Fiori: A new chapter finally ready to be viewed. Like with most of my other stories Kuro-Tenshi suffered a loss because of crappy computers. Also in the semi-good news all of you out there reviewed enough for me not to shoot anyone.
Assembled (Held hostage) cast: Huzzah!
Fiori: And it's really sad too, here I was planning on shooting Orochimaru-teme in the face. I sent out invitations and everything, but no, you all saved him, hope you're happy.
Jiraiya: Wait Orochimaru, why would he come here just to get shot?
Fiori: Well obviously I didn't tell him he was just gonna get shot, I told him there was a bishonen boy with an almost extinct bloodline here.
Haku: Wait bishonen, BLOODLINE?
Orochimaru: Oh my, isn't he ever so pretty, kukukuku.
Haku: No keep him away from me I don't want to be analy-raped!
Fiori: Suck it up wussy (Yes I know I'm utterly evil and that was a tasteless pun) In other news Hana wins. Now on with the show.
Chapter Four: The Raven, the Hound, and the Angel: Part one
Inuzuka Hana had finally returned home from what could be considered a complete snafu of a mission. It was supposed to be a simple bandit cleansing, they had no idea that there was a group of trained samurai leading the bandits. It made sense really now that she thought about it, how else could they have been so effective if not for the samurai that led them. They had been too well organized to be just common bandits, not to mention too strong.
Instead of being a simple task of killing a few and rounding up the rest, it had turned into an all out blood bath. Three Chunin and a Jonin had died in the conflict. For an Inuzuka this was considered one of the greatest tragedies that could occur, loosing part of the pack during combat. Even worse still was that Hana had nearly died herself while fighting the lead samurai. The battle had not been a good one her own blade had been completely destroyed by the enemy's blade with just one well-placed swing. If not for the fact that she was a woman and that she had the Inuzuka abilities to fall back on then she might very likely have died. As it was the lead samurai had taken his eyes off of her after sundering her blade, leaving him open for the killing blow.
Though despite the loss of her sword Hana was in an almost pleasant mood. She had managed to find several interesting scrolls in the leaders tent, as well as claim the sword the Bandit leader had been using at the time. As Hana had been the one who had killed him, she was perfectly allowed to loot his corpse and belongings. There were four scrolls in total, two of which bore the symbol for fire and the other two bore the symbol for lightning. Having glossed over them upon finding them Hana was pleased to note that they were scrolls detailing basic Ken and Taijutsu styles. They also appeared to hold several other scrolls inside of them, making them all the more valuable. The sword she had gained also sparked more than idle fascination. The blade was a dark crimson hue, almost like blood. It was made even more beautiful by the flame like pattern that ran along the metal of the blade, add to that the lightning patterns on the hilt and you had one eloquent blade. One that more than made up for the one Hana had lost in the fight.
Shaking herself from admiring the blade, Hana turned to the four scrolls she had pilfered from the leaders tent. The scrolls themselves were not in what could be considered good shape, each looked to be old yet as well looked after as they could be. In fascination she opened one of the scroll, hoping it contained the forms for whatever style the samurai had used to combat her party. However the information was not what she had expected. The first scroll she looked at certainly did contain information on a fighting style, as well as several jutsu's that worked well in conjunction with the style. The problem however was that the style and the jutsu's were completely specialized. Specialized to the point that they were almost like the techniques of her own clan, damn near useless to anyone else
"Goddamn it all to hell!" Hana seethed as she threw the scroll onto the ground in frustration.
"How the hell did those moronic samurai learn shit from clan scrolls?" Hana growled as she looked through one of the other scrolls. Sure enough it too was specialized to something only someone with a particular bloodline could actually use effectively. Worse still it seemed that the Samurai's entire fighting style was a bastardized version of the scrolls fighting style, and she lacked the go between to turn the things from the scrolls into something she could actually use.
"Shit, all that excitement for nothing, at least I got this sword." Hana sighed as she flopped onto her back in the small clearing behind the main house, holding the sword above her head and admiring it in the fading light of day to calm her anger.
It was at that moment that she noticed what looked to be a person flying over the Inuzuka compound. What was stranger still was that the flying figure was suddenly struck in the head and had started to plummet downward, directly towards her. It took all of twenty seconds for the information that what she was seeing could not possibly be a genjutsu. After that she quickly scrambled away from the coming impact zone of the mysterious figure. However she was surprised when the figure seemed to right themselves before gliding the remaining distance across the grounds before crashing and rolling across the grounds.
"Well that wasn't fun." The prone figure grumbled from behind the bandages that hid his lower face.
"Who the hell are you?" Hana asked as she quickly buried the shock of seeing what looked to be an angel fallen from heaven land in her yard. She surpassed a gasp as his dark reflective blue eyes finally found hers. It was then that an expression of confusion crossed the prone forms face.
"Wait, ain't you Kiba's sister?" It asked in a voice that she now felt was slightly familiar.
"How do you know my brother's name?" She asked, her own confusion now becoming evident in her voice.
" I thought it was you, you're Bana, right?" he asked in a cheerful tone as he stretched his wings and rotated his shoulders.
"That's Hana!" She shouted, now almost fully convinced that she knew who had crashed into her yard. But the sheer impossibility of the handsome looking young man in front of her being the resident eyesore was next to impossible.
