Chapter 16: Finding Family

Posted: October 1, 2013

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto


"Karin, time for bed!"

"Just a little longer, mom. I think I've almost got this jutsu!"

A young red-headed girl was sitting in her room in a small village just outside Kusugakure. Despite not actually living in the village itself the girl, otherwise known as Karin, was studying hard to become a kunoichi. Her mother had knowledge in the shinobi arts that she brought with her from her clan, though she never officially became a shinobi. As Karin was reading through the scroll on her bed, the door to her room opened and in stepped a woman who very much resembled an older version of Karin, although her facial structure was a little more rounded than Karin's. Also unlike Karin's hair, which was only shoulder length with half laying straight and the other half spiking out, this woman's hair reached down to her mid-back and was straight, except for where it flared out at the base.

"What's got your attention, Karin-chan?" asked the woman sweetly.

"It's just this, Kaachan. I've almost got the sealing formula for these storage seals down," smiled Karin as her mother took a seat on the bed next to her daughter.

"You know, a little rest always helps when you're staring at seals," smiled Karin's mother.

"But there's no way I'm going to become a great seal-master if I don't practice," exclaimed Karin. Her mother had filled her in on the stories of the once great Uzumaki clan and their prowess at the sealing arts. Ever since then, Karin had taken a great interest in fuinjutsu, as she probably should.

A knock was heard from downstairs on the door. "I'll be right back, but I want you to get ready for bed dear," smiled the older red head.

As Karin's mother opened the door, a white-haired man, blonde woman, and small blonde child about the same age as Karin was standing in the door. "Well hello there beautiful. I'm a travelling writer who's always looking for inspiration and I can see that you're just bursting with it."

WHAM! "We're not here to perv you pervert!" shouted Tsunade as she drove Jiraiya's head into the ground. The red haired woman at the door just gave the trio a weird stare. She was tempted to just close the door on them, but the curious look the blonde child was giving her caused her to hesitate.

"I'll ask only once. What is your purpose here?" asked the redheaded woman.

"We're looking for an Uzumaki Karin. You wouldn't happen to know where she is, would you?" asked Naruto. Immediately, the door was slammed in Naruto's face. "Umm…"

"GO AWAY!" shouted the woman from behind the closed door. "THERE'S NO ONE BY THAT NAME HERE!"

"Well, we tried. Let's get out of here. I still have a few Hyuga heads I need to break in…or just break," said Tsunade.

"What? We can't leave until we find Karin! What'll Kaachan say?" replied Naruto.

"He's right, Tsunade. Kushina was the one who made the request to come here and find this girl," spoke Jiraiya.

Just inside the door, the redheaded woman was walking away from the door and then she heard THAT…the name of the person who had sent them, Kushina. "No…" she gasped. "It can't be…"

Immediately, she raced over towards the door and opened it to see the arguing trio still there. "What was that name you just said?!" she asked, almost as if her life depended on it. "Who sent you?!"

"My Kaachan did," replied Naruto.

"You said Kushina though! I heard the name 'Kushina'!" replied the desperate woman. It was at that point that Tsunade immediately connected the dots.

"Who are you and how are you related to Kushina?" the medical specialist asked.

"My name's Nanase. As for Kushina, she's my older sister…but she died when Uzushiogakure was destroyed, along with…" she trailed off as tears came to her eyes, and a look of pure shock came onto everyone's face. "Just go away. I've had enough lies."

"Wait!" shouted Naruto as he grabbed onto the back of her blouse. She turned to push the blonde boy away, but Naruto was holding a photograph in his hand. The photograph was a picture of him with his parents, taken just a few months ago.

"Is she…Is my sister really alive?" asked Nanase, a bright flame of hope burning in her eyes.

"I don't know who told you Kushina was dead. She's made quite a name for herself in Konoha," Jiraiya. "Besides, if you want proof she's alive I've got the bruises to prove it."

Nanase took a quick, yet careful look around. "Inside quickly," she said, hurrying what would hopefully be her rescuers into the house.

"So why don't you tell us what's going on?" asked Jiraiya as Nanase sat down.

