DISCLAIMER: I don't own Naruto.

Tayuya Uncertain Future

Naruto continued to gaze at the ceiling of the room, lost in his mind. He and Tayuya were now in a inn some miles away from Konoha. He supposed it was better to spend the night in an Inn instead of passing the night at the open ground. He felt that he and Tayuya would have a better night of sleep if they slept in a warm and soft bed and maybe they could forget the events of the last day.

This may have been working for the kunoichi who was, at that time, sleeping like a angel on the bed at his side while he, on the other hand, who was until that moment trying to sleep on the floor, still had not managed to fall asleep at all. But he couldn't blame her. It was his idea to let her sleep in the bed in the first place, despite her insistence against it since she thought he was treating her like a defenseless lady. But thinking better, the reason that he had yet to fall asleep had nothing to do with the fact that he was sleeping on this cold floor. He had slept in far worse places than this dirty old floor before and on that moments he had slept like a baby.

The problem was the thoughts that didn't want to get out of his head. His life, as he knew it, was over. He knew that now. After the events of the last day, he knew that he could never return to his former old life. He never again would be with the people that he regarded as special. "Obaa-chan, Yumi-chan, Iruka-sensei, Kakashi-Sensei, ero-Sennin and all the others of his friends, he never would see them ever again.

Even if by any chance of luck he met with some of them somewhere, he wouldn't be able to get even near them. If he did, then they would be forced to attack him, because from that moment on he was considered an enemy of the village. An enemy of the village. Just like Orochimaru and Itachi. He shivered on that words, but that wasn't far from the truth, was it? He hadn't realized what escaping from the village really meant moments before, but now he does. At first he imagined that as soon as he was strong enough he would return to his village to show his own strength, to show them how much he grew without them, to show them what they had lost when they banned him, but that idea died when he killed that ANBU ninja.

The scene was still stuck deep into his mind. He could remember all the vicious details. He with his fist inside the enemy body while the enemy gave his last gasps. He had never killed anyone before. He was not naive enough to think that it would never happen or that he could somehow avoid it for his whole life. He knew that if he really wanted to be a ninja he would have to learn how to kill someone soon or later. He only didn't expect that his first one would be a ninja of the leaf or that it would come with such easy.

One thing that really was troubling him, that was really keeping him awake, was that when he killed him. When the ANBU stopped breathing and fell dead on the floor … He liked it. He loved the feeling of power and the rush of adrenaline that came to him on that moment and for a few seconds, which for him seemed an eternity, he wanted to kill the other one too just for the pleasure of it, but for some reason he had managed to calm himself down. Perhaps it was Tayuya's terrified face or maybe it was his own conscience asking him to calm down before it was too late. It doesn't really matter, what it really matters is that he stooped just in time.

Another thing that was troubling him is that he didn't know if he was or not under some sort of influence by the fox when he slew that ninja. He was so furious when he saw that ninja attacking Tayuya that he didn't even think about what he was doing. At the time he only wanted to protect her and the only way that he found at the time was by giving himself to the fox. He knew that what he had done was justified and he didn't regret doing so, but he did not know exactly if his decision of killing the ninja was entirely his own or if the fox had some kind of influence over him. Immersed in his own thoughts he hardly noticed the light of the sun appearing between the cracks of the ceiling. It was already morning. He had spent the whole night awake.

"Cough, Cough"

Naruto looked to his side to realize that Tayuya had just awaken and by the way she looked she wasn't very well. In fact it seemed that all the motion of the last day had only worsen her already critical situation. She was sitting up on the bed with one hand lightly pressing on her stomach and the other over her mouth while she coughed violently. This made him remember the words spoken by Yumi, that the situation of the kunoichi was more critical than it first seemed.

"Are you okay?" Naruto asked worried.

"I am fine, stop worr... Cough. Cough" she was trying to say when she was interrupted by another cough crisis, this one much worse than the first. Naruto approached her not knowing exactly what to do. The coughing kept going and it seemed to only get worse until suddenly it stopped. Naruto eyes widened when she moved her hands away from her mouth and small drops of blood fell onto the bed. It was not necessary for him to be an expert in medicine to know the seriousness of her situation. Naruto was now regretting being so impatient and leaving without seeing Yumi.

