Disclaimer: Naruto? Owned by me? Pffft. Interwebs, you silly.
Chapter 5: I'm going to kill you!
Neji smiled. It seemed the fates were once more with him. He had wanted to go with Juzo, thinking that was the real Naruto. But it turns out the group in front of him was actually the real pair. "Nonomiya-san, we may be after the real traitors."
"What leads you to think this?" She replied.
"The clone carrying her has taken her forward, while the other Naruto has stayed behind, waiting for us. I assume something has made it prevalent for the Naruto not carrying Hinata to buy time, thus I assume we're on the trail of the real pair." Neji replied.
Nonomiya nodded, "Very well, we'll go in as if we're about to engage the real Naruto. We'll use attack plan delta. Any questions?" After a short pause, with no replies, "Good. Let's do this."
"With attack plan delta, I'll be able to take out Nonomiya and her partner first. Good. She's the biggest threat to my fighting style. The question is if Naruto will take the opportunity to attack me, accept my help, or run. All my actions after the initial strike will rest on that." Sei thought to herself.
"Attack plan delta... I'll be at the very back of the line. Will I be able to be fast enough? If I time it right I may be able to take out Nonomiya and her partner. That will leave just two others for me and Naruto to tag team... I have to be fast enough. There is no other option." Kurenai though resolutely as she followed the other hunters.
His breathing was even and deep. His focus and determination- sharp. He may not have been able to go sage mode like he had seen other versions of himself do, but at the very least he had learned that by meditating properly he could replenish his chakra faster. Sitting there waiting, the Kyuubi once more spoke up, "I know you wanted me to keep quiet, but I figured you'd like to know that the hunters are nearly here."
"... Thank you." Naruto thought as he stood up, ready for anything. "I'm curious though... how can you tell?"
"You may not be a sensor. But I am, in my own way. Remember, my chakra is here waiting for you. All you have to do is say the word..."
Not even bothering to reply, Naruto jumped down to a clearing in front of him and waited. He had a few ideas on what to do, but he wasn't going to fool himself. This would take every ounce of skill he had, an ungodly amount of luck, and an outrageous amount of shadow clones. Seeing the group of hunters come into sight and coming at him full speed, Naruto readied himself.
(With the Hunter Squad)
"Target sighted. Stick to the plan people." Nonomiya said as the group sprinted towards Naruto. Having already activated her Beast Imitation Jutsu moments prior, her and her nin-ken charged Naruto straight on. Naruto stood there with his hands in the familiar cross sign, waiting for the last minute to make shadow clones. Just as Nonomiya and her partner twisted her arms and was about to shout Gatsuya, Sei inwardly shouted "Now!". Opening a scroll on her hip just enough to reveal an ink version of herself holding a sword and another ink sword beside it, Sei used her Super Beast Imitating Drawing Jutsu, summoning out the two images. Instantly, the root agent sped up from her position and beheaded the Inuzuka shinobi, her ink double doing the same for her nin-ken. After which the two landed in front of Naruto and turned to face Neji and Kurenai. At the same time Sei had attacked, Kurenai had also sped up in an attempt to stop Nonomiya but was just a tad too slow. All she had succeeded in doing was getting several feet in front of Neji. At the bizarre sight of one hunter killing another, Naruto could only gape in astonishment, completely caught off guard. Kurenai and Neji also skid to a halt, looks of shock on their faces.
"What are you doing?! Why are you helping the traitor!" Neji yelled in disbelief.
"Why is she helping Naruto... She must be after the Kyuubi and Hinata's bloodline!" Kurenai thought grimly. She was glad that some of the shinobi she would have had to take out were gone. But Sei was apparently stronger than she let on. This was going to be harder than she thought.
"You do not need to know. The two of you will be dead soon enough." Sei said, readying her ink sword.
"Hmph. This are getting out of hand. It's a good thing Hiashi-sama prepared this." Neji said as he pulled out a scroll. Quickly opening it with one hand and biting the thumb of his other, Neji ran his bleeding appendage down it and yelled, "Summoning!" Two puffs of smoke appeared and soon revealed the other two Hyuga that were a part of the hunter squad. "Sei is aiding the traitor. It is up to us to ensure he and Hinata do not get away." Neji said, bringing the two up to speed, which immediately took a fighting stance.
Sei's eyes narrowed. "This is not good."
"Shit! That bastard Hiashi!" Kurenai cursed to herself before yelling, "Run, Naruto! I'll take care of this!" Naruto, who had still been trying to get over his shock of the whole situation, quickly responded to his former sensei's words, turned, and jumped away. Sei, knowing Sai was still tracking the Jinchuriki, didn't attempt to stop him. It would be easier to take out hindrances without his interference.
Neji raised an eyebrow, "What are you doing Kurenai-san? Helping the traitor as well? I guess I should have expected it though, you were my pathetic cousin's teacher."
"Neji-sama, we will take care of these two. Continue on and ensure the liability does not get away." Yoshiro said.
"Sama?" Kurenai questioned the honorific.
"If I successfully complete this mission, I will be raised to the main branch family and be named heir to the clan. But I knew this would happen. It was always my fate to make it to the top, as I am both a genius and have the strongest Hyuga Blood in me since the formation of our clan!" Neji declared, "Now if you excuse me I have some traitors to kill."
Neji then leapt high over Kurenai and Sei after Naruto. At the same time, Yoshiro and Kieta charged the two Kunoichi. Kurenai was about to jump to intercept Neji but was cut off by Yoshiro. She barely had enough time to pull a kunai out and begin blocking and evading his oncoming onslaught. Sei was similarly stopped by Keita. Sei's ink imitation of herself, however, leapt at Neji. Even though the ink rendition of Sei moved so fast she appeared to be nothing more than a blur as she swung her sword to cleave Neji in two, Neji was able to parry her sword with one hand and cause her to disperse in a spurt of ink with the other.
