The Four Seasons

by Rizember


Beta'ed by: [Unbeta'ed]


Summary: I never wanted to be a season... It's just one of the many ways life just isn't fair. Humour, supernatural…


Chapter 6: Plans


Disclaimer: insert witty disclaimer here.

A/N: Sorry for the wait.

Almost a week had passed since I'd been tricked into Seasonship and brought to Suna.

Six days to be exact.

The last three days had been filled with us doing special 'training' that, I couldn't help but notice, closely resembled 'chores'.

After Anko's 'weapons training' where we arranged the weapons in the shed, Genma would have us do 'under-water sanitation evaluation'

which was basically us cleaning the pond that was somewhere in the middle of the forest.

There was also Kakashi's 'Toxic tolerance training' which was put to rest yesterday once Tsunade found out about it. It involved us drinking

till we passed out. I use the term 'we' liberally.

We're all too young to drink but I was glad to find that while the others all got totally wasted and passed out after a few drinks, I managed to

stay up and sober. Two shots was the Winter guys' limit (yes, all three of them), Sakura's was two shots, a martini and a beer; Hinata, six

beers, three shots and two bloody Mary's; Shikamaru actually shocked me by having eight beers and six cocktail drinks, Lee was out after

just one sip of Shika's beer; Tenten and Temari challenged each other to a chugging contest so I didn't really count how far they went but

they still passed out pretty quick while Kiba, being the manly man that he was, went up to twelve beers and six shots. I was still standing, on

my fourteenth beer, by the time Tsunade showed up. Needless to say, Jiraiya and Anko were majorly proud of me- especially this morning

when I showed up bright and early with no hung-over in sight.

I enjoyed clinking my breakfast dishes together unnecessarily, ignoring all the glares I received from the other teens as they nursed their


They deserve to suffer. At least they'd gotten some sleep.

I was loathe to tell anyone about my dream the previous night. After all, it was exactly the same as the one I'd had after my memorable

introduction to guren. Besides, the day I mentioned it, Tsunade had brushed it off as the guren nightmare effect.

I'm not entirely sure why the hell one would give an ally a nightmare-inducing drink for the sake of information but hey; what do I know?

I don't know how long guren's effects last but I was sure that they remembered my first guren-induced dream...the one that foretelling a


A battle due tomorrow.

The past few days I'd had the dreams. In every one of them, everyone died. I was always the last to go. It was more irritating than scary,

really. I mean, I felt like I was being forced to watch the same movie over and over even though I was the director.

Breakfast was eerily silent and apart from me clinking dishes, no other noise was made.



So much for that. I suppose Lee should get along fine with Genma…when he's not being a perv… which probably isn't often.

Tsunade glared at Genma but he ignored her as he plopped down into a seat next to me.

"Morning Naruto."

I ignored him.

"You're having a show today."

Still ignoring him...

"A full-on Seasons battle..."

I'm not really sure why I thought this 'ignore Genma' thing would work.

Anko, who had been in the seat across me, stood abruptly and cleared her throat to get our attention.


I ignored her too.

I was still somewhat miffed about the whole season thing. It's weird but, somehow, I feel kinda betrayed by Anko for keeping her host

identity from me. It shouldn't matter but it did.

I felt like she'd been baiting me for this had all been planned out and I was some disposable pawn in their twisted game of chess.

Great. Now they'd ruined chess for me.

Dropkicking the possibility of taking up mahjong instead, I propped my chin on my elbow and turned to face the window. In the distance, I

could see Peaches flying aimlessly through the air.

If seasons were as powerful as people say...and I am now a season, surely I should be able to escape without having to dig my way to

freedom with stolen cutlery.

Short of throwing me out, I'm at a loss at how to escape without using whatever it was The Tree had given me.

My chest warmed unpleasantly as the memory of the last time my 'gift' from Tree used itself.

I glanced at Sakura and Sasuke, who were sitting side by side on the other side of the table. I had noticed her send a smirk in Ino's direction

when she'd sat near the guy- like it was her greatest honour to breathe his air.

I remembered the blazing heat that had knocked me out because of my apparent disregard for Sakura's personal space (even though she

hit me first) and then the stinging coolness of Sasuke's chakra before Hinata's, that had been just right. Looking at the dark haired girl now, I

frowned slightly.

Hinata was staring out the window, looking as bored as I felt. She sighed and turned to me for a moment. I looked at her and she looked

back, her face blank of all expression before she smiled and turned away.

I just don't get that girl.

This whole week had me being forced to talk to almost everyone- except for her. I'm not sure whether that was coincidental or that we just

happened to always be situated really far from each other.

I found out that apart from Shika and Kiba, I could tolerate Ino and enjoyed talking to Tenten and Temari who were actually sport

enthusiasts, even though neither of them watch soccer.

For the winter trio, I reserved only grunts and nods as was done in the caveman days as our form of communication. It seemed to suit them

just fine.

"Tomorrow your actual training begins," Anko started. "And I'd like to thank you all for helping us with our chores this past week."

We glared…except for Lee, who shouted, "You're welcome!"

"I'd also like to say, I hope you all survive your training. You'll begin at six in the morning. A bus will take you to your destination tomorrow

and Shizune and Tsunade will meet you there. For today, you'll have to come with us on a forced road trip. Hurry up with your food, we'll be

leaving soon."

"I'm not going."

It took awhile for me to realize I'd said that out loud. What the hell was up with my brain-to-mouth filter? Dammit, now they'd all know I was

planning on skipping.

I shook my head at my own stupidity before realizing they were all staring at me. I stared back, raising an eyebrow at them before saying.

"Ignore me, I was talking to the voices in my head."

Anko sighed. "You don't have voices in your head."

"Are you a resident in my head? No? Didn't think so."

She rolled her eyes and continued to speak, explaining to everyone else things I just couldn't be bothered to care about.

Yuukimaru brought a cup of steaming hot chocolate and placed it by my side. I nodded a thanks at him and took a sip before my brain

mentioned how strange it was that Yuukimaru had brought me my own hot chocolate when I'd just poured myself juice. It also pointed out

that no one else had been served.

I shoved my chair back angrily and threw the mug at the wall where it shattered, sending hot chocolate all over the wall and surprising the


"What the hell is wrong with you people?"

While the other teens edged away from me, Anko and all the older farts just grinned. Orochimaru seemed impressed as he stated, "I didn't

think you'd notice."

Picking up the knife by my side, I was more than ready to carve up his face and give him something else to think about when I stumbled and

grabbed hold of the table to keep upright.

I loosened my grip on the knife and whispered, "Why do you keep drugging me?"

I looked up and right before I collapsed into darkness, I saw Anko mouth "I'm sorry".

Before my brain sputtered out, I made up my mind on what I'd do.

I was going to gain all the power they wanted me to learn to use so badly.

And I was going to use it to escape.

(I am a lazy page break. Pass me the remote)

I woke up to find myself moving. Contrary to popular sleep-walking belief...this is not a restful, exercising experience- especially when it's

not actually you doing the 'walking'...

I groaned as my head brushed against a pebble in the grass.

Yes indeed, I was being dragged by my leg...through the dirt."What the bloody hell do you think you're doing?"

Jiraiya just looked at me and shrugged. "You're heavy. I couldn't carry you the whole way."

Next to him, Kakashi glanced at me and his eye did that crinkly thing where it looks like his smiling...or smirking. I'm betting on the latter.

"Oh good," he said calmly. "You're awake."

