I told you guys I would get this chapter out to you sooner, and I did; seriously it's only been two days! We are going to soon reach the climax of our story friends : ) I am so excited! Thank you for all your reviews this far! I know Hayate and Sakura are not a likely couple, but I love them in their own weird way : )


Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto

Hayate was going to murder these two soon… Kami, he swore he was. The two hadn't stopped fighting, even when they were all supposed to be standing guard. It was nearly noon; Sasori's spy was going to be here any minute, and the two blubbering fools were vehemently whisper-fighting with each other.

"My dick has gotta be way bigger than yours, you jack ass."

"I don't see how that is possible Naruto-kun, you don't have a dick at all."

"I'm going to kill you Sai-bastard!"

"If you two don't shut your mouths right now, I will be the one to kill you both, do you understand?" Hayate had had enough. Glaring at the two several feet away from him, he watched as Naruto gulped and Sai remained indifferent. Hayate sighed, and once again wished Sakura and Genma were the ones with him on this mission.

Hayate's eyes drew from the two he had previously been watching, to Yamato, who had safely hedged into Hiruko. From this view, Hayate could not tell a difference between the real Sasori Sakura had told him about, or this pretend one; Hayate just hoped it would be enough to trick the spy.

He wanted the information about Orochimaru's lair, not because he wanted the Uchiha back. No, he had some unfinished business with a certain silver haired ninja… He wanted to get revenge on him after the damage he had done to Sakura, and the damage he had done to himself.

Hayate had stayed up all night last night thinking about Sakura. It hadn't been his plan… he had wanted to finish his mission before he thought about her and the possibility of a relationship with her, but really, that had been impossible. He finally realized that he wanted to be with her; he needed her to be more than just a teammate. Hayate wanted nothing to take her away from him, but Hayate knew he had to do one thing before he could be with her. Kabuto and Orochimaru had put Sakura and himself on a high priority kill list; the two were obviously still bitter from their thwarted invasion attempt. If he were to kill Kabuto or even Orochimaru (even if that sounded unlikely), then he knew he could keep her safe from anything.

Hayate's eyes refocused; they had been slightly glazed over as he thought about the pink haired girl. He feared missions would always be like this; his attention being drawn away from the mission. Hopefully when he was back with his team he wouldn't have to think so much about her; she would already be there.

Hayate's brown eyes traced Yamato's movements as he stopped in the middle of the Tenchi bridge. Looking up to the sky, Hayate could tell it was a few minutes to noon. Yamato had agreed that the group of four would wait for a half an hour, and if the spy was a no show, then they would leave. Hayate believed that the spy would show, however; it was a feeling he had in his stomach.

Looking to the teenage boys to the side of him, Hayate allowed a small smile to form on his face. Sakura was so right; threatening people did make them more compliant. Maybe he would try it on Genma sometime. ..

Shaking his head slightly, Hayate knew it was noon; the spy was either running late, or not going to show. Hayate hoped that it was the former; he really did not want to have this mission be a complete waste of time.

Just as he thought that, Hayate watched as someone walked out from the other side of the forest. The person, whoever it was, was wearing a dark cloak that was covering their entire body. Their chakra was also masked, which gave Hayate the idea that this was in fact their spy. Watching as the spy walked slowly up to Yamato, Hayate sat back and waited.

"You know I hate waiting," Yamato grumbled as the spy stepped towards him. From the reports, everything that Yamato was doing seemed to be right; Hayate prayed everything would go as planned.

"My apologies, Sasori-sama," the spy spoke in an embarrassed and humbled voice. "It took longer to leave Orochimaru's lair than I had previously anticipated."

Hayate froze at hearing the voice of the spy, and he practically saw red. He didn't even need to see the spy lower the hood from his head to know who it was.



Sakura dodged to the left of an incoming kunai; it appeared she was not as safe as she would have liked in the forest. Throwing a kunai towards her attacker, Sakura gritted her teeth together as she felt for Genma and Kakashi's chakra signatures. The two older males were supposed to be getting breakfast in the village; she knew the two had probably sensed another ninja's chakra. They were obviously letting her complete her part of the exam without any help; she assumed if someone stepped in she would be disqualified.

Concentrating chakra to her hands, they began to glow an eerie blue. Looking to her attacker, who was shrouded in all black, Sakura raised a hand in the air.

"What do you want?" Sakura asked before taking a step forward. She would incapacitate this person if necessary; she knew she would have to try reasoning with the person first.

"Raikage's orders, Haruno-san," the ninja said with a nod. The blue left Sakura's hands as a scroll was thrown her way. Raising an eyebrow, Sakura looked to the ninja in black again. "Read the scroll. You are to complete this mission within five days. Return to the Raikage's office if you come back alive."

Nodding her head, Sakura waited for the nin to leave before she opened the scroll. Cursing to herself, Sakura reread the scroll before placing it in her back pocket.

Just as she felt the black cloaked nin's chakra fade away she felt Genma and Kakashi's return; the two had been waiting for her to finish with whatever she needed to.