"Damn it!" Kurenai yelled aloud as Neji ran off after Naruto and out of view. "I don't have time to deal with Hiashi's lackeys!" Jumping away from Yoshiro and keeping him at bay with a salvo of shuriken, the genjutsu mistress of Konoha blazed through handsigns and then yelled, "Demonic Illusion! False Surroundings Jutsu!" As she did, Yoshiro soon found himself standing on a small pillar which was situated in the middle of a decent sized pool of lava.
Feeling the heat from the lava, Yoshiro smiled, "Genjutsu? Against a Hyuga? You must really be as pathetic as Neji-sama said. Everyone knows that our mighty Byakugan can see through any and all Genjutsu." He said with a smirk as he took a step forward, knowing full well that there was nothing more than the forest floor there. He made his first step confidently, then cried out in shock as his foot went through where his Byakugan was telling him was the forest floor. Stumbling towards the pool of lava, the Hyuga quickly pushed off with his other foot and leapt. As Yoshiro cleared the pool of lava beneath him, a spout of steam erupted from the pool, burning him badly and catching his clothes aflame. He screamed aloud in pain as he hit the forest floor and started to roll in an attempt to put out the fire. Kurenai didn't waste time, however, and ran over to his writhing body and kicked him into the pool. His screams lasted only a second more before his body was consumed by boiling mass.
As Kurenai was dispatching her opponent, Sei was busy trying to land a hit on Keita to no avail.
Though the same could be said for the Hyuga. The two flew through a flurry of attempted jabs, slashes, and stabs at high speeds, the two equally matched in speed and finesse. Realizing the battle was quickly digressing into a stalemate, Sei put some space between herself and her opponent before once more opening the scroll on her hip. Revealing five more ink versions of herself, Sei executed another Super Beast Imitating Drawing Jutsu. Seeing the odds of his victory drop as Sei summoned assistance, Keita charged towards his foe in an attempt to get a hit in while she was busy with her jutsu. Sei was quicker, however, and once more fell into their dangerous dance. However this time her ink imitations of herself joined in a second later. It wasn't long before Keita was covered in slashes and lying on the ground, his head a few feet away.
Both battles ending in a short minute, the two kunoichi's turned and faced each other. "Who are you working for?" Kurenai questioned as they faced off.
"You don't need to know. After all, you'll be dead soon." Sei replied evenly. As she did, the root agent noticed the new addition of a pool of lava with a pillar in the middle of it in the middle of the forest.
"That is certainly an interesting trick, being able to make Genjutsu affect reality. I was under the impression only the extinct Kurama clan was able to do such," Sei said as her ink imitations began to slowly surround Kurenai, "I'll have to take your body back with me as well, that ability would be most useful."
"You'd have to be able to kill me first." Kurenai shot back as she began to make handsigns.
As soon as she did, Sei and her art sped forward and beheaded the Jounin, only to have her fade out of existence. "Genjutsu..." Sei thought to herself as her ink copies surrounded the root agent and she scanned the forest. As Sei searched for her target, a very eerily detached voice sounded throughout the forest from seemingly everywhere, "Demonic Illusion... Hells Possession Jutsu..." As soon as it did, all the trees in the immediate area suddenly began to shake and grow, making the area become dark as the sun was blotted out. As the trees enlarged, their bark grew darker and knots began to form all over the surface of all the trees. Soon the knots grew and formed evil looking faces with jagged teeth. Within seconds, Sei was surrounded by trees shaking and staring at her, waiting for her to come within their reach. "Such power... I knew something was wrong about her. Now how to get out of this situation..." Sei mentally assessed.
"You have no hope of escape. Surrender and tell me who you are working for and I will let you live." Kurenai ordered as she phased out of nowhere a short way from the tree line.
"You are a fool if you think I would surrender so easily." Sei replied, readying herself to charge in and hopefully take out the red eyed kunoichi in front of her.
"No. You are a fool if you think you can get out of this alive. Even if you were strong enough to somehow kill me, these trees would not revert back to normal. And as soon as you are within their reach they will tear you to shreds. Surrender. It is your only option." Kurenai stated as she crossed her arms.
Sei and her ink copies charged. Kurenai quickly began blocking and dodging all the ink swords trying to take her life. As she did, the tree nearest to the two battling women bent down and began trying to bite Sei and her ink renditions. It easily began taking out Sei's ink copies as they attacked Kurenai. The real Sei saw that she too would fall to the sharp wooden teeth of the jutsu enhanced tree if she didn't escape. She immediately began to leap back but as she did heard, "Demonic Illusion. False Surroundings Jutsu!" Sei knew she was in trouble then. Feeling her legs ensnared, she looked down to see them encased in ice. That same instant, the tree lunged towards her. Acting within a split second, Sei shattered the ice encasing her legs with her sword and jumped back. She had managed to save her life, but the tree had been fast enough to bite off her left arm. Ignoring the pain, Sei jumped back into the center of the clearing, trying to figure out a way to escape.
"For the last time, there is no escape! Give up now or I'll kill you. Naruto is strong but against Neji he'll need help. I can't be wasting my time here." Kurenai demanded.
Even if Sei was going to, she had no time to answer as two giant ink versions of the Benevolent Kings crashed through the trees, opening a hole in the tree's skyline. As soon as the two ink warriors hit the ground and started to hold the trees back, Sai darted into the clearing on a giant ink swallow, grabbed Sei, then weaved between the snapping branches that had gotten past the two giant figures and out into the sky.
As they flew away, Sai saw the condition of Sei's left arm and sighed, "Okaa-san. You really need to be more cautious. What if you had been eliminated? You know we're important tools for Danzo-sama. Your life isn't worth a mission like this."
"I'm sorry..." Sei said as she bandaged herself.