"Oh, right. I always messed that up, sorry Hana-neechan." He answered sheepishly, hammering the final nail into the coffin and confirming his identity.
"Naruto? What the hell happened to you, why do you have wings?" She asked as she tried to force down the thoughts she had previously held about the boy in front of her.
"Well during my first C-rank, things sorta got out of hand. Turns out my mom was from Kiri and she had a bloodline." He said with what looked to be a childish version of his sensei's eye-smile.
"That's the understatement of the year." Hana scoffed as she looked at the young Genin before her, pulling what she knew from past experience and the stories her little brother had told her. Though seeing as the information was about a scrawny loudmouthed eyesore, not the semi muscular young man with what looked to be a high quality sword.
"Yeah I guess it is, but it was a wild ride. I even got to meet one of my mom's old students, He gave me her sword see." Naruto said enthusiastically as he pulled his sword out for Hana too examine. She was utterly floored when she noticed the similarities between it and her new chokuto.
"That blade was your mom's?" She asked in shock.
"Yup, apparently all Uzumaki have blades like this, or they did." Naruto said before looking slightly downcast. It was this that brought Hana to a slight conundrum. According to the Naruto swords of the make like her new blade were meant for his family, and judging by his strange new appearance he probably had the bloodline needed for him to use the abilities mentioned in her scrolls. As he seemed to be the one the scrolls and sword belonged to it would be natural and right to return them to him. Yet she had earned them by killing the previous owner. All in all it left her at a bit of a stalemate.
After a few moments when it looked like neither would say anything more, Naruto turned and made to take off. Yet before he could Hana finally reached her decision.
"Wait Naruto, about your clan," She said brashly.
"What about it?" Naruto asked as he turned to face him again.
"Look, during my last mission I ran into this samurai, and he had a sword that looked a lot like yours." She explained. Instantly she saw the hope leek into his eyes. She almost felt bad about continuing, but seeing as she had already started she couldn't really stop.
"Well he was an enemy, but I did manage to retrieve these off of him." She said as she motioned to the scrolls and sword on the ground. Instantly she noted the change in his demeanor as small arcs of electricity began to play across his eyes.
"When you say retrieved, what exactly do you mean?" He asked coldly.
"As I said he was an enemy, he tried to kill me and my team. What did you expect me to do?" She growled back. This of course placated him slightly, but she could still sense the tension in the air between him and herself.
"So what is the point of you telling me this?" He asked quietly.
"Well the scrolls aint really worth anything to me, I figured I could return them to you." She answered sharply, not really caring for Naruto's attitude at large.
"What's the catch?" Naruto asked suspiciously.
"Look gaki I'm trying to be nice here, what the hell's with the attitude?" Hana barked in irritation.
"Right, and you're planning on giving me things because?" He asked smartly, fully expecting that the scrolls she was trying to return would come with some kind of price.
"Well they are yours right?" She growled.
"Maybe, but from what Aniki said, my clan wouldn't part with their blades or scrolls easy. So how did you get a hold of them?" He shot back.
"I already told you, some samurai I killed had them on him. He probably killed one of your family members to get them. Look if you don't want them I'll just keep them." She huffed.
"I didn't say I didn't want them, I just asked why you're simply giving them to me. Most people here aren't that nice." Naruto replied coldly. Hana nearly barked out some form of comeback for his attitude. As far as she knew the people of Konoha were the nicest in the world. But then she remembered exactly whom she was dealing with. She knew that he wasn't well liked by most people, though she really had no idea why. Simple harmless pranks were not enough to get that kind of animosity. She just knew that he probably had enough happen to him that he was mistrustful of priceless gifts. It almost made her sick to think about what someone could have done to make him mistrustful of such acts of genuine kindness. However his current attitude still took up the forefront of her mind, and frankly he was pissing her off.
"Look, I'm honestly trying to be nice here. I can't really learn jack-shit from these scrolls. So what's the point of me having them? You however can learn from them, and by doing so you'll be a better asset to our village, so take the damn scrolls and the sword and get out of here before I sick the nin-ken on you." She growled out lightly. Naruto stood there looking at her quietly for a few moments before he just shook his head and moved to pick up the scrolls. He seemed to be happy as he read that two of them were of the lightning style. Yet when he moved to pick of the sword, he stopped and seemed to draw away from it.
"What's the matter, that sword not good enough for your high standards?" Hana growled out confrontationally.
"Keep it, I've already got a sword." Naruto replied as he turned to take off back into the skies around Konoha.
"I thought your family didn't part with their blades easily?" Hana asked mockingly.
"Consider it payment for the scrolls." Naruto replied before he took off with a mighty flap of his wings, leaving a slightly wind-ruffled Inuzuka maiden to pick up the discarded Kokoroken.
"That kid has ball of steel to mouth off to an Inuzuka woman like that." A voice came from the shadows, startling Hana. Turning she saw her mother standing in the shadows. Though she figured it had to be her, very few can truly sneak up on an Inuzuka.
"Okaa-san?" Hana asked respectfully.
"That gaki will go far, mark my words pup." Tsume answered with a feral smile before turning and leaving her confused daughter by herself.
"What just happened?" She asked as she looked towards where her mother had appeared from, and then to the skies were Naruto had taken off to.
