Hey guys...I'm baaaaaacccckkkk

Yeah really I don't have that much to say, but I feel like I have to say something, so here's an explanation. First off, I am extremely sorry about the Uber long wait for this update. Yes, I know that you all have been wanting to read and I haven't been delivering. I hope you enjoy this. But seriously, I'll tell you the REAL reasons why I haven't been writing as often, one I go to school (lol), two, I've become like a work-out junkie... seriously... my six-pack is awesome! And lastly... I've been training to become a ninja. Not these type of ninjas, I'm talking urban ninja also known as free-runners, yeah, I've started parkour. It's really hard but its really fun, mad adrenaline. Anyway, there's my explanation... so yeah

Oh and I don't know why but this story has for some reason lost its original format and most of the previous chapters have no break between scenes, so everything looks scrunched up. I'm working on re-uploading all of my previous chaps so that they look a lot neater.


Sacred Mark of The Rising Kekkei Genkai

When you wake up, everything before that becomes a memory.

It hadn't even been a few minutes after they all met up that things decided to take a turn for the worst. Naruto always felt as though the world was out to get him, and in a sense he was right. His world of Konoha was at least.

Xion lead the group, Naruto followed directly behind, and of course that implied that Hinata was attached to his arm.

Larxene and Haku followed in the back, both keeping an attentive gaze fixed upon Hinata. Specifically watching where the little Hyuuga girl's hands were on Naruto's body. A silent memo had already been passed between them; Hinata had better not have gotten too clingy. They both got jealous very easily when it came to Naruto.

Hinata's motives seemed innocent enough though, so it allotted Larxene some time to make sense of her own hopelessly confused thoughts.

She know not whether she was supposed to teeming with excitement or rather if she should have been in turmoil.

She ruled the shadow realm for Kami's sake and that by itself was a thrill ride of a lifetime! She should have been jumping for joy, yet still she could not help but feel neutral about the situation. She was still uncertain about something. What was the term... yes, she was caught in between a rock and a hard place.

It was true, she did wield that much power. In that realm, her own hand was like the hand of Kami, she was divine, in a way she was... she was...

... In the shadow realm... she was Kami! It was almost like blasphemy to think that, but regardless of its outlandishness... it was true. In a sense, she was a goddess among her own subordinates.

She caught sight of Naruto's unruly hair, damp with the wetness of the rain. Surely he did not think of her as some kind of goddess, in his eyes she was still the same person she was the day before. It must have been somewhat of a pride-crusher though, to know that she was was so ineffably strong. Did Naruto even feel challenged by her? If so, he did a good job of masking it.

At least the playing field had been leveled between them. Although the scale seemed to be tipping a bit more in her favor now. Now she wouldn't have to try keep up with him anymore; he would have to keep up with her; with this power, she could much more than keep up... she could surpass him.

"Naruto-kun... where are we going?" Haku asked. She swiveled her head from left to right, observing.

Naruto turned his head slightly, "Haku-chan, I haven't quite fully figured that out myself and I'm still trying." He gave her a smile before turning back around.

Reluctantly, she nodded and resigned to silence.

The training grounds were already behind them, far behind. The forest loomed around them now, its trees provided shelter from the rain with their robust leaves. Surrounding them, the indigenous sounds of the scene seemed to bring the forest to life.

"Well, to answer that question all I can say is that Naruto is going somewhere where he can explain-in detail-just what it is about your friend," Xion jutted her thumb back at Larxene, "that allows her to be so powerful."

Larxene seemed to twitch with anger at that comment. The skin in-between her eyes scrunched together as she frowned. The red-head was starting to get on her nerves.

"I think we already established that," Larxene replied saucily, "But we deserve to know something at least."

Haku nodded in agreement. But Xion simply shrugged.

"Yeah I guess, but it's not up to me to tell you anything," she said, her lazy tone actually making her seem like she wanted to tell them anything.

Hake spoke up, "Then would you mind telling us who it is up to?" She glanced forward at Naruto who was looking back at her, he leaned over and whispered something into Hinata's ear. His hand covered his lips. The Hyuuga girl looked to be fully engrossed in whatever the hell it was he was saying. She nodded like an academy student learning a new lesson, with a fresh child-like fervor.

Xion had fallen into silence, quietly refusing to answer Haku's question. She apparently did not have the power to tell them anything.

Once again Haku resigned to silence.

"It's Kinkou!" Hinata exclaimed, grinning.

Xion let out a quick sputter of breath, like she was choking on something, and glared at Hinata. The Hyuuga's smile quickly slipped away.

"W-what... did I do something... wrong?" Hinata asked. Xion only pinched the bridge of her nose and nodded."B-but, N-naruto-sama told me to do it," she muttered.

When Xion glanced at Naruto he simply smiled and waved nonchalantly. "I have no idea what she's talking about." Apathy was the worst when it came from someone who you thought actually did care.

Larxene's eyes were wide with disbelief. "K-kinkou... n-no way. Naruto-kun, what have you been doing? You're part of the Asahoshi?"

"Yes I am," he stated in a matter-of-fact tone. Gravid silence followed and before it got too awkward Naruto added in, "Does it make you uncomfortable?"

Larxene shook her head forgetting that he couldn't see her.

"Well does it?" Naruto repeated, this time with a bit more emotion to dampen the dryness of his tone.

"No... at least it doesn't anymore, a couple of months ago it would have disturbed me greatly."

"So you're okay with it then?" Naruto asked.

"Y-yeah... I guess." Larxene muttered, but not audibly enough for it to be convincing. She felt a small tickle in her ribs, Haku had poked her. She was looking at Larxene with those big chestnut colored eyes of hers... 'What's the Asahoshi?', those eyes asked.

"I'll tell you later," Larxene whispered.

Xion scoffed, "You need to ask her for permission, whipped much?"

Naruto chuckled softly."Not true," he mumbled. And it wasn't true! But denial was always the first stage of realizing the truth.

"Sounds like my sis has got you wrapped around her little finger kid," A voice familiar voice said.

Naruto looked up, along with everyone else. He remembered that voice, he'd heard it only once before but he could never forget it. The man it belonged to saved his life after all. He could see that Larxene recognized it as well, her eyes twinkled with excitement.

No way, it couldn't be, She thought, he couldn't be here. But everything about the moment shattered what she believed. It was real, very much so, so real that she could possibly touch this person. So real that she could possibly see this person step out in front of her.

