A/N: This is my first Naruto fic and was inspired by the fic: The Melody of the Fox, by Jetslinger. It is one of my favorite Naruto fics, but I was disappointed by the ending. That being said, there will be similarities to that story, but I will try to keep those to a minimum.
Disclaimer: Only saying it once; I do not own Naruto or any of the characters and concepts. If any Oc's appear, they are mine.
The Fox and the Flute
Prologue: A Flash of Lightning
The Valley of the End had played host to an intense battle between two legendary shinobi in the past, and it had done so again this day for two Genin who would one day be seen as legendary themselves.
From the way the two viciously attacked one another with progressively greater power and techniques, one would never guess that these two thought of the other as their best friend, even as a brother.
The battle had shifted back and forth from one having the advantage to the other. But when the blonde Genin became wrapped in a cloak of red chakra in the vague shape of a fox, even the dark haired Genin's three tomoe Sharingan could not help him.
Realizing he was outmatched, the dark haired Genin activated the second stage of the seal at the base of his neck. His skin darkened slightly, his finger nails elongated into claws, his hair lengthened and became lighter in color, a black four-pointed star sat between his eyes, and the whites of his eyes turned black.
They exchanged a few words before the blonde charged at his friend; the slits that had become his pupils narrowed in anger, baring the fangs his canine teeth had become. They collided and a cloud of dust obscured them as they plowed their way through the stone of the valley wall until they collided with ankle of the giant carving of Madara Uchiha.
As the dust cleared the blonde gawked at the strange, hand-like thing that had shielded the other Genin from his attack. His eyes widened as it twitched before swiping him across the water where he collided with the ankle of the carving of the Shodai Hokage.
As he raised his head to look back at the other his eyes widened in shock. What he saw was a large webbed hand growing out of his friend's left shoulder blade. As he continued to gawk, a second appendage sprouted from the other shoulder, so that the pair resembled wings.
"Sasuke, you…" the blonde said in a horrified way.
Sasuke groaned in pain as he thought of something he had been told about using this power. At the same time, the blonde stood and looked at his left hand with a groan, realizing he couldn't feel it.
"For you…Using that power is risky, isn't it?" Sasuke asked with a small grin. When all he got was a glare in response, he gazed upward and began to speak, "Did you know? This place…is called the Valley of the End. Isn't this the perfect stage? Right, Naruto?"
Naruto remained silent as he turned to fully face Sasuke from across the water.
"That's right," Sasuke said after a small laugh, "I said the time for talk is over. This battle…Let's finish this now!" He exclaimed this last part with an almost sadistic look on his face. He crouched down, with his left hand positioned so it looked as if he would grasp the ground, and his right hand gripped his left wrist. He then shouted as lightning formed in his hand, "Chidori!"
Naruto flexed his right hand as a purple, spiraling sphere of chakra formed in it. As it finished forming he shouted, "Rasengan!"
Across the water, Sasuke's Chidori turned pure white with black arcs of electricity shooting from its surface. They both jumped from their spots on the opposing carvings at each other, their hands holding their attacks reared back in preparation to strike.
As they reached each other, they shouted simultaneously: "Chidori!" "Rasengan!"
They collided with immediate effects: the two attacks trying to drill through the other, chakra being blasted backwards from the two shinobi. Their blue and red chakra began to coil around each other, turning purple, and began to form a sphere around them. Sasuke redirected his attack at the last moment, piercing Naruto's chest instead of his throat. Naruto on the other hand aimed at Sasuke's forehead protector, slashing the symbol on it.
The sphere around them expanded and turned black as night, for several moments it obstructed the waterfall and caused further damage to the walls of the valley. Intricate, white lines spread over the sphere, starting at the center until the sphere turned completely white. Naruto and Sasuke were suspended in the center of the light, and locked eyes for a moment.
Kakashi and Pakkun ran as fast as they could through the forest, at first following Naruto's scent, but now Kakashi could easily follow the chakra both Naruto and Sasuke were emitting.
"I hope we're not too late," Kakashi said as he felt the chakra fading.
"It feels like the fight is ending," Pakkun said as they quickened their pace.
They then entered an area of the forest that looked like an army of lumberjacks had had a field day. As they saw this scene they slowed down a bit and Kakashi asked, "What the hell happened here?"
Pakkun sniffed the air and replied, "I can smell Shikamaru, that Sand kunoichi Temari, and one of the Sound shinobi…the Sound kunoichi."
"This must be where they fought her. The medic nin and ANBU will be here shortly, let's keep moving," Kakashi stated as they kept moving towards Naruto and Sasuke.
About halfway through the decimated area of the forest they stopped as they saw something moving up ahead. Two human arms emerging from between two fallen trees; they were grasping and pulling their way further out of the opening. After a few moments a beaten and battered girl with shoulder length red air emerged and limply fell to the ground once her legs were free of the tree above her.
Kakashi warily walked up to her to examine her condition; she was out cold, all of her remaining energy spent prying herself from her wooden tomb. "She must be the Sound kunoichi, she's barely alive," Kakashi stated to himself. He thought for a few moments before saying, "Pakkun, wait here for the ANBU. I want her taken back to Konoha alive, once there we can let Tsunade decide what should be done with her."
"Are you sure that's a good idea Kakashi?" Pakkun asked.