The world seemed kinda lopsided, the effect of being kidnapped-again-and dragged around like a hefty carcass,

I indignantly, I pulled in my other leg and let loose a savage kick that connected -spectacularly, I might add- with Jiraiya's a sharp cry of

surprise, he let go of my leg and promptly landed face first in the dirt.

I took that chance to help his face be properly introduced to the landscape, pressing it into the dirt as I growled at him. "For the millionth

time, kidnapping. Is. Illegal. Jackass."

The last four words were said with me picking up his head and reacquainting it with the ground, followed by a lovely face-grinding before I

was easily pulled up off him and thrown toward Anko, who stepped out of the way and let me fall. I glared at her as Jiraiya looked up and

glared at me.

Yay, glaring competition.

I decided I should really start sleeping with sharp, pointy would save me so much trouble later on.

Jiraiya got up himself- seeing as how no one else seemed interested in helping him up- and stuck his nose up in the air proudly before

continuing to walk.

I smirked at the dirt on his face and felt somewhat vindicated. Not enough to enjoy the day but just enough to get me started.

I felt a soft nudge and turned to face Shikamaru.

Behind him, Kiba and Ino were holding back amused chuckles and I smiled slightly at them.

I looked around us and finally noticed we were in a forest.

"Where the hell are we?"

"In a forest."

"Yes, thank you Shika. Cause all the trees had me fooled there for a second."

As always, Shikamaru ignored my sarcasm and trudged on, following the the seasons and hosts were here- both old generation and new...

All walking like it was a pleasant hike they were taking us on.

"Where are we going?"

Ino shrugged, walking between Kiba and me.

"After they drugged you, they led us all to the Year bus and drove all the way out here before parking by the roadside and leading us

through the woods," she explained. "They say they're taking us to something called the 'Battle tablet'."

Battle tablet? Sounds like a super soldier drug.

Something ran past my feet and I frowned. Akamaru and Blaze were chasing Sakura's puma, followed closely by Kyuubi who was just

embarrassing me by bothering.

Sasuke's falcon was flying calmly over us, resting every now and then on Kakashi's head, sticking in a few twigs and bits of

grass before flapping vigorously and flying away again. I'm hard-pressed to say whether Kakashi's so into his porn that he can't feel the

large bird landing on his head every five minutes to perfect its nest...or he's just an idiot.

I barely listened to the others as I tried to take note of the thick forest around us. It was noisy with the calls of birds and other creatures that

had apparently deemed us non-threatening and thus, not worthy of their silence.

We were walking on a wide path that was covered with grass and yet somehow still noticeable as a path. To either side of us, the forest was

thick and the trees were so close together it reminded me of the fake barricade we'd drove into when we first got here. It was also pretty

dark in there but as there were no branches spread up over us, the path was bright with the sunlight.

"We're here."

I followed everyone's gaze at Tsunade's words and waited for all of them to pass.

Before us was a huge rundown building taken straight out of a Mayan temple magazine.

To say I was disappointed would have been the understatement of the century. This place was terrible. I opened my mouth to ask if we

were supposed to do the forest a favour and demolish it but then a small bird flew by and landed on a large brick from the roof's corner

before squawking loudly as the roof made a loud crumbling noise and fell to the ground in front of us, the bird escaping being crushed by it

only to be captured and eaten by Sasuke's falcon seconds later.

I closed my mouth.

Seems the forest was demolishing the building just fine.

"Alright!" Kakashi said cheerfully while everyone else was still eyeing Sasuke's falcon warily. "Let's go in!"

We stared at him.

He stared back.

"Oh right, of course. All hosts and partners, follow Anko! Seasons…"

Please tell us to go back, please tell us to go back, please tell us to-

"Let's go in!"

I can see my mind control abilities are alittle worn out. I blame my lack of ramen.

So far, what with being drugged at breakfast, dragged along the forest floor and now being ordered to go into a death trap, my only

consolation was that Genma wasn't here.

As you can see, I'm learning to appreciate the little things.

Anko led the hosts away along another path that went away from the ruins, every one of them except for Ibiki followed. Ibiki and Jiraiya both

came to stand behind me. Shooting a disinterested glance their way, I held back a smirk.

They thought I would try to bolt. Not that it hadn't crossed my mind but you'd think they'd have alittle more faith in me. I mean, sure these

past six days I'd tried to escape a total of seventeen and a half times but whose counting? I say 'half' because one of those times involved

me running toward the main gate back in Suna when they had been left open and being tranquilized just as I was almost halfway there.

Honestly, the bastards hadn't even waited for me to at least reach the gates before shooting me. My ass had hurt for two days straight and

Genma had been there to supply gay reasons as to why my ass was hurting. Needless to say, by the time I was through with him, his ass

was hurting too…and my shoe was worn out.

"Not planning on leaving, are you?" Jiraiya asked with a smirk.

I shrugged and walked in, not bothering to answer him lest they take that as an opportunity to slam something nasty down my throat. I

heard Ibiki and Jiraiya exchange a few words that were too low for me to hear and he walked away, leaving Jiraiya to handle me on my


I'm beginning to think that maybe the Seasons are secretly drug lords who're just trying to make a quick buck by getting people addicted to

their drugs through force-feeding. It made total sense if you think about it…excluding the others that is. But then again, maybe they don't

need the others. I'm pretty loaded and well, if they could get me addicted to their 'guren', I'd probably be responsible for a large percentage

of their profits.

I chuckled darkly to myself when I thought of that and looked up to see Hinata looking at me funny.

I'm not sure whether it's cause we've been subjected to way too much of the Winter guys' presence lately but she seems pretty withdrawn. I

looked away. I don't even know the girl so there's really no point speculating about her social norms when I don't even know what they are.

That first day, I'd had her pegged as a shy, quiet girl…but that had been shot to hell the moment she'd snapped at the Ice prince.

Sasuke was another issue altogether. He still gets on my nerves with his cool-guy act.

I get it, you're Winter, no need to be an ice-cold prick.

Granted, we haven't talked much after he was forced to apologize to me for the fight we had over my prank (which he still believes wasn't

me) but my instincts don't like him and I like my instincts.

Still, with my recurring dream where he tries to constantly save my ass, I'm almost led to believe the bastard might have a heart.

"DO YOUR BEST, SAKURA!" Lee shouted, giving her a thumbs-up for good measure. Sakura blushed and hurried away.

"See you later man!" Kiba called and I waved at him before sighing and walking into the building after hallway was dark and for a good few

minutes, all I could make out were the silhouettes of the people walking in front of me.I so wish I was a host right the end of the hallway, I

could make out a bright light and as we finally reached it and stepped out into the sunlight, we couldn't help the (greatly) disappointed place

looked horrible- like it had been left alone for a lot longer than 50 buildings were crumbling all around us and the stairs looked like they'd

laugh uncontrollably at us before collapsing if we so much as walked in their direction. Vines and bushes grew haphazardly everywhere and

as I looked down the steps, I could just barely make out a square courtyard.

"Is that it?"

I glanced at Hinata who was staring at the courtyard with a blank expression on her face. Sasuke looked pretty much the same and only

Sakura seemed somewhat excited about the platform below. Staring back at it, I sighed and took a step forward before I gasped and

backed like when I'd touched Sakura and nearly died of a heat stroke, the burning heat was back.

