She shook her head dispelling her confusion.
"I must be going crazy!" She thought to herself as she looked around for any sign of the Uchiha, obviously he was nowhere to be seen, Sakura was on a mission to wave country, her team's first C rank mission. She thought that the bridge builder had been suspicious from the start but didn't expect it to go so badly. Still they were all in one piece, more or less, with only their silver haired Jounin squad leader facing exhaustion from their battle with Zabuza.
She sighed at the thought of calling it 'their battle.' They were helpless, but worse, if anything they held back Kakashi due to their need for protection just like the bridge builder. She decided that her mind was playing tricks on her, seeing people was certainly not something she needed right now, especially when they happened to be someone who hasn't been seen for three years.
She rubbed her eyes for good measure, deciding to head back to Tazuna's house, the bridge builder offered to let them stay after seeing that Kakashi was in no fighting condition simply because of him lying about the rank of the mission. Sakura frowned, she could have been killed because of that old geezers lies, letting out a sigh she realized that her life would be in danger from here on out.
"Looks like they're still after us." Naruto said as the two hid in a nearby alley, the headband was all they needed before Sasuke activated his genjutsu; the two considered themselves lucky that even a weak genjutsu like the one he used to disrupt her thoughts would work on any ninja.
Sasuke shook his head, he doubted that was the reason they were in wave.
"I think they may have had a run in with Zabuza." Sasuke thought, it would make sense for the two to be combating each other and a team of genin would definitely have a Jounin for a squad leader, someone who would be able to at least go up against Zabuza. They knew nothing of the man's condition but given that they had a week to kill they didn't imagine him to be in good shape.
"Are we going already? Staying in a village all day feels weird." Naruto spoke unenthusiastically as he lazily leant against the wall of the alley way, Sasuke just sighed before nodding, they had found themselves in a new country with time to kill over this job, they really had hoped for something simpler.
Missing their normal scenery the boys left to the nearby forest, as usual Naruto placed seals in four corners, giving them a small space that would cause a simple trick of the eye to make it look as if they weren't there at all, it was a basic level seal that he had learnt from kyuubi. The fox remembered some of the basic seals that Naruto's mother had used, but the more difficult ones were something that needed to be practiced to be memorized at all.
During the week they merely acted as they normally would, except for the added curiosity of when they were going to hear from their two associates, or if they were going to hear from them again at all, but eventually Haku had informed them that they were to head to the bridge that was under construction in two days' time, expecting a fight the two decided it would be best to take it easy and rest.
"Kakashi-sensei! You're awake then. How are you feeling sensei?" Sakura asked, to her annoyance her Jounin sensei just groaned and rolled on his side, she felt a vein on her forehead and fought to keep her temper in check.
"Sensei…you remember where we are right now don't you? It's been five days and we've already completed the tree walking exercise that you gave us." She said slowly as her rage threatened to surface.
With a heavy sigh the Jounin sat upright, he thought he could get away with another lazy day but apparently the young cherry blossom had figured him out, he got out of bed, his exhaustion no longer present as he rolled his shoulders in an attempt to remove the stiffness from them.
"So your finally up, Sensei! 'Bout time!" Kiba shouted happily as the small puppy sat atop his head barked in agreement with his master, Kakashi just combed a hand through his hair.
"Yes Kiba, I'm up. Sakura tells me you've completed the tree walking?" Kakashi said trying to change the subject and thankfully he was successful.
"Of course! It was a piece of cake, even Shikamaru can do it!" as Kiba said so the lazy genin walked through the door with bored expression that didn't suit his age.
"Troublesome…Me and Sakura both completed it two days ago, we had to wait around for Kiba to finish." He said before yawning, he really was bored, these missions didn't suit him after all.
"Tazuna-san says that construction will start again in two days Sensei, what do we do?" Sakura asked, her head tilted with curiosity as she asked her question. Kakashi looked at her as if she was stupid.
"We complete the mission Sakura, what else." He said as equally bored as Shikamaru was, they had a few things in common that way.
"Hmph!" the cherry blossom huffed, not happy with the grouchy jounin's tone, still there wasn't much she could do about it.
"After all, it's obvious that Zabuza isn't dead." Kakashi stated, as the three had expected the mist Jounin hadn't died that day, Kiba gritted his teeth, and the room went silent.
"So what! We beat him last time we can beat him again!" Kiba declared, Sakura couldn't help but look at her feet, to be honest Kakashi was the only one who fought the man and it was obvious they were no match.
To make matters worse there was that strange boy with the hunter mask, he was obviously strong, and Sakura wondered if any of them would be a match for him, she considered that if they outnumbered him three to one then perhaps they could defeat him, but they weren't even sure of his strength.