... So real that she could have heard this person's voice again.

Larxene's eyes darted up toward the canopy, the only place in the copse where she could feel her brother's presence. He was definitely here alright, his fiery chakra, made him stick out from the crowd. Definitely his. Not mistaking it.

The ocular proof wasn't even needed, she did not need to see in order to believe. But seeing Lark after all this while, it was like a dream come true.

He was sitting jauntily on a thick tree branch, swinging his long legs gently. He then dropped down, his black robes fluttering as he did and landed squarely in the middle of the group, in between Haku and Larxene.

"Yo, La-La," He said jovially, giving his sister a casual wave.

There was a long silence before Naruto snickered rather loudly. "La-La," he chuckled out. It was a regular Hardy-Har-Har moment him wasn't it? Larxene's face lit up bright red and she glared at her brother, obviously perturbed by her brother's casual use of her old nickname.

Lark's brow rose up, "What?" Larxene glared even harder, "What, what did I say?"

His sister simply looked past him and folded her arms, "Shut up Naruto."

"Sorry, sorry It's...just that I thought our for nickname you was bad." He turned to Lark, "What were you thinking when you gave her that one?"

Lark simply shrugged, "I dunno, something along the lines of: 'boy I bet this will get her angry'."

Naruto flashed his thumb up. "Mission successful," he replied. The both of them broke out into soft laughter. All through it Xion was wide-eyed; perhaps she was doubting him too much but did Naruto realize just whose side he was playing for? Getting all chummy with a Saiki rat, outrageous!

Xion tensed, no matter, she knew which side she was on.

She unsheathed her blade quickly and lunged at Lark, poising it to pierce through the back of his head. Her arm rippled with the strain of her forward surge, she gripped her weapon's handle so tightly that she could feel each fold and crease of the handle's wrapping with pinpoint definition. She could feel the kill coming.

No kill came though, about a foot of distance was left before the blade met his flesh when Lark whipped around swiftly, catching the blade in his bare palm. Blood trickled from his hand in little crimson streams.

There was a slight hiss when her tanto's blade suddenly turned bright red; she could barely discern the small sliver of smoke snaking its way from underneath Lark's grip. The tip of the blade sizzled and slowly melted, growing limp like a wet rag. She inhaled sharply and let go in an instant, leaving the scorching metal in Lark's hand.

H-he even burned the handle?

Lark didn't say a word to her though, instead his eyes went over to Naruto. "Well now Namikaze, the Asahoshi? You've gotten yourself some pretty competent friends now haven't you?" He said.

Naruto's eyes hardened and he began speaking without preamble, "You said the next time I saw you you'd try to..."

"-Kill you, Naruto, yeah I did." Lark cut in, tossing aside the remains of Xion's weapon. He could not see, but he would've bet that his sister's eyes were a bit disbelieving right now. He continued, "But that was before I realized the affection my little sister here held for you." He suddenly clapped his hands twice. "So! Tell you what, I won't try to kill you..."

Naruto nodded slowly, sensing second part to that sentence.

"-...but he might." And there it was... the add-on.

Naruto was forced to step back as a black blur burst through a bushel of greenery. He also wore the Saiki trench-coat, but the hood obscured his face, revealing only his roughly triangular but hardened jaw. He closed in on Naruto, extending an open but dangerous hand towards his face. Instinctively, Naruto's eyes flashed orange but the man's hand was already too close for him to dodge.

"Naruto-kun!". The ground beneath Haku's foot broke rather easily as she sprinted to his fore; before Naruto's rear leg hit the ground Haku grabbed the man by the wrist and locked it in place by the joint with both hands. His fingers then went limp, lingering inches away from her chest. She never mentioned it to him but she was faster than Naruto; it was probably the only thing she had above him.

In between her lips she held a senbon tightly.

"Is... that a chi technique?" The hooded man asked calmly, his other hand blurring toward Haku's throat. Her feet were now dangling above the ground. They were locked in a stalemate, she had his arm... but he had her by the throat. If it kept going any longer, she would end up blacking out.

Haku's eyes narrowed, she took aim carefully and spit the senbon directly into his hood. He grunted and jerked his head back.

Before he could recover Hinata acted, despite her fear she was still able to put some breathing distance between the man and Haku. She struck with her fingers at the tenketsu by his elbow, freezing up the joint , allowing Haku to release her grip on his locked hand and grab hold of the one on her throat. She then pulled up and dug both feet into his chest, shoving him away. He stumbled back clumsily before falling straight into the mud.

"Ow... that hurt," he muttered, standing up straight. Haku only observed; he had an impressive build and tough skin, hard knuckles and shoulders broader than Naruto's...

... but Naruto's were much better.

Larxene moved to help, but Lark block her, jutting his arm out. "We need to talk," he said. The ground around them began to give way to white hot flames, she knew from past experience that this was Lark's preferred mode of transportation. He was taking her somewhere.

Inwardly, she smirked, this would be a good time to show him her new way of getting around.

"Yeah, let's" she agreed. Her body recalled how it felt when she first accidentally opened the portal. The fervor in which she attacked Naruto... how much chakra she used, it all came back in one big flood.

As far as output went, mildly stated, Larxene's entire body exploded with a wild mass shadow that engulfed them both which then slowly began sinking into the ground.

"Haku-chan, you think you guys can handle him?" Naruto said, watching nervously as the shadow continued to sink.

"Yes," Haku said; Hinata and Xion took positions at both of her sides, "We're okay now."

"Good," Naruto replied, "Hold him off until I get back, and I'll reward you with something special." He yelled out as he turned and sprinted into the descending darkness.

Hinata whimpered, "L-lucky... how come I don't get a reward," she whimpered, sticking out her lower lip. Haku only giggled and turned her attention to their opponent.

I didn't forget about you either, Naruto said through their mental link. Hinata smiled, her resolve strengthened. She too turned her full attention to their opponent.

Xion simply flashed her second tanto out, crouching low, ready to do battle.

The Saiki member raised both hands defensively, "Whoa... let me introduced myself first." He jerked his head back and his hood flipped off on its own. He shook his mid-length brown hair out of his face, he had strong onyx eyes. And the senbon still protruded from his left cheek bone, buried halfway through his fair skin.

He pulled it out with another grunt and picked his teeth with the bloody side. His eyes looked at their disturbed expressions and smiled.

"Roland Von DeLouise... nice to meet you."

