AN:

Hello folks. Sorry for the delay but I had many things on my mind. And especially a writers overload. I have so many new ideas that I couldn't really concentarte on my other stories. But I managed to finish this chapter and will work on the next and hope that I will be able to update soon. I won't promis anything but I will try.

Thanks for the reviews. I'm happy that you enjoy my story so far.

For this and all future chapters I want to say that I will not detailed describe the Akatsuki members or other well-known characters because I think that you all know how the look like and I don't want to use nearly a quarter of a chapter to describe something what is useless to describe. I want the story to go on and not bore you with useless stuff like descriptions.

However in exchange I will write more story relevant things.

I also want to apologize for the fight scene. I think it's a little crappy compared to other fight scenes I have read. But make your own decision.

Enjoy


Chapter 3: Rescuing Gaara

*** Last time ***

Two Akatsuki members captured Gaara. Temari and Kankurou were about to follow them as they found Naruto and Sakura which agreed to help. The 4 ninja's are now persuing the 2 Akatsuki members in order to rescue Gaara.

*** conclusion ***

A giant white bird landed at the river shore with 3 people on his back. One of them laid on his back unconscious while the other two were standing. The smaller one with a mask which covered the lower half of his face jumped down and landed next to the bird while the other one with blonde hair and a ponytail stayed on the birds back.

"I don't understand what's wrong with you Sasori." The blonde said "We're here much faster, aren't we?"

"Shut up Deidara." Sasori said with a calm emotionless voice. "Go on and open the cave."

Deidara frowned at Sasori "Yeah yeah. You know you are such a pain in the ass."

"Whatever." Sasori mumbled.

He was about to say something but he suddenly felt something approaching fast at him. He turned his head in the direction of the source but before he recognized what it was it was too late.

The last thing he saw was gloved fist which smashed Sasori's body into millions of wooden pieces forcing him to escape his protective puppet shell which was no use for him anymore. Deidara didn't notice anything until he saw Sasori's puppet smashed into pieces.

Sasori landed on the back of Deidara's bird and turned around looking at the place he was standing a few seconds ago. Deidara did the same and was stunned because he never thought that someone other than his comrades from Akatsuki will be able to destroy his hiding puppet.

After the dust vanished the two Akatsuki members could see who attacked them. There were 4 ninja's standing in a row. One of them was on one of her knees right at the point where Sasori was standing before. It was a female with pink hair and emerald green eyes with a determined look and a smirk on her face.

Next to her was standing a tall blonde ninja with three whisker marks on each cheek. The two Akatsuki members knew exactly who this was: The container of the nine tailed fox. Next to him were standing the two siblings of the sand. All four glared daggers at the two Akatsuki.

Deidara began to smirk "Well, well. Look who's coming for a visit. Isn't this a nice family and friends reunion, Sasori?"

"Shut up Deidara." Sasori said cold causing to Deidara to gasp and glancing at him.

He never heard his partner speak emotional but this time it not only sounded cold but also a little scared. And he also saw Sasori's eyes which showed anger and a little bit of fear.

"To cause Sasori to show emotions these ninja's must be really powerful and possible a threat." Deidara thought before he returned his attention back to the 4 newcomers.

"They are stronger than they look. Watch out." Sasori said

Deidara glanced at them and felt a little uneasy. It was not the killing intent of the 4 ninja's which caused this but it was Sasori's words and sudden emotions. But he put himself together to not show them any fear.

"Well, what do you have in mind?" Deidara asked

"We can't take out all of them at once. This would endanger our mission. You have to bring the Ichibi to our hideout at any cost. They will certainly split into two groups and one of them will follow you. It should be easier as face them all at once." Sasori answered.

They talked very quiet but with Naruto's enhanced hearing he didn't miss a single word.

"Just as planned." He whispered to his comrades.

Sakura which already rose up to her feet asked her boyfriend without looking away from them "They will split up?"

He just nodded and they all prepared themselves to do as they planned.

Sasori jumped down from the bird and a second later the bird took of with Deidara and Gaara on his back. That was the signal for them and Naruto and Temari jumped immediately over Sasori following Deidara.

Sasori didn't even spare them a look and concentrate at the two ninja's in front of him. Sakura glared at him as she moved into a fighting stance while Kankurou slowly pulled out three scrolls.

Sasori knew the puppeteer was about to and pulled out a scroll of his own sleeve. Nearly simultaneously the unsealed what was inside their scrolls and after the smoke disappeared 4 puppets were between them. On Sasori's side was only one but on Kankurou's side there were 3 puppets Karasu, Kuroari and Sanshouo.

Sasori smirked at the sight of the 3 puppets. "Karasu, Kuroari and Sanshouo. It's been years since I saw them. But you should know that they are useless against me."

Kankurou wasn't impressed by his speech because he knew who Sasori was. "Are you trying to frighten me? Then you should know that I know who you are, Sasori." Sasori's smirk vanished. "I know that you created those puppets and that they are the standard puppets for a puppet ninja." He began to smirk "But I like them and I also have improved them. So don't think this will be easy for you."

"Pah. I already thought that they are improved but still. They are no match against my puppet. Do you know who this puppet is or better said 'was'?" Sasori said calm with a slight smirk.

