Character(s): Naruto Uzumaki
Summary: Ninja technology had to come from somewhere, even it was the very distant past. Because they weren't the ones who created it, they obviously couldn't be familiar with everything. How disastrous could it be if Naruto was raised by someone who was?
Disclaimer: I own no one but my OC. You'll know her when you see her.
Warnings: Chapter name is retarded.
xXx Chapter Eight: Upside Downside Leftside Rightside xXx
Sasuke pat his hand on the cement underbelly of the bridge. Cautiously, slowly, he pressed the palm of his hand to the bridge and lifted the toes of one of his feet. He brought it a little closer to him and tapped the bridge a couple of times before he felt his chakra 'snap' to it. He moved his hand ahead of him and tapped the bridge again before feeling his chakra grab it.
"I feel like a monkey." He decided to himself, trying not to think about the waves and sharp rocks jutting out of the water below him. He slowly shuffled forward, feeling a little like a mountain climber as he moved his toes. Since he was essentially crawling, his entire sole of his feet couldn't grab onto the cement and metal above him.
"I wonder if I could actually walk." He didn't dare let go of the bridge with his hands yet. He didn't know how to comfortably transition his form to only his feet. It was getting easier to move now, but he wanted a few more stable crawling steps before daring to let go of his support.
He looked down to the water, and past the vertigo of seeing the dangers just below him if he fell. He didn't feel like trying yet.
"Right, I'll just reach the end and maybe I'll go back with walking..." He glanced at the water again and continued to crawl slowly but smoothly.
"Maybe I shouldn't have jumped into this..." He hoped the end wasn't getting further from him. He wanted to stand up right soon.
The room was stained red, and after a few long quiet seconds of the lights not changing back to its off-white shade, the four looked around themselves.
"So, we won?" Naruto shrugged at Sakura, who looked paler in the red light than before.
"Well, Ms. Ugly isn't really moving, so…" He jerked a thumb at the frozen alien above him and looked relieved but confused.
"Well, now that that's over-" The boy with dark hair and eyes was startled to silence when the lights turned back on. The dead alien bodies slowly started to melt, losing their color and disappearing into the floor. The equipment and accessories that Sakura and Naruto had collected in their blinked out of sight, revealing their former clothes of a mid length high slit dress with black shorts and sandals, and a sleeveless shirt and baggy shorts, a hat in his belt and red glasses on his head. The various Hit Zones they had strapped on them stopped glowing.
Sakura gulped and looked terrified at the two missing ninja, and Naruto just looked slightly irritated at losing his slight disguise.
"So, you are Hatake's brats…" Zabuza focused on them with a glare, his hand slowly reaching for the handle poking over his shoulder. "You bumped me on purpose," he glared at Naruto before leveling it to Sakura. She would have sworn that he looked even angrier at her. "And you insulted me." He drew his sword and pointed it to them. "What do you think, Haku? Quick or slow for them?" The boy, Haku, merely smiled and gave a little giggling hum.
"I think there are two of them so you could probably do both."
"Wait wait wait! It's not like we lied to you or anything! We saved your lives!" Sakura pleaded, obviously trying to find a way to escape.
"You are our enemies. Your mission is to get rid of us." Haku replied, smoothly standing in the way of the door.
"Actually, it was to provide protection for the bridge builder Tazuna." Naruto said. Sakura hated him in that moment, since he didn't look nearly as worried as she did. "Gatou was the one holding his life in jeopardy, and with him gone, we just need to wait for the bridge to get done. We don't have anything between us that'll make us enemies."
"Just shut up, kid. You've pissed me off and you have the gall to think you can get away with it?" The sword was drawn and Zabuza stepped closer.
"Well, if I open Gatou's safe and give you his account information, will that make it better?" There was a pause in the room for a beat.
"Naruto..." Sakura growled in frustrated defeat. She didn't understand the leap in logic for him to make that offer. "What do you know?" She demanded. Naruto gave a sly little smile and walked toward Haku, reaching past him to open the door.
"These men, Sakura-chan, are going to create a revolution! If there's anything I like more than information, it's progress from that information. Mist is in an oppression worse than anything the other elemental countries can guess. I give the continent five years before a war breaks out between all Shinobi Villages. Zabuza can strengthen Mist and make it more stable if he was the Kirikage. The more stable a Kage, the less likely a war will break out."
"How optimistic." Zabuza replied with sarcasm. "You seem to think this makes us friends." Naruto smiled at him, flipping his glasses over his eyes.
"Well, why shouldn't we be?" He said. "You don't have to ally with Konoha after you decapitate the current Kirikage. However, you will be in a favorable light if you offer alliances with us after you succeed. I know the Hokage on a more personal level than most of the village, if I do say so myself. I may not be worth a ransom, but I can help the Old Man accept your offer if you really want to side with us."
Naruto felt like a liar, and he hoped the obvious deceit wasn't as obvious as he thought it was.
'I don't want to die!'
Kakashi closed his eyes and tried not to count to ten. Trying not to do something was much better at clearing his mind than doing something to not think of something. Thus the standing over the edge of the bridge and not counting to ten, as opposed to counting to ten and thinking of all the various reasons that could have made him lose his last remaining student. He needed to get his thoughts in order.
