Naruto: Konoha's Shinigami
Chapter 4: Passing Moments; First C-Rank Mission
By: Terror of the Azure Flame
I don't own Naruto because Kishimoto does. If I did then Naruto wouldn't have to deal with the king of 'emo' and he would be a god among men.
During Naruto's fight against Mizuki he dies but Kyuubi saves him by unlocking a power not seen since the Yondaime Hokage. What is the secret behind the two blades Naruto now possesses and what other secrets lay behind his new power and abilities? This will be a Naruto/Bleach crossover and a Narutoxharem with character bashing.
"Talking" normal talk
'Thinking' normal people thinking
"Blah!" Bijuu/summon talk
'Blah!' Bijuu/summon thinking
Hinata rolled forward to avoid the slash from Naruto's sword and spun around to face the blond while brandishing a dual elongated kunai that were a gift from Anko. Naruto held Senbonzakura in his right hand and held the pale-eyed girl in his sights with an impassive gaze. Charging forward, Hinata began a deadly dance as she try to get past any openings that she could find with her Byakugan in Naruto's defense. Senbonzakura flowed as Naruto held the sword in a slightly loose grip in order to allow his wrist to move quickly in his defense. The two were currently engaged in a training spar that had become a recurring occurrence since they had officially become team 8.
Over the course of the past few months, team 8 performed numerous D-rank missions as well as trained together. The three genin learned rather quickly that their sensei's had different approaches when it came down to their training. Anko mainly trained them by forcing them into situations where they had to avoid traps that she had setup that had them dodging projectiles in order to increase their agility. They also had to deal with her use of her summoning giant snakes to chase them around whenever they used training ground 44 or 'Forest of Death' as well as all of the giant animals that inhabited the forest. She had also taken upon herself to bring Hinata out of her shell and gain more confidence but Kurenai made sure that Anko didn't turn her into a mini-Anko clone. Kurenai focused on teamwork exercises and had them spar against each other as well as herself so that they could form team attack and defense patterns. She also took it upon herself to improve upon their skills by training them in what ninjutsu and genjutsu she knew. However, she knew that she couldn't really train them all that well in taijutsu and had no choice but to turn to Konoha's resident taijutsu expert, Gai Maito. The three teens were at first very weary upon their initial meeting with the bowl-haired Jounin to receive any training from him.
Kurenai and team 8 made their way to the training ground of last year's only remaining genin team, team 9. Kurenai had explained to them that they had asked the Jounin sensei of team 9 to help improve their taijutsu skills in exchange that she assisted his team with genjutsu and he agreed. Naruto knew that his taijutsu style was pretty efficient against just about any opponent that relied on an offensive style but against someone that remained defensive like him he would have to rely on his kenjutsu, ninjutsu, or some of the other skills he had learned from Hyôrinmaru and Senbonzakura. It wouldn't hurt to learn a new taijutsu style and he realized that he may even be able to combine the two to create a third style for him to use. Hinata was already proficient in Jyuuken and didn't want to learn a new style because Hyuga tradition dictated that the style was to remain pure so no other style was allowed to be learned by a Hyuga family member. She relented shortly after when Naruto commented that the traditional Jyuuken style he saw her used seemed to be a little stiff for her to use because she had a lot of flexibility. She had confided in him that she knew that and was training on a new form of Jyuuken that would incorporate her natural flexibility and Naruto had offered to assist her which she quickly accepted. He also explained that they may also be able to incorporate some of the new training they would receive into her style to make her even stronger. He also noticed that she was hesitant for another reason and Kurenai had explained that her cousin was a member of team 9 and the two had a bit of tension between the two of them. Both Naruto and Shino made it clear that they didn't wouldn't allow any harm to come to their teammate if it came down to it which made Hinata blush at the concern of her crush and friend. Lastly, Shino was participating since both Anko and Kurenai had explained to the Aburame that he needed to expand his avenues of attack since he was mainly a mid-range fighter that relied on his kikai insects or other clan techniques outside of the basic academy three. It didn't take much to convince the stoic boy since after a few sparring sessions with Naruto he realized how much of disadvantage he would be against an opponent that could attack him from all ranges.
The scene that the four arrived to was a bit shocking to even Naruto and Shino as they saw the members of team 9. They quickly knew who gut was by the bowl-cut black hair, wide caterpillar-like eyebrows and dark eyes. He was dressed in a green leotard with his hitai-ate wrapped around his waist and orange leg warmers with blue shinobi sandals. He wore an open traditional Jounin flak jacket over the leotard and didn't appear to carry any weapons making it known that he relied mainly on taijutsu. He was sparring against what Naruto could only describe as a mini-me since he was basically a mirror image of guy with the exception that he didn't wear a Jounin vest, had wide round eyes, and had bandages that covered most of his hands as well as his entire forearm up to his elbows. Naruto also noticed a male Hyuga that he knew was Hinata's cousin with long, dark hair that extended to his waist and was tied at the end and the same white, pupil-less eyes that many Hyuga had in common. He wore a cream colored short-sleeve jacket that had straps across the front and back as well as on the arms and a pair of navy shorts with blue shinobi sandals. Both his right arm and leg was wrapped in bandages and his kunai hold was strapped to his right thigh while his shuriken pouch was on the back of his left hip. He wore his hitai-ate on his forehead with two straps that came down the side of his face from some sort of cloth that ran beneath his hitai-ate. The final member was a girl with dark hair tied into two buns that made her look like a panda with two short bangs that came over her hitai-ate and chocolate brown eyes. She was dressed in a sleeveless pink Chinese style shirt that was trimmed in red around the neck and arms with dark blue pants that came to about mid-calf and blue shinobi sandals. Her kunai holder was strapped to her right thigh while her shuriken pouch was on the back of her left hip just like the Hyuga's.
Kurenai and her genin stood at the edge of the clearing as the watch Gai and his mini-me went back and forth in a taijutsu spar while the other two sat beneath a nearby tree observing them. They could tell by the way the two slid a little with each block that there was a lot of power behind each strike. They would've continued to observe for a little longer when Gai suddenly stopped and turned in their direction.
"I SEE THAT YOU FINALLY DECIDED TO JOIN US WHILE WE IN THE MIDDLE OF A MOST YOUTHFUL SPAR, KURENAI-SAN. ARE THESE THE YOUTHFUL STUDENTS OF YOU AND ANKO THAT YOU WISH FOR ME TO INSTRUCT IN THE YOUTHFUL WAYS OF TAIJUSTU AND STROKE THEIR FLAMES OF SPRINGTIME YOUTH?" Guy yelled in greeting.
The three genin of team 8 could only blink while Kurenai sighed and wondered why she let Anko talk her into meeting Gai for this.
"Yes, these are our students, Gai. The girl is my former charge, Hinata Hyuga, the dark-haired boy is Shino Aburame, and the blond is Naruto Uzumaki." Kurenai replied.
"LET ME INTRODUCE MYSELF AND MY MOST YOUYHFUL STUDENTS. I AM KONOHA'S BEAUTIFUL GREEN BEAST, GAI MAITO. THIS IS HANDSOME DEVIL IS MY MOST YOUTHFUL APPRENTICE, ROCK LEE. THE LONG-HAIRED BOY IS NEJI HYUGA AND THE GIRL IS TENTEN HIGARASHI." Gai said in his overly loud voice.
