I'm back with my next chapter. Hope you guys like it. Rotations have been going better than my first month (which was absolute hell. I couldn't think of a single creative idea at all and that never happens). I'll try to get chapters up and ready for you as soon as I can but it will vary depending on what rotation I have each month.
I've been pretty amazed by the latest manga files. They've been awesome, especially the interactions between Minato and Naruto 3. Going to have to figure out Obito's role in all of this…
Crazyrubsoff: Your review totally made my day. I like your description of the family, lol. Just have to find a role for Kakashi, lol.
Disclaimer: I'm tired of this drill by now, aren't you?
Chapter Forty-One: All Hell Breaks Loose
Temari and Kankurou looked on in horror as the Invasion began before their eyes. Their plans of pulling Suna out of the invasion had to be put on hold, given that the key player, Gaara was lost to the rage and insanity that was Shuukaku.
What were they supposed to do?
They felt a sudden shock of chakra go through them, causing them to stiffen as they felt a presence behind them.
"You need to grab Gaara and get out of here. It's not safe for him here."
They whirled around and gaped at the sight of the Yondaime Hokage standing in front of them.
"Y-you're…" Kankurou stuttered, pointing with a shaky finger.
"Now's not the time for that," Minato reprimanded sharply. "I'll explain later, just do as I say!"
Temari and Kankurou immediately rushed off to get Gaara away. As they arrived by Gaara's side, Baki joined them.
"Get Gaara under control and then bring him back. We'll need him," he said, still believing that the siblings were supporting Suna's war efforts.
Temari and Kankurou simply nodded before grabbing Gaara and making a run for it.
The tormented Jinchuuriki did nothing to protest.
"Wait!" Sasuke called out, going after them. Gaara and his siblings had tricked Naruto. They made him trust them and then they betrayed him just as Sasuke knew they would. He wasn't going to let them get away with that.
No matter what Shikamaru thought, Naruto was his to protect... even from himself.
Sasuke's obsession had begun as a desire to put the defiant blonde in his place but now… his feelings had changed. Naruto was the one bright light in his dark world, one that he wanted to keep all to himself. Anyone that tried to hurt him or take him away… would be eliminated.
'You'll pay for breaking his heart, Subaku,' Sasuke vowed.
Shikamaru would have preferred to feign sleep and not get pulled into the chaos of the invasion but knowing that the shell-shocked Naruto had fallen prey to the Genjutsu kept him from doing just that.
Sighing deeply, he sent a pulse of chakra through the blonde.
"Wake up, Sleeping Beauty," he encouraged with a slight jostle.
"If I was really Sleeping Beauty, you'd wake me up with a kiss," Naruto responded, peeking an eye open as he looked at the brunette.
"Later," Shikamaru promised as he helped Naruto get back on his feet.
Naruto scanned the arena, taking everything in.
"Where's Gaara?" he queried, concerned.
"Do you really think that's something you should worry about right now?" Shikamaru questioned Naruto's priorities.
"As Gaara is right now, we should be worried," Naruto declared. "If we leave him unattended, Konoha will be destroyed by Shuukaku."
"You mentioned that name before," Shikamaru frowned. "Who is he?"
"The Ichibi," Naruto simply said. He hated revealing Gaara's status. "Gaara is Suna's Jinchuuriki and somebody de-stabilized his seal. If we don't do anything, he will lose control and Konoha will pay the price."
Shikamaru's eyes widened. That had been the last thing that he'd been expecting. "We should find him," he agreed and they rushed off with the intention of leaving the stadium when they were blocked by Michiru and Osamu.
"What are you doing?" Naruto frowned, displeased with the interference.
"You didn't think that we'd just let you do as you pleased, did you?" Osamu asked darkly.
"Get out of the way. Konoha's in danger!" Naruto snarled.
"Like we care," Michiru scoffed. "All we care about… is getting rid of you."
