Naruto: Acolyte of Jashin

Draknal: Yeah, I know… it's been too long since the last chapter of this story came out. Ugh… sorry people, sorry. I will never be able to say that enough. I've had computer problems, writer's block, you name it. Anyway, enough with my excuses.

Enjoy the next chapter of the story!

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of its characters, just the ones I make up, and the plot of this story.

Chapter 5

He didn't dare move. Not before he did. It could mean the difference between life or an excruciatingly painful death. One thing was for certain though… that menacing, animal-like predatory grin was not helping to ease the nervousness he was feeling right now.

'Why did I have to take the brat?' thought Deidara with disdain. 'He's young and inexperienced. Piece of cake said Sasori-danna. Big mistake, yeah.'

The blonde across from him continued to watch with twisted curiosity, scanning the man for any sign of fear. It was there, and it was… wonderful, exhilarating even. Beginning a slow advance, the jinchuuriki followed the movement of the Akatsuki member with his eyes. Deidara had responded by taking a step backwards and sticking a hand into the pouch on his hip.

The Kyuubi container seemed to blur as he shot towards the nukenin, claw-like hands stretched outward to skewer the shinobi. Jumping into the air, the cloak-wearing man extended his arm towards the ground and released a ball of clay from the mouth on his hand. The moment the sphere impacted the ground it detonated with the force of several dozen explosive notes, sending up a massive cloud of dust and debris.

The younger blonde was launched back from the force of the explosion. However, it didn't take him long for him to relocate his target. Charging his foe once again, he dodged a barrage of similar clay projectiles, each aimed at him with the intent to either slow him down or deter him. Any injury he received from shrapnel or explosions that went off too close to him were quickly healed by the constant flow of demonic chakra, complements of the Kyuubi.

"Damnit, I wasn't supposed to be the one playing defense, yeah," cursed the demolitions expert. In a normal fight, this would have been over long ago. "But I had to go and toy around with him first… feh."

Unfortunately for him, Naruto was now using the demon's chakra. That meant that all of his senses and abilities were now exponentially greater than they once were. It was because of that, and only that, the blonde was able to hold his own, and even go on the offensive.

'I guess I have to start trying now,' grinned Deidara, reaching into his pouch once again to retrieve another mouthful of clay.

He was stronger and more experienced, but still… if the brat landed a hit on him, he'd be in a world of pain. Dodging to the side, he watched as the jinchuuriki slashed at where he had been. The stone that made up the street now sported several large marks where the claws had made contact. There may not have been a crater, but the marks were very deep. Yes, getting hit by him would be painful indeed.

Coming to a stop, the smaller blonde regarded the other man for a moment. "Do you think you can stop dodging so much? Or do I have to tear off your legs first?"

"Hn, cocky little bastard. I was going easy on you earlier, yeah. You'll find I'm an S-ranked nukenin for a reason!" he declared, setting up for his next attack.

Deidara had noticed something in his fight with the Kyuubi-container. After he had begun drawing on the fox's power, he had stopped using jutsu and a weapon. He seemed to be relying more on brute force now, and not really thinking out any of his moves. He could use that to his advantage.

Launching another barrage of explosives from his left hand, the Akatsuki member watched as the boy jumped up to avoid the attack. Swinging his right arm up, he lashed out at his opponent with what looked like a length rope made out of clay. Grinning as the makeshift whip caught the jinchuuriki by the ankle, he jerked back on the part he had been holding.

With nothing to brace himself with in the air, Naruto had no choice but to crash back to the ground with a painful thud. He attempted to stand but came to find that his legs couldn't move. Looking down, he noticed the clay that had wrapped around his ankle had spread to his other leg and was continuing to envelop the rest of his body.

Swiping at it with one of his claws, he found, to his horror, that the clay would simply reform itself and continue with its task, unhindered. In this state, it was more like goo than clay. Looking to the person controlling it, his slitted eyes narrowed when he found that the cloaked man was pumping out a steady stream of clay from his hands.

He growled as he continued his futile attempts at extracting himself from the clay menace. A laugh was the response he received from his enemy.

