Disclaimer is on the first chapter. See that if you want to know any warnings. I'm not listing them.
Sorry for the long-term break on this story everyone! Can you believe it's been a year?! My brain about fried itself when I found that out! Sorry about that! Neph is in no way responsible for that action! I'm completely to blame! I apologize. -Sora
The group appeared in a small clearing of trees near the front gates of Konoha, disoriented from the fast, prolonged spinning of the portkey. Fugaku re-wrapped the chakra wire and pocketed it, planning on putting it in his memento box full of his brother's things.
As soon as they reoriented themselves they raced to Konoha.
The guards were passed in a blur, making them tense. Itachi paused for a minute so they could see his mask before he blurred out of sight to catch up with his family.
The guards relaxed.
Naruto was the first into the Hokage's office. "Sarutobi-jii-chan!"
"N-Naruto-chan?" Sarutobi stuttered out in surprise, blinking his eyes once before jumping over the desk and sweeping her up in a hug. He'd missed the little prankster, the village growing too quiet while she had been kidnapped.
She cuddled with him. "Guess what, or rather, who we found!"
The current Hokage smiled indulgently as the Uchiha family followed her in along with Kakashi. "Who?" He asked, nodding in greeting to the rest of the group.
Haruhi unrolled the scroll and unsealed the mirror. "We found Kushina-sama." Kakashi told him. "She's in the mirror."
Hiruzen was wordless with shock. He had last seen Kushina in the beginning stages of her labor, right as the Kyuubi had attacked the village. Settling Naruto on his hip with no true issues, he stepped in front of the mirror.
"Konichiwa Sarutobi-sama." A red-haired woman said as she appeared. "How are you?"
"Konichiwa Kushina-chan. I'm as well as can be for not being retired at my age." Sarutobi replied in a light voice as Kushina frowned in concern.
"But, Sarutobi-sama, before..." She started, only to trail off as her gaze turned to rest on Naruto for the first time.
"N-Naruto-chan...?" She asked.
"Where's...? Where's your father Naruto-chan...?"
Naruto was silent, gazing sadly at her mother, not sure how to tell her the news that was years old already.
Kushina could tell. "He... He's in the seal isn't he?" She asked.
"Yes." The small blond confirmed quietly, her face then burying into the Sandaime's shoulder. Not wanting to talk anymore.
Several weeks later Kakashi's eyebrow twitched. The girl that took a spot on his team was so annoying...
"Why does Haruno Sakura have to be so damned annoying...?" He murmured to himself as he read more of his precious Icha Icha books. Since Haruhi had graduated to Chuunin, Kakashi had asked several of his Jounin friends to help train him. They had enthusiastically agreed to help as soon as he had asked, Kurenai had said it was because he didn't ask for help often and they felt that they were taking advantage of him for asking for his help so often-not that it stopped them. The youngest Uchiha brother had been put 'on leave' from Team Missions and Team Kakashi had gained a fan girl. "Please Kami-sama, spare me more pain..." He murmured as he watched Naruto distract Sasuke from killing the fan girl for the fourth time during their D-Ranked mission. They needed to learn teamwork before the next Chuunin Exams!
He was tempted to whimper. "Why oh why did Sarutobi give me a fan girl...?" So much for him training Naruto... Now he had to teach a damn fan girl instead of his sensei's girl... "I hate fan girls..." He muttered. And what made it worse... was that she didn't concentrate on training! She was fixated on Sasuke...
Kakashi sighed in relief as the group finished their mission and turned towards the Hokage Tower to report to the Sandaime. Naruto was complaining about not being able to go on higher-ranked missions, and Sasuke's contempt and temper were running so high he could barely contain the twitching in his hands as they longed for a weapon.
It was a good thing Naruto was between him and the fan girl… otherwise she'd be dead, ally or not.
"Can we please have a C-rank mission?" Kakashi almost begged the Hokage.
The Hokage sighed after several minutes and silently opened up the C-Rank Mission's listings, searching for one that would be a low-risk mission for their first time out as a team with Haruno Sakura. "I'll agree, but only if you take Haruhi-kun with you. In our weekly private meetings he's been mentioning how much he's missed working with his team.
"I can't wait to work with Haruhi again!" Naruto's eyes gleamed. "Thank you Jii-chan!" She said in an excited voice, relieved that their real third teammate was finally coming back to the fold.
"Naruto-baka don't be so informal!" Sakura screeched petulantly. "What so great about this Haruhi boy anyway?" She asked snobbishly afterward.
"For one he's my brother Haruno. For another, he's a Chuunin." Sasuke snarled out, his eyes gaining a faint tint of red from the weeks of suppressed stress this...girl was specifically responsible for.
Naruto rubbed her head where Haruno had hit her. "So Jii-chan, what mission are you giving us?" She asked, happy that Haruhi would be back. ...Only to be hit by Haruno again...
The Hokage gave a strained smile and told them their mission, introduced the rude drunk that they were supposed to protect and wished them luck. Haruhi would be leaving with Sasuke in the morning and it was Sasuke's job to make sure he knew about said mission.
