Author's Notes: I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who reviewed and sent me messages. For some reason, I no longer emails saying I get reviews and/or pm's. So I do apologize for taking longer to respond than I normally do.

Okay, now that's out of the way, let's go.

Chapter 17: It Pours

The world grew very quiet. The Hokage's words rang in Kiba's ears as he watched the world move around him. He felt frozen in place and completely numb except for the warmth of Akamaru leaning on his leg. The Hokage was continuing to speak, but nothing the old man was saying made it through to him. The Hokage turned to speak to someone else. The sounds coming from the old man's mouth rang out but the feral child couldn't understand them.

Suddenly, a hand fell on his shoulder. The warmth from the touch spread through Kiba's body as scents broke through the fog of his mind. The smell of a fox, the smell of ramen, and the smell of a friend. Kiba turned to look at his friend. His friend's mouth moved, but even still Kiba couldn't understand a word. But he knew exactly what his friend was thinking. "We have to help her," the Inuzuka said.

Kiba saw his friend nod in agreement. Kiba smiled as Naruto made handsigns. They were going to save Hana, Hokage or no.

Hinata jumped as a woman landed next to her. "Kurenai-chan!" the woman shouted as soon as she landed. Hinata, once she had somewhat regained her composure, looked at Kurenai, who was doing very well at hiding her displeasure at this new comer's attitude.

"Anko-san, why, how nice for you to drop by..."

Anko threw her arms around Kurenai's shoulder. "Oh, don't be like that! I figured it was time I met these brats anyways. Yo! I'm Anko-sama to you three!"

"H-hello..." Hinata managed to squeak out.

Kurenai sighed. "Anko here is a member of the torture and investigation unit. She and I go a long ways back."

"Yep! Us kunoichi got to stick together! Right, girl?'

"That's Hinata," Kurenai said with a sigh.

"Right, Hinata?" Anko said.

"Umm... I... uh..."

"Oh, shy one? Well, I'll break you of that habit in no time."

"Please don't," Kurenai said.

"You're in a bad mood," Anko commented before stepping away from Kurenai. "Did the Hokage already tell you?"

Kurenai nodded. "Yes. He did."

Anko waved it off. "I ran out on Ibiki to make sure you knew. She's not in any real danger. She's less than a day's travel directly northeast."

Kurenai turned toward Kiba. "Well then, I don't think we need to worry do we? Since she's so-" Kurenai stopped to stare at Anko as she put her face inches away from Kiba. "Um, Anko?"

"Good henge, but it lacks a bit of wet dog. Practicing the Henge today?"

"What do-" Kurenai glared at the two boys. Hinata glanced between them, not seeing what the jonin were seeing, but at their words her heart sank.

Kurenai grabbed Kiba's hair and yanked hard, sending the boy sprawling. Brown hair changed to blonde with a poof of smoke. The Kurenai kicked the now visible Naruto, but at her touch he burst into smoke and chakra. Hinata gasped in shock, then glanced at Anko. The confident woman shouted at the top of her lungs, "Tell me you aren't that stupid!" before taking a kunai and jamming it into his arm.

Naruto exploded into chakra and Anko looked at Kurenai. The two furious jonin looked about - but Hinata just stared at the place the two boys had been standing, with one thought in her head.

They left me behind...

"Tazuna." At the sudden sound Sakura jumped. She looked back at their boat guide who was leaning in closer to Tazuna. "It looks like we've avoided detection so far, but..." A bird called out over the water, and everyone grew silent just for a moment. The guide began again, "We'll take a different route."

"Thanks," Tazuna said quietly, as the guide lead them into a tunnel. The sound of the water lapping against the walls of the tunnel echoed in the small enclosed space. Sakura shifted uncomfortably as water splashed over the side of the boat and onto her feet.

She shivered slightly as she wiped away the few drops of water, and when she looked up she saw they were coming into a mangrove. Trees floated above the water on a thick net of roots that sunk into the water. The air on the boat relaxed as they approached a few shoddily constructed buildings.

Their guide pushed the boat up to dock. "This is it for me. Good luck! We're all counting on you Tazuna."

"Thank you so much."

