Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
A/N: Sorry for this chapter to be a bit slow in coming, plus the fact that's it's not as long as I would like it, but there was a certain way I wanted to end it. Plus I got a bit sad after literally no one reviewed the second chapter of In All But Blood. It's one thing to get reviews saying they didn't like something or that they thought it was badly written, but now I just have no idea what anyone thinks of it, and it makes me think it might not be worth writing it anymore. I'll probably try to pump out at least one more chapter for it before I make the final decision on that.
On a happier note, this story now has 500 followers. To celebrate, you should tell your friends about this story and review! Anyway, thanks for your continued readership!
Chapter 10: Let That be A Reminder
"Didn't expect to run into any of you out here," came a new voice, brash and arrogant.
The members of Team Seven and Haku turned to look at the new arrival, who turned out to be none other than Inuzuka Kiba along with his ninken, Akamaru. They were quickly joined by the rest of Team Eight, composed of Aburame Shino, Haruno Sakura, and their sensei Yūhi Kurenai.
"Hey Kiba!" Naruto greeted with all of the enthusiasm he could muster, hoping the previous incident would be forgotten. "We were just on the way back from a successful mission! Same deal with you guys?"
"Yup!" Kiba replied proudly. "We had to escort some well-off merchants to Yugakure. There were a few bandits along the way but we took 'em out with no problem, right Akamaru?"
They were met with an enthusiastic yip of agreement. At this point Kiba noticed the presence of Haku, someone he had never met before, and wondered what the beautiful girl had to do with what was most likely Team Seven's mission. But before he could ask anything like that, Sakura joined the conversation.
"What about you guys?" she queried. "You look like you're all on the way back from a mission as well. Anything... interesting happen?"
As she finished speaking she eyed Haku, and like Kiba was curious about her. She wondered if perhaps the young woman was their client.
"Well we were on a simple C-Rank ourselves to escort and protect a bridge builder," Kakashi answered. "But things got complicated and it turned into an A-Rank."
"Is that so?" Kurenai asked. "I suppose then you had to call it off, no need to endanger your students after all."
"Actually we continued it and the mission was completed with flying colors," Kakashi said with an eye-smile and a thumbs-up. "And my cute little genin handled themselves very well, I'm proud to be their sensei."
Kurenai scowled. "Well I'm glad things turned out okay, but I have to say that was really irresponsible." While she would worry about any genin involved in a high level mission, she was particularly protective of Hinata.
"Oh, I don't think so," Kakashi said calmly. "After all, I have the best team of genin in the village. To be honest, I think all three of them could get promoted in the next set of exams."
"We'll see about that, Kakashi," Kurenai said with a smirk. "I plan on entering my team for the exams too, so we'll know soon enough who leads the better team."
"Hmm..." Kakashi rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Care to put your money where your mouth is?"
"Ten thousand ryō," Kurenai said with no hesitation.
"I think we might be able to get Asuma in on this too," Kurenai said after they shook hands to finalize the bet.
"Excuse me, sensei," Shino said in his typical quiet, polite voice. "But what exams are you talking about?"
Kurenai and Kakashi then went on to explain the Chūnin Exams to the genin, and that Konoha would be hosting them in a few months. The genin themselves expressed differing levels of excitement at the prospect, though all felt confident in their abilities. While Haku had yet to take part in the conversation, she was amused by the dynamics between the others, and felt that she would truly be able to enjoy living in Konoha.
"By the way, who is this young lady with you?" Kurenai finally asked the question on all of Team Eight's minds.
"Hello, Kurenai-san," Haku introduced herself. "My name is Yuki Haku, and I would like to become a ninja of Konoha when we arrive there."
Kurenai had heard of the Yuki clan before, but she had assumed that they had all been wiped out. She wondered if the name was a coincidence, or if she was truly of the Hyōton kekkei genkai. Kurenai decided not to voice her curiosity about this or a number of other questions that arose because of this information, thinking that Kakashi would tell her anything important.
Kiba however, thought that now would be the best time to stake his claim on the girl, hoping that Sasuke had yet to attract her like he did so many other girls their age. He moved to her side and wrapped his arm around her, settling his hand on her opposite shoulder.