Naruto was growing irritated beyond belief. He didn't have time for this…
Michiru and Osamu were forced to jump out of the way as Kiba and Akamaru attacked them with their signature move.
Kiba and his 'clone' skidded to a halt in front of Naruto and Shikamaru. Ino and Hinata were quick to join them.
"You lot need to stop with the obsession with Naruto. It's getting ridiculous. What did he ever do to you?" Kiba scowled.
"The answer lies in his blood," Michiru spat.
"What the hell do you mean by that?" Kiba yelled. He hated cryptic answers.
"It doesn't matter what she means, Kiba. What matters is that she's about to get her ass kicked," Ino voiced her opinion, looking murderous. She had had more than enough of Michiru. First, she was always trying to kill her brother and now… she hurt her best friend. Ino's eyes turned into red slits as her thirst for revenge grew.
She took sadistic pleasure in how unnerved Michiru became as the focus of her Killing Intent.
"Naruto, Shikamaru… go with Hinata and find Gaara. I saw Sasuke going after them and I know for a fact that he doesn't know what's really going on. I think he's going to fight them. One way or another, somebody is going to get hurt," Ino said. "Kiba and I will take care of these two idiots."
"Thanks," Naruto declared, having faith in Kiba and Ino.
"Let's go," Hinata urged and the trio raced off as Ino and Kiba engaged the two Iwa nin in battle.
"Pinky hardly stood a chance against me. What makes you think that you'll do any better?" Michiru asked Ino. "You're just as weak as she is if last month's fight is anything to go by."
"I've changed," Ino responded flatly, baring fanged teeth. "Trust me."
Minato felt torn as he took in the full scope of what was happening to his beloved village.
He was perched on the top of his own stone head, surveying the village with distressed eyes.
All throughout the village, battles were taking place.
Homes and shops were destroyed, fires ran rampant and the wails of the dying filled the air, creating a horrible cacophony.
The last time he had seen Konoha in such distress was the day that Madara had attacked using Kyuubi.
Minato fought back the memories of the day. He needed to focus.
Kakashi, Gai and the other Jounin-sensei of the Konoha Twelve were dealing with the enemies in the stadium. He wouldn't be needed there.
Jiraiya was helping deal with the Snake summons and other ninja attacking the borders of the village. Minato had faith that Jiraiya had things handled.
Throughout the village, Konoha's forces were rising up to fight against the invaders, proving their Will of Fire and Minato glowed with pride.
There was one battle that concerned him, however…
His eyes fell on the dark purple barrier preventing anyone from helping the Sandaime Hokage against Orochimaru. Whoever tried got burned alive.
He was needed there and yet… his seasoned eyes immediately found the tiny form of his son racing away to go after Gaara.
His children – all of them – were in danger. His instincts as a Father demanded he go to protect them but as a Hokage…
'Help the Sandaime… I'll protect our little ones,' Kyuubi assured the anguished blonde.
Minato felt a large wave of affection for the vixen. She certainly knew how to put him at ease…
"I'm counting on you, Kyuubi," he declared.
'Call me Kurama. That's my real name,' the demon admitted. 'I think you've earned that right.'
Minato flushed with pleasure at the demon's trust. "Thank you… Kurama."
Kurama purred in pleasure. "I love how you say my name. Don't forget it because you will be screaming it later."
Minato stumbled in mid jump, face turning fire truck red at the insinuation. "This is hardly the time," he got out in a strangled voice as he straightened himself from the disgraceful heap he'd landed in.
Kurama just chuckled mischievously before her voice faded out.
"She's going to be the death of me…" Minato sighed before a thought came to him. "… Again."
Iruka tried to keep his panic off of his face as he guided his students to the refuge in the Hokage Monument. He and the other teachers were doing their best to keep the students from realizing what was going on around them. frightened children would not help the situation.
His eyes fell on the Stadium in the distance. He hoped that Naruto and Kakashi were okay…
The brunette looked up to see Jin approaching him with a wide eyed look of panic on his face.