The guide reached back to start the motor of his boat, when Shino spoke up. "I would not do that if I were you. Why? Because if there is an enemy nearby, he may hear your boat and... detain you... for information." Their guide looked down at the motor, and back up at Shino. The boy didn't break eye contact as the guide slowly pushed away from the dock.

"That... was probably unnecessary," Kakashi pointed out.

"Better safe than sorry."

"Can we go?" Tazuna asked. "Before we get... detained... as he put it?"

"Yes... yes..." Kakashi said. "All right, be on the look out for crazy killers, and high level ninja."

"How would we know if we see someone like that?" Sasuke asked. His eyes locking onto his teacher. The avenger was itching for new training.

Kakashi, knowing this, smiled at his student. "Why, you won't see them of course! So if you see nothing, you're probably being stalked by someone who wants to use your scalp as a sake cup."

"You've got to be kidding."

"I don't believe he is. Why? Cause the last time he said something like that, he threw an exploding tag at us," Shino mentioned.

"You ninja are insane."

"I don't believe I ever said otherwise."

The walk began again in silence. They slowly marched into the mist. Not one of them complained, their brief moment of safety gone. Every sound set the four ninja on alert. There was a slight movement in the bushes and they all stopped. Sasuke's hand drew closer to his kunai, Sakura rolled over onto the balls of her feet, Shino raised an arm across Tazuna's path to shield him, and Kakashi lifted his book to his face.

"What is-"

"Shhh..." Sakura whispered, then even quieter she explained. "Movement."

"I can't hear you," Tazuna commented.

Sakura sighed.

"He's coming," Sasuke warned as he drew the knife and in one quick motion threw it into the underbrush. As quickly as the knife twisted through the air a figure jumped out from the bushes. Sakura jumped back in panic.

Tazuna, upon seeing their stalker, said, "Thank you, oh mighty heroes, for saving me from the fluffy rabbit. I am in your debt."

Kakashi chimed in. "You never know. In fact a few years ago I ran into a summon... Let me tell you, that rabbit? It was dyna-"

"Sensei, as funny as your story may be, I believe we have cause for concern."

"What do you mean?" Sakura asked as she turned her back toward Tazuna.

"That rabbit, it was white. Why is that important?"


"No, it's a rab-" anything else Tazuna would have said was cut off as Kakashi threw the bridge builder to the ground. And a big something flew over their heads.

Tazuna's head swirled. The dust floated through the air, obscuring his vision. Sakura had thrown him to the ground. And now the four ninja were surrounding him, weapons drawn. Kakashi was no longer the one in the back, instead standing at the front. The four ninja were looking up at a man. His face was covered in bandages, and he was standing twenty feet up on the handle of a massive sword that was more like a slab of metal rather than any bladed weapon.

"Sharingan Kakashi," the man standing on his sword began, "I'm sorry, but the old man is mine."

Naruto crawled up next to his friend. "What's next, Kiba?"

"Why you asking me? You're the one who's best at avoiding people like the ANBU."

"I don't go outside that often!" Naruto protested as stopped looking through the bushes to look at Kiba.

Kiba covered Naruto's mouth. "Keep your voice down!" Kiba ordered, not taking his eyes off the gate. Naruto squirmed underneath his hands, but suddenly stopped. Akamaru whined, sensing as Kiba did that something was off. Naruto peeled Kiba's hand off his face. "Kurenai found my clones. And Kiba? If you ever see a woman named Anko, run..."

"I say we make a break for it."

Naruto nodded. "On three."



The three ninja burst out of the bushes. And made a break for the gate. One of the gate guards jumped out. "Hey, hey, hey! What's the rush!"

Naruto ran right by the guard. "See ya later, loser!"

"Oi!" the guard shouted as he turned as Akamaru ran past.

Kiba smiled as he began to run past the gate guard as well. They were going to get out. They were going to save Hana.

Until a woman screamed, "Izumo, if you don't stop those brats you're gonna be my slave for a month!"

Kiba pushed all of his chakra to his legs, but as fast as he could be, Izumo was faster. The man caught Kiba by his leg and lifted him up. Kiba looked at Akamaru and Naruto who had stopped. "Keep running!" he shouted. Naruto turned immediately, but Akamaru hesitated. "Follow Naruto!"

