The Fox Bandit

Ch. 12: The Battle

"Let. Them. Go." Hissed Naruto in a deadly voice. His voice was chilling, scary. Everyone began to realize why he was so feared. He could go from the somewhat calm and kind friend to a deadly adversary easily. Deidara and Sasori, however, showed no signs of fear.

"Why should we, hn?" asked Deidara, smirking. "Who are they to you? You care for no one."

"I oughta kill you where you stand," seethed Naruto, glaring angrily at the two men. "Let my sister and Sakura go so that I may do just that." Sakura shivered in fear in spite of herself. Not from the gun pointed at her temple, but from Naruto. He seemed evil, one could say demonic even. She never felt such killer intent in all her life. And it was all for her and Naren's sake.

"You're sister is our bargaining chip, Fox Bandit," sneered Sasori. "Do as we say, and we won't hurt her." He cocked the pistol positioned at Naren's temple. "What do you say, sweetheart? Care to be the reason The Fox Bandit was brought down?" He held her tighter, pressing the barrel of the gun roughly into her skin. Naren winced.

"Naren!" cried Kiba, fighting against Chouji and Neji and Lee to get free. "Let her go, you bastard!"

"It's ok Kiba!" she said. "I'm fine!"

"Naren," muttered Sakura, wincing as the gun to her own temple was pressed into her skin by Deidara.

"Naren," hissed Sasori. "Is that your name, Miss Uzumaki?"

"Burn in hell," she hissed, glaring.

"Tsk, tsk," said Deidara. "For a lady to use such languageā€¦? What would your father think, hn?" Naren just glared at him with the same intensity as Naruto. Said Bandit was now drawing his own weapons.

"I'm going to give you to the count of ten," he growled. "Let them go!"

"You wouldn't put these two pretty girls in harm's way now would you, Fox Bandit, hn?" snickered Deidara. "Especially your beloved sister?"

"Naruto, please!" cried Sakura, struggling against Deidara. "Don't worry about us! Run!" Naruto just stood there and cocked his pistols and aimed at the two men holding his two most precious people.

"The last time I ran away from a problem, my father was killed," he said. "I won't run away ever again! I won't give up! I won't back down and be taken! I'll fight! And I will protect you no matter what! I won't die!" And with that, Naruto fired his pistols at the men. Both jumped out of the way, still holding Naren and Sakura, dodging the bullets. They knew how good Naruto was. They knew he was a sure shot. He wouldn't miss. He wouldn't hit anyone but whom he had aimed at. The girls were never in any danger of being shot by him. Sakura kicked Deidara in the face and broke free. Deidara stood up and made to grab for her, but froze. A large throwing knife flew past his face, nicking his cheek. Deidara knew that if he hadn't moved when he did, that knife would be lodged in his forehead instead of in the wall behind him. The Fox Bandit was good. He was going to be tough to bring down. Sakura ran towards Naruto, and stood beside him.

Naren wasn't as lucky as Sakura. Sasori gripped her even tighter, refusing to let her go.

"Naren!" growled Kiba, still struggling to get to her. "Let her go! I'll kill you! Let her go!"

"Sakura, go to Kiba!" said Naruto, turning to her. "I need you out of the way! I don't want you getting hurt!"

"No! I won't leave you!" she retorted. Naruto shoved his pistols into their holsters and pushed Sakura roughly away towards the crowd. Tsunade grabbed her and held her back. "NARUTO!"

Naruto ignored her and pulled another long knife out of a sheath on the back of his belt, this one serrated, more lethal. This one was meant for close contact fighting. He pulled a smaller throwing knife out of another sheath and flung it towards Sasori. A sure shot. The knife sliced Sasori's hand, forcing him to drop the pistol pointed at Naren. Naren then slammed her head back in his face as hard as she could, smiling when she heard his nose break. He let her go and she took off. Naruto ran to meet her.

"Naren, go to Tsunade and Kiba, now!" He shouted. She stood there. "Don't make me throw you!"