"He just stepped forward." He stated, remembering what one of his clones witnessed. "He could have been in a trance, in worse mental health than I thought, or testing something with his chakra-"
He felt like hitting himself.
"Chakra." He decided before focusing his senses and honing in on Sasuke's chakra. It glowed behind him, seemingly in the middle of the bridge and slowly making its way further still to the other side. With a sigh of relief, he walked forward and under the bridge to make his way to his student.
"Ne, you shouldn't be doing this alone." Kakashi said, nabbing Sasuke by his shirt before the startled boy fell into the water.
"You said practice..." Sasuke glowered. He had almost been at the end!
"I had said that you are not leaving my sight!" Kakashi tried very hard not to shake his student, but it was very difficult. It only helped Sasuke that he looked like a wet kitten, the mist from below and his sweat making droplets of moisture run from his hair and limbs. Kakashi may not like kids easily, but he did like animals.
He was thinking of putting collars with bells on his kids so that he wouldn't lose them again. If he found them.
"Sorry..." Sasuke wasn't going to say anything else, so Kakashi sighed and swung the boy up. With a gasp, Sasuke instinctively reached with his hands and feet and clung onto the bridge with his chakra. Kakashi waited a beat before letting go.
"Well? Stand up." Sasuke narrowed his eyes at him before focusing on the ceiling he was clinging to. Slowly, his upside down kneeling shifted to a crouch, and then he was standing. "Good, now let's go." Kakashi walked forward the rest of the ten feet to the end of the bridge, and Sasuke followed, wanting to stay close enough to be caught in case a freak accident happened.
At least it was easier than he though to walk upside down. There wasn't any vertigo or head rush at all. It was just like walking upright, only it felt like the gravity on your feet was a little heavier.
Naruto led the way to where they started Battlefield. He and Sakura needed their things.
"Oh, I see! So it's more of balance than anything else?" Sakura confirmed. Naruto assumed that Zabuza nodded in the pause. "But what if you're really tired or an enemy was muddling your senses?"
"Trying to find a weakness?" Haku asked, his tone light but still warning.
Haku didn't like Sakura, especially since Zabuza was slowly relaxing around the girl as she rambled on.
"Not at all." Sakura's tone was bewildered. "I was just trying to figure out what I can do if I ever wanted to use a weapon twice my height and three times my weight. Oh! Would chakra be able to help?"
"How much do you have?" Zabuza asked, his voice rough, but not mean.
"Not a lot."
"What about your control?"
"Your chakra control. How good is it?"
"Um, I don't really know." Naruto turned around just in time for Haku to give a blank look even with slightly narrow eyes. It was as close to a sneer as the boy would ever make.
"Oh, how long have you been a ninja for?" The boy asked. Naruto had the feeling Haku was jealous, and that his normal nature was calm and kind. It seemed Haku was trying to stay nice and polite and yet was hating for the first time. He must really like Zabuza, or something.
"We graduated a month ago." Naruto answered. Sakura didn't seem to notice the condescending look Haku was giving them.
"So, what do you know?" Sakura looked really embarrassed and bowed her head. Naruto gave a small grin.
"Depends. What do you want to know?" Sakura quickly slapped the back of his head. "Ow! Sakura-chan!"
"You know what he means!" Naruto fixed his hat and glasses before returning to the conversation.
"Our sensei has been conditioning us to prepare us for the skills he's been planning to teach us. After we return to the village, if we meet his expectations in teamwork and mental and physical strength, he was planning to start us on chakra conditioning."
"When did he say that?" Sakura asked.
"He didn't." Sakura blinked at him.
"Oh. Right." She said. She was never questioning him again.
"You're pretty creepy, kid. What else do you know?" Naruto grinned before Sakura smacked him again.
"What!? He asked!"
"I just felt like I was going to hate what you said." Naruto didn't drop his grin, even as he rubbed the back of his head.
"Okay, in terms of what I know. For chakra control, Sakura has the potential to have 200 percent of control, though right now she's about 89 percent. This is without having any control exercises."
"200 percent control? How does that happen?" Haku asked.
"Well, the way I see it, chakra control can be completed twice. Once for use inside the body, and again for outside. Control of another person's chakra will also be counted as control inside the body for the sake of simplicity. Just like control of another person's body movements will count as control outside the body. Like how Suna uses their puppeteer tricks." Naruto said as he opened the door in front of them and stepped through. Sakura recognized it as the room they started Battlefield in.
"You said control another person's chakra. I've never heard of that."
"Oh it's possible." Naruto told Haku as he leaped over the counter Sakura hadn't been able to see when the room was dark. With the lights on, the room looked like a dance bar. Naruto clipped something to his waist and slipped his wristbands on. "It's one of the easiest ways to induce chakra poisoning, and the main reason why the tailed beast chakras are dangerous to humans. Foreign chakra in a body is like an instant infection, but the chakra has to move a certain way through the body and coax the other chakra to give a certain reaction if you want to use it to heal instead. Demon chakra doesn't care. It just enters the body that certain way chakra has to enter a body and starts attacking, thus chakra poison. Most living things have the ability to naturally fight off intruding chakra, so the ability to manipulate it perfectly to make it enter another is rather difficult."
"And you're saying Pinky has the potential to control her chakra the way a tailed beast does?" Zabuza asked, wondering to himself if the kid in front of him was lying. He hadn't so far, as far as he could tell, but it was always a possibility with other shinobi, no matter how young.
