So, here's yet another chapter. Don't as me why it's such a long chapter...I simply got carried away is all. There's a lot of drama and parallel writing going on between Naruto and Karin in here. AS WAS INTENDED. I'm so sorry to those who were wanting a story filled with nothing but action, there's most likely going to be more drama than action in this story. But yeah, I do hope you enjoy (It took me three damn days to write this chapter so you better enjoy it. .)

To nenopip: I am not a female. Lmao, I am a straight male that just so happens to be tired of writing the same thing over and over again (i.e. Cliche Protagonist fights cliche antagonist, cliche female character comes in and gets with protagonist), I wanted to add some drama to my writing, I wanted to create a romance story, something that revolved around the true sickness that is Human Nature. As you can obviously see from this story, I've tried my best to personify them as best as I can to make an actual bond, but haha oh well, I've never been good at such things. thanks for the critique though.

Same with the rest of you guys, I'll try as hard as I can to ease back on the drama. Key word; Try.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto D:


Chapter 14: Along the Way

Naruto finally arrived onto his ship after two days of running solely on chakra, which scared his jounin companions. He came to a grinding halt as the sea came into view along with the port and their beautiful ship. The blond jounin stared at the bi-masted, shinobi alliance standard waving, warship. Strange in his opinion since he had almost never known that shinobi even needed warships. He turned to his companions and gave them a quick nod before heading down into town.

Gai panted slightly while gasping about something about the springtime of youth while the other two were no different, minus the talk of 'springtime' and 'youth'. Shaking their heads, they all turned on their heels and followed after Naruto, taking a soft and slow, energy conserving pace. To see Naruto with so much energy was lightening to say the least, but also worrisome.

All three of them saw the face Naruto made when Karin practically told him off. Naruto was an enigma to figure out, but there was one thing for certain about him that anyone could tell; he ran on emotions. They couldn't tell whether he was sad or furious; either way, Naruto was using a lot of chakra and energy to get to some ship, four days ahead of schedule. He even beat the armies of Konoha, Kiri, Suna and Iwa in a race to their destinations.

The distance to Kumo was the same for everyone; five days, but Naruto was supposed to be an extra day behind so he was supposed to make it to the docks an entire day after everyone was based in Kumo. It surprised the three jounin to a great degree, but it also sparked something in Gai's mind to make him want to challenge Naruto into a lifetime of bets and rivalry; Naruto of course declined, not wanting to become like his former sensei.

Once they entered the town, the three stopped for a quick bite before heading out for their ship. The three ate in silence, wondering where Naruto could have gone off to. With the war no longer a secret to Naruto, no thanks to the Great Toad Sage, they all had the same thought; they were worried that Naruto would do something reckless and end up getting himself hurt or someone else hurt, or even worse, charge off for Kumo and henge himself into some no name shinobi and join the fronts.

Even with his newfound maturity and wisdom, they still couldn't trust that Naruto's old habits of being reckless; after all, they do say old habits die hard. So, after finishing their food and paying their bills as quickly as possible, the three jounin sped off for the dockyards to find their ship still tethered, but the crewmen were running back and forth along with a small platoon of orange clad shinobi with blond hair.

"It seems the little brat has grown up." Yamato smiled. "I'm proud of that kid…let's go."

The three jounin nodded their head to the crewmen waiting for them at the docks while three Naruto's walked by, each carrying large crates and bags onto the ship. Yamato and the other two followed suit and started loading as many supplies as they could, but while Aoba and Gai were too busy loading the heavy cargo, Yamato took a moment to take a look at Naruto and his appearance. What he saw made him gasp in surprise, nearly causing him to lose his grip on one hundred pounds of rice.

Naruto's whisker marks were darkened and seemed a bit feral in his opinion; not a good sign. But it was the eyes that gave Naruto's change away; they were blood red with the slit of the Kyuubi going straight through the middle instead of his normal circular pupil. Naruto was siphoning the Kyuubi's chakra to help him this entire time; it was a surprise to Yamato that the Kyuubi hadn't tried to overload the boy and cause him to revolt against this will.

