Disclaimer: I own very little in life…
A/N: Here be the next one, I think I could still improve it more, but I know folk are getting antsy, so here ya go, hell, if I waited to post everything until it was 'perfect' I would never post .
As a secondary note, this would have been out sooner, but I got into the FF14 beta test and that's been eating up some time, add in the holiday and the new Warhammer rules dropping and making the game fun again and I was in trouble .
EDIT: Special thanks to Soulblazer87 for pointing out that I had used the wrong root (Well, not exactly correct) for 'Wasp/hornet' in Japanese, the jutsu have been adjusted for this, thanks again mate ^_^
Rapture is Just the Beginning
Chapter 8: Teamwork?
With a violent swirl of leafs the jonin vanished, blinding the trio with the wind and dust. Naruto looked down at the scroll in his hands and smirked, noting the seal placed on it was not unlike that on his parents scrolls. Biting his thumb a part of him noticed Sakura looking to Sasuke, seeming to be looking to him to take her lead.
Putting it out of his mind he smeared his blood onto the seal and was rewarded with a soft 'click' before he unfurled the parchment. Naruto arched an eyebrow at the single image that was staring back at him. 'Icha Icha Paradise vol. six? What the hell is this?'
"Um…guys? What did you get?" Looking up he was mildly surprised to see that the clearing was now empty, the tracks of his teammates showing that Sauske had moved off deeper into the forest with Sakura's smaller footprints following his. He let out a huff of annoyance before he shunted some of his chakra into his hand, letting his hive form. Quickly a swarm rose into the air and seemed to hover, the collection of wasps staring at him as if waiting for something. Focusing on the images of his teammates the swarm sped off into the distance, intent on finding their targets.
"My my…I've never seen a jutsu quite like that before…is it a bloodline?"
Naruto stiffened as he felt the hot breath pass over his ear, the voice of his sensei far too close for his comfort. Not wasting a moment he flicked his free hand back at the ground behind him and was rewarded with the startled yelp of the older man as well as the rush of wind scattering rocks around him, a few of them impacting him and dispelling his henge.
Not one to wait he spun and let loose a brace of shruiken, the bits of metal fanning out in a small cloud, no true target in mind, just trying to catch him at all with the blades. His eyes looked skyward and he had to fight the urge to curse, there, now impaled by three of his six blades, was a log.
"Another interesting technique…how many more of those are you hiding Namikaze-sama?" The blonds' eyes narrowed in anger as he heard Kakashi's voice once more, this time echoing through the clearing, "You need to be more on the ball if you want to keep me from taking that scroll of yours…"
Discreetly letting chakra flow around him he started letting the hive from across his body, not caring that the jonin could see the odd technique. "Perhaps, but you would have to catch me first, Hatake-san, and I fear you will have a lot more to worry about than just some unknown techniques I have, after all, the ones I've shown you thus far are more than enough to deal with you…"
He could make out the sound of Kakashi turning a page in a book, the thought of it making him grimace in annoyance, this guy told them to be serious, and yet he would read while they fought them?
He'd live to regret it.
"Oh…I don't know about that…a few bee stings aren't going to stop me. A dust devil, while an interesting distraction, is minor.'
"Is that so?" He started gathering some of Shiori's chakra into his feet, ankles on down starting to get cooler as the wind began to gather.
"Hm? You say something?"
Naruto twitched in annoyance before he threw his arms wide, his body being obscured in smoke as his wasps formed and vanished at one before area darkened in a massive swarm of insects the first several instantly dispelling and affording Naruto with a quick, three-sixty view of the area and letting him spot Kakashi in a nearby tree. He smirked as he saw the man's eyes widen in surprise before the swarm was upon him, again the center of the group was obscured with a puff of smoke, showing another log that was now covered with angry insects.
For Kakashi, this was a novel experience, when he had seen Naruto throw up his arms he had been expecting something like the last swarm to come, however, seeing the boy suddenly hidden in smoke as the first group simply vanished, like they were simple clones, was not something he was anticipating, let alone the group of bugs that came afterwards, the force of their wings flapping scatting the smoke to show that his sensei's son was long gone. He used a quick substitution to make sure he was well away from the things, but that only made the tracking of the blond that much harder. At one point knowing where Naruto was was a simple thing, yesterday and at the start of today he had a chakra signature that was so massive that he could have found him in his sleep.