"Like my sister, I originally was from Uzushiogakure no Sato. However, it was destroyed years ago by a combined force of Iwa, Kiri, Kumo, and a few smaller nations. I had managed to escape, and I was 'rescued' by Kusagakure no Sato. They told me that my sister was killed while being evacuated to Konoha. At first, I originally thought they were trying to help me, but in reality I learned that they were after me for my Uzumaki blood. About 10 years ago, they…persuaded me to pass on my Uzumaki blood," said Nanase.

Tsunade's mouth was agape as her mind immediately jumped to the worst possibility. Nanase immediately caught Tsunade's assumption.

"Before you jump to conclusions, I can assure you that I was not forced and that beyond all things, I love my daughter," assured Nanase. "Within Kusagakure, I was treated as almost a prisoner. As a compromise for having Karin, I was offered more freedoms and also allowed to relocate to a village in the outskirts of the village; however…"

"You're still a prisoner, aren't you?" asked Naruto.

"They keep a close eye on me. Even now they are watching me," said Nanase as she began to panic slightly. "You three need to leave now before they realize you're here."

"Oh I wouldn't worry about the four ninja assigned to keep an eye on you," smirked Jiraiya.

"When Kushina finds out what you've been teaching Naruto, I swear she's going to make the pounding I gave you look like a slap upside the head," growled Tsunade, referring to Naruto's previous use of the Oiroke no Jutsu to lure the four Kusa shinobi and knock them unconscious due to blood loss. Jiraiya subsequently restrained with the help of a few toads and then proceeded to receive a rather harsh beating from Tsunade thanks to Naruto's use of a perverted jutsu.

"My sister…she really is alive?" asked Nanase.

"Yeah…" groaned Jiraiya.

"She's in Konoha and is not being held there as prisoner or anything?" asked Nanase.

"Trust me, Kaachan's not the one being held prisoner," snickered Naruto.

"Yeah, I still don't understand what Minato was thinking on that one," muttered Jiraiya. "The poor boy's gotta be a masochist or something to put up with Kushina."

Tsunade gave Jiraiya a nice gentle slap upside the head. In other words, Jiraiya was now suffering the full effects of severe migraine.

"Hehe…Your father's not the only one," commented Kurama.

"She's really alive? Neechan's been alive and happy all these years?" thought Nanase. "Could I finally get out of this place? Could I finally get free?" She looked over towards the crowd in front of her. Two of the Sannin would certainly be able to give her and her daughter the support to escape her captivity. After all, they have already taken care of the shinobi assigned to watch her and assure she didn't leave the village. And besides, if Kushina was truly the wife of the Hokage, then certainly Konoha would offer her and her daughter protection from Kusa.

"Kaachan!" called out Karin as she came down the stairs, wondering what was keeping her mother. "Huh? Who are they?" she asked, looking at Jiraiya, Tsunade, and Naruto.

"I take it this is Karin-chan?" asked Tsunade.

"Yes. This is my daughter," replied Nanase before turning to her daughter. "Karin, these two are two of Konoha's Sannin, Tsunade-sama and Jiraiya-sama. And the younger one is actually your cousin, Naruto."

"C-cousin?!" exclaimed Karin in utter surprise. "But I thought you said there was no one left!"

"I thought so too. But Neechan…she's…"

A knock came on the door and Nanase began to panic slightly. It was late at night and the only one knocking on the door at this time would be one of her watchdogs. "Quick, the three of you have to hide," she said. "If they find you here, then I'm going to be in serious trouble."

She quickly ushered her guests into a nearby room before telling Karin to go upstairs.

"Hmm…there's something wrong going on here," thought Jiraiya. "The toads should have easily been able to restrain the guards."

"What's this feeling I'm sensing?" thought Naruto as his own Negative Emotions Sensing kicked into full gear. "Wait…it can't be…shit!"

As Nanase opened the door to her house, outside stood a figure of a Kusa nin, however the ninja was not one of the regular guards stationed to her and he looked rather artificial.

"Can I help you?" asked Nanase.

The ninja didn't respond except with a slight movement of its head. Once Nanase got a glimpse of the ninja's face, she could immediately tell that this ninja wasn't a ninja…it was what appeared to be a puppet. The puppet opened its mouth, prepared to shoot the Uzumaki woman with a barrage of senbon. At this range, and the number of senbon fired, she would die. It only took a second or two after Nanaze opened the door, but the puppet moved to attack; however, before it could accomplish it's attack,

"Rasengan!" shouted Naruto as he slammed the spiraling orb into the puppet's back.

