Hey guys Vsizzel back with another chapter!
Thanks for the reviews/suggestions/ideas appreciate it. Anyways I just got a beta reader, so my horrible grammar is now for the most part fix! My beta reader is ncpfan, he's a great writer you should read his stories there good.
Also the next chapter as I am busy with school, and finals are coming soon.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, or anything that related to other anime/mangas.
3 day after Tazuna left.
Naruto was currently walking through the streets of Wave, hoping to find a direct lead to Gato. It was just after three in the morning, and the streets were completely empty. Naruto hadn't slept at all that night. After the receptionist at that one inn told him that Gato's men always left before dawn, and after receiving the tip from the mysterious old man that they always seemed to meet as a group somewhere in the early morning hours, Naruto tried to catch one or two of Gato's goons, but he was always too late. Out of options, he decided to stay awake and stake the inn out, hoping to catch sight of Gato's thugs as they came out.
As he reached the inn, Naruto chose a crate in the alleyway to the side of the building as his stakeout spot. He would just have to wait for Gato's men to come out. Stakeouts were probably the most boring task that a shinobi could perform; even guard duty was preferable, as that was usually done with two or more, so at least you could talk to someone while you were performing your duty. Stakeouts were best done solo, and even if someone was staking the area of recon out with you, you had to remain quiet so that you could remain undetected. Feeling himself beginning to nod off, he made a Kage Bunshin to keep watch from the alley while he quietly jumped up to the roof of the inn to catch a short nap.
It was still dark out when the clone released itself, giving what it learned to Naruto. The clone had heard the sounds of early rising activity from several people within the inn. Naruto realized that this was probably from Gato's thugs waking up and getting ready for their little "meeting". He shook off his drowsiness, crept over to the side of the roof, and looked down, taking care to stay just out of sight just in case one of Gato's men chanced a look upward. He noticed four burly, rough-looking men strutting out the front door of the inn like they owned the place. No doubt about it: these were the men he was looking for.
'Well, I sure am glad I didn't sleep the entire night. As much as I hate stakeouts, if I hadn't done this, I never would have caught sight of these guys…' Naruto thought to himself in gratitude and relief, both that the stakeout was over and that he finally had a lead to Gato. His stakeout successful, it was now time to tail them and see where they led him.
Forest 3 miles from village.
Naruto followed the group he was tailing for what he estimated to be an hour or so, if the light from the coming dawn was any indicator. He didn't even have to take to the trees; all he did was walk a good-enough distance away from them to keep out of their sight or hearing, yet close enough so that his own trained senses could easily pinpoint them. It wasn't hard as they didn't really check their surroundings. He guessed that they probably didn't see a reason to do so, as the village had been sufficiently cowed in the time they had occupied it to keep anyone from trying anything brave.
After seeing that they had stopped, Naruto slowed his movement, keeping quiet while finding a hiding spot up in a tree, about eighty feet above them. Sending a little chakra to his eyes and ears to enhance his sight and hearing, he looked down and concentrated on the sounds coming from the clearing. A group of fifteen men, including the four that Naruto had tailed here, were all in a circle, surrounding several women, all tied up on the ground and gagged, whimpering and crying in fear as the men surrounding them taunted and harassed them, laughing sadistically all the while. Knowing that the best option for now was to stay out of sight, Naruto continued watching and listening, gathering intel while waiting for his chance to strike and help those women.
"Whine all you want, bitches! No one is coming to save you. You're lucky that the boss ordered us to bring you to him…unspoiled…" said one of the men with an evil smirk.
The way the man said 'unspoiled' told Naruto that these men would likely have raped them all given half the chance. He began to get very angry, but held himself in check, knowing that jumping in now and killing them all would be counter-productive; he might save these women, but he'd be no closer to knowing where Gato was holed up, and more men would be sent to collect these women anyway, probably while killing some villagers just to make sure nobody tried anything like that again. He continued to listen in and watch. Another group of five men showed up a few minutes later with a horse-drawn cage wagon.
"Right on time," said the man who had spoken earlier.
"Not a bad batch this week, huh, Botan?" asked the leader of the other group.
'This week? So they collect women on a weekly basis…then why meet daily?' Naruto pondered to himself, while continuing to observe.
"That's right, Taro; Gato-sama will be a happy man this week!" said the now-identified Botan, again with that evil smirk as he turned to his men and ordered, "All right, boys! Load 'em up!"
The others followed his order and began dragging each of the now-hysterical women to their feet and towards the cage wagon as one of Taro's men opened to cage gate. Seeing the way that these men were handling the women, fondling them forcefully while dragging them to that cage caused Naruto's anger to swell into rage. Decided that enough was enough, he jumped down from his position and landed in the clearing between the wagon and the group dragging the women, blocking their path.
"Wait, what? I thought you weren't followed!" Taro shouted in anger and surprise.
"We weren't!" Botan shouted, just as surprised as Taro was.
"Ghrryaa…Whatever! Just kill him!" Taro shouted in frustration. They released their hold on their captives, shoving them to the ground, and all twenty of them readied their blades, mostly knives and daggers, though Taro and Botan had chokutos, and charged at Naruto. Naruto smirked and jumped as one of them swiped at him, causing him to stumble and fall to the ground as he lost his balance. Naruto took the opportunity and landed on the man's back with his hand, pinning him there. The other men were still charging at him.
Naruto overlapped his hands in a counterclockwise fashion, which made his body start spinning. He spread his legs in a perfect 180-degree split and started making his body spin with his hands, kicking all the men that were charging at him with his spinning kick. Naruto then pushed himself off the man he was on to do a flip, kicking that man on the side of his head in the process knocking him unconscious.
Naruto landed on his feet, and looked behind him. Five of them were down, including the man he had just gotten off of.
"Argggg!" one of them yelled, charging at Naruto with his dagger, "Take this, ya little bastard!"
He slashed at Naruto sloppily, with Naruto easily dodging the attack just by moving his upper body. The man continued slashing, only to have Naruto easily dodge and sidestep the attacks with minimal effort and a smirk of amusement, enraging the man and causing his slashes to become even sloppier. Naruto noticed three more coming from behind the man attacking him. He quickly ducked a slash that was aimed at his head and in the same motion, Naruto swept the man's legs out from under him with such speed that the man seemed to float in the air for a few brief moments. Quickly, before the man could even touch ground, Naruto kicked the man into the other three charging at him. The man flew into the three really hard, sending them flying towards a rather thick tree. They hit the tree with enough force to create indentations in its trunk before they all crumpled to the ground, unconscious and twitching.