That was not the case now.
Now he had suppressed it to the point that it was difficult to make out from the insects themselves, making his job that much more difficult as the swarm dispersed once more and seemed to fill the clearing in an almost perfect sphere.
'Hmmm….it's not that their limited in range…he sent those others off already…maybe he's trying to use them as a screen…if I kill one he will probably feel it…then I'll have given away my position…what a strange technique…Minato-sensei didn't have this bloodline…I didn't think Kushina-san didn't either…so wh-'
The jonin felt the added, gentle weight on his shoulder and looked over, seeing the black and yellow insect seemingly look into his eyes for a moment before the stinger pierced through his shirt and sink deep into his skin, he let out a hiss of pain before swatting the bug and to his surprise it vanished in a puff of smoke. 'Shadow clone!'
Looking back to the clearing he saw the swarm scatter, filling the air further before half of them, the sphere still present, moved in, streaking towards him, their stingers ready. He cursed his luck at seeing the larger grouping holding back; even if he swapped he would be trapped. Forming a single sign he let the chakra form and create the familiar pull of the body flicker, the whirling mass of air taking out a number of the insects before he reappeared. Taking a moment to reorient himself he looked for the white of the teen's shirt and smiled.
This was going to be more fun than he thought…
Sauske was absolutely livid, first he was told off by the class Dobe, then he had to deal with this little nuisance following him while he tried to find his objects, a sack of dog treats and some toys, two sets of things he had no clue where to look for, was there even a pet shop in Konoha?
"Sauske-kun, what is it that you have to find?"
Was this going to be how his career was going to be? Babysitting this waif of a girl and being lectured by a boy that had apparently been hiding all his skills his whole time in the academy? The added fact that he hadn't noticed that the blond had been doing it was just a twist of the knife.
"Go away Sakura."
"Sakura. You were given your task, get away from me."
"But if we work together we co-"
"Sakura, you're only going to slow me down. Get out of here."
The pinkette felt the pained sting of tears reach her eyes as she froze, stunned into inaction by her crush's harsh words. She knew he was better at the physical, hell, Naruto was, and he was the dead last, but to be so bluntly put down by one she cared for so much… Slowly that pain began to fade into a numbed coldness in her chest, like it had every time he had turned his back on her or the other girls after they asked for a date, or just to spend some time with him. "You really think I can't be of help?"
Taking a moment to nod to herself he changed direction slightly, if that's the way he wanted to play it, she'd show him just what he was missing…
Deciding that she was far enough from the raven haired teen she formed several quick hand signs, two copies of her coming to life before they went different directions, one of them taking back off after the Uchiha.
No reason not to keep up appearances ya? Looking again at her scroll he went through the small list of plants, adenium obesum, angel's trumpet, jequirity seeds, the list went on, ten in total. She knew right away why she was given this list, she was the smartest in their class, and would likely be the only one that could identify even half of this.
Poison, that's what every one of these plants had in common, some of the most debilitating, if not deadly plants she had ever seen. Going through the list carefully she knew that several of these she could get at some of the ninja outfitters, others she could probably find at the Yamanaka's florist shop, however their sensei had said that the items were in the training grounds and surrounding forest, that meant no trips into town. Letting out a sigh of annoyance she rolled back up her scroll and slipped it into a hip pouch, it was going to be a long day…
Naruto was starting to understand that his task was probably an impossible one…
The reason for this was simple, some of the wasps he had out tracking Sauske and Sakura has been keeping very good tabs for him, and in their observations he saw the item he was after, the little orange book that his sensei currently had open and reading as he followed Sauske. He had sent the rest of the bugs out further into the forests and grounds, trying to disperse them enough so that they wouldn't be as noticeable; however as they spread his control would waver and they would 'pop'.
Now wasn't the time to find out something like that.
Naruto wasn't a fool, he knew from his encounters with Iruka and Anko that he couldn't take on Kakashi alone, so putting his pride aside he focused on sending the image of Sakura out to the swarm. At once they seemed to coalesce and homed in on his target, the ones around him leading the way.
