Chapter 3: Night in the woods

After the battle with Azula, Naruto and Hinata retreated into the woods. They were heavily outnumbered when the additional transports arrived.

They were running a long time. It took forever to shake down pursuing vehicles. Naruto thought the vehicles can't follow them into the woods. But he quickly realized otherwise, when the iron monsters started to cut one tree after another. But the ninjas were getting deeper and deeper and the trees were larger and larger.

"Finally" Naruto cheered when he saw big trees that could support them. With one jump they get into the tree branches and in a minute they travelled distance twice as long than when they walked.

The voices and noises behind them instantly went silent. They were safe now. They travelled another couple of minutes and they change direction three times just to be sure nobody could follow them. It went dark as they travelled.

They stopped next to the beautiful lake. Perfect place for rest.

"Are you all-right?" Naruto asked

"Yes" Hinata answered

"Didn't the fire girl get you, or .." Naruto stopped for a moment "Didn't I hurt you when I pushed you?"

"N-NO!" Hinata yelled, she recognized that Naruto thought it was his fault. "You saved me, without you I would be burned alive." She gave him a smile. This was one of the things he loved about her. Her smile was one of the most sincere than anyone else's he knew.

"I already looked, I didn't brake my stitches"

"glad to hear it" Naruto smiled

"But are you all-right?" She looked at him. She didn't see it a minute ago, but now the moon rose high in the sky, and the moonlight fell on them.

"Few scratches, nothing to worry abo.." Naruto said casually, but Hinata interrupted him.

"You are burned" Hinata said in horror, when she saw him in the light.

His clothes was torn in couple of places and slightly burned. But his neck and right arm was a lot worse, she saw a big red burn marks all over his arm. His neck was slightly better, but still.

"Your neck and arm. You need a cold water and a cold compress" She told him

Naruto faltered, when he heard Hinata's serious voice.

"Is that really that bad?" Naruto asked as he seated half naked next to the lake. Hinata sat behind him and helped him with the burn marks. She was blushing a little, but it was OK, because Naruto couldn't see.

"How did this happen" Hinata asked "I saw your bunshin burn, but not you?"

"It wasn't bunshin" Naruto answered in a cranky voice "It was kawarimi. When the crazy lady fire the blue flame on us I reacted in time, but my chakra .."

"It felt different, I didn't use the proper amount of chakra and the jutsu took a longer time. And I got burned a little" Naruto smiled and rubbed his back

"This isn't a little" Hinata said as she covered a half of his arm with bandages.

"So what do you think?" Naruto asked

"What do you mean?" Hinata asked back

"The people we encountered. They created fireballs with no hand seals" Naruto began to explain "Well, they moved a hands, but that don't count right?"

"Right" Hinata answered

"How is that even possible"

"It isn't" Hinata said

"But how ...?"

"They don't use ninjutsu. a-At least they don't use it as we do" Hinata explained

"Remember when I said that this environment sucking our chakra from our bodies?"

"hmm yeah" Naruto asked, not knowing where is Hinata going with this.

"w-Well, it seems that they are using chakra all around them to create fire"

"But how is this different from what we do?" Naruto asked "I saw ninja's create fire, as well as water.

"It isn't the same. We are trained to absorb chakra into us. We are using small amounts of chakra in us and we create through hand seals various techniques, for example fire." Naruto remembered on how Sasuke always did that.

"I thought only sannins could absorb chakra into them? The grandpa sage told me that it is dangerous for most people with low stamina." Naruto asked

"t-That's true, but you are absorbing a high amount of nature chakra in sennin mode, normal people absorb it in a small amounts. It usually takes a full night sleep to replenish all your chakra"

"I see" Naruto said "So how are the fire guys shooting flames?" He asked

"They are using the heat around them to create fire. The chakra never goes into they're bodies. They are manipulating the world around them, interestingly they are using only one part of chakra."

"Wha do you mean, one part?" Naruto asked

"w-Well, the chakra is made from four parts. Earth, water, fire and wind. Some people are more sensitive to certains types of chakra, for example I am more sensitive to water chakra. Hinata said. She was looking at the water with an interest.

"And I am sensitive to air" Naruto said and moved a hand into the breeze. "But how are we able to use all four elements in our techniques?" Naruto asked

"We are using our chakra as a whole, at max we are able to use more fire chakra than other types to create Katon, or more water chakra for suiton techniques. But even the most skilled ninja can't use only one part of chakra alone. It is not possible."

"But they are using only fire part of chakra right?" Naruto asked

"Yes that's the strange part" She answered

"Youre bandages are done" She said

Naruto checked them. Hinata isn't a medic ninja, but she did a good job.

