DISCLAIMER – Naruto and Naruto Shippuden belongs to Kishimoto alone. Anything resembling this fic is purely coincidence


Past

INNER SAKURA

Thoughts

Jutsu


There are times when the people have a choice when confronting someone who is itching for a fight. The first choice is either to fight, for the sake of pride and respect; and the other is to walk away, seeing it as there would be no point in fighting someone who wants it, while the person being challenged doesn't desire a fight. However, either of these choices come with great consequences, in this situation.

Kakashi was still trapped in the water prison jutsu that Zabuza had set up. There was nothing the Konoha jonin could do, but watch his platoon quiver in fear, with the exception of Sasuke, of course.

Water Clone Jutsu. Using a hand seal with one hand, Zabuza created an exact replica of himself, made completely of water. This would help the murderous jonin keep his prison up on Kakashi, while his clone would finish off the rest of the platoon.

Kakashi could only watch on helplessly, as he could not break through the water prison, no matter how much he tried or wanted to. I underestimated him.

With the water clone fully formed, Zabuza walked slowly towards the genin and Tazuna. Naruto, after seeing how dangerous Zabuza is, was not scared out of his wits. Sakura, Kiba, Akamaru, and Hinata were no different. How can they take on someone who is so powerful enough to even incapacitate Kakashi.

"Everyone, stand fast!" Sasuke commanded the unit, "What ever you do, don't let him get to Tazuna!"

"And how are we supposed to do that, Uchiha!?" demanded Kiba, "In case you haven't noticed, Kakashi isn't here to back any of us up! Look at him! He's going to kill us!"

"S-S-Sasuke-kun...we should run, w-while we s-still can..." Hinata reasoned out to the Uchiha.

"Hinata-san is right, Sasuke-kun," Sakura agreed, "We don't stand a chance against him."

Seeing the fear across the four genin's faces merely amused Zabuza, as he came to a stop. "All of you are wearing your forehead protectors, as if you think you are all shinobis," Zabuza mocked the genins, "But a true shinobi is someone who has been through hell and back. To put it simply, none of you can even consider yourselves a shinobi, not even worthy of my bingo book." Zabuza formed a hand seal. "You're all nothing but pretenders." With that said, Zabuza had disappeared into the mist.

"He's gone!" exclaimed the panicky Naruto, "Where did he go!?"

As if to answer his question, Naruto didn't have time to react. His face was met with a mean roundhouse kick to the face, sending him flying towards Kiba. "Naruto!" exclaimed the shocked Kiba.

"Naruto-kun!" yelled the distressed Hinata.

The kick was enough to not only send Naruto back, but it was also enough to take Naruto's forehead protector off of his head. Kiba was there to catch Naruto, although unintentionally. The momentum of Zabuza's kick was also enough to make Kiba fly back with Naruto and Akamaru flying off of Kiba's head, upon impact from Naruto to Kiba. "Owww...that hurt," Kiba groaned as he tried to pick himself back up, "You okay, Naruto?" Akamaru came up to Naruto, barking in concern for his comrade.

"...Yeah..." Naruto groaned in pain.

Zabuza stomped on Naruto's fallen forehead protector. "You are nothing but kids," declared the ruthless Zabuza.

"Naruto, are you okay!?" yelled the concerned Sakura.

Kakashi couldn't bear to see it any longer. They were in no position to face Zabuza under any circumstances. Fighting him now in their level was just plain suicide. "Everyone!" Kakashi called out to the genins, "Get Tazuna and get out of here! You don't stand a chance against him! As long as he has me trapped in this water-prison jutsu, he can't follow you any further. His water clone will not follow very far either. Forget about me! Just run!"

Sasuke couldn't believe what Kakashi was saying at the time. You want us to retreat? That's not possible, Kakashi. By the time you got caught in Zabuza's jutus, running was no longer an option. It didn't even matter if we ran anyway. Sooner or later, Zabuza will find us and kill us all without you to help us. Even forming a defensive perimeter will be useless against him. In the end, we don't have any choice left. Sasuke looked left and right towards his genin comrades. They were scared out of their wits. And he couldn't blame them. He knows what it is like to fear someone who is twice as powerful than yourself. If we're going to live to finish this mission, then we have to get you out, too! "I'm going in!" Sasuke proclaimed bravely.