The next day three of the total four members of team seven sat at their usual meeting place waiting for the fourth. However the present three were not waiting for the usual suspect, instead they stood waiting for another.
"Were the hell is that baka!" Sakura screamed as she scanned the skies, looking for the new tell tale red and black.
"Ma ma, Sakura-chan, could you keep it down, I'm trying to read here." Kakashi asked lazily as he turned the pages of his book.
"But sensei, Naruto should have been here by now. He's keeping us from valuable training time." Sakura whined as she yet again took to looking at the sky.
"Just be patient, worrying like that will make you old." Team seven's sensei replied.
"Sasuke what do you think could be taking him so long?" Sakura asked as she turned to her crush.
"Don't know, don't care." He answered coldly from his spot on the ground. He honestly didn't care where Naruto was at this point. He was mostly concerned with going over the fight he'd had with the blond previously. Trying to come up with some form of workable strategy for the next time they faced one another.
"Sakura I told you not to worry." Kakashi said as just a hint of annoyance started to creep into his voice.
"But sensei-" Sakura made to protest, that was however until an abnormally large amount of Chakra washed over the area, followed by a very loud vocalization,
"Kai!" Shouted the voice of the missing teammate.
Naruto looked at the group in front of him in confusion, as Kakashi didn't disperse like he had expected him to. Instead he merely tilted his head to the side as his team looked at him with equal amount of confusion.
"Naruto why did you try to dispel a genjutsu?" Kakashi asked.
"Because you're here on time." Was the deadpan response.
"BAKA! You're late!" Sakura yelled as she bashed him on the head angrily.
"Well I'm sorry, I was training to kill time." Naruto grumbled as he recovered from the attack.
"You were training?" Sasuke asked curiously.
"Well yeah, Kakashi-sensei's usually always two hours late, I figured I could use that to get some extra training in." Naruto replied honestly. As his team looked at Naruto with mild embarrassment Kakashi couldn't help but try to save face due to the completely accurate accusation.
"Where exactly were you training?" Sasuke asked with a slight hint of curiosity.
"Some huge forest surrounded by a fence, there were lots of big animals there, plus this semi-crazy lady in a brown jacket." Naruto answered.
"Did she say anything to you?" Kakashi asked with more interest than usual.
"She gave me this note and told me to come back to play with her in three years." Naruto answered as he handed the note to Kakashi. Unfolding it he found that it read simply.
'This Gaki is now property of the snake mistress Anko.'
"Be that as it may Naruto, please try to be here at the time specified." Kakashi ordered slightly worried that Anko had taken such an interest in his student. Bad enough that he was being influenced by a single week with Zabuza, who knows what Anko, could do to his mind.
"Okay, but only if you take your own advice." Naruto replied happily, completely unaware of his sensei's worry.
"Can we just get to why Kakashi is here early?" Sakura asked as she saw her sensei about to respond in some way that would only draw the conversation out longer than necessary.
"Thank you Sakura. As you three all know, Nami was a disaster. Though it has opened my eyes to several thing, most of all the fact that I have been overly lax when it comes to training you. I plan to remedy that." Kakashi explained.
"How?" Sasuke asked with a cold mask to hide his excitement.
"First order of business is that all of you shall undergo intense physical training and chakra exercises for no less than six hours a day probably more in Naruto's case. Followed by an hour of sparring, both one-on-one against each other, and three-on-one against myself. Following this I shall teach each of you a jutsu that suits your elemental type and current level of chakra. If you master it to a certain point then I shall teach you a new jutsu. You shall have an hour to train that jutsu while I am here, after that I expect you to work on mastering it on your own time. After said hour on the jutsu we might, we might have a mission. But most likely we will not since I plan on working you three into the ground. Am I understood?" Kakashi asked seriously, leaving no room for disagreement. His question was answered by three heads nodding, one hesitant, one uncaring, and one overly enthusiastic.
"Very well then, let the training commence."
The next six hours would be considered near torturous to both Sasuke and Sakura. Though Naruto took everything in stride and with enthusiasm. In those six hours Kakashi made sure to throw them through a meat grinder, all in the name of toughening them up. Though Sakura couldn't see how making them run from him as he threw real Kunai at them could possibly be considered training. Add to that occasional nest filled with angry bees and the other random predators he some how steered into their path, not to mention the angry squirrels, who knew the little things could be so viscous? All of it made for a very exhausting run. And that was only the first hour. Obscure chakra building exercises, both for control as well as increasing the size were used. And then there was him having her do the strange sit up over the pile of burning wood. All in all by the end of the six hours Sakura was no longer sure that Kakashi was trying to make them stronger, she obviously thought he was trying to kill them.
The next hour was thankfully much more relaxing to her than anything else. Since she was the most out of shape and exhausted after the 'training'. Thus she was not chosen to spar first. Instead she got to watch yet another sparing match between Naruto and Sasuke. Though it was not nearly as heated as the one she had watched previously. However she was unable to avoid the next match that pitted her against a tired, yet some how still energized Naruto. After that the hour spent learning jutsu was the nicest she had ever had.
"Okay team, that about raps it up for today." Kakashi finally said as team seven sat around him in various states of exhaustion.
"Thank Kami." Sakura gasped.
"It wasn't that bad was it?" Naruto asked as he looked at both his teammates, only to receive glares from the both of them.