"You must see a doctor immediately." argued Naruto. Tayuya that was until that moment thoughtful examining the blood on her hand turned to him.

"Hell no! Are you crazy?" She said with a hoarse voice. "We should be keeping low right now or have you forgotten shithead that we are being chased by your entire fucking village!" She tried to scream but her throat gave away, letting go only a low and weak voice. Clearly showing the damage in her throat.

"I know it's risky, but what other choice do we have? If you don't see a doctor right now you can die!" Naruto said. Tayuya looked at him, his fear was clearly present in his voice,. She stopped to think about a little, she didn't want to die but she didn't want to do something that would jeopardize their situation either. But as Naruto said, it wasn't as if they had much choice anyway She let go a sigh of surrender and nodded lightly. Naruto showed a smile convincing her and began forming seals with his hands. Soon after a kage bushin appeared at his side.

"I will see if there is any medic in this village but I will leave him here to protect you." Naruto said and soon after jump out of the window before Tayuya could say anything to him. She hated the fact that she needed someone to protect her. She stare at the clone that was at that moment looking at the door and watching it.

'At least I'll be able to sleep in peace' she thought soon after colapsing on the bed.

Tsunade narrowed her eyes at Shikamaru. She couldn't believe in what she had just heard.

"Then let me see if I got the facts straight. You had a certain feeling that Naruto was hiding something about the girl of the sound and you didn't tell me anything?" she said while speaking to last part louder, showing exactly how much furious she was at him.

Shikamaru swallowed hard, he had decided not to tell her anything about his suspicions towards Naruto and he didn't know exactly why he did that. At the moment it seemed the right thing to do. He scratched his head thinking in what to say to her but even with his high IQ, he couldn't think of anything that would help him at the moment.

"What the hell were you thinking?" Tsunade inquired again. Shikamaru sighed, that was too much troublesome.

"I was really not sure of anything, I said I only had a feeling and I didn't think it was wise to do something with only speculations and no proves. " Shikamaru said hoping that Tsunade would believe him.

What he said was obviously a very poor excuse for his actions. It was not uncommon for ninjas to act with less then they knew or act purely on gut instinct, but to speak the truth Shikamaru hadn't any good excuse for his actions, he simply had an instinct to keep quiet, maybe it was just a sense of loyalty towards Naruto. Maybe it was something else.

Tsunade stared at him already knowing that he was trying to escape with foolish lies. She was furious with him, but not only with him. She was furious with everyone responsible even if a little for her godson defection from the village. At that moment she was trying her best to add all the facts together, discovering everyone responsible and then punishing every last one of them to the limit of the law. She knew that she couldn't do anything against Danzo or the council so she only wanted to relieve her frustration in someone and in that exact moment Shikamaru was in right in front of her.

"Do you understand what you did? That girl was probably the one that convinced Naruto to escape from the village and now she is probably taking him to Orochimaru." Tsunade argued angry.

"I do not think that that was what happened. I even understand that she would want to leave the village as soon as possible, but why would she take Naruto along with her? And why Naruto would accept to join Orochimaru after everything that happened? "Shikamaru said.

Tsunade could only agree with his statement, but what other explanation would be? Why would Naruto run away with someone from another village? And especially someone from the village of sound, the main enemy of Konoha? She knew that Orochimaru would love to have a Jurinki in his midst. What if Naruto joined Orochimaru seeking revenge on Konoha. She shivered thinking about it but soon throw the thought aside. Not Naruto. Not the young boy she knew, he would never do that. On that moment Shizune entered the room.

"Hokage-sama, Yumi-san is here to see you." Tsunade nodded. She wanted to talk to all the people who were close to Naruto, gather all the facts and try to understand the situation better, before making her next decision. It had just been a few hours since Kakashi had returned just having heard of the fight between Naruto and the ANBU. She knew it was too late to bring Naruto back now, but maybe if she knew more about the situation, she could help him somehow.