"Naruto, come with me. We need to tell you mother."
They made their way to the R+D department.
The other parts of Team Kakashi dispersed for the night, Sakura wondering where Naruto's mother was that was so important the Hokage had to go with her to see her. Sasuke and Kakashi searched out Haruhi's chakra and headed towards it. Soon they were within the Uchiha complex. Both were surprised at how early Haruhi had gotten off from training for the day. Kakashi would have to tell Kurenai that they were going on a mission and not to worry about Haruhi, seeing as he was training with her at the moment. The other Jounin leader would pass on the information for them with no problems.
The next morning the team met at the gates.
Sasuke, Haruhi and Naruto arrived together, grinning and laughing at a prank Haruhi had pulled on Kiba the day before. While in the Academy the Inuzuka had teased Naruto about her 'stench' something she was still sensitive about even today because of him. Haruhi had doused him in tomato puree and itching powder mixed together, claiming it was for the fleas he had 'seen jumping all over him.' The itching powder was to make the story even more believable. He would stink like tomato's for the next few days, for the next week to the Inuzuka and that in and of itself was justice in Haruhi's opinion. If the mutt needed another lesson, he'd be glad to give one to him the next time.
Sakura was waiting for them at the gate. What was so great about Haruhi...? All they needed was Sasuke. Sakura nodded her head and joined their group, hanging close to Sasuke who scowled in annoyance.
Kakashi soon joined them and all they were waiting for was the drunk now.
His original team blinked. "YOU AREN'T LATE?"
Kakashi grinned at them, and quoted something he had heard Iruka say once. "A shinobi must never be constant. In order to surprise enemies, one must be original." He said, grinning at the mind-boggled expressions on his students' faces. Their answering grins were identical and mischievous.
Their...client... finally showed up, already drinking alcohol. The three original members of Team Kakashi wrinkled their noses in disgust while Kakashi hid it behind his mask.
"Great. Another kid? What are they trying to do? Make me a babysitter as well as a soon-to-be dead man?" He said in a loud voice, his eyes moving over the four young teens.
Haruhi, Sasuke and Naruto smirked evilly. "You shouldn't talk down on your escorts..." Naruto said as she walked passed him.
"You might find yourself in an... interesting... situation because of said insults." Haruhi sneered, using his Uchiha upbringing to make the man swallow nervously.
"So please... don't insult us..." Sasuke finished, brushing past him as well to leave Sakura to keep guard around him. The trio wanted time to talk about their training (or lack thereof). Haruhi was already talking about new jutsu's he wanted them to learn.
Tazuna stared at three of his escorts. Meanwhile, Sakura was gaping at the trio in complete shock and Kakashi stifled his amusement.
Naruto turned back. "Are we going or what?"
"Wait a minute! You shouldn't disrespect our client!" Sakura called after them.
The three ignored her and Kakashi sighed. "Come on, let's go." He said, letting the bridge builder walk ahead of him and Sakura walk next to the drunkard. His original team walked ahead, ready to protect the client if need be.
As they walked, Naruto noticed the puddle first. She nudged Haruhi and then Sasuke, pointing out the obvious Genjutsu.
Haruhi dropped back next to Tazuna silently and walked next to him; forcing his body between the bridge builder and the 'puddle' Kakashi noticed the movement and got ready for an attack.
Sasuke and Naruto dropped back to protect Tazuna's front.
When they were attacked Naruto took one attacker down in one blow.
Kakashi kawarimi'd with a clone he had made earlier to scout the area ahead of them. He doubled back quickly and arrived just in time to stop the other Demon Brother from attacking their client. Sakura was shrieking from the scare, while the four other shinobi quickly cleaned up the mess as Kyuubi took care of the poison in Naruto's body from the attack the enemy landed before he died.
Naruto and Sasuke was interrogating the other brother.
Naruto pulled back. "Sensei, the name; Gato mean anything to you?"
"Yes. The politest way to refer to him is a business man, but he's a tyrant who...ah...so that's what this is about. Haru-kun, you remember what's going in Wave?" He asked frowning in concentration.
"Yes. Gato is...oh..." Haruhi started to reply only to realize what Kakashi was talking about. "So he wants us to protect him from the rogue shinobi and ronin while he finishes the bridge?" He continued with, glaring slightly at the old man.
"Tazuna-san, is there a reason that you told us it was a C-rank?" Naruto asked. "While I have no doubt that Haru-kun, Sasuke-kun and I could do what you are asking us with no problem, Pinky here is a green Genin-"
"This is a B-rank at the least!" Naruto took Tazuna's sake as Sasuke finished her point. "You shouldn't drink, especially in this situation. It's not a good idea. You need to be alert for attacks like the one we just dealt with, if not we could fail to save you from an attempt to end your life." She explained, a frown marring her face.
Later that day they reached Tasuna's house. On their way there Naruto suddenly stopped. She took out one of her regular kunai, and threw it at a tree, then pulled a second out, ready for anything.
"Why the heck did you do that Naruto-baka?!" Sakura screeched, glaring at the blond.
"Quiet Pinky! Someone…no two people are here…" Naruto snarled back. "They're in the trees."