"Naruto-kun, not everyone has your stamina, be a little more mindful of your teammates limits. You may have to make a decision one-day about who takes what role in a mission, that decision will have to be made on what they can and cannot do. Understood?" Kakashi chided.
"Hai sensei." Naruto replied solemnly.
"Good, now then how about some food?" Kakashi asked his team.
"I'd like that sensei." Sakura replied.
"Hn." Sasuke grunted in what could be taken as an affirmation.
"Can it be ramen?" Naruto asked hopefully.
"Nope, I think a stop at a barbeque would be best, remember what Zabuza said Naruto, you have to have a balanced diet." Kakashi replied.
The short trip to the barbeque was quick and entirely uneventful. They of course received a few looks, but considering the fact that word of Naruto's new looks had already circulated to most of Konoha it wasn't that surprising. As they all sat down to wait for their meal Kakashi brought up the subject that he had mostly been dreading telling his genin about. Though they had caught small pieces of what the news was. Naturally when he flat out told them what was to occur, they took it as well as could be expected.
"You want us to what!" Sakura shouted in shock.
"I really don't see why you're making such a big deal out of this Sakura-chan. It's not like I'm asking much." Kakashi replied.
"Not asking much! Are you completely out of your mind? Surely you two have some problem with this arrangement?" Sakura asked her fellow teammates.
"Ma, can't be all that bad Sakura-chan." Naruto answered.
"Can't be all that bad? You do comprehend what it is he's asking don't you?" Sakura asked in shock.
"Yeah I do understand, I also understand that he's not asking us, he's telling us." Naruto replied.
"Very good Naruto-kun, I'm not asking." Kakashi said cheerfully.
"But, but, but." Sakura whined helplessly as the food was finally placed in front of them.
"Face it Sakura there's no way out of this." Kakashi said mirthfully.
"Besides Sakura-chan this way you get to see me and Sasuke-teme more often. I can understand on one part, but really this aint that big a deal." Naruto said, as he seemed to mimic Kakashi's ability to eat without removing his facial coverings.
"But I wanted this to be my choice, not something forced on me." Sakura argued.
"Come on, I really don't see why you're arguing, I thought you'd jump at this. After all you three will be sharing." Kakashi added.
"Sharing? But I don't want to share with him!" Sakura cried out as she pointed at Naruto.
"Okay on that I have to agree with her, I don't want to share with the teme." Naruto added.
"I don't want to share with either of you." Saskue added his two cents.
"Again, I'm not asking. I'm telling you. You three will now be living together, as well as sharing the same room. This is effective immediately. Your things have already been gathered and placed in our new dwelling. The Hokage himself has approved this so that you three can work out your issues between one another and learn to work cohesively as a team. Am I understood?" Kakashi asked seriously.
"Hai, sensei." Came the three replied.
"Good now eat your food." He said as he turned back to his own meal.
That evening team seven found themselves in their new home. It wasn't an extravagant home by any standard. It was mostly an average three bedrooms, two bathrooms home. Two floors with a small living room and a kitchen large enough that it could accommodate the four inhabitants. Settling in was relatively easy, though it was fraught with moans of protest from Sakura.
Naruto found all of it to actually be some kind of grand adventure. As someone who was used to always being alone, he viewed being in a new home with his team as a major step up in life. Sasuke too was not unperturbed by the new direction life was taking him. As he had once lived in the clan compound, surrounded by family, he was quite used to sharing space with others. Though it had been years since that were the case. Over all he took a hidden pleasure with this new development.
It was as they lay down to sleep however that things between this team of misfits began to change. Naruto had taken the bed closest to the window of the room and was lying on his stomach, shirtless and in orange pajama bottoms. Sasuke who had taken his bed and moved it to the wall opposite the door, sat shirtless on his bed gazing between Naruto and Sakura. Sakura who had her bed directly next to the door was dressed in pink pajam's and was fighting down the urge to blush madly as she tried to lay herself down to sleep. But she was noticing a major problem in her endeavors, a question on the very tip of her tongue that she absolutely had to have answered. Seeing no way to get the rest she needed with it unasked, She turned towards her winged teammate and asked,
"Hai, Sakura-chan?" He replied without moving.
"Ano, I was wondering?" She continued
"Well, why do you act the way you do?" She finnaly asked.
"Nani, what do you mean?" Naruto asked back as he sat up, genuinely confused by the question.
"Well, from what Zabuza-san told us about your bloodline, to get wings of your color you needed to live a hard life right? So why are you so…?" She asked trailing off, not knowing how to further word her query.
"That is actually a good question, one which I too would like to know the answer too." Sasuke added.
"Wait you two want to know why I've got black wings, yet am not all broody like you teme?" Naruto asked as he took a pot shot at Sasuke, one that he simply brushed aside in favor of the answer to the question.
"You could say that." Sasuke replied.
"Well I guess you could say it's because of some rather good advice someone once gave me." Naruto replied quietly as he pushed himself up with his arms.
"What advice was that?" Sakura asked sheepishly.
"And who gave it?" Sasuke asked, wondering who could impart something that could have such a lasting effect on the blond.
"The advice is simply this, 'you can either use your experiences to build character, or you can let them become baggage to weigh you down.' I take this as meaning shit happens and it is more fun to be a happy idiot than to be a brooding genius. And the man who gave me that advice is long since dead. But I will always remember that and live by those words." Naruto replied with a small emotionless smile.