Naruto looked out the corners of both eyes as his tou-san had taught him when fighting multiple attackers, and noticed that a man was charging him from the left, while another was charging him from the right, hoping to cach him in a pincer-style attack. Noticing also that both men were aiming to attack his upper body, Naruto ducked to dodge their blows. He then crouched and tensed his legs before pushing himself upwards while sending the palms of each hand into the jaw of each attacker, sending them upwards into the air. Naruto then jumped up and kick both of them simultaneously to four others in mid-charge, taking down six in total.
Naruto looked at the remaining five. They were a distance away and were cautiously looking at Naruto.
"Come on, let's kill this punk! He can't take us all at once!" yelled Botan, despite what he had just seen. Before they could even move, however, Naruto was in front of them so fast that they could have sworn he teleported to them. The sudden movement shocked them. Before they could even ponder what had just happened, Naruto punched and kicked them in the stomach knocking them out.
"Well that takes care of tha-" Naruto didn't finish as he was slashed at the face. Naruto easily dodged the attack making it slash his cheek and making it bleed. Naruto turned to face the last man, seeing that it was Taro. Naruto briefly cursed himself for being so careless and miscounting, guessing that the man hid from his presence to attack him when he didn't notice.
Naruto and Taro faced off in front of each other, both of them standing only a few feet apart. As Naruto sized up his single remaining adversary, a thought occurred to him, 'Maybe I can get some more intel out of this one.'
Taro made the first move to try and slash Naruto again, but Naruto instantly vanished and reappeared a few yards away from the man. In the next instant, Naruto vanished and reappeared again in front of Taro, quickly kneeing him in the stomach and making him drop his sword. Naruto then grabbed his arm, pulled it behind his back and twisted, causing his shoulder to strain just to stay in place. "Now tell me where Gato is," demanded Naruto, locking Taro's arm behind him with the one hand while holding a kunai against his neck with the other.
"I don't know," replied Taro, trying to get free as his captor's grip on his arm tightened, threatening to tear his shoulder from his socket.
"Don't lie to me! Tell me where he is!" Naruto demanded again, bringing the kunai closer to Taro's neck, opening a small cut and making blood drip down.
Taro, now frightened for his life, and grunting through the pain in his shoulder, responded, "I'm not lying. I really don't know! My job is to just to bring the captives to someone else, who just takes them off my hands and I go on my way. I don't know who it'll be, because it's a different guy from week to week, but I would guess that whoever I give them to takes the girls to Gato from there. They always contact me with details of where to meet, and it's never the same place twice. I'm due to get a message from someone, tomorrow, but if they see something wrong, they automatically turn around and tell Gato so you can't wait and attack them."
Naruto gritted his teeth, then punched the man in the stomach, knocking him out.
'Once again, nothing…' thought Naruto angrily, cursing himself once more, this time for losing his cool and not letting the situation play itself out before he stepped in. He turned to look at the women whom he had freed.
'Well, it wasn't a total loss. At least I saved them," he thought, in an effort to lift his own spirits despite his impetuous actions. As he walked over to the group of captive women, they all tried to move away from him.
"Please…don't be afraid. I'm not here to hurt any of you," said Naruto softly and calmly, a reassuring smile crossing his features while he made slow, deliberate movements so as not to frighten them any more than they already were. Upon seeing his smile, and the compassion in his eyes that was absent in the eyes of their captors, they all relaxed. Some of them blushed when they took in Naruto's appearance. When he reached them, he slowly and carefully removed their gags and untied their bindings. Each woman thanked him profusely upon being untied, all hugging him, some of them kissing him in gratitude. Naruto just took it in stride, grinning and chuckling sheepishly at their overtures.
After he had released them all, he helped them to their feet. After making sure that they were all unharmed, he offered, "Let's get all of you back home, huh? I'll walk you back to make sure you don't get captured again."
The women all nodded in acceptance, this time not a single one without a blush and a dreamy smile at their handsome savior. One of the girls, seeing the gash on Naruto's face, searched the unconscious bandits to see if any of them by chance had a first aid kit. One of them did, and she was able to clean Naruto's gash and disinfect it before patching it up with some gauze and medical tape.
Once she had finished with Naruto's cut, Naruto walked back towards the village with all of them at a leisurely pace. None of those girls could have imagined that getting captured by Gato's goons could have had such a pleasant ending for them.
3 Hours Later
It was noon by the time Naruto had finished bringing the girls back to their families, taking each of them home one at a time, and never leaving their side until the very last one was safe and sound. He had returned nine of the women to their families, and the only one still in his care was a young, yet mature beauty with long black hair, porcelain skin and slate-gray eyes. Naruto guessed her age to be within her late twenties to early thirties; he certainly wasn't about to ask. Her clothes were ragged and dirty, probably from being held as a captive.
"Excuse me ma'am, but where do you live?" asked Naruto. At this question, the woman lost her smile and became downcast.
"It wouldn't matter anyways. I think they killed my husband, and my daughter was probably taken away," she replied, with tears in her eyes. Naruto tried his best to comfort her, bringing her into an embrace and allowing her to cry herself out. As he was doing this, he thought about what she just told him, and about the scene that met him upon his initial arrival to this village.
"By any chance…would Akane happen to be your daughter's name?" asked Naruto. The lady's eyes widened as she brought her tear-stained face out of Naruto's chest to look at Naruto with a hopeful expression.
"Yes she is…but how do you know her?" she asked, the desperation apparent in her voice.
"Actually, I came here about two days ago and saw your husband. I'm afraid I arrived too late to save him, but he told me about you and Gato before he passed. I then saw Akane and brought her with me, since I couldn't leave her alone. We made sure to give your husband the dignity of a proper burial," replied Naruto. After hearing this, the lady was overjoyed that her daughter was alive, and safe.
"Can you tell me where Akane is right now?"
"Sure, she is staying in Tazuna's inn."
"The bridge builder Tazuna?"
"Yup! His daughter Tsunami is taking care of her. I am also staying there until I find Gato."
"Thank you uhm…" the lady forgot to ask for his name before they talk.