I looked down at the courtyard and stared what I could make out, the courtyard was divided into four equal parts and at the centre of each

was a season insignia. The one directly below us has the sun symbol- , I walked around passing the others as I moved toward the autumn

slab in the counterclockwise direction.I stopped in front of Winter's, having passed the spring slab, and stepped forward. The same thing

happened and I stepped back, shivering I looked back at the others, they all seemed to be watching me intently and I raised an eyebrow at


Why was it I always seemed to be the one experimenting with new, potentially deadly guren. It felt like they all just waited to see

if I'd die first before trying anything themselves. Granted, they'd taken their guren without being force-fed but I'm under the impression that

mine was the only slop-filled and Kakashi seemed amused by my antics but Orochimaru was eyeing me strangely and Tsunade had a small

smile on her face.

They are so weird.

"This is the Battle tablet," Orochimaru started, his eyes still on me. "It is carved out of dragon rock and should bring out your powers with

minimal levels of concentration. It's been used for sparring sessions since the very first seasons."

I turned away from him and noticed that they were all walking toward their allocated slabs.

"Watch us," Orochimaru continued. "You'll be up next."

The old guys all stood in front of the steps leading down to the courtyard and took in deep breaths as if bracing themselves.

Thier first step onto the steps had us all gawking at them. The vines and shrubs all seemed to slowly disappear as they made their way


Colour sprang up from nowhere and everything seemed more lively and bright...beautiful.

Like a Barbie movie.

It was disgusting.

"Watch," we were instructed

As soon as they each reached their insignia, it shone brightly and a huge gust of wind blew, throwing dust and leaves up into the air as it

spun around us. I shut my eyes instinctively and waited for it to pass and when it had, I was amazed. The buildings around us had

drastically changed. Where before they looked like ruins from an Indiana Jones movie, now they looked like they'd just been recently built

and open for business.

Like a themed amusement park...or a coffee shop.

I looked down at the four people below, standing on their insignias, and felt a pang of apprehension. Under different circumstances, I'd have

been quite impressed.

Suddenly, they all moved.

Tsunade crouched low, her legs spread apart as she placed one hand flat on the ground. Orochimaru drew a long stick- a scepter or something- from mid air and spun it in his hand, looking completely relaxed. Jiraiya crouched like Tsunade, his pose seeming to taunt hers and Kakashi turned the page of his little book o' porn.

A melody started to play, flowing through the air around us before coming to a slow, mournful halt.

At the end of it, Tsunade raised her hands and fire balls flew from them, aimed at the other three. Orochimaru waved his scepter and a

large thick wall of ice rose up from the ground and blocked Tsunade's attack. Jiraiya, showing off his old-man skills, simply dodged in a way

akin to the matrix before we heard a cracking sound and a cry of "My back!"

Kakashi sighed and turned another page as a tree sprang up from the ground in front of him and took the brunt of the flames.

I suppose by then it was fairly obvious that the battle tablet was...for battle.

Kakashi raised his book and jumped back just as what looked like little ice darts pierced through the tree trunk that had been his defense.

He edged back and stopped, lowering his porn for a moment before a tree grew out of the tablet from under him, letting him ride it like a

wave till it stopped growing, towering above all the others.

Tsunade snorted and placed her hands together before doing what would officially be one of the most amazing things I'd ever seen, riding a

ball of fire up to Kakashi's level. Orochimaru, not to be outdone, did the same on a slab of ice and I marveled at their power. It was


Like watching the Fantastic Four live.

I looked down, expecting something equally awe-inspiring from Jiraiya and struggled not to die from embarrassment as he lay there on the

ground, moaning about his back.


The other three continued their battle, completely ignoring Jiraiya as balls of flames, sharpened shards of ice and sprays of water met each

other in what was looking like quite the interesting spar between the three.

By this time, Kakashi seemed to finally be taking it seriously as he pocketed the orange book and lowered the mask, revealing his other

eye. The mask now only covered half his face and I could just make out the scar over his usually covered eye.

Was that why he wore a mask? It didn't look too bad. Heck, it kinda made him look cool.

As I was thinking this, the place suddenly got a lot darker and I looked up in surprise.

Dark clouds were gathering above us.


That sound from before, the lazy melody that had me thinking Shikamaru was its composer, rang through the air again.

The three Seasons all stopped and stood straight.

The fire and ice moved swiftly back to the ground and the tree Kakashi was on seemed to rumble as it disappeared into the ground. I

suppose that sound signaled the start and end of the session.

Jiraiya was up, holding onto his back like it was broken or something and they all walked back up to us, their successors.

I shook my head at Jiraiya.

"What was that?"

He smiled sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head. "I'm an old man…"

"It's not like you needed to confirm it," I sighed.

I could almost feel the smirks from the other three. At least they hadn't been embarrassed and knew what powers they had and what they

could use.

Tsunade had used fire; Orochimaru, ice and Kakashi had used water and…fertiliser? I mean, I don't know what power you'd need to be able

to make a tree grow like that but maybe Peaches' poop had its uses on the battle field.

"You're up."

My eyes widened incredulously at Jiraiya.

"Like hell I am."

He grinned. "Go on."

"Go on and do what? Break my back? You didn't show me anything. At least the others know what they can do but you just showed me how

to play dead…or old. I'm so not throwing myself into that ass-whooping."

But, as I was soon to remind myself as I tumbled down the steps, this was Jiraiya and the old man was not above pushing me down a

considerably large flight of steps.

Once I reached the bottom, I sprang up and gave Jiraiya the finger.

He was lucky I didn't break anything, the fat bastard!

It's funny how just a few days ago, I was one of those kids who believed in respecting their elders and now, I'm all for telling the old farts to

go to hell. Well…Just Jiraiya.

That sound went off again and I turned to eye the others warily.

Sakura was staring at her hands and suddenly, her fingers caught fire. She screamed and flung her arm about, apparently trying to put it out

while I watched amused.

Sasuke seemed to be in deep thought but when I looked closely, I noticed ice forming on a small patch of the tablet beneath his feet. Hinata

was apparently a natural and doing far better than the rest of us- especially me as I had no idea what to do. Swirling around her body was a

stream of water whose movement she was controlling with her hands. Her movements were smooth and flowing, just like a river and it was

beautiful to watch. All of a sudden, her eyes met mine and she smirked. I barely had time to duck as the jet of water shot right above me. I

glowered at her even as I thanked what little after-school activities I'd been involved in for my quick reflexes. I looked up just in time to



I glanced at Sasuke and could see the light pink tinge on his cheeks. Good. He should be embarrassed. Who the heck throws snowballs at

people in battle?

I ducked another pair of snowballs and then turned to Sakura who seemed to have finally figured out that the fire wasn't burning her. She

had a fireball in her hand and a satisfied grin on her face.

This could not end well…for me.

Now maybe it's just me but the three of them do seem to be ganging up on me.

Damn, I had to think this through.

Orochimaru had said something about concentration.

I ducked Hinata's water.

Concentrate on what?

Three snowballs whizzed by my ear.

What element does Autumn use?

I rolled on the ground to put out the fire that had caught my trouser leg.

What element?

Oh no, all three of them were taking aim at me.


The mournful sound filled the air again and they all froze even as I relaxed in hidden relief.

If I still had my cell phone I'd have made that my new ring tone.

I noticed the disappointed sighs of the other three and suppressed a glare. I turned away and hurried up the steps where I nearly fell all the

way back down again when Jiraiya clapped me hard on the back.

"Well done, Naruto!"

I blinked.

Well done?

Well done!

"For what? I didn't do anything!"

