The forest was silent except for the peculiar noise of wood hitting wood. An eerie mist snaked around the trunks of the trees and caressed the ankles of the weary travellers who glanced around trying to find the source of the noise. There was a low laugh and a giant metal tail shot out from the trees and speared the traveller's backpacks, causing the men to scream in shock. They quickly detached themselves from their backpacks and ran off down the path shouting and screaming as they went. Once the men could no longer be heard, the laughter subsided and two cloaked figures stepped out from the trees and onto the path.
One figure was medium height with a large hat which hid the person's features from view while the other was a tiny copy of the other. A large male appeared from the forest. He appeared to be hunched over and the large metal tail clearly originated from under his cloak. He pulled back his tail, taking the backpacks off of its spiked tip as it re-coiled.
"Heh, I got some lunch for you Naoko…" Sasori said in a menacingly low and gruff voice.
"Hn, you know she won't eat it un" Deidara scoffed. The little girl pulled out two kunai and proceeded in throwing them at the men. Sasori blocked the one aimed at him with his tail and retracted it in time to see Deidara jumping up and down with a pained expression and kunai sticking out of his thigh.
"ARGH NAOKO WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT FOR!" he screamed pulling out the kunai.
"I do eat you know, just not the crap you guys cook up" she said snatching the kunai off of Deidara "Give me that!" she ordered turning to Sasori and taking one of the backpacks. She rummaged through the bag and pulled out an apple and a medical kit. She threw the medical kit at Deidara before taking a vicious bite and turning her back on the two men.
"Un" he snorted, perching on a rock and wrapping the bandages around his leg so they covered his small wound "You've been away with Hidan and Kakuzu too long un".
Asuma was sitting on a stall at Ichiraku, waiting patiently for Shikamaru to arrive and meet him for his promised meal out. The boys chocolate brown eyes scoured the street as he twisted round on his stool.
"Sorry I'm late" said Shikamaru, who had snuck up and taken the seat next to the boy while his attention was elsewhere, "Nightmare of a mission". Asuma smiled as Shikamaru ruffled his short black hair.
"What happened?" he asked, while the now elderly Teuchi handed him his already ordered bowl of ramen.
"A bowl of plain ramen for me please Teuchi" said Shikamaru, smiling at the old man before leaning his elbows on the counter and resting his head on his hands "Me, Naruto and TenTen were sent to the Land of Honey to find a group of fugitives and bring them back to the Land of Red Beans, it should have been easy but they had set a load of traps that Naruto walked right into and TenTen had to defuse before we could get any further" he said, rubbing his temples.
"HEY! SHIKAMARU, YOU'R BACK!" shouted a familiar voice. Before Shikamaru and Asuma could turn round Rock Lee had leapt onto a stall next to Asuma and ordered a bowl of Ramen. Asuma; finally remembering his now cooling ramen, stuck his chopsticks in the bowl and filled his mouth with as much noodles as possible.
"WHEN DID YOU GET BACK SHIKAMARU?!" shouted Lee.
"Well, we only arrived home about one ho..." he tried to reply.
"BECAUSE NEJI WANTED ME TO FIND OUT IF TENTEN WAS BACK YET AND I KNOW SHE WENT OUT WITH YOU AND NARUTO AND I HAVEN'T FOUND TENTEN OR NARUTO BUT KNOW I'VE FOUND YOU SO IT'S ALL GOOD!" he said beaming at Shikamaru, who had a long trail of noodles hanging from his mouth when Lee had finished.
"Lee please, keep your voice down" said Shikamaru swallowing his mouthful.
"Okay, so, do you know where TenTen is? If I don't get back and tell Neji soon then…" Lee shuddered as he finished his sentence.
"Neji Hyuga?" asked Asuma as he finished his ramen. Lee nodded. "He scares me" added Asuma.
"And that" said Shikamaru grabbing Asuma by the shoulder "Is why Lee needs to know that TenTen went with Naruto, Ino and Kiba to the nearest bar which is there" he finished pointing at a bar on the opposite street to where they were sitting.
"YOSH!" screamed Lee punching the air, Teuchi put the bowl of ramen down in front of Lee and he pushed it in front of Asuma. "Here my youthful friend, have my ramen" he said giving Asuma the good guy pose before running off into the bar. Asuma quickly grabbed Lee's bowl and began to eat.