Naruto and Shino noticed that Neji was glaring at Hinata who had taken to move closer to Naruto while Tenten was focusing on Naruto which made Hinata frown at her.
Kurenai pinched the bridge of her nose. "Gai, could you please lower your voice to a more normal level. It's not like we're on the other side of the village that you need to yell in order to talk to us."
"My apologies but you caught me when I was at my youthful best while sparring with Lee and I couldn't control myself for a moment. It is not often that I'm given the opportunity to train the students of others in the most youthful art of taijutsu and I can't contain my excitement. I've also been looking forward to this since I've had the chance to hear many things about Uzumaki-san from my rival Kakashi and other Jounin on his skills." Gai said.
This seemed to perk the interest of the genin of team 9 as they now focused on Naruto while the blond kept an impassive expression. Kurenai was already aware of this since word had quickly spread how her team had managed to force Kakashi into submitting to them. Although, the copycat shinobi had claimed that he had done it since he didn't want to put in the effort to really take them on since with his skill he could've easily defeated them. It was because of this along with Naruto's already impressive reputation among those that knew the real Naruto Uzumaki that team 8 was considered one of the strongest genin teams. They were considered a tracking team because of Hinata and Shino but with the way they were being trained they were really an assassination and assault team. However, the more ignorant villagers dismissed team 8 as being nothing being compared to team 7 since they had Sasuke and were being led by the legendary Kakashi.
"I don't see what is so special about this Uzumaki since from what I've heard he is the dobe of this year's graduating class and is an orphaned loser. However, many of the older Hyuga seem to speak your name in reverence so I believe there is more to you than what meets the eye." Neji said, sarcastically.
"From the tone of your voice I can guess that personally you don't really seem to think that much of me or what you have heard." Naruto replied.
Neji smirked. "You could say that I don't expect much out of you after hearing so many rumors about your skills. Your status as the dobe is what makes everything seem so unbelievable and I would like to have a spar with you in order to prove that they have no true basis."
Naruto sighed. "I really don't need another stuck-up prodigy trying to prove their superiority over me. I already get enough of the challenges from the Uchiha and his demands that I show him some of my techniques. However, I would like to face you sine I don't like the way that you've been looking at Hinata-chan. I happen to be very protective of her and all of your glaring is starting to get under my skin."
"My issues with Hinata-sama is none of your concern, peasant. If you will accept my challenge I will gladly humiliate you in front of everyone here." Neji said with a frown.
"THAT IS A MOST YOUTHFUL IDEA, NEJI-SAN! LET'S HAVE THE MEMBERS OF BOTH TEAMS SPAR AGAINST EACH OTHER SO I CAN GUAGE EACH OF TEAM 8'S SKILL LEVEL." Gai yelled while striking a nice guy pose.
"THAT IS A MOST WONDERFUL IDEA, GAI-SENSEI. I WOULD LIKE TO TEST MY FLAMES OF YOUTH AGAINST TEAM 8 TO SEE IF THEY ARE MOST WORTHY OPPONENTS. I WOULD LOVE TO CHALLENGE NARUTO-KUN BUT NEJI-SAN HAS ALREADY CLAIMED THAT HONOR." Lee yelled while striking his own nice guy pose.
"YES, WE MUST FAN THE FLAMES OF YOUTH AS WE ENDEAVOR TO GROW STRONGER. WE SHALL PASS OUR FLAMES TO NARUTO-KUN AND HIS FRIENDS SO THAT THEY CAN THEY CAN ALSO ENJOY THE SPRINGTIME OF YOUTH." Gai added.
"GAI-SENSEI!" Lee yelled with tears flowing down his face.
"LEE!" Gai said with his own tears.
The remaining shinobi could only stare in horror as the two began to hug each other as a genjutsu of a sunset with crashing waves appeared out of nowhere. Naruto's left eye began to twitch at the scene and quickly brought his hands up into the release seal as he gathered a large amount of chakra.
"Kai!" Naruto said but to his shock nothing happen.
"Kai! Kai! Kai! Kai! Kai! Kai! Kai!" The results were the as before as he could not seem to dispel this genjutsu.
He looked to Kurenai since she was a genjutsu mistress only for her to shake her head at his unasked question.
"Sorry I don't know how Gai manages it but even I can't break that genjutsu and I've tried countless times." Kurenai said with a twitch of her eyebrow.
Naruto growled before drawing Senbonzakura from her sheath and raising her to hold the blade vertically in front of his face. The members of team 8 knew what was coming next but Neji and Tenten were confused by the blonde's actions. The bun-haired girl was also very intrigued by the sword since she had never seen such a majestic looking katana.
"Chire, Senbonzakura!" Naruto said as he called out Senbonzakura's release.
Neji and Tenten could only stare in amazement as the blade glow a brilliant pink before it began to dissolve starting from the tip of the blade. They wondered what happened since all that remained of the blade was the hilt that remained in Naruto's hand. They quickly noticed the pink petals that seemed to float around Naruto in a nonexistent breeze. Suddenly, the petals moved towards the two hugging men and engulfed them in a wall of pink which surprised the two genin since they could now see even more petals now than just a moment ago. The blades of Senbonzakura fell away to reveal Gai and Lee still hugging but they had a bewildered look as they were now only clad in their boxers which to the shock of all present were green with orange stripes with the words 'Flames of Youth'. Hinata, Kurenai, and Tenten could only blush in embarrassment as they averted their gazes while Naruto, Neji, and Shino could only shake their heads.
"Such an act of unyouthfulness, Naruto-kun." Gai said in a surprisingly normal tone of voice.
"I have very little patience for such foolishness and I've let you off lightly this time. Next time I may just use my other sword and give the two of you a nasty freezer burn. That was very disturbing so don't ever do that again when I'm around and everything will be fine, got it?" Naruto replied.
Both genin and Jounin nodded before Naruto resealed Senbonzakura into her blade form before sheathing her once again. He had barely taken his hand away from the hilt of his sword before he found Tenten standing before him. The bun-haired girl was regarding him with an intense gaze with hearts in her eyes which made Naruto a little nervous and made Hinata seethe with jealousy since another girl was taking interest in her Naruto.
"I've never seen a sword like that before. The only swords I've ever heard that possessed any sort of special abilities like that were the ones that belonged to the seven swordsmen of the mist. Tell me where did you get a sword like that from?" Tenten inquired in a weird voice.
Gai and Lee, whom had miraculously managed to get dressed once again, as well as Neji could only sigh since they knew how much Tenten obsessed with weapons. Naruto cocked his head to the side as he gazed at the girl, which caused Hinata and even Tenten to swoon at how cute the action was.
"I've had these swords for as long as I can remember but I don't know where they came from. The special abilities of these swords are something that I learned about during my training one day. Plus, I don't know much about the seven swordsmen so I can't say if they are the similar or not." Naruto said.
"Do you mind if I were to take a look?" Tenten asked in an excited voice.