"Naruto. My name is Naruto." Said Naruto.
"Thank you Naruto-san…for everything! My name is Hitomi Sato; please forgive me for not introducing myself to you sooner. I don't think I could ever repay the kindness you've shown me and my family."
"Please, think nothing more of it. I'm just glad you are safe," replied Naruto.
"Uhmm…Naruto-san…erm…you've done so much for me, already, but…could you do me one last favor?"
"Sure, what is it?"
"Can you show me my husband grave, please?"
Naruto smiled warmly, "Sure, I can. I'd be happy to."
Naruto then took Hitomi to her husband's grave, which was by their house.
When they arrived, Hitomi stepped forward to get a closer look at the gravesite. It was a simple burial, with a flower on top of where the body was buried. At the top was a thick log cut in half with an epitaph carved into it:
A courageous man.
A awesome daddy.'
Hitomi was moved beyond description at the simple, yet profound summary of her husband's life. She could only assume that Naruto carved his name and the first line, but she could tell that her daughter wrote the third line because of the crudeness with which the words were carved, causing her to laugh. As she stood there, she couldn't help but smile at yet another kindness shown by this man who had just freed her from captivity before she started to tear up and cry, now overwhelmed at the events that had happened within the past two days.
Naruto simply held her once more as she cried herself out once again. Once she had calmed down, Naruto offered, "I'll give you a little space. Take all the time you need, OK?"
She smiled at Naruto, kissing him on his cheek softly, "Thank you."
Naruto smiled and nodded, walking into the house to wait.
After Hitomi had finished paying her respects and saying goodbye, she went into her house. Naruto saw her walk past him into the kitchen, and then saw her walking back out with a knife in hand. Following her out of the house, he saw her kneeling down in front of the grave, the knife still in her hand. Thinking the worst, Naruto began to run to her to stop her. He stopped in his tracks when he noticed Hitomi carving out something in the wood with the knife. When she finished she walked back into the house to put the knife away.
Naruto walked over to the wood and read what she carved, 'Loving Husband.' He smiled at the addition, and then at the woman who carved it. One minute later, the two of them walked away smiling, Hitomi still red-eyed and puffy-faced from weeping.
"What do you say we go find my daughter, Naruto-san?" asked Hitomi. Naruto nodded and led the way to Tazuna's house.
One Hour later
Naruto and Hitomi reached Tazuna's house. Naruto opened the door and saw Akane, Tsunami and Inari eating lunch. They turned to see who opened the door and was surprised to see Naruto. Akane launched herself out of her chair and ran towards him.
"Naruto-nii!" yelled Akane happily while running to him, giving him a big hug. Naruto swept her up in it and squeezed her to himself, much to her delight and laughter. He then set her down and looked her dead in the eye, a knowing smile gracing his features.
"Hey, Akane. Guess who I brought with me…" said Naruto. Akane tilted her head and looked at him.
"Who?" she asked. Naruto chuckled and move to the side so she could she Hitomi. Akane saw who it is.
"Kaa-chan?" she said to herself in shock. Hitomi heard it and nodded, spreading her arms wide open to hug Akane. Akane quickly ran to her and embraced her.
"You're OK, you're OK! I missed you so much, kaa-chan," cried Akane, sobbing into Hitomi, Hitomi herself also crying, both happy to be reunited again.
"I missed you too, my Akane-chan," replied Hitomi, hugging her only child. Naruto walked over to the group, happy to see the reunited family. Inari and Tsunami were also happy for Akane, and Hitomi, though Tsunami turned her gaze to Naruto.
"Where were you, Naruto-san?" she asked dangerously. Naruto backed away upon hearing the tone in her voice.
"Uhmm… I woke up early in the morning so I could find Gato's men, and get information. I ended up finding Hitomi and several other women who were being held captive," replied Naruto nervously, hands up in a defensive posture.
"I see… how did you get the wound on your face then?" her voice getting scarier.
"I had to fight twenty of Gato's men… one slash me on the face with his sword." Inari's eyes widen when he heard this.
"Wow that's so cool Naruto-san!" said Inari loudly.
Tsunami sighed, "Well, I didn't see you this morning, so I began to worry. I'm glad you're OK. You should be more careful next time, Naruto-san."
"I'll try, Tsunami-san…" Tsunami went to bring out two more plates, for Naruto and Hitomi. Hitomi, Akane and Naruto sat at the table and ate lunch.
"Gato-sama, we were ambushed by someone. He beat the living crap out of all of us…by himself. After that, he freed the women, and they all escaped," Taro explained to his employer.
Gato was enraged when he heard this. He did not take kindly to people messing with his business. He wanted whoever did this gone; it was already bad enough with that bridge builder trying to undermine his efforts to build his wealth through his trade monopoly, but now someone came to disrupt more of his activities? He could not allow that.
"I want you to give me a description of this man," replied Gato, making no effort to hide his fury.
Taro answered, "He had light blue spiky hair, pretty tall, wore a gray trench coat, which I personally think looks awesome. Oh he also had these pair of awesome shades that somehow made his face unrecognizable. He also looked like he was in his teens."
Gato got even madder, hearing that his men lost to some teenager, adding insult to injury. Gato, having the information he needed, looked at the group of failures. "Begone! I expect no failures from here on out!" he said angrily. The group stiffened and bowed to him.
"Hai Gato-sama!" they said all together while rushing out of the room as fast as they could.
"Zabuza," said Gato. In an instant a man appear in front of Gato, in a swirl of water. This man was a tall muscular man, with pale skin. Short, spiky brown hair crowned his head. He wore bandages around the lower half of his face in a half-mask style. He had a Kiri headband on the side of this head. He wore a black long-sleeved shirt, and black cargo-style pants. Strapped to his back was a giant zanbatou, at the top of which was a large hole. This was the legendary Kubikiribōchō. This man was Zabuza Momochi, the Demon of the Hidden Mist, missing-nin from Kirigakure, and formerly, one of the Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist.
"What is it?" asked Zabuza annoyingly. Gato gave him a quick glare, but stopped when he felt Zabuza's killing intent.
"I want you to find a boy who has become a thorn in my side, and I want you to kill him. He's been interfering with my business. I'll triple your pay if you kill him, and that bridge builder Tazuna," said Gato, who proceeded to give Zabuza the description of the boy as was given to him by his other men. Zabuza heard this and smiled behind his bandaged lower face.
