Alright folks! The ball is rolling once more on this story. Had a sever case of writers block i finally managed to smash through it in order to bring you this short and sweet little chapter. Enjoy and expect more updates on this story as well as on many of my others.
Shadows, Seals and Snakes Oh My!
Naruto pressed himself up against the wall and tried to slow his breathing in an attempt to remain as silent as possible. His cloak was torn up at the bottom and is left sleeve was singed and the rest of his clothes were tattered up thanks to the multiple times he had crashed to the ground. He had several cuts across his cheek as well, all of them in roughly the same spot. Overall he looked like a mess. And all of this fuss was because he refused to go to Ichiraku's and enjoy an all you can eat buffet courtesy of Anko.
'Crazy lady! Why won't she quit?' Naruto mentally fumed. Not only was he ticked because Anko messed up his clothes but because the snake jounin had interrupted his dinner plans with Ino. Now he was going to have to deal with an irate Ino tomorrow in class.
Hearing the faintest of sounds Naruto froze and held his breath. When he heard the sound again and confirmed it sounded like a hiss the blonde cursed and fell back into the shadows to try and hide again.
A moment after the blonde had vanished a brown snake popped its head around the corner.
"Anko-ssama really hass given uss a tesst in trying to corner thiss blonde. He iss crafty. Ah well the longer he fightss it the worsse it will be on him when Anko-ssama inevitably catchess him." Chuckling at the thought of what all Anko would do once she caught the blonde the snake summon continued its search of the city.
Anko was crouched on a roof waiting for one of her snake summons to summon her to their location. After the first few times of Naruto vanishing using his little shadow trick she had grown tired of chasing him down herself. She currently had over four hundred snakes patrolling the city in search of the blonde and as soon as one of them saw Naruto they would summon her to their location. Then all she had to do was catch him before he could vanish again. Though that was easier said than done. Ever since night had fallen Naruto had become a fucking phantom. Appearing and disappearing at will thanks to the abundance of shadows.
Growling in annoyance Anko fought against the urge to grow impatient. This was the final hour that Ichiraku's was open for the night. After this she would have to wait until tomorrow to take the gaki out. 'Though that doesn't mean I can't just catch the gaki tonight and hold him hostage till tomorrow so I don't have to track him down again.' Grinning in glee at the thought Anko's annoyance vanished. Just in time too as she felt the tug of being summoned. Pulling out her kunai and preparing for the two second window of opportunity she was about to get Anko let the snake summon her and vanished in a puff of smoke as she was pulled through space to the snake's location.
Naruto felt the chakra usage as Anko was summoned and heard the puff of smoke indicating that she had arrived. Cursing he took off through the night. He would have ducked back into the shadows but sadly he was running out of shadows to hide in. Every time he used a shadow to vanish the snake that had been chasing him to that shadow camped out in the shadow waiting for him to return. He had only figured that little tidbit of information out an hour ago when he had tried doubling back through the shadows only to step out to the sight of a grinning Anko. He had narrowly escaped that time, though his coat had taken the brunt of the damage. Hearing a kunai being hurled at him Naruto pulled his sword out of its seal and turned around mid air in order to cut the kunai in half.
"Screw this game of cat and mouse!" Naruto roared as he turned around and prepared to take on the snake jounin.
Rhino let out a sigh of contentment as he looked over his shop. He had closed the shop early tonight so he could a take a hot date out and now that the shop was clean all he had to do was lock up and head out.
"Business was good today, nothing in the shop broke down, and I even got some sake for doing a friend a favor. Not a bad day all in all." Rhino mused to himself as he turned the lights in the back of the shop off and began to walk to the font of the shop, turning off any machines or lights that were still on as he went. He had made it halfway through the main parlor when he heard a familiar cry of, "party!" Acting on instinct he ran through hand seals before slamming his hands to the ground and activating all of the seals he had built into the walls turning the shop into a veritable fort. Standing up and turning around to see the boy who was undoubtedly behind him Rhino couldn't help but be amused by the condition of the kid.
The blonde was missing his right boot while his pants legs had been burnt up to the knees and what remained of the right sleeve of his pants was barely hanging on at the hip. His shirt had scratches covering it and in several places there was traces of blood seeping through. The trench coat was gone all together.
"Well kid, who, or better yet what, did you tick off this time?" Rhino chided playfully as he strolled over to the cooler to snag a bottle of water for Naruto.