"Don't you dare get hurt!" she shouted back. "Don't you dare! I'll kill you if you die!"

"I won't die," he said, grinning at her. "I promise. Now go!" And she went, albeit reluctantly. Naruto twirled the knife expertly in his hand and ran to face Sasori, who had pulled out his own knife. Sasori wasn't a knife fighter. Neither was Deidara. They couldn't hold their own against Naruto in a knife fight. Sasori grinned when he noticed Deidara sneak up behind Naruto and pointed a pistol at his back, cocked it, and shot. Naren cried out. But Sakura's cry was louder. It was a cry of pain. She had run and taken the bullet instead of Naruto. Time seem to freeze in Naruto's eyes. All he could see was Sakura, bleeding freely from her belly. A fury unlike any other coursed through him. It was so unfamiliar to him, so intense. All he could see was red. Turning quicker than ever before, Naruto yelled out and sliced at Sasori with all his skill and strength. Deidara tried to jump in and help but was wounded easily by Naruto's flaying knife. Sasori had no chance. Naruto gripped the knife in one hand and swung his other fist at Sasori's head. His aim was spot on. Sasori was flung a few feet away. Deidara jumped in, but was overpowered easily due to his wounds. He jumped on a horse and fled, leaving Sasori to perish by Naruto's wrath.

"I'll kill you!" hollered Naruto, clutching Sasori by the shirt. "I'll kill you and let you rot and become food for the rats and maggots to eat!"

"I knew you were too powerful," rasped Sasori. "I told Deidara to let Sergeant Pain take care of you, but he wanted all the glory for himself. Heh, you've impressed me, Fox Bandit. You and that pink haired girl of yours. I'm going to tell you something, and whether you choose to believe it or not is your choice. I'm supposed to meet with a spy I have with Orochimaru at the Heaven and Earth crossing after the next two weeks. If you choose to act on it, then you will find information about Orochimaru. And that Sasuke Uchiha you're so desperate to find."

"How do you know about all that?" growled Naruto. "How do you know about Sasuke!" He'd never told a soul about Sasuke or Orochimaru. Not since that incident three years ago.

"I have my sources, Fox Bandit," said Sasori. "Kill Orochimaru, before he kills you. Akatsuki needs you alive." And with that, Sasori died.

Naruto dropped the red haired man and ran to Sakura. She had fallen, unable to stand any longer. Her face was pale and she seemed disoriented, like she wasn't quite sure where she was.

"Sakura?" said Naruto, placing his hands around her head gently and turned it towards him. "You're so stupid! Why did you do that!" he cried, tears that he had held back so well for seven years finally letting loose. Sakura didn't answer for a moment. She seemed unable to tell who he was. But her eyes brightened slightly when she did.

"Naruto," she said in a raspy voice. "Are you ok? Are you hurt?"

"No, I'm not hurt, you are," he whispered. Sakura made to sit up, but Naruto held her down. "Don't move," he said. "Tsunade's coming now. She'll fix you right up. You're going to be ok." His tough, evil demeanor had long since vanished and was now replaced by his outstanding worry for Sakura. Everyone gathered around her. Naren bent down next to her opposite Naruto and held Sakura's hand. Tsunade did the best she could at stopping the blood given to her lack of medical tools. She assured Naruto and Naren that Sakura was going to be fine as long as they got her to a bed and quickly. She left and took several of the girls with her to find a suitable place, one that wasn't burned down or still burning. Sakura began to panic.

"Naruto, I'm going to die," she whispered frantically. Only he and Naren could hear her.

"No, no you're not," he said gently, tears still pouring slowly down his face. "You're going to be just fine. We're going to get you a nice, comfy bed and something to help numb the pain. I promise. I won't let you die."

Sakura reached up and touched his face. "Don't leave me!" she said. "Stay with me!"

"I'll never leave you," he said, clutching her icy hand. "I'll never leave you again."

"I love you," she said.

"I love you, too," he muttered. He leaned down and kissed her gently on the forehead. "I promise," he whispered in her ear. "I'll stay here with you forever."