Kankurou looked closely at the puppet but didn't recognize it. But still … Something about the face of the puppet looked quite familiar but he could place it.

"No. But I don't care either. I will destroy it anyway." Kankurou answered calmly.

Sasori let out a simple laugh "I don't think so. This puppet is as strong as the person it was right before I turned him to the puppet. The third Kazekage."

Kankurou and Sakura were shocked by this statement, Kankurou a little more as he suddenly recognized the face of the puppet. It truly looked like the third Kazekage. Of course he only knew him from pictures but it definitely matched the view right before him. And the fact that he knows that it is possible to create puppets out of corpses gave him the creeps.

Sakura couldn't believe what she just heard. "Did he really create a puppet out of the third Kazekage?" she thought and it also gave her the creeps. "He's lying. Right Kankurou?"

"I'm not so sure." He answered and Sakura looked at him shocked. "It is possible for a master puppeteer to create puppets out of corpses." He grinds his teeth and glared angry at Sasori "And the fact that this bastard work for Akatsuki makes him capable of such a disgusting action."

Sasori was amused by Sakura's shocked expression and Kankurou's anger. It was exactly what he wanted. He knew that both of them were strong and maybe able to defeat him. So he planned to distract them first with his words to catch them by surprise.

Without any warning he let the THIRD attack Sakura who was still looking shocked at Kankurou. The left arm of the THIRD reached out for her and his hand flipped back and revealed a sharp circular saw which immediately began to spin.

But just before the saw reached the pink Kunoichi the THIRD was stopped by Sanshouo (the defensive crocodile puppet). Sasori was surprised by Kankurou's fast reaction and glanced at him.

Kankurou smirked "Oh no … Not so easy."

*** A few Kilometers away ***

Deidara landed on the ground surrounded by pieces of his clay bird. He glared at his two opponents especially at the girl who destroyed his precious form of art. Naruto had caught the unconscious Gaara. He already had created a Shadow Clone and handed the Kazekage over to him. The Clone immediately ran into the forest to gather him away from the battlefield.

Deidara wasn't happy with that. "You bitch. Look what you have done."

"Hn … I destroyed this ugly piece of shit and saved my brother. But I'm not finished with you. You will pay for hurting my baby brother." She said angry.

Her outburst amused Deidara "Hehe … You are a very protective one aren't you?" He checked her out and began to smirk evilly. "And you also have a nice body."

Temari got even angrier by his commend. "How dare he" she growled but she suddenly felt a hand on her shoulder and she looked back seeing that it was Naruto.

"Don't let him make you angry. He want you the attack him reckless so he can make his move." He said never looking away from his enemy.

Temari looked at him and calmed down. He was right and she knew that but she was still angry that this bastard had hurt her baby brother.

***Flashback start:

***Suna***

Deidara and Gaara were both hovering in the air. Deidara was standing on one of his clay birds and Gaara was covered into his protective sand sphere. Temari watched her brother fighting the Akatsuki in awe.

She never was prouder of her brother than in this moment. She saw how he attacked the clay user and defended their village. Between all the explosions she heard her brother say "I am the Kazekage and will protect this village with my life." Those words meant so much to her.

Since the day her brother lost against Naruto he changed from a killing machine into a great person, a person who not only was strong but also used his strength to protect his family and his village and finally got the title of Kazekage. His attitude also changed. He was no longer cold or showed only emotions when he was angry. No. He was friendly caring and sometimes smiled.

Well not like the most other 'normal' persons. He was still Gaara, one of the calmest and most feared Shinobi in the world. But there were times when he put down his mask for her and showed her how he felt. And that make her really happy and proud.

But then suddenly the sand sphere exploded and Gaara bleed heavily. With his last amount of chakra he called back the huge amount of sand he used to attack Deidara which threatened to bury Suna underneath it. He saved the village before he lost his consciousness and fell down to the ground.

***Flashback end***

This terrible moment repeated itself before her inner eye and she felt horrible almost loosing her baby brother. But it also made her angry and there was one thing on her mind which would relieve her anger: Deidara's dead body.

She glared at the blonde Akatsuki member and got angrier every second she saw the smirking bastard. But she reminded herself to control her anger. Naruto was right about Deidara. He wanted her to attack him recklessly but she didn't want to do him this favor. She remembered what Naruto told her about Deidara.

"He's an Earth user. He has several mouths on his body and with them he uses clay and chew them to mold charka into the clay in order to create bombs." She already saw how he created his giant bird and had a good idea of how he would attack them.

And right after that thought Deidara put his only hand into his stash and our two blonde heroes knew what he was doing. After a few moments he pulled out his hand and the disgusting mouth in his palm spit out several tiny clay birds which immediately started to head towards Naruto and Temari.

Temari used her giant fan and created a slicing wind towards the birds. The wind was so strong that the birds were stopped and sliced which immediately triggered their explosion.

Deidara frowned at the sight of his "Art" being destructed by the female sand ninja. He watched the smoke lifted and looked through it at his two opponents. He was about to say something but he suddenly felt charka signatures behind him and he turned his head. His eyes widened as he spotted a dozen Naruto clones attacking him. He managed to dodge several fists until one of them punched his face sending his body flying. The rest of the clones punched him in mid air several times until Deidara landed on the ground.