"Or a medical nin." Naruto nodded. "Or even a puppeteer. Hell, Sakura-chan can probably pick locks with her chakra if she wanted to. She's lucky."
"And you?" Haku asked. He watched Sakura as the girl thought hard about what her teammate had revealed.
"Well, I have a lot more chakra at my disposal than can be counted as normal. My family is known for it. So, my control is probably only ever going to be 73 percent for outside potential and 98 for inside. And that's at most. Right now I've probably got just 62 percent outside control and 75 percent inside control. But, I already know all my chakra control exercises like tree climbing, leaf dancing and water walking."
"You said your sensei hasn't taught you any control exercises."
"I make it a habit to know things." Naruto grinned. Haku rolled his eyes.
"You doubt him, but it's annoyingly true." Sakura warned with an exasperated tone in her voice.
"But you don't know anything, right?" Haku asked her. With a blush and frown, Sakura nodded.
"Right." She admit, trying for unaffected and bland, but still sounding offended. Zabuza huffed a breath of a chuckle.
"Good. I'll teach you how to run on water. What do you want, brat?" Naruto turned to look at the tall nukenin.
"What do I want?" He repeated.
"Obviously me teaching you something would be pointless since you'd probably already know it, or find a way to know it if I'm judging your information skills right. So, what do you want if not information?" Naruto blinked.
"Why would you feel like you owe me?" He was starting to feel like he was stepping into dangerous territory again. Just when he was sure Zabuza wasn't going to kill him and Sakura too.
"You prevented our previous employer from betraying and killing us, you're giving us access to said employers bank account, and you're willing to put in a good work to your Hokage about us. Us teaching you and your friend a technique is nowhere near equal payback." Naruto scratched his cheek in thought as he looked around him for inspiration. They just left the building for Battlefield's starting place, and were on their way to the closest entrance to Gatou's base. It would be a ten minute walk through the trees.
"Contrary to popular belief, there are some missing nin with morals and a sense of honor." Haku added.
"Well, would you be willing to help Wave rebuild?" Naruto asked. "Gatou killed quite a few of the villagers and destroyed the economy here. Can you spare some of his money and give it back to the small country?"
"Really?" Sakura asked, excited.
"Why not? I'm sure the greedy bastard has a lot of money. Sparing a percentage to the country of Wave shouldn't be a problem." The group turned down a slope, and there was a tall building in the distance.
"Do you have an idea of how much money Gatou has?" Haku asked Naruto. Naruto hummed a bit, tapping his glasses and trying to find the answer through them. He whistled.
"That's a lot of zeroes." He muttered.
Tsunami washed the dishes in silence. Inari sat quietly at the table working on his school work and she knew her father was hard at work trying to get the bridge built.
Inari worked in silence, and even his mind stayed mum. He didn't need to really think about his work, he knew everything. He also knew that he didn't know anything about ninjas. When the blond boy had suddenly blew up and ran away, he saw a new side of ninjas he didn't think existed.
Before he thought all ninjas were quiet or even unable to speak, and that all they knew was how to be sneaky. If you saw a ninja, you were safe because they couldn't do anything without the cover of darkness or a disguise.
The silver haired ninja spoke quietly, but his entire posture made you pay attention to his words and memorize them. He didn't say a word when his mom had been yelling at him, and he didn't flinch when she even pushed him away so she could go upstairs. It wasn't that he ignored her or didn't acknowledge her; Inari could see that he was taking into heart every single word she said.
He didn't know ninjas felt guilt, but that one did.
The pink haired ninja had also been very quiet at first, but as the other boys started to raise their voices, she became visibly worried. She had looking at the adults around them and Inari suddenly realized she wasn't strong and invincible like he thought. She was still a kid. She was older than he was, but she was still a kid. She was still learning to be a ninja, and thus wasn't one yet.
He didn't know how ninjas trained, but he never realized just how hard they had to in order to get to the level he thought they were all at.
And the black haired boy was loud and very angry. He had been quiet for the beginning of the groups visit, but he was obviously upset about something. For every praise or thanks his mom gave the blond, the black haired boy became angrier.
Inari hadn't realized that ninjas could be jealous of their teammates. He thought they were all emotionless. At the very least, even he knew that Konoha was known for their teamwork.
And then there was the blond ninja who dyed his hair red. Naruto confused him even more. When he came into the house with his grandpa, Inari had thought he was a villager from Konoha that followed the group for some strange reason. He smiled and joked and acted so relaxed Inari wondered who he was and was jealous. Wave hadn't been so carefree in a long time. Naruto had brought with him food, had given them money, had helped his mom cook even when she said he didn't have to, and he knew things.
Naruto didn't look or act like a ninja, but Inari thought Naruto was the more real one. Disregarding the running away thing he did during lunch earlier. Naruto didn't come in the house with anything but his clothes, a hat and a weird pair of red sunglasses. He didn't even have any scrolls on him. Yet he had worn a different change of clothes in the past five days they've been here, had so much food that he was just giving it away, and had given his grandpa a few construction tools that would help build the bridge faster.