"What do you say about me showing you around Konoha when we get there?" Kiba said, his voice betraying a bit of the lust he felt for her. He immediately felt a cold creeping sensation on the hand he had placed on her shoulder. He tried to ignore it but it only got worse. When he looked over, he saw his hand was covered in a thin layer of ice. "W-What the hell is this!?"
"I appreciate the offer, but I think I'd prefer it if someone from Kakashi-san's team took care of that, since I'm somewhat familiar with them," Haku replied, ignoring Kiba's panicked second question. "I'm really looking forward to living there, I hear Konoha is a nice, peaceful village."
Seeing the ice on Kiba's hand was proof enough to confirm Kurenai's suspicions, and her reasoning for joining Konoha made enough sense. Since Kiri was actively trying to kill off its clans that wielded kekkei genkai, it was a logical choice for a survivor to want to be a part of a peaceful village, especially one that likes bloodlines as much as Konoha does. Her curiosity temporarily sated, she watched as Kiba dejectedly sauntered back to his team, the ice having quickly melted once he broke off from Haku.
"Just what Konoha needs, an ice queen," Kiba muttered, thinking no one would hear him.
If the twitching of her eyebrow or the vein on her forehead were anything to go by, Kurenai did indeed hear him, but otherwise she said and did nothing.
"Well, now that we're all caught up, let's head back to Konoha," Kakashi said cheerily. He and Kurenai lead the way, presumably to discuss Team Seven's mission in more detail, while their genin and Haku congregated behind them.
Naruto glanced at Hinata, hoping her anger had abated. She glanced at him as well, but said nothing. Her look held no anger, but Naruto could tell he would have to make things up with her soon.
Unnoticed by the rest of them as they walked, Sakura was making subtle glances towards both Haku and Sasuke. While some of her more fanatic tendencies towards Sasuke had all but been destroyed by Kurenai through her training, she still liked him. And to her, Haku seemed like she might be even more competition for the young Uchiha's affections. She remembered when she had eavesdropped on Team Seven some time before, and if Haku's use of ice was anything to go by, then she was most likely a serious kunoichi, something Sasuke was looking for in a girl. With a renewed vow of determination, Sakura, along with everyone else, once more continued towards Konoha.
"Though you ran into a lot of unexpected trouble, I'm impressed that you all completed this mission and that it went as well as it did," Hiruzen said after Team Seven, accompanied by Haku, gave the report on the mission. Though he was not really surprised by anything that happened on the mission, since it matched what Naruto had already told him, neither of them actually expected to come back with someone. "As far as the matter regarding young Haku, she is of course welcome to join our ranks, since she has no history as an official ninja elsewhere and there are no warrants out for her that would complicate things. Haku, you will be required to submit to questioning regarding your intentions to join us; it's really nothing to worry about as long as you're sincere. After that, you will need to take the genin exam in the next few days, but that's more of a formality than anything, I'm sure you'll pass it easily. Until we can find a place for you on a genin squad, you'll be an unofficial part of Team Seven here, training with them and going on any and all missions they are assigned. Does this sound acceptable to you?"
"Of course, Hokage-sama," Haku replied with a bow. "I look forward to serving Konoha."
"Very well," Hiruzen said with a kind smile. "While I get started on the paperwork to get Haku an apartment to live in, I want you all to show her around Konoha; let her get to know the area. When you finish, return here and I'll give Haku the keys to her new place and her address."
"Yeah, you guys can take care of that right?" Kakashi said. "We'll meet at the usual spot at the usual time tomorrow, that includes you, Haku. Well, see you later." Kakashi then waved and disappeared in a swirl of leaves, effectively abandoning his comrades. The irony was not lost on the original Team Seven.
After they exchanged a few more words, Team Seven left with Haku to give her a tour of Konoha. Meanwhile Hiruzen created some Kage Bunshin to help him with his paperwork. A few minutes later, the door to his office opened once more, to reveal a solo Naruto.
"Naruto? Why did you come back?"
"Well, there was something I wanted to talk to you about, so I switched with a Kage Bunshin while none of them were paying attention to me. Anyway, I think it's best we did this... in private."
