Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, Inuyasha, or any of their affiliated characters. They respectively belong to Masashi Kishimoto and Rumiko Takahashi. Full credit for these wonderful characters and worlds belong to them.

I'm using Naruto, Sakura, Bankotsu, and Kagome, along with various others, for pure entertainment. The plot twists I do take credit for.

XOXOXO:

If you haven't read Xx-Filipino-Fury-xX's stories yet, you're seriously missing out on a real treat! He has a fabulous Zombie/Inuyasha story called "The Undead." And for those of you who enjoy reading about gangs check out "Gang Affiliations."

XOXOXO:

Chapter Nineteen:

Kagome froze, surprised when Bankotsu opted to leave her with the group after his adamant demands that she go with him.

He's remained within sight, so he probably wants to move without restrictions.

She and the others watched while Bankotsu moved into position. Each precise movement proved beyond any doubt just how deadly the man was. The fine hairs on her arms and the back of her neck rose as tension filled the air. She held her breath for fear of disturbing him.

From the shadows of the bushes Bankotsu's gaze scanned the area as he calculated the distance between his opponents, along the narrow winding dirt road up a hill.

Moving with the stealth of a panther Bankotsu silently wove through the foliage alongside the road. He drew up behind his targets and struck like a snake, with a knife-hand chop to the backs of the two missing nins' necks.

This is too easy.

One at a time he dragged them into the heavily forested area, laying them next to the base of one of the largest trees. Using vines he bound their hands and feet behind them and then faced the group with a smirk.

"That was so awesome!" Lee bounced from foot-to-foot. "I've never seen anything quite like it. You were-"

"Yo, muzzle him, will ya?" Bankotsu instructed Naruto, jerking a thumb in Lee's direction.

"Lee," Naruto grinned and draped an arm over his enthusiastic friend's shoulder, "settle down, man."

The enthusiasm left Lee's face and his eyes dulled.

"Keep it quiet," Bankotsu addressed the group and then nodded satisfied they would remain semi-quiet.

Lee gazed at Sakura, who frowned.

"We'll wait until dark to enter the encampment," Bankotsu commanded in a firm, low tone so it wouldn't carry past his group. Grasping Kagome's hand he tugged. "Might as well get comfy while we wait."

Kagome blinked and settled in to sit beside him.

Shikamaru mentally replayed the quick, thorough movements Bankotsu used to overcome his opponents. Didn't take this guy long to formulate and carry out an effective strategy… He's smarter than he pretends. He gazed at the sunlight through the canopy and sighed. A soft breeze teased the group with a brief stint of coolness before the heat wrapped around them again.

"You're always laying back looking at the sky. What's up with that?" Naruto rolled his eyes.

Shikamaru stared at Naruto and then shrugged and went back to watching the sunlight filter down.

"Are you okay?" Kagome asked, with a hand on Shikamaru's shoulder. She blinked when Bankotsu immediately snatched her hand off Shikamaru and raised a brow at her.

Kagome freed her hand from Bankotsu's and then folded her hands in her lap and waited.

"Just waiting." Shikamaru gazed at her soft features. She doesn't act like any of the mikos I've heard of. Not that there were many to begin with…

"Enough squawking," Bankotsu warned, keeping Kagome next to him while he glared at the group until they remained silent.

He didn't understand why Kagome trying to comfort the new guy bugged him so much. After all that was her nature and part of what made her such a good person. Still, he didn't want her touching the guy. She had Bankotsu to rely on for protection and stuff. She didn't need the other guys.

Kagome glanced at Bankotsu and then stared at the dirt. All I did was ask if he was okay. She sighed and then picked up a stick and absentmindedly drew in the soil.

Bankotsu watched her actions somewhat amused, but the majority of his attention remained on the group around them. He still didn't know any of them well enough to trust them alone with her for long.

He smirked and rubbed his jaw, reminiscing over the pink-haired girl's temper and punch. She was a tough girl for sure, but a bit too mouthy and hot-headed for his comfort. They would clash and argue constantly. She needed a strong man to handle her…

He stared at the guy Kagome had touched. The one he knew the least about. Even the others rarely said anything about him. From what Bankotsu had observed so far, he was quiet and calculating. He'd have to be watched… especially around Kagome.

She was too innocent at times and would be easily taken in by people… Bankotsu would have to remain close by for her own good, to ensure she didn't fall for any sob stories any of these people tried to ply her with.

Bankotsu stared at Lee, who tried in vain to get Sakura's attention. He reminded Bankotsu of an eager, lost puppy following after an indifferent master. Easily excitable, eager to please, desperate for the slightest crumb of attention... Excitability was good and kept people feeling young… But, sometimes the situation called for silence. He wondered how often this kid ended up blowing missions by being too loud?

His gaze settled on the grinning blonde, who had a lot in common with Inuyasha. Not just the demon part… The kid was always raring to go into battle. He obviously cared a lot for his friends, but didn't think too much before going off half-cocked. And he loved to mouth off.

Bankotsu chuckled to himself. He turned his mind to the imminent task, drawing close at hand. Infiltrating the camp site would be child's play. First he'd do a bit of recon, just as soon as the sun fully set.

He hated leaving Kagome behind even for that brief of a time, but he'd remain within hearing distance of her, so she'd be okay. Plus, she could always shoot the others with her arrows, or unleash that feisty temper of hers on them. Now that would prove rather entertaining. He smirked as the sun finished setting. It's time.

Bankotsu stood and motioned for everyone to remain put and silent, then he worked his way up the road, keeping to the coverage of trees and crouched down, listening to the two occupants of the campsite.