"But you're not an idiot, Zabuza-san called you a prodigy, you can't be all that dumb." Sakura argued.
"To be honest Sakura, I am an idiot. I don't know jack about history or any of the bookwork they gave us in the academy. I don't know much about how to handle certain situations, and according to many people I know, I lack anything resembling tact. I'm rude, crude, and a smart-ass to boot. But I'm happy the way I am." Naruto replied.
"So you have fun acting like an idiot?" Sasuke asked in confusion.
"I'm not acting, and I most certainly do have fun. Ask yourself this Sasuke, are you happy the way you are now. Has whatever it is that weighs on your mind brought you even a moment of happiness? If you asked me I'd say not one bit. You seem to hold everyone at arms length, and for me, who's never really had anyone till now, that seems rather sad."
"What would you know?" Sasuke asked suddenly angry with the blond. "Have you ever lost anyone dear to you? Or have you always been alone?"
"For your information teme, I have lost people I cared about. In fact it was that event that happened to help along the blackness of my wings!" Naruto yelled back with a sudden ferocity that scared Sakura.
"Oh yeah, what could have been so bad that you can compare it to my loss?" Sasuke shot back heatedly.
"Did you know that old man Ichiraku used to have a son and a wife?" Naruto asked suddenly.
"What does that have to do with anything?" Sasuke growled.
"Apparently not," Naruto growled back before he continued. "He used to have a son, and a wife. And they were like family to me. All of them were. Hell his son got married and he and his wife were planning on adopting me. But on my birthday, a group of drunken villagers set fire to their house. Old man Ichiraku's son, his wife, his daughter-in-law, and his unborn grandchild all died in that fire. Those villagers set that fire because the Ichiraku family was nice to me. They are dead because of me!" Naruto shouted out, tears free flowing down his eyes.
"Why would someone do something like that?" Sakura asked, tears freely flowing down her eyes.
"I was born on the very day of the Kyuubi attack, I guess a lot of people used me as a scapegoat. Hell a few of them think I'm actually the damn fox reincarnated. They can't touch me since Jiji's always looked out for me, but a few of them still find ways to take their grief out on me." He stated sadly. For the longest time silence followed his speech. Finally Sasuke spoke, breaking the emotion filled silence.
"No what Sasuke-kun?" Sakura asked in confusion.
"No I'm not happy. My entire family is dead. I'm practically alone in this world. The only other Uchiha out there is my bother, and he's the one…" Sasuke trailed off not feeling entirely comfortable revealing all the aspects of his past.
"He's the one what?" Naruto asked in confusion.
"Naruto! Don't you know what happened to Sasuke's family?" Sakura asked madly. Naruto recalled a few Uchiha being in the academy when he started, but one day there was only Sasuke. It had really confused him when that happened, but in the end he just pushed it aside and moved on with life. Now however he had the full picture.
"He's the one isn't he? The one you want to kill, because he took everything from you." Naruto growled out as he remembered what he thought at the time were Sasuke's dying words.
"Yes." Sasuke whispered sadly.
Silence once more filled the room. Sakura could only glance between the two boys she found herself teamed, and now living with. Both of them completely alone in the world save for team seven. She suddenly felt very shallow. Both boys had innumerous emotional scars, and here she was starting conversations that dredge said scars up. What would she know of the wounds they had suffered? Sure her mother had died, as had her uncle, but she was much too young to even have a clear visual of them. Besides she had always had her father as she grew up. Sasuke's parents were taken from him, and Naruto could never know a parents love.
She had the answer to her question, and yet she went to sleep far more troubled than ever before.
The next day marked an addition to the normal routine that Kakashi was apparently calling training. At precisely four a.m. Kakashi barged into their room and awoke them with a bucket of cold water to each of them.
"Remind me again why the hell we have to get up this early?" Sakura groused angrily, not at all happy about the time she had been awoken, or the hour she was woken at.
"Well you three, especially you Sakura, need to get a lot more physical conditioning in. And as Kushina-san always said it's best to start early." Kakashi eye smiled. For some reason Sasuke and Sakura couldn't help but shiver in fear. Naruto however was his usual exuberant self.
"So what are we doing Kakashi-sensei? Are we running?" Naruto asked with a smile clear in his voice.
"Got it in one. Sakura Henge into Naruto." Kakashi ordered suddenly.
"Wait why?" Sakura asked horrified.
"Well ever since that stunt where Naruto's wings were shown to the teenage population he's gained his own fan club." Kakashi explained lazily. This answer of course caused a shiver to run through Naruto.
"Again, why would I henge into Naruto?" She asked in frustration.
"For the smartest Kunoichi you are surprisingly slow." Kakashi replied.
"SHUT-UP!" She screamed at him.
"He's going to get them to chase you. Fifty ryo says he'll be dropping Sasuke off at his Fan club's home base. But where does that leave me?" Naruto wondered as his teammates expressions became mortified.
"But, surely he doesn't expect them to be there at this hour, does he?" Sakura asked in shock.
"You'd be surprised, from my experience with Aniki, certain fan girls seem to live at the clubs base. Thus there should be a few people there that'll give you a good chase. The others will wake up as the chase goes on and will only add to the mob." Naruto replied.