"That also means I could be overestimating him! Yeah…he might not be so tough after all!" She thought to herself trying to think positive, there was no point making the situation worse. She stopped for a moment in thought.
"Sakura?" Kakashi asked surprised by her sudden silence. She shook her head as if snapping back to reality.
"I-Its nothing Kakashi-sensei…I guess I zoned out, huh." She excused as the Jounin looked over her suspiciously she couldn't help but think back to the time when she was in town by herself.
"Sasuke…" She wasn't sure if she should tell the silver haired jounin in case she really was seeing things, it could just make things worse than they already were.
"Kiba…last time we got lucky. Zabuza had never fought against the sharingan before but he won't fall for it twice, when we're on that bridge I don't want you to do anything reckless. Our mission is to protect Tazuna, not to kill Zabuza, remember that." Kakashi ordered, he knew the boy was quick to temper and that could get him killed if he wasn't careful.
Kiba let out a low growl in frustration, clenching his fists trying to refrain from making a remark.
"Why does everyone underestimate me!? I'll show them…when we're on that bridge they'll see how strong I really am." He thought to himself as the team was dismissed, in two days he would get his chance.
"Sasuke…" Naruto questioned, it was early, the two days had dragged but the day had eventually came, the blonde had awoken to thanks to the natural alarm clock of chirping birds.
"Yeah, let's go." The raven replied, the seals around them dispersed and they soon headed to the bridge, although they were in no rush seeing as it was so early, they didn't want to be waiting all day after all.
They had awoken at their usual time of around four or five am, being that the forest was only on the outskirts of the village they didn't think they would even need to run. They knew the construction was taking place early in the morning, and that the lead construction worker, a man named Tazuna was their target. If they could they would be using that man as bait to lure out Gato after hearing the full story from Haku.
Naruto couldn't help but wonder what Konoha ninja were doing here, he assumed they were here to assess the situation with the economy, after considering their position here, it would make sense for the leaf to want to ally with a country so close to them, even if it was for trade purposes only.
He put the thoughts to the back of his mind, as he walked alongside Sasuke, he was sure the two of them would be alright.
"They're here." Kakashi announced. Sakura froze on spot with her kunai held tightly, she was stood in front of Tazuna, the only member of the construction team who had even shown up, the rest of the team had caved to the threats of Gato, in no position to fight eventually they felt no choice but to surrender. This didn't matter to Sakura though, it didn't matter how many people she had to protect it still wouldn't have stopped her shaking.
A thick mist descended over the area, ruining any previous visibility causing team seven to struggle to make out their surroundings; however the mist ninja looked totally un-phased. Sakura squinted, looking desperately towards her sensei, hoping for some kind of instruction which would make this scenario any easier to bear.
She saw Kakashi; the scarecrow jounin was ready for battle, his sharingan pierced the mist, scanning for his targets that would normally be in plain view though even he was having difficulty seeing through the density of the mist.
"That eye won't save you this time." Zabuza taunted, Sakura watched on nervously, then there was a clash too sudden for her to even make out. The sounds of clashing blades rang out through the silence of the bridge as the two did their best to slash open the other. A battle between Jounin was hard to watch for Sakura, her experience inadequate for the situation, she fought back her panic as well as the urge to scream in fear.
A soothing voice was heard amongst the battle to the death.
"Please surrender, things will only get worse from here." She said gently, Sakura still had the belief that the newcomer was a boy, though right now it didn't really matter.
"Yeah right! We'll take you down! Right Akamaru?!" His battle cry was answered by enthusiastic barking from the small dog as they took up an offensive stance.
"You're no match, if you're going to attack me at least involve your squad, otherwise your chances are zero." Haku said calmly, she had watched over Zabuza's battle last time and she was more than certain that these Genin were fresh, not used to a dangerous situation like this, controlled by nerves it didn't matter how strong they were, right now they were useless.
"Troublesome…you sure know how to anger him." Shikamaru spoke, his voice calm as he analysed the situation, he glanced around the area, weary of an ambush.
"Perhaps you have control of your emotions; the two of you should be enough." Haku stated in a cold, unforgiving tone, Kiba snarled at his opponent's response, he couldn't take it anymore.
"Gatsuga! (Fang over Fang) " He yelled and despite the war cry Haku wasn't expecting the destructive attack that hurtled towards her with a deadly speed. She had seen worse however and leapt out of the way to the left as the attack collided with the bridge leaving a nasty mark as Kiba skidded back into a fighting stance glaring at his opponent which was about to land.
As her foot gracefully touched the floor, Shikamaru smirked as he felt his prey ensnared.
"Shadow possession technique complete." He said confidently as he sat in his crouched position
"You should thank you team mate Kiba-kun, without him cleaning up your mistake you would surely be dead." Haku said calmly, the boy glared at her while fiercely growling.
