...ch-chapter five is here... -waves a little flag-

Now, before you kill me in god knows how many different ways, know that the reason is... um... well.. I just started to get annoyed at the Naruto manga series. Its... not really going anywhere and has become a little boring.... Even SasuNaru is starting to not be worth it...But but! I wrote this anyway, didn't I? I updated, I did!

But anyway, you came here for this:

LET THE CHAPTER, BEGIN!


Chapter Five: Sporadic


Sasuke didn't have to open his eyes when he woke up the next morning to take back what he had said the previous night.

Naruto wasn't cute. At all.

"Stupid-senseeei, smelly senseeeei. Sasuke-sensei has a stupid hair cuuuut!" Naruto sang, apparently thinking his instructor was still asleep. The idiot boy wasn't even able to sense the sharp spike in Sasuke's chakra pattern that was fluctuating like mad.

Irritation.

"Stupid-Sasukeee. Ne, Sensei, you're pretty lazy, huh? Its time to get up but you're still sleeping!" the genin continued, completely unaware that Sasuke's eyebrow was twitching, and that the tent was filling with a murderous aura.

Though just as Sasuke expected the idiotic boy to continue on with his insults, Naruto grew uncharacteristically quiet. Sasuke felt the air pressure shift as his student moved a bit closer. He could hear the tent floor shuffle from the blond moving on his knees to tilt his body over and lean in.

Sasuke's brows furrowed, but he quickly snapped them back level to keep up his 'sleeping' expression. Why was the brat acting weird? And what was he doing, leaning over him like that?

A sharp jolt threatened to force the Jounin's eyes open from a sudden wave of shock. His air space was being invaded so severely, that warm currents of what could only be Naruto's exhales were ghosting over his cheek.

'Thats it, I gotta 'wake up'...!' the raven haired man thought urgently, trying to figure out a way to go about doing such a thing in this sort of situation. Thankfully though, he didn't have to.

Akamaru's unearthly bark thundered through the morning air, shuddering the ground and displacing a loud murder of crows. Sasuke sighed through his nose, deciding to let Naruto trample over his 'sleeping' body in his eagerness to get outside.

Once his student was out of eye sight (Sasuke could hear him enthusiastically greeting Neji and Kiba, then begin doting on the dog), the raven haired Jounin sat up and stretched.

"Naa, Sasuke, time to get up princess!" Kiba's head suddenly poked through the tent's opening flap, only to be punched directly in the face, back out.

Sasuke pulled himself out of the tent (and over Kiba's body) with his usual scowl in place. His black eyes dragged over the small campsite, finding Neji packing up his tent and Naruto eyeing the contents of a steaming pot over the smoldering embers of the fire.

"Breakfast is no more then 10 minutes, then we're going." the raven haired man said, collapsing his own tent with ease and folding up the sleeping bags. Naruto grinned, shoveling a spoonful of some sort of stew into his mouth.

"Yosh! I'm ready now!" he exclaimed, speaking around the chunks of meat and vegetables that filled his cheeks. Kiba glared at Sasuke from where he sat rubbing at his bruised eye, then went to sit at the log on the other side of one excitable Gennin.

"Tch, sorry Naruto-chi, but I think you're gonna be staying here for this." the Nindog Clansman said. Naruto choked on his breakfast.

"What?! No way!! I'm going along, aren't I Sasuke-sensei?!" the boy asked, completely aghast at the idea of staying behind. Sasuke glanced over his shoulder.

"Of course you're staying here. Only a fool would bring you to the scroll exchange." Sasuke said as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. Naruto stared with his mouth hanging open, his bowl of stew forgotten in his hands.

"Wha...! B-but! Tsunade-bachan said-!"

"She agreed you could come, not that you could take part in the mission itself. Just stay here and... make sure the fire stays hot." Sasuke interrupted before Naruto could say any more. The blond looked helplessly at his teacher's back, to the awkward looking Kiba who stuffed his mouth with food so he didn't have to speak, and then finally to the stoic Hyuuga who was adjusting his pack.

"But...! Damnit, I'll be useful!" Naruto insisted, clenching his eyes shut and hammering his fists in the air. Sasuke ignored his student's protests, continuing to fill his bag and fit the straps to his shoulders. Kiba furrowed his brows at the young boy's plight, swallowing with a large gulp.

"Hey, Sasuke, it should be okay... He can stick to Akamaru while we make the exchange, and if anything happens, Akamaru can get him back here and away from anything dangerous." the Inuzuka supplied. Naruto whipped around, his eyes beaming as bright as the big toothy grin that stretched out his whiskered cheeks.

