Chapter 16

Zabuza moved swiftly, shocking everyone. He stood on the water and created a hand sign.

Naruto gasped. "Over there!!"

"And on top of the water!!" Sakura hollered. Kakashi paid attention to Zabuza's chakra. 'He's releasing a high amount of chakra.'

"Ninpou, Hidden Mist no Jutsu." Zabuza disappeared as a thick mist cloud surrounded him.

"He's gone!!" Kakashi watched the Lake and kept his guard up.

"He'll come after me first. Momochi Zabuza. The Ex-Leader of the Hidden Mist Assassination Unit. He's a master of the silent killing technique."

"Silent?" Naruto asked.

"As the name suggests, it happens in an instant with out sound or warning of any kind. It's so fast, you pass from this life without realizing what just happened. The sharingan can't fully neutralize it, so don't lower your guard." Shiroibara discreetly opened her bag with Yuki in it and whispered to her.

"Yuki, can you do me a favor?" Yuki nodded.

"Well if we fail we only lose our lives." Kakashi commented.

"How can you say that!?" Sakura questioned, the comment scaring her.

"The mist is getting thicker and thicker!" Naruto shouted.

"The Land of Waves is surrounded by ocean, the swirling mists are ever present." Tazuna stated. Kakashi disappeared in the thick mist, it was getting even more difficult to see.

Zabuza hid in the mist and thought about which organs he should hit.

"8 choices." Sakura gasped.

"What's that?"

"Liver, lungs, spine, clavical vein, neck vein, brain, kidneys, heart. Now which will be my attack point?" Zabuza's voice shocked and alarmed them. Kakashi made a hand sign and his chakra surrounded him and cleared part of the mist. The pressure pushed at the others and created a tense atmosphere. Sasuke immediately began to sweat and shake with intense fear.

'I feel like I can't breathe. One shallow breathe, one tiny movement of the eye is enough to draw his attack, it's suffocating! If it goes on like this I'll go insane. The clash of two Jounin intent to attack, I'd never felt anything so chilling. It's as if my own life is being choked off. No, I can't take it. I'd rather... ' Sasuke tried to move his arm, taking the kunai in his hand and positioning it to stab himself. "Sasuke." Kakashi's voice brought Sasuke out of his stupor. "Calm down, I'll protect you with my life. All of you. I will not allow my comrades to die. Trust me." Kakashi smiled at Sasuke. The others stared at Kakashi in awe but a voice broke the silence.

"I wouldn't be so sure." Zabuza appeared between team 7 and Tazuna. "It's over." Zabuza created another hand sign and striked. Kakashi stopped Zabuza and the others jumped back. Kakashi stabbed Zabuza in the stomach and water flowed out onto the ground. Zabuza appeared behind Kakashi.

"Sensei, behind you!!" Naruto called. The water clone disappeared as Kakashi turned to Zabuza. Zabuza striked Kakashi with his sword and cut him in half, it was a water clone. 'The water clone Jutsu. Even in the mist, he saw through my illusion and copied it in an instant.' Kakashi put a kunai to Zabuza's throat.

"Don't move. It's over, your finished."

"All right!!" Naruto cheered. Sakura giggled with relief.

Zabuza chuckled wickedly. "Finished? You really don't get it, do you. Your technique is nothing but a monkey like imitation. I'll never be defeated by a mere copy-cat Ninja like you." Kakashi growled. "You are full of surprises though. You've already copied my water clone Jutsu and made your little speech. Very skillfully executed, you made your clone say those words to draw my attention while you hid in the mist, waiting for me to make my move. Nice try." Zabuza appeared behind Kakashi. "But I'm not that easy to fool." The water clone that Kakashi held a kunai to it's neck, turned into a puddle.

"Hey, that was a clone too!" Naruto hollered. Zabuza swung his sword and Kakashi ducked. Zabuza was pulled backwards, he dug his sword in the ground as support and kicked Kakashi.

"Now!" He pulled his sword out of the ground and ran towards Kakashi, he stopped shortly. "Makibishi spikes, trying to slow me down. Hmph, foolish." Kakashi fell into the lake.

"Sensei!!" Naruto yelled.

'I can't believe Kakashi-Sensei got kicked through the air like that.' Sakura thought.

"He has great physical skill too." Sasuke commented. Kakashi swam and came to the top. 'Eh? What's this, the waters heavy.' Zabuza appeared behind Kakashi.

"Heh, Fool. Water Prison no Jutsu." Kakashi's eyes went wide with shock and fear.

'Damn!!' Water entrapped Kakashi and formed a sphere that hovered Kakashi a few feet above the Lake. 'What!?'

"You may have been trying to escape to the water but that was a big mistake. Hehehe, I now have you in my inescapable special prison. It makes things tougher if you can move you know. Now Kakashi, I'll take care of you later. First I'll take care of them. Water Clone no Jutsu."

Kakashi watched in horror as Zabuza created a shadow clone and prepared to kill Team 7. 'He's stronger than I expected.'

"Hehe, wearing forehead protectors and acting like real ninjas, but you know what? A real ninja is someone who has survived numerous brushes with death. Basically once your good enough to be listed in my handbook then you can start calling yourself a ninja. You guys should not be referred to as Ninjas." The water clone disappeared and Shiroibara immediately stood closer to Tazuna.

