Vanex: Hello all! I know I've been absent lately, but life has been keeping me busy, plus I'm working on my own original work. Yeah, you read that right. Something completely original. It'll be complex and possibly more than one book. It's too soon to say for sure.
With that out of the way, let's get to the chapter.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
"Kakashi and Kurenai, my team and I are here as your backup of youth!"
Kurenai smiles. "It's good that you're joining us, Gai."
Maito Gai gives off his usual grin. "Well, there's now way that I'm going to let my eternal rival have all the fun!"
Kakashi looks up from his book. "I'm sorry, Gai, did you say something?"
"Damn you Kakashi and your hip, cool attitude!"
Kurenai clears her throat. "Gai, I need to speak with you in private."
Gai nods and follows Kurenai outside. "What's wrong, Kurenai?"
"It concerns Mission Omega."
Gai's face turns completely serious. Mission Omega is the directive given to the S-Rank Mission to ensure the safety of Naruto. Like Kurenai and Asuma, Gai was also assigned the mission. "What happened?"
"Naruto and Hinata vanished yesterday. I took Shino and Kiba with me to try to locate them. We tracked them to the bridge where Kiba was able to pick up the scent of Kakashi. The trail was lost there, but then Kiba smelled blood and we followed him down the shoreline. Where the blood was found, the scents of Naruto and Hinata were picked up again, along with the scent of the missing-nin Zabuza. We believe that Kakashi attempted to kill Naruto and Hinata, but they were saved by Zabuza, who revealed that he works for someone other than Gato, someone we believe is interested in Naruto."
Gai nods. "Does Kakashi know that you're on to him?"
"No. We've only told him that they may be in the hands of Zabuza. Before I do anything, I'm waiting for the results of the blood-test on the sample I found." She looks up to see a messenger hawk circling above her. "And there it is."
The hawk lands next to Kurenai, who removes the parcel attached to its leg. The hawk flies off again while Kurenai starts reading the paper. Gai gives her a look. "Well?"
"It's just as I feared. The blood is Naruto's. The Hokage is ordering us to not do anything to Kakashi, unless either Naruto or Hinata are found. We still have no proof outside of his scent that he did anything to either of them."
Naruto is sitting in the hotel room, thinking over what his mother said after their reunion. She wants him to leave Konoha and come live with her in Uzushio. Now, while Konoha wasn't exactly kind to him, it was still his home. Can he really just turn his back on them?
Naruto looks up to see Hinata standing there. "Hinata-chan, is something wrong?"
She sits down next to him. "I think that's what I should be asking you."
Naruto sighs. "I don't know what I should do. Go with my family or stay with my home."
"Is Konoha really your home, Naruto-kun?"
"What do you mean?"
"There's a saying my mom once told me. She told me home is where the heart is. Where is your heart, Naruto-kun? In Konoha, or with your family?"
"Both. Well, it's with my family, and with my friends in Konoha, including you. If I go to Uzushio, I'll have to say goodbye to you."
Naruto is confused. "What do you mean?"
"Your mom didn't only offer you the chance to go to Uzushio. She gave me the same offer."
This surprises Naruto. "Really? What did you say?"
"That I would only go with them if you go as well."
Naruto's eyes widen. "Why?"
"Because I want to be free of my family. I can't even think of them as family, except for my deceased mother. I envy you, Naruto-kun. While your family is smaller than mine, they all love you. You remember what I said about the heart and home? My heart is with you, Naruto-kun. Wherever you go, I'll follow."
Naruto nods. "I've made my choice."
*The next day...*
Teams 7, 8, and 9 arrive on the bridge to find Zabuza and Haku waiting for them. The Konoha teams prepare to fight, when Zabuza raises his hand. "I am not your enemy. In fact, today I'm here to request your help in taking down Gato and his men."
Kurenai steps forward. "First, tell us what you've done with Naruto and Hinata. We know that you have them."
Zabuza sighs. "First, you should ask your friend Kakashi on why he attack the two with his Lightning Cutter."
Kakashi's eyes narrow. "You expect them to believe your word over mine?"