Naruto sent a mental question to his partners and received a quick affirmation from Hyôrinmaru before nodding to the girl. Tenten's eyes lit up when Naruto reached over his shoulder to pull Hyôrinmaru from his sheath before handing the blade to her. With the care only seen in those that truly treasure their weapons Tenten examined the blade to the finest detail. She continued to study the blade for a few moments longer before handing it back to Naruto, who sheathed it as he regarded the girl.
"I can already guess that you're pretty good with your sword so how about you spar against me. So before Neji or Lee gets a chance to fight you I want to see just how good you really are with it." Tenten said with a grin.
Naruto looked at both Gai and Kurenai who nodded their ascent to which Naruto shrugged.
The rest of the time spent with team Gai was sparring before they mapped out their new training regimen. On another note, Lee quickly deemed Naruto his eternal rival after the two had spared in which Naruto came to realize that without the aid of Shunpo he would've been overwhelmed by Lee's speed and was even more shocked to learn that he was wearing weights the entire time. Naruto knew that despite the fact he wore weights as well Lee wore way more than he did and he was also holding back on his speed as well. Naruto had consulted with his three residents with Kyuubi informing him that the weights would only focus on certain muscles at a time and had offered to teach him resistance seals since they would affect the whole body instead. When he asked how she knew about seals the queen of the Bijuu was quick to remind him that she did possess a human form and in her boredom she had taken interest in the Shinobi arts at one point with fuuinjutsu being one of her favorite subjects because of its obscurity. Although, she wasn't going to tell him it was also because of her two previous jinchuuriki that she was so well-informed was because like Naruto they had been Uzumaki's which specialized in fuuinjutsu as well their special chakra that adjusted their bodies to allow them to live longer than most humans. With everything now planned out between team eight and team Gai they were to meet every Tuesday and Thursday for Gai and Kurenai to swap teams and train. However, an unexpected side effect of this was a rivalry that sparked between Hinata and Tenten. During Naruto's first match against Tenten he had defeated the girl which caused her to constantly challenge him or ask him for kenjutsu lessons to improve her own skills. Since during the months team 8 was together Hinata had grown out of her shell quite a bit and was less prone to faint or stutter around Naruto but had yet to work up the courage to tell Naruto how she felt. She quickly noticed how Tenten was acting around Naruto in a similar fashion that she had acted around Neji and knew the girl had a crush on Naruto as well. A rivalry soon sparked as both girls were constantly vying for his attention and the matter was made worse when Naruto tried to appease them by spending his time equally with them whenever they had training. Naruto was well aware of what he was getting into and it didn't help the fact that Kyuubi and Senbonzakura were constantly whispering encouragements for him to respond to the advances of both girls. The difference between the two was that Tenten was much more obvious with her advancements but didn't act in the typical fangirl manner since her idea of getting to know Naruto better was to spar with him. Hinata, on the other hand, made subtle hints by asking Naruto to walk her home or inviting him over to her home after training. It was during one of the times Naruto chose to accept her offer that he became acquainted with the Hyuga family.
Hinata and Naruto made their way through the streets of Konoha's more prestigious area of the village that was mainly occupied by the clans of the village. The blond was ignoring the glares of the civilians and shinobi as he walked beside the Hyuga heiress as he escorted her home. Hinata could only frown as she witnessed this and heard some the whispers of 'hell spawn' and 'demon brat' that were thrown at her blond crush. She was amazed that Naruto seemed to take it all in stride and kept his bored expression on his face while ignoring the comments and looks. She knew that if she were in his place she would've long since caved in and would've ran home to safety of her room to get away from such hate. This made her even more determined to find out all that there was to know about Naruto and his past that seemed to be shrouded in mystery as to why he was hated by so many in the village. As they neared the gates of the Hyuga grounds, Hinata turned to Naruto with a shy smile as she worked up her courage.
"A-Ano, would you like to come inside for a little while, N-Naruto-kun? Father has expressed a desire to meet you." Hinata said, having mainly gotten over her stutter in the past few months.
"I'm not so sure that would be a good idea, hime. I don't want to cause any problems since if the rest of your family is anything like Neji." Naruto said.
Hinata giggled. "You don't have to worry about that, Naruto-kun. Actually, you are spoken of quite highly amongst the members of the Hyuga clan and many would like to meet you. After all, father has taken an interest in you for a long time now and has wanted to meet you ever since we first became a team. I'm sorry I didn't say so before but you always turned me down whenever I invited you."
"I still don't think it's a good idea but I'll do it for you this time, hime. At least I will know if anyone will try to kill me or not if I decided to ask you out on a date." Naruto said with a grin.
Hinata blushed and poked her index fingers together as she averted her gaze. Naruto could hear Kyuubi and Senbonzakura giggling and couldn't help chuckling since he found this action by Hinata to be very cute. Even though he had put a lot of effort into get her to overcome her shy nature and he will admit she has come a long way since she doesn't stutter as much but she still had that habit whenever he flirted with her.
'At least you're not pushing her away any more like you were when you first became teammates. You've started to realize that although many don't think of you as a human those that do are precious and must be kept close to your heart for as long as you allow them to be. Hinata and the other girls are putting a lot of effort into making you see this even if they don't know everything about you.' Senbonzakura said through their mental link.
"It's because they realize that the kit is the more dominate alpha amongst his fellow ningen. Even at a young age he shows that he has the makings to be a fine leader one day soon and I must say I do feel a sense of pride that you are using my gifts to show the world how wrong they are. You have the support of the some of the most influential families of this village. You should take advantage of the situation and use their resources to put you in a more positive light." Kyuubi said.
'Why do you seem to care all of a sudden how the ignorant villagers see me? You are always suggesting that I just use my power to show them I'm not to be trifled with. Is it that you're trying to say that you actually care about my wellbeing, Kyuubi-hime?' Naruto retorted.
Kyuubi scoffed. "You read too much into my actions, kit. I'm merely suggesting that you gain a solid position of standing within the eyes of the villagers. You seek to become the Hokage one day and if you have the backing of clan heads then, it will be a lot easier to obtain you goals. Plus, once you become a kitsune hanyou you will have to obtain multiple mates and what better mates than the kunoichi that belong to the major clans like the Hyuga and Yamanaka. You will need strong kits to carry on the legacy that you will create in my name."
'I don't think I could do something like that since I can see myself as being with more than one girl just for political gain. I've been manipulated before and I don't want to use others to get ahead and I don't want others to get hurt because of me. What happened with Kanae let me know that I may never find any form of true happiness.' Naruto thought, sadly. 'Kanae only wanted to be my friend and the villagers accused her of being a 'demon lover' because of that. They couldn't do anything permanent to me since you would always heal me so they took out their aggressions on her. It was only thanks to the Anbu that guarded me that she wasn't hurt too badly. That was the day I lost my first friend when her family became disgusted with the village and left. For a while I was consumed by rage and that was why I decided to become stronger since I will do everything in my power so that nothing like that happens again.' An image of a girl with silver hair and amber eyes appeared before his mind's eye.
"That is why I chose to give you such gifts so that you can protect your precious people from the ignorant villagers. Even amongst us kitsune we value our friends and family to go as far as to protect them with our lives. You possess those same qualities and that is why I'm beginning to see you as one of my very own kits." Kyuubi said with surprising gentleness.