He cursed under his breath for letting his guard down and immediately pulled another piece of clay out of his stash. Just then he realized that it was his last and he knew he was doomed if he didn't came up with something soon. He watched as Naruto created more clones which headed towards him.

"This is bad. I have to get out of here ... QUICK!" he thought and jumped into the air while creating several clay birds sending all but one of them towards Naruto and Temari. The kunoichi used her fan again to create a wind causing the birds to explode on half their way. Meanwhile Deidara extended the last clay bird to a vessel and flew away from the battlefield.

Naruto grinned his teeth as he watched the clay user fly away like a coward and so did Temari. But he snapped out of it as he realized that Sakura was still in danger.

"Let's go back to the others Temari. They may need our help." He said and Temari nodded.

"But first let's get Gaara." She said and got a nod from Naruto

*** With Sakura and Kankurou ***

The battle between two puppet masters and the slug tamer went on a whole other level. Sakura as a close range fighter had a hard time to dodge Sasori's "Third Kazekage" puppet while desperately trying to come close enough to deliver a bone crushing fist. But with no avail.

Kankurou on the other hand had an even harder time to protect Sakura from said puppet with his own what already cost him his Sanshouo (defense puppet) and his Kuroari (the one that looks like a barrel) was already crippled.

Kankurou knew that he was not able to attack Sasori effectively so he stayed on Naruto's plan and defended Sakura as good as possible so she might be able to deliver the death blow. But Sasori was even more skilled than he imagined and he got a little desperate.

Sakura was only dodging and hiding behind Kankurou's puppets against the assault from Sasori's puppet. She also got a little desperate. "If I just got near enough to punch him." She thought but she had no idea how.

Sasori on the other hand was far from pleased in this battle. Sure he had the advantage but he still couldn't manage a single hit or even a scratch. To say he was angry about this would be an understatement. He was pissed.

After several tries to hurt or better said poisoning Sakura Sasori jumped backwards to get some distance between him and his enemies. Sakura and Kankurou watched him closely and stood on guard as he pulled out two scrolls from under his cloak.

"Playtime's over. I'm tired of this." Sasori said and opened both his scrolls.

In a large puff of smoke one hundred more puppets appeared surrounding him causing Sakura's and Kankurou's eyes widen.

"This is the end for you." Sasori said smirking sending the first 10 puppets right towards his enemies.

Kankurou quickly brought his two remaining puppets in front of him and Sakura as a defense shield. The 10 enemy puppets sliced and shattered Kankurou's causing Sakura and him to jump backwards.

Now with no defense against him Sasori smirked evilly causing Kankurou to growl in anger. But a moment later Kankurou herd a thud right next to him. He slowly turned his head to the source of the sound and his eyes widened in fear.

He saw Sakura on her knees holding her side with both her hands. But what caused his attention more was the blood that ran down her hands and Kankurou knew what that meant.

Sakura wasn't only wounded but also poisoned. He was certain because every puppet user poison his weapons. And the fact that Sakura began to tremble and her body went limp falling down face first confirmed his thought.

He jumped towards her but he knew he wasn't able to do anything. He checked on her limp body but as he saw her pale and pained expression he froze instantly. But then he heard a laugher and looked towards Sasori.

"HAHAHA … she fought well but no one can keep up with my army of puppets."

Kankurou growled and got angry. He was about to stand up as he felt a hand on his. He looked down at Sakura who looked at him with a pained expression but smirked.

"Kankurou … don't ... worry about … me …. Get him." She whispered.

Kankurou stared at her for a few moments and then nodded. He stood up and pulled out two scrolls causing Sasori to raise an eyebrow.

"What's that? You still want to fight?" he asked in disbelieve.

Kankurou just smirked and laid one of the scrolls down on the ground and unrolled it. A large puff of smoke appeared covering him and Sakura from Sasori's sight who still glanced at their direction with a raised eyebrow. A few seconds later he heard another puff and the smoke got a little thicker before the large smokescreen began to disappear.

After the smoke cleared Sasori's face changed from nearly puzzled to questioningly angry.

"What the heck is that?" Sasori asked.

What he meant was the new puppet Kankurou summoned. It was over 7 feet tall with 2 thick arms a massive torso and 2 strong legs and looked like a berserk machine. The torso was a combination of wood and metal and the arms and legs were also reinforced with metal. The head was thin and long more like a horse head but relatively small. Sasori immediately noticed something only a puppet master could notice. It was incomplete.

Kankurou could nearly read Sasori's thought by his facial expression and began to smirked.

"I know what you're thinking and I have to admit you are correct. The puppet IS incomplete."

Sasori glanced at him questioningly. "I don't recognize this one."

Kankurou's smirk grew larger and he looked proud. "That is no surprise because it is my own invention."

Sasori raised an eyebrow as Kankurou continued. "Let me introduce to my ultimate puppet: GILGAMESH." Kankurou said proud and the puppet began to bow slightly while putting one hand in front of it. (Like someone bows to a lord but in a mockingly way)

Sasori frowned. "Are you making fun of me? Do you really want to fight with an incomplete puppet?"

Kankurou smirked confident "YES! Even though Gilgamesh is incomplete he will be more then enough to destroy your army of weaklings."

Sasori's expression turned more to amusement until he suddenly spotted something he overlooked. In front of Gilgamesh were 6 swords stuck shaft down in the ground.