"Ugh, accidently stepped on a snake's tail. Turned out the snake had more bite than I had expected."
"Haha so I take it Anko is close to tracking you down?" Rhino asked as he tossed the bottle of water to the blonde.
Naruto snatched the bottle out of the air and glared at the man.
"Yep, sorry kid but I have a date tonight."
Naruto's eyes went wide in panic. His safe house was vanishing.
"I can keep the store in check while you're out! I promise I won't touch anything! I'll even buy you two crates of sake!" Naruto pleaded.
His pleas fell on deaf eyes as Rhino merely shook his head.
"No can do kid. The snake already bought me out. And first come…"
"First serve!" Anko finished as she strolled through the front door of the building. The sadistic grin on her face had lost the playful undertone it usually carried. Probably about the same time Anko had lost her trench coat to one of Naruto's wind jutsu.
Naruto reeled backwards in panic.
"Wha!? How'd you get in?" The blonde demanded in a panic as he back peddled.
"The old fart," Anko started as she jerked her thumb over her should at Rhino who was watching the scene with a look of amusement on his face. "Gave me a bypass seal that allows me to enter the premise."
"Whatever she paid you I'll double it!" Naruto pleaded desperately to which Rhino shook his head.
"She hooked me up with one of her hot friends kid, I doubt you have any single lady friends that could top the Ice Queen of Konoha."
"Hehe, Nee-chan is gonna kill me for setting her up on a blind date, but it was worth it to take our your little trump card. Now, you and I are gonna chat."
"Dream on Hebi-hime!" Naruto shouted as he flung a wad of white paper at Anko.
The jounin scoffed and side stepped the flashbang. Those were only useful if they exploded in front of the target. Otherwise they just cast a large…
"Shi…" Anko cursed as she tried to dart forward in time. Sadly the flashbang exploded directly behind her casting a large thick shadow right over Naruto.
Just like that Naruto vanished.
And just like that she felt one of her summons summoning her as she vanished in a puff of smoke.
Rhino shook his head and rumbled with laughter as he deactivated the seals around the shop.
"Well, now that the nights entertainment is over time to go pick up my date."
Sarutobi grunted and nodded.
"This plan is acceptable. If you can assure me that the target can be lead into the convoy's predetermined path without it appearing planned I will be certain the, correct, individuals will be present for the incident. The only complication is what we do with him once we've extracted the information we need and erase the information we do not."
"Really?" Danzo questioned. "I had figured that would be the most simplistic aspect of this operation. Is Iwa currently not in possession of several of our own? Simply trade the target back for one of our own."
"A prisoner exchange in the middle of peace time?" Sarutobi pondered aloud as he refilled his pipe. "Does that not seem oddly suspicious? It is usually only high value individuals who are exchanged during peace times. The others are abandoned for the sake of maintaining the peace." Having relit his pipe Sarutobi leaned back in his office chair to await his comrade's response.
It still shocked him how quickly the two of them had managed to get back into their old rhythms. They were still glacial towards one another, but that had always been the case.
"Not really." Danzo replied as he closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair. "Though, if you feel it would be too suspicious then it would be easy to simply arrange an accident in prison."
Sarutobi shook his head immediately.
"That is low, old friend. Even for you."
Danzo merely shrugged.
"Perhaps, but that does not mean it is not an option."
Sarutobi opened his mouth to respond when suddenly a blonde haired lad clad in black seemingly dropped out of thin air and fell against the floor and lay there for a brief moment.
"Ahh… Peace and quite." The boy groaned out as he laid sprawled out on the floor.
"Nice to see you too Naruto-kun." Sarutobi said in a bemused tone.
Naruto rolled over and mock saluted the old man.
"Yo. What's up Old Man. You know, sending Anko after me wasn't very nice."
"I take it she would be the cause of your current state of dress." Sarutobi teased as he waved his hand at Naruto to indicate the many burns, tears, and holes in the boy's attire.
"Of course! Who else is not only reckless enough to use lethal force but also relentless enough to run me into the ground?"
"Well, I mean you could just let her take you out to eat."
Naruto snorted in disgust at the idea.
"Yeah. No. I'd rather starve than have her try and apologize cause you forced her to."
"Coming from a street urchin that's big talk." Danzo cut in.
Naruto snapped to his feet and faced the direction the voice had come from even as he summoned his sword.
"The hell!? Who are you? Where did you come from?"