"She could provide valuable information on Orochimaru and his plans. I just have a feeling that she'll play an important role in the future, I can't explain why I think that," Kakashi replied as he looked back over at the girl who was somehow clinging to life.
"Alright…I'm not sure about this, but I'll make sure she gets to the Hokage," Pakkun stated as he sat beside the unconscious girl to wait for the ANBU to arrive with the medic nin.
"Good. I have to go now, been here too long as it is," Kakashi stated as he took off in the direction he could still faintly feel the Kyuubi's chakra that Naruto had emitted.
Naruto lay on his back on the rocky shore near the river, he was unconscious. Sasuke stood above him, looking down at his face solemnly. He made no motion to catch his forehead protector as the knot came undone and it fell from its place on his forehead. It landed next to Naruto, facing up so the scratch in the metal was displayed to the world.
As it started to rain softly, Sasuke's legs gave out after his curse mark pulsed painfully. He caught himself on his hands and knees, now face to face with an unconscious Naruto. He stayed like for several moments as the rain increased in strength. He then stood and looked at his forehead protector. He went to reach for it, but stopped and turned away. He silently walked away from his friend who he had come so close to killing.
Kakashi stopped on the head of the carving of the Shodai Hokage and looked down at the Valley of the End. His eyes widened as he took note of the amount of destruction Naruto and Sasuke's fight had caused.
"I'm too late, the fight is over," he said to himself angrily. He continued to survey the area until he saw a spot of orange on the shore of the river below. "Naruto!" he shouted as he quickly made his way down to his student.
As he stood looking at his student he asked himself, "Why did it have to come to this?" He then noticed Sasuke's forehead protector on the ground beside Naruto and picked it up. He then placed it on Naruto's stomach and picked him up.
"Forgive me Naruto…I was late again. Maybe I should try to be on time more," Kakashi said solemnly, masking his feeling of failing his students with slight humor. He looked around once more before saying, "Of all the places, the two of you fought here. I hope this doesn't mean your lives will be like theirs." As he said this he looked at the statues of Madara Uchiha and Hashirama Senju, the Shodai Hokage, the founders of Konoha who had battled in this very place so many years ago.
Kakashi didn't say another word as he made his way out of the valley and back towards Konoha. He only stopped once to see if Pakkun was still with the Sound kunoichi. Once he discovered that they were already gone he continued on his way.
Once back in Konoha, Kakashi immediately brought Naruto to the hospital to get his various injuries treated; he also assumed that Tsunade would be there overseeing the treatment of Shikamaru's team and the Sound kunoichi.
Kakashi stood on the side of Naruto's room as he was being treated, quietly observing. He looked over as the door opened revealing Tsunade who gestured for him to follow her. He silently followed her out of the hospital and to her office in the Administration building.
"So how are they?" Kakashi asked after they had sat down.
"Neji and Chouji got the worst of it; they were in critical condition but have stabilized. Shikamaru, Kiba, and Lee are banged up but they're fine. Naruto has a nasty wound to his chest, chakra exhaustion, slight nerve damage, and various other small injuries. He should be fine; the Kyuubi had already started healing him from the inside by the time you got him here. The Sound Kunoichi is lucky to be alive: she has numerous deep lacerations, her right leg is broken in five places, her left leg in three places, four broken ribs, her right collar bone is broken, and the ribs punctured a few organs," Tsunade explained.
"That's good about the others, will she make it?" Kakashi asked.
"Yes, she's out of any immediate danger. If you hadn't had the ANBU bring her hear she would've been dead within an hour, two tops," Tsunade replied. She then folded her hands together and rested her chin on them before asking, "Which brings me to my question: why did you have her brought here?"
"She could provide us with valuable information on Orochimaru: where his bases are, his plans, how the curse mark works. And…I know it sounds strange but when I saw her I got the feeling that she would be important in the future," Kakashi replied, the second part a bit quieter than the first.
"I see…so you believe that she'll play an important role in upcoming events. What makes you think this?" she asked.
"I don't know, I just got this gut feeling, like an instinct in the middle of battle," Kakashi explained.
"Well we'll see about that, but I agree about her being able to provide information. Also, nobody besides the team who fought the Sound ninjas, the two of us, and Jiraiya are to know that she is from Sound. If her identity became common knowledge there would be riots demanding her execution," Tsunade stated.
"Understood. Does Jiraiya know about the situation?" Kakashi asked.
"I used Katsuyu to contact him, he'll be here by tomorrow afternoon. When he gets here we'll explain the entire situation to him," Tsunade answered. She then stood and said, "You may go, I have to go see Shikamaru and Temari to find out what this Sound kunoichi can do."
They both stood and walked out of the office, Kakashi deciding to go check on Naruto one more time before going to get some sleep. While he was walking to Naruto's room he was thinking to himself, 'I hope I'm not making another mistake by keeping her alive. Minato-sensei, if you can hear me, please let me know if I made the right choice on this.'
He looked out the window and saw two flashes of lightning from the rain clouds. His eyes widened as he saw this, for it was not like any lightning he had ever seen: one bolt was a golden yellow, the other bright red, and they coiled around each other before vanishing with no boom of thunder in their wake.
It took a few moments for Kakashi to speak, and it was only a mumble, "…I'll take that as a yes."
A/N: That's it for the first chapter, seemed like the right place to end it. I don't know when I'll get the next chapter up, depends on how much free time I'll have. If you feel like it, leave a review, though there's not much in this chapter.