"I see," Hiruzen said, getting the hint. He motioned for the ANBU in his office to leave, and activated the privacy seals. "You know, I don't think your team will appreciate your leaving them a clone in your place."
"Well, this is important," Naruto retorted. "And besides, Hinata's kind of mad at me, so I'd rather not be there myself in case she goes on a verbal tirade."
"You know she'll only get more mad if she finds out the you with her is just a clone, right?"
Naruto paled. "Crap! I didn't really think that far ahead. I really hope it doesn't dispel before I get back... Anyway, here's the thing. We've got some time before the Chūnin Exams, and there's something from the last timeline that bothered me. You remember my friend Gaara that I talked about, right?"
"The Ichibi jinchūriki that eventually became the Kazekage, yes."
"Yeah, him. Anyway, you know how he's kind of... psychotic right now partly because of the shoddy seal he has?" Hiruzen nodded. "Well, he never got it fixed or anything, he just dealt with it. I want to change that, give him a better one. My mom told me that the Uzumaki clan had a seal that could temporarily restrain the bijū within a jinchūriki, so that the old seal could be broken and then a newer one could be applied. The thing is, she doesn't know it, and if we wanted to learn it then we'd have to search for it in the ruins of Uzushiogakure."
Hiruzen laced his fingers together under his chin in thought. It was definitely worth trying, but there could be complications. Naruto, and therefore the rest of his team, would have to be a part of any mission regarding this because of his Uzumaki blood that might be required to access certain parts of the ruins. And while they were certainly the most talented genin team in the village, they were still just genin, and this kind of mission warranted at least a B-ranking due to any traps they might encounter. Ruins or not, Uzu was a dangerous place even to this day. While Hiruzen knew they could handle it, and that the mission probably could not be done without Naruto, it could be considered a sign of favoritism to give a practically new genin team a B-rank mission in a time of peace. He then sighed; the pros far outweighed the cons.
"I see. I agree, this would be a worthwhile venture. I will speak to Jiraiya and Kakashi about this myself, so you won't need to worry about that," Hiruzen said when he broke out of his thoughts. "I'll get started on arranging a mission for this purpose, and Team Seven will definitely be a part of it. Until I call you for this mission, be prepared for more D-ranks and training." Hiruzen laughed at Naruto's scowl at the mention of more D-ranks. "If that's all, then you're dismissed. I'd hate for you to be in even more trouble with Hinata..."
Before Hiruzen knew it he was essentially alone in the room once more, having just witnessed a fearful Naruto rushing back to what he hoped was his still oblivious team.
When he finally caught up to them, Naruto noted that his clone and Hinata seemed to be on good terms. Apparently, they had worked out their little problem. Naruto was just glad that they never found out it was a clone. While waiting for an opportune moment, one finally presented itself and Naruto once more used a Kawarimi no Jutsu to switch with his clone before he dispelled it. Then he was hit with his clone's memories, one of which particularly stood out.
Sasuke, Hinata, Haku, and Naruto's clone were walking around a part of Konoha that was comprised mostly of various restaurants. Hinata noticed that Sasuke and Haku were deep in a conversation and thus were not really paying attention to her or what she believed to be the real Naruto. She took the opportunity to grab his arm and pull him into a nearby alley. He did not question it or try to make a scene, thinking it was about time she had words with him... or punished him... the clone was not sure which it might be.
Once they were out of sight and earshot, the clone tried to question her.
"Hinata, what's going—" but it was cut off by Hinata pressing her body against his and planting a deep, affectionate kiss right on his lips. The Naruto clone was a bit confused, but decided it was best to just accept it, and eagerly returned the gesture. It was over too quickly for his tastes, but he figured it was better than some alternatives.
"Let that be a reminder," Hinata said as sensually as she could. "Of why I am, and always will be, the prettiest girl you know, Na-ru-to-kun."
Naruto found himself blushing at the memory. It was the first time he had gotten a glimpse of this part of Hinata's personality, and he liked it.
For the first time Naruto could recall, he was truly jealous of something one of his clones had experienced in his place.