"Understood…have my money ready," he replied and disappeared in a swirl of water.
Zabuza appeared in his hideout. Inside were three of his followers: the Demon brothers Gozu and Meizu, and his faithful follower Haku.
"Zabuza-sama what happen?" asked Haku. Zabuza smiled.
"We have an additional target to eliminate. Gato will triple the pay if we kill him and the bridge builder," replied Zabuza, grinning madly, "I think Tazuna is coming back in three days. Let's give him a welcome back gift then."
3 days later
Three days had passed since Naruto had rescued the girls. Each subsequent morning, Naruto woke up at four to attack Gato's men and save any captives, now that he knew roughly what time they met each other. Naruto was just coming back from destroying another group of Gato's men and saving more captives. As rumors spread of "the Savior of Wave", the village became more and more lively.
Naruto walked into Tazuna's house and was greeted by people eating lunch. Sitting at the table were Inari, Tsunami, Akane, and Hitomi. Hitomi wanted to stay; she said that she wanted her daughter to be safe until everything was over. She also said she could help with cooking and cleaning. Tsunami gladly accepted her, and within three days, they became really good friends.
"Ahh Naruto-san, welcome back. Here, have some lunch," said Tsunami, getting out a plate for him. Naruto sat down and took of his shades. For some reason he couldn't seem to fathom, his shades made him unrecognizable to others, much the same way an ANBU mask would.
"Thank you, Tsunami-san" he replied and quickly ate.
"Tou-san should be back sometime today. I got a letter saying that he will be back today around dinnertime," she said. Naruto swallowed his food and looked at her.
"Really? That's great! I think I'll visit him. I wonder who'll be with him…" said Naruto. He quickly ate his food and left the house.
Outside of Nami no Kuni
Tazuna and Team 7 were currently walking to Nami no Kuni. The sky was clear and sunny, a perfect day one would say. While walking Sakura was giving looks to Sasuke, while Sasuke gave looks to Narumi. Narumi was currently talking with Tazuna and Kakashi reading the infamous orange book.
"We should be there by sundown," said Tazuna. Team 7 nodded and continued walking. On the pathway they noticed a medium size puddle. They weren't idiots; even Sakura knew not to go near that puddle knowing it would trigger a trip. They all walked past the puddle cautiously. When they were a yard or two away, two people came from the water. Both were wearing gas masks and Kiri headbands. Kakashi recognized them as the demon brothers: Gozu and Meizu.
They both instantly charged at the nearest target, which happened to be Narumi. Narumi noticed them and was about to take out her Katana, but Sasuke beat her to it. Sasuke jumped into the air and sent Gozu a spinning roundhouse kick in the face, sending him flying backwards. Meizu tried attacking Sasuke with his gauntlet-hand, but Sasuke dodged it and kneed Meizu in the stomach, knocking him out. Both the demon brothers laid on the ground unconscious. Sasuke, looking at his work, smirked arrogantly before turning his attention to Narumi.
"Since I saved your life, why don't we go out on a date, my treat?" He said arrogantly. Narumi glared at him.
"In your dreams, duck-ass," she replied instantly, turning him down, which made Sasuke frown. Before he could say anything, Kakashi called them over. After he was done tying up the Demon Brothers, Kakashi looked over at Tazuna suspiciously.
"Now tell me the tru-" he didn't get to finish as he heard a sound in the bush, instantly Kakashi threw his kunai at the sound of the direction. Team 7 walked over to the source to find a brown rabbit.
"Oh, it's just a rabbit," said Kakashi as he looked at Tazuna. On a tree stood Zabuza, getting ready to strike. When he found an opening in Kakashi's guard, he whispered "Kirigakure no Jutsu (Hidden Mist Justu)" then jumped from his position to attack Kakashi.
Team 7 and Tazuna noticed that they were covered in mist and it was really hard to see. Tazuna was still a good distance away from them but they could still see him. Kakashi, sensing danger, ducked. His eyes widened when he noticed what happened. It was Zabuza who slashed his giant sword at him. Kakashi, being a jonin, instantly reacted by ducking and pulling out a kunai to block the next strike.
"Momochi Zabuza, Demon of the Hidden Mist. Expert in silent killing, A-rank Missing nin, what are you doing here?" asked Kakashi, who was a little nervous, for the safety of his team and Tazuna.
"Kakashi Hatake of the Sharingan," said Zabuza with a monotone voice, and a hint of excitement. "The old man is mine," he glared at Kakashi and releasing Killing Intent. "Protect Tazuna, you three!" ordered Kakashi, when he realized what was going to happen. Team 7 quickly ran to Tazuna but froze when they felt the Killing Intent strengthen. Zabuza then dashed towards Tazuna his sword ready to strike at Tazuna. Kakashi tried to stop him but was stopped by another Zabuza, a water clone.
Tazuna was scared, and he began to see his life flash before his eyes. His "farewells" to this world were interrupted when he heard a familiar voice in the distance.
"Glove one, Kai," said the voice. At that moment, Zabuza swung his sword downwards hoping to cut Tazuna in half, but his strike was stopped before it reached its target. Zabuza saw the back of a single gloved hand holding his blade at bay, and his gaze followed the arm to which the hand was attached to the face of a teenage boy, with light blue hair, gray trench coat, and shades that Zabuza thought looked cool. Zabuza looked back at the gloved hand and noticed a seal glowing on it with the kanji for 'defense'.
'Well, this is convenient. I can't wait to kill him and get my pay,' thought Zabuza with a smirk.
"Sorry I'm late, Tazuna-san," said the voice, flicking his hand making Zabuza sword bounce off it. The man then massaged his hand as he turned to Zabuza, "Man, that's some powerful swing you got there."
"N-N-Naruto, what are you doing here?" asked Tazuna in shock, barely able to sputter the words out. Team 7 all found themselves reacting curiously to the name with which Tazune addressed the newcomer.
'Hnn…who would've thought we'd ever run into another "Naruto" running around? But unlike the dobe who ran away, this one doesn't look like a weakling…' thought Sasuke, in shock at this boy seemingly the same age as him showing such spectacular strength.
'Wow…what are the odds of meeting someone else named "Naruto"?' thought Sakura, as she was just as surprised as Sasuke.
"I wonder..." thought Kakashi.
