Izuna hissed as he poked at the rather sizable bruise on his thigh. He couldn't wait until he got his adult body back, and with it, the longer reach and larger Chakra capacity which had made him someone to be feared on the battlefield back in the days when his name had been mentioned in conjunction with Madara's much as Tobirama's had been with Hashirama's. As it was, the only way he'd even have a chance of taking the Hatake who had started the mess he and Naruto were in out would be with the element of surprise, which was nearly impossible to gain now that the man was on his guard against him due to that little incident that had taken place when they'd first met.

Considering the fact that it would have saved him and Naruto who was currently watching him in concern a great deal of trouble down the line, he should have ignored Shisui and dealt with him then and there that day.

Things had gone to hell because the Hatake had decided to rile him up even further today, and had said something during their spar that had turned it serious, which had led to the untenable situation he and Naruto were currently in. The man was fucked in the head, but that wasn't an excuse since it was - rather unfortunately - a common affliction amongst ninja, and even his own brother...

Yeah, he was going to do his best to forget that one. He already regretted remembering it.

Even though he was rather annoyed with the fact that the Hatake persisted in believing that he was Naruto's mother, he could almost follow the thought processes that had brought the man to that conclusion. Ninja were trained to search for the "Underneath the Underneath" in every situation and, the longer one was a ninja, the more one automatically started looking for it lest one not notice a detail that was amiss and end up dying from one's own stupidity. When things were exactly what they appeared to be on the surface however, it had a tendency to drive more experienced ninja nuts as they kept looking for something that wasn't there, because there had to be something there. Cue the crazy theories that started making the ninja in question look even more insane than they already were, like with what happened during that incident with Madara-nii and a hooker that had turned out to be, well, a hooker.

He knew that the Hatake's little slips of the tongue were the man's way of saying "I know you're Kushina, and you know I know you're Kushina, so, let's cut the bullshit.". Unfortunately, there was no bullshit to cut, and each slip just served to insult him even further, especially since he'd told the man to cut it out several times only to get an indifferent response in return.

He probably wouldn't have minded the Hatake's constant hinting that he was Kushina nearly as much if he actually had been Kushina. But, he wasn't, and he was afraid that the crackpot theory would catch on with those who spied on his team's training and team meetings for whatever reason, and the last thing he needed would be to have his name and image tacked onto a new entry for the "Red Hot-Blooded Habanero" in the latest Bingo Book. He'd never hear the end of it, especially when he ended up back in the afterlife where Madara-nii and the damnable Senju brothers would undoubtedly be waiting for him.

He'd also noticed an element of gender confusion to a couple of the Hatake's slips, as if the man was uncertain as to what gender to assign to him. Though he'd be confused too if he ran into a man that he believed to be a reincarnation of someone he'd known all his life as a woman, it just served to further add fuel to the fire when it came to him and the Hatake.

One of these days, he was going to kill that man, but today apparently wasn't the day. Aside from the fact that he didn't have the necessary reach and Chakra capacity to deal with an opponent like the Hatake who was just below "Kage" when it came to his skill level, he had other things to deal with at the moment, such as possibly keeping Naruto alive.

Thanks to his smaller size, shorter reach, and lower Chakra capacity, he'd had to get much closer to the Hatake in order to properly fight him. Which - while allowing him to duck under the man's guard a few times - had also placed him in greater danger, as it gave his opponent who had a much longer reach than he did the advantage. An advantage that his opponent hadn't hesitated to press when he'd realized that he'd been serious during their spar. Fortunately, his status as a teammate/student had prevented the Hatake from taking things too far during that fight, and he'd escaped with minor injuries despite the fact that he'd tried to stab the man to death with a kunai. Though he'd tried his hardest, he'd lacked the arm strength necessary to stab through the man's vest which had apparently had some aftermarket alterations made to it.