The next few weeks found Team Seven, including their new unofficial member Haku, performing D-rank missions and getting in some training on their downtime. Haku had adjusted to her new conditions well, and found Konoha to be everything she had heard. And while the missions she was doing were about as appealing to her as they were to any other ninja, she still found it a nice change of pace compared to being on the run. They were eventually broken out of this routine when Kakashi ordered them to accompany him to the missions office for something of a higher rank. Naruto was fairly confident that this would be the mission to Uzushiogakure, and felt excited. He would finally get to see something that could be considered a part of his heritage. Even if the place was ruined, he felt that it would be special.
He was surprised to see Jiraiya when he entered, but once he thought about it, he realized that it would make sense in a few ways for him to be a part of it.
"We're ready to hear the mission details, Hokage-sama," Kakashi said in a formal tone.
"Very well," the Hokage replied in an equally formal tone. "Team Seven, you are getting assigned a B-rank mission." He paused for a moment, seeing some of their questioning gazes, and then continued. "I realize it is odd to assign such a mission to genin, but allow me to explain. I am not sure if you're all aware, but Naruto is the last known member of the Uzumaki clan, whose ancestral origins lie in Uzushiogakure. The Uzumaki were famed for their use of fūinjutsu, so much so that in a joint operation performed by Iwa, Kumo, and Kiri that began the Second Shinobi World War, the entire country was destroyed for fear of them. It is known that currently, despite being in ruins, Uzushiogakure is littered with traps, many of them based in fūinjutsu, which is why this is a B-rank. You will all be looking through what is left in order to find technique and fūinjutsu scrolls, and it is very likely that Naruto, as an Uzumaki, may have to be the one to actually retrieve them. However, as an added precaution, Jiraiya will be joining you. In case you're unaware, he is currently Konoha's greatest sealmaster, and I have no doubt in my mind that he'll keep you all safe."
"We accept the mission, Hokage-sama," Kakashi said. Like Jiraiya, he had already been briefed on he true reason for the mission. While anything else they might find there would be a nice bonus, Naruto, Kakashi, and Jiraiya all knew that their main goal was to find the bijū suppression seal.
They then hammered out the details for their departure, which they decided to put off until tomorrow. Once they left the missions office, Sasuke spoke.
"Kakashi-sensei, are you sure we can handle a B-rank right now? I know we just came off an A-rank, but we're still technically just genin..."
"Don't worry about it, Sasuke," Kakashi said with an eye-smile. "Jiraiya-sama or Naruto should be able to deal with any dangerous seals we run into. Besides, due to his being an Uzumaki, Naruto is required for this mission, and it's only right that we, as his teammates, go with him. Besides that, we'll be fine, and we should have plenty of time to train while we're there. Just think of it as a training trip for all of us."
After his explanation, Kakashi bid his team farewell and reminded them to meet him at the village gates in the morning. Sasuke then offered to walk Haku home, in what he seemingly tried to pass off as a friendly gesture, though the rest of them knew better. Naruto sent Sasuke a knowing smirk, which he returned with an added wave when he turned around to leave with Haku. If one was paying attention, one might have seen the almost unnoticeable tinge of red on the cheeks of both Sasuke and Haku. Naruto then went with Hinata so that he could walk her home as well, only they were holding hands as they walked.
"Naruto-kun," Hinata began. "I feel like they didn't tell us everything about this mission. You know more, don't you?"
"Nothing gets by you, does it Hinata-chan?" Naruto said in mock exasperation, eliciting a giggle from her. He then proceeded to tell her the same things he told Hiruzen. Needless to say, she agreed completely. When they arrived at the Hyūga compound, they shared a kiss before they parted ways once more in order to prepare for the important mission they were soon to be a part of.
When they arrived at the ruins a few days later, most of them were filled with awe. What they saw before them were the remains of what was once surely a magnificent city. Collapsed buildings littered the landscape, and the river that bisected the village was filled up in area that once had bridges. But despite the destruction it still radiated an eerie beauty.
"I haven't seen this place since I was a child," Kushina said sadly in Naruto's head. "After it was destroyed I always thought it would hurt to come back. It's saddening, but more than anything I just wish I could understand why it happened... why the other nations felt the need to do this when Uzu was always peaceful."
"Fear and hatred makes people do foolish things," Minato replied with almost as much sadness. "This is just the kind of thing our Naruto-kun wants to prevent. We should feel happy that he's going to stop events like this from happening in the future."