"Naruto!" shouted Jiraiya as he and Tsunade followed Naruto out of the door. Jiriaya quickly went to check on the fallen Kusa nin.

"Jiraiya! Why did you teach Naruto the Rasengan?!" shouted Tsunade.

"I didn't teach him that and now's not the time!" replied Jiraiya. "This ninja isn't a ninja, it's a puppet. And this marking on the back of the neck…it's the marking of Sasori of the Red Sands."

"WHAT?!" exclaimed Naruto. "Shit! They're not supposed to be moving yet!"

"Who are you talking about Jiraiya?" asked Tsunade.

"Akatsuki," spoke Jiraiya. Tsunade's eyes shot open. While she wasn't aware of all the details, she had been filled in on the jinchuriki-hunting organization by Naruto on their trip to Kusagakure. Jiraiya then turned to Naruto and whispered in the blonde's ear. "They're probably not here for jinchuriki yet. I've been aware of Akatsuki for some time. This probably has something to do with one of their criminal acts."

Suddenly, a nearby building erupted in flames, lighting up the night sky around the village. And then Jiraiya saw it. In the air, there were a number of figured floating around the village. A few remaining buildings erupted in flames and blood-filled screams pierced through the silent night air.

"Karin!" shouted Nanase as the young Uzumaki girl appeared at the top of the stairs.

"What is it, Kaachan…" asked Karin before letting out a loud scream as another puppet came crashing through the wall to the house directly behind Karin.

"KARIN!" shouted Nanase. However, before the puppet could make a move and capture the younger Uzumaki girl, Karin was pulled away by a slimy pink tongue, coming from the mouth of a toad near Jiraiya.

"We need to get out of here now!" shouted Jiraiya as his toad engaged the puppet. As the situation set in, the trio of Konoha ninja, along with their new guests, fled the house and headed towards the gates of the village.

"This really is happening," thought Nanase. "Neechan, I'm coming if we get out of this alive."

From atop a nearby tower, a cloaked Sasori caught the fleeing group and turned his attention to them.

As Jiraiya, Tsunade, Naruto, Nanase, and Karin neared the village gate, a long scale tail slammed down in front of them, crushing the wooden barricade. Laughter came from atop the snake Jiraiya, Tsunade, and Naruto were afraid to look at who was atop the snake, and the source of the laughter.

"Kukuku. Well this certainly is a surprise," smirked Orochimaru. "Not only do I find the girl I'm looking for, but I get to see my old teammates again! And Minato's brat came along to?"

"Orochimaru!" growled Jiraiya.

Behind the group, a number of puppets had gathered with Sasori himself taking up a position behind his puppet army. It was obvious they weren't getting out of this now burning village without a fight.

"Kuku, Jiraiya. Now I hate to say it, but we're in a bit of a hurry. So why don't you just hand over the girl and I won't feed you to my pets," hissed Orochimaru.

"W-what?!" gasped Nanase, realizing that her daughter was the target of the final Sannin. "Why do you want my daughter?!"

"Oh? Your daughter? Well in that case, I'll invite you to come along too. I can offer you the means to accomplish whatever dreams you can imagine, like the resurrection of your family and clan," said Orochimaru. "Come with me, and I'll make their deaths merciful."

"Orochimaru, are you forgetting something?" reminded Sasori, referring to a certain blonde. Jiraiya's assumption that they weren't after jinchuriki yet was correct, however starting early wouldn't hurt anything, right?

"Ah yes. I suppose we might as well take Minato's brat along with us as well," chuckled Orochimaru.

"Shit! Did they find out?!" cursed both Naruto and Jiraiya, realizing that somehow Akatsuki was now aware that Naruto was a jinchuriki.

Jiraiya then took a look around at their current situation. The village was currently burning as a result of Sasori's puppets and their path was being blocked by Orochimaru's snake. Numerous civilians were panicking throughout the village as they tried to flee Sasori's attack or stop the fires. With this many people present, Jiraiya couldn't summon one of the larger toads to combat Orochimaru's snakes. If he wanted to do that, he'd have to lead Orochimaru away from the village. And then there were Sasori's puppet army that would most likely be chasing right behind them. Naruto, Tsunade, and Jiraiya had taken up defensive positions around Karin and Nanase.