"Yeah! I can do that! Kiba-sensei, thank you!!" he cheered, throwing his arms around Kiba's waist, squeezing with all his might while the Jounin wheezed and smiled exasperatedly. Sasuke frowned.

"Who said that's whats going to happen, brat?" he snapped, eying the boy distastefully. Naruto bristled, and was immediately on the offensive once more.

"But its a good idea! I'm going to go along, I wont get in the way if I stay on Akamaru!" he shouted. Just as Sasuke was about to reinforce his order, Neji raised a hand to gain attention.

"Enough. We need to get a move on. Naruto can go on Akamaru as long as he stays quiet. Lets go." he stated, jumping into the foliage and taking the lead. Sasuke sighed, starting off while giving one last glare over his shouder at Kiba and Naruto (the blond was already trying to clamor up onto the giant white dog's back). Kiba just grinned at him haughtily and hopped up behind Naruto, making a great show of scooting in close against the boy's back just to see the irritated look on the Uchiha's face.

-

Sasuke was silent during the exchange. He studied the ninja that received the scrolls, the way their eyes darted around while asking if they had been followed. No, they hadn't been followed, that was certain. But this didn't call for a lax in defense whatsoever. In fact it only heightened Sasuke's vigilance as they left the meeting place and made their way back through the forest. Kiba and Neji seemed to notice it too, even with Naruto making a ruckus over how boring the exchange had been and why there hadn't been any action and was that really an 'A' rank mission.

"Naruto-kun, it was an A-rank mission due to the importance of the scroll being exchanged. Many people want the information contained inside it, and would attack and kill to get it, but that doesn't mean that they always know its whereabouts." Neji reasoned to Naruto, who pouted as he clung to the white fur of Akamaru's neck.

"But Tsunade-baba said it was a dangerous mission. Having a chance that it might be dangerous doesn't deserve an A-rank..." he whined. Sasuke breathed heavily while leaping to another branch.

"Idiot. You really don't know anything, do you?" he asked sarcastically. "There are other aspects of a mission that raises danger level."

Naruto huffed, his eyes shut in a vulpin-like manner, not understanding yet not wanting to ask lest he be lectured.

"Yeah, I guess I understand..." he said. Sasuke rolled his eyes.

"No you don't."

The group continued on their way, Natuto and Kiba talking animatedly back and forth, with Sasuke trying to drown their voices out and Neji not paying attention to any of it. The space around them was still unnaturally quiet, bringing even Kiba to frown at the surrounding trees.

"Naa, naa, whats up with everybody...?" Naruto questioned when he was no longer being payed attention to. The only sounds left to answer him were the constant thudding of sandal clad feet and heavy paws on the thick tree branches. Sasuke raised his hand, and the group came to an abrupt halt.

"Neji." he said, giving a silent order. The Hyuuga nodded.

"Byakugan!"

Naruto's eyes shot open, staring in awe at the sight of Neji's face filling with thick veins and pulsing out a wave of chakra. Kiba and Sasuke waited with serious expressions as Neji's clear eyes flickered once, twice, several times before canceling his bloodline limit.

"No enemy nin, but we are being followed and surrounded in an arc. Proximately 0.8 kilometers between us. " he stated. Sasuke nodded, and Kiba frowned.

"If its not ninja, who is it?" the dog jounin asked.

"Bandits, judging from the way they're organized. I'd say about twenty or thirty, closing in." Neji answered. Sasuke took a deep breath, motioning with his fingers for them to continue. Naruto gave a yelp as Akamaru lurched forward. Sasuke glanced over to see KIba grinning as he wrapped his arms around the boy's middle, shouting 'seat belts!'. He grimaced.

"Idiots."

Naruto peeked over at his instructor, watching the raven haired man jump along side of Kiba's monstrous steed. Sasuke's eyes were set on the path they took through the trees, not bothering with the stare he could feel plain as day on his back. The Uchiha thudded along the branches, gripping palm-fuls of bark and leaves as he propelled himself.

A shadow flashed past him, to his right. On the other side of Kiba and his passenger.

"Kiba, Naruto, look out-!!"

"Neji!"

The forest erupted in shouts and projectiles, metal canisters ushering smoke flew past Naruto and Kiba, making Akamaru rear back and leap down to the ground. Neji followed them down, simultaneously activating his byakugan as men in dark clothing poured out of the forest. Sasuke collapsed his knees and let himself fall to the ground, catching himself in time to send a roundhouse kick to a bandit's chest. Smoke from the canisters flew in thick plumes around the tree trunks, and Sasuke instinctively covered his mouth and nose with his hand.