"Stop struggling brat. You aren't going to get out of this one, yeah. But look at it this way, at least you go out with a bang, a true work of art!" Deidara cackled, looking over his latest "masterpiece."

'Hmph, Leader-sama wants him alive, so I guess I'll just have to make sure to tone it down a bit,' he frowned, remembering that he couldn't go so far as to kill the kid.

Stepping back, the former rock-nin sighed. 'Leader-sama always ruins my fun.'

With a surge of chakra and a shout of 'Katsu!' the clay containing the jinchuuriki detonated. Unrestricted, the explosion would most likely have wiped out a good portion of the town. However, seeing as how they needed the container to be alive in order to extract the Kyuubi, he had made sure that the blast was less powerful and non-lethal. It should have been more than enough to accomplish the job though.

As the smoke cleared, the nukenin approached the crater. Sure enough, the Kyuubi brat was lying at the bottom of it, unmoving. Crouching next to the kid, he checked him for a pulse. Sure enough, he was alive.

He tried to jump back as crimson eyes shot open, but a claw seizing him by the throat kept that from happening. Naruto pulled him closer so they were face to face. "That… hurt," he growled, before applying pressure on the man's neck.

He reveled in the pain and agony shown on Deidara's face. The clay-user gasped and spluttered as more and more force was exerted on his neck…


His entire body then went limp.

The jinchuuriki slowly rose to his feet, still holding the Akatsuki member by his throat. He was slowly turning pale, and… melting…?

Throwing the body aside, he watched as it seemed to crumble and turn into chunks of clay.

The blonde let out a cry of rage, his head whipping around rapidly, hoping to find the explosive user. There was no sign of him. He couldn't detect his scent either, probably thanks to the large amount of clay and smoke from earlier explosions.


This was not an ideal situation for Hidan. He had a gaping wound in his chest, there was a debilitating poison coursing through his veins, and he had no clue how the hell he was going to get out of this fight in one piece. Yeah, this was less than ideal.

Footsteps alerted him to his enemy's approach. "You will not die from this poison so quickly, but you will suffer through every moment until then," informed Sasori, looking over the injured nukenin.

"I wonder how well you will perform as a puppet."

Hidan lifted his head so that he was looking directly at the puppet master. "Fuck you… I ain't becoming one of your playthings…"

A massive burst of chakra caught the attention of both nin. It had come from the direction of Deidara and Naruto. Did that mean…?

"It would seem the boy has called upon the power of the Kyuubi," remarked the former Suna shinobi, his voice calm and level.

'That came from the brat? He better not lose to that bastard or I swear I'll castrate the little shit when I get out of this,' thought Hidan, while trying to find a way out of said predicament.

"For now, I will leave my poison to do its job. I shall return to collect my newest puppet shortly." The Akatsuki member then disappeared via shunshin.

"Fuck, that kid's in for a rough fight," Hidan noted, being unable to do much else at the moment. However, he still had some strength left in him.

'If that fucker hadn't stabbed me in the chest then things might be a bit different right now,' the scythe user frowned. Had he been hit anywhere else, he would still have more time before the poison took full effect. But because it hit his chest, it spread to his heart, then to the rest of his body relatively quickly.

It hurt to move, which was very well becoming a troubling task to do. It was as if there were thousand pound weights on each of his limbs, and his entire body was engulfed in flames. But he wasn't going to just sit there and take it! Fuck that! He'd never hear the end of it from the kid if he simply rolled over and waited till he recovered.

While the poison wouldn't kill him, as nothing could, it still rendered his body useless for the most part. But he'd be damned if he wasn't going to do anything. Using the shaft of his scythe for support, he pulled himself up to his feet.


Shinobi were taught to use stealth to their advantage whenever they could. It was a basic principle. If said advantage was not on your side, then you made up for it in other ways. Fighting on a terrain that gave you a distinct edge over your opponent was one way. If neither option was available, then you made up for it with superior firepower or overwhelming numbers.

In this case, Deidara found himself severely handicapped. None of the latter options were available to him; hence why he was quietly seething in a part of the town that had yet to be marred by their fighting.