"Do we go after the Jinchuriki and Hyuga?" Sai questioned.
Thinking it over, Sei replied, "No. Kurenai Yuhei will be able to catch up to them as fast as we could and she is too strong for us to take out. We'll have to rely on ink snakes to kill them."
"Understood." Sai said as he prepared several dozen serpentine ink assassins.
"She got away... No matter, I have more important matters to deal with. I need to go to Naruto's aid!" Kurenai thought as she was about to jump in the direction he headed but then paused, " ... Leaving this mess here would cause a lot of problems... As much as I need to help Naruto, I can't allow immortal demon trees to just sit here waiting to eat anything that moves... I'll just have to trust you're strong enough to hold out till I get there Naruto. I believe in you!" After determining her course of action, Kurenai quickly dispelled her Genjutsu's with a firm, "Kai!" After which she buckled to her knees. It had been a while since she had used her bloodline. She had forgotten how hard the backlash hit.
Naruto speed through the trees, his mind racing. Initially, he had been shocked to see a random hunter nin kill another and then turn to defend him. So shocked he had stood there in front of the sight like an idiot. Luckily, Kurenai sensei had been there to snap him out of it. It hadn't taken long for him to recover once he had started running. A short while ago, he had made and dispersed a shadow clone to inform the copy with Hinata the situation and to tell him to keep moving. He knew his sensei was strong, but he didn't know how strong the others were or if the one who was apparently helping him was even on Kurenai's side. Outnumbered, his sensei may be taken out. That meant he still needed to be alert for enemy attack.
"One of the hunters is still following us. At the speeds he's moving, he'll overrun us soon." The Kyuubi said.
Naruto knew she was just trying to gain his trust so that he'd be more receptive to her chakra, but he wasn't going to be fooled. Ignoring her, he continued to leap tree to tree. Since she had said he, that meant it was a Hyuga so a close range battle would be ill advised. Keeping an eye out for a suitable battle ground, Naruto tried to pick up the pace. He wanted at least a little bit of a terrain advantage if he could manage it. That meant the right size trees in the proper amount with the right spacing. He smirked, it looked like all those missions catching Tora would come in handy after all. After another good ten minutes of running, Naruto spotted the perfect place, a clearing with trees in a hexagonal-like formation around it. Stopping just before it, Naruto turned to face the oncoming hunter, catching his breath.
Soon enough, Neji landed in front of him. Naruto was surprised that he didn't attack him right away but rather sized him up. Finishing that, he smirked, "Finally realized that running was pointless? Trying to turn yourself in to avoid death? Well both actions are pointless, you are going to die here today." Neji declared with an evil smile as he took his family's battle stance, "You and that worthless cousin of mine. I'll take both your lives."
Naruto face took on a grim look at the mention of Hinata. She had spoken of her cousin, Neji, before. She never had anything good to say about him, "Hinata-chan isn't worthless! And if you think you're going to get anywhere near her you're wrong. I'm going to defeat you and both me and Hinata-chan will escape!" Naruto then formed the hand sign for his famous jutsu, "Believe it." Naruto gritted out angrily before yelling, "Shadow clone jutsu!" After the smoke cleared, Neji saw he was now facing fifty Naruto's.
"Hmph. Quality will always beat quantity. Allow me to demonstrate." Neji said before both he and the clones charged each other. As the Hyuga tore through the clones easily at high speeds, he also dodged various kunai, shuriken, and Liquid Bullet Jutsu's Naruto and about ten clones threw and shot at him from a distance. "This battle is pointless. You're not bad, for only just becoming a genin, but you lack too much in technique, skill, power, and strategy to beat me. Surrender now and I promise to end your life as painlessly as possible."
"Like hell! Shadow clone Jutsu!" Naruto yelled before summoning a hundred clones surrounding Neji. Every single one performing handsigns before yelling, "Water Style: Liquid Bullet Jutsu!" As a hundred high speed water bullets raced towards him in every direction, Neji merely smirked before spinning rapidly and yelling, "Kaiten!" Repelling all the attacks with ease.
"That bastard!" Naruto thought angrily before yelling, "Charge him!" As his one hundred clones attacked and Neji began once more easily taking them out, Naruto made another hundred clones. Dispelling one to inform all his current clones of his plans, he and the new clones once more began attacking him long range. "This is pointless!" Neji yelled as he effortlessly weaved about the battlefield dodging long range blows and taking out clones left and right, "You'll grow tired long before I will! I can easily maintain this level of combat for days at a time! Give up!"
Naruto completely ignored the Hyuga and continued to attack. He knew that what he was doing wouldn't take out the Hyuga, his close range combat wasn't enough and Neji could easily dodge or block his ranged attacks, but he wasn't trying to take him out anymore. He was trying to maneuver him into the clearing without letting it seem like he wanted to. He had to catch the Hyuga off guard, something not easy to do with his Byakugan. Making another round of clones, Naruto continued his attack. Slowly, carefully, Naruto managed to move Neji into the clearing. His last clone having been popped just a moment ago, Naruto stood in the middle of the clearing, breathing heavily to make it seem like he was growing weary.
"Your stamina is impressive. I know Shadow Clones take quite of bit of chakra to make. But now it is easy to see that you are nearing your limit. I offer you once more- surrender and you will die painlessly." Neji said with confidence.
"You can take your offer and shove it! Shadow Clone Jutsu!" Naruto yelled back before making another hundred clones.
"This game of endless enemies that I can beat without a thought is getting boring. Time for you to die. You are within range of my Divination. Eight Trigrams! Sixty-Four Palms!" Neji yelled as he speed towards Naruto.
"Shi-" Naruto barely managed to think as he raised his arms to defend himself from the coming assault. He had planned on having a clone switch out with him so that Neji would be in the center of the clearing, but he hadn't judged just how fast the Hyuga could move if he wanted to. The end result of this blunder was that all of Naruto's tenketsu in both his arms were completely sealed off before the clone finished its replacement jutsu.