"Akamaru, get Naruto out of here!" Kiba shouted from a few yards away. The dog's thundering bark shattered through the mele, and it was enough to make Sasuke feel a bit more at ease that Naruto wouldn't get in the way.

"Sasuke, on your left!" Neji shouted, in the middle of soft-palming half a dozen enemy fighters. Sasuke glanced over, throwing himself back as yet another mysterious canister of smoke flew at him. He frowned in confusion.

These men weren't aiming to pick any of their pockets or weapons pouches as bandits often do when starting a fight. They were just, simply attacking.

"What the hell..."

"GUAH! LET GO! LEMME GO!"

Sasuke spun on his heel in the middle of throwing a kunia. Naruto's shouts rang through the trees and to his ears. He looked back at Kiba and Neji, both who seemed to be taking on the enemy at a rapid rate, and doing just fine. Kiba turned.

"I heard it, go! We've got this!" he shouted, waving his hand while popping a soldier pill. Neji just gave a sparing nod, and Sasuke took off in the direction of Naruto's voice.

It was only a few more yards from the main fight that he located Akamaru, tied by bolted ropes into the ground and whining angrily. There were several men wrestling with Sasuke's blond student, attempting to muffle his shouts by forcing a cloth gag into his mouth. Sasuke ran forward, sharingan activated more for intimidation then necessity.

"Shenshei!" Naruto called out through the gag. Sasuke stared evenly at the men who had all frozen, his expression betraying nothing.

"Let him go." he ordered. The men all glanced at each other warily. Sasuke took a step forward, pointing a kunai at the one who held Naruto's arms behind his back.

"Let. Him. G-"

He froze.

The world started to spin around him, making him deactivate his sharingan and hold out his arms to balance his now unsteady legs. The bandit restraining Naruto grinned.

"Finally." he growled with a smirk. Naruto kicked and struggled, eyes fixated on Sasuke, who shook his head as though trying to clear away a fog of a daze.

"Shenshei! Shash'ke-shenshei, helf! Get 'hem off!" the blond shouted as best he could. Sasuke gritted his teeth, glaring at the men gathered around his student. He cursed the sleeping agent that undoubtedly filled that smoke bomb. Through blurred vision, he saw the largest of the bandits send a vicious blow to Naruto abdomen, making the boy gasp, then fall limp.

"Bastards..." he growled, his body careening into a nearby tree against his will. His knees, arms, every part of his body, felt weak and strained, as though he hadn't slept in days. One of the men strode forward, pointing at him and motioning to another man brandishing rope.

"We'll take both of 'em!" he heard, just as his eyes lost the battle and slid shut, the last of his consciousness leaving him as his body collapsed onto the dark soil of the forest floor.

"Shit...! Naru....to...!"

----

"Nnngh..."

"Sensei? Sensei, wake up!"

Dark, charcoal grey eyes appeared, flickering, beneath dark lashes. Sasuke groaned once more, his throat sore and mind fuzzy. He couldn't see anything, only darkness and a soft glow of a torch burning against a wall several feet away. But away from where?

"..Nnn...Naruto...?" he prodded. He turned his head groggily toward the sound of clanking metal against cement and shuffling cloths.

"Sensei! Are you awake now?" came Naruto's urgent voice. Sasuke quickly located his student, just a few paces away on the opposite wall. Naruto was chained by the wrists and ankles directly against the cement wall, his face a bit scuffed up but otherwise looking unharmed. Sasuke felt cold metal bite into his own wrists, and found himself secured even more so then Naruto. Both wrists, upper arms and ankles were bolted to the wall tightly, as well as spacers restraining his fingers far apart from each other, like individuel handcuffs.

"Hand seal blocks..." he cursed. Naruto fidgeted across the room, wriggling and pulling against his binds. Sasuke huffed.

"Cut it out, you'll only hurt yourself." he warned. Naruto pouted, still struggling.

"Sensei! We've got to get out of here!" the blond announced through clenched teeth. Sasuke rolled his eyes.

"Oh really..."he mumbled sarcastically. Naruto, however, seemed more urgent then his teacher, his eyes wide and panicked. Sasuke frowned.

"Naruto, calm down. These men are just bandits, they just want our supplies and money. They know better then to do anything serious to ninja." he said, hoping to aliviate some of his student's agitation. Naruto mearly shook his head vehemently.