He hated having to be stealthy! His job, his art, his passion was to be loud and expressive! Explosives were not meant to be quiet, and neither was he. But now… this would be his greatest boon.

'Feh… I guess I don't have a choice right now,' he groused mentally. 'I'll have to use that technique.'

Unfortunately, it would use up most of, if not the remainder of the clay he had left in his pouch. This was a rarity, as the carrying pouch he used had a seal on it that allowed for a greater storage capacity. Because of that, he never ran out of explosive clay! Then again, he wasn't used to capture missions, just simple assassinations or mass murdering. Those instances only ever took a single well placed explosive, and 'Boom,' no hassle, no mess, no wasting time.

'I'll have to increase my stores when I get back to base, yeah.'

The blonde flipped through several hand signs before beginning to mold his clay, grinning madly the entire time. If this didn't do it, then nothing would.

With Naruto…

The blonde, still in a state of rage and bloodlust, continued his search for his opponent. He had taken the coward's way out and run… that did not make him happy.

Leaping from building to building, the follower of Jashin occasionally sniffed the air, checking for any sign of the ex-Iwa nin. Still nothing…

The air was saturated with the scent of explosives and clay. Slitted eyes of crimson glided over the town below, observing the carnage and rampant destruction that had been left behind in the wake of their battle. It was an enthralling feeling, which left him with the desire to pick up where they had left off.

As he prepared to take to the air once again, Naruto instead stilled his body. He had felt something…

It was faint, but it was there. Motion. He couldn't see it, but he could feel it. It was… coming from everywhere. And it was getting closer. Sure enough, the building he stood atop of began to shake, at first only slightly. But then it became more violent. It was as if the very earth itself was groaning and attempting to overturn itself.

Rather than fearing whatever it was that was rapidly approaching, the Kyuubi container allowed a beastly grin to form on his face, his fangs showing dangerously. This was going to be fun.

Without warning, a large section of the building seemed to explode, as brick, wood, and concrete were sent skyward, the rest of it collapsing. Thanks to his demon-enhanced reflexes, the blonde was able to avoid getting caught in the destruction of the building. Eyes narrowing, he watched the remainder of the structure as it was raised to the ground, hoping to find what had caused it.

The rumbling once again resumed, and he found himself on the defensive. Until he caught a glimpse of the culprit behind this, he couldn't retaliate. Whatever it was, it was massive.


The building suddenly lurched to one side, before toppling like a tree whose base had just been sawed through. Again the jinchuuriki leapt from his position, landing safely on an unscathed piece of earth. This thing could apparently track him. How it did so was a mystery, but he'd find out one way or another.

"Stop hiding you fucking coward!" roared the enraged blonde, his voice distorted with a demonic edge.

As if to answer his challenge, the earth behind him exploded upwards. And from the massive hole that had been made came… something.

The Kyuubi container stared at the creature in awe. It was serpent-like in appearance, with an enormous maw that was lined with hundreds, maybe even thousands of jagged teeth. It had three midnight orbs for eyes, and possessed coarse looking skin covered in razor sharp spines. And of course, upon its head sat none other than Deidara.

The sheer size of the beast on which he now rode was the most outstanding characteristic. From its current position, poking out of the colossal hole it had made, it stood at around three stories tall. There was no telling how much more of the creature was hidden underground.

"How do you like it brat?" called the nukenin, not at all trying to keep the smugness out of his voice. "This is my greatest work of art yet! And how lucky for you, cause you get to test it out, yeah. This will be the first time I've ever used it against a vessel."

"Am I supposed to be impressed?" growled the boy in response. Inside, he was impressed, perhaps even a little scared. This thing could probably crush or devour him with little effort.

"Ha. Still gonna act tough huh? Listen up you little shit. I'll give you one last chance to surrender and come along quietly, yeah. If you don't well, heh, you're gonna be in a lot of pain, yeah," chuckled the ponytail wearing Akatsuki member.

Naruto's only response was to let off a burst of killing intent, all the while flaring his chakra.

His opponent merely rolled his eyes while letting out an irritated sigh. "I'll take that as a no." His expression quickly turned to one of sick delight. "I was hoping you'd say that, yeah!"