"Naruto's really improved this past year."

"Indeed."

"So, how are you enjoying the latest book?"

"It's okay."

"Okay? Seriously? How is it?" He heard some feet shuffle. "I put a lot of research into that one, you know?"

"Watching naked women bathe is hardly what I would call research," the second voice spoke calmly, in an almost bored tone.

"Oh, come on. Do you know how long I have to stay concealed to get good stuff for those books you're so fond of?"

"If a naked woman walked in front of you right now, you'd be slapped, while I remained hidden. I've perfected my hiding skills."

"If a naked woman walked by, you would be too shocked to move."

The first voice laughed. "You're probably right. It would be great though."

He heard the book close and the second man emitted a sigh. "These books end too quickly."

"You've finished it already?"

Hm, maybe I should rip Kagome's shirt and send her in there to distract them? Heh. Bankotsu mentally laughed. That would distract these two. Still I don't know much about their skills… However they know Naruto.

Bankotsu silently made his way back to the others. "Yo, Blondie, you and Kagome are coming with me. Remain silent." He faced the others. "The rest of you stay here and be quiet."

Bankotsu led Kagome away by the hand and moved even slower so her moves wouldn't alert the two in camp. Within walking distance of the camp, he gently rested Banryu against a tree where she would be safe and continued on his path.

Naruto followed them eager to see this guy in action without his strange weapon.

Bankotsu, Kagome and Naruto all crouched behind the trees and listened to the men talk.

"Naruto has learned a lot in a short time."

"He is a good student."

Bankotsu watched Naruto's eyes light with recognition. So, he does know them… Bankotsu lead Naruto and Kagome away without a sound, to a safe enough distance to talk.

"Okay Blondie, who are they?" His eyes narrowed. "Don't pretend ignorance either. I saw the recognition on your face when they spoke and they used your name." His arms crossed over his chest and he widened his stance.

"Kakashi sensei and Pervy Sage," Naruto grinned. "Leave it to Granny Tsunade to make a routine mission more difficult. She must really want to test you."

"What skills do they have?"

"Pervy Sage-"

"Why do you call him that?" Kagome frowned. "Please tell me he's not another Miroku."

"Who's Miroku?" Naruto's brows furrowed in confusion.

"The skills?" Bankotsu huffed.

"Oh yeah." Naruto grinned. "Well, We call Kakashi Sensei the copy Ninja, cause he can copy just about any kind of jutsu any of us use. He's gonna be a handful for you." His grin widened. "Plus, he's a powerful Ninja."

Bankotsu nodded and absorbed the info. "And the other one?"

"Ah… he's one of the legendary Sanin. As powerful as Granny Tsunade, but loves to summon his toads."

"Toads?"

"Yup." He grinned like a kid in a candy store. "Huge toads, that leap really far and some breath fire."

"What about the rest of your group? What can they do?"

"Shikamaru is a killer strategist, and has this neat Shadow jutsu where he can control or restrict your abilities to move if he touches your shadow."

"So. not as lazy as he looks?"

"Don't let that fool you. Lee doesn't use jutsu though, he's just really fast."

Bankotsu nodded. "Let's go back to the group for now." He led Kagome and Naruto back.

"Hey guys, it's Pervy Sage and Kakashi sensei." Naruto's eyes lit with excitement.

"Hm, well… this changes things," Shikamaru sat up and stared at Bankotsu. "What will you do now?"

"I'm still thinking." Bankotsu stared at him. "I'm not waiting for daylight, so your tricks won't work." He turned to Sakura. "You, how often can you power up your fists?"

"When I need to." She blinked. "Why?"

"Sakura and I have battled Kakashi sensei before. He was our teacher. And pervy Sage-"

"Naruto, at least use his real name," Sakura chastised.

"Juraiya," he sighed, "also trained me."

"So, you know them both pretty good," Bankotsu surmised.

"Why do you call him Pervy Sage?" Kagome scowled.

"Because he is like the biggest perv I've ever met." Naruto grinned. "I'd use my sexy Jutsu, but they both know it already, so it wouldn't work well."

Bankotsu smirked. "Interesting… we'll talk more about that one later. For now…" He took Kagome by the hand and led her away. "I want you to distract them."

"Me? How?" Her eyes widened and then narrowed. "Please tell me you do not plan on sending me in there naked?" Her cheeks flushed. "If you-"

"Not naked, just trust me." He reached over and patted her arrows. "Just do what you do best, okay?"

"Alright." She smiled, happy to oblige. "Just tell me where you want me."

"Only use the arrows to cancel out their creepy magic." He grinned. "Otherwise, leave it to me."

"This should prove interesting," Shikamaru whispered, alerting the mercenary that he and the others had followed.

"You all stand back and watch." Bankotsu smirked before exiting the trees.

Kagome remained where he'd left her and kept her hands on her bow, ready to draw as needed.

Sakura stood well back and shrugged. So, Mr. Badass wants to do it alone… That should prove interesting. He could benefit from being humbled by more experienced fighters. She grinned, eager to watch the lesson he was about to learn.

Does this guy seriously think he and the girl can take on two of our best Ninja alone? Lee frowned. He didn't want the girl getting hurt. She seemed real nice, judging by how she'd tried to check on Shikamaru.

Naruto blinked. Surely that guy doesn't intend to take them on alone… That's suicide.

To Be Continued…

XOXOXO:

A/N: I know it sucks ending right there, but trust me the next chapter will be worth the wait.

Anyways, sorry to take so long to get this to you all. Have a wonderful New Year's Eve and don't forget to leave any comments you have here. All author's love to receive feedback. See ya in 2014. :)