"No!While you were still unconscious, they told me...! They said they were gonna-"

His reply was abruptly cut off as the grating of heavy steel against cement filled the small prison-like cell. A door that seemed to serve as the only entrance and exist was pushed open, filling the chamber with light. Sasuke glared at the two men who walked in, recognizing them as the ones who had first captured Naruto. They grinned haughtily, splitting up as one went to Sasuke, and the other to Naruto. Sasuke's glare intensified as the man near his student pulled out chains and clasps.

"So, enjoying yourselves?" the man at Sasuke's side inquired with false innocence. The jounin seethed.

"Just what do you want? I'm sure by now you've taken our supplies, and whatever else we had on us. You might as well release us before you regret it." he advised. The man chuckled, a slight stench of alchole on his breath and clothes. Across the room, Naruto kicked up a fuss, shouting and cursing while chain was being wrapped around his neck.

"If thats all we wanted you wouldn't be here right now." he stated smugly. His beady eyes traveled over to the thrashing blond, who was being unlocked from his bonds, only to be tied further about the waist and arms. Sasuke began to pull at his own shackles.

"What the hell are you doing..." he growled. The man beside him chuckled once more, grinning in a perturbed manner. He motioned to where his comrade stood with the scuffling genin, trying his best to keep him still.

"Stealing and hoarding will only get you so far. We found where the real money is..." he sneered, stepping out of the room, his partner pulling Naruto along with great difficulty. Sasuke's eyes widened.

"...You'd be surprised how much a blond slave is worth on the market."

The door of the chamber began to slide shut, yet the grating screech was not enough to drown out Naruto's screeches and shouts. Sasuke began throwing his body recklessly, eyes dilated into the Sharingan.

"NO! STOP! LET HIM GO!" he bellowed, the skin on his wrists and arms ripping under his shirt fabric as they pulled against his restraints.

"Let me go! Nooo! Stop! Get away from me, bastards!" Naruto's sharp cries came in muffled from the other side of the door. Sasuke bared his teeth, his blood pressure surging and pumping in his ears as he twisted and writhed frantically against his restraints. He clenched and unclenched his hands, desperately trying to get the finger-bards off so he could use one-handed seals. Even the technique Kakashi had taught him, Chidori, required hand seals. He could hear laughter along with his student's shouts, sounding so far off, though it was only on wall away.

Only one wall, and Sasuke couldn't reach him.

"Let me go!! Stop!!"

"DAMNIT!" he cursed at the top of his lungs, feeling his skin and muscle splitting against the metal bands that stayed firmly bolted into the wall. His chakra was useless without fuujins, and the spinning tomoe in his eyes couldnt help a situation like this. He heard more laughter, and Naruto's shouts and protests grew louder still.

"Don't! Leave me alone! Get away from me!"

Sasuke closed his eyes tightly, sweat dripping down his face. It was the uselessness. The same old uselessness, coming back to throw it in his face that he was incapable of saving anyone important to him.

"DAMNIT!!"

And then the cries and shouting stopped.

Sasuke's eyes shot open, searching back and forth at the door his pupil left. The silence on the other end only lasted a moment, then the shouting started up again.

But it wasn't from Naruto.

Sasuke stared, at a loss for the cries of the bandits on the other side of the wall. They were shouting about something he couldn't understand, they began to scream, call out to one another in panic. There were even a great many thuds and hammering against the door and walls. But above that, there were the cries, the shrieks, and the sickeningly disturbing chakra.

"What the hell is he...?!"

"OH GOD!"

"M-Monst-"

And then, abruptly, there was silence again. Sasuke, who's eyes were mere pin-pricks of red in a sea of white, flashing back and forth desperately at the beam of dull light that came from under the door. He could see a shadow move across the light, the tell-tail sign someone beyond the door was moving. The jounin heaved in heavy panting breaths, his chest, legs and arms throbbing as his mind went into overdrive.

Where was Naruto? What had just happened? Was Naruto part of the cacophony that had just taken place?

"N..Naruto?!" he called out. He received no answer, so he tried for it again, louder.

"Naruto!"

There came the sound of dragging on the other side of the door. A shuffling dragging that sounded as though someone with a severe limp had become dizzy and wary of their footing. Sasuke heard yet another, albeit lighter, thump, against the door of the cell. Blood dripped from his wrists into a small puddle on the dirty cement floor beneath him. He waited, tense and with nothing but concerns for his student's current whereabouts and well-being.

