The Hokage was sitting in his office, doing what takes up the majority of his days; paperwork. Today had been an uneventful day. Handing out morning missions had come and gone. It was now about lunch time and the Hokage was about to step out for a quick minute when he heard a knock on the door.
"Hokage-sama we have received a urgent message from a team currently on a mission." spoke a Chunin.
"Bring it here."
The ninja walked over the the Hokages desk and gave him the message. The old man untied the note and read it.
While on our way to the Wave, we ran into two ninja from the Mist. We took care of them easily enough, but upon interrogating one of the ninja we discovered they were after the bridge builder. Also, they are working with Zabuza Momochi. I know that it's dangerous, but I would like to continue this mission. I have faith in my team and it would be a great experience for them I am writing to ask for assistance. Should we meet Momochi it would be smart to have some back up. While I am confident in my skills, it is better to be safe when dealing with a dangerous missing-nin. We are currently waiting a few hours travel time away from Konoha. We have set up camp to wait for back-up before continuing the Wave.
The Hokage was troubled by this note. Kurenai wanted to continue a possibly deadly mission with fairly new Genin squad. Although he may not agree about continuing the mission, but it would be the experience they needed and would get eventually. The Hokage believed in his shinobi forces so he was going to agree to let Team 8 continue this mission, with backup of course.
"Get me Yamato right away."
A few hours later
With Team 8
It was around 5 in the afternoon when Yamato arrived as Team 8's backup. Naruko was happy her sensei was sent seeing hes one of the only people she trusted with her life. The others on the team; Hinata, and Shino, had no clue who he was. This was not surprising seeing most of his career involved ANBU operations. Naruko explained to her teammates that Yamato has trained her sense she was 7, so she could vouch for him. Not that that mattered, Kurenai knows Yamato as well and is pleased with her backup. After the team was all packed up they set off for Wave Country. The goal was to arrive right around sunset so they wouldn't have the darkness to worry about. If they traveled in the dark, it would be much easier for their enemies to attack them. The sun was just about to set when they arrived at a dock. There was a single boat that would carry them into town and Tazuna's house. After taking the less visible path into town the boat stopped at a small dock near their destination. A few short minutes later and they arrived at Tazuna's house. When they entered the group was greeted by Tsunami, Tazuna's daughter. Tsunami was pleased to see her father return with a team of ninja as protection. She knew the bridge her father was building is the single most important thing for her village. After a lite dinner the group was interrupted by a small child named Inari. Inari told the ninja they were stupid for standing up to Gatou and they would die like everyone else. Upon hearing this Naruko sent a root from her chest to grab Inari by the throat. Yamato, knowing his student, quickly defused the situation explaining they were shinobi of the leaf and failing a mission was not an option. Inari scowled and ran off. Shortly after Naruko excused herself and went to the roof to be alone. Yamato explained to everyone that Naruko has had it worse then most people. Probably worse then most of the people of Wave Country until recently. Most of then team decided to head to sleep early when Kurenai said they would be doing some training tomorrow while Yamato guarded the bridge builder and his crew. Kurenai and Yamato deciding that with the information they got from Naruko's interrogation, Zabuza wouldn't make his attack immediately.
The next morning, the team woke up and met in the back yard to train. The day started off with light spars between the Genin to get their blood flowing. After the spar session, Kurenai told them about the chakra exorcise water walking. Of course Naruko knew of this and has it down perfectly so she volunteered to help her team with it. Kurenai agreed this would be a good idea and joined Yamato at the bridge for a few hours to talk strategy for the next few days.
It was late afternoon when the team completed the water-walking exercise. At this time Kurenai decided that her team might need a better way to defend themselves so she decided to give her Genin chakra paper to learn their affinity's. Naruko of course knew hers, which was a strong water affinity. So giving the paper to Hinata and and Shino the two channeled chakra into it. The test reviled Hinata with a water affinity like Naruko but not as strong, and Shino with an earth affinity. Naruko knew some jutsu of both affinities and once again volunteered to teach her teammates but Yamato said he would teach Shino sense his earth affinity was stronger then Naruko's.
The next day Team 8 plus Yamato worked on a few low rank jutsu that would be easy to learn and useful in a battle. Kurenai took over for Yamato at the bridge protecting the workers. The first jutsu Naruko decided to teach Hinata was a defensive one. Hinata was mainly a close range fighter so having a defensive jutsu was a good idea. The defensive jutsu was called Water Realease: Defensive Waterfall. For Hinata, this jutsu would require a water source, but seeing as their next fight was most likely going to be on a bridge, that wouldn't be a problem. This jutsu is fairly simple and does just what it says. It creates a protective waterfall in front of the user. Depending on how skilled the user is, they can create multiple protective waterfalls for their teammates as well.