"Mission, Sakura-Chan?" Genma asked as he came into the clearing. Taking another step forward, Sakura fought a laugh when he tripped one of her traps; the ones she set up for enemy nin. Genma let out a female-like scream as he dodged twenty kunai by falling gracelessly to the ground.

"Damn it Sakura-Chan!" Genma cursed as he watched Kakashi shake his head.

"I'm sorry Genma," Sakura said good-naturedly; amusement shone in her eyes. Her tone of voice grew lower as she continued. "But if you're a jounin, you're going to have to be able to dodge that."

"I didn't know you could do impressions, Sakura-Chan!" Genma let out a laugh; the tripped trap already forgotten. "And you weren't that bad, either!"

Shaking his head slightly, Kakashi stopped when he was in front of the pinkette. "What does the scroll say?"

"It's not confidential," Sakura said with a nod as she took it out of her pocket and handed it to him. "It seems the Raikage is getting bored, and thinks there are too many ninja still left; even though it's only been a day. The scroll is a list of things that I need to bring to him. In the way he wrote it, it was a scavenger hunt of sorts…"

"That sounds like it could be exciting and fun," Genma said as he tilted his head. "Why do you sound bitter?"

"All of these are poisonous plants," Sakura said with a frown. "I know where most of them should be located, but I'm afraid a lot of the other ninja will end up getting poisoned because they don't know how to handle them."

"That shouldn't be you're concern, Sakura," Kakashi reminded as he opened the scroll. "Oleander branches, fox glove roots, elderberry roots, moonseed berries, water hemlock, nightshade, and jimson weed."

"The list isn't outrageously long," Sakura said as her frown stayed on her face. "But a lot of these plants are back in the land of fire or in grass; I'm going to have to travel there to find them."

"Does it say anything about us not coming along?" Genma asked eagerly.

"No… it actually doesn't," Kakashi said as he read through the scroll. "It just says she has to be the one to extract the plants."

"We're coming with then," Genma said with a smile. "There's no way I'm going to have you running around the land of fire alone; Hayate would kill me."

"Okay then," Sakura said with a grin as she took the scroll back from Kakashi. "Let's pack up and head out. The first one on the list should be the easiest; Oleander is a house plant."


He was livid, but he also noticed he wasn't the only one that was pissed off. He could practically feel the hate that was bubbling off of Naruto; who knew the blonde kid could actually hate someone?

Hayate's eyes focused on the silver haired male as he pulled the rest of his hood down.

"I don't want excuses Kabuto," Yamato's deep voice said as he glared at the silver haired male.

"Sorry, again," Kabuto said as he hung his head in shame. After a few seconds he looked up. "It's been a while since we've met; about five years, right?"

"We're you followed?" Yamato asked, and Hayate was thankful Yamato was able to avoid the question. The brunette in the puppet seemed to be well trained in the art of spying; Hayate could only assume the male was an anbu member.

"No," Kabuto said as he looked across the bridge; he appeared to be slightly anxious.

"How do you feel?"

"I felt light headed," Kabuto said as he looked back to Yamato. "It was a strange sensation when your jutsu broke… My head still feels cloudy."

"I want information," Yamato said deeply.

"We will have to keep it brief," Kabuto said as he looked across the bridge again; his face appeared to be more strained. "I don't like meeting out in the open."

"Where is Orochimaru's closest hideout, and what of Sasuke Uchiha?" Yamato asked as he looked on at Kabuto disinterestedly. Hayate was thankful Yamato was the one to do the hedge of the Akatsuki member; he knew a sword would have been through Kabuto's chest about now if he had been the one to act as Sasori. That and Yamato's wooden transformation technique appeared to be flawless.

"Orochimaru has several hideouts," Kabuto said while looking off of the bridge, "they are all over the country. We keep moving every other week or so to avoid suspicion."

"What of the current hideout?" Yamato asked.

"Right now, Orochimaru's hideout is to the north of here," Kabuto said. "It's on an island, but we move again in three days. Sasuke Uchiha is there now."

Hayate heard all of the conversation via a microphone Yamato was wearing. His blood started to boil the more he heard Kabuto speak.

"Should we now discuss the orders you gave me, Sasori-sama?" Kabuto asked as he looked to Yamato. Hayate froze as he heard this question. Sasori had died before he was able to give them in depth information on his spy… there was no way the group of four were supposed to know what type of orders Sasori had given Kabuto.

"Even after the experiments are discarded, Orochimaru uses a protection jutsu on the bodies," Kabuto said with a sigh. "I was unable to analyze the cell structure like you wanted me too, and there is no way you will be able to modify the bodies to become puppets; I'm sorry."

"I see," Yamato said.

Hayate watched from the sidelines and felt something was very wrong. He didn't understand what, but there was something in his stomach that was making him feel like something bad was about to happen; even with the wind on the bridge, the forest was too quiet. If he had learned one thing from Sakura, it was to always follow your gut.