'N-N-Naruto-nii-chan? Could it be?' thought Narumi, both in shock and happiness that this young man might just be her brother, even though he didn't really resemble her twin whose face she had etched into her memory in the slim hope that she might run into him out there somewhere. Even though the physical resemblance was askew, somehow she just had this feeling…the more it prodded her, the more convinced she became that this was him!
The more she looked at him, the more she noticed his toned body and extremely handsome face. His light blue hair, which she thought looked exotic, was much more enticing on him than when he had Minato's hair, in her opinion. A blush crept onto her face when she got a complete look at his own.
'So handsome! He looks even better than the Naruto I've dreamed about!' she thought as she trailed off to imagine Naruto and he- 'Stop that you are in a battle. Dammit, Yoko and her Kitsune urges are starting to rub off on me!'
"Hey I heard that!" yelled Yoko in response to Narumi's stray thought. Yoko herself was in her own thoughts. Seeing Naruto, she couldn't help but blush and feel a little bit of heat, "Narumi-chan, that's him! That's the man you've been dreaming of all these years!"
'Yoko-chan, are you sure?' asked Narumi, her joy and desperation plainly evident to her tenant.
"There's no doubt at all; it's him! His appearance has changed, but I'd recognize that lovely chakra signature anywhere! Oh Naruto-kun your sooooo handsome!~ I can't wait till I'm out of here so we can be together forever!~" she said to herself. Narumi heard this and inwardly glared at her.
'What are you talking about, Yoko-chan?' Narumi asked the vixen, slightly annoyed.
"I mean what I say: Naruto-kun and I are going to be together, and no one going to stop me from having him all to myself," replied Yoko with a smirk. Teasing Narumi was just too easy. If she was being truthful, she actually did want Naruto all to herself, but she wouldn't dare stop anyone who wanted to love Naruto from doing so. She knew that there was already a place in Naruto's heart that was hers, and hers alone, and knowing just how huge Naruto's heart was, she could live with that.
'What? Hell no! You can't ha-' Narumi didn't get to finish as Yoko shut off the mental link between both of them.
'I can't wait to get out of here. Naruto-kun, hurry up and free me, please! I hope you didn't forget your promise to me,' she said to herself.
Narumi grumbled at Yoko's teasing as the link was cut, the returned her attention to Naruto. Upon looking at him again, she couldn't help but smile. It seemed that Kami had granted her wish; now she just needed to figure out what to say to him once this little battle was over.
Naruto looked over at the team that Tazuna had hired to help him. When he saw who it was, he frowned.
'Oh, fuck me,' he thought to himself in both shock and exasperation. He wasn't expecting Tazuna to go to Konoha of all places! He certainly didn't expect him to be assigned this particular team: the team with his sister, with Mikoto-chan's youngest, Sasuke, who he'd never liked at all, with…Sakura Haruno, if he remembered correctly…a bit of a bookworm from what he could recall from his brief Academy days, and with…Kakashi Hatake of all people as their jonin sensei? What were the odds?
He wasn't ready to talk to Narumi, even if she asked him to give her another chance; he just wasn't mentally prepared for this; not yet. His fretting over his unpreparedness for an encounter with his estranged sister was quickly forgotten when he had actually gotten a good look at her: she was stunning! She had her mother's hair and eye color, yet she had her father's face, which actually suited her quite well (he always thought Minato's face was a bit girly), as she seemed to know how to apply just enough make-up to fully enhance and optimize her feminine beauty; the fact that she had incredible womanly assets accentuating an hourglass certainly didn't hurt her in this regard, either. He couldn't help the blush that quickly came across his face, or the beginning of the tightness in his pants.
Remembering that they were in the middle of a battle, Naruto quickly shook his head to get rid of these thoughts and turned his gaze to Kakashi. He couldn't guess what Kakashi was thinking, as there was no way in the world that Kakashi could recognize him.
'I'd best not show all my skills to him; even though he doesn't know who I am, he'd probably report what he sees me do when they get back to Konoha…and I have no interest in dodging teams of Konoha shinobi sent by the bastard to negotiate for my services; I'm not going back there, at least not yet,' thought Naruto, as he turned his attention to Zabuza, who was now charging him, sword at the ready.
Naruto quickly dodged Zabuza's horizontal slice by moving to his feet to the side. Naruto, seeing the opportunity to counterattack, prepared himself.
"Knuckles one, Kai," he called out, his gloves shining and showing a different seal across the knuckles: the kanji for 'impact'. Naruto then sent a lightning-fast right hook to Zabuza's jaw. Naruto's fist connected…hard…sending Zabuza flying towards a tree faster than any of the others could follow his trajectory, breaking the tree…and three more behind that one.
Everyone eyes went wide, their jaws slack when they saw the power behind Naruto's haymaker.
'What the fuck?' were the collective thoughts of Team Kakashi and Tazuna. Yoko however had different thoughts, 'Ohhh soooo strong Naruto-kunnnnn~. I wonder how he is in bed,' she mused as blood started to drip out of her nose.
All they could do was watch as Naruto whipped out several kunai, flinging them all in Zabuza's direction. They watched the flight path that the kunai traveled, only to watch them hit…nothing.
"Suiton: Suiryuudan no Jutsu (Water release: Water Dragon Blast Jutsu)" said a voice from their left. Naruto turned and saw Zabuza sending a large water dragon towards him.
'Shit,' thought Naruto, reacting instantaneously and going through a few handsigns of his own.
"Raton: Ikazuchiken (lightning fist)" Naruto called out as his right arm started to cover itself in lightning. Naruto then cocked his lightning-covered right arm back and balled his right hand into a fist. Leaping towards the water dragon, Naruto punched it with all his might, releasing the lightning into it. To everyone's amazement, the dragon dispersed into streams of falling water. Even Naruto found himself surprised, as he didn't expect his technique to be that effective against such a jutsu.
It was then that Naruto realized what had just happened! Naruto, sensing danger behind him, twisted and dodged an oncoming Zabuza…but wasn't quite fast enough. As Zabuza swung his massive zanbatou at the blue-haied teen, Naruto had been able to dodge enough to prevent a fatal injury, but still came away from the attack with a large gash across his chest, from his upper right to the lower left.
Naruto cursed himself for falling for such a diversion. The water dragon was much weaker than it should have been, and Zabuza had used it as a feint for the real attack, which had connected, though not as thoroughly as Zabuza had intended; he had meant to cleave the boy in half.