And he was nice. No matter how many times Inari had told the group they were just going to die, Naruto denied his words, but he never got angry or patronizing. Just yesterday after the blond came back from training with his team, after Inari told him to go away, Naruto had told him a story of a country under oppression and near self-destruction. The country was saved, its nation flourished. Naruto had asked him if he wanted Wave to ever be like that. Inari had told him to stop pretending.
"And what about Kaiza?" Naruto had asked. Inari glared at him, the strong want to hit him bubbling up suddenly.
"He told you something, before he died. Do you even remember what it was?" Inari had frozen at the calm look Naruto was giving them in the hallway above the stairs. He pushed his red sunglasses off his nose to the top of his forehead.
"Stop talking about him. He'd dead. He died because he tried to be a hero, and he was an idiot for fighting against something stronger than him!"
"He was a fisherman, and he saved you with his bare hands when you were smaller. He made his living with his two arms and the net and fishing rod you have above your bed. He did the best he could to protect you and your mom when your country started falling. He was a man of self reliance, and as long as he had breath in his body, he never gave up." Naruto voice of awe suddenly hardened into a low disbelieving and disappointed tone. "You dare smear his memory by calling him a fool and not even trying to live the life he died trying to give you?" Inari could feel tears of hidden shame falling down his cheeks and Naruto only gave him a small frown.
"You don't know what it's like! Gatou controls everything, and everyone who's tried to fight has died!" Naruto had sighed, and walked into Inari's room without his permission. Inari didn't say anything though, because he was looking at the fishing pole hanging there. There was a few more seconds of silence before Naruto looked at him again.
"I've lived a hard life. It may not seem like it, but I have. I don't have a family, and growing up everyone hated me. Most everyone still does. There were nights where I was starving because shop owners wouldn't sell me food. For almost a year when I was four or so, I had lived on the streets because the orphanage said they didn't have enough room for me. I didn't even have a good basic education because no one would acknowledge me or my questions. It still feels like me against the world sometimes." Naruto had admit quietly.
"I..." Inari wasn't sure if Naruto was lying to him. Naruto smiled and laughed, and he was so nice. He couldn't have grown up like that. But the blond's face was hurt. Inari knew you couldn't fake that kind of hurt.
"There was one lady who found me. She was kind of lost at the time, but she was nice so I helped as much as I could. Now she's kind of like a big sister, and she teaches me a lot of things. You want to know what I was told when I was feeling really down?" He asked. Inari didn't say anything, but Naruto continued anyway. "She told me that if both of your options don't work out, make a third that does. If fighting and giving up doesn't make things better, do something else to go around the problem to a solution."
Inari looked at his mom as she hummed over the dishes. He hadn't realized that he had finished his work.
"Mom, I'm going to go to the town."
"Be careful, sweetie. I love you." His mom said as she smiled softly at him. Inari could see how tired his mom was, so he smiled back as he stood up.
"I love you too."
"You're named after the god of agriculture, industry, and success. If anyone can help this country get back on its feet, I think it'd be you."
Inari headed towards town.
Bridges were never a symbol of relief for Sakura. In fact, they were only a factual means of getting across dangerous terrains safely. Now, her feet wavering and dipping into the choppy waves and her chakra near exhausted, she could say without a doubt that she couldn't wait to get on that damn bridge. Naruto, to her expectations, was also seeming to struggle with the uneven water, but wasn't even breaking a sweat.
He was just swearing every time those waves slapped him in the face.
"Dammit! I hate water!" It was a guilty pleasure Sakura hoped to remember for a long time.
'This is all your fault, Naruto!' She snarled in her mind as a particular wave from Naruto moved the waves around her and caused her to sink waist deep into the ice cold, freezing, sea. She gave a shrill half scream half roar. She hadn't gotten that wet since first setting step atop the water.
"Hey, shut up kids." Zabuza drawled out from ahead of them.
Sakura had been ready to admit to herself that she was about to start admiring him. He would have made a great role model. And then he offered to train them, and she was ready to admit she would be willing to hug him if he was a little more approachable. Kakashi-sensei hadn't taught them anything yet, after all.
And then he had them walk on water.
'I hate you so much.' She glared at the tall man's back.
"We don't want to start trouble before we make it to the bridge. Please do not yell, Naruto-san. I thought you knew this exercise." Haku had put on his mask, so it was a little harder to tell he was a boy, but his voice was still clear enough to hear. His calm attitude really ticked Sakura off.
'You can just drown too!' Her fingers twitched as she tried to balance.
"Sure, I know it and can use it. That doesn't mean I perfected it." He grumbled as the water under his feet splashed up at his head again. He growled at himself before Sakura actually hissed at him. "... Did you just-?" She pointed at Haku's other side viciously, her precarious balance doing nothing to help her rage.
"Move. Now." She said quietly as she slowly sunk lower into the choppy water that was coming from her blond teammate. He said nothing, but he did obey. She walked on the water with hard steps that splashed the water. But at least she wasn't fighting the waves that Naruto was generating.
"Hey, walk quieter brat." Sakura resisted the urge to growl at Zabuza only because she believed he would still kill her if he wanted to.
Her steps became mute.
Zabuza didn't say anything, but he was impressed.
Sasuke stood near the old man, bored. Kakashi was on the other side of the bridge. Well, the original was. He had about five other clones meandering around the area. He said he wasn't going to take any more chances of Sasuke training inappropriately.