Naruto remained silent as he focused his attention back on to Hinata as they neared the Hyuga compound. Kyuubi was constantly showing him a different side to her on very rare occasions and made him wonder what her reasoning was. The way she acted sometimes and how she spoke to him reminded him of how he saw other children being treated by their parents when he was younger. The blond quickly shook his head to clear away the thought that Kyuubi was actually treating him like her child. Hinata noticed this and decided to question the blond.
"Is everything alright, Naruto-kun?" Hinata asked.
Naruto nodded. "Yeah, I was just thinking about a few things from my past but I'm fine so you don't need to worry."
Hinata regarded him for a few moments as they approached the gates before turning her focus to the two Hyuga branch members guarding the gate.
"Good evening, Hinata-sama!" The first guard greeted.
"It is a pleasure to see you as well, Uzumaki-sama!" The second guard greeted.
Naruto blinked a few times and looked at Hinata since he hadn't been expecting such a formal greeting without any malice. Hinata giggled at his confused expression from behind her hand for few moments before she spoke.
"I told you before that you are spoken of quite highly by the older members of the Hyuga clan and everyone is told to treat you with utmost respect." Hinata said once she controlled her giggling.
Naruto felt the uncontrollable urge to sigh since he was beginning to feel that the entire situation was going to have him feeling like some sort of specimen. He didn't know exactly why a clan like the Hyuga would hold him in high regard since he was sure that they were aware that he was the jinchuuriki for Kyuubi. However, he had to be extremely cautious with them since if they decided to pull some sort of stunt against him he would be hesitant to do anything since he wouldn't want Hinata involved.
The two teens made their way into the Hyuga compound and Naruto couldn't help but notice the beautiful layout of the compound. They walked along a stone pathway that made a path straight to the main building with branching paths that led to several gardens. The gardens had all sort of floral life that surrounded small ponds with benches along the edge of each one. He noticed several Hyuga sitting in meditating and guessed they were used like Zen gardens or something of the sort. He noticed the main building was of a traditional design and was surrounded by several smaller buildings.
Naruto was aware that the Hyuga were divided into the main and branch family after his many talks with Hinata and like the Hyuga heiress he didn't approve of the cage bird seal and how that branch members were treated. However, he was surprised that despite the tension between the two branches they were all respectful as they greeted him and he wondered what was really going on.
'They seem to treat me like I'm royalty even though I'm a jinchuuriki but I can't figure out why. If a clan like the Hyuga can treat me with such respect why can't the rest of the villagers be the same way?' Naruto thought.
Hinata was growing concern by Naruto's silence since they entered the compound. She watched his facial expressions as various emotions played across his features and wondered what the blond could be thinking about.
"N-Naruto-kun, is everything alright?" Hinata asked.
Naruto looked up at her. "Yeah, I'm just wondering why your father wants to see me and why everyone is looking at me in such a way. I'm not really used to this sort of treatment and it's sort of giving me the creeps."
"Isn't this the way that you want people to look at you like when you become Hokage. I don't know for certain why father has made it clear that all of the Hyuga should always show you respect because of your great service." Hinata said.
"My 'great service'?" Naruto said in confusion.
"Yes, that is what he said to me on the day that I told him you were my new teammate but even before then he would ask me about you. Although, I thought that it was because of a different reason." Hinata said with a blush.
Naruto easily figured that she had originally thought the Hyuga head had been asking her about him due to her crush on him. However, he didn't get to think much more on the matter as they rounded a corner and he collided with a solid body. He took a step back to brace himself while the other person fell. Taking a look at the person he found himself staring at a young Hyuga girl. She had long dark hair that extended to her waist and the same white eyes that all Hyuga possessed. She was dressed in a purple training outfit with fishnet armor worn underneath. The girl bore a resemblance to Hinata and seemed to be around the age of ten.
The girl scowled at him. "Why don't you watch where you are going, baka?"
"My apologies but I didn't see you when I came round the corner." Naruto said in an attempt to be polite.
"H-Hanabi-chan!" Hinata said in surprise.
Hanabi blinked before turning her gaze to Hinata having noticed her for the first time. "Nee-chan!"
Naruto sighed. "I guess this would be your sister, Hanabi?" Hinata nodded. "I should've guessed since you two do look alike. Your sister had told me a lot about you and I'm glad to finally meet you, Hanabi-chan."
The young Hyuga finally realized who she was staring and began to blush. Ever since her sister began to crush on Naruto Hanabi had always wondered about what made the blond so special. It wasn't until she found a picture of Naruto that her sister kept that she saw what her sister saw and also developed a crush on him as well. Although, she this was her first time meeting him in person she had overheard her sister as well other clan members talking about his legendary pranking abilities with him always outsmarting chuunin and jounin that tried to capture him as well as his success against the legendary, sharingan Kakashi. With everything that she was hearing about him it made her want to meet him all the more and now he was standing before him and now all she could do was pull an imitation of her sister in blushing before her crush.
'This is just great. My first time meeting Naruto-sama and I have to snap off at him make him think I'm a rude little girl. He probably won't even talk to me anymore after this and nee-chan will have him all to herself.' Hanabi thought, dejectedly.
Naruto saw the blush that now stained her cheeks and knelt down so that he was eye level with the younger girl. Hanabi blushed even more at the close proximity and Hinata could only giggle since she was aware of Hanabi's crush on Naruto and how she was now acting much like herself before Naruto began working on her confidence issue.
"You aren't hurt or anything, Hanabi-chan?" Naruto asked in a gentle tone.
Hanabi felt herself swoon at the sound of his voice and nodded. "Hai, I'm alright and I apologize for my rudeness, Naruto-sama. I hope that I didn't offend you and I won't let it happen again."
Naruto sighed then, smiled. "I already told you it was my fault so you don't have to apologize and I would prefer if you dropped the 'sama' since it makes me feel old. I would really feel honored if you called me 'Naruto-kun' just like your sister."
"H-Hai, N-Naruto-kun!" Hanabi replied, surprising herself by stuttering.
Naruto reached forward to place a hand on her head as his gentle smile became his trademark foxy grin. Standing back up to his full height, he regarded the blushing girl for a moment longer before shifting his focus to a smiling Hinata.
"We better get going, Hinata-chan."
Hinata nodded and began to once again lead Naruto through the halls of the Hyuga compound to her father's private study. A loud squeal was heard and Naruto could only chuckle while Hinata giggled. A few minutes more of walking and the two genin found themselves in front of the door that lead to the Hiashi's private study. Hinata announced their presence and waited the normal five seconds before they were told to enter.
Hiashi Hyuga sat at his desk and regarded the two as they entered his office and Naruto found himself a bit unnerved by his gaze as it settled on him. It was a tense few moments as neither of the three occupants spoke for different reasons. Hinata didn't speak because of her fear of her father while Naruto didn't know what was to be expected of him and Hiashi because he was observing Naruto's reaction to him. He also noted that Hinata was slowly inching closer to him and knew that it was because Naruto was also the girl's greatest source of strength. This was something he regretted since it was the death of his wife that forced him to be cold to his eldest daughter so that she could grow strong enough to one day succeed him as clan head but it had the opposite effect as she drew herself into a shell of self-doubt. Even when he tried to be kind to her it was of no use since the fear that he had unwillingly planted was deeply rooted. He was grateful that since she became a member of team eight she was a bit more confident and her skills in Jyuuken were steadily improving. This was one of the reasons why he wanted to talk with Naruto among other things. Hiashi briefly activated his Byakugan to make sure he had no eavesdroppers before activating a privacy jutsu.