Naruto's chest was bleeding badly, the blood loss making it hard for him to stay conscious, much less standing. Zabuza stood there with an evil smirk behind the bandages on his face.
"When Gato told me about you, I rather thought you'd give me a challenge. I must say I'm impressed, kid; you didn't disappoint. Sorry, nothing personal, but you're doing to die here. I need to get paid, you know," said Zabuza as he prepared to strike the final blow. Narumi and Kakashi tried to run to Naruto, tears streaming down Narumi's face as she desperately tried to get to him in time.
Before Zabuza could finish Naruto, Kakashi jumped in to save him, blocking Zabuza's blade with his kunai, his sharingan out in full view.
"You'd best be ready to face me, Zabuza Momochi," said Kakashi, using his other hand to throw several kunai at Zabuza, who dodged them all by jumping back. Zabuza went through a series of handseals only for Kakashi to do the same, but instead of his own set, he was copying Zabuza, in exact timing.
'What the hell? How is he copying me?' Zabuza thought as his finished his handseals.
"Suiton: Suiryuudan no Jutsu," both of them called simultaneously, each of them sending a giant water dragon at the other, but Kakashi, having used not as much chakra as Zabuza had up to this point, created the stronger of the two dragons. Zabuza dodged to the side so Kakashi's dragon wouldn't hit him. Kakashi moved in the exact same manner as Zabuza.
'You gotta be kidding me, copying my movements too? Fine, I'll show him…' thought Zabuza in annoyance.
"I'm going to show you copying won't beat the original," said Zabuza, performing another set of handseals, Kakashi performing the same before Kakashi fired off his jutsu as Zabuza was finishing his hand seal sequence.
"What?" exclaimed Zabuza, as Kakashi not only copied his jutsu, but managed to perform it before Zabuza could even pull it off.
"Suiton Daibakufu no Jutsu (Water release: Explosion Jutsu)," yelled Kakashi, sending Zabuza spinning backwards in a large pillar of water. The water pillar sent Zabuza towards several trees, most of which were destroyed on impact because of the force of the justu. After being sent through about fifteen trees, the water pillar receded. Before Zabuza could crumple to the ground, Kakashi pinned him to the tree he had been leaning against with kunai and shrunken attack, trapping him.
"Good bye, Zabuza," said Kakashi, standing in front of him with a kunai.
"Indeed. This is his final goodbye to this existence," said another voice. At that moment, Zabuza was hit by three senbon to the neck, killing him instantly. Zabuza's eyes went wide as the senbon punctured his neck, causing him to fall limp. Kakashi walked up to the still body and checked for a pulse. He was unable to find one. He then looked over in the direction that the voice came from, to see that it belonged to a teenager, judging from their stature and build. They were standing on a branch in a tree by the one Zabuza's body was pinned to. A mask was covering the person's face, and the baggy clothes made the teen's gender unidentifiable.
"Thank you for taking care of Zabuza. I'll take it from here," said the masked person. Kakashi looked at the person once more and upon seeing the Kirigakure symbol on it, nodded. He holstered his kunai and walked back to the group. The masked person picked up Zabuza and disappeared in a Suiton shunshin.
Kakashi reached his students to find Narumi holding an unconscious Naruto to her protectively. His wounds were beginning to heal, thanks to Sakura who was using beginning medical ninjutsu to help him. Even with this, however, it was evident that Naruto still needed to rest or his wounds could reopen.
Sasuke himself was glaring at Naruto's unconscious form, jealousy plainly written all over his face. Everything about this "Naruto" character just seemed offensive to him; Naruto, himself, because Narumi's attention was fixated on him; his shades, because he thought they just looked really cool, but also because they were keeping him from seeing Naruto's face, and his gloves, because they seemed to allow Naruto to throw devastating punches as well as put up a very strong defense.
'I need those gloves; they give him power. He doesn't need them, I do. I'm an Uchiha, an elite! They should be mine, and with them, I could have power and rebuild my clan,' thought Sasuke with a smirk, and a somewhat deranged glint in his eye.
"We should hurry," said Tazuna, to which Narumi nodded. She carried Naruto on her back with little difficulty, much to Sasuke annoyance. They all collected their gear, Narumi with Naruto well in hand, and quickly made their way to Tazuna's home.
Next Day Tazuna's house
Naruto opened his eyes, returning to consciousness. At first, he was disoriented, but the sudden sensation of sharp pain across his chest coupled with dull but intense aches throughout the rest of his body quickly brought his mind to complete alertness. Struggling through the agony he was currently experiencing, he sat himself up, trying to get his bearings. He was back in the guest room he was staying in at Tazuna's.
Vaguely remembering that he didn't fall asleep here, he tried to recall his last conscious memories. After a few moments of thinking hard, the sharp sensation of pain flashed across his chest again. He remembered getting injured battling Zabuza Momochi. He looked down at his chest to see it bandaged in fresh, clean field dressings. He squinted his eyes as he thought harder, trying to remember more. More flashes came to him: A sharingan eye beneath silver gravity-defying hair, a beautiful redhead with purple eyes…Kakashi and Narumi!
In that moment of realization, it all came back to him: Tazuna had gone to Konoha, and had hired Kakashi Hatake's genin team to escort him home and help him! They were attacked by Zabuza Momochi, and he had stepped in to keep Zabuza from killing Tazuna, revealing himself to the Konoha ninja. Fortunately for him, he knew that they didn't recognize him, as his appearance had completely changed since they had last seen him. The last thing he remembered before losing consciousness was…Narumi putting his head in her lap…that was certainly unlike the Narumi he remembered…and that Sakura girl using medical ninjutsu to apply first aid as best she could; he had to give it to her – his dressings and the fact that he wasn't bleeding anymore meant that she must have a talent for medical ninjutsu. He made a mental note to thank her for treating him.
He looked around the room again, this time also looking down at the floor, noticing another futon next to his. He saw that Akane and Hitomi were both asleep on that futon. Hitomi was holding Akane to herself, while Akane was asleep facing Naruto's direction. He wondered briefly why they were in this room instead of the room that they had been sleeping in.
