Kyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! The very first chapter of my very first story! I'm so nervous! If anyone's reading this, please excuse my little freakout. I'm okay. Well, besides the fact that I'm kinda insane, but that's life. At least my life... Well, anyway, if anyone's reading this at all, I hope you enjoy!

FYI: The very first part, the prolouge, takes place in the future at the very end of the story. I tried to make it mysterious, but we'll see in anyone can guess what's going on... Probably alot of people, since I don't think I did a very good job of that... Well, whatever.


There was no sound but the leaves. They were being crunched at a pace so rapid, it was almost inhuman; but yet, the feet crushing them were somehow graceful, and made almost no noise. It didn't matter much, though, since he was in a deserted forest in the middle of nowhere. To put it bluntly, he had no idea where he was. Now even what country he was in. He was just following the direction the ninja dogs had pointed him in. He'd been running for hours, with still no sign of the object of his pursuit.

Damn it, where the hell is he? I've been at this for almost half a day! Those damn dogs better now have given me a dead trail!

The pursuer gritted his teeth at the thought of finding what he was chasing too late, or worse, not at all.

He better not have done anything stupid! If he does, I'll kick his ass!

He kept going, faster now, at the very satisfying thought of punching his target in the face. He needed to find him, and he needed to find him NOW!

Before his target did something stupid.

Before he was captured.

Before their world crumbled to pieces.

And if it did, it would be all his fault.

So on and on the ninja ran, through the night. It wasn't until two more days of constant running that he finally saw what he'd been looking for: a sign of target, right on the trunk of a tree. His target must be getting anxious for some reason, to leave any evidence at all. So he followed the direction the mark led in, and ran some more.

But no matter how much he ran, or how fast, it felt like he'd never catch up. His target always seem to run harder and faster.

That is, until he smelled exactly what he hoped he wouldn't, but somehow knew he would: blood.

No matter his exhaustion, he ran full speed ahead towards the scent that made him want to gag so much that he really just wanted to run away. He ended up in a clearing that would have been beautiful to anyone else on any other day. It had lush green grass, flowering shrubs, and thick, emerald colored leaves on the trees surrounding the clearing. The only problem was, his target was there in the middle of the clearing with his back to him.

Surrounded in a sea of blood.

The pursuer had long ago promised himself in his many hours of running that no matter what the scene looked like when he finally caught up to his target, no matter how horrible, he would do what needed to be done:

He would drag him home to Konoha, even if he had to break every single bone in his body.

Knock Knock Knock

The big lump under the covers of a small bed didn't stir.


It didn't move an inch.


It twitched.


"ALRIGHT ALREADY!" The figure hollered as he fell out of his bed. He made it to the door and threw it open, not caring that he was just in sleep pants and nothing else.

"Do you know how troublesome it is to wake you up? And do you know what time it is? It's passed noon. Here I went to all the trouble to deliver this very urgent message to you personally, and all I get is your blank stare." The youth, Nara Shikamaru, had his hair pulled back in its usual ponytail and the usual bored look on his face.

"Shikamaru, did you come here just to lecture me? And what's this about an urgent message?" The sleepy blonde, Uzumaki Naruto, mumbled.

"We have a lead on Sasuke. We know where he is." He said it the same way he would if he was just talking about the clouds, as he so often did. But to Naruto, this was earth-shattering news.

Naruto's eyes bugged out, and he was instantly awake.

"What are you waiting for? Let's go!" He started to dash off, but Shikamaru grabbed him by the collar.

"Are you stupid? We need a plan. Before that, we need the okay from the Hokage to go on this mission. Before that, who said we would be the ones even going? Before that, you need to get dressed." Shikamaru sighed heavily. Naruto could be such a pain.

"I'm going, NO MATTER WHAT." Naruto's blue eyes showed such fierce determination that Shikamaru was just a little bit scared to tell him that he might not be able to go.

"Just go get changed and we'll see."

Naruto ran back into his tiny house, and five minutes later he emerged with his trademark orange jumpsuit on and his backpack halfway on his back.