There really were certain things his little sister could do that even he didn't know about. Was there even a way to explain what he was seeing, an accurate method of explaining all of this? Most likely not.

He was sitting on a rugged gray rock, he absentmindedly ran the heels of his boots through the red-tinted sand. His eyes were glued to the moon. It was red, red! He smiled, mouth wide open in awe. "Wow La-La, this is one hell of a genjutsu." He whistled to show how impressed he was, but then his head snapped back down. "...huh... wait, but you can't use genjutsu, you suck at it!"

Larxene stood in front of him, arms folded as she waited for her brother to finish absorbing the grand luster of her world. Her world, she was beginning to like the sound of that. Her eyes watched the moon as well, it had a gentle presence despite its powerful color.

Lark started laughing, "Ha, this is great La-La, you've really improved you skills! But... what exactly does this genjutsu do? I-I don't feel any different."

"This is real."

"N-no way!" He looked at her skeptically. "This is not real!"

Larxene chuckled, " Yep, and its all for me! Although Naruto-kun didn't react half as enthusiastically as you did Onii-chan. And what's the story between you two, acting all happy-go lucky up there?" She was scowling now.

"What's the story between us two?" Lark pointed at her accusingly. "What's the story between you two?" He shook his head, he then sighed deeply, "have you forgotten that he's the entire reason why you're considered to be a traitor in the-" He suddenly stopped and shook his head, "-Oh..I get it now."

"W-what, what did you get?" Larxene asked, blushing heavily, "I-its not what you think I-I..."

The way that his sister now acted, the way she spoke, her demeanor, her gait, her much softer eyes now, it was all because of him. She was different. The sadistic, egotistical, and wonderfully rotten little brat that he loved to spoil was gone now, wasn't she? Where was she now?

Guess she's gone then huh? He thought to himself, finding it hard to swallow now. A lump of emotion and the regret towards his own words rested at the base of his throat.

Protect her... what an idiot he was.

That Namikaze did more than protect her... he reshaped her. He held her heart within his grasp and molded it to fit the groove of his own palm. His sister belonged to that kid in a way that he really did not want to understand.

... He could see it now, Larxene wasn't his to cherish anymore. She was Naruto's, she'd lost her own life and found it once again through his.

Larxene blushed, attempting to restart another explanation, "T-there's nothing b-between us. I just-..."

"-just followed the boy who you were assigned to capture?" Lark finished for her. "I understand...just...just don't say anything else. You've fallen for him... there's nothing more I can do about it." His sister stayed silent, and broke the eye contact by turning her face away. Her skin looked flustered; that was a loud enough answer for him. The message had been passed between them; Lark simply grimaced at the fact. " You do know that I can't protect him right?"

Larxene nodded and said "But why did you have to come now," her lips twisted into a snarl, "why now!" She yelled.

Lark closed his eyes, the screech of her discordant voice was like a dulcet bell chime. That was the little sister he remembered, the brat who loved to yell.

"Can't you...you...give me more time with him? Huh? Um... cover for me... or something, I don't know! Just don't take him away now... " Her eyes closed tightly as the tears began to form.

"Do you really doubt his ability that much?" Lark said.

"...I just don't want him to die...," She was surprising herself, did she really believe that he'd die? Everyone died at one point right? Seeping through her sealed eyelid a teardrop fell and darkened the sand below.

Lark sighed, "Wow, you've really fallen in love with the guy? Argh! La-La, now what am I supposed to do?"

"Huh.. what do you-..?"

"I mean: how am I supposed to take away the guy that my dear little sister loves so much, huh?" He smiled lovingly.

Larxene understood the implied and a wide smile formed on her face. It was okay now, she could allow her heart to stop its dangerous race. "So that means that you'll join us?" She asked nervously.

Lark brought up his finger, "No." He said bluntly, plucking her on the forehead. Larxene had one of those 'disappointed child' expressions on her face. "Buuuut, I may be able to buy some time, you know... get the organization to some lesser Kekkei Genkai before we come after you guys." He turned his face away, looking apathetic.

"Thank you!" His sister slammed into his chest, embracing him wholeheartedly. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

"Ah... what do we have here?"

The funny accent and smooth tone were barely familiar, but she still knew it. She turned her eyes to see Raila leaning on a tall pillar of rock protruding from the sand. And on top of the pillar Naruto sat, dangling one foot off the edge. He was holding onto his left arm which was clawed and gleaming in the red light.

"So, now that we've had our little chat... can we begin?" Naruto asked, rising to his full height. He pulled his gauntlet down tighter on his arm. "You said that the next time we saw each other, you'd kill me; Now you go back on your word and send some little crony of yours to come after me?" Naruto crouched low, shifting into a battle-ready stance. "I don't think I can forgive you."

"No wait," Larxene said, throwing up her hands,"my brother, he said-" She was stopped when Lark placed his hand upon her shoulder, gripping it firmly. He then pushed her behind him.

"Oh that's okay Namikaze-san, I think I can live without your forgiveness."

With his free hand Lark conjured up a flame that hovered above his palm. Larxene's eyes went wide, she could see the battle coming.

"Onii-chan, b-but you just said-"

"Forget what I said!" He snapped, his voice then softened, "I won't kill him, but I can still injure him." He his eyes moved from Larxene to Naruto, "Come one kid!" He taunted.

"My pleasure," Naruto responded. A tint of orange bled into his eyes right before launched himself off the pillar, shattering it. Lark cocked back and sent out a palm-shaped tongue of flames. Naruto held his breath, imagining the flames flowing around him, and surprisingly as they approached him they did just that! Wasn't his bloodline just the best? The heat was almost unbearable though, taking the moisture right out of mouth and burning his nostrils. He was blown back into the pile of rubble that used to be the pillar he and Raila were on. Speaking of Raila, just what was he doing?

Raila sat on the ground, cross-legged a few yards from the pile of rubble. Naruto popped his head out of the rubble, his jacket charred, "Some help would be appreciated Raila!"

" Oh, sure thing!" He responded, standing up before blurring swiftly off to the side, leaving behind a few wisps of sand.

"Raila, stop now." Larxene said

Ceasing his speedy charge, Raila blurred back into vision, his sharp claws inches away from Lark's face. Letting his hand fall limp, Raila dropped to his knees, bowing his head remorsefully. "Hai, Larxene-sama, my deepest apologies." No sooner than he had stopped attacking, he was by Naruto's side again. "Sorry Naruto, you're on your own," He said as he pulled him out of the rubble. He slapped Naruto's hand. "Tag in." He said.