After figuring out how to walk upside down, and discovering that dangling upside down above crashing waves was a bit more discerning than he thought, Sasuke didn't care.
"One! Two! Three! Heave!" The group of men pulled and pushed and the machines and contraptions that were used spun and soled. With a loud boom, the final section of the bridge connected to the shore where the framework of the first steps and the railings were waiting to be completed. A cheer rang through the crowd as the section settled into place.
"We're almost done! Soon, we can be officially open to the rest of the mainland!" Tazuna cheered loudly. The working men all murmured happily and there was a moment of glory that everyone basked in.
Until someone yelled in fear.
"T-Tazuna!" The man was pointing to the shore where there was a large crowd of familiar mercenaries coming from the forest. A Kakashi clone quickly stood between them and Tazuna, and by proxy the rest of the workers who were slowly backing away. Sasuke took out a kunai as the men slowly started to move to the safety of their village.
"Sasuke, get ready." The real Kakashi warned as he came up from behind him and headed toward the advancing group of thirty or more men.
"A-Aah!" Turning around, Sasuke soon spotted a figure walking up the bridge as the aforementioned retreating civilians turned tail and fled as fast as they could to the relative safety of the village. He felt his blood freeze at the familiar sight of Zabuza, and the two figures of his missing teammates.
They'd been taken hostage.
"Hey! What gives!?" Naruto demanded as he dangled from the back of his shirt where Zabuza was suspending him.
"Shut, UP Naruto!" Sakura squeaked as Zabuza bumped her higher on his shoulder from where she was hanging by her wrists in his other hand. 'Like a sack of potatoes' never before sounded so apt.
"We're here for the bridge builder Tazuna!" One of the thugs from the forest started. "Hand him over, and no one else will be hurt."
"You're outnumbered, shinobi or no." Another chuckled.
"And we've got Zabuza on our side!" Sasuke heard Naruto snort before a light thud made him look back at his teammate where he saw another person – the fake hunter nin! – had just smacked him.
"That wasn't me!" Naruto complained as Zabuza started walking closer. Kakashi stood between him and Tazuna right next to Sasuke, and that made Sasuke feel a little better if his sensei thought he was good enough to fight alongside of him, and the rest of the clones stood guard of the thugs advancing from the forest.
"Any way I can get my cute little students back alive?" Kakashi asked. Standing next to the man, Sasuke suddenly realized he could feel him gathering his chakra into his arms.
He suddenly thought of his mother's chakra, and how she used chakra on her eyes. If he had any ability of hers left, he would find out. He gathered his chakra in his eyes, slowly. The warning of trying self manipulation with chakra without training rang in his mind, but he was determined to get something out of this.
"Any way I can do so without you attacking me?"
"Well," Kakashi started as his clones started rushing towards the clustered group from the woods. "That depends entirely with what your planning afterwards." He stepped closer, lightly. "Sasuke, circle to the fake hunter and keep him busy." The man murmured. Sasuke briefly thought about the man right behind him, Tazuna, who would be left defenseless, but the man spoke up before he could answer.
"I'll stay out of your way. I'll try to get to the village." He said softly. Sasuke nodded, feeling better about the situation even though he could feel his pulse rising from the sounds of fighting behind him and his teammates were still in Zabuza's hands. He took a step away in the opposite side of Tazuna. The old drunkard hesitantly stepped away a couple steps before breaking into a dash toward safety.
The hunter nin didn't even bother looking at him.
'Come on! Get away from them!' Sasuke circled closer, glancing between his teammates and the fake hunter. The hunter nin chuckled lightly.
"You sure I can't play with that one? He looks eager." The other teen, barely older than Sasuke was, was mocking him. And it frustrated him to know he could still lose to the guy. Girl. Whatever it was. It was an annoying person who had his teammates hostage.
"No, Haku. That'll defeat the purpose of us being here. Hey, Hatake, you want your brats? Let me give you one if you promise to listen to me before I give you the other one."
"Why don't you let them both go and maybe I'll consider something afterwards."
"Whatever." Zabuza muttered before hoisting Naruto up as if to toss him. The blond, who was hanging like a puppy in trouble, started squirming.
"Oi! Oi! Stop! Don't be using Sakura-chan as a human shield! Just let us walk, okay!?" Zabuza paused and seemed to consider Naruto's words, a sight that made Kakashi stop advancing as well. Sasuke stopped walking only because he saw his sensei stop.
"Na-ru-to..." Sakura looked to be soaked and a little more ruffled from where she was hanging, and Sasuke worried for the subdued tone the normally, err, spastic, girl now had. He suddenly remembered she was a girl, and kidnapped girl had something more to worry about than kidnapped boys. Naruto was obviously fine, and despite Sakura being annoying, Sasuke worried for what could have happened to her.
"You're right, kid. You're a much better meat shield." With that, Sakura suddenly shrilled with an extra screech as she was flipped head over heel from Zabuza's shoulders and towards Sasuke.
He didn't have enough time to brace himself.
The two tumbled a couple of times before Sasuke found himself in the most embarrassing position he ever thought he'd be, tangled up with Sakura and her clothes, and his clothes, as they were.
And Naruto had the guts to guffaw.