Sasori looked between the puppet and the swords back and forth but wondered why there were 6 swords for a puppet with two arms.

Kankurou smirked again at the sight of Sasori's puzzled face. Without a word he moved his fingers and the puppet suddenly stretched her arms. Then with many loud cracking noises the thick arms of the puppet split up. Each arm multiplied to 3 giving him a total of six arms.

After the now six arms were completely separated Gilgamesh took one of the swords in each hand and began them to whirl like a well trained sword master. The blades whirled around the puppets body just inches away from each other but they didn't make contact.

Sasori frowned again. "This guy is more skilled than I thought."

After the little show off by whirling the swords Gilgamesh stopped the wirling and got into a fighting stance.

(AN: Sorry but I don't want to describe the stance because one: it is really hard to describe and second: Use your imagination.)

Gilgamesh attacked the 10 puppets which attacked before and sliced and diced them like they were nothing. Sasori frowned. Nobody ever managed to destroy more than one of his puppets especially not with another puppet.

Without hesitation Sasori sent his whole army at Gilgamesh who began to whirl his swords in a perfect defense. Puppet after puppet crashed against his sword defense and one by one shattered to pieces.

After nearly half of Sasori's puppets were destroyed he called them back and Gilgamesh ended his defensive motion. The resume of Sasori's attack was, over forty of his puppets were destroyed while Gilgamesh had just a few scratches at his arms and his swords were slightly damaged but still functional.

Kankurou smirked and now it was his time to attack. He sent Gilgamesh straight towards Sasori who called his puppet army in between him and Gilgamesh to defend himself. Gilgamesh slice through them and one by one Sasori's puppets fell like flys. (AN: I don't know if this is an English idiom. It is although in German)

But then suddenly Sasori saw a slight opening and called his third Kazekage puppet at Gilgamesh successfully damaging 2 arms causing Kankurou to immediately calling is puppet back

Sasori smirked while Kankurou frowned looking at the damage dealt to his puppet. One arm was now useless while the second damaged arm couldn't take another hit.

"Well it looks like your Gilgamesh isn't so tough after all." Sasori said mockingly.

Kankurou glared at him for a few moments before a smirk appeared on his face which on the other hand caused Sasori to frown.

"Why are you grinning like an idiot?" Sasori asked a little angry.

"That's because you are underestimating Gilgamesh." Was Kankurou's answer.

It was true that two of Gilgamesh's arms were useless by now but Kankurou was no fool. As he created the puppet he knew that something like this may happen in a fight.

With a single motion of his fingers the two damaged arms of Gilgamesh dropped there swords and merged together with the nearest "good" arm reinforcing it. Now Gilgamesh had only 4 arms available which may look like a disadvantage. But it is right the opposite.

Originally Gilgamesh had only 4 arms because it is really difficult to control 6 arms in different motions. But while Kankurou trained he perfected the 4 arm technique and upgraded Gilgamesh to 6 arms. The truth was that Kankurou was better at using 4 arms than 6.

But Sasori couldn't know that and was therefore confident and he let his puppets attack Gilgamesh again.

"Too bad!" Kankurou said and let Gilgamesh begin to whirl his 4 remaining swords to defend or better said to slice its attackers.

But Sasori's assault suddenly was interrupted by a loud impact and a huge dust cloud appeared where most of his puppets were at that time and he felt that he lost some of them. He called his puppets back out from the dust cloud and positioned them in a defensive formation.

Sasori frowned as he realized that his third Kazekage puppet was also destroyed but he didn't know how or by what.

Kankurou was surprised as well because he didn't cause the impact or the smokescreen. He called Gilgamesh back and watched carefully while the dust slowly settled.

After the dust cloud had vanish completely both puppet masters eyes widened in surprise at what the dust cloud revealed. There was the pink haired Kunoichi which was out cold for the last minutes standing between the two puppet masters facing the missing-nin.

Sasori was much more surprised as he looked closer at her and recognized a slight change in her face. Her eyes weren't the emerald green anymore but crimson red and her pupils' were now oval. It also looked like she wore makeup now around her eyes in a beautiful sky blue color. The slug Sage-mode. (AN: Like Naruto's Sage-mode just blue around the eyes with red eyes and oval pupils)

"How is this possible? She should be dead because of the poison." Sasori thought.

That would be true if it weren't for Sakura's abilities. One of the first things Tsunade taught her in medical jutsu was to use the medical charka and isolate poison which already entered the body. And that she did when she was struck by the poisoned sword. She immediately used her Chakra and isolated the poison.

But she can't do more than isolate it. To neutralize it she needs to analyze it and create an antidote. But then again there is another option. Her Sage-mode.

The slug Sage-mode is basically the same as Naruto's toad Sage-mode. You collect the natural energy from around you and balance it out with your physical and spiritual energy. After that the body gets more resistant to physical attacks and the speed and power increases.

The difference is the techniques someone can use. Since the slugs are healer Sakura is now able to heal her body continually by using the natural energy as a catalyst to animate the cells to regenerate and heal. And another nice side effect of the natural energy is that it disintegrates the poison into harmless substances.