"What the-" Neji exclaimed as his target suddenly exploded into a clone of smoke. Right as he did he heard one hundred voices yell, "Water Style: Wild Water Wave!" Seeing dozens of condensed jets of water rush towards him, Neji quickly enacted a Kaiten. As he spun, he saw with his Byakugan that several clones, instead of aiming at him, blasted through the trees surrounding the clearing instead. Once they fell, the trees effectively trapped the Hyuga within the clearing. Continuing to use Kaiten to repel the ever blasting streams of water, the Hyuga could do nothing as another tree fell into his prison and right on top of him. Naruto's clones had to stop attacking Neji at the last second so that they wouldn't destroy the tree falling on him, but that second was all he needed. "Eight Trigrams! Vacuum Palm!" Neji yelled out as he pumped a large amount of chakra into the jutsu, shattering the tree in half so that is harmlessly fell outside his cage. As soon as he had finished that, he heard, "Shuriken Shadow Clone Jutsu!" Seeing an impossible amount of Shuriken headed his way from every direction, Neji used another Kaiten. Once that one was finished he looked around to see that all the clones had run off to catch up to the original, who was running away at top speed. He also saw that the trees were covered in kunai with paper bombs attached to them, moments from detonating. "Kaiten!"
"Damn it! Damn it! DAMN IT!" Naruto thought as he tried to work his arms, both of which was hanging limply from his sides, as he ran. He had messed up and now he couldn't perform handsigns. All he had at his disposal was a hundred clones and his wits. He wasn't liking his odds. "A Hyuga's hits aren't supposed to completely immobilize you! Just shut off your chakra like those times I sparred with Hinata! Then why can't I even feel my arms! Move, damn it!" Naruto mentally roared, how was he supposed to beat the Hyuga now?
"I can make your arms work again. All you have to do is ask." The Kyuubi spoke up, offering assistance.
"Shut up! I don't care if you can fix them, I said I'd do this on my own and I will!" Naruto replied angrily.
"How? You can't perform handsigns and only have a hundred clones at your disposal. Even when you could perform handsigns you were no match for that boy. He is stronger and better than you. Your only hope is my chakra." The Kyuubi reasoned.
"You're wrong. Neji may be better and stronger than me, but he's arrogant. That will make him careless. Thus giving me a chance. Even if I can't perform handsigns, I still have one jutsu available to me. I can win this." Naruto thought resolutely.
"You are a fool if you think you can beat him with the Rasengan! You just learned how to use that jutsu yesterday, and only with your dominant, right hand! You can't use it otherwise, so no, you have no jutsu left!" The Kyuubi argued.
"So? I don't have any choice. I have to force myself to make it. It's only easier to use your hand because it helps to act as a shell. In theory, I should be able to make it from anywhere I can produce chakra. I've been training with Kurenai sensei to be able to hold myself perpendicular to a tree with nothing more than a chopstick at the most hardest points to even produce chakra! I know I can do this." Naruto shot right back at the skeptical fox.
"In theory! You haven't done it yet! You remember yesterday's training better than I do! You know full well how many times you made the rasengan incorrectly with the end result of it blowing up and dispelling your clone. You try to make it anywhere on your body you aren't used to and just that will happen! It will blow up! You don't have the chakra control required to pull that off! And besides, even if you did by some miracle manage it, your opponent is too fast! He'd be able to avoid it and just shut off the rest of your tenketsu! Or even just kill you! Don't throw our lives away! Just accept my chakra, with it you'll win easily! Don't be an idiot!" The Kyuubi reasoned.
"...You're right. He is faster than me." Naruto thought after a moment. The Kyuubi breathed a sigh of relief that Naruto was finally seeing sense. "That just means I'll have to attack only when I know for sure when I can hit him. When he goes in for another Eight Trigrams Sixty-Four palms to finish me off." Naruto finished.
"You moron! He'll just avoid your Rasengan, wherever you make it, and just hit you everywhere else! You. Will. Die!"
Naruto knew what the Kyuubi said was true. But her saying it like that gave him the last piece of the puzzle he needed for his plan. Ignoring her continued arguing for him to use her chakra, Naruto slowed down so his remaining clones would catch up to him. He had to plan this carefully.
Neji sped through the forest, once more chasing his target. He could see him easily ahead, the pathetic waste of space had slowed down to meet up with his clones. That was a mistake. It gave Neji the opening he needed to catch up. Pushing himself even faster, the Hyuga blazed from tree to tree. He then saw about two thirds of the clones split up and turn around, a third each on his flanks. "A pincer maneuver is useless. I know which is the original. I'll just go in and end this."
It was then that Neji saw Naruto and all his clones stop. A third ahead, and a third on each side, all vastly spread out in a somewhat small area. He saw all the copies either readying kunai with paper bombs, stretching out their jaws and rubbing their necks, or readying shuriken. Judging by the spacing and vague formation the blond had his clones in, Neji easily saw his plan. Naruto knew Neji was faster and would eventually catch him, so instead of attempting the risky plan of using his remaining clones to slow the Hyuga down while he escaped he planned to fight in one small area, use the terrain to his advantage, and fight a battle of attrition. Neji smirked. All that spacing that he assumed would give him the advantage would end up being his demise. It just gave him time to get through the spread out clones and take out the real one.
Landing on the forest floor just before the 'trap,' Neji calmly walked towards his enemy. He knew his victory was assured, but his enemy needed to know it as well. "How are those arms feeling, trash?" Neji called out loud enough to be heard as he walked within range of the first few clones. They hesitated, but didn't initiate any attacks. "Fools" "How does it feel, to be hit with the attack of one bearing the purest and strongest Hyuga blood?"
