Disclaimer: Not mine.

Chapter 11

Naruto peered into the hospital room and his sensei raised a hand to wave at him. He moved over to the chair beside the bed and sit in it. "You okay Kakashi-sensei?"

"I'll be fine Naruto."

"I'm sorry."

"For what?" He asked in confusion, pushing himself up in the bed.

"They were after me and you got hurt."

"I am a ninja Naruto; it is my job to defend my comrades. Besides, I could hardly let them hurt my student could I?" He eye-smiled and Naruto nodded. "Good, now go train." He ordered and Naruto grinned and took off through the window.

Harry sat on a chair, staring into space as he thought. Things were becoming complicated. Sure Orichimaru wasn't much of a threat with that curse but that didn't mean his army couldn't cause problems. And now at least two S-ranked missing-nin were after his little brother and he didn't know why. Fate must really hate him or something. Naruto was progressing nicely but without a wand a lot of the more powerful magics were beyond his reach but a wand would be a distraction during a shinobi battle and far too easy to have taken and snapped. Thanks to all his private study and Iruka slipping him scrolls his shinobi training was at least beyond what people would expect of him. But against opponents like Itachi and his blue friend? He was still seriously outmatched. There had to be more they could do to prepare him. But what?

Naruto laughed as he chased the three kids around. Yeah they could be annoying, especially a certain honourable grandson but they were great kids and fun to fool around with. Naruto blinked when a bird flew overhead. He'd just finished a mission! "Sorry guys gotta go!"

"But boss…."

"Sorry!" He yelled as he took off for the tower only to find most of the rookies baring his own teammates waiting with the Hokage. Seeing the serious faces he felt a sudden sinking sensation in his gut.

"Uchiha Sasuke left last night with several Sound nin." Tsunade stated and Naruto blanched. "With the ongoing clean up you are all that can be spared to go after them. Bring the Uchiha back before they cross the border. Shikamaru is in command. Dismissed." She watched them go and then went for the sake. Why exactly has she let sensei talk her into taking his job? She'd healed him as she had agreed, why hadn't she just left after that? Now she had to deal with the mess the villages precious Uchiha defecting would cause. Stupid Sarutobi for getting hurt and deciding he was too old for the job.

Naruto hoped Lee would be okay as he ran after his team mate. He was worried about everyone member of the team left behind to fight. But at least they were all healthy, Lee was still recovering.

'Mind on the job kiddo.' Harry called to him and Naruto nodded, knowing he was right.

He leapt from the trees and stared at the status guarding the waterfall where Sasuke was standing. "Sasuke!" He yelled and the other teen turned to face him with a familiar smirk. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" He demanded.

"What I have to." Sasuke answered.

"Come back to Konoha or I'll make you."

"You wish dobe." Sasuke sneered and the fight began.

Kakashi ran, following Pakkun as the pug followed the scents of his two students. He came out into the Valley of the End and froze at seeing them both lying totally still on the ground. He rushed to Naruto's side and shuddered at the hole in his clothes. He yanked them out of the way and found the healing wound that looked eerily familiar. He had never thought Sasuke would use the chidori against a comrade. "Naruto?" He called softly and was relieved when the blonde shifted ever so slightly. "Watch him." He ordered and Pakkun moved to sit beside him as Kakashi walked over to Sasuke. He was out cold and far less wounded. Had he passed out from exhaustion? He used ninja wire to quickly bind him and then tossed him over his shoulder, creating a clone to carry Naruto more gently.

Iruka sat by Naruto's bedside, worried for his little brother. He was ending up in hospital beds far too often for the sensei's tastes. He'd heard that Sasuke was unconscious for no obvious reason but Iruka figured Naruto had ended up resorting to magic and that was why the medics were confused. All they could do was wait for Naruto to finish healing and wake up. Hopefully Harry was keeping him occupied with lessons while he was sleeping.