Naruto sweatdropped, "Really? You know, you're pretty useless." He dusted himself off, turning his attention back to Lark, well he would have if Lark was still there. That was when Naruto noticed his growing shadow and looked up to see Lark in the air, falling at him with a massive fireball hovering overhead.

"Oh would you look at the time," Raila said before disappearing.

"Oh shit...this is gonna hurt..." Naruto only closed his eyes and cringed in wait for the pain.

Hinata was on the ground, down and out, her dark hair was covered in mud, loosely sprawled in thin clumps. Half of her face was buried in the ground. She opened her one free eyes just in time to see a black boot close in on her face. The kick rolled her over onto her back, where she moaned in pain.

Roland, who was this guy? How was he so impossibly strong? Roland was standing right above her with both feet on either side of her waist. Their eyes met, so she turned her face to the side, exposing the mud on her cheek. She could feel the rain beginning wash it away. Despite her not looking, she could still see him, the veins on her temple were bulging.

She could see everyone, although she would rather have refrained from looking.

Haku was struggling to stand, her femur had been cracked in three different places. Just looking at the girl flop around in the mud as she tried to stand was painful. It was like she could feel the pain in Haku's leg just by looking at it. It looked like the pain was sharp, while at the same time throbbing.

Xion's wouldn't have been seen had it not been for her bloodline. She was sprawled out somewhere in a small thicket of thorny bushes with small cuts across every open area of skin.

" Is this all you have to offer?" Hinata closed her eyes tightly, "This is it?" His voice made her want curl up in a little ball; his blood-lust was obvious from the way he spoke with glee. His tone was deep and sadistic, and with every syllable he uttered, it brought her that much closer to tears. This was weird for her; the old Hinata would have fainted from the shock of it all. But here and now, she was fully conscious. Even so, this newer, more improved version of herself was still of no use.

"I couldn't help but notice that you have a Kekkei Genkai as well, you wouldn't mind if I take it... right?" He spoke slowly into her ear; his desire to act upon his savage instinct was growing, his voice was shaky and barely restrained. He wanted to kill her, so badly, he did. Bad enough for him to make it seem like he was in pain from his own self-control.

' Naruto-sama...!' That was all she could think. She turned her head even more and buried it into the mud. "Kuh!"

Roland grabbed her by the face, firmly clutching her angular jawline in between the groove of his palm. "Look this way!" He barked, showing his white teeth. She felt him raise her head for a moment and then slammed it back down. Hinata's vision went hazy, Roland's head had split into two separate and undefined visages that periodically blurred in and out of focus. The mud absorbed a lot of the impact, but it had still hurt like a bitch.

"Naruto-sama..." Hinata whimpered, her skin was numb barely registering Roland's fingers grabbing her by the chin again. "Naruto-sama... Naruto-sama... Na...ru... to-sa...m..aaaHHH!" The pain that ensued was horrible, the worst she'd ever felt. Worse than Neji's palm during training, worse than her father's disapproving glare in the mornings. She was in agony; hell had been brought to her through the only thing she was recognized for: her eyes.

Roland's fingers crackled a stream of blue chakra that flowed from Hinata's eyes and into his hand.

"Ohh, I love the sound of your voice, scream some more for me." He said, drunk from the sound of her screams.

Haku's lower lips was quivering. She couldn't do a thing, totally useless, that's what she was! She did the first thing she thought of; she pleaded.

"Stop!" She screamed, "Stop it please!" But Roland continued, a smile was spread wide on his face. He loved his job.

In her desperation, Haku began dragging herself threw the mud with her elbows. At this point she was wiling to try anything. Her eyes went wide as the thought of a last minute act of desperation swarmed though her mind. There was no planning, no strategy at all; Haku simply rolled on her left shoulder and with her right hand groped the inside of her kimono by her chest and without much time to aim flung two senbon.

It was the simplest ninja tactic and the one that most ninja forgot that they could do in times like this.

There was a time where she held her breath as she watched her little weapon's sail through the air until they hit their mark. Roland's head jerked back twice and he fell over to the side. Hinata had stopped screaming, but she was till breathing hard. Haku could hear her wheezing from where she was, and if her ears were correct, in between her gasps she was calling out Naruto's name. In less then a few seconds she passed out.

"Gah, dammit that hurt!" Roland got up and pulled the two senbon Haku had thrown from his neck. He did it very slowly too, just to show her how much he enjoyed his own pain as well as theirs. "You brat Ill-"

Roland was silenced in mid-sentence when a geyser of black shadow erupted behind him. The blackness stretched into the sky, where it burst away part of the clouds, leaving a circular ring of clear morning sky that allowed the sun to shine directly on them. From afar it actually looked beautiful.

Roland turned his neck around, scratching at his wound and looked with one eye closed at the pillar of black with a bored expression. His eyes only went wide when a hand breached through the shadow and palmed his face. At that moment Haku fell silent, she could see the air distort around the person's palm and next thing she knew she heard a loud pop, which scared the shit out of her, and Roland's entire body had been blown back into the copse of trees.

The shadow then evaporated, blowing away like dust. She noticed that they were missing someone. Naruto was standing there with his arm extended, his strangely large canine teeth clenched. His clothes were horribly burned and torn. His face was blackened with something that looked strangely like soot. But what caught their attention the most was the fact that his eyes were blood red.

Larxene was on the ground, frantically crawling away as if she was scared of him. If there was one thing Haku knew about Larxene it was that she was far from being afraid of Naruto. Next to her brother, probably, Naruto was the person she'd learned to trust the most.

"N-naruto... you-" But Haku's last few words remained unsaid, for the drain of fatigue and exhaustion had finally caught up with her. Like a weight, her head hit the ground with a soft squelch of mud. She didn't even care about the possible danger she was in, the only thing that matter was closing her eyes. "Naruto..." she muttered, "What's wrong with you?" Haku's body then went limp.

Naruto then let out a vicious roar in the sky, the sheer force of it all causing the surrounding mud to ripple outward. He looked around, his bloodshot expression scanned the field for any signs of conscious life. There was none that he could see at the moment, he'd forgotten about Larxene, so in a blind fury he brought both hands up and hammered them both down into the ground. Hinata and Haku's bodies had been flung a bit farther away from him, and the mud that he'd kicked up rained back down upon him in small clumps. It got in his hair, on his close, his face.