"Go to hell you monster! I know what's supposed to happen when you're hit by someone using the gentle fist, and this isn't it!" The real Naruto yelled out in frustration from behind a tree.
Neji grimaced, "You are referring to my cousin, yes? She is weak, useless, and a disgrace. Nothing more than a container or her mother's blood. She wouldn't be alive today, if it weren't for that. No, what you were hit with was the true gentle fist. A culmination of technique and blood so strong, when my chakra hit you, it not only closed off your tenketsu but overloaded your muscles as well, giving you advanced fatigue. You won't be able to move those arms for days."
"Shut up! Hinata-chan isn't useless! And what do you mean she wouldn't be alive otherwise?" Naruto called back, trying to stall.
"Hmph. No female member has ever been able to become the strongest warrior in our clan. There may have been a select few that are exceptional, but none have ever been able to beat our best male members. Since you're going to die, I'll let you in on a little secret. You see, our bloodline is special in the fact that only males can unlock it's full potential, while females are nothing more than keepers of its power. That is the only reason why my useless cousin has been kept around for so long, her descendants have always produced the strongest members in our clan." Neji gloated.
"I call bullshit! There's no way that's true!" Naruto shot back. "Just a little bit more..."
"I have no need to prove myself to you. Still," Neji began, mostly to himself but still loud enough to be heard, "It is a shame all my hard work is going to waste. Oh well, at least there is Hanabi..."
As Neji trailed off, every Naruto in the forest went still as they put two and two together. "Hard work? Hanabi? He's not saying..."
"I can tell by your faces that you're finally figuring it out. It seems I was right, you do have feelings for her. Don't worry," Neji finished with an evil smile, "I'm going to be sure to kill you now, so you don't have to worry about finding out just how bad in bed she is."
"YOU BASTARD!" "I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!" "YOU SON OF A BITCH!" "ROT IN HELL!" "EAT THIS YOU SICK FUCK!" "DIEEEEEEEE!" Naruto's clones yelled as they charged towards the Hyuga in a blind rage. The original would have followed suit had the pain caused by slamming his arm against the tree when he turned around to fast in realization not given him enough of a clear head to stop. He was still pissed off beyond all reason, but he couldn't just charge in and die. He had to wait till Neji was vulnerable. It didn't take long for Neji to take out the remaining clones. Once he had, Naruto jumped down to the forest at what he gauged was just out of Neji's divination. Now a crater filled battleground, the two stared at each other.
"How could you? Hinata-chan is your cousin. HOW COULD YOU!?" Naruto questioned angrily. He had tried to keep his anger under control, but the sight of who he now knew was the one who raped Hinata put him over the edge. Naruto heard the Kyuubi in the back of his mind commanding, arguing, and pleading him to run. But he quickly zoned her out. He didn't care anymore. Not about controlling his anger. Not about the Kyuubi. The only thing he cared about was seeing Neji dead.
"How could I? I merely did what one fated to rule did. I took what I wanted by force." Neji sneered. "And now I'm going to take your life. You are within my div-"
Neji took his stance as he once more announced his deadly technique. But Naruto didn't hear him. In order to kill Neji, he knew the one thing he needed more than anything else was concentration. So as everything around him slowed to a crawl, as if it would be his last moments on earth, he forced himself to concentrate. He was angry, and he couldn't stop soon enough or completely enough to enter the calm, sharpness he had been in earlier. So instead, he focused on his anger. It made him think of a fire. After all, the third Hokage had always been going on about the will of fire. Naruto then pictured an intense, enormous blaze in his mind's eye. That blaze and nothing else. He began pouring all his anger, all his emotions, everything, into that blaze. He didn't know why he did this. Instinct? A last minute attempt to save his life? Kami touching him and giving him the knowledge to do so? Naruto didn't know. But as soon as he had poured everything into that flame, all of his anger, fear, anticipation, every thought, worry, and sense of fatigue, Naruto found himself breathing calmly, his heartbeat steady. There was nothing else. Nothing but that flame in the middle of nothingness. But that wasn't quite right, for he was in the middle of that nothingness as well. He felt as though he was a part of that very moment in reality. The pain from his arms was now felt like someone else's pain, the fatigue of many nights with next to no sleep, someone else's fatigue. It was then he really saw Neji coming towards him, blindingly fast but so slow it almost hurt. Even with Neji coming right at him, Naruto didn't feel fear. There was only the blaze and the nothingness. Grabbing the exact amount of chakra he needed, Naruto waited. He had to be sure Neji wouldn't be able to avoid or dodge what he was about to do. Just a few seconds longer. Have to be sure. He has to be in the perfect spot. Now.
As Neji did his final leap towards him, palm reared back to strike, Naruto acted. Instantly he pushed the chakra he had waiting out in front of him and molded it. He felt his body, as if it was someone else's far and distant, immediately get drenched in sweat and drained of energy. The pain he felt erupt in his head and the blood running down his nose were also only vague, distant feelings felt by someone else. Ignoring the possibility that what he was doing was bordering the impossible, Naruto shaped Neji's death in front of him. Not just one Rasengan, but well over two dozen of the spiraling balls. He made them in front of his head, torso, waist, and down to his knees. The spinning orbs were dangerously close to each other. But it was without a doubt that Neji wouldn't be able to touch him.
As Neji sailed towards Naruto, expression changed from one of vicious glee to shock as he saw a wall of spiraling chakra appear in front of his opponent. His expression then changed into one of pain as Naruto surged chakra to his feet to leap directly towards Neji. It was as the two shinobi collided that Neji realized that not all the orbs were spinning the same way. So as Neji's flesh began to grind in several different directions, the force of Naruto's jump sent them both into a tree. Between an aged oak and a wall of Rasengans, Neji's body became nothing more than flying chunks of blood, flesh, and guts. It didn't take more than a second for Naruto to completely destroy the Hyuga. Once he had though, all his Rasengans hit the tree. Naruto instantly realized that, even within the nothingness he had wrapped himself in that had aided him in focusing his concentration, he didn't have the strength of mind to retain the concentration needed to hold over two dozen Rasengans firmly in place so they wouldn't touch each other. All it took was two Rasengans to hit each other, and ultimately disrupt their forms, to set off a chain reaction. Naruto only felt the resulting chakra explosion for a split second before the blast knocked him out.