He shrugged. "Maybe so but you didn't die and that's what's important."


Tch, please.

"No offense to the others Jiraiya, cause they obviously have powers, but their attacks were hardly deadly," I looked down at my jeans.

"Well, maybe except for dying an accidental fiery death but that's about it."

He grinned at me and nodded.

"Jiraiya, what element does Autumn use?"


I nodded. "Yeah well, Spring obviously uses water, Summer uses fire and Winter uses ice. So what about Autumn?"

"You mean you?"

I snorted. "I mean you."

Jiraiya shook his head. "Well, it's hard to say…"

I frowned slightly before it dawned on me. "Autumn has no element."

I looked at him expectantly, waiting for him to deny it but he stayed silent.

I shook my head to try clear it of my growing frustration and started to walk back out the way we'd come.

I suppose it kind of made sense, alittle I think.

The closest thing Autumn had to power was dodging attacks. Jiraiya had seemed to be good at it before his back gave out and I definitely

was okay with it down there.

Was that Autumn's power?

Self preservation?

I sighed as I walked through the dark hallway.

I couldn't wait to get out. I felt so claustrophobic.

I guess I just didn't want to admit I was feeling disappointed.

Outside, we found the hosts waiting for us.

Anko smiled. "How'd it go?"

I shrugged and started off onto the path we'd used to get here.

I heard the other seasons arrive and start to talk loudly with the hosts but I couldn't be bothered.

I felt cheated.

Shikamaru walked up to me and walked by my side, not saying anything.

I never noticed before, but he's a good friend.

(I am a Chouji-hulk page break. I'd kill you for a cookie)

The walk lasted almost thirty minutes and I almost wished I'd been knocked out again and dragged.

We came up to the edge of the forest and I saw a large road with a tour bus parked by the side. This one had Year written on the side.

I walked toward it and tried the doors, glad when I found them open.

I took a window seat and Shikamaru sat by me, quietly taking Kyuubi from his pocket and placing him on my lap where the sleeping kit

continued to sleep.

I sighed and glanced out the window. I was fairly surprised to see the Suna mountain a great distance away.

Where the hell are they taking us?

When everyone was on, Ibiki started the bus and drove us further away from Suna.

While it was somewhat refreshing to be away from my prison, it wasn't all that great when all I got to see was trees.

I looked up at the sky. It was obviously way past noon.

Anko stood at the front of the bus and I wondered why she was the one doing all the talking.

"We'll now be headed into the Sunagakure Village. It's a long way away and I'd suggest you all get some rest. There you'll get to pick your weapons."

"Our weapons?" Sakura frowned.

"Yes," Anko grinned. "You didn't think you were going to kill demons with your bare hands, did you?"

Sakura paled and shook her head.


The ride was quiet as almost everyone took Anko's advice and fell asleep, including the Seasons.

Finally, after three hours, the only ones awake were Ibiki and me.

"Why aren't you sleeping?"

I didn't answer him. You'd think it would be fairly obvious why I wouldn't want to fall asleep in a bus full of people I didn't trust. Well, except

for Shikamaru but then again, if he's sleeping too, my trust would be wasted on his unconscious form.

"Can't sleep?"

Ibiki didn't strike me as the talkative type so I mulled over why he was taking the trouble to speak to me.

"Are you giving me the silent treatment?"

Now it was just getting weird.


"I just have nothing to say, alright?"

He was silent for awhile before speaking again. "You know, it's okay to feel that way."

I looked back out the window. "Feel what way?"

"Like you can't trust us."

"It's not a feeling."

He made a sniffing noise that I assumed was his version of a chuckle.

"Why do you keep trying to run away?"

I rolled my eyes at that. Was he seriously interrogating me from behind the wheel?

"You know, even if you do manage to leave, there's no one to replace you."

I snorted at that. "You wouldn't need to replace me. Autumn's a fairly useless Season to be."

"It does seem that way at first."

"I doubt it gets any better… Unless you need Autumn to act as bait while the other guys beat off the demons."

Ibiki laughed loudly at that one. "Well… you'll learn about team work soon enough."

That didn't make any sense.

"We're almost there."

I looked out the front and noticed the road slanting down.

"The village is in the valley."

I nodded absently and continued to watch as it slowly came into view.

Village nothing. The place was a live, bustling city!

There were cars and air balloons and a river running through it. There were large buildings in rows and rows of streets and what looked like

suburban homes.

"Welcome to the Suna Village."

We entered the city and all the noise seemed to wake up the others.

Ibiki drove past the many buildings and people and finally, somewhere in the middle of the small city, came to a stop at what must have

been the busiest place around- the market.

Anko got up and stretched, before leading us all off the bus.

"Let's grab something to eat first and then we can go get you guys your weapons."

We followed her, ignoring calls of the marketers-

"Cabbages! Get your glow in the dark cabbages here!"

"Eye of newt for your everyday spells!"

"Exploding hedges to keep nosey neighbours away!"

"Truth serum for cheating husbands!"

-yeah…we were definitely still not in the normal world.

Anko led us into a restaurant called "Saccharin".

Sounds sweet.

While I prayed they didn't just serve stuff like doughnuts and ice-cream, we were led to a table by a waitress who then just walked away

without asking us what we wanted.

"What the-" Kiba sputtered. "Shouldn't she have taken our order?"

Anko smiled covertly. "No need. Saccharin's well known for knowing exactly what you want."

Well…I won't believe that till I see it.

Kiba apparently agreed with me cause he was still grumbling ten minutes later when the same waitress returned with covered platters which

she set in front of each one of us.

She then bowed low and said, "Enjoy your meals."

With that, she walked away.

I stared at my covered plate apprehensively before taking in a deep breath and uncovering it.

The others watched me as I stared down at a bowl in disbelief.

It was miso ramen.

Ignoring all of them, I grabbed the chopsticks and dug in, moaning at the taste. It was delicious.

I barely noticed the rest uncovering the own food with exclamations of joy and wonder as they each found exactly what they wanted to eat.

Across me, Sasuke's meal of spaghetti and meat balls had a large helping of chopped tomatoes over it and for a second I wondered what

was up with that.

With that second gone, I returned to the wonderfully large bowl of ramen in front of me and continued slurping away.

I didn't even need seconds…or fifths.

The bowl was large enough that by the time I was done, I was perfectly satisfied- not stuffed or wanting just one more bite…but spot on.

I had a soda just as the waitress brought Anko the bill and disappeared again.

Anko pulled out a checkbook from her coat of many wonders and settled it.

With that, we got up[ and left, following Anko yet again into the busy streets till we came up to a dull-looking building with a faded sign. I

couldn't even make out the words.

Anko led the way in.

"Welcome to Wiley's Weapons Emporium," she announced proudly.

I raised an eyebrow at that.

"You can choose any weapon that strikes your fancy and we'll teach you how to use it…maybe. And no Kiba, you cannot actually buy a can

of Whoop-ass as they are sold in bulk."

"Anko?" A voice called from behind the rows and rows of things I could only assume were weapons.

"Wiley, get out here!"

Following a loud clanging noise, a sharp bang and a few choice swear words, a small man emerged from the mass of steel and wood with a

creepy smile on his face.

"Anko, how good of you to come."

Anko smiled as he took her hand and kissed it longer than should have been proper. I think he even added alittle tongue.

"Welcome all," he smiled at us before turning to face Tsunade. "Ah, Tsunade! Lovely as always!"

Tsunade eyed him warily before saying, "Touch me and die."