Yamato decided to use Naruko's line of thinking and sense Shino is mostly a ranged support fighter, it would be good for him to have an offensive jutsu to better support his teammates from a distance. The jutsu Yamato decided for Shino was Earth Release: Rock Trail. This jutsu requires the user to slam his hand into the ground thus creating a trail a rocks protruding from the ground in the desired direction. Of course the users skill decides the distance and overall magnitude of the jutsu.
The group of four spent then next few days practicing the jutsu until they were comfortable using it in combat.
A week later and still no attack on the bridge made the Jonin sensei worry. Tazuna had said that the bridge was nearly done, and this meant the attack was soon to take place. This lead to the groups decision to send the entire team to the bridge for the remainder of the construction.
After breakfast the team gathered their things and head out. Naruko mentioned that Tsunami and the brat would be left alone so maybe someone should stay behind. Yamato agreed and left two wood clones behind. Kurenai assured Tsunami she would be safe and nothing would happen to her father. By 9:00 the team set out for the bridge.
The team arrived at the bridge a few short minutes after leaving the house. Tazuna got to work and the morning started off with no interruption.
Shortly before lunch a thick fog rolled in over the bridge. "This is no normal fog Team, protect Tazuna the fight is about to start."
A voice came from the mist. "Seems the old bridge builder went and found some protection. Haku take care of the bridge builder while I deal with our friends."
Suddenly a ninja who looked to be in their teens appeared in front of Naruko, Shino, and Hinata.
"You guys take care of that fake hunter-nin, Yamato and I will deal with Zabuza." commanded Kurenai.
"The pretty little lady is going to deal with me huh? Lets play!"
With Naruko and team
"It is not my intention to kill you. Please step aside and leave the bridge builder to me. There is no need for unnecessary blood shed." the ninja known as Haku spoke in a flat tone.
Surprisingly, Shino spoke first. "It would be a direct conflict of interest to do that. Should you try to endanger the life of Tazuna, we will not hesitate to eliminate you."
Naruko grinned at what Shino said. It was out of character for Shino to make threats but it was a nice surprise. "I'd listen to my friend here, it's three on one. You know what to do Shino."
Haku stood motionless for a few seconds then charged at Naruko. The two ninja took turns exchanging blows. The main difference between he two would be clear to a trained eye. When Naruko would attack Haku he would block. When Haku attacked, Naruko would dodge. Showing her superior flexibility and reflexes.
Haku realized this and decided to take a different approach. Haku jumped back creating some distance from Naruko and launched a few senbon at her. Naruko drew a kunai and deflected the attack. Shino decided it was time to join the fight and sent a small swarm at Haku to test him.
Haku saw the swarm coming and threw more senbon at Naruko to prevent her from attacking with the swarm. While Haku threw the senbon he started using one handed seals.
Naruko's eye's narrowed when she saw this. "This guy is more dangerous then he lets on. We should end this quickly."
Haku finished the hand seals and launched his jutsu. "Ice Release: Swallow Snow Storm"
Haku threw what looked like senbon made of ice at Shino's swarm. The senbon merged with each other forming a couple different swallows. The temperature of the ice birds killed the insects on contact and continued to fly towards Shino.
Hinata saw her teammate was in trouble. Naruko was to far away to do anything so Hinata had to step up.
"Water Release: Defensive Waterfall!" shouted Hinata as a waterfall of water appeared in front of Shino. The warmer temperature of the waterfall rendered the ice attack useless.
Without turning around Shino spoke to Hinata. "Thank You Hinata."
Naruko wanted to keep the pressure on Haku because he seemed to be stronger at long range. Naruko shot at Haku trying to engage in another Taijutsu fight. Haku saw this and made his move. He jumped back sending more senbon at Naruko. Haku's attack was not aimed to hit Naruko but only to slow her down. Haku went through more hand seals to perform his strongest jutsu."Demonic Mirroring Ice Crystals" Haku called out. In the blink of an eye 21 ice mirrors appeared surrounding Naruko. Haku jumped into one of the mirrors, now his image was reflecting on all the mirrors.
As quickly as he could, Shino through two kunai at the mirrors hoping to break them, setting Naruko free. To Shino's disappointment, the ice remained intact, showing no damage.
"No attacks can break this technique. I'm sorry it came to this but you have left me with no choice."
"Shit. This isn't looking good. I can't let my sensei and family down." thought Naruko.
Haku started his assault launching senbon from different mirrors. Narko's speed helped her dodge some of the attacks along with her wood armor, but there was to many to dodge them all.
After a few minutes of attacks Naruko fell to the ground looking like a pin cushion. "Naruko!"
Shouted Hinata afraid her teammate was badly hurt.
A few minutes earlier with Zabuza.