Danzo quirked an eyebrow at the odd boy.
"And I am to answer you why?"
"Because you are a bloody phantom! I can't hear you breathing or your heat beating and I can't detect even the faintest smell from you. Hell, I can't even detect your chakra signature. You literally don't exist by any of my senses."
"You are not even a genin yet you believe your senses are that reliable?"
"They aren't that reliable but I can at least trust them to tell me when someone is in the room."
"Calm down Naruto." Sarutobi chided wearily and shook his head. The two were so like one another, conniving and elusive, yet their differing ages and levels of maturity automatically bred hostility. "This is Danzo Shimura my new advisor." Seeing the scowl on Naruto's face Sarutobi chuckled. "Don't worry. This one won't bother you near as much as the old ones. As for why you can't detect his presence, it probably has to do with his title as the Darkness of Shinobi. This man is one of the greatest stealth agents in the history of Konoha and has mastered the art of Phantom Walking."
"Please," Danzo interrupted in a sarcastically cheery tone. "do spill my story to a nobody kid."
"Hey!" Naruto protested. "I am not a nobody."
"Pardon. Do spill my story to the nobody jinchuuriki."
"Anyways," Sarutobi interrupted trying to diffuse the situation before it became too caustic to extinguish. "would you like to explain to me how you got in here?"
"Huh? Wathca talkin about Old Man? I've always been able to shadow step in here. I just usually use the front door so that I don't spook the ANBU you always keep in…. Huh? Where are they?"
"Where are who?"
"The three ANBU you always have in here with you?"
"Hmm. Seems the boy's senses are in deed reliable." Danzo said trying to prompt another bout of anger from the lad.
Naruto scowled at the old war hawk but said nothing.
"My personal guard has been dismissed for the time being as Danzo and I were holding a private meeting here." Sarutobi answered. "Which again takes me back to the question of how you got in here."
"Again I just shadow stepped in here. You've seen me do it before Old Man."
"I have, but seeing as this room has third tier barrier seals active at the moment you should not being able to enter this room under any circumstance."
"Woah! Third tier? Rhino-sensei has only shown me first and second tier stuff! Can I check out the seals?" Naruto asked excitedly causing Sarutobi to sigh and rub the bridge of his nose in aggravation.
"No you may not 'check out' the highly classified and well guarded seals that secure the most confidential room in the Hokage Building. Now, once again how did you enter this room? If you know what a third tier seal is capable of then you should understand my confusion."
"Oh I have no idea how I got in here. I just did what I normally do and wound up here. I wasn't even fazed by the seals." Naruto paused and withdrew his sword back into its seal as he crossed his arms to contemplate the matter. "But, then again the barrier seals around the village never flare up when I move through them using the shadow step. So maybe seals just can't pick up the shadow step."
"A mode of transportation that negates seals?" Danzo questioned though the intent in his voice made it clear to the two other occupants of the room he was more than just simply interested in the technique.
And Naruto did not appreciate the interest.
"Oh no you don't! This is my own personal family jutsu. No stealing it phantom man."
"Family jutsu? I take it you've documented it as such."
"Not yet but I will as soon as I can get it down on paper!"
"Would be such a shame if that paper were to vanish."
"You can't!" Naruto shouted in horror.
"Actually," Sarutobi cut in. "Naruto, the only way to guarantee your jutsu remains with you would be to not write it down at all. You see, even those jutsu that are marked as family jutsu and written down as such in village archives are privy to those who try hard enough. That is why many of the higher level clan techniques are merely passed down orally rather than through written instruction."
"But, but then it won't be known as my family jutsu."
"Is it more important for the jutsu to be known as something in the archives or something on the battle field?" Danzo queried causing Naruto to pause and think.
Or at least he would have had it not been for the incessant pounding that came from the door a moment later.
"Oi!" Anko's voice called through the door. "I know the brat is in there. I've checked everywhere else he might be hiddin'. Now, cough him up."
Sarutobi sighed and flopped back in his chair.
"Well old friend it looks like our meeting has come to an end for tonight."
"No no!" Naruto pleaded. "Don't kick me out! This is the last safe haven I have in Konoha!"
"While that might be so this meeting is not for your ears. So sadly…" With a mere wave of his hand Sarutobi deactivated the seals around the room.
As fast as the light of the seals had dissipated so had Anko burst into the room.