He cleared his throat uncomfortably and turned to the girls. "Ladies…"

They all shifted back as he spun round, his cloak flowing as he shouted, "Follow me!"

His shifty eyes and dark greasy hair reminded me of the shady characters one would see on most infomercials.

"Why do we have to get weapons here? Aren't there enough back at the castle?" Neji asked, eyeing the place distastefully.

Tch. Stuck up princess.

Anko snorted. "There are…but those are mine."

We all paled considerably. All those…just for her?

She noticed our looks and chuckled. "Of course, I share them sometimes."

"Nice," Sasuke rolled his eyes. "So what are we looking for?"


"What kind?"

"Of the killing kind."

Of course.

We're being bred to be killers.

"Go off and see if there's anything that catches your eye," Anko instructed. "If not, we'll have Wiley help you out."

We split and started to look at stuff that might interest us.

I was fairly bored as I picked up one weapon after the other before tossing it aside. Shikamaru had chosen to stay with me, probably cause

he figured I might pick up something he might like -like a water balloon- and save him a world of trouble.

I lifted up a dagger and showed it to him.

"You suck at darts."


I tossed it aside and held up a sword.

"You suck at Dungeons and dragons."

I rolled my eyes at that. Sucking at dungeons and dragons was definitely something to be proud of.

I threw the sword away and held up a lance.

"I doubt you'll be saving any damsels in distress."

Pick up weapon, listen to why I shouldn't get it, toss it away, pick up weapon, listen to why I shouldn't get it, toss it away…

It was a system that was working well for the both of us.

"Don't you think the Demon-riders would know all about these weapons?" Shika asked suddenly and I sighed.

"It's not like you can make up a weapon to surprise them," I pointed out.

"Why not?"

I shrugged. "Well, I suppose you could always throw a water balloon at them and watch as they dodge it and kill you anyway."

"It would save us a lot of trouble."

"I was under the impression you enjoyed life."

Shika sighed. "I just think death would be more taxing."


Well, maybe we could shock the demon riders with something new…like a landmine that shoots grenade-covered guns that shoot lasers.

"See anything you like?"

We both turned to face Wiley, who'd just sprang up from nowhere.

"Anything you have in mind?"

"I was thinking of a landmine that shoots grenade-covered guns that shoot lasers."

The man sighed and walked away.

Well, he did ask what I had in mind…

We looked around abit more, staying away from the rocket-launchers and eyed the firearms warily.

We'd finally made it passed the first row of weapons when Wiley called us.

"I have a great weapon for you gentlemen," Wiley announced from the end of the row.

He held up a club and I failed to see what was so great about it.

It had sharp spikes all around its head and pretty much looked like a medieval weapon.

"This is the morning star. Useful for bashing enemies over the head and when not on the battle field, for keeping your wife and kids in order.

It can also be used as a backscratcher!"

Yeah…I could totally see him in an infomercial.

"No thank you," Shika said dryly. "I've found what I want."

I stared at Shikamaru as he held up the weapon of his choice.


I blinked.

"Is that a board with a nail in it?"

He nodded.

"What the hell are you going to do with it?"

He shrugged.

I rolled my eyes at him. "Might as well get yourself a sharp pointy stick."

"I think they're sold out."


Wiley looked at us like we were wasting his precious time before turning away and motioning for us to follow, grabbing the board from

Shikamaru and throwing it away.

He led us into a back room filled with chests, trunks and drawers. He started to rummage through a large chest, almost falling all the way in

as he searched for what we assumed was something that would kill us both quickly and quietly.

Making a satisfied noise, he pulled out something and held it up to the light.

It was a glove.

He looked at me and grinned, handing it to me as he said, "I made it for the Autumn who…" he shook his head. "It'll suit you just fine."

The glove was fingerless and had the Autumn insignia of a leaf on it. It was all black with gold trimming and I knew this was what I was

getting whether it turned out to be an actual weapon or not.

I tried it on and it fit perfectly.

As I was admiring it, Wiley handed me a bow.

I stared at it.

He sighed impatiently and motioned for me to use it.

"But I have no arrows."

He grabbed me and placed me in front of a bull's eye target set on the wall.

"Just aim."

I felt foolish for doing what he said, especially with no arrow, but as I stretched my hand out over the bow as if I did have an arrow in my

hand, I watched in surprise as one actually did appear.

I let it go and it ran straight through the bull's eye.

Wiley grinned and clapped me on the back.


Yeah…it was.

"As for you…" He sighed, turning to Shikamaru.

Shikamaru frowned. "I'd like something that would take minimum effort and if possible, is thought controlled."

Wiley snorted and handed Shikamaru a locket.

He stared at it. "What's this?"

Wiley rolled his eyes at Shika's weapon-uneducated self and said, "It's a flame thrower."

Shika looked skeptical and held it up.

"Just think about being under attack."

A moment later, Shikamaru let out a very unmanly squeak as he dropped the growing locket which grew to be some contraption about his

size and looked like some kind of circular catapult.

Wiley handed Shika a string and told him to pull it, which he did. Flames appeared over the machine and were thrown up into the air,

crashing into the ceiling.

"Don't worry, my ceiling's fire absorbent."


Shika seemed to be pleased with the fact that he didn't have to load it, clean it, remember where he put its keys or aim. All he had to do was

let it know that he was under attack and the weapon did all the work for him.

"It's mostly suited for long range attacks," Wiley explained.

"What about for defense?"

Wiley's eyes widened in affronted shock and disgust. "A weapon? For defense?"

He spat out 'defense' like it was one of the seven deadly sins.

It was weird.

"I'm sorry," He said coldly. "My weapons are not for pansies who're afraid of death."

"It's for the courageous fools running toward their deaths?" Shika asked.


Sarcasm is obviously lost on the store owner.

By the time everyone was done getting their weapons, the most obvious being Sakura's lasso (which made me laugh cause I thought of

Wonderwoman's Lasso of Truth or whatever it was called. But hey, maybe it does other things) and Sasuke's sword.

We walked back to the bus with our purchases (Anko paid again) and were too tired to ask where we were going next. Anko told us anyway.

"It's too late to get back top Suna now. We'll have dinner and spend the night at a hotel before beginning your training tomorrow."

No one argued with her.

(I am a naked page break. Super boobs ACTIVATE!)

I was sharing a suite with Shikamaru and Kiba. At least we had our own beds though. We'd had dinner in the hotel lobby before coming up

to our rooms. The suite next door belonged to the Winter guys and I could almost feel the chill coming from there.

Kiba and Shikamaru were already in bed and I was the only one in the suite lounge, staring up at nothing.

It's almost midnight and I couldn't sleep. This time, it was my fault though. I didn't want to sleep. I had a short nap earlier but woke up cause

of that dream…the same boring one.

I'd found out at dinner that Sasuke had named his falcon, Kess and Sakura's puma is Toph. They both happen to be female. Guess they

weren't feeling too creative with names for these ones.

Kirin and Siam were safe somewhere and well, I didn't really see the point if they could be that easily replaced. Wasn't a bond with a partner

supposed to be something for life?

I looked at Kyuubi asleep on the cushion by my side and scowled. Maybe I could use the little furball to get dates. Girls love that sort of

thing, don't they?

I heard shuffling past our door followed by fast, harsh whispers, like people were arguing.

I crept closer to the door and pressed my ear to the cold wood.

"We have to go now."


"Everyone's downstairs already."