The demolition user slowly began to disappear from view as he seemed to sink into his creation, as if he was being absorbed. "Don't even think of hiding!" boomed the voice of Deidara from the creature's wide open mouth. "This creation is technically blind, but it can see and track your chakra!"

'Shit. So that's how it was following me.' It made perfect sense after all. By relying on the demon's chakra, he was exuding a massive, constant flow of it, which made him a very easy prey to follow.

Running would do him no good, as he would be stuck on the defensive. That would continue until the Iwa nukenin got tired of playing around with him and then just crushed him. So that only left one option.

Naruto charged forward, claws ready to tear the creature to pieces. It responded in turn by diving down with its mouth wide open, hoping to devour the jinchuuriki.

Focusing a volatile amount of chakra into his legs, he launched upwards from the ground with explosive force, passing by the descending creature before it could hope to ensnare him. From in the air, he could see the serpent attempting to burrow into the ground and hide from him again. Like he would let that happen!

Descending rapidly towards the clay monstrosity, he prepared to land on it and begin tearing it to pieces, his claws at the ready. He was forced to come up with another plan as several smaller versions of the beast came burrowing out of the ground, leaping at him.

Slashing the one closest to him with a claw, he grimaced when he realized his mistake, which took the form of an explosion. Slamming into the ground from the force of the attack, he growled in annoyance. It hurt, but it wasn't going to stop him. But it left him wondering…

"How many of these fucking things are there?!"

Glancing around himself, he saw more and more of the little bastards popping out of the ground, swaying back and forth like cobras waiting to strike. Were they just going to keep coming?

If that was the case, then he would be severely outnumbered within the next few moments. Not wanting to let such a thing come to pass, he launched himself at his foes, beheading several in only a few seconds thanks to a swipe from his chakra engulfed hands.

The ensuing explosions singed various exposed parts of his skin, but the pain disappeared quickly thanks to the healing properties of his prisoner's chakra.

Clay serpents each took turns lunging at the boy, moving through the dirt as if it were liquid. Should they miss, they would turn and come back for another pass. Not wanting to have to wait for them to make a move, Naruto instead tried to pursue his target, but found himself rooted in place. Looking down, he found why.

Two of the little clay snakes had clamped on to his ankles and had no intention of letting go. He was momentarily thankful that these clay things didn't have poison like a real serpent would. That thought was cast aside when he realized the lead bastard hadn't made an appearance for a while.

Grabbing each serpent by their necks, he forcefully removed them from himself, leaving decent sized wounds from where their fangs had been ripped out of his flesh.

"I don't have time for this shit!" he snarled, throwing the nuisances away.

Evading several more strikes from the clay minions, the blonde leapt into the massive hole left behind by Deidara's master creation when it burrowed into the ground to hide.

The smaller creatures gave chase, but were quickly left in the dust due to the speed at which the Kyuubi container was moving.


In Otogakure…


Once more the training dummy was abused with another roundhouse kick to what would have been its neck, were it a person. The fuming redhead growled with irritation as she continued her assault on the training tool. She had been at it for several hours.

Although she hated to admit it, in a fight, if she was without her flute, she was in some pretty deep shit. This angering fact was brought to light the other day when she had been disarmed by the blonde bastard that had killed her group.

After that, she had declared that she would strive to become better in all aspects of a kunoichi, but first, in Taijutsu. That way, when she fought him again, he wouldn't get the drop on her if she was once more disarmed.

Tayuya had made that a vow. It wasn't a matter of if she fought him again. She would find him, and she would kill him. He had disgraced her by killing all of her comrades, and then showing her compassion by letting her live. Her honor had been damaged. But truthfully, she didn't give a damn about honor, or appearances and all that. She just wanted revenge for the humiliation she had been put through.

She was the laughing stock of all the Oto shinobi… being shown up by someone younger than herself. Come to think of it… how did such a young kid get that strong?

'There's no way the little shithead could be that skilled…' groused the redhead in her mind. 'It had to have been a fluke!'