For Sakura, things were not going well, she had been searching through the brush for half an hour now and there was still no sign of even the most common of the plants that she needed. Cursing the rules of their test not for the first time she was about to move on when she felt something land on her shoulder. She absently flicked her hand at it and the weight vanished before another was felt on her other side. Looking over in annoyance she froze.
That was the biggest wasp she had ever seen. She gave a squeak as the six inch insect crawled closer to her throat, her body stiffening in fear before it seemed to tickle her with its antennae, then lifted off as though all it wanted to do was annoy her. Letting out the breath she had been holding she followed it with her eyes and almost fainted. There, all around her was a swarm that had to be ten times larger than anything should have a right to be. The loud buzzing that she was attributing to the blood that had rushed to her ears was not that much more obvious. Understanding that she had no way out of this without getting at least a single sting she pulled a fist full of explosive tags and started wrapping them around the handle of her kunai, just as she was finishing the fifth she saw the swarm seem to open up before the white, black and yellow blur come hurdling through the treetops to land beside her.
"Naruto! You idiot! Now you're trapped to!"
He looked at her in confusion for a moment before chuckling, "Who says I'm not the one who trapped you, ne?"
Remembering the rules of the test Sakura cursed herself, she never thought that Naruto would stoop to trying to undermine her like this. "So you're going to steal my scroll then…well I hope you're ready for a fight then you BAKA!"
Naruto scowled at the pinkette for a moment before letting out an annoyed huff, "You think I have nothing better than to make sure you don't pass? Havent you figured it out yet forehead?"
She glowered at him for the old nickname, "Oh course, it's search and retrieval, standard issue."
He nodded, "Yes, and have you figured out the target yet?"
"It's different for each of us."
"Wrong." She arched an eyebrow at that, "All three of us have to find the same thing."
"You idiot, I have to find a bunch of plants! Are you saying you have to find the same thing?"
"Yes and no. You have plants, I have a book, Sauske has to find stuff for a dog."
She felt a chill run up her spine, if he had found out about Sauske's items when she couldn't…and she had followed him for so long, then how good was he really? "How could you know that? He didn't even tell me! Is it because of the c-"
Naruto's cold look silenced her before she could say more, something she was absently grateful for, she almost said an S-class secret aloud, "Watch what you say Haruno, the forest has more ears than you know. I found out because of my little friends here." Raising a hand one of the insects landed on his hand before poofing out of existence.
"No, it's one of the abilities I hinted at yesterday, these are chakra constructs, like my clones."
"But…they were solid!"
"Yes, just like my clones." She continued to look at him like he'd sprouted a third arm, letting out an annoyed sigh he formed a single hand sign and at once four more Naruto's appeared in the clearing with them, one of them picking up a pebble and beaning her in the forehead with it. "Are we learning yet? Come on, we have to get to Sauske, we'll have to work together to catch Hatake."
"Why would we need to capture sensei?"
"Who do you think has what we all need?"
Sakura's eyes widened a moment before she cursed, of course he would have it, and these plants were so deadly that in some cases just touching one could end you. There was no way that there would be something like this just growing wild without some of the security or medical forces pulling it all up for village use. "But how do you know he has the book, or the dog stuff?"
"When he came after me, when you all left me he was reading it. If he had the book, it stands to reason that he would have those deadly plants, and if he has those then he probably has the stuff for a dog as well, might have a pet or something…"
"So you're not sure of any of it?"
"Only the book."
She narrowed her eyes in suspicion for a moment before taking a half step back, "So you're just going to use me to get in there, get the book then let him catch me and my scroll…you bastard!"
His eyes widened in shock as Sakura's fist connected hard with the back of his head, sending him to the dirt and disrupting his concentration long enough for the swarm to disperse. Lost in the smoke and holding his head in pain he never noticed the deft hands snatching the bit of parchment from the ground before the shock of red and pink that was Sakura faded from the clearing.
Kakashi sighed in annoyance as his own clone dispersed, sending the results of that little encounter to the real Kakashi, who was currently dodging and countering Sauske as he tried to hold onto his own scroll. 'Well, looks like I can't fail him at least…still, never thought that she would attack a teammate like that…' His free hand came up to catch the shruiken that the raven haired teen had just sent his way.