"The attacks already started! It was a bad idea to leave Suna unprotected."

"If we didn't, who was going to protect-"

"Look, that's not important. All the kids are here and they're all safe. We need to go save the people we left behind."

"And who'll stay to protect the kids if the attack's just a diversion?"

"We don't have time to argue about this! Leave Ibiki or someone but-"


I heard running footsteps which told me Anko had decided to ignore him and go along with her plan.

My brain was on overdrive.

Okay…so my dream had been real. The attack was going to happen…was already happening and they'd gotten us out of there to protect us.

They'd be distracted with everything.

This was my chance to escape.

I dashed to the bedroom and grabbed my jumper and wore my shoes. I opened the door just a crack, checking the brightly lit but empty



I ran down the hallway, away from the elevator and rushed down the emergency exit, running down the stairs as fast and as quietly as I


When I finally reached the ground floor, I stepped out into a cold alley and caught my breath. My heart was racing as I tried to think of my

next step.

I crept toward the building's edge and saw the tour bus along with five smaller cars.

I could see Anko at the entrance talking to Ibiki and Kakashi while Jiraiya and Tsunade were both seated behind the wheels of the other

cars, with Shizune in Tsunade's car. Orochimaru was in one of the cars with Kabuto at the wheel.

I assumed Kakashi and Anko were taking the last two cars.

If I stayed low, I could make it to the last car without anyone seeing me.

I practically crawled to the car, not even thinking that maybe the alarm was on or that it was locked or that maybe it wasn't the brightest idea

for me to get in the car with one of them knowing that if I got caught they'd just bring me back.

But I was betting on the fact that they needed to get back to the castle immediately…and that they were too busy to notice me.

I opened the back door and crept in, shutting it quietly. I crouched behind the driver's seat, hoping whoever was driving wouldn't need to

adjust their seat and try to crush me. I couldn't get into the boot not knowing how long the drive would take or if I'd be let out.

The aim was to get away, not to die trying.

"We don't have much time!"

I heard Anko speak before the front door was thrown open and shut as she got in.

I stayed silent, barely breathing while she started her engine and pulled out.

If they were in such a rush, how were they going to get to Suna on time? It had taken us almost all day just to get from the castle to the

village and here they were hoping that driving really fast would get them there on time?

It didn't make sense.

"Tora Serem…"

The words were whispered but there was no doubt in my mind as to what they were.

It was rumored that Seasons and hosts could use magic…and that in their world, magic was a commonly used element.

Anko had just used Veloran…which is like Latin, a magical language.

She'd just used a spell.

Suddenly, my stomach felt heavy like it does when you're in an elevator and I almost gasped as I risked a glance out the window.

The stars seemed much closer than they were before.

The car was in the air.

We were flying.

I thanked the powers that be for my lack of airsickness as Anko was most definitely one of the worst pilots ever. She swerved in and out of

clouds like there was traffic.

Now, unless there were some migrating ducks in her way, there was no need for the reckless flying.

As she flew I tried to think of what I'd do when…or if…I finally got back to my own world.

I couldn't go back to school… I'd have to leave town and continue my education from somewhere else, hopefully a small town where people

rarely talked about the Seasons. Wishful thinking on my part.

Staying in Konoha was a definite no.

I'd either be ridiculed for being an ungrateful bastard or they'd send me back.

I don't know why people just can't accept the fact that there will be people who can't stand the Seasons…people who think the world would

be better off without them.

It would have made more sense to me if I'd been chosen as a demon rider.

Even as I thought that, I shook my head.

I hated the riders almost as much as I hated the seasons.


Suddenly, I heard a loud roar.

It chilled me to the bone and for the first time, I wondered if maybe this whole 'escape' thing was such a bright idea.

Anko was headed toward the demon riders and their demons.

To fight.

My heart hammered loudly in my chest in fear as the car jerked in the air and Anko swore softly.

I just hoped she didn't jump out of the car and dive into battle without at least parking properly.

Another growl and I had to fight back the fear that had me frozen behind Anko's seat. I had to get away.

I bit my lip to keep silent and the next thing I knew, it felt like the car was hurtling through the air, propelled by the seductive pull of gravity.

We hit the ground hard and it was a miracle my teeth didn't break through the skin of my lip. The door was thrown open as Anko ran out

without shutting it.

I waited.

The ground shook and I could swear my heart stopped.

Shouts and cries filled the air and I could smell smoke. By now, I was dying to know what the hell was going on.

I raised my head slowly and looked up.

The light confused me and for a second, I wondered whether the sun was coming up before a sharp blast shook the ground as well as my

brain- enlightening it to the fact that the light was from a blazing inferno. The castle grounds were on fire.

Anko had landed the car a short distance from the gates and I could make out large creatures breathing fire onto the grounds, looking

ominous in the glare of the red glow.

I heard a soft sound and looked down.

Oh no.

A small face was looking up at me from my jumper pocket.

"What the hell are you doing here? I left you on the couch!"

The fox seemed amused by that.

Frustrated and knowing this wasn't the safest place to berate the fox, I opened the door and fell out of the car, noticing that the other cars

were all closer to the gates.

The gates were open and I edged closer, pausing when I realized what I was seeing.


Burning everything down.

My heart stopped as my brain reminded me that I was here to escape, not to do anything rash or foolish.

My brain took action and moved my legs, toward home...away from all this madness.

But then I heard something.

A desperate cry for help… at least that was how it sounded to me.

As I turned back to the scene before me, I knew I was way out of my league. I couldn't fight fire-breathing monsters... I had to leave but my

body wouldn't listen.

Taking myself toward the unorthodox barbecue, I knew I was doing something completely idiotic. Throwing my life away like this...

But it felt right. Rushing toward my doom without a second thought.

I dashed toward the gates and the fox in my pocket was silent.

I spotted Kakashi was in the air, atop Peaches. From him, waves of water blasted down at the dragons below them, drenching them and

putting out the fires at the same time. I watched, entranced.

Kakashi aimed with his hands and giant jets of water sprayed out from nowhere, and as they poured out, Peaches breathed fire, heating the

water and burning he dragons and their riders with both the boiling water and the steam- killing them if their cries and subsequent silences

before they fell to the ground were anything to go by.

Anko was on top of Manda, spinning around.

I couldn't tell what she was doing from here but every dragon that tried to get near her quickly fell.

I couldn't see the others but in the distance, I could barely make out large balls of fire that I had to assume were Tsunade and Shizune with

Ceres. Orochimaru and Jiraiya were farther away. I could see Gamabunta in the distance and was confused as to why Manda was with

Anko, instead of Orochimaru.

I stumbled momentarily when I was finally past the gates. There were no guards on the walls and I searched frantically for whatever had

made me come this way.

The place was starting to look like the scene in the dream I'd had.

I heard a sharp cry of anguish and followed it.

I rushed toward the sound and strained my ears. I ignored the battle sounds, surprised when they actually seemed muffled as I

concentrated on the noise I'd heard.

I rushed into the forest, running past the trees, jumping over stumps and coming to a sharp halt when, in a familiar looking clearing, I

spotted a man in a black cloak, holding a sword and pointing it at Gaara...who also had a sword in his hand.

I heard a soft groan released and I looked to the side, noticing the red headed janitor- Juugo, lying underneath a huge tree trunk. He was

obviously in a lot of pain and as I finally realized, Gaara was protecting him from the cloaked guy. Gaara's back was to Juugo and his step

faltered momentarily.