"Naruto?" Izumo said. He looked up at the quickly fleeing ninja. "Oh shit!"

"Oh shit is right, why the hell weren't you guarding the gate?!"

"We were! Didn't think we'd have to worry about people running out!"

"Yeah, well Naruto just went AWOL cause you two idiots didn't stop him!"

Kiba interrupted their argument as he twisted upward, and snaking his fingers into Izumo's grip.

"Don't even try," Izumo said. Kiba drew chakra to his hands, growing claws. He slashed at Izumo's hand. Izumo cried out in pain, as Kiba dropped to the ground. But before he could get anywhere he was picked up and thrown back. He spat dirt from his mouth and quickly scrambled to all fours, before a weight on his neck forced him to the ground.

"You moronic little brat!" Anko shouted. "What were you thinking?"

"I have to go save her!"

"Oh, you the great genin are going to go save the weak and pitiful chunin? Don't make me laugh!"

"We're family!"

"Oh? And what's Naruto got to do with it?"

"He's part of my pack!"

Anko took her foot off Kiba's neck, and then picked up Kiba by his collar and got her face into his. Kiba had a brief moment of respite before she shouted, "BUT HE'S NOT YOUR FAMILY!" she dropped Kiba. "You're going to get your ass covered to you by your family, because dropping everything to protect your family is exactly what your family's about. That doesn't hold for Naruto." She dropped him then began dragging him and twisting his ear."Maybe we'll get lucky and they'll let you plead insanity, and then you'll just be just stuck catching that damn cat."

Shit, Tazuna thought as he looked at the ninja about him. The girl and the creepy child were both confused. But the silent one, he was shooting his teacher an almost death glare.

"Surround and protect Tazuna-san. That's the teamwork here. Do not enter the fight. Before he can do anything, he has to fight me."

"Sensei-" Shino began.

"Shino. Do not enter the fight," Kakashi said not glancing back as he lifted his headband. "You three are my soldiers. Understand? Listen to me."

"Understood, Sensei."

"I'm honored, Kakashi," Zabuza said chuckling. "I already get to see the famous sharingan. You know... I had a bingo book with you in it. So I hope you don't mind if we get this started."

Tazuna looked around as the temperature dropped dramatically.

Zabuza looked at Sasuke, who had moved into position at his right. The boy was practically burning holes in the back of his teacher's head. The girl spoke up, "Sasuke?"

There was a tap of glasses as Shino adjusted his glasses. "Perhaps later would be best."

There was laughter from up in the trees. And Tazuna was suddenly aware that a fog had rolled in, and he no longer could see their attacker. "What's this? Have the Uchiha's fallen so far in Konoha that their own village has forgotten who they are?"

"Shino's right," Sasuke said, "I can explain later."

"I'm sorry, I've done a little too much talking. I require that old man's head."

"Not until you get through me," Kakashi stated.

"That's the plan..." Tazuna shuddered. He could have sworn Zabuza's voice had come from behind him.

"Sensei," Sakura stated, "I can't sense him at all!"

"Of course you can't. He's a member of the hidden mist; he's an expert in silent killing. Before you know it, you'll be dead."

"It's like a guessing game," Zabuza said. "Where will I strike? There's the liver, lungs..." Tazuna's throat began to burn as the cold air burned his throat,."Spine, jugular..." Sasuke shifted and Tazuna jumped as the boy's sandals scraped the dirt, "Brain, kidneys..." Shino inched closer, the normally completely quiet boy's movements were heard clearly in the quiet mists. "Or, my personal favorite, the heart!"

Kakashi clapped his hands together, and the air grew heavy. Tazuna's hands began to shake, and he could hear the kunai rattling in the hands of the Uchiha next to him. He could even make out the agitation of the bugs that surrounded him and the Aburame behind him.

"Don't worry!" Kakashi shouted, instantly calming down the ninja with him. "I'll protect you guys even if it kills me. I don't let my comrades die."