Now fully recovered and x-times stronger Sakura faced Sasori with a determined look on her face. She glared daggers at him for what he had done to her and was about to do to Gaara. And on top of that that he is one of the people who are hunting her lover just for the Bijou inside him. To say she was pissed was the understatement of the millennia. She was furious.

That was another side effect of her Sage-mode. It increases her anger tenfold. (Maybe that's why Tsunade is so angry all the time *lol*)

Before Sasori had the chance to react Sakura vanished and instantly appeared behind him and punched him so hard that he was sent flying into the Mountain wall. As he impacted his puppet body shattered into a thousand pieces.

Although Sakura was still furious she was no berserk. She immediately recognized that Sasori's body was not human and looked around because she thought of a replacement technique. But Kankurou who recovered from his shock began to explain.

"He is not human anymore." causing Sakura to look at him with a raised eyebrow. "While you were down I realized that his body was also a puppet. He somehow extracted his heart and fused it into this puppet. That's why he looked so young although he is over 50 years old."

That explained a little bit but brought up quite more questions. But Sakura threw the thoughts away as she suddenly felt some movements behind her. She quickly stepped aside and avoided the blade of one of Sasori's puppets.

With her enhanced senses she immediately noticed a small cylinder with a kanji in it in the chest of the puppet. It was clear for her that it has to be Sasori's heart.

She was about to counterattack but she had to avoid more puppets coming from all directions at her. It appeared that Sasori was somehow able to control all the puppets without using his hands like Kankurou.

Last one immediately sent Gilgamesh to help the pinkette but it was very hard for him. He was running low on charka since he already had a hard battle against Sasori while defending Sakura's body.

He managed to destroy some of the puppets but they were still too many of them. Even though her speed was increased the only thing Sakura could do only dodge, and the fact that her Sage-mode wouldn't last much longer was no good sign.

Sasori, in his new body, managed to distract Sakura and positioned himself right behind her in order to stab her with his sword. Sakura dodged another attack of one of his puppets with a spin just to face Sasori who was about to stab her. In a reflex she closed her eyes waiting for the sword to enter her body. But it never did.

She opened her eyes again and what she saw let her body froze. Sasori's sword did enter a body but it wasn't hers. It was Naruto who jumped in the way receiving the blade which was meant for her.

The blonde knucklehead was already in Sage mode and glared at Sasori. He didn't even feel the pain as the sword entered his chest even though a lot of blood came out of the wound. Without hesitation Naruto grabbed the cylinder with Sasori's heart and crushed him as if it was nothing.

After a few seconds of silence all of Sasori's puppets went limp and finally fell down to the ground. The puppet which stabbed Naruto fell also down and with that the sword left Naruto's chest and the wound immediately started to heal.

Naruto took a deep breath of relief before he turned around and smiled at his pink haired lover. But what came next shocked not only him but the other present watching them.

"YOU IDIOT!" she screamed and gave him a charka enhanced punch sending him flying right where she sent Sasori's puppet earlier.

He impacted roughly and created a huge crater in the mountain wall. But his body hadn't even the chance to fell on the ground because Sakura was already there caching him before he could touch the ground. She packed him at his collar and screamed at him.

"WHAT WERE YOU THINKING, LETTING HIM STAB YOU LIKE THAT."

He was glad that he was still in Sage-mode because that punch would have killed him or at least had given the Kyuubi a busy day healing him. But even though, he still needed a few moments to recover.

As his vision cleared he could see an angry Sakura still in Sage-mode glaring daggers at him. He knew how her Sage-mode pushed her anger up and was hoping that it would end soon.

Kankurou and Temari watched the scene in shock. Neither one of them dared to interfere with the two Konoha nins.

Sakura was very pissed. "How dare he let him stab himself. That idiot could have been killed." These words were repeating itself in her mind over and over again pouring oil in the fire that was her rage. She was so angry that she was about to punch him into the next millenia.

Naruto was so frightened that he nearly shit his pants. He knew what she was able to do to him in her present state and he also knew that this would be very very painful.

He glanced at her in fear until he noticed the change in her facial expression. The Sage Makeup vanished and her eyes went back to emerald green. A few moments later her angry expression changed into one of shock.

"Oh my god ...." she said in a trembling voice "Na .. Na .. Naruto ... I . I . I'm so sorry. I. I. I didn't mean ..." she was crying by now and throw herself at him hugging him tightly. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

Naruto was very relieved that she changed back in time before he would have join Gaara in the world of unconciousness. He returned the hug and rubbed her back to calm his cerry blossom down.

"I didn't mean to hit you." She said between sobs.

She felt so guilty for hitting him because she had promised him that she would never hit him again. And now she broke that promise because auf her uncontrollable rage in Sage mode. She felt so bad about that and was afraid that he would be upset with her.

But Naruto wasn't. He knew her temper and how the Sage mode increased it. And he also knew that it was his own fault. It wasn't necessary to let himself being stabbed by the sword. He could have destroyed the puppet without getting hurt, but his instinced to shield his love from any harm kicked in.

"It's alright. It was my fault." He sai.

In an instant Sakura's head shot back and she glared at him.

"Of course it's your fault." She shoutet at him. "Why are you always so careless. He could have killed you."

"I know. I'm sorry. I deserved your punch." He sad in a sad voice.

"No ... but promise me to never let yourself getting hurt." She said hugging him again. "It pains me when you get hurt." She wispered into his shoulder loud enough for him to hear.