"Gotcha!" Anko shouted even as Naruto attempted to vanish again only to be pinned down by the snakes that shot out from Anko's sleeve. "Oh no you don't gaki. You're coming with me and that's final."
"Old Man! Save me!" Naruto begged as he fought against the mass of snakes that were hauling him out the door.
Sarutobi merely grinned and waved at the bound boy as he was dragged out the door. As soon as the pair were gone Sarutobi placed a palm on the desk and sent a pulse of chakra through the seals in the room once again putting up the barrier.
"Now, where were we?" The old monkey questioned as he refilled his pipe and lit it.
"I believe we were discussing seal evading techniques."
Shino and Shikamaru mutually quirked their eyebrows at the huffy blonde girl sitting between them as she viciously scribbled and on the pad of paper before her. The two reclusive strategists shared a look before both shrugged. At the start of class she had marched to their bench, whose third member was usually Choji, and ordered the two move so she could sit there. Seeing as neither of the two had desired to instigate a dispute with the strong willed woman both had obliged without question.
When the now seatless Choji had arrived he had taken one look at Ino before simply moving to Ino's old spot at the back of the class.
Had this been done before the drastic changes in the academy had taken place the class would have been abuzz with gossip about the change in seating. However, due to many of the gossips having been weeded out by the recent changes the class took little to no notice of the difference. Since it had finally reached the mid point of the month many who had been slacking off recently were now discussing with one another how they planned to obtain their items.
Atsuo and Naruto walked into class at roughly the same time laughing and joking with one another about some mysterious matter. Once in the room Naruto gave Atsuo a salute before leaping over the class to land in his seat.
"Morning." Naruto greeted as he waved at the lad beside him who smelt of ashen earth and a wide array of spices ranging from basil and sage to garlic and coriander. "Names Naruto."
Choji chuckled and nodded.
"I know. You're hard to miss. My names Choji." Choji said as he withdrew his hand from his bag of chips long enough to shake Naruto's hand. "So what do you think today's class is gonna be like? Another short QnA?"
"Mmmm, possible. Though since we're half way through the month he might try and do something to motivate the class some…." Naruto's sentence was cut off midway as a horrendous screeching sound tore through the classroom bringing all conversation to a halt.
The sound was courtesy of Atsuo who was slowly and meticulously dragged his nails down the chalkboard eliciting a cacophony of tissue rending notes of pure agony. With a final jerk of his hand Atsuo brought his hand up to examine his nails.
"Now that I've got your attention how about we take a look at the chalkboard. Since some of you have made some progress I would like to congratulate you publicly and shall do so by marking off the names of those who have managed to get their stuff back. And" Atsuo teased as he picked up the chalk once more. "I'll even do it in the order of who got it first."
To everyone's immense shock the first name scratched off the board was Sakura Haruno.
"Wha!?" Several students shouted out in unison. Even Sasuke, the ever stoic Uchiha, seemed perturbed by the change of events.
"How in the hell did she do that?" Ami demanded.
Instead of answering Atuse merely grinned and wagged a finger at the girl.
"Ah, ah. Secrets such as that cost sweetie. There are no free questions in the world of shinobi. If you've got the clout to order the answers then you need not worry, but until then you better learn to steal, bribe, and borrow any and all info. Cause I can guarantee you it won't be coming to you for free. Now, if you're done I shall move onto the next name."
Ino Yamanaka was the next name to be marked off.
Again the room exploded into cries of shock and demands to know how it had been done.
In answer Atsuo merely pulled out two more marble sized balls.
The class's reaction was immediate as they all ducked behind their desk or each other.
Grinning Atsuo tucked the two balls back into his pocket.
"I really got to hand it to you for showing me the paint bomb trick by the way Naruto. And I shall because you are the next one to be crossed off." Sure enough Atsuo moved to the board and crossed off Naruto's name.
However, instead of moving onto a fourth name Atsuo merely set the chalk down.
"Wait wait that's it?" Yuki questioned as he turned and looked at his two buddies. "You bastards lied and said you had yours already!"
As Yuki and his hopefully still friends went at it Atsuo continued to speak.
"Yes. This is everyone who has managed to successfully get their stuff back. However, since you seem so hung up about it I'll but a dash by those who have at least attempted to get their stuff back."
Sasuke Uchiha, Kiba Inuzuka, Choji Akimichi, Yuki Onodera, Sanji Yami. These were the only names with a dash beside them.