"Hai Hokage-sama" Yumi said as she came into the room. Her face was visually shaken indicating that she already knew what had happened.

"Apparently you have heard?" Asked Tsunade. Yumi gave a slight nod that was nearly too weak for anyone to notice.

"So you already know why you're here, right? Do you know something important? Anything at all, that would help us figure out why and how Naruto have fled the village? "Tsunade asked. Yumi stood still for a while. Not thinking about the question, but having a hard time believing that this was really happening. She would never have believed that Naruto, someone she considered as a brother, would actually run away. Finally she paid attention to the question and it was not long for her to remember something important.

"Well I do not know if it matters, but a day ago Naruto was asking some medical advice. I think he was trying to help someone who was injured and he did not want anyone to know, especially you. "Said Yumi ashamed for hiding this information. Tsunade's eyes widened.

"And you did not tell me anything?" Tsunade inquired angrily. Yumi just looked down embarrassed.

"I promised him I wouldn't tell." Said Yumi. Tsunade took her hand to her head. Why is it that whenever Naruto makes something stupid everybody around him covers it up.

To Tsunade all points were now connected. She knew that the sound ninja was badly injured and now with this new information she had finally understood what happened. Naruto had found a wounded enemy ninja and rather than tell her about it, he just decided to take care of her himself. She shook her head in disappointment, she never thought that Naruto would be so stupid or so naive to do something like this.

"Damn if you both had said something to me before we could have prevented him from leaving." Tsunade said with anger, staring at both of them. She knew what had happened, Naruto with his naivety had helped that girl of the sound and she used him to take him to the village of sound as a present for Orochimaru, but she would do everything humanly possible to prevent this from happening.

Akira touched several crushed leaves that were on the ground. Someone had gone through here and he was running. He kept looking around for more clues that he could use to track his target. Tracking was a basic ninja skill, but few were so skillfully as he. There were two drawbacks in this case, the first was that the target had passed through here more than twenty-four hours ago and to make things worse it rained heavily the night before. The other drawback was that the target was a highly trained ninja and so he knew how to move without leaving any kind of tracks. Besides the more time he spent here, looking for clues, more time the target would have to change his own location and because he was a trained ninja he would do that often enough. It would possibly take weeks to find the target, maybe even months.

In these situations the village would usually use trained tracking dogs, but he could not ask the help from anyone, especially Kakashi. The chances of someone finding their target under these conditions were very remote, but not for someone skillfully as him, for him the chances were much higher. Akira noticed a log at his side. It had a crunched mark nearly imperceptibly, as if someone had stepped on it. On the side of the log there was a tiny drop of blood. He continued to follow the trail.

Not far away, a man was leaning against a trunk. Looking closely the steps of the tracker. He knew that Danzo would most likely send his best men after Naruto and possibly this person would have remarkable tracking skills. Perhaps better than his own. So the best way to find the target was simply follow him and then he only needed to get him out of the way to fulfill his mission.

Tayuya shuddered when she felt the touch on her legs. Her first instinct was to punch the bastard on the face, but she refrained of doing so. Naruto had a great trouble in finding a doctor that agreed to treat her without making any kind of questions and it wouldn't be very practical to kill him, at least not before he made his diagnosis.

She looked at the doctor, he looked around his sixty's and was most likely an ex ninja since he had a ability to manipulate chakra. Beside him his nurse looked at her with an irritated look on her face, she probably didn't like the kindly nickname that she had been called. The bitch problem thought Tayuya maliciously.

Across the examination room, Naruto looked at her attentively. The doctor had asked him to wait outside, which he bluntly refused. He didn't want Tayuya to be alone with people she didn't trust.

The doctor finished his examination and moved his hands away from her legs, for Tayuya's relief. The doctor looked at her with a thoughtful look on his face before pulling a cigarette from his pocket and hurried to light it. Tayuya mentally cursed him, thinking in what kind of doctor smoked in front of his patients.

"Well I have a good news and a bad one." The doctor said. Tayuya trembled knowing that the doctor was just trying to prepare her for the worst.