(Later That Night)
Naruto regained consciousness slowly. As he woke up, the blond took stock of his surroundings and situation. He had a massive migraine. The front of his body was emanating a dull pain-filled throb, but he was sure he could move if he needed to. He could even feel and move his arms, though they were extremely sore. He also noticed that most of his body was covered in bandages that had a minty almost nothing smell, meaning his clone had used the rest of those herbs to make some salves or someone who used the same herbs had cared for him. Either he was with allies, or at the very least someone who wanted him alive. As his hearing slowly came back, he heard the crackling of a fire and the soft rustling of leaves in a wind. So he was still outdoors, another sign that he was amongst allies. He tried to open his eyes, but found that they were also bandaged. Content to act asleep and gather information, Naruto lay there and waited on his hearing to strengthen.
It was then that he heard the Kyuubi speak, "So you're finally awake then? Good. I prefer thanks sooner rather than later." The fox said in a rather pissed off manner.
"What?" Naruto asked, genuinely confused. His brain still groggy from waking.
"You decided to disregard our personal safety and attack in a manner only a moron with a death wish would consider! So I did what any sensible demon fox with a bit of self preservation would do and forced nearly three tails worth of chakra into you to create a shield just in time to save your worthless lump and by extension, me." She explained in a clearly irritated and angry tone. "So like I said before- You. Are. Welcome." She finished, somehow managing to turn the phrase into an string of horrible curses.
The Kyuubi's angry rant was like a splash of ice cold water to Naruto. The memories of his fight with Neji filled his mind quickly. As much as he hated to admit it, the Kyuubi was right. He had gone into the fight with a clear head and focus, but completely lost it to a rage he never knew he had. Even if that rage had pushed him into a realm of focus so strong he pulled off the improbable, he could tell by his throbbing head that it probably wasn't a healthy thing to do. Neji had completely caught him off guard by revealing he had been the one that had raped Hinata. Because of that he nearly killed himself. Mentally beating himself up for losing control, he replied, "You're right. What I did was stupid, selfish, and nearly got both of us killed. I'm sorry... Thank you... for saving us..."
There was a long pause before the Kyuubi said anything, "...Damn straight, I'm right. You do something like that again and, seal or not, I will burst free just so I can kick your ass and kill you myself!" She roared back, causing Naruto to wince, "That said... I have to say, what you did... It was impressive."
Naruto mentally stopped and in the process entered his mindscape. He found that the room had reverted to its swamp filled mindscape, though he was too much in shock at the moment to notice enough to comment. He had been expected to be chewed out more by the fox, not complimented.
"What you did, by all accounts, should not have been possible. Not by a human with your level of training and skill. But you somehow pulled it off. And I have to say, killing that Hyuga brat like that was absolutely magnificent." The Kyuubi said with a sadistic smile. "I have no doubt he felt the most excruciating pain before your charge of death killed him." She dropped off before finally extending her hand out to her rattled container. "Kuriku." She finally finished. Naruto just blinked, trying to process everything that was happening. "That's my name. After that battle, you earned the right to know."
Naruto, still somewhat dazed, walked over and shook her hand. "Naruto Uzumaki." He greeted her simply. After releasing her hand, he looked around the dimly lit room, "What happened?"
"I broke our prior agreement of me limiting my chakra unless you specifically asked for it. So my cage reverted from what you allowed me to change it too." She explained offhandedly,
"Definitely worth it to survive..."
"Don't worry. I don't think I could do that again even if I wanted to." Naruto said as he clutched his head, "My head is still throbbing. Ugh. If you already broke the agreement, why aren't you giving me your chakra to heal me?"
"Because, even though it saved you, forcing nearly three tails worth of chakra into you instantaneously did quite a bit of harm to you. In a normal situation, your healing, even without my chakra, would have patched you up much faster than the rate you're going now. The burst I gave you has temporarily weakened your body's regenerative abilities as a whole. So giving you any of my chakra in the state your in will only kill you. Your body would break down at an accelerated state, not the opposite that would be the norm." Kuriku explained.
Naruto frowned, "Will there be any permanent damage? I know my eyes are covered. Should I be worried?"
"Hmm-no, I don't think you should be. You'll just have to wait till your body processes all of my chakra currently in your system first. Then I should be able to help heal you. You don't have to worry about your eyes. I made sure to shield your head and neck the most during the blast. Your eyes were merely temporarily blinded by the force that hit them. It's been a few hours now so they should already be fine. I guess whoever bandaged you was just being cautious." The fox explained indifferently.
Naruto breathed a sigh of relief before looking back at Kuriku, "Why are you being so helpful?"
"You earned a bit of my respect, so in turn I show you a little." She said levelly before smiling in a very evil manner, "Don't worry, Naruto-kun. I'm still the same little ole me."
"Figures..." Naruto thought to himself before replying, "Would you like everything the way it was before?" The blond asked as he motioned to everywhere vaguely.
"Same agreement as before?" Kuriku asked. Naruto nodded with a blank face in reply. "Pity, I had hoped I had gained a bit of your trust..."
Naruto raised an eyebrow, "By breaking an agreement we swore upon?" The young shinobi shook his head before he exerted his will and changed the area to as it was before, "As you said, you're still the same you." Naruto said as he faded from view.
Kuriku just chuckled as he did.