"You'll never get this scroll, I'm going to pass, then I'm going to become the strongest there is! Then when they all understand that, I'll kill him!"
"Hm? You say something?" 'Odd…that's not exactly what he said yesterday…' The jonin's eyes widened in shock as the Uchiha snapped trough several hand signs, "Katon: Gōkakyū no Jutsu!" with a smirk he let the flames obscure the teen's vision before blurring though his own jutsu, sinking into the earth, 'Interesting…he shouldn't have the chakra for such an attack…seems like I have a unique crop this year.' He could fell the vibrations of the Uchiha's movements and pushed his chakra through the earth, letting him flow through it like a fish before his hands shot out and snagged the boy by the ankles and yanking him neck deep before he leapt out and looked down at him with a smile. "Second rule of ninja combat, Ninjutsu. You were quite impressive Sauske, bu-"
Sauske's eyes widened in shock as a whirlwind suddenly appeared under the jonin before blowing itself out and sending up a great cloud of dirt, blinding the duo before he howled in pain, something had just grabbed him by his hair and yanked him out of the ground like an onion! As his eyes cleared he saw a massive screen of insects between the jonin and himself before he was pulled deeper into the woods.
"What the…Naruto! What are you playing at Dobe?"
"Shut up for a minute Teme…I'm here to help you."
"I don't nee-"
"Do you know where to find your target? Then shut up! He's still out there…"
Lowering his voice he started scanning the area himself, he was right, Kakashi was after both of them, so why not stick with the blond, at least until he could use him for cover to sneak away.
"Won't work Teme…Kakashi has no reason to come after me now."
That made the Uchiha's blood run cold, had he already completed his task! "You're already done?"
"No, I went to try and get Sakura to work with me; she sucker punched me and took my scroll when I was stunned. So fuck her, I'll help you get your stuff and next year I'll get a decent team."
That threw Sauske for a look, Sakura, of all people, attacked a teammate! "You're joking right? This is Sakura were talking about, she wou-"
"Teme…can you count the number of days she didn't hit me in the academy?" At his silence Naruto simply nodded, "Didn't think so, look, Kakashi's trial is all a trick, we have to try and capture him, he's got the things we need. We'll have to work together to get him. You know the fireball jutsu, how many more times can you use it?"
Deciding to put the rivalry aside for now he relented, "Maybe two more, depending on the size."
"Alright…here's what were going to do…"
Sakura was currently making her way to the far side of the training grounds, this area set up more like a series or rocky ridges rather than the normal forests of Konoha, however, these ridges seemed almost devoid of life, it was clear to her that this area was used for earth users. Cursing herself she came upon an odd sight. There, below her in a barren spot of the training grounds was a single plant, the first on her list in fact. With a happy grin she streaked towards to the bit of foliage and just as her fingertips brushed a leaf she found herself weightless before plummeting into the now apparent pit trap.
"My my…looks like the smartest of the team fell for the simplest of traps…"
She cursed before letting fly a pair of kunai, the jonin snatching them easily by their rings before twirling them a few times; Sakura's eyes widened a moment as she spotted what was in his other hand, an orange book. "So he was right…"
"Yes…so he was…a pity that you didn't listen to your teammate, you may have been able to pass if you had just opted to work together, but oh well…makes my job much easier if I don't have to babysit a kid that would attack someone that just wanted to help."
She winced at that before steeling herself, this test wasn't over yet, she still had her scrolls, she still had a chance to get out and to link up with the others...
Her eyes widened in surprise as she felt a hand slip into her hip pouch and before she could react the jonin had leapt away. "Well…that's two down…maybe they'll let me take Sauske as an apprentice…it would certainly be better than dealing with some little fan girl and a boy with too much trust in his heart…" That was a low blow, even he would admit that, her crestfallen look as well as the tears brimed in her eyes did strike a chord, but you didn't live through the last war without having to steel yourself against such things.
"Now, would you like a hand out? Or wait for someone else to come along?"
"It won't be a long wait!"
"Katon: Gōkakyū no Jutsu!"
Kakashi's head whipped around just in time to see the ball closing in before he dove into the hole beside Sakura, the fireball engulfing the area above them and sucking all the air out of the pit, making the two collapse as the air superheated. As it passed he looked up once more to see a dark sky that now came back in on him.