"I am grateful that you have finally chosen to accept my invitation to have a private talk, Uzumaki-sama. I have wanted to have this opportunity to talk with you for quite some time about a few details that concern you and your status in this village. However, since it is quite a delicate matter I had to wait for the right opportunity to present itself." Hiashi said.
"I am honored that you would request my presence since I know that you are well aware of my status, Hiashi-sama. I would have accepted you invite when Hinata-chan first extended it to but I had to be cautious since I've had many bad experience in similar situations over the years." Naruto replied.
Hiashi nodded. "Yes, I am well aware of the ignorance that has been displayed by the villagers but I can assure you need not worry of that from the Hyuga. Our Byakugan allows us to see you for who you truly are as the hero of this village for your burden that you have been sacrificed for. It is because of this terrible burden that forced you to give up any sort of happiness that you have gained the respect of the Hyuga and many of the other shinobi clans as well as our support."
"Hokage-sama has made aware of everything that you've done for me in the past and I'm glad that I'm seen for who I really am and not who I'm perceived as. My desire is to protect this village and its citizens even if I'm not welcome because this is my home and I have precious people here such as Hinata-chan." Naruto said.
Hiashi nodded. "My daughter is another reason why I have chosen to have this talk with you."
Hinata felt a sense of dread at the words of her father and out of a need for assurance she grabbed Naruto's hand. The blond didn't look at her but enclosed her smaller hand in his while rubbing his thumb in small circles along the back of hers. Hiashi took note of this and realized that what he would have to say next would be a lot easier.
"If I may ask what do you wish to speak to me about concerning, Hinata-chan?" Naruto asked.
"I've noticed that since Hinata joined you as a member of team eight her skills in Jyuuken have been steadily improving. Also, she has begun to become more confident in herself and though I am saddened that I was the cause of her self-doubt but I appreciate for what you've done so far. I made a grave mistake when Hinata was younger when I tried to force her to become strong at a young age but I took the incorrect approach since my grief at the time made me act quite harsh." Hiashi said.
Naruto took a glance at the saddened expression on Hinata's face and wondered what Hiashi was getting at. He cocked his head to the left as he regarded the older man's expression as he searched for some sort of sign to his intentions. He gave Hinata's hand a squeeze as if to reassure himself and was about to speak when Hiashi interrupted.
"The reason why I say this to you is because I would like for you to continue to assist Hinata in her training. She shows great promise but because of my own intervention that growth was stunted but now she has begun to grow once again and I don't want to interfere so I ask that you help her. You may not be able to train her in traditional Jyuuken but I'm aware that Hinata has been developing her own personal style." Hiashi said with a smirk.
Hinata gasped. "H-how do y-you kn-know?"
Hiashi's smirk grew. "I have mastered my Byakugan to the point that my range encompasses the entire village so I am always able to see you and your activities. I realized some time ago that the traditional Jyuuken forms were not suitable for you and I wanted to instruct you in the style of your mother but I was unable to do so. I could not find the scrolls that she left behind but as I watched you train I noticed that your forms are quite similar to hers. Like you your mother realized that the traditional Jyuuken forms were too stiff to accommodate her natural flexibility and created her own style with plans to teach both you and Hanabi."
"F-Father, I never knew and I'm sorry I didn't tell you before. I thought that you wouldn't approve of since the elders always said that we should keep the Jyuuken style pure." Hinata said.
Hiashi scoffed. "The elders have always chosen to stick to the old traditions and refuse to change with the times. When they learned of Hitomi's creation of a new form of Jyuuken they were quite displeased and even threatened to banish her from the clan if she continued to develop it. On the surface, she appeared to concede but Hitomi continued to train in secret and I allowed her to do so by drawing attention away from her. It was unfortunate that she contracted her illness and the strain of Hanabi's birth was too much for her weakened body since she would've loved to see your own style. I know that one day you will make a strong clan head and I want Naruto to help you reach that goal."
Hinata smiled at Hiashi's kind words. "Thank you and I will make you proud of me, father."
Naruto realized that there was probably another meaning to Hiashi's words and when he saw that glint in his pale eyes he blushed. Hiashi knew that Naruto had caught on and realized that there was much more to Naruto than was shown to everyone else. Since he had entered the room he had been respectful and acted with an air of dignity that was mainly seen amongst those of nobility. Hiashi was unaware that Kyuubi and Senbonzakura had drilled lessons of etiquette into his being during their nightly mental training sessions. Kyuubi had reasoned that he would become of nobility once he ascended to a kitsune hanyou and he should learn how to properly act.
"Hiashi-sama, I will continue to help Hinata-chan grow stronger not just because you asked me to but because she is a someone I will do all within my power to protect." Naruto said.
Hiashi nodded. "I am glad that you feel that way about Hinata and if there is ever anything that you require that is within my power to grant you then, feel free to ask. The entire Hyuga clan is already within your eternal debt and we may never be able to repay but we will try." Naruto nodded. "I have kept you detained long enough and I look forward to have a conversation with you on more personal matters at a future date."
Naruto nodded once again before turning to Hinata. "I'll see you later, Hinata-chan!"
Hinata smiled, shyly. "H-hai, Naruto-kun!"
Naruto returned her smile with one of his own as he released her hand and with a quick bow to Hiashi was gone. Hiashi focused his gaze onto his eldest daughter who was still staring after Naruto even if he was gone and couldn't help but smirk.
'With both Hanabi and Hinata showing interest in Naruto it will only benefit the clan in the future if he were to marry one of them. The most logical choice would be Hinata but she would have to renounce her claim to heiress if she were to do so. However, I doubt that she would protest such an act but with Hanabi's newfound crush it may cause some tension between the two for a while. I will wait to see how things will play out before I make a decision and with Naruto's help I may be able to reunite the clan as was the dream of Hitomi and now Hinata.' Hiashi thought.
Naruto jumped back to avoid a slash from Hinata that was aimed at his head and quickly brought Senbonzakura up to block her follow through thrust from her other hand. He dropped low to perform a quick sweep but Hinata quickly flipped away to gain some distance to evaluate her opponent. Naruto dropped into a defensive stance as he waited for Hinata to initiate her attack once again. He didn't have to wait long as the lavender eyed girl dashed toward him with a burst of chakra enhanced speed while twirling her kunai by the rings. The two seemed to form an intricate dance with every strike and parry between the two and their spectators were amazed by the two.
Anko and Kurenai had to admit that ever since Naruto began to train alongside Hinata and Shino the skills of their two genin were rapidly improving. It was not to say that Naruto was not improving as well since the two managed to show flaws in Naruto's fighting style that the blond was improving upon at a steady rate. With the progress the three were showing they had the potential to be the strongest genin team in Konoha despite the protests of Gai and Kakashi since they believed they had the strongest teams since they had prodigies on their teams. However, if Neji and Sasuke were considered prodigies because of their bloodlines then, Naruto could be considered a prodigy because of his hard work and his determination to improve his teammates as well as himself. This was one of the reasons both women were glad the Hokage had made them Naruto's jounin sensei since he had so many possibilities and they wanted to say that they help him achieve new levels of strength along his shinobi career.