Tsunade looked over at her teammate, and then to her 10 year-old godson. The first thoughts racing through her head revolved around how ridiculous it was throwing a child into a fight with 2 S-rank ninja, but from the way Naruto was presenting himself here, he didn't look like a 10 year-old child. The look in his eyes was not what one would expect a typical child's eyes to be like. They were hardened and serious. They showed experience and most of all, they showed desperation. The desperation to save a family that he was only just beginning to know. Having grown up without any family in the past, Naruto was determined to protect whoever he could have the luxury of calling family with his life. If he was truly from the future and contained the abilities he and Jiraiya claimed, then now would be the time where she would see just how big of a joke this entire charade was…assuming that this whole time-traveler farce was actually a joke.

Making the first move, Jiriaya slammed his hand into the grounds. "Doton: Yomi Numa! (Swamp of the Underworld)" The ground underneath Orochimaru's snake immediately liquefied as the giant serpent was pulled into the massive swamp as nothing more than the very tip of its head remained unsubmerged. Orochimaru stood upon this island of scales as his pet slowly drowned beneath the surface. "Let's go! Naruto!"

"Right! Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!" shouted Naruto as nearly 200 clones popped into existence to hold Sasori's army at bay while the group of five made their escape from the village before any more trouble (namely Kusa ninja from the nearby Kusagakure could appear).

Tsunade nearly gawked as the sheer number of solid Naruto clones. After seeing Naruto's clone army outnumber Sasori's puppet army 2 to 1, she was beginning to actually believe some of the claims her godson was making.

"Let's go!" shouted Jiraya as the five of them made their escape overtop of Jiraiya's swamp, the Toad Sage allowing them to safely cross over top of his jutsu. As Sasori's puppets made an attempt to cut off their retreat, the puppets were met by the 200 Narutos all wielding Rasengans in their hand.

Hissing, seeing his prey slip away, Orochimaru followed in pursuit.

Sasori's puppets battled the clones as both sides went to work eliminating each other's numbers. However, as Sasori's numbers began to dwindle, his control over the individual puppets increased, allowing him now to outmaneuver the suicidal clones.

By the time Sasori had cleared away the clones, there were only 17 puppets remaining from his original 100. He wanted to follow after the blonde, but the presence of a sizable force approaching from Kusagakure caught his attention. After all, it would be a few more years before they actually had to begin their quest to capture the jinchuriki and Sasori needed to restock his collection of puppets. A few dozen Kusa ninja would go a long way towards restoring the ranks of his puppet army.

After about 15 minutes of fleeing from Orochimaru, the group of 5 rendezvoused with Shizune outside the village and near the boarders of Fire Country and Grass Country. However, they were not out of the woods yet as they could sense Orochimaru approaching quickly.

"Naruto, stay back and protect Karin and Nanase," instructed Jiraiya. "I know you can probably help, but I don't want to be the one to explain to Kushina why you were allowed to fight against Orochimaru."

Orochimaru struck forward, intent on knocking his former teammate out of the way of the two Uzumaki women. Jiraiya jumped back as Naruto took Karin and Nanase and went to find cover.

"Senei Tajashu, (Many Hidden Shadow Snakes)," said Orochimaru as he tried to bind his targets in snakes. Jiraiya jumped in the way of the snake strike, but not before casting a jutsu of his own.

"Hari Jizo! (Needle Jizo)" Orochimaru's snakes hissed in pain as they wrapped around Jiraiya's needle-sharp hair.

The snake sannin then twisted his body just enough to avoid a chakra-enhanced punch from Tsunade and jumped out of the way as said fist slammed into the ground, leaving a rather large crater in its wake.

"Rasengan!" shouted Jiraiya as he slammed a spiraling blue ball of chakra into Orochimaru's back, taking advantage of Tsunade's attack. Orochimaru tumbled and skidded across the ground before coming to a halt and the two Uzumaki women felt a bit nauseous as they witnessed Orochimaru climb out of his own mouth.

"You never were the cleanest out of us," said Jiraiya.

"Last I checked, you still licked toads and Tsunade ate slugs," retorted Orochimaru. "Both of them will be troubling, but fortunately I know how to deal with Tsunade-hime."