As paranoid as it sounded, Yamato had to be sure about all factors that could possibly have a say in a situation like that. It was never safe to be around Naruto when he entered the Kyuubi's chakra cloak, no matter how weak of a cloak, be it one tails or even no tails. Yamato sighed and pushed the crate into the cargo hold and found Naruto going back onto the top deck.

"Naruto..." Yamato called out as his head poked out from below deck.

The boy in question turned around and faced the former ANBU from the bow of the ship. Naruto was staring out into the shimmering ocean and wondered for a moment where he was going. The boy ran hand through his blond hair, and quickly reeled his hand back after realizing that his hair was sticky and felt like an ocean from all the sweat he produced. But then Yamato walked up to the Uzumaki and gave him a stern look.

"I know you've been using the Kyuubi's chakra." Yamato said suddenly. "I don't understand why you were so adamant on speeding your way to the ship. We could have just let the schedule go ahead on time."

"I just want to get to the island as soon as possible." Naruto sighed. "Hey did you hear that?

"Yup" Yamato nodded his head and raised his arm.

Suddenly, from the air came a large falcon with a scroll strapped to its leg. Yamato uraveled the scroll and nodded his head at what the scroll said. Yamato nodded some more as his eyes scanned over each word and kanji written on the scroll, not once saying a single word to Naruto about what it said. Yamato. after three minutes of reading rolled up the scroll and released the falcon.

"It seems that we have lost sight of the Akatsuki." Yamato said. "We are to depart once we arrive at the port, well guess what; we're already at the port."

"What else did it say?" Naruto asked with his body shaking with slight fear.

"They told us to take as much time as need to get the island whilst not falling behind schedule." Yamato said. "We are after all four days ahead of schedule. We will journey as far as we can before we have to resupply."

-Elsewhere…hours later…

Karin was wiping sweat from her forehead as she and the Konoha shinobi army set up camp a few hundred miles away from Kusagakure. As of now, she was in her home country and memories were starting to flow into her head. This wasn't something she was anticipating to happen, but nevertheless, she allowed it to go through. Memories that she had forgotten about and memories that she had originally hoped would happen in the future.

A frown formed on her face. She didn't want to think of that bastard Naruto, especially after all of the heartbreak he put her through. Karin let out a wry laugh. She couldn't blame it all on him; it was her fault for not running after him and telling him how she really felt. It was her fault for not telling Ino who Naruto was going to be with. Most of all, it was her fault for not agreeing to go with Naruto on his journey to tame the Kyuubi. She shuddered for a moment, strangely worried about the possible stupidity that Naruto would bring out.

She silently facepalmed and glared at the floor of her tent. Of course Naruto would somehow do something completely stupid on a boat, in the middle of nowhere, with no possible way to screw anything up. She shook her head and looked out her tent door and sighed, knowing that her conversation, albeit bitter and short, was probably going to be the last she'd ever have with the blond. She left her tent and headed off for some food and to converse with some comrades.

A small smile formed on her face and she headed off for Sakura and Hinata at the campfire they surrounded. Karin nodded at the two and they both gave her a quick nod and Hinata even gave her a smile and handed Karin a bowl with a pair of chopsticks. The redhead nodded her head and said quick thanks before digging into her bowl.

"You know…" Karin piped suddenly. "Ino is really lucky."

"Hm?" Hinata asked slightly. "How so Karin?"

"It's because she has Naruto…" Karin shook her head. Hinata was about to speak up, but Sakura gave the Hyuuga a quick look and Hinata quickly shut her mouth. "I mean…if I could go back in time and take Naruto for myself…I would. While I may be slightly over him, it still hurts. I guess there will always be a spot in my heart for the blond idiot ne?"

"That's the way it is for everyone." Sakura smiled.