The genins were completely surprised to see the young Uchiha charging towards Zabuza. "Uchiha, what are you doing!?" Kiba yelled at Sasuke.

"Sasuke-kun, get back here!" shouted Sakura, "He's too powerful for any of us!"

However, their words fell on deaf ears. Sasuke still charged towards Zabuza, nonetheless. He now sees a purpose in facing off against a poweful opponent. Zabuza watched as the highly skilled genin rushed towards him. The sadistic shinobi watched in amusement as he gripped his gigantic sword. Sasuke immediately threw four shirkens towards Zabuza. Of course, Zabuza was not to be taken lightly. Zabuza easily swatted the throwing weapons out of the air, like flies. However, upon making the swing, Zabuza noticed Sasuke had vanished. Actually, he didn't vanish. Instead, the young Uchiha leaped into the air, with a kunai ready to stab Zabuza in any vital spot of his choosing. "You lose, Zabuza!" declared the triumphant Sasuke.

"...Wrong, kid." As soon as Sasuke was close enough, Zabuza immediately grabbed Sasuke by the neck and easily tossed him aside, like a sack of potatoes.

"Sasuke-kun!" yelled the distressed Sakura, as she watched her best friend slide to a stop on the ground.

Naruto and Kiba were now petrified, not because of Zabuza's strength, but because someone as great as Sasuke was also just tossed aside like it was nothing. Naruto turned to look at Zabuza, towering over him like an executioner. T-t-this is...a real...jonin...! He's...the real......deal. At this rate......we'll be finished...!

"Naruto, let's run while we still can, come on!" Kiba advised as he took off with Akamaru in his arms, expecting Naruto follow after him.

Naruto, was about to follow after Kiba. However, before he even had a chance to run away, he saw something that made his remember something. The bandage on his left hand. The wound he received when he was poisoned and when he removed the poison. Naruto then finally remembered something about the bandage. Did he not make an oath that he wasn't going to mess up anymore? Did he not swear on the blood of his hand that he was going to fight for his right to become the next hokage? Did he not promise that he was not going to let Sasuke outdo him at every turn? He was given the choice to run away, but this was not an option. It never was. No, I'm won't! I'm not going to run away anymore! I am a shinobi! Naruto, regaining his resolve, stood up from the ground and charged towards Zabuza. I don't care if he's a thousand times bigger than me! He's not going to defeat us!

"Naruto, what are you doing!? Get back here!" Sakura yelled to her friend.

"Naruto-kun!" Hinata shouted in distress.

"Are you crazy or something, Naruto!? Kakashi-sensei told us to run!" Kiba yelled, trying to sway Naruto from his foolish attempts.

Sasuke narrowed his eyes as he watched Naruto charge towards Zabuza. What's he up to? Is he really trying to fight Zabuza head-on?

"Naruto, stop!" ordered Kakashi, "Get out of here while you still can! That's an order!"

As soon as Naruto up close to Zabuza, in range of a mean punch, Naruto was hit square in the face, with a mean punch from Zabuza. Drips of blood sprayed around, some landing on Zabuza's fist, as Naruto flew back towards his friends. Naruto's body hit the ground, sending his body spinning and skidding to a stop.

Hinata run up to Naruto's motionless body, out of worry and distress. "Naruto-kun!" Hinata knelt down beside Naruto, hoping to Heaven above that her crush is not dead. Who knows how Hinata's world would be without Naruto?

"You idiot!" scolded Kiba, "How could you just run towards that guy!? Even Sasuke couldn't take that guy on! What were you thinking!?"

Sasuke watched as Naruto was staggering. So that's why he charged forward...

Hinata helped Naruto up. "Are you okay, Naruto-kun?"

"Yeah...I'm okay..." said the hurt Naruto, "In fact...I've never been...better..."

"What do you mean?" asked Sakura. Then, Sakura noticed that he was holding something. What Naruto held in his hand was his fallen forehead protector, something which puzzled Kiba and Sakura. "Your forehead protector?" asked the puzzled Sakura. "You ran after him just for that?"