Launching several more strikes against the training dummy, her mind began to wander once again. Why did the kid let her live? He had no reason to. He had her right where he wanted her, and all he had to do was slit her throat. But he didn't… Why? Why?

"Fuck!" roared the Oto kunoichi as her next attack decapitated her target, her rage getting the better of her. 'I swear I'm going to make that blonde shit pay!'

Her anger quickly dissolved as it was replaced by curiosity. Why had her boss been so interested in the boy anyway? What was so special about him, other than the fact that he was a freaky looking, annoying little brat? When she had relayed the details of their encounter, the snake had laughed! Why would the leader of a village find humor in the discovery that their soldiers had been killed? Well, he was one freaky bastard…


He had done it… he'd drawn that freaky serpent thing out from underground. Granted, to do it he'd basically had to begin clawing at the thing's ass. He had managed to find where it had slithered off to, and its tail happened to be facing him. So what did he do?

In his mind a chibi-version of himself appeared, glowing with demonic chakra as he was now. Next to him appeared a similarly cartoony version of Deidara's clay serpent. His doppelganger proceeded to shred the serpent, much like a cat would a scratching post, letting pieces rain down upon the area around him. The chibi then gave a victory pose.

…Until the explosives went off…

That had hurt like a bitch, and he certainly didn't want to go through such an experience again. Because they had been underground at the time, the area was very narrow and enclosed, meaning that the explosions from the separated pieces of clay were quite contained, and much more dangerous.

Being in such close proximity to said explosives, the blonde had ended up with several burns and tears in his clothing. Ultimately though, it had resulted in getting the beast to surface, as it couldn't turn around in the narrow tunnel to accost its attacker.

All in all, the creature, if stood on its tail and pointed straight up to the sky, was four stories tall. And now, every bit of that creature was looking down at the blonde before it with a fierce glare, if it could be called that.

Naruto waited for the beast to move, hoping for an opening of some sort. He was not disappointed when the clay serpent opened its maw and launched several spherical projectiles at him. He dodged the attacks, but was too slow to evade the sweep of the thing's tail, which batted him away like a gnat.

The Kyuubi container winced as he felt the barbed spines on the creature's body rip through his flesh, tearing open his jacket, as well as a good portion of his back. Even though the wound would immediately begin to mend itself, the fact remained that it was very likely that he'd be sustaining injuries faster than the fox's chakra could heal. That could make for a highly undesirable situation.

'I can't lose…' hissed the blonde in his mind. 'Not with demonic chakra at my disposal!'

Dodging another volley of projectiles, he saw the tail coming this time, and leapt over it, escaping injury the second time around. However, he made certain to cleave off a decent chunk of the beast's appendage as it swept below him. With very little holding it in place, the rest of the tail broke off from the momentum of its attack, sending it flying somewhere into the already ruined city, where it detonated in a brilliant series of explosions.

He had been distracted by the fireworks for only a moment, but that was all it took…

He made a move to dodge the newest wave of incoming projectiles, but there were simply far too many for him to evade. His body was wracked with pain from the ensuing detonations. When the dust cleared, he was kneeling, face in a grimace, with both arms hanging limp at his sides.

Then the beast struck, launching itself at the boy with its maw wide open. He couldn't dodge. His body was far too seriously injured, and he wouldn't have been able to get very far with such a sluggish body. Clamping its jaws down around the blonde, it lifted its head and flung him into the air, before swallowing him with an audible gulp.

Everything became dark for Naruto. He could still hear and feel, but he couldn't see anything. His body burned with untold pain, and he could feel the walls around him closing in, as if to ensnare him and prevent his escape from his clay prison.

"Can't breathe…" he gasped, the air around him getting thinner. This wouldn't kill him, but it certainly didn't help to comfort him either. He couldn't help but wonder if he hadn't been protected by Jashin's blessing of eternal life, would he be experiencing death right now?

"Heh, now I just wait until the brat passes out, then we can get the hell out of here, yeah," chuckled Deidara from within his clay creation. The kid had put up one hell of a fight, that much was certain. But in the end, he was still no match for Deidara, master demolitionist!