Nodding to Sai, Hayate watched as the nin let out his ink squirrel. The squirrel had been drawn before the group had even come to this location; they didn't want any chakra to be felt by the spy.

The squirrel was supposed to be a warning; if Hayate felt anything was wrong he was supposed to let Sai know, and the squirrel was supposed to let Yamato know. Hayate just hoped the nerves in his stomach were wrong…

"Did you bring the item you promised me? We should exchange and get going; I have a bad feeling," Kabuto said as he looked behind him.

Hayate cursed, but felt better as he watched the black ink squirrel run up and down a tree once; Hayate just hoped it was enough to catch Yamato's eye, and not Kabuto's. There was no way Yamato would be able to cover for this… they hadn't planned to give the spy anything. Maybe Yamato would give him a scroll?

Just as Kabuto was reaching out towards Yamato, in hopes of grabbing whatever it was Sasori had promised him, a dark chakra appeared on the bridge. Hayate's eyes widened as he watched Orochimaru appear behind Kabuto.

It was like a nightmare all over again, but at least this time Sakura was not here; he thanked Kami she was back in Konoha safe.

"Damn it," Hayate said as he coughed into his fist. The brunette wasn't stupid; even if Yamato was anbu and he, himself, was a jounin there would be no way the two would be able to defeat Orochimaru and Kabuto at the same time.

"Orochimaru," Hayate heard Naruto spit out, and Hayate could hear the hate oozing out of his voice.

Hayate watched as Orochimaru sent snakes to wrap around Kabuto; the silver haired male avoided being squeezed to death as he flickered off his cloak, and stood in front of Yamato.

"It was so nice of you to send me one of your little spies Sasori," Orochimaru said as his tongue flickered over a kunai. "He was invaluable when conducting my experiments."

Hayate cursed, again, as he watched the action unfold before him; all the while different scenarios ran through his head. He knew Yamato was in deep trouble; there was no way he could attack Orochimaru without Kabuto knowing Yamato wasn't the real Sasori. It also wouldn't help if the three of them came out and started to attack Orochimaru… then Kabuto would also know Yamato was not Sasori.

Hayate gave the two males a sign to sit back and wait while he tried to watch to see what would happen.

"Sasori-sama," Kabuto said as he took a step in front of Yamato. The shinobi's hand was glowing blue, and he looked fiercely across the bridge at Orochimaru. "I'm sorry."

And with that said, the glint in Kabuto's eyes changed, and he turned towards Yamato quickly. Kabuto's blue hand slashed through Yamato's disguise. Hayate nodded quickly; they couldn't hold back now that Yamato had been revealed.

"Many Hidden Shadow: Snake Hands," Orochimaru called as Yamato leaped free of the destroyed puppet. Yamato was flying through the air as seven snakes flew towards him. Just as the snakes were about to strike, Hayate appeared.

"Leaf Style: Crescent Moon Dance," Hayate whispered as his sword cut through the snakes.

Landing in front of Yamato, Hayate sighed noticing the blood coming out of the other male's shoulder. "You okay?"

"Probably not the best time to be checking," Yamato commented back as the two males turned to the Sound ninja in front of them.

"Well look who it is," Kabuto said as his eyes narrowed. Hayate's brown eyes narrowed as well, until Orochimaru laughed.

"Oh, don't forget the little nin behind him," Orochimaru said as Sai and Naruto appeared behind them. Hayate's eyes stayed on Orochimaru, but he could feel the chakra shifting in the blonde behind him; this meeting between the six of them would not be a good one. "This is all so deliciously precious.

"How strange it is to see you without your dear Sakura-chan, Hayate," Orochimaru chuckled again as his tongue licked over his lips. "Such a shame she won't be dying with you today."

Hayate knew what the male was doing; he was trying to bait him. Kami help him, it was actually working, and made him feel pissed off. Taking a deep breath, Hayate responded, "She's back in Konoha; safe."

"Amusing," Orochimaru's eyes danced with amusement as he looked over to Kabuto. "He doesn't even know when his own teammate is taking an exam?"

Hayate's eyes shone in confusion, and Orochimaru chuckled again as his eyes landed back on the brunette.

"Three Konoha nin were spotted on their way to Lightning yesterday," Kabuto said as his mouth rose up in an ominous smirk, "A male with brown hair, a male with silver hair, and a female with pink hair; I wonder who those could be?"

They had to be lying; trying to distract him somehow. Sakura and Genma would never go to the Jounin exams without him… He was supposed to help her train more before that happened!

"I see you don't believe me," Kabuto said with a smile as his hands turned blue again. "It's of no consequence. I will finally kill you, and then, when I'm done, I'm going to kill that pink haired bitch too."

Hayate reeled back and away from the bridge; Kabuto followed him easily. Looking back to Yamato, Hayate nodded, and took a deep breath. Yamato was going to need to stay by Naruto; that meant that the two were going to be facing off against Orochimaru. He was sure they would need the support of Sai in taking the Sanin down too, so he would tango against Kabuto alone.