Tazuna felt a rush of air, and then he felt the cold steel on his neck. "We'll see about that that, Kakashi! It's over!"

Not even a second later, Tazuna was thrown to the ground. Tazuna looked up and saw Kakashi with a knife in his attacker's liver. Tazuna breathed out a sigh of relief.

"Sensei!" Sakura shouted, as the Zabuza Kakashi killed fell to the ground and collapsed into water. A swing of metal and rush of air, and Kakashi's blood spattered on Tazuna's face. A scream came out of the bridge builder's mouth as the assassin raised his giant blade, only for the blade to never come.

"Nice try," the jonin said as his hand tightened around Zabuza's throat and forced him to drop his sword, "But I'm better."

"I'm also not that easy."

"A fake!" Sakura shouted.

Kakashi, wasting no time, snapped the neck of the clone in front of him. He drew a kunai as he dropped to the ground, planting his hands as Zabuza's sword swung over his head. The force of the wind blew Tazuna's hat off of him. Kakashi swung his foot back, grazing Zabuza's knee. The next few seconds were too fast for Tazuna to see, but he could hear the force of the kick Zabuza delivered to Kakashi.

"It's over," Shino breathed out quietly.

Naruto stopped to catch his breath, his legs burning from running so long. Akamaru plopped down next to Naruto and rested. Naruto looked up. "I guess Kiba didn't get out." Akamaru whined with concern. Naruto reached down and petted the dog. "It's just us two," he said, to which Akamaru barked. "We gotta hurry. Kiba's counting on us to save Hana!" Naruto said and began to run. He stopped when Akamaru barked.

"What's wrong? Naruto said, looking at the dog.

He sat there wagging his tail, looking expectantly at Naruto before running up to him and jumping up at his chest.

"Hey! What are you doing!"

Akamaru scrambled into Naruto's jacket. Before popping his head out from underneath and licking Naruto's chin.

"All right! All right! I got it! Jeez, can't you run?"

Akamaru whined before barking again.

"All right, lemme know if you smell anything!" Naruto shouted before breaking into a full sprint. "We're gonna find her!"

Kakashi's body flew into a nearby lake. Sakura cried out as Zabuza stopped at the water's edge. She smiled and told the others, "Look! He dropped caltrops!"

Sasuke reached for his pack. "That's not going to be enough. He got the drop on Kakashi. He's good at ninjutsu and taijutsu." Sakura could barely hear Sasuke's heavy pack hit the ground, but she could see him reach into the bag.

Shino spoke up, "Sasuke, Kakashi-sensei can handle this."

Sasuke simply grunted and glanced at Shino, and Sakura felt a lump in her throat form as the unspoken comment passed between them. If Kakashi-sensei can't handle him, we're all gonna die.

"Fool," echoed out over the fog. "Suiro no Jutsu!" The fog began to clear out and Sakura began to clearly see their sensei, trapped in a ball of water. Zabuza was chuckling, "You tried to escape to the water while fighting a Mist Ninja? Not your best maneuver." He turned toward the now defenseless genin. "Now all I have to do is take care of you three, and the old man's head is mine!"

Kakashi shouted from under the water, "Shino! It's okay! Just take the old man and run!"

"Yes, run, you wannabe ninja!" Zabuza said, chuckling. "It's only fun if they run."

Sasuke stood up, taking point in front of Zabuza as the mist ninja summoned clones made of water. Sakura watched him roll his shoulders and bring a fuma shuriken to bear. "I'm not running. The Uchiha fan is only for allies to see."

Shino stepped up next to Tazuna and tapped his glasses. "Buy time."

Sakura looked between the two boys. "You think we can take him?"

"Possibly," Shino said, "it's not even twenty percent. Why do we do this? Those who abandon their allies are less than trash. Right, Sensei?"

The clone raised its blade and asked, "Are you really going to let me get such a nice shot at my target?"

"Shino! Just take a minute and run!"

Tazuna spoke up from Sakura's right, "Listen, this is my fault, so you guys do what ya gotta do. Okay?"

Sasuke fanned out his shuriken. "That's good, cause you're our bait."