"I promise." He whispered caressing her back again.

After a few minutes Sakura calmed down enough and began to check on Gaara.

"How is he?" Temari asked concerned.

"Not so good." The pinkette answered with a frown. "He's poisoned."

"Can you heal him?" Kankurou asked.

"Maybe. But we need to bring him to Tsunade-shishou." Sakura said looking at Naruto who gave her a nod.

"But Konoha is more than 3 days away." Kankurou blurted out.

He was very concerned about his brother.

"Don't worry. We know away to travel there fast." Naruto said.

The blonde Sage kneed down and touched Gaara while he told the others to touch him. Then he channeld his natural energy and teleported them to Mt. Myobokuzan.

**Mt. Myobokusan**

Ma and Pa were arguing over something as Naruto and his friends arrived. Jurou the slug elder was also present waiting for Sakura. The arriver immediately drew the attention of the elders.

"What happened?" Ma asked concerned and jumped to the group checking the uncounciousness Kazekage.

"Akatsuki tryed to kidnap Gaara and they poisoned him. We have to bring him to Tsunade." Naruto explained while he liftet Gaara up and carried him to the stone plate followed by the others.

"They're on the move already? This is not good." Jurou said getting an agreeing nod from Pa.

"Yes. It looks like the time has come." Naruto said as he reache the stone plate and turned to the elders.

"We need to finish your training quick." Pa said.

"I know. But first we need to save Gaara." Naruto answered getting an understanding nod from all tree elders.

"We will prepare the next step of your training until you arrive." Ma said.

"Everyone ready?" Naruto asked and looked at his friends and they confirmed.

In an instant they vanished in a puff of smoke.

"I knew this was going to happen." Jurou said.

Ma glared at him and said. "This is no time for complaining. Let's get started with the preperations. We have to .. *puff*" she couldn't finish her sentenence becaus she and Pa wer summoned by Jiraiya.

Jurou frowned. "Juuuust great."

** Konoha, Hokage tower **

Tsunade sat in her office growling over her neverending paperwork.

"I need a drink." She mumbled to herself and reached into her little drawer just to find nothing.

"Shizune." She growled.

Then she suddenly heard a familiar voice kalling her.

"BAA-CHAN."

"Naruto?" she asked as same ninja suddenly stormed into her office with Gaara in his hands.

She jumped up running around her desk looking at the unconcious Kazekage. "Naruto? What happened?" she asked

"Akatsuki ... he's ... poisoned." He said between breaths.

"To the hospital." she barked and led the way to said place followed by Naruto Sakura and the other 2 sand siblings.

Tsunade took care of Gaara herself with the help of Sakura and Ino. They managed to neutralize the poison and heal his wounds which took them a few hours. But in the end Gaara was out of danger and recovering from his injuries.

With a heavy sight Tsunade exited the ER followed by an exhaust Sakura and Ino. Naruto, who was waiting in front of the room with the 2 siblings the whole time, was releieved as he heard the good news and so where Temari and Kankurou.

After that Tsunade called Naruto into her office for a debriefing while Sakura joined Ino to dinner while Temari and Kankurou stayed by their resting brother.

*with Tsunade and Naruto*

The Hokage entered her office followed by the blond Knucklehead. She closed the door and sighted heavy.

"What a day." She said.

"You can say that." Naruto sighted turning around to face Tsunad who also turned to face him.

They looked at each other for a few moments. Tsunade didn't change at al in this 5 years, mainly because of her permanent genjutsu, Naruto noticed and smiled.

Naruto on the other hand changed a lot, the Hokage noticed. He wasn't the little boy she remembered anymore. He was now a man. And a good looking one too, she thought als smiling.

The tow stared at each other for a few more moments while their grins got even bigger. Naruto was the first to speak.

"I always thought that my return would be a little different."

Tsunades grin grew bigger. "I always knew that you would make an noise return."

This caused Naruto's grin to grow even more. "You know me. I always like a big entrance."

They began to chuckle. Then the Hokage moved closer to him and opened her arms sligtly.

"Do I get at least a hug?" she asked.

"Don't have to ask." He said giving her a hug.

Tsunade hugged him tightly and said. "I missed you, Naruto."

He smiled. "I missed you too, granny:"

She release the hug frowning at him. "Will you ever grow up and stop calling me that?"

He frowned back at her "Will you ever grow up and stop pretending to be a young chick?"

After a few moments the both said in unison. "I guess not." They laughed.

Then Tsunade sat down into her chair. "So. How are you doing?"

"Fine." He answered sitting down on the opposite chair. "My Sage training goes well and so goes Sakura-chans."

"And how is it going between you two?" she asked with a slight smirk.

He blushed slightly and smiled. "We're doing fine."

"Just fine?" she raised an eybrow.

His face turned crimson. "I think this is non of your concerne."

"On the contrary. Sakura is my apprentice and your are my little brother. And as a big sister I need to know such things."

He frowned. "We are together if you must now."

She smiled. "I do. So congratulations."

"Thanks. But don't expect me to tell you more."

"This was all I want to know. So ..." she turned into serious mode. "Tell me what happened to Gaara."

Naruto sighted and started to explain the recent events.