Orochimaru grabbed a kunai before charging at Tsunade. The Slug Princess readied herself to deliver Orochimaru a fistful of pain and broken cranial bones, but just as she was about to take a whack at Orochimaru, the snake swung with his knife cutting…himself and spraying blood over Tsunade.

The blonde kunoichi stopped everything and began to shake. "B-b-blood…?"

"Damn! I forgot Baachan was afraid of blood," swore Naruto as he stepped out from the cover of a nearby rock.

Jiriaya swore to himself as he looked towards the smirking snake.

"Fine, I'll end this right now," growled Jiraiya. "Kuchiyose no Jutsu! (Summoning Jutsu)"

A massive cloud of smoke erupted beneath Jiraiya and Orochimaru smirked as he performed his own summoning. Now, both Manda and Gamabunta had joined the frey. Jiraiya stood atop the head of Bunta with a shivering Tsunade while Orochimaru stood opposite them on top of Manda.

"Jiraiya…"

"No time for introductions Bunta. We're going to take Orochimaru out before he can cause any more problems," said Jiraiya.

"Good. I believe the blonde Gaki over there mentioned something about a snakeskin wallet?" said Bunta as he reached for his tanto.

"Orochimaru, why did you summon me?! You know I told you never to call on me!" hissed Manda.

"Don't worry Manda-san, you'll be humbly rewarded once these annoyances have been removed," replied Orochimaru.

"Fine, but I demand 100 sacrifices after this," said Manda.

The giant snake lunged at Bunta, who blocked the strike with his tanto; however, both he and Jiraiya were forced to roll out of the way as Orochimaru drew his Sword of Kusanagi from a snake within his stomach and extended it towards Jiriaya.

Jumping back from Orochimaru and Manda, Jiraiya and Bunta readied their next attack. "Katon: Gamayu Endan (Fire-style: Toad Oil Flame Bullet)." Orochimaru and Manda were engulfed by the massive flamethrower, but when the flames subsided, all that remained was a molted snakeskin.

"Bunta, beneath!" shouted Jiraiya, but his warning came too late as Manda burst from the ground, knocking Gamabunta back and Tsunade off her toad and back towards the rocks in which Naruto was taking cover in.

"Baachan!" shouted Naruto as he instantly created a clone cushion to catch Tsunade. "Baachan, are you okay?!"

"So…much…blood," stuttered Tsunade as the blood splatter still remained on her.

"Come on Baachan! Snap out of it! You're stronger than a little bit of blood!" said Naruto as he began shaking Tsunade.

Manda wrapped up Gamabunta and just as Jiraiya regained his balance, he met Orochimaru's foot and was flung off Bunta.

Seeing his opportunity, the snake sannin aimed himself for his targets, the two Uzumaki women, and shot off of Manda as the giant toad and snake struggled with one another. Jiraiya was pulling himself out of a hole in the ground, Tsunade was facing a few ghosts of her past, and there was no way a blonde brat would be able to catch him.

He honestly didn't want to drive Sasori's patience any more so he figured he'd grab the girl and make his escape. However, as he approached his target, Nanase jumped in the way, not willing to give up her daughter to some snake bastard.

"Kaachan!" shouted Karin as Orochimaru slammed Nanase into the ground and wrestled with her a moment before grabbing a knife and driving it into her gut. Nanase's eyes widened in shock as the cold steel duck into her flesh and a few tears came to Karin's eyes.

Before she could even cry out, Orochimaru shunshined behind Karin and grabbed her as he made his escape.

"SHIT!" swore Naruto as he stopped shaking Tsunade and ran off towards Orochimaru.

"Naruto!" shouted Jiraiya before grabbing his side in pain. That fall had most likely broken a bone or two and he knew that it would just strain him more if he were to make chase after Orochimaru and Naruto. Instead, he quickly made his way towards Nanase to check on her condition. She was still alive and conscious, but if this wound didn't get healed soon, she wouldn't make it.

"Tsunade! I need some help!" begged Jiraiya, knowing a wound like this would be easy for her to heal. Tsunade turned her head to Jiraiya, Naruto having taken care of most of the blood on her; however the sight of blood pouring out from Nanase's wound sent Tsunade into another fit. "Damnit Tsunade!" Jiraiya said as he slammed his fist into the ground. Of all the times her hemophobia had to get ahold of her, it had to be now.