Naruto turned his gaze toward the window to gauge the time of day. He saw that it was just past dawn, putting the time between six and seven AM. He stood from his sitting position, his body still protesting through the dull aches and sharp pain across his chest. He moved slowly to the bedroom door so as not to wake the sleeping mother and daughter. He quietly left the room and made his way downstairs. When he reached the living room at the base of the stairs, he saw Kakashi and his genin team and Tazuna all sitting at the dining room table, while Tsunami was in the kitchen preparing breakfast. All of them turned their attention to him as he descended the staircase.
"Uhmm…hello?" greeted Naruto with a nervous chuckle and a slight wave, using his other hand to hold himself steady on the railing.
Narumi rose from her seat and walked towards him with a warm smile, "Good morning. Here, let me help you; you look a bit unsteady. That was a nasty gash you got yesterday; how are you feeling?" she finished as she took his hand from the rail and placed it around her shoulder, assisting him towards an empty chair at the table with her own arm around his waist.
"Well…aside from the fact that everything hurts, I'm doing great, errmm…" he began with as carefree a tone as he could muster.
"Narumi…my name is Narumi Uzumaki," she introduced herself.
'Uzumaki? What happened to Namikaze?' Naruto thought to himself curiously, keeping any sign of his inward musings off his face.
Narumi continued, "Thank you…for assisting us, yesterday. You saved our lives," she finished with a grateful smile.
Naruto simply looked at her and seeing the genuine gratitude in her smile, as well as a blush creeping across her face, simply gave her a smile, "You're welcome…Narumi-san. My name is Naruto Bairong. And…thank you…for bringing my friend Tazuna-san home, safely."
"You're welcome, Naruto-kun," said Narumi happily, unconsciously adding the affectionate honorific. A cough from the direction of the table reminded the two of them that they were not alone, and that they had stopped moving, both of them just staring at each other in the middle of the living room.
"Oh," began Narumi with a sheepish laugh, "Where are my manners? Naruto Bairong, please allow me to introduce the rest of my team."
Narumi gestured to Sakura, "Our medic in training, Sakura Haruno, who was the one responsible for patching you up."
Naruto nodded at the girl, "Thank you for that, Sakura-san…and it's a pleasure to meet you."
"You as well, Naruto-san," the pink-haired girl replied with a nod.
Narumi turned to Sasuke, "Sasuke Uchiha," as she said it, Naruto couldn't help but notice a slight tinge of venom in her voice as she said his name; she apparently didn't like him much.
"Sasuke-san," Naruto responded with a nod.
Sasuke simply grunted as he glared at the blue-haired boy. 'What's his problem?' Naruto thought to himself as he raised an eyebrow at the raven-haired boy.
"And our jonin sensei, Kakashi Hatake," Narumi gestured to Kakashi, who gave his trademark eye-smile in response.
"Kakashi-san," Naruto responded in kind, again with a nod.
After the introductions were completed, Narumi assisted Naruto into the chair that she had been walking him towards.
"Thank you, Narumi-san," said Naruto sincerely. Narumi simply smiled in response, but this smile, instead of being simply warm, was rather enchanting. Naruto noticed that Narumi traced her hand along his back as she left his side and took her own seat across from him. A few moments later, Tsunami brought out the food that she had prepared: eggs, bacon and toast with butter. All of the table's occupants minus Sasuke thanked the woman and began to eat.
"Naruto-san, are you ok?" asked Tsunami concerned.
"Yeah, I'm fine. It just hurts a little…" he replied as he looked around the table.
Kakashi was somehow eating through his facemask, Sasuke was eating with a frown, and Sakura was eating while staring at Sasuke the whole time. 'Great, a fan girl…' thought Naruto disgustedly, '…well, at least she can contribute to her team as a medic.'
Tazuna was eating in good spirits, as was Tsunami. When Naruto looked at Narumi, however, he noticed that the blush hadn't left her face, as she was staring at him almost as intently as Sakura was staring at Sasuke. Narumi, seeing that he was looking in her direction and glancing around the table to see that nobody was paying attention to either of them, winked to Naruto. Naruto raised an eyebrow at her, to which she simply smiled.
Once they had all finished breakfast, Kakashi told his genin to follow him to the woods so that they could train. Kakashi led them out, Sasuke and Sakura following. Narumi, purposefully lagging behind her team, turned to Naruto.
"Naruto-kun?" she asked.
"Yes, Narumi-san?" he replied. Narumi looked like she was fidgeting.
"Can we…talk privately after I finish training?"
Naruto, unsure of what to think, nodded at her, "Sure."
Naruto hadn't been prepared to talk to her yesterday when he had an idea of the kind of person he'd be confronting. He was even less-prepared to confront this apparently kind-hearted person that he was seeing this morning. After fretting inwardly about not knowing what to say or where to start, he decided that winging the upcoming conversation and going with whatever came to mind would probably be the best option at this point.
"Thank you…Naruto-nii-chan," Narumi responded quietly as she left happily, causing Naruto's eyes to widen.
'She knows? I guess Yoko-chan must have told her…but if she's known this whole time…she must be trying to protect my identity from the others!' he thought to himself, intrigued at this realization.
"Naruto-nii!" Naruto was brought out of his musings by a yelling Akane, running towards him with her arms out, ready for a hug. Naruto smiled at the girl and opened his arms out to envelop her.
"Hey there Akane-chan…" he began as he scooped her up, "…how did you sleep?"
"Good, but what about you, Naruto-nii? Akane was scared when you were hurt," she replied.
"It's OK, Akane. I'm fine, really! See?" he held her out and moved his body in such a way that he was trying to show her that he didn't have any injuries, "Now, how about after breakfast, we play together for a while? Would you like that?" Akane smiled brightly at Naruto's offer to play with her.
"Yes!" she said happily. She quickly went to the table to eat breakfast as fast as she could so she could play with Naruto. Hitomi smiled at her daughter's antics and walked up to Naruto.
"Naruto-kun, we were both very, very worried for you. You seem to have a bit of a hero complex, but it's…part of your charm. Anyway, I'm glad you're alright," Hitomi offered with an affectionate smile, having taken to adding the affectionate honorific to his name, herself. She brought a hand to his cheek, looked intensely into his eyes and kissed his other cheek, leaving a blushing Naruto with a smile as she went to the breakfast table herself.