"It looks like Haku is getting serious. Your little Genin don't stand a chance if hes using that attack." Zabuza's face was covered but the outline told Yamato he was grinning.
"They will be fine Kurenai, have faith in your team." Yamato reassured her.
Zabuza charged at Yamato deciding he was the more dangerous one of the pair. His huge sword gave him the reach advantage while fighting Yamato but something was off. He couldn't understand how Yamato was reading his attacks so easily. He seemed to dodge with ease. This frustrated Zabuza. Gradually his attacks became more sloppy and Yamato was able to land some counter attacks. Taking a step back to analyze the situation Zabuza realized something. He knew this woman's face from somewhere. He had seen it in a bingo book before. "That's it."
"So, that's how this guy could dodge my attacks so easily. I knew I recognized you from somewhere, Genjutsu Mistress. Why don't we kick this up a notch."
Zabuza had his sword raised ready to charge when Hinata's scream was heard by Kurenai. "Naruko." said Kurenai with worry in her voice.
Zabuza took advantage of her distraction. He charged her ready to strike.
"Kurenai!" Yamato tried to grab her attention and ran after her.
Zabuza's sword came down just as Yamato pushed Kurenai out of the way. Zabuza's attack caught Yamato in the chest causing sever damage. Yamato fell to the ground unconscious with a large slice across his body.
Naruko was in a similar position as her sensei although she didn't know it. "Yamato!"
Naruko heard a scream which sounded like Kurenai That woke her up. Naruko slowly lifted her head and saw her sensei laying on the ground with a pool a blood. Her eyes widened in shock. "No no no no!" Naruko thought her sensei was dead.
Haku's voice snapped Naruko out of her shocked state. "Looks like Zabuza is almost finished. I told you this could have been avoided."
Hearing this infuriated Naruko like never before. "Kill them. Kill them all!" Naruko heard a voice in her head. A blood red hue surrounded Naruko as she stood up. The senbon stuck in Naruko dropped to the ground and her wounds closed up. Nauko's normally green eyes turned crimson. Haku saw this and attacked. Throwing more senbon at Naruko who stood motionless. The senbon burned up the instant they hit the red aura. "What technique is this. Its extremely dangerous." thought Haku.
Naruko, in her rage filled haze started her attack. A root shot out from her body surrounded in the red chakra and shattered a mirror in front of her. The mirror reappeared a second later.
"You can not escape this jutsu. I'm sorry I must end this now." replied Haku.
"NNNAHHHHHH!" Naruko screamed. Her rage was growing. More roots shot out of her body this time. Enough to shatter every mirror, breaking Haku's jutsu. Shattering all the mirrors did more then break the jutsu. One of the roots impaled Haku through the chest, pinning him to the ground.
Naruko walked over to Haku's pinned body, the root holding him down. Haku knew he was finished. "Zabuza-sama...I've failed." Blood began to fall from Haku's mouth. The enraged Naruko looked Haku in the eyes as more roots slowly made their way towards Haku.
"Naruko stop!" Hinata shouted pleading for her teammate to snap out of it.
Naruko paused and looked at Hinata. Hinata made eye contact with Naruko and jumped back, scared. Naruko's facial expression said it all, her emotions were dead. All she saw was red, and all she felt was bloodlust. Naruko turned her attention back to Haku. The three roots that were coming out of her body instantly shot towards Haku and impaled him. One through his head and and two more through his chest. Blood was in a pool around Haku and some splashed on Naruko's face. She lifted her head and Haku's blood started running down her cheeks. She started to walk towards Zabuza. "I will destroy you!"
Naruko was walking towards Zabuza when her head felt like it was about to explode. "AAHHGGG" Naruko dropped to her knees clutching her head in pain. She heard a voice in her head that was not the fox. "Calm yourself child. Do not taint the life force of the green with this vile power."
Naruko continued to scream as her skin burned from the red chakra. Naruko's gut told her to listen to this voice. Slowly the red chakra receded and Naruko returned to normal, but clearly exhausted.
"Haku..." Zabuza walked over to Haku's dead body. Then he looked at Naruko. "You're dead!"
Zabuza charged at a defenseless Naruko determined to end her life, but was stopped by a kunai through the ribs and into his heart. Kurenai pulled the kunai out of Zabuza's body and he dropped to the ground beside Naruko. Naruko looked at Zabuza's body and immediately remembered why she was in a rage in the first place. "Yamato-sensei!"
Naruko stood up and ran over to Yamato. He was breathing lightly and was close to death, Naruko knew he didn't have long before it was to late. Kurenai ran over and joined Naruko.
"I'm sorry Naruko I looked away for one second." Kurenai spoke with sadness in her voice.