"Now," Atsuo began as he set the chalk down once more. "if your name ain't crossed out or it doesn't have a dash by it you'd better get your acts together cause if you fail this month your asses are mine for another two months."
Eyes widened across the room.
"That's right squirts." Atsuo continued as he saw several across the room suddenly start to pay more attention than they had in the last two weeks combined. "If you fail any of these monthly sessions you get held back two months. The first will be intensive study and practice sessions everyday of the week from six in the morning to six at night for a month. The second month will be giving you a second try at passing the very test you are taking right now. So either get your asses in gear now, or get used to seeing me. Now, are there any questions?"
Hands went up across the room.
Ino huffed as she finally made it out of the school and began to march down the street to her house. Even after Atsuo had answered all the class's questions they had all flocked to her and Sakura to ask them for advice. They would have gone to Naruto as well but the blonde had vanished as soon as class had been dismissed.
And that annoyed her almost as much as the class pestering her with questions for the past hour. Almost. The fact at least a dozen students had all asked the same question made it far more annoying. But still it got under her skin that the blonde had seemingly ignored her. She was supposed to be ignoring him. She had left a note on her door last night telling him she was gonna skip practice this morning. She hadn't sat next to him. Hell, she hadn't even so much as looked at the guy and he didn't even seem fazed by it. Next time she talked to that baka, after she decided he had suffered long enough, she was gonna…
"Hey Ino-chan!" Naruto cheered from right beside her. As in not a hair's breadth away beside her.
With a shriek the girl leapt away.
"The hell did you come from?"
"Huh?" Naruto responded as he cocked his head to the side. "I've been walking beside you for the past three or four blocks."
"Mmhmm. You must have really be focused on something to not notice me. That or your natural blondeness was shining through again."
"Again!? Listen here whiskers…"
"So you wanna get lunch?" Naruto asked cutting her off.
Ino fumbled for words. She was trying to be angry at the boy for something or other. Not being taken out to eat.
"No I don't! what I want is…"
"Too bad cause Hebi-hime promised to give me an all you can eat offer at any restaurant in town."
"You weren't even gonna pay for the date? What sort of…"
"Who said it was a date?" Naruto questioned. This time he actually stopped walking and turned to face Ino. Curiosity and confusion were written clear across his face.
The color drained from Ino's face for a moment before it rushed back ten fold turning her cheeks a crimson red.
"Uh, I mean. Uh, since you were asking me out to lunch I figured it would be considered a date but…" Ino trailed off as Naruto's laughter penetrated the panic of her mind.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry." Naruto panted out between bouts of laughter. "It was too good an opportunity to pass up." Sucking in a breath and standing up straight Naruto shook his head. "My bad. But seriously you wanna snag a…"
"You bastard!" Ino screamed as she delivered a brutal kick to Naruto's chest sending the blonde sprawling.
Even as he hit the ground and rubbed his chest Naruto continued to laugh.
"Stop laughing!" Ino shouted as she went to stand over the blonde and kick him while he was down. Only, the moment she stood over him he vanished from sight.
"Alright, alright no more laughing." Naruto called out as he walked out of the shadow of a nearby building with his hands held up in surrender. "Truce."
"No!" Ino huffed before marching down the street.
"No? But you hit me! That makes us even."
"No. I hit you cause you were being a grade a ass. For that we are even. But I'm still ticked at you."
"Wha!? What for?"
Instead of answering the boy Ino simply took to the rooftops in hopes of ditching the boy. Sadly he was far more tenacious than most.
"Hey hey get back here!" Naruto shouted as he too took to the rooftops.
"No! Go away!" Ino shouted back before picking up the pace.
Naruto growled and did the exact same.
Soon the two were off on a merry chase through the village. At first they stuck strictly to rooftops in a competition of agility. However, before long all manner of mischief came into the mix. Dashing through shops. Using changing rooms to try and slip away. Smoke bombs. Flash bangs. Any genjutsu known. Finally Naruto cheated and used the shadow of a building to step out of Ino's own shadow and tag her on the shoulder.
"Tag!" Naruto shouted before taking off.
Ino blinked. Blinked again. And then couldn't help but chuckle and shake her head. He thought it was a game? Judging by the fact he was standing on a water tower a building or two over and shaking his rear at her he obviously did. Though, after running around for the past two hours non stop she was rather winded. No way she could keep this up for another hour or two. Unless…
Reaching down to her feet Ino quickly tapped the seals on the bottom of her shoes to release the chakra stored within. The rush that came with the chakra being released into her system forced an involuntary yelp of surprise from Ino's lips. This was what Naruto ran on? Screw an adrenaline rush. This was the good stuff!