Shino tapped his glasses. "In this game of attrition, we have the advantage. Zabuza is expelling chakra. How? Standing on water, holding sensei out of the fight, and his water clone. He must attack Tazuna."

"Sakura," Sasuke barked.

"Yes! Sasuke?" Sakura said as she snapped to attention.

"Cover the target with Shino. I'll take point."

"Do you really think you three can take me?" Zabuza said, laughing.

"Yes," Shino stated plainly. "Why you ask? Because we are the ones with the highest success rate handling a creature scarier than you."

"Oh, I doubt that. When I was your age, I had already killed over a hundred people!"

Sakura gasped. "What?"

"Devil... Zabuza..." Kakashi said quietly.

"Ah... so you've heard a little about it," Zabuza responded.

"Long ago, in the Hidden Mist Village, also called the Bloody Mist…There was a final obstacle in becoming a ninja."

"Hm?" Zabuza said, tilting his head to look at Kakashi."You know about that graduation exam in Konoha, huh?"

Sasuke asked quietly. "What exam?"

Zabuza started laughing, quietly at first, but it slowly grew louder and louder. Until Zabuza's cackling laughter rang out over through the entire clearing. Sakura could see Sasuke tense, even as she moved closer to Tazuna and raised her kunai. Zabuza looked each of them in the eye and said with madness in his voice, "It was fights to the death between the students! Friends who we had trained with, shared dreams with, bonded with, lived with. All of us were given knives and told to kill our best of friends!"

"That was over ten years ago," Kakashi mentioned, "when they were forced to change. After one student appeared..."

"Change?" Sakura asked, her voice betraying her nervousness. "What change? What did they do?"

Zabuza cackled. "I came! I killed at least a hundred of those Mist trainees! It was the most fun I've ever had!"

"Not like that matters," Kakashi said, his voice in a normal bored tone.

"What's that, Kakashi?"

"You talk too much." Sakura's eyes grew wide as a black mass began to spread out from Zabuza's leg. "Like Shino said, water walking, water clones, water prison? Oh sure, that's not much for you," Kakashi explained calmly from his prison as Zabuza swatted at the mass. "But all that chakra flowing, it's a perfect habitat for Konoha's Kikakchu bugs."

"What is this?" Zabuza shouted.

Shino tapped his glasses. "Your minute is up. Those insects will feast on your chakra, then your flesh. How do I know this? 'Cause I gave Kakashi the Kikachu eggs to place on you."

Kakashi gave Shino a thumbs up from his water prison. "Good work you three. Way to keep him talking."

Sakura cried out in a cheer when Zabuza withdrew his arm from the water prison to stop the spread of insects. Kakashi jumped up onto the water. "Now Zabuza, it's my turn!"

Akamaru whined from Naruto's jacket and the blonde stopped. "What is it, boy?" Akamaru jumped out of Naruto's jacket, sniffed the ground, and began to growl. Naruto looked at the direction that Akamaru was looking at. A small wooden two story building with boarded up windows. Naruto ducked behind a tree and stared at the building. He turned and looked at Akamaru. "Just like sneaking in to a castle. Okay, boy?"

Akamaru nodded, then put his noise to the ground and began sniffing. The two circled the building. Naruto watching the building itself, as Akamaru sniffed the ground. Naruto began to wish Kiba had made it out, since he would know how to work with Akamaru. Naruto and Akamaru stopped when they reached a trail, neither of the two of them wanting to cross open ground. Naruto looked up to the trees and poked Akamaru. Akamaru looked back at him with a confused look on his face and his trail steady, but when Naruto smiled and pointed up in the trees Akamaru's tail began to wag back and forth and Akamaru panted happily.

The boy and the dog climbed up into the trees, using chakra control to run up quickly. Naruto took a moment to observe the building. Naruto quickly noticed six guards patrolling the building. Naruto got real close to Akamaru's ears and whispered, "Are you sure Hana is in there?" Akamaru looked at Naruto and growled before barking. "Okay, this is gonna be tricky," Naruto said as they began jumping from tree to tree.

They circled the house once before Naruto stopped as he sat down. Akamaru whined and pawed Naruto's leg. Naruto scratched him behind the ears. "Twelve windows into that place and all of them are boarded up real good. The Hokage should have windows like that!" Akamaru whined and Naruto patted his head. "We just need a way inside..."