"Are you ready?" Shikamaru asked, slightly concerned. When Naruto had answered the door, he had seen something in the blonde's sleepy eyes that usually wasn't there. He couldn't quite place it, but it may have been something akin to… pain. Whatever is was, Shikamaru had never seen anything like that in Naruto's eyes before, so he was a little skeptic.

"I'm raring to go!" Naruto said loudly and cheerfully, with his usual smile. Shikamaru could no longer see any trace of anything off in Naruto's eyes.

I must have been imagining it, Shikamaru thought, Naruto doesn't have any kind of painful expression. The only things he feels are happy, hyper, or pissed. Yeah, I'm definitely over thinking this.

They got to the Hokage's office a few minutes later, and were told to wait since the Hokage was busy. But Naruto, being Naruto, just burst through the Hokage's office door before anyone could stop him and walked right up to Tsunade.

"Yo granny, I heard you know where Sasuke is. Care to tell me?"

Once Naruto had already interrupted Tsunade, there was nothing anyone could do. Besides, Naruto was one of the very few people who could do that and not get their ears blown off from all the yelling Tsunade usually did. She rarely yelled at Naruto in that way.

Tsunade just sighed, and scowled at Naruto.

"Didn't they tell you to wait, brat? I'm busy! And who told you that about Sasuke? That's classified information, and you shouldn't know about it."

"I told him", Shikamaru declared as he stepped closer. "He has the right to know. He's been chasing after Sasuke for years now."

"Shikamaru, I can't believe you! You knew he'd react this way!" Tsunade glared at Shikamaru now. "Regardless of what you say or think, this is too dangerous. We'll send a team of Anbu out for Sasuke tomorrow."

"I don't care what you say! I'M GOING!" Naruto burst out. He was yelling now.

"I'm going no matter what! Even if you tell me not to, I'll go! I'll follow the Anbu team somehow! I'll sneak out of here! Because no matter what, I'll be the one to bring Sasuke back!"

In a quieter voice, especially for Naruto, the loudmouth ninja, he continued. By this time, both Tsunade and Shikamaru's eyes were wide.

"Only I can do it. It has to be me, I just know it. The only one who can bring Sasuke back is me… only me."

Naruto's voice cracking at those last two words was what finally cracked Tsunade's resolve. She knew she couldn't win; it'd be more trouble than it was worth to try to keep Naruto here. She could tell Naruto was serious about this, and upset. Tsunade had known deep down all along that she'd end up sending Naruto on this dangerous mission, but that didn't mean she had to like it. She sighed even heavier than before, and then looked up at Naruto again.

"You will report in to me directly every six hours. NO EXCEPTIONS. I don't care if you're sleeping like the dead, you contact me on time. You will be assigned two others to go with you, to form a three man cell. Of MY choosing. NO COMPLAINTS! And absolutely, positively, NO UNNECESSARY RISKS!"

Naruto just beamed at her, with the biggest smile Tsunade had ever seen.

"You got it granny! I'll do my best! I'll definitely bring Sasuke back this time, I can feel it!"

Shikamaru smirked to himself, in the background. He'd known all along as well that the Hokage wouldn't be able to say no to Naruto.

"All right, the three man cell will consist of you, Shikamaru, and Kiba. Don't forget, every SIX hours!" Tsunade said, as if she may at any time come to regret this decision.

"Yeah, yeah. Can we leave now?" Naruto impatiently asked the Hokage.

"You may depart as soon as you're ready."

Naruto and Shikamaru headed out the door quickly, ready to begin what was sure to be a long and hard mission.

Tsunade frowned and looked back down at her paperwork, not eager to tackle it. But then she heard footsteps, and looked up again. Naruto's head poked out from behind the door, and he had another huge smile.

"Thanks, granny Tsunade. I really mean it. Just watch, I'll make you proud", he said before walking off again.

Tsunade couldn't help wondering if that beautiful smile would last, and if she had just sent Naruto, or the other cell members, to their deaths.

Sorry the first chapter's kinda short... I just though it was a good place to stop. Don't worry, the pace of the story will pick up!