Sasuke, what are you going to do?
Sasuke lay in silence beneath a blooming sakura tree, chewing on a senbon. He groaned and rolled over. It was such a nice day, but he was feeling gloomy. It all started with the mission he and Naruto had taken together that morning.
Naruto had been leaping through the tree tops, his annoying orange-coated self, chatting gaily about finding their target. Sasuke leaped into the tree tops beside him, silently running through the mental checklist he had in his head. Kunai, shuriken, wind shuriken, rope and plenty of explosive tags. Check. Distantly he heard Naruto laugh at one of his own jokes. Sasuke thought it was ridiculous that he could complete as many missions as he did on his bright orange jumpsuit. Really, of all the colours, it had to be Sasuke's least favourite. He heard a voice in the receiver in his ear.
"200 meters. Target sighted," came Kakashi's voice. He was already at the destination.
"Come on Naruto, Kakashi is already at the site," he said and leaped on ahead. He heard Naruto growl and smiled. It was just too easy stirring him up.
The two ninja dropped down from the trees with ease and hid behind the trees. In the clearing ahead was their target: a small fox kit, barely able to survive on its own. It wore an electric blue scarf around its neck and was happily rolling around in the grass, orange fur ruffled.
"Kakashi sensei, I'm in position," came Sakura's voice. Sasuke affirmed his position, as did Naruto, although it was quite unnecessary. Four pairs of eyes were set on the clearing, and the fox kit didn't seem to notice. Suddenly, Kakashi appeared in the centre of the clearing with a net. The fox kit squealed, and raced out from under the net just before it became snared. Sakura leaped out next, a rope loop swinging from her fingers. With a cry she fastened the rope around the fox's midsection. She gave a cheer, but the battle wasn't won yet. The fox suddenly disappeared and was replaced with a log. Sasuke was surprised, but only for a split second. He turned around to see the kit trying to make a getaway, a rope trailing behind.
"I don't think so Kuku!" Naruto cried out and leaped onto the kit's back. It squealed and squirmed, but Naruto's hands were firm around its small body. It turned and bit him hard, causing Naruto to release it. Sasuke sighed and formed hand signs. The kit thought it was free when Sasuke appeared in front of it. He held a kunai at its throat and glared at it with his cold dark eyes. The kit completely froze, panting hard. Naruto run up behind and scooped it up.
"No need to point a knife at him Sasuke!" Naruto growled, pulling the squirming kit close. It struggled for a few more seconds before exhaustion took over.
"Kuku, you know you can't avoid it forever! You need to have a bath!" Naruto scolded the kit. It looked up at him with round yellow eyes.
"I don't wanna!" Kuku cried out, "Can't I just lick myself clean?"
"We all know how that ends up," Sakura said, brushing dust from her skirt. She walked up and removed her rope from the kit.
"Naruto, keep a hold of your pet," Sasuke said calmly. Naruto blazed up, holding up a fist.
"Kuku is my partner! Just because he needs me to wash him doesn't mean he's my pet!"
Sasuke flashed a mocking half-smile.
"He hasn't even got two tails, he's so hopeless."
"What did you say?"
"I said Kyuubi's never amount to anything. That's just how it goes."
"Just because they don't got fire breath or super tough skin! I'm sure he can become the strongest animal ninja yet!"
"They say that the animal can only become as strong as its partner. It's a shame for Kuku really that he got stuck with you."
"Sasuke!" Sakura gasped. Naruto growled and ran away, holding the sobbing Kuku close. She stood in front of him, her eyes wide with astonishment.
"How could you say those things to Naruto!"
"Get out of my face," Sasuke grunted and began walking slowly back to Konoha. Sakura stood wide-mouthed next to Kakashi. Kakashi sighed, putting a hand to his neck.
"Wonder what's got Sasuke so wound up?" he wondered aloud. Sakura shook her head.
Sasuke sighed again, his thoughts returning to the present. He knew perfectly well why he had snapped like that. Although he was overdue for a partner and jealous, there was no need to insult Naruto so. That was completely unfair. Sasuke had kept up the facade that he was in line for one of the strongest partner animals, perhaps a dragon, because of his lineage, however he was actually unsure whether he would get a partner animal or not. The animals were brought up in the Hokage's nursery and only ninja with whom the animal bonded would gain it as their partner. Sasuke had been visiting the nursery for a few weeks now, interacting with all the animals there, however none had reacted with him the way they were supposed to. It was something to do with their chakra, but Sasuke had never really worried about that. He was one of the strongest genin, so had always assumed animals would react to him easily. But on the first day Naruto was allowed to enter the nursery, the day he became a genin, He and Kuku's chakra had aligned. Sasuke had heard a little about the rare Kitsune and how unreliable they were as partners. It wasn't really their fault, it was just that their chakra didn't synchronise well with humans, so they would never become any good. Usually Kitsune were not brought up in the nursery due to this, but this one had been orphaned at birth and brought in.
Suddenly Sasuke's thoughts were broken by a voice calling his name. He looked around and saw Sakura approaching.
"Found you finally!" she said.
"What do you want?"
"To know why you attacked Naruto. I know it was annoying we had to catch Kuku yet again but that is so unlike you."
"Tell me Sakura, what do you know about Kitsune?"
Sakura seemed to be taken aback by this question.
"Well I know they don't make very good partners..." she said and trailed off. Sasuke closed his eyes with a grimace. But then Sakura continued.
"I also know that there once was a ninja who completely aligned with the Kitsune. It was before we were born I think. He was someone very important. But I heard that they are almost unmatched in speed and stamina when they are most powerful. It is unfortunate that Naruto got partnered with one. There is no way Naruto can pair up properly. Ha can't even walk on water yet, let alone conduct an animal partner's chakra."
"I wouldn't say that Sakura. You never know what will happen with Naruto."
The voice caught Sakura and Sasuke off guard. Sasuke jumped to his feet as Kakashi appeared in a puff of smoke in front of them.
"Remember what happened at the bridge?" he said quietly. Sakura remembered the intense chakra Naruto had released. Sasuke remembered little due to his almost being killed, but knew Naruto had somehow beaten the incredibly powerful bloodline ninja.
"So you shouldn't underestimate him Sasuke. I also think you should apologise."
He turned to walk away, but paused.
"And Sasuke? Jealous is not very becoming," he said before vanishing. Sasuke breathed in sharply, creating a hiss sound. Sakura look at him curiously.
"What did he mean by that?" Sakura asked.
"Leave it," Sasuke said and sat back down.