Chakra in his eyes and face flushed from embarrassment, Sasuke suddenly wanted nothing more than to hurt the blond idiot. He carefully separated from Sakura and checked her over briefly. Nothing seemed wrong. She just looked tired.
Her body flashed briefly as her chakra suddenly became visible to him. It seemed low. He helped her up.
"There, one unharmed student. May I have a few words now?" Zabuza asked, tone obviously condescending. His image probably would have been better if Naruto wasn't squirming in mirth as he dangled from his place in the air.
"Depends. Sakura, how are you?" Kakashi asked.
"We're both fine. I'm just tired. And hungry. And I'm getting a headache. And I think I hate you Zabuza! Now I'm dizzy!" Her piece said, she started walking to the hunter nin. Sasuke snagged her sleeve.
"Hey, don't be heading back to them, stupid." He said just as Kakashi rose his own voice.
"What did you do to her!?"
"Nothing!" Zabuza answered exasperatedly. Naruto wasn't laughing anymore.
"Ne, Sakura-chan, is your chakra too low?"
"Yes, you jerk! If you hadn't been making waves here, I wouldn't be feeling like this!" The hunter nin sighed and started walking closer to the pink-haired genin.
"Come here, Haruno-san. I'll give you a boost in your chakra." Sakura sniffed and trudged to the other boy again. Sasuke snagged her hand but she just pulled him with her. If he couldn't keep her away, he'll be damned if he lets her walk to danger alone!
"Look, Hatake, I'm not your enemy anymore. Your brat here," Sasuke saw him shake Naruto lightly as the idiot waved almost cheerfully. "Made sure of it. You said he was a genius. I think I'd agree, considering he made me not only kill my former employer but agree to give money to this tiny place."
As Zabuza ranted and Kakashi cautiously moved closer to the man with his weirdest student, Sakura made it to the hunter nin.
"Hands out. I'm betting you've never shared chakra?"
"Not that I can remember. Sorry Haku." The girl seemed to slur a little, and the other's mask was taken off to reveal a boy. A very pretty boy, but a boy. Sasuke held onto Sakura's hand a little tighter as she wobbled slightly.
"Uchiha, you need to let her give me that hand too." Reluctantly, and more than a little curious to see a chakra sharing, which was different from a chakra transfer, Sasuke instead placed a hand on the pinkette's shoulder. The girl held out her hands, and as the boy, Haku?, hovered his above them, Sasuke could suddenly see chakra again.
He could see the concentration in their palms. He could see the flow of them gradually becoming clearer the farther they were from the other two cores, and he could distinctly tell them apart. Sakura's chakra was a light green and it felt blank. No, not blank, flexible. As if it had no distinction so it can become anything. The other boy's chakra, on the other hand, was a white that felt like warm ice. Or, something like a warm breeze with a cool after feel.
He stared as the two chakra met in the space between their hands, and they both mixed to a slight pink as Sakura's chakra pulled from Haku's. He could imagine he knew exactly what was happening. There was a conversion going on, where both chakra met, and their attributes simply disappeared as the energy needed to convert from one to the other. He imagined he'd seen something like this before, with different names, with different people, subjects, in a place with white walls and metal machines that monitored and controle-
After a short moment, Sakura pulled away. She rubbed her hands and smiled with a little more life in her expression.
"Thank you Haku-san."
"It's no problem. I wish you'd mentioned your low reserves sooner. Zabuza-san would have been in a better position to negotiate for a truce if you had."
"Sorry. I didn't want to bother anyone, and I'd only read about chakra sharing so I hadn't really known what to do." Sakura blushed a little.
Sasuke stared with confusion at the conversation happening in front of him. For a moment, he had seen...
'Potential to see. To see, and know?' He wondered as the three started wandering back to where the Jounin were. A quick glance and Sasuke could see that most of the hired hands of Gatou were incapacitated. It didn't seem as if Kakashi was killing any of them. Perhaps he was saving them for the village to determine their fates. It would only be fair.
"Really, sensei! I swear it's all true! Look, see!? Sakura-chan is fine!" Naruto yelled from his spot between the two glaring Jounin.
"Look, I'm starting to not care where the fucking money goes. Just point me to any random fucking villager and I'll be gone! It doesn't have to be the damned bridge builder! It makes more sense to give it to him because he's the de facto leader of this place."
"I think it's safe to put me down now." Naruto mumbled in the silence. After a beat, Zabuza let go. Sasuke was sure his sensei was just as surprised as he was. "I'll take you to the old man's place. It's this way." Naruto led the way to the edge of the bridge before stopping short.
What looked like the entirety of the Wave country was rallied up with various tools and weapons, and Inari was at the very front. The little squirt was aiming a crossbow at Zabuza.
"Hey, Inari!" Naruto greeted as if his cheerful voice was completely in place of the warning atmosphere. Sasuke resisted the urge to smack his forehead. Barely.
"Naruto-nii, why is he with you?"
"I converted him to the good guys! Zabuza here promised to share Gatou's money since he killed Gatou and doesn't need all of it!" There was a silence as the town processed the loud and cheery proclamation before Zabuza snagged him into the air again and held him out to Kakashi.
"Just take him. He's creepy as fuck the way he times everything." Naruto pouted when Kakashi hesitated to do as told.