"My turn! Suzumebachi no kajō-gaki no bakuhatsu!" The swarm then shot downwards to Kakshi, the man still woozy from his now recovered breath and winced as the insects began to bombard him, the stingers biting deep before each of the bugs exploded, the force driving him down and forcing him into the earth with each small blast. "NOW! Suzumebachisaikuron!" The battered jonin felt himself suddenly shot into the air as the remaining wasps burrowed under the soft earth then suddenly exploded into the small whirlwinds that Naruto had been trying to use on him earlier, the combined force of dozens of the things propelling him into the air.
"Katon: Gōkakyū no Jutsu!
Just as the massive fireball was about to impact he suddenly felt himself being drawn away, thrown for a moment Kakashi saw that what should have cooked him was now roasting a blond hair teen.
The pair whipped around to see the teen standing there without so much as a scratch on him, scowling at the now soot covered Sakura as she slowly pulled herself from the hole. "I swapped him with a clone…if we killed him it would be…troublesome…"
"Simple Kakashi. You underestimated us. Now give Sauske his stuff so we can get out of here, I have training to do."
Taking a moment to gather his wits he smiled at the two teens before looking to Sakura, "You know, you could learn a lot from them…" She lowered her head in shame, refusing to look at Naruto, "And you will. You all passed."
That caught them all of guard, "WHAT!"
Kakshi winced as he brushed off the debris from his clothing, "Yes, you all passed. Naruto figured out that this was indeed a test of teamwork, as opposed to individual trials. He then approached Sakura, only to have her turn on him, something we will be getting out of her system, believe me, then went to Sauske despite the fact that he knew he couldn't pass and simply wanted to help a comrade to succeed."
"I owed you. I pay my debts, and actually I didn't figure out your test, I just knew I couldn't do it alone."
Kakashi nodded before pulling out his book once more, "Yes, be that as it may, you were still man enough to admit you needed help and went to the first that you thought likely to listen. Even I was shocked when, of all people, it was 'the loner' that ended up agreeing to help you."
"But you said that we had to get it alone! That if the others took our objects that we would fail!"
"Yes, I did, but it was up to you to decide if they would, we are all ninja of the Leaf Sakura. Do you know what sets us apart from the other nations?"
He let out an annoyed sigh before his voice became like steel, "TEAMWORK!"
The three teens looked at one another in confusion. "Don't all the nations work like that? What makes Konoha so different then?"
"Naruto, the other nations do work together, yes, however, they think little of sacrificing teammates so long as the mission get's accomplished. That's not how the Leaf works. For us, if our comrades come back then we can try again later, or make up our mistakes, but if you come back alone…than your just that…alone. Yes, those that abandon the mission are trash, but to me, those that abandon their friends are worse than trash."
Seeing his rather far off look the trio all lowered their heads slightly, thinking of their own instances that they may have helped or hindered others. Sakura attacking Naruto, Sauske sending Sakura off, Naruto not giving a damn about Sakura after her attack. They all felt bad, but at the same time Naruto felt slightly justified, part of him wondering what it would make the person who was abandoned, if Sakura was trash for ditching and attacking him, what did that make him…
"I want you to think tonight about what it is that ideal means to you…report to training ground seven at nine AM for our first mission. Dismissed."
Moving off from the group Naruto let a small smile form on his lips, he had a pair of scrolls at home with his name on them, and it was finally time to see what they held.
Another AN - I agree that Sakura was the weak link here, and as a plot point is more of a plot hole in the test (heh) but honestly, I dont see Kakashi failing Sasuke (Insert standard 'I owe it to Obito bit) or Naruto (Fourth's son) So I can see him trying to work with her here, and honestly, given a similar situation (Being forced to work with someone you dont like, and not having any proof asside from the fact that he knows where to find what he needs) I may think the same.
Add to that how often she will hit Naruto and it didnt seem that off, but I will make sure to explain things a bit in the next chapter.
Suzumebachi no kajō-gaki no bakuhatsu- Wasp bullet explosion
Suzumebachisaikuron – Wasp Cyclone
Katon: Gōkakyū no Jutsu - Fire Release: Great Fireball Technique