Here you all are, a new chapter. Happy belated Valentine's! Sorry it's late, but I've only just finished it and my laptop kept deleting it! It's been doing that a lot lately, so that might be a problem I should look into...
Dear god, this child was terrifying. What ever happened to the genin that hated blood, and were squeamish about death? Granted, the girl seemed a little nauseous, but that was only her. Blondie didn't seem to notice, and the arrogant Uchiha was just as unphased. Zabuza was actually a little concerned, of course he had to get the most abnormal batch of genin that Konoha had to offer. Well, he hoped they were at least. The missing nin didn't want to think about what it would mean if these kids were considered normal.
"Hey!" Kakashi blinked, gaining the attention of everyone of the bridge.
"What, Kaka-sensei?" the Blondie asked, kind of curious. Zabuza thought the nickname was rather suited for the Copy Ninja, as there was no way that the man was sane.
"I just realized that I lost tic-tac-toe to a blind kid!" The jounin huffed. His three genin stared at him (or in his direction at least) in disbelief.
"Let me get this straight," the pink haired girl started, disbelievingly. "We're in the middle of a battle with a S-Class missing nin and a pretend hunter nin of unknown strength and you're worried about a child's game you lost months ago?"
Kakashi nodded. "Yep!" He eye-smiled at his team, while even Zabuza felt the urge to smack some sense into his opponent. Really, who thought about a child's game in the middle of a fight? I wasn't that important.
Zabuza had thought that this fight would go much different than it had been going. So far, all he and the small team had managed to do where insult each other, always being stopped from attacking by a random comment made by the jounin, or something that the blond thought was amusing.
"How long before Gato loses his patience and shows up?" Kakashi whispered to Naruto.
"Probably not much longer," Naruto whispered. "He and the large group of people are already moving closer to us. They're probably wondering why they don't hear fighting."
It turns out that Kakashi had underestimated Naruto's ability to sense people and objects around him. The blond genin had sensed the group as soon as the mist had been put up, and had informed his sensei immediately. Now all they had to do was postpone actual fighting until Gato became impatient and decided to take matters into his own hands. Zabuza seemed in no hurry, and Kakashi had to wonder if that was because he was remembering their earlier encounter. Anyone with at least a little sanity didn't want a seal happy Uzumaki coming after them. In theory, Naruto wouldn't even have to get close to take out the missing nin.
Naruto just wanted to try out his new seal. He had ben working on his Paralysis Tag and had finally managed to get the seal to immobilize anyone within a hundred feet of him. He'd had to key in his teams chakra signatures so that they wouldn't be paralyzed with the enemy, but Naruto could work on that later. He briefly considered selling these lags with the flash seal and the element seal, but decided to keep them for his personal arsenal with the lightning tag. After all, the Nara specialized in keeping opponents immobile, and he had to much respect for them to sell a seal that made a similar affect to their clan jutsu.
Fuinjutsu was one of the hardest arts of the shinobi world to learn. The basics took years to master and finding the right symbols to create new seals took even longer. Being an Uzumaki, he was more proficient than most, but Naruto still had a hard time coming up with the right sequence of symbols that caused the effects that he wanted. Some failures became something else, like with his Flash Tag and some literally exploded in his face.
Haku was finding all of this interesting, to be truthful. It was obvious that the Konoha team was stalling, but he and Zabuza were more than curious enough to find out. It was often that a ninja stalled anything and the group must have had a very valid reason for doing so.
"Ne, blondie," Zabuza cocked his head. "I've got a question for as you all so effectively continue to stall for whatever reason that you have."
"Yes?" Naruto cocked his head.
"You're blind, right?"
"No, I just make a habit at not seeing things." Note the sarcasm.
"Then are you aware that you are in a bright orange jumpsuit that should be classified as 'Kill-Me-Orange'? I would think that it would be to have opponents underestimate you, but that was before I knew you couldn't see." Zabuza was honestly curious. He loved a good battle and bloodshed, he really did, but he had a soft spot when it came to what he viewed as children. It was the entire reason that he had taken Haku in. He just couldn't stand to see a child suffer in anyway, and that made things much harder in this fight. Along with the fact he wanted to know why the Konoha nin were stalling, he really didn't want to be forced into killing the children. Even if the Uchiha was asking for it.
Naruto stared in the direction of what he assumed was Zabuza (the chakra was watery while the other looked more like ice and/or snow). "What?" There was a very dangerous ton to his question, and Kakashi wondered if they were going to die anytime soon.
Sakura nodded, vigorously. "Yeah, I can't believe I forgot. I guess I got so used to seeing you in it that I didn't even think to ask."