'He disappeared again!!' The water clone suddenly appeared and kicked Naruto, he flew backwards and hit the ground hard.


"Just a brat." Zabuza commented.

"Guh!! You guys!! Take Tazuna-san and run away!! You have no chance of beating him!! As long as he's keeping me trapped in this prison, he can't move. The water clone can't go very far from his real body. Just run away now!!" Kakashi hollered, Naruto backed away from the water clone.

'This is a Jounin, a real ninja. At this rate I'm really, really going to die!' Naruto continued to back away and when he was close enough to the others Shiroibara made a signal.

"Now!!" Kunai, shuriken and paper bombs came out of the trees and headed towards Zabuza and the water clone. Zabuza chuckled.

"You got guts kid, but do you really think that's enough to stop me?" Zabuza blocked the attack by making a wall out of water. The paper bombs went off and splashed the water onto Zabuza.

The water clone dissolved and another one appeared behind Shiroibara. Shiroibara jumped away from the water clone and noticed Naruto, his fear was evident on his face. "Naruto!! Get off your butt and help me!" The clone kicked and Shiroibara ducked. "What happened to the oath of pain you took!?" The water clone striked Shiroibara with his sword and threw her against a tree from the force, the impact knocked her unconscious. Naruto came out of his stupor induced by fear and stared at Shiroibara. Kakashi gasped.

Blood trickled down Naruto's arm as he stabbed his left hand with a kunai. "I swear to this pain in my left hand, I'm not going to need to be saved ever again!! I'm not going to get afraid and try to run away!! I won't lose to Sasuke!!"

Naruto stared at his left hand and then clenched it. He noticed that his headband was under the foot of the water clone.

"Sensei, can I the Leaf head protector?"Naruto pleaded with Iruka but he refused.

"This is the symbol that you've graduated and grown up."

Iruka smiled at Naruto, he was scratched up pretty badly. "Naruto, come here. I've got something for you." Iruka put his headband on Naruto. "Congratulations on graduating."

"You guys are all punks who don't deserve to be ninjas." "You will be risking your lives on the missions." "You pass." Kakashi smiled.

"I'm not the trouble making kid you still think I am!!" Naruto yelled. "I'll surpass the Hokage and then the whole village will have to acknowledge my existence!!"

'That's right, I became a ninja and decided I wouldn't run anymore. I won't run!!' Naruto got to his feet and lunged at the clone. "UAHH!!"

"No, don't!!" Kakashi hollered.

"Naruto, what are you thinking?!" Sakura yelled with worry.

"Bah, idiot!!" Naruto was kicked and he flew back again.

"What are you doing jumping in all by yourself!? We Genin have no chance against him!!" Naruto struggled to stand. "Huh?" Naruto stood with his headband in his hand. 'The forehead protector?'

"Hey you eyebrow less freak, put this in your handbook. The man who will one day become the Hokage." Naruto tied the headband around his head. "Leaf Village Ninja, Naruto Uzumaki!!" Kakashi stared at Naruto with astonishment and awe. 'Naruto…'

'Oh, that midget….he's not super useless as I first thought.' Tazuna thought. Shiroibara woke up, after hearing what Naruto said she smiled. "Naruto….your not….a stupid human after all…" Shiroibara fell unconscious again.

'Why is he so familiar? Zabuza…I know him. From where?….'

Age 10, Shiroibara sat in the kitchen and observed the dark, outside world from the window, waiting for her dad to come home as her mother prepared dinner. Yuki slept on the seat next to Shiroibara. She turned to her mother. "Mother, when will father be home?" Her mother smiled at her, her black hair glistened under the moon's light and her pale skin shimmered. "Oh sweetie, be patient. You know that he works hard, he'll be here soon. Why don't you set the table." Shiroibara sighed.

"Ok." She got up and grabbed the plates from her mother, as she set the table she glanced out the window repeatedly for any sign of her father. When she finished setting the plates and glanced out the window again, she noticed a man standing outside. "Father!!" Shiroibara ran outside to find her dad. She noticed him talking to another man along with her uncle Ookami. "Father?" All three men turned to Shiroibara, the other man she never saw before gave her chills.

"So, this is your daughter Fujiwara no Hidehira? Heh ironic, I never thought that you of all people would have a family." The man spoke, Shiroibara stared at her father. 'What, he didn't say anything about me and mother?'

Hidehira smiled and patted Shiroibara's head. "My family is really none of your concern, a wise man keeps his family and work apart and makes sure they never meet." The man chuckled.

"So, am I your enemy Hidehira?"

"No, but I can't trust anyone with my family. No offence, Zabuza." Zabuza shrugged and smirked, showing his sharp teeth.

"No hard feelings." Zabuza bent down and grabbed Shiroibara's chin and made her look at him. He smirked at her. "When I was your age, these hands were already soaked in blood.

One day you'll become a blood thirsty demon like the rest of us. Count on it." Zabuza stood. "Well my work is done, I'm leaving. See ya." Shiroibara watched the strange man disappear into the dark night. 'Wha, blood thirsty demon? What does he mean by that? And father isn't like that. Nor is uncle Ookami…right?' Shiroibara looked up at the two men, they also watched Zabuza disappear.