After everyone was finished with breakfast, Naruto, Akane, Hitomi, Tsunami, Tazuna and Inari decided to just enjoy the day together and went to play in the backyard. They spent a carefree morning in the backyard, kids playing and laughing, the adults including Naruto joining in the fun. While they were in the backyard, Naruto told Tazuna what he did while Tazuna had been in Konoha. Tazuna was shocked when he heard Naruto's recollection of events and thanked Naruto for all he had done, both for him and the village.
They went back inside around noon so Tsunami could make them all some lunch. Team Kakashi had also made their way back for lunch. They were all seated on the table, Narumi taking a seat directly across from Naruto once more. After lunch, Kakashi gave his team a break during the afternoon. Sasuke used the time to brood. Sakura used the time to stare at Sasuke with hearts in her eyes thinking how cool it was to watch Sasuke brooding. Akane and Inari were playing with each other, Hitomi and Tsunami were washing the dishes, Kakashi was reading the orange book, and Tazuna was taking a nap.
Naruto and Narumi had both left the house to have that private conversation that Naruto had agreed to have with her. Unbeknownst to them, one Kakashi Hatake had trailed the two of them, staying out of sight and suppressing his chakra signature to remain undetected, having left a Kage Bunshin at the house to read the little orange book. Narumi was his sensei's daughter, after all, and even though she despised the man and wanted no connection to him at all, it was still his responsibility to look out for her. He didn't know this "Naruto Bairong" character, so he chose to be on the side of caution and make sure that he had no ill intentions towards his student.
Once Narumi felt that she had led them for enough away to ensure their privacy, she stopped, Naruto stopping as she did. Narumi immediately turned around and ran to Naruto with tears in her eyes, slamming herself against him as she wrapped her arms around his body, sobbing into his shoulder much the same way a similar-looking woman had a few years ago. Naruto couldn't help but wrap his own arms around the now-sobbing Narumi, strumming his fingers through her hair in an effort to comfort her and calm her down, all the while cursing himself for taking after his tou-san's weakness towards damsels in distress. Narumi began frantically kissing Naruto's face as her hands came up to his cheeks and around the back of his head, surprising him.
"Naruto-nii-chan, I've dreamed of the day I'd see you again for the last eight years! I've dreamed of it even more since Yoko-chan told me of the kind of person you are…and the full extent of what happened to you!" she exclaimed through her sobs, "I don't even know where to start, right now! I'm so sorry for my part in what you went through! I was too stupid to see beyond my own nose; I should have done more; I should have said more! Please…forgive me!" she continued sobbing as she finished.
Naruto simply continued to comfort the young woman sobbing in his arms, allowing her to cry herself out. After a few minutes, she pulled back just enough to look him in the eye. She moved to lift his shades up, Naruto making no attempt to stop her. As she removed them, she looked into those beautiful blue eyes that carried a life and warmth that Minato's eyes never held. Her face still stained with tears, she stroked his face with her hands, noting the tears that were now falling from his own eyes.
Naruto simply smiled sadly, "It's…water under the bridge, now, Narumi…"
"No!" she interrupted him forcefully, "It's not water under the bridge! I wronged you! We all wronged you! That evilbastard wronged you worst of all! Honestly, Kaa-san and I couldn't believe what we had found out, and the stunts he pulled! There had to have been signs; I could have paid more attention…Naruto-kun…I…I'd give my right arm to go back and undo it all; I really would! Please…please…forgive me. Give me a chance to show you how sorry I am! Please?" as she finished, tears began to fall anew.
Before he could even get a word in, she impulsively grabbed his face with both hands and slammed her lips into his, slipping her hand behind his head to hold it there. Naruto's eyes went as wide as saucers as Narumi was kissing him with the force and intensity of a typhoon. As she brought her face away from his, tears still streaming down, Naruto let out the breath that he hadn't realized he'd been holding. "OK…errm…that was a little unexpected," Naruto began as Narumi just laughed sheepishly, a blush crossing her face.
"Yeah, errm…Yoko-chan's…influences can be…quite powerful, at times…" she said in an attempt to explain her rather unusual behavior.
"Yeah, I know that all too well," responded Naruto with a laugh.
"Hey I heard that!" yelled Yoko in response to Naruto's comment, causing Narumi to giggle.
"She just said that she heard that, didn't she?" asked Naruto, causing Narumi's giggle to turn into a full-blown laugh.
"Yeah, she did," responded Narumi, while Yoko just grumbled about Naruto knowing her too well for his own good, causing Narumi to laugh even harder.
As they finished their laugh together, Naruto closed his eyes and sighed, "Narumi-chan…I can…already see that you're not the same person you were when I left. But, I'm going to need you to be patient with me…OK? It still hurts…a lot…thinking about the life I left behind, and it…makes me very, very angry. I'll give you a chance because Kushina-chan asked me to…"
"Wait, 'Kushina-chan'? You mean kaa-san?" she asked.
"Uhmmmm …yyeeahhh…" replied Naruto a little nervously, as he realized that he had said too much.
"What do you mean? Have you and kaa-san been talking this whole time?" Narumi's voice in shock and slightly irritated.
Kakashi's eyes widened in shock when he heard everything, and it didn't take him long to connect the dots. 'Can it be?' he thought, but he noticed Naruto was going to talk, so he decided to let this whole conversation play out so as not to make any false assumptions.
Naruto was in deep thought, 'Should I tell her? I mean, she clearly looks like she didn't know, but at the same time she might. Well, either way, I've already let the cat out of the bag, so I might as well tell her everything,' as he decided that earning her trust was probably a good way to start mending fences and building mutual trust between them.
"Well, we reconnected about four years ago," said Naruto.
"Wait, what?" Narumi practically screamed before beginning her own mental tirade, 'Oh, I'm so beyond furious at you, kaa-san! How dare you hide this from me, especially when it involves my nii-chan? When I get back, you and I are having a long talk about this!'
"How did it happen? And don't leave anything out," she asked/ordered, clearly irritated. Naruto gulped at her expression, 'OK…so maybe this wasn't such a good idea.'
Yoko inside her head was snickering "Oh, Naruto-koi…it'll be interesting to see how you handle this one…but at least I can hear this story of yours."
Naruto cleared his throat and began telling his story, "Well, it started with…"
Secret half reveal or part revealed... Hope you liked this chapter.
Remember next chapter will take some time, but when I'm free I'll get to it. Hopefully...
If you have any questions review/PM. I'll answer them if they don't ruin the story.