Naruto staggered to his feet, with Hinata trying to help him up. "It's okay, Hinata," Naruto assured to Hinata, "I can stand up myself." Naruto gently moved Hinata aside, allowing him the strength of his will to stand up. "Hey, no-brows," Naruto called out to Zabuza, which seemed to have insulted the evil shinobi, "You should update your bingo book soon. Because you're standing in front of the person who is going to be the Hokage of the Hidden Village of Konoha." With that said, Naruto placed his forehead protector back on his head, tightening the knot. "You haven't seen the Konoha styles of Uzumaki Naruto!" Seeing Naruto defiantly standing before him seemed to have irritated Zabuza. He expected Naruto and his friends to run away, but no, here he was, standing against him.

Kiba could only sigh about the turn of events. "We're dead."

"Sasuke, Kiba, lend me your ears for a second," requested Naruto.

"What do you want?" asked Kiba.

"I got a plan," answered Naruto.

Sasuke stared at Naruto, puzzled about what the blond shinobi has in mind. Normally, Naruto was not the brightest shinobi, nor was he even the strongest, but something about Naruto's courage interested Sasuke. Maybe Naruto has got a brain after all. What harm could it do to hear what Naruto has in mind?

"You have a plan?" Kiba asked sarcastically, "And what's that, run straight towards him, and hope that he's going to run away? Yeah, like that's going to work!"

"Kiba...let's hear what he has to say," said Sasuke.

"Sasuke, you can't be serious," said the bewildered Kiba.

"We're not going anywhere by ourselves. We have a stronger chance of survival, if we work together," reminded Sasuke, "I dislike the idea of teamwork, but that's the only chance we have right now, like it or not."

"......All right...fine..." Kiba growled begrudgingly, "What do you have in mind, Naruto?"

"Here's what we're going to do..." Naruto moved closer to his two comrades and began whispering to them of his plans.

Kakashi looked onwards, and he realized what was going on. He realizes that his platoon was going to fight this battle, regardless of how powerful Zabuza is. He couldn't allow that! Not now! "Everyone, stand down! I told you all to run away!" yelled Kakashi, "This battle decided when I was trapped! Tazuna is our first priority! Have you forgotten that!?"

"That's right," confirmed Sasuke, "Tazuna is the reason we've taken this mission. Tazuna is our client, right?"

"What are you getting at, Sasuke-kun?" asked Sakura.

"Kakashi isn't the only person we take orders from. Our client also has the right to tell us what's in his best interest," continued Sasuke, "Tazuna, it's your call. Do you still want to run or are you going to stay here and let us take care of him?"

Kakashi widened his eyes in shock. Is Sasuke openly trying to defy his orders? Sasuke, what are you doing!?

Tazuna stayed quiet for a while. Sasuke had officially placed the decision making to him, considering that he was their client. He had to think hard, and make sure it was the right decision. The bridge builder stayed quiet until...he looked at the genins before him. "Well, this whole thing was partially my fault to begin with, so I can't just say I want to survive no matter what," Tazuna admitted to the situation, "If you have to, then go all out!"

Sasuke smirked in affirmation. "I thought that's what you'd say."

"Well, it looks like we're not walking away from this," sighed Kiba, "Are you ready, Akamaru?" Kiba's shinobi dog barked in affirmation.

Seeing the genins openly challenge him caused Zabuza to laugh in amusement. "You kids never learn, do you?" laughed Zabuza, "Do you still pretend to be shinobis? When I was your age, my hands were already drenched in the blood of my enemies." Zabuza looked into his right hand, seemingly recalling his memorable days. The genins were shocked to hear what Zabuza had just said. They couldn't believe that he has been killing enemies, ever since he was just a kid!

"Now I see," said Kakashi, "You're known as Demonic Zabuza."

"Ah, so you've heard of my reputation," realized Zabuza.

"A long time ago, the Hidden Village of the Mist was once known as the Hidden Village of the Bloody Mist," recalled the masked Konoha jonin, "In that very village, there was one test that was required to become a full-fledged shinobi."

"So you know of the final test that must be taken," said the evil shinobi.

"What was the final test?" asked the suspensful Naruto. Zabuza could only laugh at the nostalgic feeling of this test. "Well, what is it!?"