Naruto could see Orochimaru running ahead of him and quickly gaining distance. He was already running as fast as possible and unless he got a speed boost from somewhere, he wouldn't catch the snake. And seeing as how he was lacking in ranged jutsus, he couldn't slow Orochimaru down with a jutsu. He was really wishing he had learned the Hiraishin from his dad, but he still wasn't quite where he needed to be with his fuinjutsu.

"Hey Kurama, think you can give me some chakra?" asked Naruto.

"I thought I couldn't give you any until this new seal sets in," said Kurama.

"I can't go full biju-mode, but think you can try and push through a little pit of your chakra? I need the speed boost to catch the snake-teme!"

"Well, I was getting bored anyways. I'll see what I can do, but this seal is tighter than the old one was," said Kurama before he tried to force his chakra through the seal and into Naruto's system.

At first the seal didn't give, keeping all of Kurama's chakra held back, but once Kurama increased the flow of chakra, something had to give eventually.

"Come on!"

"I'm trying! Do you want my chakra or not?!"

"What do you think?!"

"Then quit bothering me and let me concentrate!"

Focusing a large amount of chakra into himself, Kurama expelled it in a single pulse. It was then that he felt the pressure of chakra within the seal lessen a little and Naruto could feel small traces of Kurama's chakra enter his system as his eyes took on a reddish color.

"Thanks," thanked Naruto as he noticed his own speed increase. With a quick bolt, Naruto appeared next to Orochimaru and punched out at the snake.

"So the brat can tap into the Kyuubi's power already?" thought Orochimaru as he noticed the change in color of Naruto's eyes. Orochimaru dodged the punch and came to a halt. It looked like he would have to deal with this nuisance first. "And he can use shadow clones and Minato's Rasengan at such a young age…interesting. I probably should capture him now to save us the trouble of having to hunt him down later when he's stronger. Though if I do that, it'll draw way too much attention to our organization if the Hokage's son was kidnapped."

Naruto's chakra was beginning to subside already. While Kurama had loosened the seal just slightly, he couldn't push too much chakra through it yet and that little boost of speed was about all he could manage at the time. Still, he would find some way to manage, he always had.

Orochimaru crept close to the ground as he opened his mouth and unleashed a thousand snakes upon Naruto.

"It's a good thing I asked Itachi to teach me this," thought Naruto as he created about a dozen clones in front of him, sending them charging into the snakes. As the clones entered the thicket of snakes, Naruto called out his jutsu.

"Bunshin Daibakuka (Exploding Shadow Clone Jutsu)!" All twelve clones erupted in violent explosions engulfing the snakes and incinerating them.

"Exploding clones too? Well this is…wait, what's that high pitch?"

"Futon: Rasenshuriken!"

Orochimaru's eyes widened as Naruto shot out of the smoke with a deadly jutsu in hand. The Rasenshuriken slammed into Orochimaru's gut, shooting the snake sannin backwards before exploding into a dome of razor sharp wind-blades.

As the dust settled, lying at the bottom of a crater was Orochimaru, damaged, bleeding heavily, and the shocked look still on his face. However, it was too good to be true. A new Orochimaru emerged from the snake and stood, glaring at the blonde before collapsing to his knees and coughing up some blood.

"H-how? That jutsu hit me through even my own personal Kawimari no Jutsu," thought Orochimaru as a jolt of pain shot through his body.

Naruto noticed that while Orochimaru had shed his skin, he was still hurting. The Rasenshuriken didn't damage Orochimaru as much as he had hoped, but it was still much better than that snake simply slithering away.

Naruto stepped forward to finish this but stopped as Sasori appeared on the other side of the crater. "We've wasted enough time, Orochimaru. Let's go, or should I tell everyone just how you were beaten by a 10-year-old brat?"

Gritting through the pain, Orochimaru took his place by Sasori's side. "This isn't over, Kyuubi brat," hissed Orochimaru before the two Akatsuki disappeared from sight.

Letting out a held breath, Naruto quickly went to check on Karin.

"Kaachan!" shouted a panicking Karin as she ran off towards where Jiraiya and Tsunade were, hoping that her mother would somehow be alright. Naruto quickly followed, hoping that Tsunade had gotten over her homophobia.