Hinata blocked a diagonal slash from Naruto but the impact caused her arms to go numb and forced her to drop both of her kunai. She quickly jumped back to avoid a follow up but Naruto didn't pursue her but instead sheathed Senbonzakura before adopting his own personal taijutsu style that he called 'The Flow'. The flow was one of two taijutsu styles that Naruto developed and used the power behind an opponent's strike to add momentum to his own strikes by incorporating spins of his body. It was mainly a defensive style since it relied on the opponent to attack in order for it to be effective. Naruto stood with his side facing Hinata with his front left leg straight while his right leg was bent at a forty-five degree angle. His left arm was held diagonally in front of him with his fist facing upward while his right arm was held at a forty-five degree angle across his stomach with his palm facing his opponent. Hinata noted his stance and took her own stance that was her modified version of Jyuuken. She stood with her feet close together with her right foot slightly forward and her left foot slightly back with her leg slightly bent to hold more of her weight. Her arms were held closer to her body than the traditional Jyuuken forms with her left hand about chest level and her right hand at her stomach. Her Byakugan was active since she had advanced to the point that she no longer required hand signs to achieve her kekkai genkai. The two combatants merely watched each other for any openings in the others stance that could be exploited as they mentally went over the possible outcomes of their fight in different scenarios as they guessed the other would react. As usual Hinata was the first to strike since she knew that Naruto couldn't attack in this stance and the entire purpose of training with him was to work on her Jyuuken form even more. She lead her attack with a quick spin to her right before lashing out with a chakra-less palm strike with her right. Naruto blocked with his right forearm and used the power behind the strike to spin to his right while keeping his leg extended as he applied chakra to his feet to propel his spin even faster. As he was completing his spin he tried for a backhand strike with his left that Hinata ducked before quickly shifting his weight to his left leg as he realigned his body to bring up a knee strike. Hinata blocked the blow with her left forearm before she attempted to a palm strike at Naruto's exposed stomach. Naruto quickly blocked with his right hand and grasped her hand before pulling her forward while bringing his elbow down towards her temple. Hinata blocked with her free hand and drew them both into a stalemate as she slid her leg between his to press her right knee against his right thigh causing him to slightly unbalance as he had to place more weight on his left to remain standing. A brief smile passed between the two and any onlooker would have considered their positions to be rather suggestive. With a brief nod the two broke apart before quickly resuming their spar with each other as the other members of team eight watched with a critical eye. The spar continued for another thirty minutes before Kurenai decided to call it quits.
"Okay, both of you that will be enough sparring for now. Come over here and we can hear about you next assigned task for today." Kurenai announced.
Both teens ended their spar and made their way over to where the red-eyed beauty and the other two stood at the edge of the forest. They were both slightly exhausted and had taken quite a few falls so their appearance was a bit mussed up. Kurenai allowed the two to recover from their exhaustion before motioning for the three genin to sit before her and Anko underneath the shade of the tree line.
"Okay, we've done enough training for today and now it's time for a mission but this won't be a normal d-rank as we've been doing in the past. I had a discussion with Hokage-sama and because we've done twice as many as the required d-ranks we've been given our first c-rank mission." Kurenai said.
Anko grinned. "I know you gaki's should be happy to hear that since all these d-ranks have making me go crazy and all of our skills to go to waste. Since this will be our first c-rank we've asked that it not be anything major. As I've told you before the main purpose behind the creation of team eight is that we're an assassination and assault team but you're not at that level yet so we won't be doing those sorts of missions just yet. We're aware that with the exception of possibly Naruto-kun that none of you have taken a human life and we will address that issue at a later date. I know that you may not like that idea of killing but as shinobi it is a part of our lifestyle that we will eventually have to take a life." Anko said.
"Anko is right about that but at the same time you must remember that while it is a part of our shinobi lifestyle you mustn't kill just for the thrill of it or because you can take a life. A shinobi that enjoys taking the lives of others is a shinobi that has very little to no value for human life and would be considered a monster by others." Kurenai said and noticed Naruto flinch at this. "However when you kill to protect those that are precious to you and keep them safe then you honor the 'Will of Fire' that has been the basis of how Konoha shinobi handle their missions. This is the teachings of the Shodaime and Nidaime Hokage's that was taught at the founding of Konoha and we continue to pass on their teachings to each new generation that succeeds that last."
Each genin nodded at this but Naruto still had some doubts although both his spirit partners constantly assured him that he was no demon as the village saw him. Kyuubi was strangely quiet but even the demoness wanted to assure Naruto that his heart was to pure to be considered a demon. Despite all the mental conditioning they constantly placed him through while was asleep he still believed that with each person he had to kill he would be proving the villager's belief that he was a demon in human skin. The three spirits could only hope that through his interaction with those he considered precious that he would eventually come to terms with all aspects of his personality.
"We want the three of you to go and get changed before meeting us back at the front of the Hokage tower in about thirty minutes." Kurenai said.
She received a nod from the three genin before her and Anko vanished in a leaf shushin to make some preparations. The three teens quickly made their way to their homes to change and within thirty minutes they all stood before their senseis at the front door of the Hokage tower. As they made their way inside, Hinata and Shino noticed some of the gazes that were directed at their blond teammate by the various chuunin and jounin. They could tell by each of their looks that these were among those that had respect for Naruto amongst the most of the jounin while most of the chuunin disliked the blond. Hinata grabbed Naruto's hand to assure him as she noticed him staring back at each of them with his trademark emotionless gaze while Shino's hive was buzzing in agitation as a sign of Shino's displeasure. Anko and Kurenai were glaring at the offenders while moving closer to Naruto to which the blond was grateful for each of the actions of his friends. It wasn't long more before the group reached the mission room and entered inside. They found Sarutobi seated behind the desk with Iruka serving as assistant since there was no academy for him to teach at the moment. Both men smiled when they saw the members of team eight enter the room since they had been waiting for their arrival since they wanted to hear a little about Naruto's progress. Naruto dropped his emotionless mask and produced a warm smile as he saw the two influential male figures of his chaotic life.
"It's good to see you members of team eight. I take it you're here to pick up a c-rank mission that you submitted a request for." Sarutobi asked.
Kurenai nodded. "Yes, Hokage-sama, we felt that team eight should move on to the next level of their missions since they have a solid understanding of each other."
"I agree since I've reviewed all of the records of your d-rank missions as well as the reports that you submitted of their training regiments for the past three months. I'm surprised that you've taken this long since you have done far more d-ranks the other rookie teams combined. However, I'm not all that surprised considering the laziness of Asuma and Kakashi." Sarutobi said then, smiled. "It's good to see you as well, Naruto-kun. You haven't been paying me a visit as often as before and I'm starting to feel like I'm being put out to the side by my potential successor."