At the end of their fight, he may have had several bruises, a couple of scrapes, and some bruised ribs from where he'd been thrown into a tree after he'd exposed the thin layer of armor plating that lined the Hatake's vest, but he'd left the Hatake with a bloody nose and a split lip to remember him by. Considering the situation he and Naruto were in thanks to that man though, it wasn't nearly enough. Being on the ground in a bloody and broken heap that would take several healers an hour to realize that what they were looking at had once been human wouldn't be nearly enough.

"Are you alright?" Naruto, who had followed him into the woods without question and continued following him away from the village until he'd found a good place to stop and rest a moment, asked nervously, drawing him out of his somewhat dark musings.

The poor boy had panicked when he'd blacked out after he'd hit the tree, and had thought that the Hatake had killed him, and what had happened during Naruto's little freak-out over his supposed death had been interesting to say the least. There had been a great deal of yelling, and screaming, and the boy had been surrounded by a strange orange-red Chakra that had felt exceedingly ominous, as the markings on his face changed and his eyes turned red with split pupils. The boy had then attacked the Hatake who had barely been able to hold the child off before he had managed to get up off the ground, and tried to get Naruto to bring himself back under control.

He hadn't done it a moment too soon if the Hatake's spooked reaction was anything to judge by. The instant Naruto was back under some semblance of control, the Hatake had sent them running into the woods and ordered them not to stop for anybody save himself and the Hokage, and told them that they'd better triple check their identities before they did so. And so, the two of them were stuck in the woods outside Konoha where he had nothing to tend to his injuries with aside from a healing jutsu he'd copied from someone who had been mediocre at it at best running from anyone or anything that might possibly be a threat, and he didn't have much of an idea as to why.

Sure, he knew that it had something to do with the Kyuubi. He could figure out that much at least. But, aside from that, he had little idea what was going on aside from the fact that he and Naruto were in danger, and they had to run.

The question was, would the threat come from some ninja who had believed Naruto to have slipped from whatever control the Yondaime had supposedly had him under for the last seven - nearly eight - years, or would it come from the civilian villagers who had irrationally wanted to dispose of Naruto from day one despite the fact that he hadn't really been anything approaching a threat until today, and wasn't really much of one even now? Could he even trust the Hatake or the Hokage? Could he trust Naruto's remaining friend amongst the village shinobi, or would Mizuki betray them?

They could run rings around whatever mobs of civilians might come after them once word of what had happened during today's training had spread, but when it came to shinobi, that depended. Anything below Jounin, he'd be able to handle on his own. Anything that level and above, and the best he could hope for would be to sacrifice himself and hope Naruto managed to make it to safety. Should it be Mizuki, it would probably kill Naruto. He didn't think that Naruto would be able to handle a betrayal by a trusted friend or supposed ally at the moment, and another serious emotional shock could tip the boy over the edge in the state he was currently in.

When it came to the Hatake who had gotten them into this mess, and may be the one to get them out of it again, part of him said not to trust the man who had proven himself to be exceedingly unstable and unreliable in the past. But, another part of him had seen the look in the Hatake's visible eye when he had told them to run. There had been fear. Not fear of Naruto, but fear for Naruto. Whatever the man's obsession with the boy was, he had seemed clearly and genuinely concerned for his safety in that moment, even despite the fact that the boy had flipped out and tried to kill him.

Despite the fact that he wanted to kill the man for getting him and Naruto into this situation, he knew that he could trust the man to tell them when it was safe to return at the very least, if he couldn't get them out of it altogether. Until he saw hide or hair of the Hatake however, he would have to lead Naruto through the woods to an old Uchiha holdout that was hopefully more than a mouldering wreck at the moment. At least there, they should be able to hide with something resembling shelter until this either blew over, or he learned exactly how much danger they were in and chose a different direction in which to run. A direction in which they might be able to hide for a few years if they were careful.

The fact that Naruto contained the Kyuubi of course complicated matters because, if they tried to run to another ninja village where they might otherwise be welcome, Konoha may try anything to get the boy back, even start a war. Nobody let go of something as powerful as a Biju willingly or easily when they had it in their grasp after all.

Edited 1-22-13