Zabuza continued to laugh, until he grew silent and stared at the genins. "A battle to the death......among the students." Naruto and Kiba were shocked to hear this. Konoha would never do something like this. In fact, no other village would have done something like this. Why would their village pit their students against each other, just to recruit shinobis? It was madness! Sakura and Hinata covered this mouths in shock, upon hearing what the test was. "Friends, who have eaten from the same pot, are separated into groups of two, and battle each other to the death. Only one casualty was accepted. The ironic thing is that these deaths are performed by friends, who have helped each other out, shared their dreams, and competed against each other."

"H...h...how.......c-cruel......" stammered the frightened Hinata.

"However, ten years ago, the Hidden Village of the Mist had undergone a reformation...because that previous year, a monster was the cause of that reformation," Kakashi continued to recall.

"The reformation?" asked Sakura. "This monster...what was it that caused this monster to make that village to undergo a reformation?"

"There was a small boy, who had no right to become a shinobi," replied Kakashi, "During that test, he slayed over 100 students, all with no hesitation whatsoever."

Zabuza remained silent while Kakashi was explaining everything to his platoon. After a moment of silence, Zabuza had an expression of being intoxicated. "You have no idea......how good it felt!" declared Zabuza.

Then, before anyone could react, Zabuza appeared out of nowhere, right in front of Sasuke! Before Sasuke could dodge the psychotic shinobi, he was already met with a mean punch to the stomach, with enough force to make Sasuke cough out his blood. "Sasuke-kun!!" Sakura shrieked. Sasuke was thrown to the ground, giving Zabuza the chance to stomp on his stomach, showing demonstrating his dominance over the Uchiha. Sakura winced away from the scene, not wanting to see her best friend being hurt.

"Hand over that bridge builder, or else your friend here will die!" Zabuza demanded, increasing the pressure on Sasuke's stomach, which made Sasuke grunt more in pain, "You'd better make a decision fast. He might die of suffocation if you don't act now."

Sakura couldn't take any more of this. Although she forbade herself from fighting anyone too strong for them, she couldn't stand to see her friend getting hurt. She wasn't going to lose Sasuke. She refused to watch Sasuke die. "Let him go, you monster!!" Sakura screamed in anger, as she immediately charged towards Zabuza.

"Sakura-san!" Hinata yelled in distress.

"Sakura-chan, what are you doing!?" yelled Naruto.

As Sasuke gritted his teeth in pain, he looked off to the side in time to see Sakura running towards him and Zabuza. "Sakura, stop! Stay back!" Sakura ordered the pink-haired kunoichi. It wasn't his pride that was getting in the way, but the fact of the matter, in Sasuke's mind, was that Sakura will not stand a chance against Zabuza. Bravery will not save her, nor will selfless determination. However, his words fell on deaf ears. Sakura drew her kunai, ready to strike Zabuza. Unfortunately, for the pink-haired kunoichi, Zabuza was unfazed, and unimpressed with Sakura's sheer determination. Using only his left arm, Zabuza ruthlessly swiped Sakura out of his path, paying no heed to the sound of Sakura yelling in pain.

"Sakura-san!" Hinata quickly ran towards Sakura, who had fallen to the ground, groaning in pain as she struggled to rise up from the ground. Hinata crouched down to Sakura's side and helped her friend sit up. "Are you okay?"

"...I'm okay," groaned Sakura.

Zabuza merely watched Hinata tend to the slightly injured Sakura. "Foolish girl," Zabuza muttered disgustingly, "Trying to act heroic by saving her boyfriend, eh?"

"You'll pay for that, Zabuza..." Zabuza looked down at the source of the voice. To his shock, he saw Sasuke's hand signs in a katon formation. Katon: Goukakyou no Jutsu! Sasuke blew out a gigantic flame, which would have engulfed Zabuza's entire body, had he not leaped out of the way and off of Sasuke.

"Naruto's, now's our chance!" Kiba declared to the blond shinobi.

"Let's do this!" proclaimed Naruto. Naruto placed his hands into his signature hand sign. Kage Bunshin no Jutsu! In puffs of smoke, numerous clones of Naruto appeared all around Zabuza, ready to do battle.

"Oh, you can use the Kage Bunshin no Jutsu," the impressed Zabuza noticed, "And you can make quite a few."