Naruto was sure not to move as he re-entered consciousness. Focusing just a little chakra into his ears, he tried to figure out his situation better. He could still hear the fire. However, on top of that, he could hear someone stirring it up with a stick. He had only messed with this particular skill on and off during his academy days when he was bored. So he was only so-so with the technique. Naruto tried to focus his hearing just a little bit more, to try to hear the breathing of the one stirring the stick, but all he managed to do was increase his migraine.
Naruto was about to try again when the person stirring the stick sighed, then spoke. "Man... I hope boss wakes up soon. I don't know how much longer I'll be around." It was his voice.
"Mmrh..." Naruto grunted out as he started to move and try to sit up. It was more painful than he thought.
"Boss!" The clone said excitedly as he rushed over to the originals side. "Careful!" He said worriedly as he helped Naruto stay upright.
"Water..." The original got out weakly. As the clone went over to his pack to retrieve some, Naruto began to uncover his eyes carefully.
"Boss wait!" The clone said worriedly as he headed back to the original. "Kurenai sensei said to not remove those yet, your eyes could be damaged and taking them off could make them worse!"
Stopping to take a drink of the water his clone offered, Naruto resumed as he explained, "It's ok. Kuriku, I mean, the Kyuubi said my eyes are fine." The clone just sat there uneasily as Naruto finished unwrapping his eyes. His eyes adjusted slowly, even with him blinking constantly. But eventually they more or less focused as good as they were going to. Naruto then noticed that the bandages were covered in blood except for two circles where his eyes were. He guessed the resulting blast from his Rasengan wall must have blasted away some of his skin, even with the Kyuubi's chakra. Looking over to his clone, he saw that the copy was exhausted. He could tell right away it was the one he had sent off with Hinata.
"How are you feeling, boss?" The clone asked worriedly.
"I'll be ok. It's just going to take a little bit longer to heal than normal. Is Hinata-chan ok?" Naruto asked worriedly.
"She's going to be fine. Kurenai sensei was able to heal her." The clone relayed before hesitating, "Do you think you're well enough to watch the surrounding area boss? I can stick around if you aren't, but I'm practically useless as I am now. I'll run out of chakra soon."
"I'll be fine. And it'll be faster to get the whole picture if you just disperse." Naruto replied.
Nodding, the clone popped. Instantly Naruto regretted that course of action as his head felt like a hammer had just hit it. Clutching his head in pain, Naruto received all his clones memories. He saw how his clone decided to hide Hinata and double back to check on things after his battle with Neji. How he met Kurenai, who had found the original first, and helped her bandage him up before leading his sensei to Hinata, who she took care of. How she stopped several ink animals from killing both himself and Hinata. And how she was currently out scouting the area for potential threats. From his clones memories, he already knew what was all in the camp and where it was located, but he still stood up and double checked everything. Hinata was still wrapped up in her sleeping bag resting, now on the downside of her fever. There was a fire in the center of camp with some water in a pot nearby to be boiled if needed. His own pack was near the sleeping bag he had been laying on. As the blond moved about, he constantly winced or flinched at the pain that racked his body with every movement. Naruto had been through some pretty bad beatings, but he couldn't remember a time where he was hurt as he was now.
"I'd be careful if I was you," Kuriku said suddenly, "You have six broken ribs, a minor concussion, and your left shin is fractured. Moving about a lot could cause your injuries to worsen." The fox said seriously before there was a pause, "If you want, you could always come back inside. I'd make you forget all about those hurts of yours."
Naruto just shook his head at the Kyuubi's sudden offer. She never seemed to give up. She should've known he would always say no. Naruto checked on Hinata to be sure she was still ok before he made his way over to a log, sat on the ground, and leaned against it. His arms were still feeling the effects of Neji's attack; he doubted he could channel chakra through them if he wanted to. Even though he doubted he could do anything if an enemy found them now, Naruto dug out a kunai and hid it behind him. "What now? We somehow managed to escape. But what do we do now? Where do we go? Go to another village and hope they take us in? Hope they treat us better than our own village? Quit being ninja and try to learn a different trade? Be on the run from hunters the rest of our lives? ...no. No, I won't live like that. I won't force Hinata-chan to live like that either. We have to find a way to get them to stop sending hunters after us. Faking our deaths will only stall them for so long, someone will eventually find out and once the cat is out of the bag Konoha will find out as well... Then what?"
Naruto grimaced as he looked up into the night sky and pondered. He needed a find somewhere. Somewhere out of Konoha's reach that would be his and Hinata's safe haven. He decided to try to tackle the problem as logically as possible. "Someplace Konoha can't touch, for one reason or another... The other four great villages, and the few smaller villages and countries too rich or important for Konoha to consider angering. That narrows it down. Hmmm... the same thing could be said about the smaller villages and countries though. They may not want to harbor wanted criminals if it meant angering Konoha. So that leaves the four great villages... and maybe Taki. They're big and have enough ambition to stand up to Konoha. Suna, Iwa, Kumo, Kiri, and Taki... Which one? Kumo is out, I'd never take Hinata there. Iwa and Taki are at each other throats. They'll both be looking for mercenaries to bolster their forces. From what I've heard of Iwa and how they feel towards Jinchuriki, though, that'd be the worst place for me to go. So no Iwa... Taki, Kiri, or Suna? Hmm... Suna is an ally to Konoha. We try going there and they'll turn us in without a doubt. So it's down to the soon to be war torn Taki or Kiri, who is in the middle of a civil war..."
Naruto sighed. He didn't like his choices at all. Maybe he would take another look at the smaller villages and countries after all. After all, he didn't have to decide right away. He could gather more information as he and Hinata traveled. Naruto didn't even have time to be surprised as Kurenai landed in the camp a few feet away. Not even bothering to try and pull his kunai, he asked the question his clone and her had agreed upon earlier, "Why does a bird fly?"