'Grr… at this rate the boy will fail…' growled Kyuubi, being able to see what was transpiring in the jinchuuriki's mind.

The two nin from Akatsuki had referred to Naruto as the "Kyuubi container" which meant that they were most likely aware of his presence inside of his human host.

'I will not go quietly,' snarled the fox, 'I will not submit to mere humans!'

While still staving off the attempts on its mind, the demon released all the chakra it could manage, and began pumping it into the boy's body, ill consequences be damned!

The effect was instantaneous. Naruto's eyes dilated, before sharpening to a predator's glare. His breath seemed to leave his body, the immense force of the chakra being released taking its toll on him.

Then everything seemed to simply erupt. The effect of the demon's chakra, and such a potent amount of it, on Deidara's clay could only be described as a cataclysmically violent reaction. Which so much foreign chakra, demonic at that, intermingling with the chakra used to sustain it, the explosive stability of the clay was lost, and the serpent began to shudder violently.

To anyone watching from the edges of the town, they would have seen a massive pillar of light, followed by a roar that would put many of the bijuu to shame, as the explosion tore through the town of Chemizansu. The mere sound of the detonation could have been heard for miles, and the shockwave would have knocked anyone in the vicinity off their feet, assuming they hadn't been vaporized by the initial blast.

Deidara was thrown clear of the destruction of his creation, which was a fairly long distance to be flung. He had become used to his summons exploding in his face on more than one occasion. The first time it happened, three quarters of the hair on his head had been blown off, leaving a mildly embarrassing style. After that, he had deemed it necessary to create a countermeasure for such a situation, which he had, in the form of a jutsu which he was capable of maintaining while fighting an opponent.

The technique in question was essentially a barrier of specialized chakra. The chakra he used in maintaining his clay and causing it to explode was unique, in the sense that only it could set off the clay. Otherwise, anyone could set off with a simple command, or with enough chakra. The barrier he used was also made up of this chakra, so that it nullified the effects of his own explosive techniques and clay. Hey, he wasn't an S-ranked nukenin for nothing! How embarrassing would it had been for such a high level nin to be killed by his own attack?

Unfortunately, this also left him baffled, as he watched the aftermath of his creature's explosion. How was it possible for the brat to have set off his technique? Only he was supposed to be able to do that. Was the demon's chakra really that unstable and volatile?

'He destroyed my serpent? A kid?!' he gasped in silent shock.

He then noticed the animal-like boy staring at him. That feral gaze… there was no humanity there. It was the look a hunter would give its prey. Looking over the boy's shoulder he saw the two tails of chakra.

'He's lost control… shit. This is not good,' he frowned, all the while checking how much clay he had left in his pouch. Barely a handful, if that. It would have to do.

Taking it into the mouth on his hand, he prepared for the finale to end the conflict with the Kyuubi container. No words needed to be exchanged. It would only be a waste of his breath as it were.

Charging the boy, Deidara launched into a fierce series of taijutsu moves; punches, kicks, whatever he could manage. His frustration grew as the demon container blocked each and every attack, without even so much as flinching.

Attacking with a kick to the boy's head, he once again found it blocked, but was content with such a result, as it allowed him to slip under his opponent's guard. Shoving his hand in front of the boy's face, the mouth on his palm opened and launched the remaining clay he had. Or… it would have, had Naruto not slammed his own palm against it, blocking the clay's exit.

Deidara attempted to pull his hand away, but it was caught in an iron grip. A sick and twisted smile appeared on the younger blonde's face. Raising his free arm, he flexed the claw, showing the demolitionist his intention, which only caused him to struggle more.

Bringing it down with as much force as he could, he watched with satisfaction as the Iwa nukenin's arm was cleaved at the shoulder, rending flesh and bone.

A bloodcurdling scream tore itself from the Akatsuki nin's throat, as he watched his now useless limb fall to the ground. Stumbling back, he attempted to put as much distance between himself and the demon container as he could manage.

Naruto lunged at the retreating nin, intent on making a killing blow. He had not anticipated a metallic, mace-like hand slamming into the side of his face, sending him skidding across the ground.