Naruto truly looked like an animal. And Larxene was witnessing it all. She quivered unable to move. Afraid of the fact that this Naruto was the exact same Naruto she was learning to depend on, the same one she was beginning to fall for. This feral boy, some much unlike a civilized human, was the same boy she held feelings for.

Naruto turned his head and locked eyes with her, just as the last of the muddy rainfall hit the ground. Larxene gasped at the sight of his slitted gaze.


He looked at her for a long moment, his breathing slowed to the point where she could only hear it through his flaring nostrils. It'd seemed that he had calmed down. She hadn't. She was still breathing just as hard as he was a moment ago.

"Naruto...are you...there?"

His face scrunched, he grew angry, and roared angrily at her; she could feel its wind. He just yelled and yelled and yelled. He did not stop for what seemed to be minutes as apposed to seconds. He dropped down on all fours and came closer, much more like and animal this time.

"GUUAAAAAAAAAHHHH!" Naruto roared.

Larxene cringed even harder.

Naruto stalked closer and she was just about to let out a scream when two bodies dropped down on to Naruto's back, smashing him into the ground. Roland and Lark, had smashed both of their knees into Naruto's shoulder blades, pinning him down by his arms and torso. They cocked back their arms.

" I'm sorry La-la, but if this guy is this strong when he gets like this then we've got to take those eyes away from him now!"

Larxene's mind then snapped back, her concern for Naruto, the humane version of himself, kicked in. "No! You promised!" She could not believe that she was about to let this happen. She couldn't let Naruto get hurt, yet, she didn't want to stop it from happening.

"I thought I would give this kid a break too, but looks that's not happening... sorry Larxene." Roland said as well. Naruto struggled underneath their grips, wriggling his body like a worm in pain.

Lark's fist lit ablaze, however Roland's did not, bur Larxene knew that it would still hurt the same.

With two simultaneous grunts, they smashed both of their fists into Naruto's back. He screamed so loudly that his voice cracked from the pain. They pulled their fist back and observed the damage. Lark's punch had burned a hole straight through the fabric of his clothes going down through the flesh, marring it horribly.

They both stood up and gave Larxene an apologetic look. She didn't say a word, the shame was too great to bare, she could not take it. She had just witnessed Naruto get pummeled and she felt relieved! She was relieved of her fear in his presence, relieved at the fact that she wasn't in any more danger. But at the same time she had exactly no clue how she would ever look him in the eye again.

Larxene simply let her head fall. Right now she was only worthy of looking at the ground, she owned no right to look at Naruto, not even in his current frenzy.

"What exactly was that?" Roland asked.

"I dunno, but I definitely don't want it to happen again." Lark replied. He turned his gaze to his sister, "Listen, I know I promised but..."

Larxene inhaled sharply.

Naruto's head shot up, he growled through his teeth. He rose to his knees and in one swift motion whipped his arms out wildly. They couldn't see the exact effects but they felt it. Roland and Lark were sent flying back tumbling along the muck until they finally came to a halt.

Still on his knees Naruto gazed directly into her eyes, they flashed blue every few seconds. Larxene gasped as it hit her; Naruto was trying to regain his control! He still had emotions other than rage, he was still human underneath this feral exterior.

... Slowly Naruto reached his hand out towards her, it shook desperately. She looked at the clawed hand, and then at his troubled expression and then back at the hand. Without another word she took it and pulled him into a deep embrace, resting her chin over his quivering shoulder.

Roland and Lark had just gotten up when Larxene called out. "Roland, Onii-chan... you can keep your promise... I promise that we'll have this battle another day but just not now. Right now, please just leave." With that Larxene closed her eyes and buried herself into Naruto even more.

Lark nodded, tapping Roland on the shoulder and motioning for them to leave. A dark portal open behind them; they did not look back as they walked straight into it.

"This might have been our only chance, you'll regret this you know." Roland said.

With a half lidded gaze into the darkness as the portal closed, Lark said, "... I know."

As Naruto calmed down finally, the red drained slowly out of his eyes, returning his irises to their normal blue. He then went limp, leaning his full weight on her. Not expecting it, she abruptly fell down into the muck with him.

"Sorry Lar-chan," Naruto's voice was low and raspy, "I guess I don't know my own strength." With that Naruto passed out.

Larxene laughed softly and pushed his head into her bosom. She looked up at the sky and listened to him snore."Baka." She said quietly.

Her peace was short lived however. Someone's foot had stepped on the ground right beside her head. It was a man wearing white robes, his wide rhombus shaped hat blocked her view. Underneath the hat, she could see wise but furious eyes glaring down at her.

Lark and Roland finally breached through the darkness of the transportation portal. They had arrived within the castle's walls, a long dark corridor in which the only light came from the patterned torches running down its sides. As the portal closed behind them, without a word the two allowed themselves to collapse along the wall until they slid down to the floor.

"What was that?"

"What?" Lark asked.

"Your sister's little boyfriend, the Namikaze, what is he?" Roland replied sternly.

Lark looked up toward one of the torches on the wall, he stared deeply into its lambent flame before saying, "we're about to find out."

Roland hunched himself forward, "What exactly do you mean by that?"

"It means-" Lark started, but someone interrupted him.

"-it means that Zexin has been hiding something about that boy, something that none of us know about." Zabuza was leaning on the wall next to them, his arms were folded and his eyes closed. "And by the looks of it, that boy has something other than that Konton's chakra under his sleeve."

Lark's eyes grew dull, "By the looks of what? You're not even looking at us right now," he said.

Zabuza cracked one eyelid open and took a glance. "Happy?" He asked.

Using the wall, Lark pushed himself up. "No," he said, "Not until our pal Zexin answers some questions."

Zabuza chuckled, "My thoughts exactly, oh and by the way, freshen up... you both smell like crap."

Naruto's eyes barely cracked open, giving him a thin line of vision where everything he saw was tinted pink. He groaned, his voice was heavily saturated with the muffle of rasp and phlegm. He coughed up the obstruction in his throat and then swallowed in back down. He found himself blinking rapidly to get rid of the hard crust lining his eyelashes, he would have simply opted to rub it off but unfortunately his limbs would not work with him.