When they got there, they found a crudely bandaged Nanase and a still shaking Tsunade. "I tried to cover the wound as best as I could," said Jiraiya. "But if Tsunade doesn't snap out of it soon…"

"Kaachan, please…" shouted Karin as she rushed over towards Nanase.

"Karin, you're okay," said Nanase weakly. She then turned her head towards Naruto. "Thank you. At least I know Karin will be okay with you and my sister."

"Don't count yourself out of this yet, obachan (aunt)," assured Naruto as he walked over towards Tsunade.

"Come on Baachan. Nanase-obachan really needs you. You're not going to let her die. I mean, you're the best medic right?" said Naruto.

"S-so m-much b-blood," rambled Tsunade.

"Baachan!" shouted Naruto in Tsunade's face…nothing but more rambling.

Naruto's patience was already driving thin and as more rambling came from Tsunade's mouth, he did something he never actually thought he would do to Tsunade-baachan.

SLAP!

Naruto had just smacked Tsunade across the face hard enough to leave a red hand print on her cheek and Tsunade' rambling stopped. "STOP IT BAACHAN! YOU'RE STRONGER THAT A LITTLE BIT OF BLOOD! ARE YOU JUST GOING TO STAND THERE AND WATCH ANOTHER PERSON DIE?!"

"Die?"

"Yeah, right now Nanase-obachan is there dying and you're the only one who can save her," said Naruto.

"But I can't…"

"YES. YOU. CAN! I know you can do it," said Naruto. "It's time for you to put the past behind you and move on. Dan and Nawaki wouldn't have wanted you to be like this, now would they?"

"Dan and Nawaki…" thought Tsunade before looking up towards Naruto. "You know, he does look a lot like him…have I really been that foolish?"

Tsunade closed her eyes before rising to her feet and walking over towards Nanase. She placed her hands over the wound and Naruto smiled as they began to glow green, healing the still bleeding wound.

"The wound's healed, and she'll live. But she'll need at least a week's rest before any sort of strenuous movement," said Tsunade a few minutes later. Everyone let out a collective held breath. "There's a town not too far from here that we can rest at. Let's go and meet with Shizune and then we'll continue on."

Karin and Jiraiya helped Nanase to her feet and supported her as they slowly began walking towards the boarder of the Land of Fire (and no Jiraiya wasn't doing anything perverted. He already has a few broken ribs and the last thing he wants right now is a beating from Tsunade).

Tsunade turned back towards Naruto. "Thank you for that. I really needed that wake-up," smiled Tsunade.

"Don't mention it, Baachan," grinned Naruto, a tick mark appearing on Tsunade's head.

"But don't you DARE do that again! And cut it with the baachan crap Gaki!"

"I'll stop calling you Baachan when you stop being old. And we both know the day that happens is the day Ero-Sennin stops being a perv," explained Naruto.


Mt. Myoboku,

"He's got it," smiled Fukasaku as he noticed the orange pigments flare up around Minato's eyes. "And he's mixed the chakra perfectly too."

Minato opened his eyes before standing up on the stone slab, maintaining his balance.

"So how does it feel, Minato-chan?" asked Fukasaku.

"I can't even begin to describe it. I guess the best word is awakened," said Minato as he felt the natural energy rush through his body. The blonde Hokage jumped off the pillar before landing on the ground, the earth buckling beneath his feet.

But there was something unique that came with this feeling. Wanting to test out the Hiraishin, Minato reached out to find a marker, but what he felt just baffled him…everywhere was a marker. Minato focused on an unmarked place nearby and performed his signature jutsu, disappearing and reappearing at the place he envisioned.

"So in sage-mode, my chakra links with the energy all around me. What that means for the Hiraishin is that I don't need my chakra markers in the seals to teleport to. I can jump to anywhere my chakra is and since my chakra is now simply an extent of the energy all around me, then I guess that means I can teleport anywhere where natural energy is present without the need for seals," examined Minato. Iwa was not going to like this. A big grin came to his face as Minato disappeared in a flash of yellow.