They gathered together outside of what used to be the entrance to the village. Realizing that they were waiting for some kind of instruction, Jiraiya decided it was time they got some since they were finally there.
"Okay, we're here," Jiraiya said plainly. "And we're gonna be here for several weeks most likely, probably at least a month, but we'll go back to Konoha for the Chūnin Exams whether we complete this mission or not, so there's no need to worry about that. We'll set up camp here, and you genin are not to go off exploring on your own. As you've already been told, there are many defensive seals around the village that you really don't want to set off. Naruto is an exception to this only because he has fairly advanced sealing knowledge and he can throw clones around everywhere to check for him. When we're not searching, you are to be training here since for the most part the mission will be pretty lax. Everyone understand?" They all nodded in response. "Alright, good. Set up camp now, we'll begin the search tomorrow."
The next day they began their search for any and all scrolls that they might be able to scavenge. They were specifically looking for a seal that would be able to suppress the bijū within a jinchūriki, though not all of them were aware of that detail. Still, anything else they might find would be a nice bonus.
The Konoha ninja began their search and split up into two groups. Kakashi was leading Naruto and Hinata while Jiraiya led Sasuke and Haku. Going ahead of each group was a small gathering of clones made by Naruto, whose purposes were to scout ahead as well as trigger any traps in an area before they could be triggered by a non-clone.
They did not find the particular scroll they were looking for that day, though Jiraiya's group was able to find some jutsu scrolls. After their search ended that day, they went about training. Sasuke had asked Kakashi if he had any experience wit a sword; he had become interested in kenjutsu after seeing Zabuza in action. Kakashi, while not adept, knew a few things from his time in ANBU and began some preliminary training in that area. Haku had agreed to help Hinata in her water element while also working on a new Hyōton jutsu. Jiraiya was busy meditating anytime he was not trying to write his next novel. Naruto was of course working on a few new jutsu of his own.
That pattern continued for a few weeks. They would search the village for the first half of the day and then train afterward. They had found a few more jutsu scrolls and some Uzumaki sealing scrolls. While Naruto already knew them courtesy of his mother, having physical copies of the scrolls would still be useful. However, the one scroll they were looking for continued to elude them.
The more Naruto saw of the village, the more he felt a growing sense of familiarity. Despite having never been to Uzu, he felt at peace here despite the destruction. He knew that being mad or upset about the situation would do him no good, just as he knew that holding a grudge against Iwa, Kiri, or Kumo for it's destruction would be pointless. Most everyone that was involved in the event was either dead or retired. After all, it happened during the Second Shinobi World War, a time when even his parents were just young children, and ninjas had a tendency to not live very long compared to everyone else. While it brought him a bit of sadness, he renewed his vow to bring peace, to never let anything like it happen while he was alive.
Once they had swept through the entire village and not found the suppression seal, Naruto started getting worried. He severely wanted this to work out so that he could make his friend's life easier, but so far luck had not been on his side. Every day he had taken to summoning as many clones as he could to scour the village in hopes of stumbling upon something they had not yet noticed, but so far the only thing it had accomplished was making him very tired by the end of every day he tried.
Before they knew it a month had passed, and yet they had still not accomplished their main objective. Many of them were on the verge of giving up. It was then that Naruto got some interesting memories from a clone that dispelled.
"Guys, one of my clones found something!" Naruto said energetically. "We have to go back to the Uzumaki clan compound."
"Really? We were already incredibly thorough in our search there," Kakashi noted. "How could we have missed it?"
"Well, my clone found it completely by accident," Naruto chuckled. "But anyway, there's a seal we need my blood to get by, so I have to be there myself to check it out more."
"I think the others should come with us, just in case," Hinata said.
"I agree," Kakashi said. "Naruto, make another clone and have it tell the others to meet us there."
Naruto did as Kakashi said, and then they went on their way to the compound and waited for Jiraiya's group to join them.
Once they were all together Jiraiya asked how they managed to find something.