Akamaru barked and then started running on the tree branches. Naruto cried out, but Akamaru didn't stop and Naruto began to chase him. The dog ran toward the building and jumped on the roof of the building. Naruto landed quietly. "What are we doing?" he whispered. Akamaru trotted over to the far side of the roof and wagged his tail. Naruto quietly crawled over and saw where Akamaru was leading him. "A skylight!" Naruto said once he had realized what Akamaru was showing him. "Good job!" Naruto said as he enthusiastically rushed over.

Only for him to step on a weak spot in the roof and fall into the building. Boards and shingles from the roof fell in with him and made a huge racket. And Akamaru hopped down and barked quietly once. "I'm fine," Naruto stated for the dog.

"What the hell was that?" someone said outside.

"Oh shit," Naruto whispered as someone approached the door.

Hana jerked awake as something crashed about upstairs. The sudden movement hurt, and her head was still spinning from the drugs they had forced her to take earlier. She hissed through the gag in her mouth and forced herself to try and ignore the waves of pain that washed over her as she awoke. She looked down at her broken leg which was the source of her discomfort. A quick glance around the room told her the guards were not interested in her at the moment. The two guards that were in the room were more focused on what was going on outside the door.

"What the hell was that?" she heard someone say outside the room.

"Think we should check it out?" one of the guards asked.

The other one shook his head. "No way, those who go running toward brood curdling screams in the night and those who go check out strange noises never last long. Let someone else do it."

"It was nothing," Hana heard someone shout. "Roof just collapsed."

"God damn it," one of the guards said. "Why are we in such a shitty building?"

"'Cause Meizo said so."

Hana relaxed in her bonds and forced chakra to her leg to sooth the pain. Her captors weren't willing to let her try and fix her leg, which was smart, because if she was one hundred percent she would have torn these thugs apart. One bad day and things went to pieces. The good news was that in a day or two, Konoha would find her. The bad news was that from what she could tell, her captors were planning on moving her tomorrow. She closed her eyes and focused on her sense of smell. She could still smell her dogs; they were giving off scents of fear and sadness. They were being kept together, but away from her.

Something else hit her nose. Another dog? Is that... Akamaru? And a fox? She opened her eyes and smiled. Good going Kiba! When I get out of here, I swear I'm taking your team out for barbeque! She glanced at her captors and upon seeing that they hadn't noticed anything amiss, closed her eyes and calmed herself. Even as she prepared herself for an escape.

Zabuza finished wiping off the last of kikachu bugs, but even he felt something was wrong. "What the hell did you do to me, Kakashi?" he asked as he tried to catch his breath.

Kakashi smiled and his non-sharigan eye closed. "Oh nothing really, we just planted a swarm of chakra eating insects in you. I bet even now there are a few eggs left in your body that are just waiting to hatch and eat you from the inside out."

"That was a nice trick, not one I'd seen-"

"-in your profile" Kakashi finished. "That's because I've never done that before. Shino is right. We have the advantage, you have to attack us, and you have one target. And obviously, time is on our side."

Zabuza felt another bite on his leg. He slapped his thigh and felt an insect squish under his pant leg. He growled and looked at Kakashi.

"You're thinking that you can't win this fight anymore. Between the two of us, I'm in much better shape."

"I still have enough to take you down," Zabuza growled.

"Ah, but it's not just me is it?"

Zabzua sensed something flying at his head and ducked. Sasuke's fuma shuriken flew over his head. He glared at the boy, but as soon as his eyes met Sasuke's he took a fist in the face from Kakashi. He impacted against the shore line and took stock of his situation.

"I'll be be back Kakashi, and next time the kids will suffer too."

"We'll be ready for you," Kakashi said, lowering his forehead protector over his eye.

Zabzua growled and then sped away, meeting his companion. "Haku, be ready. We'll both be on the offensive next time."

"Yes, Zabuza-sama."