"Shikamaru, Lady Tsunade is calling for you, there has been a report from some travelers of and attack that some suna-nin think sounds like Sasori of the Akatsuki, so we need to gather a team and search the path that they were attacked on. Do you know where everyone else is?" said Sakura, who was clearly stressed by this new situation. Shikamaru pointed to the bar and Sakura sighed. She walked off with her hands on her hip and into the now noisy bar. Shikamaru got up and yawned; he rummaged through his pocket and placed the money for the ramen on the counter. "Well, you heard Sakura, I've got to go, but, its getting dark so I'll walk you home first, okay?" he asked putting his hands behind his head and walking in the direction of Kurenai's flat.
Sasori was still creating an irritating clanking noise as they approached a small clearing next to a gentle river. Deidara's eye was twitching and Naoko and Sasori where keeping their distance from the irritated blonde. Naoko; who was currently jumping through the trees, leapt down from her present position and into the clearing, turning to face the men before falling onto the floor and stretching. Deidara was the next to reach the clearing and he too fell to the floor next to the girl and let out a long sigh.
"Honestly, I can't believe you two are tired" scoffed Sasori.
"That's easy for you to say un, your made out of wood, you don't get tired" retaliated Deidara, sitting up and pointing at Sasori "And even though you don't get tired you've been sitting inside that puppet all day un, which by the way is broken"
"It is NOT broken" Sasori roared.
"It is too un, its making loads of noise, how are we meant to be stealthy if people can hear your bloody puppet all the way from Suna un" replied Deidara.
"Your butt makes lots of noise" shouted Sasori. Naoko rolled around on the floor, clutching her stomach and laughing at Sasori's last comment.
"Don't take the fact that your puppet is a pile of wooden shit out on me" yelled Deidara getting up and putting his hands into his bags of clay. Sasori's tail shot out from under his cloaked and headed for Deidara's chest. Deidara jumped out of the way and sent tiny clay spiders crawling over Sasori. He then made the hand sign as Sasori shook them off with his tail; causing them to blow up mid-air. "WELL DON'T TAKE THE FACT YOUR PMSING OUT ON ME THEN BITCH!" Sasori screamed as his tail went for Deidara again.
"THAT'S IT PINOCCHIO YOUR DEAD"
"PINOCCHIO!?" growled Sasori.
"YOU HEARD ME! AND DON'T SAY IM PMSING IN FRONT OF NAOKO SHE'LL NEVER LET ME FORGET IT!"
"Your right Deidara I won't" said the small child who was now standing next to the river and watching the on going fight, her arms folded across her chest and an amused smile plastered across her face.
"ARGGGHH" grunted Deidara.
"URGGGHHH" Replied Sasori, throwing the puppet (and subsequently himself) at the blonde, who in turn was lunging at the puppet master. Just when they were about to make contact and hit each other Naoko let out a loud "SHHHHHH". They stopped mid-air and fell silently (except for Sasori's clanking) to the ground. Deidara glared at Sasori before turning to Naoko. "Do you hear that?" she asked crouching down on her hands and feet so that she was just inches away from the ground.
"No, what is it?" asked Sasori, looking around.
"You probably can't hear over the noise of that blasted puppet" mumbled Deidara; earning him a punch in the am from Sasori.
"Shut the hell u…" Naoko tried to say, but was interrupted by a kunai that was heading straight for the centre of her chest. She did a handstand to avoid it before pushing herself into the air and landing on a low tree branch. The three Akatsuki members got themselves into their fighting stances.
The Forest (Konoha Nin's)
Shikamaru, Neji, Lee, TenTen, Naruto, Sauske, Shino, Hinata and a slightly drunk Kiba (along with Akamaru) leapt through the trees with great speed. Sasori had been supposedly sighted about two hours away from Konoha. The only three members of the Konoha 11 that where left behind where Ino, Choji and Sakura. Ino had fallen into Tsunade's office and thrown up over her newly cleaned floor thus deeming her unable to accompany them to catch the Akatsuki, Choji was away on another mission and Sakura had stayed behind to clean up Ino's mess and heal them when they got back. Shikamaru gulped hard. When Tsunade had said it to Sakura she had sounded certain that they were going to get injured, or worse killed. Neji, Lee and TenTen had all jumped down from the branches and landed on the ground. One by one the rest of the team followed.
"Byakugan" said Neji, activating his Kekkei Genkai "There are three people on the other side of the river up ahead"
"Three of them!" exclaimed Naruto.
"Is it definitely them Neji?" asked Lee.
"Yes, one of them is inside something"
"Sasori" muttered Sauske.
"How are we going to fight three of them?" asked TenTen looking around the group.