*with the girls*

Sakura and Ino sat in the Hospital cafeteria. They already finished their meal and talked about what happened in the last months since Sakura left.

"Thats unfair." Ino frowned krossing her arms under her chest. "Why are you allowed to be a sage and not me, forehead?"

"Because I'm better than you, piggy." Sakura answered with a smirk.

Ino growled. "I take you on anytime."

"You are welcome to try." The pinkette answered taking a sip of her drink.

"So, tell me Sakura." The pinkette glanced at her blonde friend. "How big is he?"

Sakura blinked not knowing what Ino meant. "What do you mean?"

Ino grinned naughty. "You can't fool me, forehead. I know you had a good look at him, so how big?"

Sakura still didn't get it. "I don't know what you're talking about."

Ino sighted. "Are you really so dumb forehead?" causing Sakura to growl. "I'm talking about Naruto."

"Naruto?" she blinked puzzled

"Yeah!" the Yamanaka grinned again. "So tell me: Is he a hunk?"

Now that Ino made clear what she meant Sakura's head turned crimson. "That's non of your business, piggy."

"Ha, so you did get a look at him." Ino squealed happily

Sakura's face turned even redder as she imagined Naruto in his birthday suit and she looked away.

Ino cheered "Way to go. So tell me. Is he huge?"

"THAT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS." Sakura snapped causing Ino to step back a little.

"Woah woah, calm down forehead. I didn't know that I hit a nerve." Ino said in defense and Sakura calmed down again.

Ino sighted "Geeze. What's your problem? You're acting like he is your boyfriend."

Sakura began to smile and blushed slightly again. As Ino saw this her eyes widened into big saucers. "WHAT? He is .. you are .. REALLY?" Ino stammered in disbelieve.

Sakura noded while her blush and smile increased thinking about her and Naruto together.

Ino was dumbfolded. "I .. I can't believe it."

Sakura frowned. "Why? Because you think he is not good enough?" she said angry.

"No. I never thought you would actually realize what was right in front of you." Was the blondes answer.

Now it was Sakura's turn to look dumbfolded.

"He was hell over heels for you since I can remember. Everyone saw that except for you."

Sakura glanced on the table with a sad expression. "I know. I was so blind." She said while Ino observed her. "I started to realize it after he left 5 years ago. I missed him the whole time and always thought about him and Sasuke. But more about him." She sighted. "Then Sasuke came back and I thought I would be happy, but I still missed Naruto. And after Sasuke asked me to be one of his wifes I finally realized how I felt about Naruto."

Ino nodded. "So he asked you too, huh?"

Sakura's head shot up. "What? He asked you too?" the blonde nodded. "Did you .. I mean ... well .."

Ino shook her head. "Of course not. And as far as I know no other kunoichi either."

"Hmm.. I can't say I feel sad for him." The pinkette said.

"Me neither. Clan or not, we are human beings and no breeding machines for the Uchiha. I cannot imagine who would actually be happy to be used like this."

"Me neither. By the way, how is he doing." The pinkette asked.

Even though he tried to make her his concubine she still felt for her teammate.

"Well he is still not allowed to leave the village. I don't see him most of the time but I heard he is mainly in his compund under ANBU watch."

Sakura tried to imagine how he must feel being constantly under watch and asked herself what he is doing the whole time. By the looks of things he doesn't have much social contacts. Not that he was ever the social type but it still must be hard to have no one to talk.

Ino observed her thinking friend and even without her mindreading ability she knew what Sakura was thinking. And she was a little worried. She knew that the Uchiha wasn't a pleasure conversations subject, neither for herself or Sakura. So she decided to change the subject.

"So how are you and the knucklehead doing?" Ino asked smiling causing the pinkette back to reality.

"We're doing fine." Sakura said with a smile.

"Just fine?" Ino raised an eyebrow

"Well ..." she started but then she looked around and said. "Can we talk more privately?"

Ino took a look around spotting only a few of the nurses taking their dinner and talking. Looking back at her friend she saw that Sakura was a little uncomfortable. She instantly knew, that this was serious. Going into best friend mode she stood up and motioned Sakura to follow her.

**Meanwhile in the Hokage office**

"So it has begun." Tsunade said with a frown.

"It appears so."

The Hokage turned with her wheelchar glancing out of the window into the sky where the sun already had started to set. She thought about the recent events Naruto told her and what she already knew from Jiraiya and his spynetwork.

She was concerned about Naruto and Konoha. And the fact that she didn't have any idea what to do or what will come in the nearest future made her even more worried.

"When will you two leave?" she asked.

"I think we will stay for the night at least. Sakura needs to rest. After all she had the harder fight, you know." Naruto answered.

Tsunade turned around "Do you know where you will stay for the night?"

He looked at her puzzled. "In my appartment. Where else?"

Tsaunda sighted. "You don't have an apartement anymore."

"WHAT?" Naruto screamed in disbelieve.

"A few months after you left a few drunken civilians burned the whole apartement complex." Naruto frowned. "The idiots were so drunk that they nearly burned themselves."

He clenched his fist in anger. All his belongings, the few things he had which he left behind were burned. It wasn't for the furniture or the few clothes he left, which would fit him anymore anyway. It was for his his photoalbum. In there was every photo he got, every happy memory of his childhood. Except for his photo of team 7 witch he always carried with him.