Naruto quickly ran through his two favorite seals, as the door handle began to turn. He quickly created a shadow clone before using his transformation technique. The door opened as the clone rushed next to it. The man in the door way looked in the room, and for a second was speechless as a beautiful and very blessed blonde now lay in the room, wearing nothing at all. As the man's face grew into a lecherous grin, Naruto's clone sucker punched him. The original caught the man who entered the door and transformed into him. He looked back out the door and saw two guards at the base of the stairs. "It's nothing," Naruto said. "Just the ceiling caved in."

The guards looked at each other, then went up the stairs. They walked past Naruto into the room and looked at the roof. "Damn, you're right."

"So glad we're shipping out of here tomorrow. It'll be great to-" The man paused as Naruto tapped both of them on their shoulders. The two turned to look at him as he drilled a punch into both of their jaws, instantly knocking them out. Naruto smiled as Akamaru and the clone came out of hiding. The clone rolled up his sleeves and said, "I'll take care of these two, you go find Hana!"

Akamaru didn't bark, being quiet more important than voicing agreement, but the dog did bounce over the two unconscious bodies. The clone took off their belts, used them as makeshift ropes. Naruto looked down at Akamaru and whispered, "Where to next, Akamaru?"

Akamaru began sniffing the ground and led away from the stairs. He pawed at a door and Naruto leaned up against it. He heard the sound of dogs whining, and slowly cracked open the door. The door opened quickly as someone on the other side opened the door. "Oga? What are you doing?"

Naruto faltered for a moment, before Akamaru jumped up and bit the man. Naruto sprung into action as well, quickly covering the man's mouth before punching him in the gut. He doubled over and Naruto then dropped his elbow in the back of his head. Naruto looked at his fist. "Geez, either these guys are pushovers or I've gotten stronger."

A quiet yip brought Naruto out of his musings. He looked up to see three dogs tied up and in a cage. Naruto ran up to the cage and looked at it. "It's locked," he stated, and began trying to pry the doors open.

Akamaru nudged him. He looked down and saw him holding a key ring in his mouth. Naruto smiled and took the keys, and began trying them one by one. The third one finally worked and he reached in and untied the dogs. As soon as they were free they ran to a crate in the room and the three of them stared at Naruto. Naruto, confused, walked over and opened the crate. The three dogs set in on a pack in the crate, and Akamaru joined in too. Naruto watched them as he felt their chakra spike and the three of them grew darker and bigger. Akamaru even changed color from his normal white to a dark red.

Naruto smiled. "Okay, where to next?"

The four dogs tore down the hall and down the stairs. Guards cried out but were quickly silenced by the dogs. Naruto quickly followed as the dogs tore into throats and legs. Akamaru led Naruto to a single door at the end of the hallway. When Naruto got to the door he heard shouts coming from the front of the house. He turned around to see several guards storming the house. "Where the hell did you come from?"

Akamaru barked at Naruto and wagged his tail. He smiled and looked at the guards and put his hands together. "You guys better run, or I'm gonna make you regret it!"

"Yeah? You and what army?"

"Me and this army! House Breaker no jutsu!"

Outside the house, the guards started rushing toward the door. "What the hell is going on in there?"

"I don't know!" One shouted as he reached for the door. The door swelled out and burst open, as hundreds of Inuzuka's came pouring out the front door and the boarded windows. The closest guards fell quickly, the ones a little farther away barely a heart beat after.

"RUN AWAY!" the ones farthest shouted as even more Inuzuka's came pouring out of the house.

Tazuna breathed a sigh of relief as Kakashi walked up toward them. "Looks like we made it."

"Yes we did. It's too bad we couldn't finish him, though." Kakashi mused. "Oh well, looks like we best get going."


"Not now, Shino."

Shino nodded and fell into position next to Tazuna. Tazuna grew worried as the boy watched the direction that Zabuza had fled from. But before long, the boy turned back to observe his teammates. Tazuna did the same. Sasuke wasn't taking front this time, he was next to Tazuna, and was glaring at his teacher, while Sakura was glancing between the two. She then raised an eyebrow. "Okay, what is going on?" she asked.

"Why? What ever do you mean Sakura?"

"I'm asking about your eye. Zabuza said it was related to the Uchiha."