Sasuke seemed more amused than anything. "The Taijutsu may not be funny, but this is. So, what are you going to do to the poor sap who lied to you?"
Naruto's glare heated up, "Kill-Me-Orange? Is that some kind of joke they thought would be ironic? It's not!"
"Ironic? Why-OH!" Sakura giggled. "It is kind of ironic, considering. Though, isn't your problem red-orange, not bright orange?"
"My problem is going to have a problem if he doesn't explain why he let me walk around wearing orange of all things!" Naruto snarled, for once looking more than a little dangerous.
"Maybe your problem thought that it was good stealth training?" Kakashi suggested. "You do have to admit, dodging Anbu recruits wearing bright orange and being blind and a genin is very impressive."
"Just think of how well he could hide without the orange," Sakura added in, making her other two teammates shudder and Naruto smirk. Oh, he was so ditching the orange the first chance that he got. The Anbu weren't going to like how much harder their challenge was going to get.
Zabuza was looking impressed. "Hmm, I would hate to have to track you down, kid."
Naruto grinned at the man, his eyes flashing happily. Haku and Zabuza blinked, not sure if they had really seen that or not.
Kakashi noticed the confusion. "They do that a lot. It's really hard to tell that there's anything wrong with his eyesight with the way that his eyes react to things like happiness and other emotions. I think the Sandaime even finds the phenomenon creepy."
"Oi!" A new voice entered the equation. "Why are you all standing around? I thought gramps was going to be in trouble!"
The gathered turned to see Inari standing there with the villagers, all armed with various weapons. Naruto frowned, he wasn't sure, but some of those tools seemed to take the shape of garden tools under his chakra.
"We're being smart and sneaky ninja and stalling," Kakashi said happily. "We're just waiting for the last guest to stop hiding. Naruto sensed him a while ago, but we far misjudged his patience."
Zabuza frowned, before dispersing the mist jutsu. Sure enough, Gato and his army were revealed. Well, that explained the stalling.
"Did you think that you could double cross me?" Zabuza raised his killing intent. "Me, Demon of the Mist, killer of thousands?"
Gato gulped. Naruto vaguely thought that this was a good learning experience for Inari. The boy could clearly see that Gato was afraid of them, which lowered their fear of the dictator.
Kakashi snickered, "Or that you could use mercenaries to defeat us? To introduce myself, I'm Copy Ninja Hatake Kakashi, the man of a thousand jutsu, former Anbu captian, current S-Class jounin with a whole two pages in the Bingo Book on me."
Sasuke and Sakura gaped, while Naruto smirked. "He's also chronically late to everything, hates to write reports, loves his orange book, and his a pervert who has seemingly always worn a mask for unknown reasons. No one in the world knows what he looks like. He also is the summoner of the dog clan, and the son of Konoha's White Fang."
Kakashi pouted, "Have you been breaking into classified files in the Hokage's office again."
Naruto 'looked' at his sensei, his eyes showing nothing but innocence that Kakashi didn't believe for one second. He really needed to stop looking at the boys eyes, though. It was starting to creep him out.
Tazuna stared at the ninja he'd hired to protect him, "More than capable indeed." The bridge builder muttered, remembering the way the Copy Ninja had assured him of his safety.
Gato just gulped, "Who ever kills them will be paid triple!"
The mercenaries grinned and surged forward. Each of the ninja, baring Sakura as she stayed to protect the civilians, surged forward as well. Naruto, in a stroke of bright thinking, grabbed a Tag Seal and keyed in Zabuza and in hunter nin person quickly. It wasn't hard as their chakra was filling the air with previous jutsu. He then tossed the tag down and felt everyone freeze.
"There, no more problems!" Naruto hummed happily. He was looking to see if anyone remained unaffected beside's those keyed in, and grinned when no one moved.
"The hell?" Zabuza finally asked.
"Paralysis Tag got completed," Kakashi explained. "Have fun, their all yours and they can't move a muscle. Try not an break the bridge, please, or I might track you down and try one of the Lightning Tags on you."
Zabuza just ignored the threat and grinned, this was going to be fun! Haku chuckled and the two got to work while the villagers were ushered away from the bloody scene.
Team Seven smiled, their first C-Rank turned A-Rank was complete. Naruto smirked, sending out a chakra pulse as finally Gato was killed. The idiot had brought all of his forces to meet with them at the bridge and had left none to ambush them as they left.
Tazuna just snickered, he had always known that Gato wouldn't live long after he pissed off the wrong person. He felt that Kaito's death had been more than avenged. He glanced at Inari, who was chatting happily to Naruto. Yes, this was more than worth the fine he'd have to pay for lying about a mission.