"Don't underestimate me!" He shouted, his rage reaching its limits as people continued to look down on him; he had to grit his teeth just to stop himself from charging her right there.
"There is nothing to underestimate. You're too inexperienced like the rest of your team. Whoever thought you were ready to face enemies of our calibre was foolish to believe so." She retaliated.
"We're different from last time!" Kiba snarled, Haku couldn't help but laugh at this comment.
"You think learning to walk up some trees is going to help you here? An interesting conclusion." Haku said coldly, wasting life was something she did not enjoy and this boy was definitely going to get himself killed like this.
"Hmph! Says the one who's captured." Kiba said with a cocky attitude of victory, he folded his arms realising it was their win as he looked over at the ensnared ice user.
"You're right; you did capture my clone, well done." A voice whispered from behind Kiba, as soon as the sound hit his ears he leapt back into formation with his team only to see the captured Haku fall in a puddle of water before his eyes.
"Surrender. There is no point in continuing. The three of you have much to live for; one old man should not change that." She said logically, referring to Tazuna, the bridge builder they were currently attempting to do defend.
Kakashi was frantic, defending was all he was capable of right now, if he risked a counter attack he was sure his head would be rolling from his shoulders at the hand of that gruesome sword, he could hear his genin in trouble. The young boy (Haku) was right, he was foolish to believe they were ready to take on the mission to wave after realising it was an A rank.
The two jounin clashed again as Kakashi managed once again to fend of the huge blade with his much smaller kunai.
"You should be careful Zabuza; one might think your compensating for something." Kakashi taunted only to get a grunt of laughter from the man.
"You're just upset your pretty eye isn't doing all the hard work for you." He retaliated calmly. His silent death attack made him in control of the situation while his enemy was forced to defend. One slip and the silver haired squad leader was a goner.
"You rely on that thing too much it seems, I bet you've never even tried fighting with your other senses." Zabuza mocked, before disappearing again to strike the back of his opponent, who to his delight quickly anticipated the attack before slashing back with one of his own.
"Fighting with my other senses…" Kakashi thought to himself, he leapt backwards gaining some space from his opponent as he whipped through hand seals.
"Katon: Grand fireball jutsu!" He roared as the huge fireball spewed from his mouth and flew towards the mist jounin who calmly jumped to the right, avoiding the technique with ease.
"Getting desperate Kakashi?" He ridiculed but heard the leaf jounin slam his palm against the bridge.
"Summoning technique!" Kakashi shouted and as soon as he did a pack of Nin dogs appeared,
"Sniff him out." Kakashi ordered before the large wolf like dogs raced off towards the mist jounin, he managed to evade the pack for a short while though eventually he was captured.
Seeing an opportunity present itself Zabuza used the replacement technique, as the dogs burst through a pool of water Zabuza reappeared behind of a terrified Sakura, aiming to assassinate Tazuna. However the leaf jounin was the one blocking his view, happily Zabuza decided to slash anyway, leaving the man with a rather nasty chest wound before the two leapt away into battle again.
"Kakashi-Sensei!" Sakura shouted in anguish as blood flown from the open wound.
"Sakura! Pay attention!" Shikamaru quickly reminded as Haku easily evaded his stretching shadow while fighting off Kiba's feral taijutsu technique, still fully in control of the situation.
"Hyoton: Icicle barrage." She spoke, holding off Kiba with his fist locked with in her palm as she caught his punch, she used her other hand to form hand seals much to the surprise of the genin and as she finished large spear like icicles formed in front of her.
After they were fully formed they looked more like spears, and suddenly flew towards Shikamaru. Leaving his crouching position he was forced to jump to the left to avoid being pierced by the now shattered icicles. With Kiba still in her grip the boy went for a right hook, his free hand going straight for her mask. Seeing it coming she caught it with her free hand, locking him in position, then brutally kneed him in his rib cage. The force of the blow had him staggering backwards but his course was soon changed as Haku's roundhouse kick connected with his jaw launching him back only to land by Sakura's feet.
"For the last time, surrender. It gets worse from now. For two reasons. " Haku offered only for the Inuzuka to growl and stubbornly rise to his feet; glaring at the ex-mist Nin.
"Worse!? How could it get any worse?" He growled at his opponent who was totally in control of the fight already.
"I'm simply toying with you." Haku explained with a sigh, she thought the boy had at least figured that out.
The boy growled again but had no evidence of suggesting that his opponent was hard stretched during their fight.
"Yeah and what else?!" Kiba shouted unnerved by the situation.
"They've arrived." She spoke calmly looking towards the bridge entrance where two figures emerged from the thick mist.
Hope you liked it!