Tsunami hummed softly as she snapped the sheets over the clotheslines for them to dry. The weather was warm this time around, and she loves the smell of the earthy sea that clung to the clothes when she hung them out this time of year. It may be humid, but it wasn't so bad around the area of her home. Just as she bent down to pick up the empty laundry basket, a large hand covered her mough as a burly arm snagged her by her stomach.
"Alright, lady, just do as we say, and you won't be getting this shoved through you, understand." Tsunami felt her blood freeze when she saw the sword gilt her reflection back at her from in front of her face. She saw a shadow move behind her, and another, as a second man came into her peripheral.
"She's a pretty thing, ain't she? I'm sure Gatou would reward us for bringer her to him instead of killing her like the rest of the bridge builder's family in this place." Tsunami felt tears in her eyes as she struggled. These men were strong, and she never was.
'Please, Kami, help.' She prayed as she futilely tugged at the hands over her mouth. She couldn't breathe, her tears wouldn't let her see, and she couldn't walk let alone run away. The man holding her was already heading towards the tree line of her garden and she could see the other man heading to her house. She only hoped Inari would stay in the town square longer. She didn't want her little boy to have seen both his step father as well as her be taken away from him.
"Mommy!" She glimpsed her little boy right before seeing the second man dart towards him from the kitchen. Closing her eyes, Tsunami wept. "Let go of her!" She heard her baby yelp and the other man laugh darkly.
"Say goodbye to your mom, brat! She's never going to see you again!"
"Hold on a bit." A fourth person demanded. Tsunami looked for them quickly, hoping Kami had at least sent a person to help her and her baby. She didn't recogni-
"Zabuza." The man holding her acknowledged. She screamed in her throat as she struggled in frustration and terror. Her baby was still struggling and it sounded like he was choking, and damn everything if she didn't at least try to save him! If Kami won't help her, she'll help herself! "Hold still, wench!"
"Give her here." Zabuza demanded. She was shoved, and before she could get her feet to start towards her little Inari, the tall dangerous ninja snagged her by her hand and had her hugged to him. She was trapped rather effectively in his arms, and her vision was soon covered by his large hand.
" Inari!" She tried to squirm, to try to escape – her baby wasn't even making a sound dammit! – but she was stuck. "Inari! Please! Please, take my home! Take my money! Take my life! Please, just let my baby go!"
"Hush now." Zabuza rumbled. She could feel his voice vibrate through her own chest, and it frightened her.
"Inari! Inari, mommy loves you!" She wept.
She heard a slice of air, the thud of flesh being hit, and the disgusting splash of a fountain of blood. She would have collapsed limp from the empty feeling of shock if she wasn't being held.
"Tsunami-san?" Sakura-chan's voice asked. She was confused, and shivered when the burning hand uncovered her wet eyes. Sakura-chan was standing in front of her, Kakashi-san concentrating on a jutsu behind her. Inari was standing next to her father, who was holding his eyes shut. The bright boy, Naruto-kun, was looking at her in worry, and the dark boy, Sasuke-san, was watching his sensei.
The other two thugs were nowhere to be seen.
Her baby was okay.
Zabuza loosened his arms and she shivered again from the sudden cold against her. But her baby was okay, and so was her father, and she wasn't going to acknowledge that there was a murderer behind her because she needed to hug her baby.
She darted towards the group her father hired and collapsed to her knees.
"My baby." She whispered as she hugged Inari.
"I'm okay, mommy." He said looking around scared and confused, but thankfully he was mostly confused. She looked up at the tall ninja Zabuza, and forced herself to stand tall as she walked back to him. There were too many things she's wanted to say to him because of his employment under Gatou, and she'll be damned if she ignored her chance to do anything.
"Get away from me." She whispered. She wanted to scream at him loud enough for the heavens to hear her, but her rage was too much for volume. "Unless you have a way to possibly begin to make up for the fear and pain you've caused my household, which I doubt, get away from me and mine!" She hissed out. He slowly straightened from her blow, and then she shivered under his glare, and forced herself to stay still as he reached for his sword.
He placed its edge behind her, aimed at her neck.
"I'll ignore your attack on me. I can't blame you for that. And I do have a way to start making it up to you, in case you're wondering. But let me warn you, bitch," He continued with a growl. She couldn't help but glare back. She wanted to slap him again. "If you dare try to hit me again, this sword is going through you."
"Zabuza, you pervert! Inari's right here!"
Tsunami loved Naruto-kun. She was startled to see the red creeping up from Zabuza's face wrappings, but she was grateful the little ball of sunshine was back.
Naruto was waving his arms like a maniac, but Kakashi didn't mind. His cute little minions were all together again, and after the extra week of details Tazuna had to enforce the bridge with (He suspected Inari suggested most of them, just to waste time) the bridge had been dubbed finished and the team had agreed that their mission was done.
Technically, it had been complete the moment Tazuna had made it home. But, with the appearance of Zabuza, he supposed the A-rank had room to include a clause of waiting for the bridge to be completed. Even if Zabuza decided to stay the extra week as well, and had apparently turned over a new leaf. And had apparently decided to help him train his little genin. And had apparently decided to take to watching Tsunami...
Well, the mission was over. Kakashi was glad. This country was crazy.