Gaara's side was covered in blood. He was injured- badly.

Shit, shit, shit...

The man sprung forward and without thinking, I picked up a stick and moved forward too, rushing to block his sharp, pointy sword with my

branching, wooden piece of weaponry.

I didn't get to see Gaara's reaction to my sudden appearance as I was too busy shaking.

The man had stopped and started to laugh his ass off when he'd seen me valiantly protecting Gaara with a stick.

I felt really foolish.

Great, not only was I going to die- I was going to die a horrible embarrassing death.

I almost wished I'd carried my glove with me.

In the next moment, I felt myself being shoved and the man's laughter came out as a choked, garbled grunt.

Gaara had his sword in the man's chest. Right through his heart. I thought I noticed a light blue haze leave the cloaked man's eyes as he

tried to clutch as his chest.

The red head pulled out his sword and the man fell to the ground with a noisy thud.

"What are you doing here?"

I was surprised at Gaara's annoyed tone.

"Uh...trying to help?"

"You'll get killed. Go away."

I glared at him and he fell. For a moment I wondered if my glare had finally gained enough potency to kill but as I watched him swear as he

held his side, I figured it was his wounds.

"You're injured," I said unnecessarily.

He glared. "No shit."

Another groan had me swearing loudly as I moved forward, rushing to where Juugo was.

I noticed that one of the branches had pierced his side and was helping the rest of the tree pin him to the ground.

"Damn it."

Just as I was wondering how the hell I'd get the trunk off of him, there was a loud crash.

The tree-hating giant raccoon was back.

"Help him."

It looked at Gaara and bowed before moving to me and, ignoring my very presence, proceeded to lift the tree trunk off of Juugo, throwing it

to the side before disappearing again.

I fell to my knees next to the big guy whose blood was now gushing freely.

"Shit, shit, shit, shi-"

"Stop swearing and bandage him up."

I wanted to glare at Gaara so badly but decided to do it later. My hands were shaking as I ripped open Juugo's shirt, thankful that I used to

actually pay attention in First aid class. I hurriedly checked for pieces of grass or wood before shrugging off my jumper. I grabbed part of my

shirt and tore at it, leaving my wife beater intact. I made quick strips and held Juugo up as I reached round him, bandaging him up quickly to

stop the bleeding. When mine ran out, I tore his shirt, using it till all that was left was his long-sleeved undershirt. I sighed when I was done,

glad that it actually did seem to stop the bleeding.

I lay him back down, knowing I couldn't move him and I ran back to Gaara.

"What happened?"

His breathing was shallow and I noticed he'd lost a helluva a lot of blood.


"Does swearing make you feel better in these kinds of situations?"

"Will you just shut up and tell me what to do?"

Gaara snorted. "How can I shut up and tell -"

"Stop being a smartass. You're bleeding."

"Yes, I know."

"Shit, man-"

A rustle behind me and the widening of Gaara's green eyes had me turning immediately.

Another man in a dark cloak was staring at us. His pale blue eyes shone with bloodlust as he smiled.

"Who're you? A boy servant without their uniform?"

Far from wondering what the hell he was talking about, I was getting frustrated.

I was having the worst fucking day of my life.

I grabbed Gaara's sword and stood, shaking in anger.

"I just can't catch a freakin' break today!"

The man looked surprised but stood still as I glared in fury. "I find out that every other season and their grandma can control an element and

I can't! I get drugged again! I have every little girl's dream pet as my bloody battle partner! I nearly escape this hell hole, NEARLY, but no, I

had to come in this stupid place to help and this bloody idiot-" I point at Gaara with his sword. "-practically tells me I'm in the way and that

guy-" I point at the dead man. "-had the nerve to laugh at me! I mean, sure I was carrying a stick but really, there's such a thing as courtesy


"You talk too much."

That was it.

I barely noticed the sand and leaves that were swirling at my feet, or the fact that they were slowly creeping up my legs.

I was pissed.

The man seemed surprised and whispered, "You're a Season."

He quickly blocked my sword as I swung it at him, shouting in frustration.

He smirked and I swear I saw red.

The sand and leaves moved swiftly over my body, swirling round my arm and onto the sword.

"Little boy-"

"Fuck you."

Little charges of what looked like lightning flashed around the sword, moving in random swirls from the hilt to the blade. The next moment, I

swung again and when he block it, he swore loudly in anguish and fell, clutching at his eyes. They were bleeding.

I looked at my sword and dropped it, the blade had been encased in glass- glass that had shattered when he'd tried to defend himself. In

the back of my mind, I remembered learning something in school about how glass could be formed when lightning struck sand…

"Naruto... kill him."

I stared at Gaara, open mouthed.


I looked at the man writhing on the ground, cursing my ancestors and I shook my head. I couldn't kill him.

I couldn't kill anyone.

My rage and fury forgotten, I sank to the ground.

What the hell was going on?


"Shut the hell up!"

Gaara must have realized that talking to me when I was having a massive breakdown wasn't the best of things to do at the moment cause

he didn't try speak again. I moved toward him, ignoring the bastard who was still whining about his eyes on the ground a few feet away. I

grabbed my jumper and put it back on. I was sure Juugo had passed out but when I glanced over, his eyes were slightly open and his chest

was moving so I calmed down slightly. I needed to go get help but I could still hear battle cries in the distance.

"Naruto, behind you!"

I spun round and froze.

Another cloaked guy was here, his eyes shining brightly as he glared at me. He didn't seem too concerned about his friends on the ground.

He raised one giant sword and I just knew this was it. I was so dead. Gaara's sword was too far away and I couldn't crawl there fast enough.

Even if I did, I couldn't really use a sword... Didn't really know how... except for my experience with video games.

"So... You managed to kill one of my comrades eh?"

I frowned. "Gaara did it. I just kinda blinded the other one... who's still alive."

He didn't care.

"I really think you should help him. He's hurt."

The man just chuckled and when he looked at me, I stared in surprise. Were all their eyes this kind of pale blue? Were they all related or


He raised his sword menacingly as he started to walk toward me.


"Swearing isn't helping," Gaara stated calmly.

"Yeah well, neither are you." I hissed. "What do we do?"

"Die with honour."

"Apart from that."

"I really can't think of anything else."


Just as the man got close enough to kill us, something dropped out of my pocket. We all stopped and looked down at the red-gold ball of

fuzz that was glaring menacingly at the cloaked man.

"Is this thing for real?"

Before we could answer, Kyuubi spread out his hind legs and let out a growl.

An actual growl.

A loud, ear-splitting growl.

Kyuubi then abruptly stopped and stared at the frozen man cutely. The man then let out a scream- a scream of someone in agonizing

pain...and fell to the ground. I carefully moved toward him, grabbing his sword and throwing it aside before he could scramble back up and

kill us.

Kyuubi yipped and tugged at my pants leg.

I looked down at him. " grew a tail!"

The little furball jumped, wagging its tail and I picked him up, placing him in my pocket. He poked his head out and stared up at me.

"Whoa, what did he do?" Gaara asked in awe.

I looked down at the man and paled.

Blood was running from his ears and nose...and his eyes, even though they were shut, looked wide and swollen. I was sure they'd burst

from whatever super hero fox growl Kyuubi had let loose on him.

He looked a proper bloody mess and I couldn't-


I fell to my knees on the forest floor, holding my stomach. The sight and smell of blood were getting to me. The dead men -both of them- on

the forest floor were making my head spin. The screaming one wasn't helping either.