Looking from Deidara to his severed right arm, Sasori could only shake his head in irritation. "I had believed you capable of handling this on your own. I see now that I was mistaken."

"S-Sasori-danna! He summoned the demon's power, yeah! He caught me by surprise!" protested Deidara, trying not to succumb to blood loss.

Noticing the gathering puddle of blood, the puppet master could only sigh in irritation. "We have underestimated our foes, and shall retreat for now."

Approaching his partner's severed arm, he leapt back as a massive stalagmite erupted from the ground, barring his path. On a nearby structure, or at least what little remained of it, sat Hidan, hands in the final seal for the technique he had just executed. He was panting heavily, sweat pouring down his face. He was fighting just to stay conscious at this point in time.

"Tsk, enough. We leave now."

Grabbing Deidara by his still attached arm, the two disappeared in a puff of smoke.

"Glad that's over," muttered Hidan. He looked around for any sign of his surrogate ward.

Using his scythe to support his weight, like a walking staff of sorts, he made his way over to where he could sense the demonic chakra being exuded by Naruto. He found him standing there, searching for where his enemies could have gone.

"They're gone brat," the silver-haired nin offered. "Nice job by the way. A little twisted, but you got it done."

Crimson eyes snapped over to the scythe user.

"Don't look at me like that. Now help me get-" he was cut off as a claw caught him across the chest.

"Nngh. What the fuck kid?! Get a hold of yourself!" shouted Hidan.

He barely moved enough to dodge a second attack. His body was sluggish, though, and he would not be able to hold out long.

'He ain't himself… fucking great. Jashin-sama, think you could do something about this?' thought the nukenin.

The blonde went to attack again, but clutched his head as an intense pain tore through it. Staggering back, he found it worsening, threatening to split his skull in two. Being unable to bear it, he collapsed, unconscious.

Hidan sighed with relief as the two tails of chakra dispersed, along with the rest of the crimson substance. He then looked from the boy to himself. "If he's out, then who's gonna… FUCK!"

How the hell were they supposed to get somewhere to recover when the brat was passed out, and he was just barely conscious and weak as shit from the poison?!

Making the necessary seals, he created two Tsuchi Bunshins. "Get us the fuck out of here," he ordered, before darkness claimed him.


Naruto awoke to the sound of someone tapping their foot. Looking around him, he found the source of it as being Hidan, who was leaning against a boulder a few yards away.

"Nice to see you too," muttered the blonde, getting to his feet. He ignored the popping of his joints, and the burning sensation of his skin. Considering he was still in once piece, he figured he had nothing to complain about. He felt exhausted though.

Next to Hidan lay… another Hidan? This must have been a clone then. The question was, why hadn't it dispelled yet?

"You have a message for me?" inquired the jinchuuriki.

The Tsuchi Bunshin nodded once. "Hidan has been incapacitated by a poison. You are to see to his safety."

Naruto rolled his eyes. "Great. Is that all you had to say?"

Another nod, after which the clone crumpled into dirt and rock. It appeared as though it only had enough chakra left to deliver its message. Those things always bothered him though. They had no personality whatsoever. While they may have looked like their summoner, they in almost no way acted like them, unlike Kage Bunshin.

Well, seeing as how they weren't going anywhere in the near distant future, the ten year-old remembered that he had a deal to keep. Sitting in the lotus position, he closed his eyes and let himself relax, allowing his mind to wander.

Several hours later, the Kyuubi container opened his eyes. Stretching out his stiff limbs, he knew that he had been out of it for a while. Hidan was still unconscious, which meant that they still weren't going anywhere for the moment. He could have always had a few clones carry him, but frankly, he didn't know where they could go.

Laying on his back, the blonde once again closed his eyes. Focusing on the seal on his stomach, he let his consciousness slip into the sewer that housed the demon within himself.

Hearing water dripping, he knew he was in the right place. Coming here was different from meditation, as time flowed much slower here. Walking along the familiar maze of passages and corridors, he soon found himself in front of the Kyuubi's cage.

There was only darkness within, with no sign of the fox. "Hey furball! Get your ass where I can see it!" shouted the jailor, hoping to taunt the kitsune into showing itself. He received no reaction.