Naruko didn't speak, she blamed Kurenai for what happened and knew if she spoke her mind things would not end well. Naruko started to pick up Yamato when a large group of people walked onto the bridge.
"Well well, looks like the Demon of the Mist was all talk." said a short fat man with glasses on.
"Gatou!" screamed Tazuna.
Kurenai looked at Naruko and spoke. "Take him to the hospital now and send word to Konoha, Yamato will need a medical ninjas help. Go!"
Naruko jumped away with Yamato when Hinata and Shino joined with their sensei. "What do we do sensei?" asked Hinata.
"We finish our mission." she said, with determination.
A few days later
Yamato was slowly recovering after the battle at the bridge. Naruko was becoming distant, she blamed Kurenai for what happened to Yamato. Yamato saw how Naruko was acting and after asking her about it learned she blamed her team for Yamato's condition. He assured her that that wasn't the case. He told Naruko he knew what he was doing and it could have turned out to me much worse. Naruko said she understood but Yamato could see she still couldn't get over it.
Yamato had asked Naruko what happen after he took Zabuza's attack. Naruko said she had been filled with rage and the foxes power became her own. After killing Haku she felt a pain in her head. The green calmed her down and told her she shouldn't use the foxes power. It seemed like The Green and the foxes chakra weren't compatable. Yamato warned her not to use the foxes chakra if she could help it.
Kurenai had been spending time training her team. Naruko seemed to be avoiding her so she worked with Hinata and Shino, seeing they needed more work compared to Naruko. Also, she knew the Chunin Exams were coming up soon and if the last few days were any indicator, she thought her team would be ready. As long as Naruko was level headed enough.
Over the next few days Yamato had healed up nicely. He wasn't 100% but he was healed enough to travel. The team was gathered at the finished bridge getting ready to head back to Konoha.
Tazuna and his family, along with many people of the town where there to see them off.
"We can't thank you enough." spoke Tsunami, getting a reaction from the crowd that said they agreed.
"Yeah, sorry for all the trouble I put you guys through, but it worked out in the end." said a smiling Tazuna.
Naruko remained stoic through the ordeal not saying a word. She wanted to get back to Konoha ad be done with this place. The two Jonin seeing Naruko's impatience decided to head out. The team said their final goodbyes and left for home.
"What are you going to name the bridges gramps?" Asked Inari.
"Well I know it sounds corny but I think The Bridge of Hope is fitting. Thanks to those nin there is hope for our country now."
A few days later
At training ground 8, Team Kurenai called a meeting to discuss the future with her team. After reporting the success of their last mission to the Hokage, he was slightly upset at how things unfolded. Naruko tapping into the foxes power could prove troublesome. If her attitude was a show of things to come, the fox might come into play more often. The Hokage ordered Kurenai and Yamato to keep and eye out for any signs Naruko was becoming unstable. The old man didn't want to believe the fox was influencing Naruko but had to remain open to the option.
Pushing her conversation with the Hokage to the back of her mind, Kurenai greeted her team. "Good morning guys, I have some good news. The Chunin Exams are right around the corner and I've decided to enter Team 8."
Taking a few minutes to absorb what their sensei said, Hinata and Shino looked at each other, looking for some kind of confirmation. Nodding to each other they looked at Naruko for her answer.
"What? I'm ready." said Naruko not paying attention to her team.
Feeling a bit uncomfortable Kurenai broke the silence. "Great, the next 2 months we will be working on refining your teamwork, analytical skills, and learning a few jutsu to help you guys out. Take today to relax because you've got some hard training starting bright and early tomorrow." Kurenai finished smiling at her team.
Shino and Hinata decided to grab a bite to eat and talk about the upcoming examine. When they asked Naruko if she wanted to join she simply said she was busy. Shino and Hinata walked away feeling as if their teammate was dismissing them. Naruko tuned to walk the other direction when Kurenai stopped her.
"Naruko can I speak to you." It wasn't a question.
Naruko didn't say anything just looked at her sensei. "You seem a little distant, why didn't you take your teammates offer of lunch?"
"I said I was busy and I am. I need to continue my training, something we all need, sensei." Naruto said with attitude.
Kurenai felt the subtle attack Naruko sent her way.
"It's true that we all could use training, but that's what the next few months are for, you can afford a day off."
"I guess we disagree." said a bored Naruko.
Sighing Kurenai spoke. "Naruko it would be a good idea to work with your team not alone, the exams are much safer if the team works well together."
"Don't worry sensei, I won't do anything to put my teammates in harms way." Said Naruko with a smile.
This time Naruko's attack wasn't so subtle. Kurenai knew what Naruko was getting at. "Look, Naruko.."
"Are we done, sensei?"
Naruko left using her familiar root shunshin. "These next few months are going to make or break this team. I wish I could have done things better."