Iruka was about to respond when Jin pulled him into an intimate embrace. Iruka couldn't help but flush in embarrassment.
"What are you doing, Jin? Let me go," Iruka hissed. This was not the time for this. He tried to struggle out of the Jounin's hold without success.
"I was so worried about you. When the Invasion began, I feared the worst," Jin stated.
"As you can see, I'm fine. Now I'm afraid I have to go," Iruka declared firmly as he pushed Jin off. He turned to continue leading the students away when Jin grabbed his wrist in a vice grip.
"You can go when I tell you that you can go," Jin declared, all traces of mock concern gone from his voice.
Alarm bells rang in Iruka's mind as he looked at Jin, who was gazing at him darkly.
"What's with you? This isn't the time or place for this, Jin," Iruka re-iterated, keeping a brave face on for the sake of his kids. He tried to pry his hand out of Jin's painful grasp without luck.
"It's the perfect time for this, Iruka," Jin purred as he pulled Iruka against him possessively. "Everybody's far too busy trying to defend this poor excuse of a village… nobody will notice that a mere Chuunin is missing."
Iruka was going to say something when a bunch of rocks began to be thrown at Jin, courtesy of the students.
"Leave Iruka-sensei alone!" Konohamaru yelled, leading the assault against the creepy man messing with their beloved teacher.
Jin scowled, not amused by the students. "Brats…" he spat, reaching for a kunai, only to get a hard punch to the stomach and a knee to the face once he doubled over, thanks to Iruka.
"My students are not brats," the brunette scowled, eyes flashing dangerously as he leaped away from Jin and in front of his students protectively. "They're the future of this village and I'm proud to teach each and every one of them. I won't let anyone demean them."
"You tell him, Iruka-sensei!" the children cheered.
Jin wiped the blood from his lips as he straightened up, glaring at Iruka. As he saw the fire in Iruka's eyes, Jin could see how the Chuunin appealed to the emotionless Copy Nin. He was a feisty little bitch… Jin would enjoy breaking him.
"I've decided…" he began, a deranged smile crossing his features. "I'm going to make you mine…"
Iruka couldn't help but shudder as a feeling of dread began to overcome him.
"We're being followed," Temari reported as she and Kankurou took Gaara as far away from the village as they could.
"I know," Kankurou frowned. "He's awfully hard to shake."
Temari sighed and passed Gaara completely to Kankurou, who gave her a curious look.
"Take Gaara and keep going. I'll intercept our unwanted guest," Temari instructed.
"But what about you? If anything were to happen to you…" the puppeteer protested.
"Don't worry about me. I'm the big sister. It's my responsibility to take care of you two. Now go," Temari ordered. Kankurou reluctantly did as he was told.
Temari watched them leave before she turned to face whoever was coming after them. Her eyes widened as Sasuke emerged in front of her.
"Why are you following us?" Temari frowned.
"After everything that your brother has done to Naruto, do you honestly expect me to just let you get away with it? You've betrayed him…" Sasuke growled.
"We did no such thing," Temari snapped back. "We have no part in this invasion. We're still on your side."
"You could have fooled me," Sasuke scoffed. "If you're on our side, why did you run away instead of help?"
"We are helping," Temari insisted. "Something happened to Gaara. If we don't get him away, Konoha will suffer for it."
"So he's a threat," Sasuke frowned. "Knowing Naruto, he'll chase after him in order to save him and he'll get hurt… I can't have that."
Temari gazed at Sasuke critically, trying to figure him out before realization hit her.
"Does Naruto know how you feel about him?" she queried. Sasuke's Sharingan flared in irritation.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," he shot back.
"You love him… in your own twisted way. Don't deny it," Temari assessed. "I can't exactly see how given how you treat him like shit."
"I don't expect you to understand," Sasuke growled, annoyed with how she was trying to get into his mind. He hated that she was right.