"Come on you bastard fox! I need to know if what I did worked or not!"

An enormous glowing eye appeared as the fox's eyelid lifted. "What do you want, boy?" growled the demon.

"I meditated for a while and asked Jashin-sama to leave you alone. That way, you can serve him better by aiding me. I just wanted to know if it worked or not," elaborated the boy, watching for the beast's reaction.

The demon let out a grunt. "I serve no one," it spokein a tone which indicated that there was to be no argument on the matter. "And yes, my thoughts are my own once more."

"So that means you'll still help me, right?" asked the blonde.

He received a snarl in response. "Yes, boy. I will aid you. Now leave me. I desire rest…"

"Rest?" laughed the container. "Aren't you supposed to be the strongest of the bijuu?"

A roar silenced his laughter as the single open eye narrowed dangerously. "Hear me fleshling. I am the mightiest of all beings! But even I require rest eventually. An ordeal such as protecting my mind from intrusion has left me drained. Now be gone."

With that, the ocular orb disappeared as the beast's eyelid hit it from sight once more. A deep, even breathing ensued shortly after, letting the Jashin worshipper know that the kitsune was asleep. He supposed that the demon had earned some rest… for now. With another chuckle, the ten year-old willed himself to return to consciousness.

Finding himself in the forest once again, the jinchuuriki came to the conclusion that nothing interesting was going to be happening any time soon. Approaching a nearby tree, he applied a small amount of chakra to his feet and began his ascent to the top.

Upon reaching the apex of the tree's height, the curious demon container looked around for anything of interest. Of course, since it was dusk now, there was likely to be nothing fascinating.

…Except for a giant crater and a crap load of destroyed town around it.

That was all that was left of the town? No way!

'I know there was more left than that!' he mentally shouted in awe. He that been the result of his fight with Deidara? He couldn't recall the entirety of the fight for some reason…

"Oh well, it'd be horrible to let whatever is leftover in that town go to waste," he grinned. It was time to do a little scavenging.

Looking down at Hidan's body on the forest floor below, he realized that he couldn't simply leave him unguarded. What if some animal came along and started mauling him?

The mental image of a bear using his unconscious body as a chew toy was pretty amusing, but he'd likely never hear the end of it afterwards.

Summoning a few Kage Bunshin, he ordered them to stand watch, to which they complied. With that issue resolved, he began leaping from tree to tree in the direction of the ruins.

The trip had only taken a few minutes, and he was amazed by the sheer amount of devastation that had taken place. It must've been one hell of a fight!

"I'll admire my handiwork later," chuckled the boy, assuming it had been caused by his fight.

Calling into existence more Kage Bunshin, he ordered them to fan out and search for anything of value. The clones leapt away, each wanting to locate the best find.

It didn't take long for the cry of "Naruto-sama!" to be called out by one of the clones. Heading over to where he had been summoned, he found a clone in the crater, holding something up.

He had to squint to see what it was, but began laughing immediately afterward. Pulling out a sealing scroll, he approached the clone, congratulated it on an excellent find, and accepted the item.

"Things just get better and better," he grinned.


In Otogakure…

Entering his lord's chamber, Kabuto placed a file into the awaiting hands of Orochimaru, who immediately glanced through the contents. Which each passing line, the snake's brows furrowed more and more, leaving the medic-nin to wonder what was could distress the sannin so much.

"Orochimaru-sama?" he questioned, hoping to get some sort of answer on the issue.

Setting the file down, the pale man turned his serpentine gaze to his subordinate. "It would seem that my old associates are moving much earlier than I had anticipated."

'Associates…? But that would mean…'


The med-nin was pulled from him thoughts. Looking to his master, he awaited a further explanation.

"Summon my personal guard. It seems we must now make a move of our own."

-Chapter End-

Draknal: Well there you have it. I will sincerely try not to let the story go this long without an update again. I doubt I can apologize enough for how long it took. Granted, part of the wait was due to computer problems. Anywho, let me know what you thought of the chapter and drop me a review! I'd really appreciate it.

And thanks to my beta reader B for helping to keep this story going strong!