath their sensei's face-mask, strange gleam in his one eye becoming even more pronounced. "And let me tell you one thing. I am going to enjoy this." finished his proclamation with cruel chuckles as he began creating genjutsu all over his students. The two genin gulped. Soon, their screams could be heard by the customers in main room of the tavern downstairs.
Sakura, Tazuna and Hosho only winced sympatheticly. They didn't want to be in the skin of the two boys, not when being punished by a vengeful Kakashi.
End of Flashback
"He he, never mind, sensei. No need to bring that up again. We learned our lesson." chuckled Naruto nervously. He still had nightmares of his precious bowls of ramen being spilled one after another as he was forced to watch. He had known that it was simply a genjutsu, an illusion affecting his mind, but it hadn't made it any less painful to bear witness to! Although, the conversation that followed was far more serious, upsetting and humbling than any images that Kakashi-sensei could have possilby created. He had never been more ashamed in his life! The consequences that could have sprung out because of his fooling around were terrible to even think about.
Even more so was the dreadful certainty that if this had been a mission of higher rank, he and his teammates would have been dead or worse because of the stupid rivalry between him and Sasuke.You couldn't afford to waste yourself with alcohol in order to win a retarded fight if there was a battle to death awaiting you after the said wasting. Ninja couldn't allow themselves to behave like he and Sasuke had, not if they wanted to live and not die on their first dangerous mission. However, there was one beneficial piece of knowledge Naruto had gained from this, other than the absolute knowledge never to go drinking on a mission. He was apparently immune to effects of the alcohol. He had found this out after Kakashi had answered Sasuke's question about why he experienced such pain and disorientaion the night after their little 'fun'. Sasuke had even poisoned himself by drinking so much sake. He had also admitted that he didn't remember anything of what had happened yesterday, his last memory being of entering the Smoking Whale. Kakashi had then proceeded on telling them the full effects and consequences of drinking alcohol.
After Sasuke had left the room in search of a bathroom, Naruto had told Kakashi of his apparent immunity to sake, and the jounin had only replied 'to consider himself one of the rarely blessed' and gave him a significant look. It was all Naruto needed to know beyond a shadow of doubt, that he had his 'guest' to thank for the 'blessing'.
"Well, that's good to know, I guess." Kakashi said lazily as he refocused on his book.
"Err, sensei, would you mind giving me some tips on that earth-jutsu you taught us when we arrive at Tazuna-san's home ?" asked Sakura uncertainly.
"Why of course Sakura, I'll be happy to. As the matter of fact I can …" Kakashi interrupted his jovial speech and his voice suddenly matched the coldness of harshest winter. "Show yourselves, whoever you are."
Only the echoes of haunting laughter was his answer.