Kurenai didn't waste any time in answering, "To live. To survive."
Naruto breathed a sigh of relief as Kurenai smiled, "It's good to see you awake. How are you feeling?"
"In pain." Naruto replied with a grimace.
"With your injuries, I would suspect so. I could gather some of your battle with the Hyuga from your clone, but what exactly happened in the end to cause all that happened to you?" Kurenai asked.
"Ever heard of the Rasengan?" Naruto asked, causing Kurenai's eye to widen. "You know the Rasengan? How?"
"I can't say," Naruto said with the smallest shake of his head, "But that's how I killed Neji. Though in the process two touched and caused an explosion. That wasn't fun. But at least I got the bastard." Naruto said darkly before looking up at his teacher, "He was the one that raped Hinata-chan, sensei."
Kurenai's face became grim at the revelation, "That son of a... thank you Naruto. He deserved whatever you did to him."
"And he certainly got a lot." Naruto replied before relaxing a little, "So what now, sensei? You really didn't have a lot of time to explain everything to my clone. Are you planning to run away with us? Aid us? What?"
Kurenai shook her head, "As much as I'd like to, I can't run away with you, Naruto. I'm only here to help you and Hinata escape."
"But won't just helping us cause you nothing but trouble? What if someone finds out? You'll be branded a traitor and-" Naruto started to reason with Kurenai but was cut off.
"I won't get caught." The red eyed Kunoichi said with determination. "Look, Naruto. I know you've seen a lot of the bad in Konoha, and that's practically all you have seen for most of your life. I don't blame you for leaving. But, even if you don't think so, there is good in Konoha. There may not be as much as there should be, but there is enough I want to fight for it." Naruto looked downcast as Kurenai explained herself. He thought she was scolding him for running away and she was able to pick up on that immediately, "Naruto, I already said I don't blame you for leaving. You have your reasons for going, and I understand that. You just need to understand why I'm staying," Kurenai said as she placed her hands on her stomach, "After all, you should understand better than most that a child needs its father growing up."
Naruto's jaw dropped at this revelation, "You- you're, pregnant?"
"Yes. I just found out recently. I was waiting for the right moment to tell everyone but, with all that's been happening, it never seemed like the right time." Kurenai said with a sad smile.
"Does... does the father know?" Naruto asked, still shocked. He couldn't believe it, Kurenai sensei was having a baby!
She shook her head, "Not yet. But I plan to tell him as soon as I get back."
"I see..." Naruto said, slowly getting over the shock of what his teacher had told him. "Wait a minute! Sensei, if you're pregnant, what are you doing going running around and getting into fights! You could hurt yourself, or the baby! You should have just stayed home!"
Kurenai laughed a little, "And what, leave you to be captured or killed? Taking care of my little brother is just as important as protecting my child. Besides, you don't need to worry about me. I'm not a Jounin for nothing." Kurenai finished with a grin.
Naruto sighed, "Arrogance will get you killed sensei..."
"Trying to turn my lessons against me won't work, you little brat." Kurenai said playfully.
Naruto smiled back in return, but soon looked downcast, "Well there goes one 'what if' plan gone. I had hoped you would be coming with us. If you did, you could help me take care of Hinata, get her to open up quicker after what happened. Now... now I'm afraid she's going to rely solely on me. So much so that she becomes dependant on me for everything. I don't want her crippled socially because I don't know enough to get her well..."
Kurenai looked at her adopted brother for a moment before replying, "I wish I could too, Naruto. Unfortunately, I can't. But I'm not worried." Kurenai said with a smile as Naruto looked up at her, "You seem pretty well studied on the subject as it is. And you care for Hinata more than enough to make up for whatever you lack. I know you'll be able to help her stand on her own two legs again."
"But sensei, what if I do something wrong? What if I make her worse? It'll just be me and her. I won't have anyone I'll be able to rely on for help." Naruto said as he lay bare his insecurities.
Kurenai snorted softly before carefully hugging Naruto, "You'll be fine. You have Hinata. And, even if you don't think you can, you can rely on her. Just like she'll rely on you." She then pulled back enough to look him in the eyes, "But even that won't be enough. The two of you have to find allies. People you can trust. A place you can call home. The world is a big place, but I know you can do it."
Naruto smiled, unshed tears in his eyes, "Thanks, sensei."
A/N: Whew, finally Chapter 5. Sorry for the long wait. I'm sure y'all don't want to hear my excuses, but oh well. You see, work picked up something fierce in prep for this big inspection that was going to happen. So that kept me busy for a while. Then, I had my wisdom teeth taken out. And while that alone would only normally take you out for about a week tops, while I was on painkillers I managed to get nearly half my left thumb pancaked off by a forklift. So that meant surgery (Which was luckily a success btw, I now have a fully functioning but deformed and scarred left thumb. Woo.), which meant more painkillers. It turns out I am not one of those genius writers that is able to use being high to pull out my true potential. So that kept me from writing. That, and having my left hand in a cast. Typing with only one hand was so slow and torturous that I just gave up. Now, however, my thumb is mostly healed and I have returned! Work is still crazy! Yay!
Sorry, I'm sure you're sick of hearing about me by now. As I was saying, Chappie 5! Full of crappy battles galore! What did you think? I can't promise there will be a lot more in the future, seeing as Naruto and Hinata will be keeping as low a profile as possible, but I'll try to squeeze a few in. Also, Kurenai pregnant! Bam! Who saw that coming? What? Her bloodline? Who cares about that! Someone knocked her up! Obviously that's all anyone cares about! I mean, it could have been absolutely anyone! ... Right. Anyway, thanks for sticking around to this point. Hope you enjoyed it. Be that enjoyment be derived from the story itself or laughing at the story for how horrible it is. It's whatevs. I'll try to get another chapter out this month, if not, one will come out next month for sure. Till next time peoples!