My hands were still covered in Gaara and Juugo's blood.

"Hey, you okay?"

I didn't answer. I backed away from Gaara when he tried to touch my shoulder. Memories of another time flooded my head...

Blood everywhere...

The smell of burnt flesh...

People screaming for help...

All my fault...

"Get away from me."

"Naruto, you need to calm down."

I stared back at Gaara, pissed off beyond belief, but for the moment I couldn't gather enough energy to scream and yell. All I could think

about was how I wasn't cut out for this.


"I just wanted to help... I didn't want to be here... I don't want to be a bloody Season!"

I leaned against a tree trunk, half expecting another dude in a cloak to come try to kill us. Kyuubi crawled up my jumper and licked my face

and that moment was the most comforting I'd had all week. I placed him on the ground.

"Thanks Kyuu."

"That's okay."

I stared.

It just... He just…


"You just...talked?"

Kyuubi chuckled and I gaped.

The little guy then trotted over to Gaara and licked his hand. A second later, he was licking Juugo's hand and I wondered whether he had

some sort of licking fetish.

"Your partner," Gaara started, looking at his side and standing like his wound was completely healed. "What is he?"

I wondered what he was talking about but Juugo stood up, Kyuubi held gently in his hands.

"He...healed us."

I blinked. "Really?"

There was rustling and footsteps and we all froze.

Someone else was coming.


I slumped in relief. It was Yuukimaru.

He looked at me momentarily before turning to Gaara.

"We need to get out of here. Everyone's in the cellar and civilians are safe. The seasons are going to destroy the place."

I blinked. "Cellar?"

Like a basement?

Yuukimaru nodded briefly before turning away. I grabbed Kyuubi and placed him back in my pocket. Yuukimaru led the way through the

trees back toward the castle, explaining as we ran.

"The seasons have led them a short way away and we only have fifteen minutes!"

"Where's the cellar?" I asked, panting.

"Near the accountants building!"

I paled. "But that's across the castle! We won't make it in time!"

"Not if we go through the castle!"

Before I could respond, we'd reached the entrance.

We ran up the steps and into Year where Yuukimaru tugged on my jumper. "This way!"

Instead of turning left and going to the Autumn wing, we went right. The blazing sun on the twin doors had me pausing momentarily but

Yuukimaru threw them open and ran in.

Juugo and I followed Gaara into the summer hall.

I rushed in and stared.

The hall was a dark shade of blue, like the night sky…or a vacuum in space. Little fireballs were floating around the halls, surrounded by

other balls that closely resembled planets. It was a beautiful sight... The hall looked like a tiny portion of the universe had been cut out and

thrown, miniaturized into Summer's hall. It was stunning.


"You won't be able to appreciate it if you're dead," Gaara stated, pulling me forward.

We ran up to the end of the hall where there was a dead end.

Yuukimaru ran straight for it, jumping as he reached the end and…passing through the wall.

Knowing I'd probably hesitate again, Juugo picked me up and ran with me toward the wall. I yelled and shut my eyes as we went right

through it. Juugo put me down as Gaara appeared behind us.

The hall had snowflakes of varying shades of blue and white, falling onto white and blue snow on the ground. The ceiling was covered with

puffy white clouds, dropping the snowflakes down onto us.

It was chilly but somehow, it seemed like it was perfect for the Winter guys.

"No one got into the castle?" Gaara asked uneasily.

Yuukimaru shook his head. "It's like they knew the seasons were gone. They didn't bother."

Gaara nodded.

"Alright, let's go."

We ran through the hall, passing doors with plaques and names on them before we got to twin doors that served as the usual entrance for

the Winter hall. Leaving the hell, we came to a large room with steps leading to a pair of door with a droplet of water set on them in blue


Yuukimaru led the way again as we ran into Spring hall and I gaped. The floor was flooded and a bunch of umbrellas of rainbow colours

were arranged in a perfect line to the end of the hall. Light rain was falling from the ceiling but the water on the floor never rose above the

level of flooding it was at already. Falling with the rain were various colours of flower petals, flowing as if in a breeze, unaffected by the

raindrops. The flowers swirled as they fell, landing gracefully in the water before vanishing after seconds, only to fall again.

The only thought that occurred to me was that this was the most beautiful wing, to me…and it suited Hinata perfectly.

I could see the wall in the distance and frowned. "Does that wall lead to my wing?"

"No," Juugo said patiently. "It leads to the outside."

Yuukimaru looked at his watch. "Five more minutes."

As we sprinted, it occurred to me that we were on the second story…and if the wall led to the outside-

I shut my eyes as we ran through it and bent my legs as we fell, bracing myself for the landing.

I was right.

My legs stung as they met the ground as I fell forward.

"Is the cellar that indestructible?" I asked breathlessly.

The dragons in the distance were fighting valiantly with Peaches and Gamabunta.

"Yes," Yuukimaru said, getting up and getting us all to follow him through the back way, brushing past hedges as we made our way to the

Accountants building. "Once it locks, no one can get in and-" he glanced at the watch on his hand. "-it locks in two minutes."

Seeing that as motivation, we pushed forward and finally reached the damn building.

Juugo slammed right into the door, apparently saving us from wasting time by turning the knob. He turned right in the dark and we followed

him down a short flight of stairs before getting to a room that looked like the basement.

Yuukimaru hurriedly moved a shelf and pulled open what looked like a safe. It came open, revealing the hundreds of people inside. One

more minute, I estimated.

Yuukimaru got in, followed by Juugo and-

"So that's where the infamous safe is…"

Gaara and I spun around.

There was a someone standing a few feet away from us.


Before I could think, I shoved Gaara through the safe door, grabbing his sword as I did.

Before Gaara could come back through, I shut the door in his face.

"That was either really brave or really stupid."

I took in a deep breath and turned to face my would-be murderer.

"I tend to do stupid things under the guise of bravery."

He laughed and somehow, it didn't strike me as the usual evil laugh that comes with a moustache twirl and a bad toupee.

I held up the sword and he chuckled.

"That won't do you any good."

"I know."

He stepped toward me and I raised the sword, waiting for him attack.

"I'm not here to hurt you, you know."

I snorted.

He shrugged. "Okay, I know it looks bad cause we destroyed your pretty grass and killed some of your soldiers but that's only cause they

wouldn't hand you over."

I rolled my eyes. "Yes, yes. We know all about your plan to kill the new Seasons."

This time he laughed really hard and I grew irritated. It's not like I was an aspiring clown.

"The Seasons?" he gasped in between breaths. "No, silly. We're here for you."

Me? He obviously had me confused with somebody else.

I tensed and the next second, he was behind me, his gloved hand pressing lightly against my neck where I knew there was a pressure


"Yes, Naruto…You."

As I fell unconscious again, I wondered if people got some sort of thrill from kidnapping me.


A/N: I hope the chapter was alright. on my update list is probably Falling For Him...probably.

If not, there's An Unlikely romance...

PS: Thanks for pointing out the errors guys, I went back and hopefully corrected all of them...but FF keeps messing up my spacing!

Had to delete it the first time I uploaded it cause it was cramped and lost a few words.

Also, to note a few things: Hinata, Naruto and Genma are OOC. I know and I apologize if you don't like that. It just seemed to fit

with how I wanted to portray them in this fic…and I usually cant stand a fainting, stuttering Hinata, even though I really like her

(fan girl alert).

For Kishimoto's home address, press 1.

For Sasuke in a bikini, press 2.

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