The door was unlatched from the outside, and slowly, tortuously so, heavily dragged open. Sasuke breathed in a sharp gasp of air as his vision drowned in red.

Naruto stood with his body leaning against the door, his fingers looking small as they clutched the metal. His posture was like that of a lost child too scared to ask for help, clinging tightly to a world unfamiliar. Almost every inch of the blond genin's body was covered in blood. It hung thick on his orange jumpsuit, which was almost falling off his shoulders and torn in several places. His formally white t-shirt and even his orange pants were nearly entirely red, some of the dark liquid dripping down into his sandals. His hair, once bright and golden, was now a dark scarlet, with bits of light orange appearing in places the blood had only just barely reached. Though, the site brought no relief to Sasuke.

Naruto's face was truly pitiful.

He stared at Sasuke with half-lidded, vacant eyes that seemed to be begging for something Sasuke was unsure he had to give. The blond's face and neck were spotted in thick blotches of gore, so much so that the whisker-like scars on his cheeks were all but concealed. For a moment, so fast that it was easily dismissed as a trick of the light, it had seemed that Naruto's eyes were scarlet.

"...Naruto...?" Sasuke spoke cautiously. Something seemed to flick back on behind the blue eyes of his student, as Naruto gave a little gasp and strode forward, his right leg dragging slightly in a limp. He held in one of his hands a plasma coated key, which he used to free Sasuke from the tight shackles.

"Sensei..! You're all torn up!" the genin observed, pointing out the parts he'd rubbed through the metal braces. Sasuke gave a quick rotation to his wrist joints, frowning down at the boy.

"Look at yourself before you say something like that. What the hell happened out there?!" he demanded. Naruto stared, and just as he opened his mouth to answer, those big blue eyes roled backwards into his head, and Sasuke narrowlly caught him before he fell to the ground. From this angle, he was now able to see the gashes that were scattered at random points all over the blond's back. Much like Sasuke, his wrists and ankles were rubbed raw and fleshy. He even had what looked like chakra burns.

"Sasuke...! Naruto...!"

Sasuke lifted his head at the far off calls of Kiba. He lifted Naruto bridal style against his chest and made his way out of the room. What lay beyond made his stomach churn. He hurried out of the shanty-like hideout the bandits had created, and back into the forest where a dizzy looking Kiba and Akamaru were waiting. Neji sat on the ground with his canteen open in his hands, seemingly irritated that the sleeping aget had effected him. Both men stood at attention when Sasuke appeared with Naruto.

"What the fuck..?! How the hell did this happen?! Did you get attacked?! We felt that demon in the area a while ago, was that it?!" Kiba asked incredulously. Sasuke furrowed his eyebrows.

"Demon? No, those bastards locked me up, they were nearly going to sell the brat off as a slave." he replied. Neji frowned.

"Then how did this happen? We distinctly felt that chakra explosion." he stated. Sasuke looked down at Naruto, then back up.

"And you think... it was a demon?" he muttered. Neji and Kiba looked at one another.

"Well, yeah man. That sure as hell wasn't human or animal..."

Sasuke stared at the blood soaked mass in his arms, studying his students face for a good minute, then shook his head.

"I can't remember feeling anything. Lets get back to Konoha, Naruto needs to get to a hospital." he said, moving to push the boy up on Akamaru's back. Neji frowned.

"Aside from the blood, why would he need a hospital?" he asked. Sasuke gave him a disparaging look, pulling up Naruto's shirt to show him the wounds.

"Well for one he's cut up like TenTen's practice dummys!" he remarked. Kiba and Neji exchanged yet another look.

"Sasuke, man, he looks fine to me..." Kiba said, trailing off. Sasuke looked down at the skin his hand was exposing. Confusion flooded his mind at the sight of unmarred, perfect skin.

Sasuke found himself continuously looking towards the sleeping bundle of his student the entire way back to Konoha. Naruto lay plush against the soft white fur of Akamaru, completely oblivious to his teacher racing thoughts.

'A... demonic chakra, huh...?'


Bum bum buuuum

Thats it for this chapterrr... I really hoped it worked out okay, no way in HELL I'm making any promises when the next chapter will come out, ahahaha. Lets hope my love of SasuNaru comes back full force soon, ne? I admit I did feel a little nostalgic, finishing this chapter.

Uuuooo, Sasuke's suspicious of Naruto! He must not know of Naruto's secret! How does Sasuke feel about demons, I wonder!

Until next time (and really, who knows when that will be, seeing as how its ME saying it...), you can review and tell me what an awful updater I am!

Rae