"Sorry about that but I've been working with my team and training on my own that I haven't left myself much free time, Jiji. I'll try to pay you more visits in the near future and I need to see Konohamaru again since he's constantly leaving notes at my apartment." Naruto said with his own grin.
"Naruto, show Hokage-sama the proper respect that he deserves." Iruka said in a scolding tone.
Sarutobi raised his hand in a placating manner. "There is no need for that, Iruka. Naruto and I have long since come to an understanding on the matter since I see him as a grandson so it's alright. He knows when to refer to me with the respect that I deserve and amongst this group it's not really a requirement."
"So, does that mean I get to call you jiji as well?" Anko asked with a grin.
Sarutobi frowned, playfully. "I may allow Naruto to get away with it but I don't think I can think of you as my granddaughter for obvious reasons."
Anko quickly got the message behind his reasons and glared at the elderly kage while adjusting her trenchcoat to make sure her assets stayed well-hidden. Iruka also got the message and blushed while rubbing the bridge of his nose as he averted his gaze.
Kurenai sighed. "Hokage-sama, I would like to know the mission that you've picked out for my team?"
Sarutobi chuckled while Naruto grinned as they could both hear the edge to her voice as they knew of her dislike of perverts. Hinata and Shino felt a bit out of place at the moment and at the same time were glad that Naruto was back to his normal relaxed self since they only saw this side of him when he was around those he trusted.
"Yes, I've decided to give you a simple escort mission that requires you to accompany a young heiress back to her village. She was recently here finalizing a trade deal between our two villages and now that she is done would like an escort back. It won't to be too difficult of a mission since the most you should encounter will probably being some bandits that tend to target clients like her. Plus, she also specifically requested that Naruto Uzumaki be a part of the team that escorts her home for reasons she won't say." Sarutobi said with an amused expression.
Naruto tilted his head in confusion. "Ano, do I know this girl or something, Jiji?"
"I'm not aware of you ever meeting her but you could've met her during one of the times you went me on my business trips. You will have to ask her yourself since she should be hear at any moment since I dispatched an Anbu to retrieve her on your arrival." Sarutobi answered.
The three female members of team eight looked at the blond in confusion since they wondered why some mysterious girl would request their Naruto specifically. They would've been amused how each of them seemed to be possessive of the blond and at the same time jealous of an unknown girl. Iruka and Sarutobi saw the reactions of the three females with Hinata not being a surprise but Anko and Kurenai were unexpected and they wondered what brought this on. Naruto was seven years their junior to both women and although in the shinobi world age sometimes had little value it would still be frowned upon by the civilians considering their hatred for Naruto. Any further thought on the two women and their feelings for the blond were put on hold as the door opened to reveal a girl around fifteen being led in by a tiger masked Anbu. The girl was dressed in a traditional kimono of white and blue that most royal figures wore. She had shoulder-length light brown hair flowed freely with two bangs that framed her face. Her eyes were a vibrant blue much like Naruto's with alabaster skin that showed she didn't spend much time outside. She held herself in a manner that most regal types seemed to carry themselves but gave off an air of warmth as was shown by her smile. Once again the three females in the room found themselves becoming jealous of this elegant beauty.
"Miss Kitima, this is team eight and they will be the ones that escort you back to Uzurai village. Team eight; I'd like to introduce you to your client, Miss Ayane Kitima, heiress to the Kitima clan one of suppliers of the metal ores we use for weapon making." Sarutobi said.
Kurenai stepped forward. "My name is Kurenai Yuhi and this is my co-jounin, Anko Mitarashi. The dark haired boy is Shino Aburame, the girl is Hinata Hyuga, and the blond is Naruto Uzumaki. We are the team that was chosen to escort you and we promise to carry out our duty to the best of our ability."
Ayane nodded before making her way over to Naruto who tilted his head as his normal sign of confusion as he regarded the girl. She didn't seem to be anyone that he was familiar with and this left the question why she wanted him to be on the team that escorted her home. The girl made a circle around him as she looked him over with a critical eye while making appraising sounds.
"So, I finally get to meet you, Naruto Uzumaki. She has told me a lot of things about you and I can say that she did not exaggerate in the slightest about you. Everything she said about your physical appearance being most pleasing to the eye is correct and I must agree full heartedly." Ayane said as she came to stand before him.
Naruto was even more confused. "Who is this 'she' you're talking about and how do you know about me since I don't believe we've ever met before?"
"You are correct that this is our first meeting and I cannot divulge the identity of the one that told me about for reasons that I'm not at liberty to discuss. However, that is of little consequence since you're assigned duty is to escort me home, correct?" Ayane replied.
Naruto wanted to ask more but the urging of Hyôrinmaru told him that now was not the time to ask questions. With a nod, Naruto showed that he understood the situation and that he was to assume his duty as her escort.
"Good, I look forward to talking with you more once we begin our journey home. It will take about a week of travel by carriage back to my home village so let us make haste. While I do love it here in Konoha I am feeling a bit homesick at the moment." Ayane said as she turned away.
The others made their own motions of agreement and Sarutobi was just about to dismiss them when the door to the chamber opened to allow team seven entry. Once the members of team eight saw the disgruntled faces of team seven they knew that they had once again dealt with another lame d-rank mission. It was confirmed when they saw the infamous Tora being held by sakura as well as the scratches on each genin. Kakashi, as usual, has his face buried in Icha Icha and was seemingly unaware of his current surroundings but they knew otherwise. Once the three genin caught sight of Naruto they decided to taunt him on the fact that they had completed another mission while from his clean appearance they assumed he was about to receive one. Unfortunately for them Naruto was in the mood to pick fun at team seven and with the others with him he didn't have to worry about Kakashi trying to lash out at him.
"Well, if it isn't the dobe and his loser teammates. While you're just standing around looking lost as usual I'm on my way to becoming stronger. At this rate, I'll be Hokage while you're still a mere genin under my command." Sasuke sneered. Sakura agreed in normal loud fashion.
Kakashi looked up from his book at this and frowned when he saw the blond. This was an act that didn't go unnoticed by Sarutobi or Ayane since she was almost directly in front of the blond which caused a frown to grace her features.
"Hinata, I don't know why you waste your time hanging around the dobe when you can be with an alpha like me. I promise that once you ditch him and become my mate that I'll make you the happiest girl in the village." Kiba said with a lecherous grin.
Akamaru buried himself in his master's coat since he considered Naruto his alpha just like the entire canine of the Inuzuka despite his smell of foxes. The females in the room glared at him while the kunoichi made plans to the neuter the horny dog-boy. With his emotionless mask back in place, Naruto gazed back at each of the members before he decided to make his retort.
"I don't really think I would have to really worry about following your lead since we've already have far more missions under our belt, Uchiha. Besides, I've now been assigned to my next mission that will take me out of the village and preserve my dignity so that I don't have to worry about you trying to rape me, Sas-gay." Naruto said then, turned to Kiba. "What makes you think that Hinata-hime will see you as an alpha when even your own sister calls you a runt? That would be such a distasteful choice for someone of Hinata's delicate beauty to choose you as her boyfriend. As her teammate and friend I will have to put you to sleep or I'll just have to turn you over to your master if you keep up this bad behavior, runt." Naruto said in his monotone.