"Naruto is right again. As for who you're running with, well he's an old student of your mother's." Kakashi answered as he silently cursed to himself about who he had to leave Naruto with.
"A student of mom's you mean like Zabuza?"
"Not exactly." Kakashi sighed as the ever-exuberant Miato Gai crashed through a window.
"Greetings Kakashi my eternal rival, I am here as you requested to help with the training of my most youthful sensei's child!" Gai said happily as his eyes sparkled.
"This guy was mom's student?" Naruto asked as he took in the horrifying combination of green spandex, huge eyebrows, and the bowl-cut.
"Yosh, I most certainly was a student of the youthful Kushina. And it will be my honor to help her child on the path of youthfulness!" Gai answered happily. Naruto simply started at the man a bit longer before he turned to Kakashi.
"Are you sure there's no way we could find Aniki?" He asked calmly as Gai seemed to burst into tears at his question.
"Unfortunately no, finding Zabuza would be difficult, convincing the council to even consider letting him enter Konoha even more so. Gai will do well enough. After all he was trained by your mom, so he should be able to provide you with a good morning run, not only that but he might be able to give you some weights for future training." Kakashi replied.
"Oh, you as planning on using weights in your training?" Gai suddenly asked, his previous depression gone in an instant.
"Well, yeah. Zabuza said weights make for great training. Plus they can be really good in combat. He once showed me how to throw the weights at the enemy after you take them off." Naruto answered hesitantly.
"Yosh, this Zabuza fellow sounds like quite the wise fellow. But for now, let us start your most youthful training Naruto-kun. Come my student awaits us so that we may start our morning jog." Gai stated happily as he grabbed Naruto and carted him away, all the while talking about weights and the 'youthfulness' of training.
"Kakashi-sensei are you sure it's a good idea to leave Naruto alone with that man?" Sakura asked, still slightly shell-shocked from her meeting.
"He should be fine, and don't worry about him being infected by Gai. Zabuza got to him first." Kakashi answered.
"How does a man become like that?" Sasuke asked as he watched the blinding green beast drag his teammate away.
"The commonly accepted theory is that Kushina-san's training broke his brain, but it might be a pre-existing condition." Kakashi replied.
"Wait, Naruto's mother broke his brain? Through her training methods." Sakura asked, to which Kakashi nodded.
"And is this the same training you plan to put us through?" Sasuke asked slightly nervous.
"Don't worry, its been watered down enough that you'll stay sane, probably." Kakashi added as an after thought.
"No time to worry about that, Sakura hurry up and henge into Naruto. Sasuke, don't bother putting on a shirt. We need to get you two to the fan clubs as quickly as possible. We're wasting time here." Kakashi stated as he started ushering them to pick up the pace. All in all he was quite looking forward to watching his students suffer through the same morning ritual Kushina had forced him to suffer through.
For the next two months things progressed in much the same manner. Every morning Kakashi would wake team seven and send them out for their morning runs. After which he would subject them to what could be considered questionable training methods. The only thing saving them from being questionable at all was the fact that they were receiving results. Naruto now had far better control over his chakra than he had when he had first left the academy. Sakura had also noted a great increase in her reserves. All three had noted that their strength, skill, speed, and jutsu knowledge had greatly increased. And it was because of this increase in ability that Kakashi thought his team ready to take on another C-ranked mission.
"Team seven reporting for mission assignment." Kakashi stated business like as he and the rest of team seven stood before the Hokage, waiting for their mission.
"Are you sure Kakashi, after what happened last time?" The Hokage started, only to be cut off by Kakashi.
"With all do respect Hokage-sama, what happened in Nami was a fluke, there is no way that my team could pull another mission like that." Kakashi said confidently.
"Very well, I currently need a team to head to the village of Akagake (Redcliff). It is a village that provides us with iron and other ore that the village needs for its survival. Recently it has been under attack by bandits." The Hokage explained.
"Am I to assume that you are dispatching us to exterminate the bandits?" Kakashi asked carefully.
"No nothing like that, I've already sent a team out, with orders to hold up there. No your job is to deliver this message to them, as well as assist the team already there if they do need it. Though I highly doubt that they'll need any help." The Hokage replied.
"Very well, team seven accepts this mission and shall head out at once." Kakashi bowed and accepted the scroll. Then he and the rest of the team moved to exit and begin preparing for departure.
"Naruto a moment please?" Sarutobi asked before they could all leave. The entire team paused as Naruto stopped to look back at him.
"It's okay guys, I'll catch up easy." He assured his team as he turned to face his surrogate grandfather. As his team filed out the door Naruto took the time to examine the Hokage. Though the older man had assisted him for most of his life, there was now the small trace of resentment towards the older man for his actions.
"Naruto I wanted to talk to you about your mother." The Hokage finally said after a long minute of silence, this however only angered the blond.
"Oh, so now you want to talk about her." He growled.
"Naruto you have to understand-" Sarutobi tried to explain, only for Naruto to cut him off mid sentence.
"Understand what, that you've lied to me my entire life? I can understand you keeping the info about what I hold secret. Hell I can even forgive that. No matter how much I wanted to know why they hated me, no child want to know that they've got a monster inside of them, one that'll take any chance they get to take over and dish out wholesale slaughter. But to keep my mother a secret like that? How could you do that to me Jiji?" Naruto asked tearfully.