"Well thanks for the food." Karin bowed her head slightly and pushed her glasses up. "I'll go and walk around before returning for my tent."

Once Karin was out of earshot, Hinata looked to Sakura and frowned slightly. Sakura knew exactly what the Hyuuga was going to say, but Sakura shook her head. Sakura let out a soft sigh and stared at her hands. Hinata did as well, knowing that there was nothing they could do.

"I still don't understand why you didn't tell her about the breakup." Hinata said.

"I'll let her find out on her own."

Karin walked through the camp and nodded her head at the shinobi and kunoichi taking small walks through the encampment, admiring the brightness of the stars. Karin though, trailed her eyes down, wanting to make her heart stop beating. Many of the shinobi and kunoichi were walking together, hand in hand; some even hand rings wrapped around their left ring fingers. Many of these shinobi were couples, and some probably even had kids of their own.

Her expression softened slightly when she saw a group of shinobi and kunoichi laughing with one another in a large tent while looking through pictures that one of them apparently brought along. The interaction was warm and fuzzy, reminding her of Naruto and his own personality; bringing her back to the first time she had ever met the blond and the first time she ever got the chance to be associated with Konoha shinobi.

Their antics and their personalities made her fill with a warmth that couldn't be explained; but one thing was certain, it always brought a smile to her face no matter how down she was feeling. She sighed softly and continued on her walk back through the camp and started staring off into the moonlit night. Completely absent of her own mind, she walked aimlessly through the camp, coming across strange and still sane Konoha shinobi, reminding Karin that the village that she was aligned with was filled with strange characters.

"Oh whoops, sorry." Karin pleaded for a quick moment while bowing down to the man she had bumped into. "I didn't mean to."

"No, no it's fine." The man replied. His voice sounding deep, but still like that of a teenager. Karin looked up and fixed her glasses and gasped in surprise of what she saw.

It was a boy just a few inches taller than she was and he had a head of spikey brown hair. He was wearing the standard konoha chunin vest, but he also had the symbol of the medical corps of the shinobi alliance stitched to his shoulder. His jawline was strong, but not disgustingly strong. He gave her a small smile and immediately, Karin felt her face heat up.

"I-I'm Karin." The redhead gave a small smile.

"I'm Takeshi." The boy replied and stepped aside. "I won't hold you up Karin. You're probably just-"

"No." Karin suddenly spoke. "I mean, I just, well, I'm only walking, but-"

"Stuttering mess are we?" Takeshi replied with a small smirk. "Don't worry, I'm no better."

"Oh really?" Karin asked with a small glare. "First time meeting a girl and you insult her?"

"Mah, mah, not what I intended." The boy replied with a nervous smirk. "I just meant to say, I can relate."

"How so?" Karin asked once again, this time her glare softening.

"Heh, I t-to stutter on occasion." Takeshi replied with an embarrassed sigh. "I have to say, that's the first stutter in a while."

"And here I thought you were a chronic stutterer." Karin replied with a small grunt. "Making me feel like I wasn't alone."

"N-No, w-wait, that w-wasn't what I meant!" Takeshi called out as he shot his arm for Karin. "I uh…I only stutter when I talk to erm…"

"Talk to what?" Karin asked with a faux look of hurt.

"Erm…I don't think I should say it…" Takeshi said with a small blush.

"It can't be that bad."

"Well, I s-stutter when I talk with…beautiful women."

-With Naruto…four days later…

Naruto stretched and felt the vertebrae pop up and down his spine. He let out a loud sigh of relief and quickly slipped on an undershirt and headed out of his quarters and let out a powerful yawn, taking in the scent of the ocean breeze. Around him, there were only a few crewmen awake at this time in the morning. The only two that were awake was the captain and the man in the crow's nest. He went down into the cargo hold, hoping to find ramen.

But he searched nonstop for food for the next thirty minutes and found that the ship only had a few fish and enough rice to feed everyone once. The blond sighed and headed back to the deck and walked up towards the captain, steering the ship. Naruto tapped his stomach slightly in disappointment when he felt it grumble in response.