"We should split into teams" said Shikamaru, grabbing a stick and drawing three stick figures in the dirt "Neji, Lee and TenTen, you should take one of the other two, your attacks are pointless to use against Sasori's puppet armor"
"One of them was really small, like a child, the other was taller, I know for sure Kisame isn't among them, so I'd say the other one is either Itachi, Deidara or Hidan" added Neji.
"We should assume its Deidara, he's normally Sasori's partner" said Sauske folding his arms.
"Okay then, Neji, Lee, TenTen, You take Deidara, TenTen can distract him with her weapons while Neji and Lee get in range for an attack, Deidara is less skilled at close range fighting. Sauske, Naruto and Shino you should take Sasori, try and destroy his puppet with your Chidori and Rasengan and Shino try and get your bugs inside the puppet; we want to draw him out. So Hinata, Kiba and I will take the new one" Shikamaru sighed "Ready?" He looked around at the team most of them were nervously fiddling with their fingers. They nodded. "Okay then, good luck, and let's go" he said leaping into the trees.
They reached the clearing in no time, and stopped to take in the surroundings. Sasori and Deidara were slinging insults at each other; something about Sasori's puppet and Deidara's butt. The smaller figure really was small, her jet black hair was shoulder length and purposely messy. Sauske, rested his hand on the branch and made a small rustling sound, Shikamaru though that it could have passed as a light breeze passing through the leaves but the smallest one turned around and crouched down to the ground. There was a brief exchange of words and everything was silent. Shikamaru waved at TenTen and then pointed at the girl. She withdrew a Kunai and held it up to the moonlight, before throwing it directly at the girl. It missed by inches and when they looked up the girl was on a tree branch behind Sasori and Deidara. Shikamaru heard Naruto gulp next to him. "Okay, lets go!" he shouted.
"Okay, let's go!" shouted a distant and unfamiliar voice.
"Naoko! Just try to dodge their attacks until me or Sasori come and get you okay?" ordered Deidara, looking up at the girl. She nodded and looked around for the attackers. Sasori was holding his ground and dodging their attacks effortlessly, while Deidara was setting off explosives and trying to get away from two men who where coming at him in an endless stream of failed attacks. He wouldn't be able to hold out much longer and Naoko knew it, he had always been weak at close range combat. Naoko snapped out of her trail of thought as a huge white whirlwind came straight for her. She leapt out of the way as the tree was obliterated. She skidded along the floor, digging her fingers into the ground to try and stop herself. She turned just as a blackish blue haired girl punched her in the stomach.
"CHIDORI" shouted Sauske, lunging at Sasori. The puppet master blocked the attack with his tail just in time. Sauske withdrew and smiled as the second half of Sasori's tail fell to the floor with a thud.
Deidara fell on the floor from the force of the green ninja's last punch and quickly rolled back onto his feet, just to get hit again by his comrade's kunai.
Naoko leapt through the trees, swinging on the branches to dodge the wild ninja and his dog's attacks. They had been hot on her trail for the entire battle and she was beginning to get tired. The place on her stomach where the kunoichi had punched her felt hot and painful. She swung around on a tree trunk and ducked behind the leaves, slamming her back into the trunk and wincing as she grabbed her stomach. She looked up to see her pursuer crouching before her, looking right into her eyes. As soon as her hand moved to push herself off the tree he lunged at her, and missed by inches. Her heart was pounding in her chest as she darted through the trees, heading towards the light and noise of Deidara's explosions. The pursuer was tearing his way through the trees; the sound of his claws scratching the branches as he went filled her ears. 'Nearly there' she thought as a sharp, shooting pain shot through her ankle.
Deidara, had been cornered, and now the team that had been attacking him where closing in. The brown haired girl leapt into the air and hundreds of kunai were sent hurtling at him. A black blur leapt out from the trees and straight into the paths of the kunai. Naoko fell to the ground in front of Deidara and rolled into his legs. The Shinobi (who was now riding on the back of his hound) closely followed her and ducked, as two Kunai soared past his head. The girl got up and grabbed the sleeve of Deidara's cloak. "SASORI" roared Deidara, the puppet master leapt by their side, his puppet shaking unsteadily as he landed. The entire team of Konoha Nin's where closing in. As they drew closer three large clay spiders landed in front of them and they quickly retreated as the trees around them were blown to oblivion.
Sorry it took so long, I was on holiday for two weeks and then I had writers block and had to re write this like five times and it still turned out pretty shit. Oh well, hope you like it anyway.
Please review (no flames please)