He found that his hands had been strapped over one another and to his sides, taut clothing binding them tightly. The hospital room lights were bright and blinding, reflecting of the pure white walls of his room with an almost annoying luster. The gleam from the floor and walls was beginning to make his overly-sensitive eyes ache.

"Hey!" He yelled out, listening to his echo, "Get me out of this thing!" He turned his body left and the right, repeating the action over and over again until his finally gain enough momentum to roll himself off the bed. He hadn't taken into account how high the bed was from the floor and ended up smacking his head against the hard tile.

" Ow, Hey!" He yelled again. "Cut me out of this shit! Where the fuck is everyone?" Turning onto his stomach, his arched his back in order to get onto his knees and from that onto his feet. Naruto was breathing heavily, he looked around the bright white room and froze, his lower lip was left dangling.

"Wh-where the hell is the door? Where are the windows," His head turned swiftly toward one of the walls in a way that mimicked paranoia. He gritted his teeth and ran full speed at the wall, head first; Closing his eyes, Naruto braced for impact. None came though, the wall seemed to sink in rather then resist; it was soft and padded. His head sunk into the wall for a moment, then his body was flung back and he tripped over his legs and fell onto the floor.

"P-padded walls...oh no... they put me in the fucking loony bin?" Naruto felt the anger well up inside him. "No!" He squired like a worm, like someone who actually was insane. That term seemed to fit Naruto so well: insane. It had a peculiar ring to it, not sounding bad at all when placed next to his name: Insane Naruto, not so bad.

He'd already gone insane twice, why not give him the straight jacket and padded cell to go with it? The irony of the situation pissed him off even more. So much to the point that he was seething, his breath seeped through the indiscernible gaps between his teeth, hot with fury and scorn. "Oh boy, how fitting," He said staring at the bright lights of the ceiling. He finally calmed down and resigned to laying quietly on his back.

There he sighed, he wished Larxene was here or Haku, or even Hinata; hell, he'd even take Zabuza! He'd take anyone right now! But it seemed that some deity had heard his silent prayer. As soon as he had wished for it, like magic it happened? Cool huh?

Naruto snapped his head to the left, looking apprehensively underneath his bed. There was a small ruffle coming from underneath it but he couldn't quite see what it was making the noise; whatever it was was obscured by a rather large shadow. His eyes snapped open in realization. A rather large shadow...no way...

Low and behold, look who came crawling out from underneath his bed: it was Larxene! His face instantly lit up, his chest feeling that familiar warmth once again. "Lar-chan!" He exclaimed.

Still on all fours, she moved one finger to her lips, "Shhh! Hush up!" She whispered forcefully. "I'm not supposed to be here, we don't want to be heard," she maintained her whisper, although it was gentler, "I've been looking all over for you!"

"Yeah, what happened to me?" Naruto asked.

Larxene twitched at the question. "Y-you mean... you don't remember? You've been out for three days."

Naruto picked at his teeth, "No not really, wait, I'm in some serious trouble... does that mean you are too?" Larxene shook her head.

"N-no, they actually blamed everything on you...I'm sorry...I tried to vouch for you but... they didn't believe that it was me who caused that first chakra spike. Apparently only Kyuubi is capable of producing chakra that evil." Larxene grimaced. Naruto laughed then, breaking her out of her harsh facial expression. Instead now she looked confused. "E-excuse me, am I missing a joke?"

"Yeah, I planned it Lar-chan," She watched him squirm until he looked at her,"...a little help?" She quickly moved to help him, sitting him straight onto the floor, lotus style. "Thanks," he said. "Anyway, yeah, I planned it. I didn't think you could feel it at the time, but right when we started following Xion we were being followed."

"What?" Larxene blinked rapidly.

"Yeah, Hinata noticed it and told me, but I told her not to say anything." He noticed Larxene's darkening expression and held his hands up defensively. "Hey now, before you get angry, let me say that I did it for you guys. Nobody was there when we fought and I didn't want to anyone to know that that foul chakra spike was you; I wanted to find a way to get them to think it was me...so I let Kyuubi take over for a bit. The villagers would be looking for an explanation to who caused that spike. I knew that if they had seen me using Kyuubi's chakra they would automatically link that to the earlier chakra spike, and assume that that was also me."

Sorry Kyuubi.

It's okay Naruto, I understand.

Larxene gasped, "B-but why? Now people think that you're some kind of monster!"

Naruto put his finger to her lips, "Now you hush up!" He said in a raspy whisper. "You're not supposed to be here, remember?" Naruto sighed, leaning his head forward, looking at the ground. " Let them think what they want. Listen Lar-chan, you don't know what this village is about. The villagers... their eyes can do certain things to you. They can hurt you, and you just got here, it would be better for them to hate me more than have them look at you, any of you, the same way they look at me."

Larxene stayed silent for a moment. For such a simple reason? He was trying to keep the villagers at bay, was that it? Slowly she held onto Naruto's chin, and raised his head back up; she gazed at him with moisture in her eyes. She then smacked him, HARD. Sending his face whipping to the right and tinging his cheek pink. The sound echoed throughout the padded cell. Naruto's eyes were wide.

Larxene then held him by the shoulders and sniffled in the tear of joy attempting to worm its way out. "Baka," she said, drawing Naruto into her bosom. Not ready for it, he landed clumsily in between her breast. "Stop worrying about me, you think I give a damn what the villager's think about me?"

Naruto stayed silent for a long, long moment before he finally said, "S-sorry."

Larxene simply nodded and pulled him tighter. This should have been extremely embarrassing, she would never ever let Naruto do this again. But he was so self-sacrificing for her... she supposed that it was appropriate for her to allow this as well. But at the moment... it wasn't all that unbearable, as apposed to all the other times she would have deemed as harassment. After a few more minutes of a silence, she pushed Naruto away from her and boy did he look disappointed.

"Aw, I was enjoying that!" He pouted. Larxene's tsundere side was slowly beginning to regain its control, for she blushed heavily and instantly let go of Naruto's shoulders.

"Uh, I-I brought something with me."

"Really, what?"

Larxene reached back underneath the bed, well into the shadow it cast and pulled out a small wooden, decorated box labeled "Ichiraku's". Naruto's nose seemed twitch with delight, he opened his maw wide, barely stopping himself from drooling. "Is...is that?" Naruto asked softly between shaky breaths, "r-ramen."

Larxene grinned, "Miso Pork flavor, you're hungry right?"