"I did cure many internal injuries in your abdomen region. That means that you are not at life risk anymore, but just to be safe you should not try to move around for the next few days. Actually you were very lucky. I do not know how you managed to survive with this type of injury for so long. Your arm will also be good, it didn't break or anything and it will probably be good in no time. "

Tayuya let go a sigh of relieve knowing that at least her life was no longer at risk, but she knew that he still didn't tell her the bad news yet.

"Now in relation to damage to your legs, I was able to treat a large share of the damage on your legs and you probably will get out of here tomorrow with the help of a crutch, but unfortunately this will be the limit for you. I am afraid to tell you this but your legs will never heal completely again, the damage was far too great. I am sorry! "The doctor said.

Tayuya's face whitened at once . If she didn't have the full capacity of her legs she would never be able to fight again and this meant that her days as a shinobi were over. What would she do now? She felt her chest tremble. It would be better if the doctor told her she would die after all. She would prefer to die than be a cripple for the rest of her life.

In the other side of the room Naruto also had a frightened look on his face. He knew the damage on her legs were great but he never expected it could be permanent. He looked at her eyes and realized something he had noticed it the first time he had seen her. The same look she had when she asked him to kill her when they first meet. A look of someone who had lost their reason to live. He was trying to think what to say to cheer her up until he was interrupted.

"You fucking shitty doctor, where the fuck you earned your damn diploma, by the fucking mail?" Tayuya said, suprising everyone except Naruto was with a small smile on his face.

"If this is your fucking medical opinion I should have asked for shithead there to examine me," She said nodding towards Naruto "he at least would have done a better job." Tayuya said smirking

"Look, I know it's hard, but the truth is..." The doctor was saying.

"SHUT UP, Your stupid fucking doctor. Who are you to tell me what I can or cannot do? I promise you, I'll walk normally again even if I have to risk my life to do it. Do you really think that just because of some minor injuries I'll give up my fucking life. "She said. Her eyes full of emotion, tears threatening to go out. She then did the unexpected and started to stand.

"Wait a minute you are still not in condition …"

"I have already told you to shut your fucking mouth? Fucking Trash." She said. She took the crutches that were on her side and moved her legs to the side to the side of the examination table. The moment her first foot touched the ground she felt a huge stab of pain, but she ignored it. After placing her other foot on the ground she started to stand. She felt a great stab of pain on both her legs and for a minute she was out of balance and almost fell. Naruto instinctively ran to catch her, but she alone was able to maintain balance. Tayuya aware of his movement warned him, just with a glare, that she didn't needed any help, she didn't want any help. She did not want to look weak, not right now, not after her speech.

Slowly she moved towards the door, pain clearly stamped on her face. Each step was more difficult than the last one. After much effort she finally reached the door, giving a hard and cold glare towards the doctor before leaving.

"Well I think that's all." Naruto said as he handed the money to the nurse, a little embarrassed for the colorful vocabulary of his companion.

Soon after handing over the money he left the office quickly realizing that Tayuya was slowly moving towards the establishment where they were.

Her steps were slow and at each step the pain increased severely. It was like a weight on her leg and at every step the weight would increase, becoming increasingly more difficult to move. In a moment she thought she would faint from the shear pain on her legs, even so she kept going without giving up. Finally, her legs could not take it anymore and she fell on her knees. At that moment she realized that not everything she said would be true. She would not go back to walk just because she wanted to. No matter how much she wished she might never heal completely. Tears threatened to come out from her eyes. Her fall only showed how weak she was and she began to doubt her own words. Perhaps she would never walk again.

"I believe in you." She heard a voice behind her. Looking back she noticed that Naruto was behind her.

"What?" She asked.

"I said I believe in you. I know you will walk again. "Naruto said.

Tayuya gave him slight smile and slowly began to stand with her spirits renewed. Naruto didn't tried to help her, in the few days he came to know her he realized that she would hate his help. She hated to feel useless. If he tried to help her, it would only leave her more depressed about her own condition. She began again to move slowly. She noted that Naruto was walking with her at the same slow pace. The pain was still strong, and almost unbearable, but she knew that at least she was not alone.