Somehow, his annoyance and animosity towards Naruto had warped into something else. He found that there was an unexplainable bond between them. He had refused to acknowledge it for so long but he couldn't any longer. He would investigate this bond and see what came out of it.
"You have two options: get out of the way and I'll spare you or fight me," Sasuke declared.
Temari frowned as she prepared her fan for battle. "I won't let you hurt my brother," she voiced her decision.
"So be it," Sasuke responded as their battle began.
Naruto had known about the invasion for weeks now but that wasn't enough to prepare him for it.
The destruction and death around him was forever burned into his memory, filling his heart with horror.
"Don't let it get to you, Naruto… we'll win this," Hinata reassured her dear friend, sensing his distress.
"I know we will, but the cost…" the blonde broke off, closing his eyes in grief.
"They will be avenged," Shikamaru stated. "Right now we have to focus on the matter at hand so that the cost won't be higher."
"You're right," Naruto agreed after a moment, taking control of his rampant emotions as they made their way into the forest. "Where are they, Hinata?"
"They've made good distance away from us," Hinata reported. "Temari is currently fighting against Sasuke-kun."
"What's he doing fighting her?" Naruto frowned.
"He probably thinks that they are the enemy," Shikamaru stated.
"It figures that he'd fail to tell friend from foe," Naruto sighed.
Hinata suddenly stiffened. "We have company… ten Oto nin are coming after us. They'll be on us shortly unless we do something."
Shikamaru's mind raced as he tried to think of a solution to the new problem. They couldn't afford to stop and deal with them. They didn't have time if they wanted to get to Gaara. One of them would have to stay behind and the most logical option would be…
"I'll stall them," he decided, earning surprised looks from his companions.
"No!" Naruto protested. "We'll face them together."
"You'll lose Gaara then," Shikamaru pointed out. "And either he, or Sasuke, will die. You're the only one who knows how to help Gaara and you need Hinata to get to him. I'm the best equipped to stall the enemy, even for a little while. This is the best option, Naruto, and you know it."
"But…" Naruto trailed off, fearing for Shikamaru. He knew Shikamaru could hold his own but against ten superior ranked shinobi? Not even as a team would they be able to handle those odds…
Shikamaru pulled Naruto into a deep kiss. "Trust me, Naruto. I'll meet up with you soon, I promise."
"You better," Naruto responded, caving to Shikamaru's will. "If you don't, not even the Shinigami himself will be able to keep me from coming to kick your ass."
Shikamaru smirked. "I wouldn't have it any other way. Now go."
With one last look at Shikamaru, Naruto continued his path to Gaara with Hinata at his side.
As Shikamaru turned to face his fate, he couldn't help but think of how much he'd changed in such a short time… all because of a certain blonde.
He chuckled to himself. He'd moved beyond simply liking the enigmatic Genin.
For Shikamaru to be so willing to give his life to protect him…
It must be love.
"What a waste of life," the Shinigami spat in disgust.
"I thought you like things like this? It gives you more work after all," Fate sneered as she entered his domain.
The Shinigami glowered. "I may harvest the souls of the dead but it doesn't mean I enjoy it, especially when it's the souls of those who died before their time."
"I never knew you were so soft," Fate taunted.
"Everybody already knows that you're a complete bitch," Shinigami bit back.
"No need to get testy," Fate responded. "We'll see who wins this battle… my champion or yours."
"You're still persisting with that deranged belief? Sasuke will never be the right partner for Naruto. Only Minato can," the Shinigami spoke with conviction.
"He had his chance! He served his purpose," Fate argued back.
"Minato is, and always will be, the Savior. Just as Naruto is. We will need both of them in order to fulfill the prophecy!"
Fate just rolled her eyes. "Believe what you want… I'll laugh in your face when I'm proven right."
The Shinigami scowled. Why was she always so stubborn? He feared that she would one day do something to prove she's right that would jeopardize everything.