"Captain…we are out of food." Naruto groaned. "We'll probably need to dock on a nearby island soon if we're not to starve."

"Don't worry Naruto-san." The captain replied with a nod. "I've already charted a course towards one of the islands just a few nautical miles away. Once there, we'll be able to resupply and even rest for those four days that you decided to give us."

"No problem I guess." Naruto shrugged.

He hopped over the railing and walked below deck and headed for his companion's quarters. Making a shadow clone knock on each door, the three jounin stumbled out of their rooms and stared at Naruto with large eye bags under their bloodshot eyes. Naruto didn't even say a word, but instead, lifted a thumb to the ceiling and made a hand motion that said follow me.

"Alright guys, we'll be docking soon in a nearby island for the next four days." Naruto said. "If you have any objections, just say so and we'll leave after we replenish our food stores."

"I don't mind. At least we'll be able to sleep on some comfortable beds." Aoba sighed in relief. "Not that I'm complaining about our sleeping quarters now."

"I guess it's settled." Naruto smiled. "We'll be docking in a few minutes."

Once the plank was dropped onto the docks, Naruto and the rest of the crew disembarked and headed into the town located perfectly on the coast. Naruto of course went straight to the nearest ramen shop he could find and immediately spent at least two hundred ryo on ramen. The other jounin face-faulted and walked off to different locations, Gai finding a better place to eat, Aoba looking for sushi and Yamato looking for a hotel to stay at for the next four days.

Naruto though was suddenly tapped on the shoulder by a woman with brown hair and deep black eyes. She was tall and had a sword strapped to her back. She took a seat next to Naruto and let out a small sigh before turning around and ordering a bowl of ramen as well. Naruto of course, being the gentleman he is, he asked her what the problem was.

"I am in the search for a boy, someone who is supposed to be the apprentice to Jiraiya of the Sannin." Naruto was shocked, and choked on his ramen. He pointed at the jounin vest wrapped around his torso and turned completely to face the woman.

"I-I'm the apprentice of Jiraiya…" Naruto said with a raised eyebrow. "Why are you looking for me?"

Suddenly, the boy was hurled out of the restaurant, but Naruto quickly spun around, sliding his feet across the dirt road. He quickly took up a defensive stance, completely disturbed by the woman's actions. Soon enough, the woman dashed through the restaurant with her sword drawn and swung for the boy, scaring him slightly.

Naruto quickly rid his nerves of the fear and jumped out of the way of the sword and lunged forward with a punch, but the woman quickly dodged and sent another slash that Naruto easily dodged. He jumped to the side once the blade came down for his scalp. Once he was free of the blade, he sent a kick that connected, sending her back a few feet to reposition. The woman smirked softly once she saw Naruto battle stance and found it to be a mirror image of Jiraiya's. She sheathed her sword and smirked at Naruto.

"Naruto-kun." She smiled. "I see that you're really Jiraiya-kun's apprentice."

"You still haven't told me why you're looking for me." Naruto narrowed his eyes. "And while we're at it, who are you?"

"I'm Towika, a kunoichi of Nadeshiko Village, and attendant of the village's heiress; Shizuka." Towika replied with a bow. "And as for why we're looking for you, let's just say that you're about to get married."

-In Kumo…that night…

Karin sighed and rubbed her hands across her face as she stared at the ceiling above her. The Akatsuki still hasn't been sighted, so they had no possible way of locating where the battle's would start or even possibly take place; leaving her and the rest of the Shinobi Alliance army with literally nothing left to do. Everyone was on high nerves. But at least everyone was doing their best to try and find a distraction in the meantime like going to Killer B's Enka rap concert, or even making inter-village relationships.

Karin though, found no need to go about such things and stayed cooped up her barracks room while reading some books and scrolls over the history of Kumo and Kaminari no Kuni as a whole. She was deeply entranced by the book and scrolls and since she and the armies arrived in Kumo, she spent all her time reading instead of socializing. After all, she wasn't really much of a socializer.