Naruto scuffled closer to her, clearly excited and clearly starving. His stomach let out a high, twisting growl at which Larxene giggled. "YOU DON'T KNOW THE HALF..oh," he lowered his voice to a low whisper once more, "-you don't know the half of it."

Larxene placed the bow between them and slid its top off. A large decorated bowl of ramen, still with a lid on, sat perfectly in the center. Larxene peeled off its lid and tossed it back underneath the bed. "Jajan," she said, "here you go." The smell hit them both, and they both inhaled deeply at the scent. She smiled, picking up the chopstick. Just as she was about to hand them to Naruto her hand froze.

Naruto smiled and then opened up it mouth. "Ahh." He said, expectantly.

Larxene blushed furiously, "I-I don't have to do that. I-I can just cut you free."

"Oh, but then people would know that someone came to see me," he turned his head to the side innocently, "You don't want to?"

"I...uh...I...fine," she said resigning to defeat. She sighed and broke the chopsticks apart; Naruto was chuckling triumphantly. A quick dip in the broth and Larxene strung out a long intertwined mess of gleaming noodles and held them in front of Naruto's face. "Ta...take it," she said.

He nodded, "Oh yeah, Itadakumasu!" He said before snatching the noodles off the sticks; Larxene was surprised at how voraciously he ate. With every bite he would give a rough but playful tug to the chopsticks, pulling her hand closer to him every time he did so. He smiled all the way through, as did she. Although he had terrible manners, he slurped obnoxiously, it was kind of cute the way Naruto ate, like a little kid. Most people would beg to differ, but then again Naruto never really hung around most people.

He stopped his onslaught of the food, with only half the noodles left, and looked at her. His blue eyes with wide and flecked brightly with the light of the ceiling. Larxene closed her legs even tighter then they already were. Quickly, if lightly, she felt her flutter. "You eat some too," Naruto said.

She snapped back, "Huh, oh no I couldn't, it's for you."

"But I want you to," Naruto said sternly. Biting her lip, Larxene conformed reluctantly.

"O-okay," she muttered.

She didn't feel bad for eating his food, it's just that she was eating his food...with him! Larxene slowly took a tangle of noodles too, blowing on it softly, before slurping it down. But half-way before the mess of noodles disappeared into her mouth, Naruto leaned forward an slurped from the bottom of the noodles up until his lips met with Larxene's.

Taken by surprise Larxene let out a high moan, she couldn't properly swallow the food but Naruto kept leaning it. He almost spilled what was left in the bowl, but she slid it away in time and allowed him to continue leaning in until he was fully on top of her. His arms, still crossed over each other pressed into her stomach and his chest pressed against hers. Whether it was the kiss or ramen, she sure felt a hell of a lot warmer! It was a grand combination of food and romance and as odd as it was, she liked it. Both his lips and the ramen, she now knew why he liked the stuff so much. It was delicious... or was that him?

Just as she was about to move her hands from his back to his head, he pulled away. She did her best to hide her disappointment.

"See, it's good right?" He asked.

She only laughed at him and agreed, "Yeah, the ramen tastes delicious."

It had been a month and Naruto was still in the asylum, Haku and Hinata were still in intensive care, and the red-headed girl was... she was...

Larxene blinked, she actually had no clue where that girl was. Come to think of it, after the Hokage had come and forced out an explanation from her, which he didn't even believe anyway, that was the last she had seen of her. Larxene scoffed, she probably went running back to the Asahoshi with her tailed tucked in between her legs. Figures. For all that big talk, she sure was quick to turn and run. She couldn't help but grumble at the thought of it, that scarlet haired witch being affiliated with her, even if the connection was indirect it was still enough to piss her off.

She leaned forward onto the counter, Ichiraku's smell had become almost like home to her; now she was here almost as much as Naruto was. She looked down at bowl of now only broth and stared at her reflection. This stuff had become like her new addiction, well ever since... you know. It seemed that getting ramen romantically shoved down your gullet did the trick, once that happened, you were hooked on the stuff.

Ayame walked from the back kitchen, waving toward Larxene. "Larxene-san, how was the food?" She asked with a cheerful smile.

Larxene smiled back, "Great as always."

Unexpectedly, Ayame leaned forward onto the counter-top, Bartender style. "You know you sure have been coming around here a lot lately," she gave her a cheesy smile, "has a certain someone gotten you hooked?"

Larxene scratched the tip of her nose, "Huh, well I guess so."

Suddenly both girls jerked at a sudden high-pitched squeal that ripped through the air. It seemed oddly familiar...

Larxene peeped out outside through the entrance cloth and noticing that, high up in the air, two birds were engaging in a bout of combat. One of them was bluish-gray with specks pf brown near its belly, Larxene smiled as she instantly realized whose bird it was. She brought her fingers to her mouth and blew, letting out a high whistle. Tomo recognized the sound and quickly ended her battle, shifting swiftly into a smooth dive-bomb in Larxene's direction. She gave two mighty stabilizing flaps before perching herself on Larxene's shoulder, her talons were only a minor nuisance.

"Hi Tomo, long time no see girl," she said giving the peregrine a gentle scratch underneath the beak. Tomo screeched happily. "Lets get you where you belong." She waved back at Ayame, leaving a few bills and coins strewn out on the counter. She turned in the direction of the hospital, but before she could even take one step someone grabbed her shoulder, firmly, and abruptly spun her around.

She immediately frowned lifting her lip up in annoyance. "Oh, you two," she said slowly. "What?"

Sasuke was the one who had spun her around, he stared sternly at her. Sakura was shrinking behind him, her green eyes switching back and forth between Larxene and the ground. Only after a few awkward seconds did Sasuke notice that she was staring at his hand, still on her shoulder. Her quickly removed it and began without any preamble.

"W-where's Naruto?" He asked.

Still scratching the underside of Tomo's beak Larxene scrunched her face into a scowl. And why would I know that?" She asked.

Sasuke brought together his two index fingers in a straight line, demonstratively, "Well, you're a couple right?" He resisted the urge to flinch, remembering the last time he'd done that.

Surprisingly Larxene didn't respond as harshly as he'd expected. She didn't punch, nor kick, not even a frown. She just wore this kind of neutral expression that he wasn't prepared for; so it looked kind of stupid when he jumped back. She simply said, "Well, I guess so."

"Really?" Sakura asked, suddenly poking her head out from behind Sasuke.