"I'll tell you while we walk there," Naruto said as he walked inside the grounds to lead the rest of them. "You see, my clones were getting annoyed at not finding anything, so they kind of got in a fight in the middle of what used to be the clan head's office because of how mad it was making them." The others looked at him incredulously while he laughed nervously. "Anyway, one of them grabbed the other and threw him at a wall. The one that got thrown gathered chakra in his back on instinct to help soften the impact. It still got dispelled but the other clone saw seal markings for a few seconds where the wall was impacted before they disappeared again. So that clone channeled some chakra there on purpose to get a good look at the seal, and from what I can tell we need Uzumaki blood to bypass it."
"I see..." Jiraiya said while he thought. He had tried applying chakra to certain areas around the compound, including the clan head's office, but he never saw anything like what Naruto was describing. Jiraiya concluded that it was because Naruto was an Uzumaki and he was not, as it was more than likely a seal that only responded to Uzumaki chakra and Uzumaki blood. He had not expected the Uzumaki to be that thorough in their defenses, which had turned out to be a foolish assumption.
When they arrived Naruto went to the wall that the seal was located on. He gathered chakra in his right hand and brought it up to where the seal was so that Jiraiya could take a look at it for himself. Jiraiya studied it for a few minutes before backing away and telling him what he knew.
"The kid's right, he's gotta swipe some blood on it, and then we can go from there," Jiraiya confirmed for them.
Naruto did not keep them waiting and quickly bit his thumb. He swiped it over the seal and there was an instant reaction. The seal glowed blue for a few seconds before it faded back into the wall. For a second more nothing happened, and those present wondered if something was wrong. Their worrying was then shown to be for nothing, as that section of the wall lowered down, as if it was sinking into he floor. It revealed a downwards stairway that apparently led to an underground room. Naruto, followed by Jiraiya, Kakashi, and then the other genin, went down.
If you were gonna hide something, this would be the place to do it, Naruto thought.
When they reached the bottom of the stairs, they came to a closed door. When they opened it, they were greeted by the sight of several shelves that contained nothing but scrolls. The Konoha ninja then eagerly went through them. There were many secret elemental jutsu known only by the Uzumaki, and more Uzumaki-style fūinjutsu scrolls. Several of them were duplicates of ones they had already found, but there were plenty of others they had not, including the one they were looking for: Bijū Heisei Tōbatsu Fūin.
Naruto gave a subtle nod to Kakashi and Jiraiya, indicating to them that Naruto had found the one they were looking for. They continued looking for more scrolls until they were sure they had everything.
"Listen up guys," Jiraiya's voice boomed in the underground room when everyone finished searching. "I think this is as far as our search is going to get us. We've got time to kill though, so we'll spend the next few days finishing up whatever training we've been going through, but it's essentially mission complete."
With his part said, Jiraiya led them back up the stairs and out of the village back to their camp.
"That seemed way too easy for a B-rank," Sasuke said when they arrived, catching the attention of most of the others.
"Not all missions require combat Sasuke, even the higher ranked ones," Kakashi explained. "And rarely do they ever go as awry as our mission to Nami. This mission was B-ranked not because of possible combat situations, but because of possible traps and importance to the village. When you get older you'll be happy to get missions like this one where you shouldn't have to fight for your life."
"I guess you're right," Sasuke said, seeing the logic.
They continued on as they had been doing the entire time they had been on the mission and went back to training. After a while, Kurama felt a familiar presence in the area.
"Hey, Naruto," Kurama said within Naruto's mind. "There's someone else coming. Someone you know rather well."
Kage Bunshin no Jutsu (Shadow Clone Jutsu)
Kawarimi no Jutsu (Body Replacement Jutsu)
Bijū Heisei Tōbatsu Fūin (Tailed Beast Tranquil Suppression Seal) – A temporary way of restraining a bijū and/or their chakra within their jinchūriki. Typically used when applying a new bijū containment seal to a jinchūriki or to restrain a bijū from trying to forcibly break out of their host through the seal or overloading their host with chakra. It imposes a high rate of constant chakra drain on the user while active in order to function, and should only be used by those with extremely high chakra levels.
A/N: I'm a terrible person. :)
I feel like I did a bad job of writing this chapter, hopefully it was to your enjoyment despite my doubts.
Anyway, thanks for reading, I appreciate any and all criticism/praise you'd like to leave me in a review.