Laughing uncontrollably for a moment Ino forced her mind to think through the haze of energy that now flooded her system. What had she been doing? She had needed energy. Energy to chase someone. Her eyes scanned the immediate area, which seemed so vibrant now that her entire system was filled with a new foreign energy, and settled on the brightest shade of yellow in the vicinity. Striking blonde hair belonging to one impatient looking boy. Impatient? Well let's not keep em waiting!
With a burst of speed Ino launched off the roof and straight at Naruto who gave a shout of surprise at the sudden movement.
"Hey hey! Now we're cooking!" Naruto shouted before he took off into town.
"Get back here whiskers!" Ino shouted even as she grinned like a loon and took off like an arrow after the boy.
Kiba growled in frustration. He had nearly gotten the collars back last time. A combo between him and Akamaru had almost successfully snatched the collars off the man's wrist. Sadly Kiba had been too slow and before he could try again the ANBU had stepped in. Now, Atsuo had moved the collars to his waist and was wearing them as if they were a single combined belt. Not to mention he had clearly marked who had their stuff and who didn't so it would only be a matter of time before ol' fox boy came to see if he needed any help. And no way no how was he gonna let blondie think he needed help. Just meant he needed to be faster and more precise this time. Using a smoke bomb would probably help too. Ah well he could stew over it later. For now he needed to… What the heck was that sound?
Turning his attention away from Atsuo and looking around at the other roof tops he sniffed the air several times. Scowling he shook his head.
"Figures those two would be prancing about the village causing a ruckus. They already did their work for the month." Kiba muttered before turning his attention back to Atsuo. At least, he would have had Naruto not leapt out of his shadow.
"Hey dog breath! Thanks for the stable shadow."
"Wha…" Kiba began to question only to be interrupted by Ino as she bounded into sight two rooftops over.
"Whiskers! I said no shadow stepping!"
"Hehe, see ya dog breath. Gotta run!" With that Naruto took off again.
Kiba rolled his eyes at the two and once again tried to focus only for Ino to tap him on the head a moment later.
"Tag! You're it!" The grinning blonde called out even as she kept running.
Kiba blinked. Blinked again and went to look at Akamaru for answers only to find the dog missing. A bark from behind him revealed that Akamaru was running away from him with Ino.
"Traitor!" Kiba hollered as he took chase. Screw getting the collars back. He would not stand to be ditched by his own dog. Or to lose a game of tag for that matter. What could one day of play hurt?
Anko impatiently tapped her foot as she stood outside the Ichiraku restaurant. She had only agreed to let Naruto go to class yesterday in exchange for him promising to meet her for lunch.
The sun had set an hour ago.
"I swear when I see that gaki I'm gonna skin him, filet him, sautee him, cook him into a big pot of ramen, and then feed him to my snakes."
"Now, now Anko-san," Ayame called out from behind the bar as she served another customer a bowl of soup. "I'm sure Naruto-kun has a perfectly good reason for not showing up for lunch. Besides he's bound to show up soon. He can't be away from the stand for more than two days."
"And why's that? He addicted or something?"
"Oh no, he just never buys enough groceries to stay away that long."
Anko laughed at the absurd reasoning and turned to sit back down at the stand when she heard an explosion and a shriek of fury. Poking her head back out of the stand she saw Naruto and the Inuzuka kid sprinting down the street with massive grins on their face. Behind them an orange colored Ino was chasing them with a righteous fury blazing in her eyes.
"Get back here you bastards!" Ino hollered.
"You know … she's gonna … kill us right?" Kiba panted out as he fought to speak and run at the same time. This non-stop game of tag was taking it out of him. How Ino and Naruto could keep going he had no idea. The sound of chuckling coming from his left pulled his mind from his thoughts.
"Na." Naruto panted out. "Just you."
"Yeah. I don't have to out run her. I just gotta out run you." Naruto said as a foxy grin spread across his face.
Before Kiba could figure out what the blonde was talking about Naruto threw a bundle of ninja at wire at Kiba's feet.
"You son of a…" Was all Kiba could get out before his face impacted the dirt.
Anko laughed at the underhanded play. She laughed even harder as Ino sprinted right past the fallen boy without a second glance.