"Naruto, I was trying to protect you." He said sadly.
"You think I don't know that? But how is flat out lying to me all the times I asked you helping me. I know I'm not the best at keeping secrets, but you could have told me something. You could have told me that they were shinobi. Kakashi did at least that. Sure he didn't tell me Tou-san's name, but at least I know he existed and that he cared for me. And I also know why you didn't tell me. I'd have been a target. But you still could have told me something." Naruto growled out through his tears.
"I am truly sorry Naruto, I have no real excuse for keeping them a secret for as long as I have. But I am afraid that I must still keep your fathers name a secret for now." Sarutobi said sadly as he gazed at the boy he could only wish to share blood with.
"That's fine Hokage-sama, you do that. It's what you're good at." Naruto spat venomously as he turned and stormed out of the office.
'Kushina, Minato, forgive this old man for what he must put your child through.' Sarutobi thought mournfully as he sat alone in the office. With each passing moment the secrets he kept about Naruto grew heavier and heavier. He knew that soon he could reveal them all and the burden would be lifted from his heart. But until that day he would keep those secrets. Until Naruto was able to handle them he would make sure that they stayed hidden away. But would the blond ever forgive him when the secrets came to light, or would he loose even more of the young boys trust.
"What did the Hokage want to talk about?" Sakura asked her teammate as he flew in through the second floor window.
"My parents." The Naruto replied simply before moving to collect the required things for the mission.
"Did you learn anything new about them?" Sasuke asked.
"Not a damn thing. He still wants to keep everything about them wrapped up in his bundle of lies and subterfuge. I could have family out there still alive and willing to care about me. For all I know Ino could be my cousin." Naruto replied angrily.
"You related to Ino-pig, what makes you say that?" Sakura asked with a laugh.
"You know any other ninja family of blue-eyed blonds in Konoha?" Sasuke asked.
"Look lets just move on from this. I'd rather just get to the mission, do it, get paid, then move on with life." Naruto replied.
"Gomen, Naruto. I'm just trying to be helpful." Sakura replied sheepishly.
"S'ok. Not mad at you. Now who wants to bet on if this'll be a snafu mission?" Naruto asked suddenly cheerful again. The others could only stare at him as he finished packing.
"You actually want to take bets on if the mission will go bad?" Sakura asked in confusion. Naruto only nodded with an eye-smile.
"Why?" Sasuke asked.
"Cause if no one bets then I'll have made the silent bet of one hundred ryo with nobody." Naruto answered as if it was the simplest thing in the world.
"Which did you bet on, snafu or safe mission?" Sakura asked.
"Put me down for one hundred on safe." Sasuke replied, seemingly taking this as a competition with Naruto.
"I'm with Sasuke." The pinkette added.
"Good, now lets go ask Kakashi-sensei what his bet will be on." Naruto said happily as he jumped out the window and headed for the eastern gate.
"Did we just make a bet on the outcome of this mission?" Sakura asked suddenly realizing what she'd done.
"Yes we did."
"Was it a good bet?"
"I can only hope." Sasuke replied before following in Naruto's wake, Sakura following soon after.
As it turned out Kakashi really didn't like the idea of them betting on the mission, something about bad luck. However it would seem that his superstition was false. In the two day they had been traveling not a single thing had happened to them. No nukenin jumping out of puddles or throwing zanbato at them like kunia. If anything it looked like both Sasuke and Sakura could look forward to a hundred extra ryo with their mission wages.
That was of course until two hours in during the trek of the third day.
"Remind me again why we're walking and not tree hoping, or flying in my case?" Naruto asked.
"Because moving that fast would disrupt my reading." Kakashi answered honestly as he turned the books pages.
"So this has nothing to do with your reputation of always being late?" Sakura asked dryly.
"Maybe." Kakashi replied.
"Baka." Sasuke whispered as he kept his eyes forward. Thus he was the first to notice as five armed men stepped onto the path brandishing swords at them.
"Halt, give us all your valuables and you just might live." Shouted one of the dirtier looking bandits.
"Are you sure we should be robbin' them?" asked one of the other bandits in a slow drawl that spoke of low intellect.
"Of course we should there are only four of them, three of them children, one of them looks to want to play super-hero." Replied the obvious leader, referring to the folded state of Naruto's wings. He also helped prove the stereotype of a stupid bandit.
"Right then, hand it over." The slow one said, placated by the leaders logic.
"I thought the Hokage said that all the bandits should be handled by the team he sent out earlier?" Sakura asked Kakashi, completely ignoring the five men before them.
"He did, these guys are probably just stragglers that escaped the cleansing. That or they're just a new gang moving in. Either way we should probably take them down." Kakashi said as he put his book away.
"Hey are you guys ignoring us?" Shouted one of the bandits indignantly.
"Yes." Came the four voices of the Konoha-nin.
"Well then we can't have that, men attack."
"Raiton: Shuurai no Jutsu! (Lightning release: Lightning strike.)" Shouted Naruto as he jumped into the air finishing his hand seals, he then extended his hands and his pointed his fingers toward the bandits. Immediately arcs of electricity came from his fingertips, striking the bandits. Singeing four of them and even killing the lead bandit.