But there was one exception; Takeshi. The medic-nin just couldn't leave her alone could he? Ever since their first conversation in the encampment four days prior, they got to see a lot of one another, and quickly formed a friendship. But Karin made sure not to make it go any further than that, she felt enough heartbreak with Naruto.

Suddenly, there was a strange noise grating on her nerves coming from the window. Karin ignored it the best she could and repositioned her glasses to continue reading. She sighed in relief when the noise stopped, but after about twenty minutes, the noise returned. Karin once again decided to ignore it and went back to reading. After another twenty minutes of peace and quiet, instead of a noise on her window, there was a loud knock on her door, breaking her reading trance.

She slammed her book shut and closed her eyes, sensing whose chakra it was. No surprise, it was Takeshi, and he was holding something in his hands. Karin sighed and got out of her bed and threw on a long sleeved shirt and went to the door, unlocking the knob and swinging it open. Takeshi was revealed, pacing back and forth holding a bouquet of flowers and mumbling incoherently to himself.

Karin found the scene to be amusing and leaned against the doorframe wondering when he'd notice that she was there. Her cheeks were a slight pink. This was the first time someone was nervous around her in a long while and it made her feel good. Wanting to ease her paranoia, she sensed his chakra and gasped, finding his emotions to be sincere. Karin coughed loudly, causing the boy to freeze in his tracks. Sweat started falling and he slowly turned to face the redhead.

"Uhm…err…K-Karin-chan…" Takeshi smiled in a way that reminded Karin of Naruto.

It took a while, but she realized that Takeshi was a lot like Naruto in many ways. Takeshi shot forth the hand holding the flowers and laughed nervously as a hint of a blush formed on his cheeks. His left hand was rubbing the back of his head in embarrassment. Karin was caught off guard and simply took the flowers from the boy's hand and held them, while being embraced in their scent. Takeshi sighed in relief and quickly fixed his posture.

"I was uh…hoping y-you'd like to go out and hang-"

"Sure." Karin smiled. "Just give me a few minutes and I'll be ready."

-Elsewhere…the next day…

Naruto jumped from his bed in his hotel room, covered in sweat from a nightmare that he was forced to marry the student of some woman that his idiot sensei, carelessly set up without even realizing. He wiped the massive beads of sweat from his head and ran to the bathroom of his room and washed his face as best as he could, feeling quite disgusted with himself at the moment. His clothes were soaked in sweat, making the feeling even worse.

He ran a hand through his hair finding it still greasy and filled with sweat, making him nearly gag. A few minutes later, after a great and refreshing shower, the boy changed as quickly as he could into his shinobi clothing and slipping into his jounin vest. After checking if he had everything, he left the hotel room and headed out onto the street, not even caring if his companions knew he'd left or not. He journeyed around the town on the coast and talked with a few people and even helped some who asked for it.

So with the sun rising higher and higher, Naruto felt that he'd like some training and started asking around for the nearest training ground, and quickly found it to be a large empty opening within the forest. A smirk formed on his features and he quickly went to work summoning as many shadow clones as he felt like at the moment.

He stretched and got down into a battle stance. The clones in front of him joined in and got ready. This was going to be a fight to practice his shurikenjutsu and his taijutsu, not wanting to depend too much on senjutsu. So without another command, the clones dashed forward with their kunai drawn. One closed the distance faster than what the original anticipated. Naruto though, recuperated and kicked the clone back as fast as he could, causing two to dispel.

Naruto ducked as three came in from behind. Suddenly, the ground started cracking beneath him. The boy jumped up as fast as he could, dodging a clone shooting up from the ground below. Now that he was mid-air, a flurry of shuriken and kunai shot out towards him as he descended. He grabbed a kunai from mid-air and used it to block the rest of the projectiles. Within a second, he was surrounded by at least fifty other clones, this time; they went against specific orders not to use senjutsu.