The Naruto clones each drew their kunai. This time, Zabuza was outnumbered. With this much shinobi around him, even Zabuza can't take them all at once. After all, it is just one man against who knows how many. With nothing holding them back, the Naruto clones made a leap of faith towards Zabuza, aiming their kunai for his vital spots. Soon, the Naruto clones had all gathered up all over Zabuza. Their kunais were away from everyone's line of sight. No one can tell if their kunais had even hit their marks, and the suspense was just killing everyone. Suddenly, they heard a human roar coming from within the group. With one big thrust into the air with his gigantic sword, all of the Naruto clones had dispersed from Zabuza, before crumpling into the ground and disappearing, one by one. Sakura and Hinata were just as shocked as Tazuna. They even began to think that Zabuza was not even human to begin with. There was no way a human being could survive that, let alone repel an attack from twenty to thirty Naruto clones.

"This is impossible!" exclaimed the shocked Tazuna, "There's no way you can beat that guy."

Naruto reached into his backpack for something. Whether it was a weapon or a tool, no one knows. This is the only chance we've got. We've got to make it count! "Sasuke, catch!" Naruto yelled to his teammate, before disappearing into a cloud of smoke.

Sasuke saw the object the Naruto clone threw towards him. It was a large piece of metal, a weapon. As soon as he caught the weapon, Sasuke noticed something about it. Not only was it a strange weapon, but for some odd reason, he could feel some kind of energy radiating from it. It was faint, yet it there were still traces of some energy coming from it, until he realized what kind of energy this was. Now I see. So that's what you have in mind, Naruto. Sasuke showed his weapon towards Zabuza, before revealing that it was no ordinary weapon. This was a shuriken. However, it was far larger than an average shuriken. This was enough to decapitate large groups in one throw.

"Do you honestly believe that shuriken will work on me?" scoffed the confident Zabuza.

"In a manner of speaking, Zabuza, I do," Sasuke answered back. With that said, Sasuke leaped into the air, and with great force, Sasuke threw the gigantic shuriken towards Zabuza. Zabuza awaited patiently for the gigantic shuriken to come towards him. Not once was he showing any fear. Unfortunately, for him, the shuriken was not coming towards him. Rather, it was making itself a detour......towards the real Zabuza, which continued to hold Kakashi prisoner.

Hmph. Now I see. You were targeting the real one instead of my clone. Zabuza reached out to catch the shuriken as it moved quickly towards him. "But, it's all too easy!" proclaimed Zabuza. But trying to reach out to catch the shuriken would prove to be a mistake for Zabuza. Instead, the shuriken disappeared in a puff of smoke, revealing something else. Zabuza was caught off guard, in time to feeling something biting down on his free hand. As Zabuza yelled in pain, he looked at his free hand to see a white dog biting down with all of its might. "You're that...!" Zabuza realized all too late, as he saw Kiba appear in front of him, with the same gigantic shuriken that Sasuke threw.

"Nice, Akamaru!" Kiba praised his canine partner, "Now it's my turn!" With full force, Kiba threw the second gigantic shuriken towards Zabuza.

Zabuza did all he could to shake Akamaru off of his hand, but to no avail. Time was running out for Zabuza, and Akamaru was not going to let go any time soon. And the more Zabuza tried to shake off, the more pressure Akamaru made, which just made things worst. The gigantic shuriken inched closer and closer. There was only one thing that Zabuza had to do. With Akamaru still biting down on his hand, Zabuza jumped into the air, while still keeping his water prison on Kakashi intact. This was not what they had planned. Even after all the surprises that Zabuza had just endured, Zabuza didn't even suffer as much as a scratch from the genins. "Is this some kind of joke!?" Zabuza laughed.

Sakura couldn't believe it either. After all that, Zabuza was still too powerful. No, we were so close!

Unknown to everyone else, Sasuke and Kiba gave off a smirk of their own, because to everyone's shock, the gigantic shuriken that Kiba threw was another decoy. Or rather, it was the final part of the plan. The gigantic shuriken disappeared in a puff of smoke, revealing Naruto, with a kunai ready. Zabuza was still in the air after jumping. Now he was defenseless, and Zabuza realizes this. How could he be tricked by a bunch of kids!?

"Peekaboo!" Naruto threw his kunai at the defenseless Zabuza.


To be continued...


My apologies, everyone! I was running low on the imagination department. Plus, I've got college to work with and that's a priority. Anyways, enjoy!