Larxene reddened mildly, "Yeah..." she said sheepishly. "Wait, why are you even looking for him?"

Sasuke folded his arms and looked up; he pointed at a dark brown falcon circling overhead. It was the same one that Tomo was fighting with earlier, by size it was much larger than Tomo, but Tomo still won that fight in her opinion. "That, Chunin exams, we can't participate unless he's with us."

"Oh... well, good luck with that." She said walking away.


"What?" She said, she spun around and palmed her hips, "What now?"

"Aren't you going to tell us where he is?"

"Um...let me think about that?" SHe tapped her chin twice, "no."

Sasuke let out a low growl through his teeth. "Would you stop being so difficult and just tell us?" Sakura moved in front of him, her pink hair sway wildly as she gave a deep bow.

"Please Larxene-san, we really need him. It also means that he won't be able to become a Chunin either!"

Larxene stood silent, letting the atmosphere marinate in its own silence. Finally she sighed. "Fine," she said. "I'll show you but I've got to go somewhere first. Wait for me in front of the hospital."

Sakura let out a sigh of relief. "Thank y-"

"I'm not helping you, I'm helping Naruto."

"We'll take whatever we can get."

Larxene slowly turned the brass nob to Haku's hospital room, room 206. "Haku-chan look who I-"

She instantly froze.

Tomo screeched loudly, flapping wildly and loudly off of her shoulder and into the room, perching on top of an abandoned I.V.

Standing above Haku, pointing two slender fingers at both of her closed eyelids was a smallish woman wearing a black trench coat with the hood up. She turned to look at Larxene in the doorway, immediately she seemed to perk up, by the sound of her delighted gasped it seemed that she was smiling.

"Ah...La-La! Long time no see!" She flipped off her hood, showing her long and glowing onyx hair. She still had those same familiar dark brown eyes, they still had glistened after all this time. This girl was a bit older than her brother, and an old friend of hers. She was pretty much the only person that she trusted in the organization besides her brother, an older sister of sorts.

Larxene felt her lips tremble, "T-tabitha... why are-"

Tabitha flipped her hair, still smiling enthusiastically; she winked at Larxene. What a killer wink she always had. Larxene had always wanted to wink like that but she wasn't pretty enough for it. "Oh don't mind me La-la, 'kay?" With that she turned back down to Haku's sleeping form and touched her finger tips to Haku's eyelids. It didn't take long for Larxene to act; at the sound of Tomo's discordant screech two spear-tipped shadows lunged at Tabitha's hand and torso preparing to spear right through her.

Tabitha looked at her with wide eyes and as the shadows pierced her she erupted into a plume of black dust, which suddenly shifted to the left, morphing back to Tabitha's petite form a few feet away. Tabitha held her hand delicately on her chest, right above her heart. She looked aghast. "La-La...h-how could you attack me?"

Larxene stayed silent as she walked inside the room and slowly closed the door. "Tabitha...step away from her."

Tabitha scowled, "Or else wha-"

"Or else I'll have to make you!" Larxene shouted, shutting her eyes tightly, she hung her head low. She lowered her voice when she heard Haku stir. "Please... step away." She heard nothing for a while, hoping that Tabitha would just leave. But of course she was leaving too much on hope's shoulders.

"I have my orders La-La, Zexin-sama will have my head unless I don't take this girl's bloodline." Tabitha said softly.

"Why her?"

"He wants to provoke the Namikaze, wants him to get angry and come after us." She heard the sound of flowing sand once more, the sound of Tabitha's body morphing into the black dust again; it suddenly got closer and Tabitha's arms were wrapping themselves around her head.

Larxene buried her head into Tabitha's bosom. This is what Naruto must have felt like, she thought. She knew that when she chose to follow Naruto she would have to fight her former comrades, but next to her brother she wanted to fight Tabitha the least. "Nee-san, don't make me fight you."

Tabitha tightened her grip, "Sadly, I wish I could make that happen."

Larxene twitched slightly, inhaling deeply. A black tendril pierced Tabitha's shoulder, but it did not sink deep enough, for Tabitha's body had already decomposed to dust and she was already recomposing herself by the window where she smiled. "You've grown stronger La-La, good to see. I wish things were different but if I don't do this I'm dead!" She waggled her finger twice and said, "Ichimei, Ichimei!"

Larxene was knocked back by what felt like a wall of air; her back hit the door with enough force to break its hinges straight off, sending her and the door into the hallway. She groaned, feeling her back throb with pain, she'd need to go to the chiropractor after this. Disgruntled and dazed Larxene stood shakily to her feet, to her left and right nurses were murmuring fearfully. It seemed they wanted to help, but were too afraid to see what was going on.

She saw Tabitha walk to the window and open it, "You aren't strong enough to take me on, imouto( little sister), please don't get up. I will fight you if I have to, otherwise let me finish what I came here to do." She held a dangerous venom in her voice. And her eyes, while still wonderfully luminous, glittered with sternness. Tabitha stood there, hoping that Larxene would simply stay down, however her lips pressed together in a tight line when Larxene did otherwise. Just like she remembered her, La-La was still as rebellious as ever. In some twisted way Tabitha wanted to smile, a small sliver of pride pierced her heart.

Tabitha then held out her hand, her fingers positioned to choke. "Fine," she said, "I'm sorry then...Ichimei...Ichimei." Larxene yelped as her body was suddenly thrust back the same way it had been blown back, attracting itself to Tabitha's hand like a magnet. Her legs gave an involuntary jerk forward when her body stopped abruptly, her neck held firmly in Tabitha's clutch. It was the hand attached to the arm with the bloody shoulder, she'd pierced.

"Nee-san...so am I." Larxene's clothes seemed to wiggle for a moment as if something alive was underneath them. Tabitha's eyes widened as Larxene's entire body exploded with blackness.

Alrighty then...I'm officially done... yeah I am... back in the groove. I am deeply sorry for the extremely long wait, I have been getting many messages asking whether or not this fic had been discontinued and I would like to say...ABSOLUTELY NOT. I'm still writing, its also that, all this year I have been working towards one goal: College!

And I am proud to say I am going to be a member of the class of 2015 at JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY! I'm so pumped about it!


But seriously I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it. Hopefully my grammar was on point and what not. You guys already know what I'm gonna say...so I'm gonna say it: BADASS
Yeah get used to it. Haha, alright read on folks.

Latr and many Thanx

Next chapter: Witch hunter

Grim's out!