"Shit, they're shinobi!" Cried one of the larger bandits. Quicly he and his companions made to turn and run, only to find Sasuke blocking their path just as he finished his hand seals.
"Katon: Gokakyu no Jutsu!" Sasuke yelled as he exhaled the large fireball. It consumed two more of the bandits. Immediately he felt the need to retch as the scent of burnt flesh and hair assaulted his nostrils.
The remaining two Bandits could only look behind them and in front of them, seeing they were surrounded they both proved to have larger IQ's than there fellows as they both dropped there weapons and surrendered.
"So who exactly are you two and why are you here?" Kakashi asked the two bandits currently tied to a tree with ninja wire.
"Well we were part of Karasu-sama's troops, but I think it's safe to say we're going to be spending time in jail now." One of them answered, to which the other actually looked on in shock.
"Ichi, you would actually betray Karasu-sama?" He asked in shock and rage.
"Why not, isn't like we have much choice. I'd rather live longer in a jail cell than die by their hands right now." The newly identified Ichi replied.
"We swore an oath to him, that's why." The other man stated angrily.
"So it seems like you serve someone, tell me why has your lord sent you here?" Kakashi continued questioning.
"We were supposed to make sure no one actually made it to Akagake, after that team of Shinobi showed up, Karasu-sama wanted to make sure that they didn't recive anymore back up." Ichi replied. The news however had a much larger effect on his captors than he expected however.
"You are part of the band that's been attacking Akagake?" Kakashi asked in shock, surely things couldn't end like his last C-rank.
"Yup," The man replied.
"How many of you are there?" Kakashi asked suddenly much more serious than he was previously.
"No idea, I don't know how to count beyond ten." Replied the bandit honestly.
"S'a good thing to, other wise you'd give up all of Karasu-sama's information wouldn't you?" Accused the other bandit.
"Hey I plan on living alright Mochi." Ichi growled.
"How about you, do you know how many other bandits are in your gang?" Kakashi demanded of the other bandit.
"Even if I knew I wouldn't tell you shit!" He replied angrily.
"Not helpful." Kakashi sighed before turning to the other bandit.
"Do you know the status of the other team of Konoha-nin?"
"There's only two of 'em left, plus three huge dogs one of them has with her." He answered.
"Wait there was three?" Naruto suddenly asked.
"Yup, three dogs with one feral looking girl." The man nodded.
"Shit, that's Hana." Naruto swore angrily.
"You mean Inuzuka Hana? Kiba's older sister?" Sakura asked in horror.
"Yeah," Naruto answered before turning his gaze at the bound highwaymen.
"Anything else you think we should know?" Kakashi asked finally after Naruto had thoroughly intimidated them.
"Well about Karasu." Ichi said hesitantly.
"What about him?"
"Well he's kind of like the blond over there, not exactly." The bandit replied.
"What do you mean he's like me?" Naruto asked darkly.
"Well he's got wings kind of like yours, but smaller."
"Is his family name Uzumaki?" Naruto asked, hope leaking ever so slightly into his voice.
"No, I don't think he has a family name. What I do know is what he told us about himself. Apparently he's a hanyou." The bandit answered.
"Wait you mean an actual hanyou?" Sakura asked in shock.
"Ne ne, Sakura-chan, what's a hanyou." Naruto asked in confusion.
"I'll explain later." Kakashi said as he turned away from the bandits.
"But I want to know now." Naruto whined.
You'll learn, but first we have to decide what we do, looks like you get that hundred ryo from both Sasuke and Sakura. But do you three want to turn back or keep going?" Kakashi asked seriously.
"What do you think my answer is sensei?" Naruto asked dryly.
"Right, Sasuke, Sakura?"
"I'm with the dobe in this."
"Well I guess we still should finish the mission and help out the survivors."
"Then it looks like we continue on wards." Kakashi sighed as he stood up and looked in the general direction of the settlement.
"Excuse me, what about us?" Asked Ichi.
"You get to stay tied up to a tree and contemplate your actions." Kakashi replied harshly before he and his genin started moving through the trees at a rapid pace.
"Great stuck here with a traitor." Mochi mumbled bitterly.
Fiori: and there is another chapter done hope you all liked it. Now I hope you'll all review enough or I'll-
Haku: Good lord save me (Runs out of a room without a shirt. Orochimaru follows)
Fiori: I'm talking here
*BANG* (Haku dodges bullet and Orochimaru's head explodes as the hollow point bullet exits his skull)
Fiori: Hey what do you know; I did get to shoot him in the face.
Haku: Oh thank god, you had no idea what he wanted to do to me.
Fiori: I'll bet. And trust me I really don't want to know. Remember i still have my gun.
Kimimaro: Orochimaru-sama nooooooooooo! You killed him you bastard, prepare to join my sweet prince!
Fiori: What, no I did something good for once. (Starts to flee)
Haku: as apposed to all the other evil things you've done! Karam's a bitch aint she?
*Bang* (Haku get shot in the leg again)
*Bang* *Bang* Bang* (Fires at Kimimaro)
Fiori: Walk it off.
Jiraiya: Well since they're all busy I guess it falls to me to tell you all to review so no one else gets shot. Please hurry so that I may continue writing Icha Icha and teaching Naruto-kun jutsu's.
Fiori: Bye kids.
Fiori: Die already you freaky bone freak!