Zabuza laughs. "Oh, please. For them to know about my involvement, they must have had the Inuzuka pick up my scent. They most likely found your scent there as well and just haven't told you."
"Even if they found my scent, they can't prove that I was there at the time of their disappearance."
"Actually, they can."
Kakashi's eyes widen at the voice behind him. He and the rest of the Konoha ninja quickly jump away from the two hooded and masked strangers that have just appeared.
Kiba's eyes widen. "Kurenai-sensei! The scents of these two plus the one by Zabuza match the other three scents I found near the blood!"
Kurenai's eyes narrow. "Where are Naruto and Hinata?"
The taller of the two masked strangers looks at her. "Dead. After Kakashi struck Naruto with the Lightning Cutter and knocked Hinata off the bridge, they managed to reach the shoreline. We tried to help them, but they reacted in fright in encountering Zabuza again. They ended up jumping back into the water. They ended up going over the nearby waterfall."
Everyone is shocked. Kakashi growls. "Again, I see no proof that I'm involved in this!"
The taller figure shakes her head. "I suppose so."
Kurenai, who has been holding back her tears at hearing confirmation that Naruto and Hinata are dead, manages to ask a question. "Who are you?"
"I can't tell you. Not yet. Soon, I'll be able to. But right now, we need to work together. Gato is on to Zabuza's betrayal and is bringing his whole army here. We need your help to take them down."
"Why should we help you?"
"Because if Gato gets past us, he'll attack the village and kill your client and his family."
Gai looks at her. "The stranger makes a good point! I think we should help them!"
Kurenai nods. "Very well, we'll help you. Teams, get into positions!"
The Konoha ninja, nod and all scramble to get into position. Sakura stands with Tazuna, protecting him.
Soon enough, Gato and his army of mercenaries arrive. Gato walks in front of his army and sneers at Zabuza. "I offer you the riches that you want and you turn against me? How sad. At least I don't have to pay you now. You will all die here. Well, most of you." He turns to his men. "Kill all the men! Leave the women alive, as I'm sure they'll be able to provide certain pleasures."
The men grin at the prospect and all charge at the group of ninja. Zabuza, Haku, and the two masked strangers immediately jump into the group of mercenaries and start cutting them down. Gai, Kakashi, and Kurenai jump in a second later followed by the genin. Gato is shocked to see the small group of ninja decimate his entire mercenary force. He starts trembling when the taller of the two masked strangers walks over to him. "Please spare me! I can give you anything you want! Anything!"
"There is nothing you could give me that I would want, especially after that comment about turning myself and my fellow women here into sex slaves. Besides, I came here with the intent of executing you. For you see, you've been found guilty of crimes against not just Nami no Kuni, but all five major countries as well as a few minor ones. Your sentence is death and I will carry it out." She quickly decapitates him, ending the tyrant once and for all.
They all hear laughter and turn to see Sasuke standing over some of the dead mercenaries. He looks at them and they can see his eyes have changed. "Finally, my Sharingan has awakened! Now, I am one step closer to destroying him!"
Kakashi sends Sasuke an eye-smile. "Good job, Sasuke. Once we get back to Konoha, I'll begin training you in how to use it."
Kurenai sighs at seeing Kakashi's favoritism towards Sasuke. "Let's go back to the house. With Gato gone, the construction of the bridge should go smoothly." She turns to talk to Zabuza and his allies, only to find that they have left.
A boat is traveling from Nami no Kuni towards Uzu no Kuni. On board, the two masked strangers have taken off their masks and lowered their hoods to reveal that they are Kushina and Mito. Kushina smiles at the other two who are with them. "I'm glad you decided to come with us."
Naruto and Hinata smile. Both of their headbands have a scratch mark. "It wasn't that difficult of a choice," says Naruto.
Vanex: Well, that ends this chapter. I bet you're all pissed that Kakashi is getting away with his attempt at murdering Naruto and Hinata. Don't worry, Kushina won't let him get away with it. Anyway, Naruto and Hinata have turned against Konoha and joined Uzushio. What will happen next? You'll have to wait to find out! See you all next time!