A few snickers were heard from the assembled crowd as even Ayane added a few delicate giggles. The genin of team seven glared at Naruto in return and wanted to put the blond in his place for once.
"Akamaru is not my master, dobe. I'll show you that I'm a true alpha and prove to my sister that I'm not a runt." Kiba howled.
Naruto seemed to ignore him as his gaze was on the hilt of Senbonzakura as if he was in another world. Kiba was about to go on another tirade when he was interrupted by Sakura as she stomped towards Naruto.
"How is it that you get a mission that takes you out of the village, baka? The only way you could do that is if you received a c-rank or higher and you're just a no-talent loser that will screw up anything that's given to you. If anyone should be receiving that sort of mission then, it should be Sasuke-kun." Sakura snapped.
"I am well aware of the status of Sasuke Uchiha as the last of the Uchiha clan but sadly I cannot say that I would feel quite safe with him protecting me. I've heard that compared to the Uchiha of old he has all of the skills of a regular shinobi since he has yet to awaken his sharingan. I specifically requested Naruto-san as my escort since I have a rather reliable source when it comes to his abilities and felt that he would be more than adequate to service me." Ayane said as she stepped into Sakura's path.
"How dare you care a loser like Naruto-baka to a prodigy of the Uchiha like Sasuke-kun? Who do you even think you are insulting Sasuke-kun like that tramp? You think because you dress up like a doll that any guy is supposed to fall for your looks. I look far more sexier than you do so get lost before I have to get violent and rearrange your face." Sakura said, angrily while cracking her knuckles.
"I'm afraid that if you attempt to harm my client then, I will have to intervene on her behalf to stop you. As to who she is I would like to introduce you to Ayane Kitima and she is the heiress to one of the villagers more prominent clients as well a supplier of our metal ores. It would not look good for relations between our two villages if something were to happen to her while she were here so please restrain yourself. Also, don't insult her by comparing her beauty to yours when we know you're actually a man trying to act feminine." Naruto said with a straight face.
"Hey, I was wondering about that every time I saw the pink-haired harpy. She sounds like a banshee but at the same time she's a little to masculine to be a girl. I'm glad she hasn't tried to make a pass at me or I would have to show her why I'm called Konoha's Snake Mistress." Anko added with a predatory grin.
Sakura gulped as she had heard of the stories of Anko from Kakashi and how she was known for torturing enemy shinobi in the most vicious manners of physical torture. She still couldn't believe that the crazy snake lady was allowed to be a jounin sensei in the first place and was grateful she wasn't her sensei. The pink-haired girl quickly turned her anger back onto Naruto.
"You wouldn't dare lay a hand on me and you know it, Naruto-baka. No matter how you try to act all cool like Sasuke-kun I'm still you're Sakura-chan and you still love me. Just stop all this playing around and maybe I'll give you one of those dates you're always asking for if I'm in a good mood." Sakura said with a cute smile.
Naruto shudder violently at that before turning his gaze to Sarutobi. "If I ever need to be tortured to death then, all my enemies will have to do is put us on a date together. I think you're pink hair color isn't the only think that isn't normal about you since I think that oversized forehead is a bit hollow on the inside. Hokage-sama, I think I may need to be reassigned somewhere really far away if Sakura keeps on insisting that I like her."
"Oh, we'll see about that when the time comes, Naruto-kun." Sarutobi said with a chuckle.
Tired of being ignored Sasuke re-entered the conversation. "Hokage-sama, how can you give this no-talent loser a c-rank mission and not me? I am an Uchiha elite and I should be the one guarding a client of her stature so that we can assure that she safely makes it back to her home village. The dobe doesn't have the skill to do so and it's clear to everyone here that the other members of team eight would have to cover for him to make up his lack of skill."
Naruto was about to launch a retort in Sarutobi's defense when Kakashi decided to appeal his team more to the client. He was going to use this opportunity to put the Kyuubi brat down a few pegs and show him why Sasuke would always be better than him once he got the Hokage to assign his team the mission.
"With all due respect but Sasuke is correct, Hokage-sama. My team seven is currently the strongest of all the current rookie genin and we should make sure that the client has the best in protection. Plus, I will be along to ensure that nothing happens to her should any unexpected trouble should arise." Kakashi said in his lazy drawl.
Anko bristled. "Are you trying to imply that if something were to happen that you could handle a problem that Kure-chan and I couldn't, Hatake?"
"Now, I'm not saying that you couldn't handle it but the chances of success would greatly increase if I were there instead of the two of you." Kakashi replied with an eye smile.
"Why you chauvinist piece of-!" Anko snapped as she prepared to lunge.
"That will be enough of this bickering." Sarutobi said in a commanding tone.
Immediately all parties grew quiet with Anko barely managing to restrain herself as she saw the smug look Kakashi was still directing at her. The remaining members of team eight were also pissed at the barb at their skills made by Kakashi and team seven.
"I am sorry to inform you that the decision has already been made and team eight will be escorting Miss Kitima back to her village. I am quite confident that they will be more than capable of handling themselves and ensuring her safety and since she specifically requested them I will honor that request. Do I make myself clear?" Sarutobi continued in the same tone.
Kakashi lost his smug look. "Hai!"
The rest of team seven could stare at the Hokage as if he had lost his mind while team eight all held straight faces. Ayane smiled at Naruto and moved to stand beside him which once again drew her three jealous gazes. Naruto was aware this and could only mentally sigh as he heard his spirits laughing at his recurring predicament.
"Very well, now that this has all been taken care of. Team eight you are dismissed to carry out your assigned mission. I will expect to see you again in a little over a weeks' time if all goes well as I know it will." Sarutobi said in a softer tone.
Team eight nodded and with Ayane in tow all made their way out of the mission room to prepare for their next mission. Kakashi and the rest of team seven could only glare at their retreating forms and continued to do so even as Kakashi begrudgingly gave his oral report to Sarutobi. Their anger at team eight only increased when Sarutobi denied them the chance to take a c-rank mission of their own with Iruka and Sarutobi making it clear that team seven was not ready for an advanced mission just yet. Of course this would not bode well for team eight upon their return to the village. As the members of team eight prepared to undertake their next mission one could only wonder what would await the genin with their first time outside of Konoha as a team.
A/N: That's the end of chapter 4 of Konoha's Shinigami. This chapter was mainly to deal with a bit of time skip as well as a mission but since I didn't want to make the chapter too large I split it as well as tone down the content of the time skip. I have had several reviews that have made concern of my slow progress and I do apologize but I have very little free time between my own shift duties here on the base. I will bring each new chapter as quickly as possible but it's rather difficult to gain a flow when I have to stop then try to pick up where I left off each time. Normally, I would preview a bit on the next chapter but I want to leave my readers guessing.
On an additional note, I was originally planning to keep the harem in single digits but with the number of requests for more members it may become a double-digit number. I still remain undecided on a final number and potential mates may go elsewhere if I don't feel I can make it work to my writing style. This story has had a high volume of traffic for the first three chapters but very few reviews. Although, I don't really mind I would like more input as to what my readers think of my story as it what a writer would consider his pride to accept potential ideas and critics from his readers. As always please read and review and I thank everyone that has supported me so far. So until next chapter peace and bye for now.