"Hey, Naruto." Sasuke started. Naruto looked over to him in confusion, his dyed hair starting to show gold near his scalp. When Sasuke didn't say anything right away, his littlest genin walked closer. Sasuke had stopped just before they stepped off the bridge. "I just wanted to say, sorry. For, you know, yelling. I guess I was, a bit jealous. Or something." Sasuke couldn't keep eye contact.
Kakashi paused to watch the exchange. He vaguely remembered threatening to lock all the kids in a room for them to get over whatever was bothering them all, but when they all seemed to be normal and happy(ish, because of the tort- training), he hadn't thought it necessary.
Looks like Sasuke was growing up.
"Aw, it's okay. I guess I kinda overreacted too." Naruto forgave easily.
"Well, just so you know, I'm not sorry about this." Before Naruto could react, or anyone else for that matter, Sasuke did a rather flawless mule kick to Naruto's chest.
The blond yelped as he flew over the edge of the bridge.
"Naruto!" Sakura yelled as she ran to look over the edge of the shiny orange railing. He could hear Inari and Tsunami also crying out in surprise for the brat. Sasuke smirked and just continued his way off the bridge. Kakashi blinked twice in bemusement before following.
"Sasuke, you know I have to ask why you just sent your teammate into the ocean off the bridge." He warned lightly as he heard Sakura calling out to the blonde-redhead, apparently in conversation.
Somehow, Kakashi could understand.
They had been running for a few hours, barely another five minutes to the gate when Naruto suddenly froze. He had changed his dyed hair back to its normal golden blonde before leaving camp that morning. He'd even placed his grey headband over his hair and tied his hitaiate loosely around his neck as it had been when they met. His shirt was the shinobi green and his pants their tan khaki color.
'This is officially the coolest thing I've read since discovering how poisonous toads were!' Naruto thought to himself as a grin slowly crept over his lips.
"Naruto, what is it?" Kakashi asked. Sakura and Sasuke both took out kunai as they looked around the area. Naruto looked at the man in front of him.
"The bridge... they..."
"The bridge?" Sakura asked.
"What happened to the bridge since we left yesterday?" Sasuke asked. Naruto tried to form the words, but he gasped at the same time. It took a few times to regulate his breathing to actually speak. Well, yell.
"They-! They named the bridge after me! FUCK YEAH!" Naruto cheered. "They fucking named the bridge after me! Oh my god, I've gotta tell Tari-chan! Come on! We gotta get home! I gotta bridge named after me!" With that said, Naruto ran faster than the earlier pace towards home.
"Naruto wait!" Sakura yelled out.
Kakashi sighed. He was wondering when Naruto would start talking again, as he'd been giving the group the silent treatment since he pulled himself out of the ocean. Now he was just wondering how Naruto figured Tazuna's bridge was named after him. It didn't really make sense.
Well, he knew the boy had a weird ability to figure things out he really shouldn't know. Did that mean he could do so anytime anywhere? He hadn't even been using chakra!
He wondered if that woman would be easy to find. He had quite a few questions for her.
xXx TBC… xXx
HK: First off, I'm so sorry! I had this thing halfway done, ended up deleting it because it sucked, then realized that my take-two chapters all seemed disconnected and tried to make them make sense. Then I got the inspiration of a TsunamixZabuza fic and desperately tried to fight off the urge to start something new. Again. I think it worked... But if anyone wants to try their hand at one, I'd certainly appreciate it! There are only two, and I'd like Haku to be present and happy too.
And, now that my checkpoints are all hit, I realized I had a small Naruto and Kakashi moment I wasn't able to squeeze in. It was supposed to take place immediately after Zabuza returned Sakura and Naruto. Then Sakura demanded attention for her amazing efforts to be a better konoichi and I decided to place it after Zabuza returned with the group to Tazuna's house. Then Tsunami wanted her own limelight, and she became a damsel in distress who was ungrateful at her prince in shining armor.
Then Sasuke needed to get to that self promise of throwing Naruto off the bridge. (Who else remembered that!? ^.^)
So, this is just a floating omake anyone can enjoy. Hopefully, it'll help make things better about my late late chapter.
Have a Happy Halloween!
Kakashi froze when his littlest Genin slowly moved towards him and placed his face in his stomach. His arms went around him and Kakashi slowly realized he was being hugged.
It'd been a while since anyone wanted to hug him for comfort, as Naruto was obviously doing.
"You know, Kakashi-sensei, when we were first assigned as a team, I was pretty upset that you were my sensei. I knew you to be chronically late, perverted and had heard a lot of rumors that you were mentally insane. I hadn't looked forward to being your student at all since I thought it was only a matter of time before you cracked. Now, I'm glad you're my sensei." Naruto admit as he hugged the man. "As unstable as you are, at least you seem to have it together more than other Jounin I know of. These past few hours of my life have never experienced such mood swings of murderous intent and leniency for being useful or interesting."
"Er, okay then." Kakashi awkwardly pat the redhead's back.
Was that a compliment, or an insult?
He glanced out the window at Zabuza, who was snarling at Sasuke as Sakura yelled at them. Then Tsunami yelled out her own piece from the kitchen, and Zabuza was suddenly cowed as the kids looked surprised and wary.
Kakashi kept patting Naruto's back awkwardly. He'd flinched when Tsunami had slammed the door downstairs. Why was his littlest genin so weird? Wasn't that his job?