Naruto, who had thought the chase over came to a halt right along side Anko.
"Evening Hebi-hime. I hope you don't mind if I brought… Oof!" Naruto cried out as Ino tackled him to the ground.
"Eh-he. No hard feelings right Ino-chan?"
Ino narrowed her eyes and was about to throttle the lad beneath her when a wolf whistle caught her attention.
"Hey hey, either get a room or got off each other." A passerby called causing Ino and Naruto both to flush crimson and scramble back to their feet.
"My my gaki. Didn't know you managed to bag and tag a little lady already. Must be the new threads."
"My old clothes were perfectly fine!"
"For being a traffic cone perhaps. So I take it you are extending my generous offer to these two as well?"
"Yep! In exchange I won't totally clean out your wallet."
"Gee thanks, cause I mean I don't really need to pay rent or anything."
"Well I mean you could always go stay with…" Naruto cut his sentence short as a kunai appeared under his jaw pressing upwards just hard enough to draw blood.
"Finish it and die gaki." Anko threatened before retracting the blade. "Now are you going to continue being rude or are you going to introduce me to your guests?"
"Oh! My bad. Hebi-hime meet the lovely Ino Yamanaka." Naruto said as he motioned to the blonde at his side. "And Ino you already know Hebi-hime here as Anko, a.k.a the crazy snake lady of Konoha. My other friend is…"
"Die!" Kiba shouted as he slugged Naruto straight in the jaw and sent the blonde to the ground. "'Just gotta out run you' my ass! That is the last time I ever team up with you." With a final snort Kiba faced Anko. "Names Kiba Inuzuka and I already know you from class."
Anko gave a bark of laughter and looked down at Naruto who was groaning and getting back to his feet. "Gaki, I like your friends."
"Uh-huh, I like em too when they aren't trying to kill me."
Naruto sauntered into class and immediately froze as a horrible tingle ran down his spine. There was a disturbance in the force and he had no idea what it might be.
"Oi, fox!" Kiba called out from his spot on the front row. "Sit next to me."
"Naruto sits next to me dog boy!" Ino shouted.
Naruto chuckled nervously and shrugged before leaping back to his seat in the back. Only instead of being greeted only by Ino's scent of rain and flowers a second scent of cherry blossoms and ink greeted him as well. He was also greeted by a tension in the air so thick that even blindfolded he picked up on. Now he knew why Kiba had tried to catch his attention. He didn't know what the issue was, but he had no desire to get in the middle of it. Trying not to instigate himself he relegated himself to silently waiting to find out who would be crossed out this time.
Last week a large portion of the class had managed to snag their items back from Atsuo. All the clan heirs had succeeded and at least half the other kids had managed to do so as well. Seems they had the skill but were just poorly motivated. Which he could see for Shikamaru, but the others he didn't quite understand. Ah well.
"So, Naruto how did you manage to get your items back from Atsuo-sensei?" The girl of cherry blossoms and ink asked from Naruto's left. Sakura he thought her name was. She had been the first to get her stuff back hadn't she?
"Meh, I used Kiba as a distraction and then quickly took it back. Pretty lame. What I wanna know is how did you do it. You were the first one to get your stuff back. What did you do?"
The girl giggled, and again Naruto couldn't help but to think how he liked that sound.
"Well, actually, that is better than what I did."
"Huh? Watcha mean?"
Whatever else she had said Naruto missed as something ghosted over his senses and tuned out whatever she had said. Turning and looking back at the door Naruto shook his head in confusion. He was seeing double. The door seemed to open twice, only the first time seemed to be fake. Whatever it was didn't matter near as much as the man who walked through the door. He was a tall and frighteningly pale man with jet black slicked hair and eerily shimmering golden yellow eyes that were slitted. The man wore an odd outfit that consisted of white loose fitting shirt with a long sleeved black shirt beneath it and a pair of grey pants. The oddest part of his attire was the purple rope he wore around his waist.
The man grinned at the class and everyone shivered in their seats even as Akamaru whined and buried himself in Kiba's jacket.
"Greetings. I will be your new instructor from now on. I will address you by your last name and you will answer the first time I call on you or there will be… consequences. Understood?"
Every head in the classroom nodded at once. No one, not Naruto or Kiba and not the rich kids dared cross this strange man that made it hard to breath let alone think.
"Good." The man seemed to purr. "And you shall refer to me as nothing but Orochimaru-sama."