Haruhi had already pulled out his bo and was holding senbon loosely in one hand, his eyebrows knitted as he concentrated on their chakra signature. "Hit the ground!" He shouted, diving at the nervous bridge builder and taking him down to the ground.
Naruto pulled Sakura with her as Kakashi grabbed Tazuna.
"Remind us why you aren't paying us for a B or A-rank again?" Naruto muttered as a huge sword sailed over their heads and into a tree.
"Well, well, well…if it isn't Sharingan Kakashi…" A voice drifted out over their heads, forcing everyone to look up for it's owner. The Genin and Chuunin looked up.
"It's Momochi Zabuza..." Sasuke got a manic grin on his face.
Naruto and Haruhi also grinned. "Please Sensei?"
Kakashi glanced at the group and sighed. "Fine. But at first blood on any of you and I'm taking over the fight. At least you'll get to see if some of your plans work or not." He grumbled, glaring at the three impudent students who were all grinning at each other.
"So," Naruto looked from Haruhi to Sasuke. "That plan then?"
Zubuza looked at Kakashi in confusion. Why was he letting Genin fight a Jounin level? "Letting Genin fight your battles for you now, Kakashi?" Zubuza taunted.
"Nope, I'm just letting them have some fun." He responded, not rising to the bait, watching as Naruto gave off an evil-looking prankster grin.
"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!" She shouted and suddenly multiplied, making Zabuza gape at her in shock.
That was definitely not a genin move.
Oh yes…she got that from Minato-sensei alright. He couldn't wait to see what they would do. Kakashi watched his teach with a hint of pride.
"…She is a Genin, right?" Zubuza wondered. All the clones lunged. While Zubuza was distracted by the clones, Haruhi and Sasuke attacked. Haruhi was able to pierce a few of the enemy Jounin's tenketsu points, numbing one of his legs and an arm.
Sasuke caught him in a Sharingan Genjutsu.
"And done!" They dragged Zubuza back to land.
"Did we do well Sensei?" The trio asked in union, grinning at their teacher. Kakashi was muffling his sniggers as Zabuza glared up at him from his hog-tied position on the ground.
"Yes you did. Especially since the reward on this nuke-nin is ten times the amount of if we brought in his head." Kakashi said by way of reply.
Sakura just stared.
Naruto giggled. "We rule!"
"Question though, what do we do with him?" Naruto looked into the trees. "He's got a partner in the trees still..."
"Hm..." Sasuke murmured as he thought about the newest issue.
"Maa maa, He'll be our spy." Kakashi spoke up.
Haruhi tilted his head to the side. "But...how will we keep him from backing out of the deal?" He asked, his eyes narrowed in thought.
Kakashi just smiled.
"I know for a fact that Zubuza owes the Uzumaki clan something..."
"Royal Guard Zabuza Momochi, who do you serve?" Kakashi asked rather formally.
"The Uzumaki and Namikaze clan, seeing as they were combined together by their last decedents. But the heiress is dead, so what does it matter?" Zabuza replied in a puzzled voice, his eyes narrowing in confusion.
"Then, shall I present Uzumaki-Namikaze Naruto?" Kakashi asked, gesturing to his blonde student.
Naruto blinked. "...Royal Guard...?" Then she noticed that her two male teammates were bowing.
The blue eyed girl's jaw dropped, "Get up!" She half-shouted in panic, not liking her friends bowing to her in such a formal way.
"Of course Naruto-hime!" They chimed together perfectly, grinning at their friend.
Zubuza stared at the small blonde. She looked just like…other than her coloring she looked like… "Naruto-sama, I am at your command."
Naruto blushed and glared wordlessly at her teasing friends. Kakashi sniggered and untied the bindings that held Zabuza. "There you go." He said cheerfully before calling over to the trees. "You can come down now, we won't hurt you."
Haku landed next to Zubuza. Sakura had effectively been forgotten. "It is nice to meet you." Haku said quietly, bowing politely from where he stood next to his master.
"Hi..." Naruto said shyly.
"Haku, Naruto is our Master now." Zubuza explained.
Naruto hit Sasuke and Haruhi on the back of their heads. "Stop it!" They got to the house without further problems.
Haku and Zabuza had decided that instead of protecting Naruto they would help by spying on Gato. Zabuza, Haku and Kakashi spent the next half hour hashing out a plan that would ensure that Wave would be saved. The group travelled on leaving Zabuza and Haku back in the clearing, making their way towards the bridge builder's house. That night, the group sat down to eat dinner, the daughter of the old man was polite and cheerful. Her son, however…
Naruto growled quietly at Inari. "You can cry and moan all you want! But you know what? Nothing ever gets done that way! By acting this way you are letting Gato win." Her growl was meant to signify her anger only, not scare the poor kid.
Inari stared at the blonde girl. "How would you know?! I bet you don't know what suffering is!"
No, this story isn't abandoned. We'll be trying to update more quickly. Again, I apologize for not updating sooner. Thank you for your dedication and patience to this fic! See you in the next installment (hopefully)!
-Sora and Neph-