"Damn them." He growled.

"But don't worry. I saved your belongings." Tsunade said with a smile.

"HUH?" he asked intelligently.

"I knew that something like that would happen so I took all of your personal stuff and brought it into my house." She said

Naruto smiled again. "You're the best Baa-chan." *BANG*

He never saw that scroll coming.

"Don't call me that." She growled

Rubbing his nose he put the scroll back on the table as suddenly a key fell on the table right in front of him. He looked at the Hokage who smirked at him.

"This is the key to the small house next to mine. You and Sakura can spend the night there."

Naruto took the key. "Thanks." But then he frowned. "But I think Sakura will sleep in her parents house.

"I don't think so."

"Why?"

"Didn't she tell you?"

"Tell me what?"

"That she had a fight with her mother before she left?"

"She didn't mentioned that?"

Tsunade sighted. "Then I guess she also didn't mention Sasukes proposial."

"WHAAAAT?"

She sighted again and then told him what happened. The whole time Naruto listened to Tsunade without even blinking. After she finished the story he looked at the key and began to smile.

"She really said that to you?"

"Yes. Why? Didn't she tell you that she loves you."

He nodded. "Yes. But it just makes me happy to hear it."

The Hokage smiled. She knew all along that he was in love with her. Even though she first thought that it was just a teenie crush. But after a while she noticed that it was much more then just a crush. It was real love. And it made her happy to see that her little brother finally got what he deserved.

"Well then. I think it's time to look for your girfriend and tell her where you two will stay for tonight."

"YEAH!" he shouted entusiastically and was about to head for the door as suddenly a deep growl echoed through the room. Tsunade glanced at him and he smiled sheepishly.

"Sorry. Didn't had dinner just yet."

Tsunade chuckled. "Well in that case, let's get some Ramen. My treat."

Naruto's eyes lit up. "Really? THANKS BAA-CHAN" he yell and jumped into her arms. But before he reached her his face connected with her foot.

With a pulsing vein on her forehead Tsunade opened the door and talked over her shoulder to the blonde junchuuriki on the floor.

"That was for calling me granny." She said walking out of the door.

Naruto slowly moved up from the floor holding his face which had a red mark with the size if the Hokages Shoe mumbling something with Baa-chan and brutal femal into his hands.

Then he heard her call from the hall. "AND IF YOU'RE CURSING ME IT WILL BE YOUR TREAT."

With that threat in mind he ran after the Hokage mentally pulling himself together to not call her granny again.

**Akatsuki hideout**

In a dark cave with the Bijuu statue a few members Akatsuki where all gathered for a meeting. Deidara was also there trying to getting used to his new artificial arm. He was pissed not only for the loss of his arm but also because of failing his mission to capture Gaara. While he sat on the ground looking at his new arm he heard a chuckle. Glaring at the source of the taunting chuckle he saw it came from Kisame.

"What's so funny Fishface?" he snapped at the tall blue man.

"Hehe. Lost something important?" Kisame taunted

Deidara growled. "Better my arm then my life, duh." Then he added with a smirk. "Tell me. How does it feel to be killed by an Uchiha, huh?"

Kisame still grinning. "You can say what you want, but you know, that my death was planned not like you failing to capture the Ichibi."

"Go back to hell." Deidara growled and Kisame laughed.

But he stopped laughing immediately as a masked figure stepped in the middle of the gathere Akatsuki getting immediately their attention.

"It is unfortunate, that you failed to capture the Ichibi." The masked man started to say. "But it is just a minor setback."

"So, what will be our next step?" Hidan asked.

"I will tell you when every member is gathered." The masked man said.

But just as he finished his sentence, footsteps where heard and Pein entered the gathering with a corps on his shoulder.

"It looks like someone had a little fun." Kisame said grinning.

Pein didn't respond and just threw the corps onto the ground right in front of the masked mans feet and the corps landed faco down in front of him.

"Well well, look what we got here." The masked man said in amusement. He pushed the corps with his foot to turn him around.

All the Akatsuki members began to grin as they saw the face of the corps.

"The toad sage is no longer a threat to us." Pein said coldly.

"That's very good news." The masked man said.

"Well then. "He started again turning his attention to the other members. "Our next step will be Konoha."

"A direct attack?" Hidan asked.

"Yes. Since the Ichibi and the Kyuubi host are located there we can capture them and destroy Konoha with a single blow."

"But Konoha is well defended. Are you sure this is a good idea?" Deidara asked.

"Don't worry about that." The masked man said looking at Deidara through the hole of his mask.

The blonde earth user stared at the now visible Sharingan eye.

"Our ally in konoha will make it easy for us." The masked man added smirking under his mask. "Kisame, Deidara and Pein. You will attack the village and capture the two jinchuuriki's.

"What about Hidan and me. " Kakuzu asked.

"You have another mission. You will capture the eight tails in Lightning country." The masked man answered getting a nod from both of them. "We will start in tree day's from now. Prepare yourselves until then." The masked man said and then he left.

Deidara watched the others also leaving except for Kisame who grinned madly.

"What are you grinning, idiot?" he asked.

Kisame answered still grinning. "I can't wait to get my sword back."


AN:

Phew.. I fanally did it. I hope you liked it and look forward to my next chapter called: Trouble in Paradise.

Please read and review