Iwagakure, Tsuchikage's office,

Onoki had just finished a meeting with his advisors and was returning to his office. Sitting on his desk was a mountain of paper work. Onoki sighed, this was going to be a LOOONG night. The short man sat down at his chair and turned around only to see…

"YOU! HOW DARE YOU SHOW YOUR FACE HERE AFTER ALL THOSE PEOPLE YOU MURDERED!" shouted Onoki as Minato was standing in front of him. "Jinton: Genkai Hakuri no Jutsu! (Dust-release: Atomic Dismantling Jutsu).

A white cylinder shot towards Minato and crashed through the entire Tsuchikage Tower. Onoki let out a sigh of relief as Minato was no longer standing there.

"Aww…I knew you missed me, old man," grinned Minato, who was now sitting behind the hovering Tsuchikage on said man's desk.

"How did you get in here? I don't recall any of your god damned seals in Iwa!" growled Onoki.

"That is true," said Minato. "I don't sense any of my seals here either."

"Then how did you get here?" glared the Tsuchikage.

"I don't really know. I guess the paperwork must have led me here. Once I figured out the secret to dealing with the paperwork, I took it upon myself to rid the other kages of our mutual enemy," said Minato, pointing to the paperwork burying Onoki's desk.

Onoki listened intently. Even if it was the Yellow Flash giving him the secret, Onoki would do anything to learn how to defeat the paperwork. "So do you want to know the secret?" asked Minato.

"Go on," said Onoki. Despite not sounding too enthusiastic, he was practically screaming on the inside.

"Well the secret is-" and with that Minato departed in a flash of yellow before spilling the secret of the paperwork.


Elsewhere in Iwagakure,

A young blonde-haired shinobi weaing an Iwagakure headband looked on as the Tsuchikage's Tower burst into a massive explosion.

"CURSE YOU YELLOW FLASH!" was heard all throughout the Land of Earth.

"Such art!" admired the blonde shinobi. "With any luck, this kinjutsu I just got my hands on will allow my art to surpass the old man's!"


Mt. Myoboku,

Minato reappeared at the home of the toads clutching his side and trying to stop the laughter. So much potential with a senjutsu-enhanced Hiraishin. Naruto and Kushina were definitely rubbing off on him.


Land of Fire town,

Naruto let out a big sigh of relief as they finally left the town where they had been staying for the past week while Nanase-obachan recovered. Unfortunately, that town happened to have quite a few gambling dens, and Tsunade had only managed to increase her debt by another 5 million ryo. Also, there were quite a few brothels to 'distract' Jiraiya from teaching Naruto anything about fuinjutsu. Thankfully, Nanase was well versed in fuinjutsu and was able to give him a pointer or two. He even got to know Karin a little better and the two cousins had already grown into close friends, although both Karin and Naruto were a little hot-headed…it must have been an Uzumaki thing…and a heated argument between them was not uncommon.

Still, Naruto was glad to be out of that crazy town. The next and final stop on their journey…Suna. Naruto couldn't wait to see Gaara again, even if the fellow jinchuriki was already turning into a psychotic killer. Naruto would do whatever it took to show Gaara that at least someone cared for him and bring hope to one of the people he could truly call a brother.

As Tsunade reached into her pocket after exiting the town, she felt a small piece of paper. "What's this?" asked Tsunade as she pulled what turned out to be a small lottery ticket with the numbers '3, 42, 18, 26, and 22.' "Hmm…oh well, it's not like I would have won anyways." She tossed the ticket onto the ground, only for Naruto to catch it.

"Meh, what's the worst that could happen now? We've already run into Akatsuki," shrugged Naruto.


Back at the lottery hall,

"And the winning ticket of our 50 million ryo lottery is…3…42…18…26…and…22!"


Suna,

It was getting late in the evening as the five travelers from Konoha rolled into Sunagakure. Oddly enough, the village was quiet.

In the Kazekage's office, the Yondaime Kazekage stood overlooking the quiet village of Sunagakure. A masked figure appeared behind him.

"You understand what you need to do, Yashimaru. I have cleared the village and taken the villagers to safety so if Gaara by chance goes berserk, then the damage will be minimal," spoke the Kazekage.

"I understand, Kazekage-sama. I will not fail," bowed Yashimaru before placing his mask over his face.


Author Notes

Apologies for taking this long to get this chapter out. Not really too much to say so hope you enjoyed. Although, this story did reach 1000 favorites, so thank you everyone for that.

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