"Thanks, it really don't hurt so much now" He smiled

"We should probably check what supplies we have?" Hinata proposed

"Good idea" Naruto said and began to ransack his belt pouch. Before they arrived into this strange country, they weren't on any mission. The Konoha was in ruin, so they mostly helped with the repairs. And there was no need tho be equipped with weapons. Naruto had only one kunai left, and he depleted all of his smoke bombs. Hinata had still two kunai's left, and some medical supplies, but no food.

"i-I am hungry" Hinata asked "Maybe we should go catch some fish?"

"No need" said Naruto "When I was still in Konoha, I bought a dinner for both of us" He showed small box with sushi.

Hinata was all red. She couldn't believe someone is thinking about her. Well she believed Naruto would, but all her life she was a disappointment. She did not meet hers fathers expectations. He often said that she is shame because she isnĀ“t't strong as her cousin Neji, or even as her younger sister Hanabi. Most people in Konoha saw her as member of the arrogant, rich and powerful part of the Hyuga clan. But she wasn't arrogant, rich and she certainly wasn't strong. Everyone told her, that she is weak, her father, members of her family and many more. Everyone except Kurenai sensei, and her teammates. And off course Naruto.

Hinata was flooded with the sudden rush of emotions and tears began to run down her face.

"What's wrong" Naruto asked, when he noticed tears on Hinata's cheeks.

"Nothing, I am just happy" She smiled

They began to eat. It wasn't a lot of food, but it was enough to feed them.

"We should go to sleep now" Naruto said "I take the first watch"

"Are you sure? You were burned pretty badly after all." Hinata asked

"It's all right, I don't feel anything now, thanks to you. But you were seriously injured two weeks ago. You still need to rest" Said Naruto in a sad voice.

Hinata didn't like when Naruto thought that her injury was his fault. It was her idea to help him against Pein, not his.

"Besides, I am full of energy thanks to Kyubi" He said casually

Hinata smiled "Good nigh Naruto"


Next morning

Naruto woke up, when the sun was high. It must have been afternoon already.

"Damn" Naruto sigh, when he remembered he had the watch. He was supposed to wake up Hinata after couple of hours, but he did not have that power.

"And instead you fall asleep you idiot" He told to himself. He rubbed his eyes and look around. Hinata was nowhere to be seen.

Cold sweat flood his face. What if the fire soldiers came here and took her. And what if they ki.. Naruto didn't finish the thought when he heard a loud crack. He prepared his kunai.

Mysterious person appeared. Thankfully it was Hinata and she was holding a couple of fishes. Naruto smiled as he saw her.

"Good morning" Hinata said politely and smiled back. "I caught some fishes, it is already lunchtime so I thought we could use some food." Then she noticed the kunai in his hands. He must have just woke up. She didn't blame him, she had the same reaction when Naruto woke her in the morning with his snoring.

He put down the kunai and helped Hinata with fish. They lit the fire and started roast the fish.

"You won't believe what I found" Hinata said in happy voice.

After the lunch they went to a nearby pond. Naruto's jaw dropped when he saw the animals who lived there. That place was full of life, but that wasn't the jaw dropping part. He saw animals that he never saw before. There was a couple animals who looked like ducklings, but when looked carefully he saw a turtle shell on their back.

"Who is this little guy?" He petted the duck "I never saw this kind of animal before"

"I don't know Hinata answered "But at least we know for sure we are definitely not on the mainland"

They travelled several hours now.

"So what's the plan" Naruto asked

"Plan?"

"I mean, we are not on the main land. And nobody probably heard about Konoha." Naruto said "So what are we going to do?"

"I think our best chance is still get to the Ba sing se" Hinata answered

"But, what then?" Naruto whispered

Hinata didn't hearedNaruto and they continued through the Forrest. They were going towards the Ba sing se, but they weren't so stupid to go on the main road. Even from the depth of the Forrest, Hinata could see the road was full of vehicles and soldiers. They are probably looking for them.

They were going another couple of hours.

"What time is it?" Naruto asked. Although it was one of the elementary knowledge's and they learned it in the first year on the academy. Naruto didn't really learned it.

Hinata looked on the sun ad said "Around five o'clock"

"And sun is still high, we are probably in the middle of summer" Naruto said

Hinata wanted to say something, but she was interrupted by the loud sound of the breaking branches.

The ninja's prepared their weapons.

"Byakugan" Hinata whispered

It was a short moment of silence, when Hinata chuckle.

"What is it Hinata?" Naruto whispered quietly

Hinata released her jutsu and a moment later small animal animal appeared from behind the tree. At first sight it looked like a cat, or a dog. But when they looked closer they saw a cow's head with little horns.

"So cute" Hinata squealed. It was really cute. Naruto thought to himself.

The animal didn't even notice them. The animal ran past them, jumped onto the tree and took an apple into his mouth. And hurried quickly hurried away.