Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

oOo

Thump-thump-thump-thump-thump-thump-thump-thump—

Uhaa…

Uhaa…

Uhaa…

Thump-thump-thump-thump-thump-thump-thump-thump—

Uhaa…

His breath came fast and even as his feet hit the ground in perfect rhythm while he raced over the hard, packed dirt and large splotches of thick grass in between the roots of the gnarled trees as he raced through the quiet forest. Pine needles, sticks, rocks and snaking roots seemed to almost clear a path before his bare, calloused feet.

Uhaa…

Uhaa…

Beating a path away from the temporary, uncomfortable camp near the road and the near silent breathing of the big man, he pushed his limber legs up a tall hill. He could feel hot sweat trickling down his face and back, cooling him as it was whipped away by the brisk breeze blowing from the North. The breeze smelled of forest, animals, water, and the fresh scent of snow from the mountains it had left long ago.

Thump-thump-thump-thump-thump-thump-thump-thump—

He bounced onto a rock, tensed his legs, and jumped to the barren, rocky crest of the hill. Pausing just a moment to take in the majestic sight and get a bit more air into his lungs. He could see the road, snaking away to the West and glowing silver in the moonlight. The embers of the campfire they had been using were glowing in the distance, a good mile away, silhouetting the large form of the man crouching over it to stoke up the sparks into flames once again. Trees were liberally thrown over the landscape and a steam ran along the forest floor, its sweet music tickling his ears.

He started moving again.

Pumping his legs, swinging his arms, feeling his muscles coil and uncoil and the wind whip past his pants as he raced down the hill, over the stream, and further away from the now flickering flames of his campfire.

He had to keep running.

If he got fast enough, if he got good enough, he could catch it. The floating coattails and twinkling eyes of the specter that lead him on a chase through the night. He looked up to see him, his specter, standing on the next hill. He grit his teeth, pushed his legs, and pushed himself a little faster as he came closer and closer to the bottom of the hill. This was the night he would catch his specter. If he went faster—

-a flash of light, and he was on top of the grassy hill.

He stopped, confused, and looked around. He had—he had— what? Traveled a distance without traveling it? Traveled it so quickly he didn't remember it?

A delighted laugh carried to him on the wind, whipped across his neck, and he turned to see his specter on the next hill waiting to see if he would catch up.

If he could catch up.

Naruto matched the specters smile with his own, and Flashed.

oOo

Author's Notes: Yes, that was Minato's ghost teaching Naruto the Flash Step. I just love that idea!

Anyway, please review.