Sasuke spoke up. "The sharigan are a Kekkei Genkai, a doijutsu. A special technique that only the Uchiha's wield. When our eyes mature, we can see the nature of chakra techniques. It allows us to copy techniques and wield them."

Kakashi pulled out his book. "That's right."

Shino tapped his glasses before Sasuke could make a comment. "That being said, it's a Kekkei Genkai, not a technique that can be passed around."

"What's a Kekkei Genkai?" Tazuna asked.

Sakura spoke up. "It's bloodline trait. Only members of the family can use it."

"You have to be an Uchiha to use the Sharingan technique," Sasuke stated plainly. "But our sensei isn't one."

Kakashi closed his book. "I suppose it's fair to tell you," he said looking at Sasuke. "My left eye isn't mine, it belongs to a friend of mine," he said, holding a hand up to the forehead protector across his eye. "I lost my eye in the war, and he lost his life. His last act was to give me this eye, so I could protect someone precious."

"What happened to them?" Sakura asked.

"They died, and got their name engraved on that memorial stone."


"But enough of that," Kakashi said, pulling the book out one more time. "We've got more pressing concerns at the moment. Like how you three will handle Zabuza next time."

"What?" Sasuke said.

"Well, you probably won't be handling him, but he'll be back, and with backup."

"Well, why didn't you finish him now?" Tazuna demanded.

"Because I'm very low on chakra. If we had continued that fight, it'd have risked my life. And if I fell there, then you three would be left with Zabuza. Next time, we'll be able to decide the location. We have the advantage, even more so than this time. Now we know who we're dealing with, and we'll be able to decide the location."

Tazuna breathed a sigh of relief before saying, "That makes me feel a lot better. I'll trust you guys."

Kakashi smiled. "Of course, you are a paying customer after all."

Hana was startled when she heard what sounded like an army charging through the house. The two guards looked at each other then rushed to get Hana. The door was kicked open by two Inuzuka clan members who Hana didn't know. One a male wearing a brown coat, the other a dark skinned female wearing a grey coat. The two of them were carrying wooden boards in their hands. They noticed Hana tied up and the guards who stopped moving toward her to draw their swords. The brown coat lifted his makeshift club and smiled. "Looks like we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?"

The female nodded sagely and said, "Big damn heroes, sir."

"Ain't that right. Now you two," the male said as Naruto walked in, "you can either surrender, or run. Either works for me.."

The two looked at each other, then at the horde of Inuzuka walking in, and rushed to break down the boards on the window. As Naruto untied Hana he asked, "Can you walk?"

"Not really," she said, and the two who initially entered the room rushed to pick her up. "Where did you all come from?"

"House breaker no jutsu," Naruto said, smiling as the two guards finally broke through the windows and ran for their lives. The four of them, plus the dogs all jumped out the same window and began running back home. After an hour of running, the two Inuzuka's set Hana down, and her dogs ran up to check on her.

"We're probably far enough away," Naruto stated and sat down next to Hana as Akamaru climbed into his lap. "And I need to rest."

Hana nodded as she petted each of her dogs. She looked up at the two Inuzuka. "who are you? You don't smell like an Inuzuka."

The two disappeared in a puff of smoke and were replaced with two clones of Naruto. Hana turned toward Naruto. "That entire ruckus was you?" Naruto just beamed, but the dogs all barked to let Hana know it wasn't just humans making a mess of things. She shook her head and whistled. "That was impressive. Nice work! If you hadn't shown up today, they were going to ship me off somewhere." Hana looked around. "Where's Kiba? And your sensei?"

Naruto laughed and rubbed the back of his head. "Uh.. they're not here."


Naruto chuckled. "Well, umm... Me and Kiba decided to sneak off to help you, 'cause it didn't seem like anyone would and you were missing."

Hana glared at him. "You're telling me you two decided to go awol just because I missed a check in?"


"IDIOT!" she shouted as she hit him with all the strength she could muster. "DO YOU HAVE ANY-" She stopped as she realized that he was no longer able to listen. "Oh great," she groaned as she petted one of the trio of dogs with her, "now one of you three is gonna have to carry me back."