The blond sighed and narrowed his eyes trying his best to channel nature chakra while standing. The clones knew he'd try it and charged right at him with their weapons pointed right at him. But just before the clones could close the distance, a large explosion shook the training grounds and all the clones dispelled, covering the training grounds with smoke from the clones. Naruto coughed and waved his hand back and forth trying to rid the area of smoke.

But once it was all gone, it came to reveal a beautiful black-haired girl with a massive rack. Naruto having seen Ino naked multiple times and seen the size of the blondes jugs, the boy had to say that this new girl dwarfed Ino's by a landslide. To say that he was fighting back a nosebleed is an understatement; he's fighting a war to keep the flood back. His face lit up in red as the girl with the most electrifying emerald eyes made contact with his own sapphire.

"Are you Jiraiya-sama's student?" The girl asked.

"Are you the girl that I'm supposed to marry?" Naruto asked meekly.

"I'll take that as a yes." The girl nodded her head. She walked toward Naruto reaching for the sword on her back as well. Naruto though, wasn't even paying attention to her attire, but rather at her bouncing chest.

He was mesmerized. Each step that the girl took, her breasts seemed to be doing the exact same. It only took a moment, but Naruto realized that he was acting exactly like his perverted sensei. Literally slapping himself from his immoral thought process, he stared ahead in complete surprise to see the black haired beauty standing right in front of him with a strange look on her face. She tilted her head slightly and placed a hand on his cheek.

"You're a little…different than what I imagined." Shizuka said with a slightly innocent sounding voice.

Naruto couldn't help but trail his eyes down to see a sizeable amount of cleavage popping from her shirt. Naruto took a deep breath as his face heat up. His eyes shut tightly as he tried his best to make sure that the girl didn't see him trying to sneak a peek. She suddenly shot her hand from his face and blew on her gloves.

"Your face is really hot…" Naruto though couldn't take it anymore and fainted on the spot.

-Elsewhere…

"Jeez Takeshi." Karin groaned, but she quickly burst into laughter. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you're nothing but an overgrown genin."

"Thanks for the compliment Karin-chan." Takeshi groaned.

Karin and Takeshi laughed with one another once more. After their night together, they were quite happy and even ended up making out in some alleyway in the streets of Kumo, way past curfew. She wasn't going to lie, the night before the best night of sleep she's had in months. She laughed her heart out the night before and found Takeshi's personality just plain likeable.

Takeshi couldn't help but feel the same. The redhead of Konoha was quite an interesting person and he felt that he could possibly feel something for the girl; all he wanted to do now though, was get to know her better before taking anything to the next level. It was just about to become noon, and the village was exploding with activity, stores, restaurants and even training grounds were open around this time, giving Karin and Takeshi a lot to do on their rest time.

Karin was worried though. The Akatsuki still haven't been found, with almost no trail to follow anywhere. No messages were given from Konoha's, Iwa's or even Kumo's spies all over the continent. Karin sighed. There was no way that she wouldn't worry. Naruto was off somewhere with literally no idea what might be coming for him unless he was in his sennin mode. And the odds of Naruto being in sage mode the entire journey was literally at zero.

I knew I should have just sucked up my pride and joined him. Karin shook her head. Now who knows what kind of trouble that baka could have gotten himself into this time?

-Elsewhere…

Naruto awoke in a room of pure white. White walls, white bed sheets and even white clothing. In a chair next to his bed, his clothes were folded and cleaned, waiting for him to wear. His vision was groggy and the sky was already a bright and beautiful magenta mixed with scarlet. He scratched his cheek for a moment and threw the covers off of his bed and walked out towards the clothes.

Sliding them on, he let out another sigh, until he found that the door was locked from the outside. He took a moment to groan in his apparent lack of luck and turned right around to jump from the window in a very Jiraiya-esque way. But just before he could reach the window, a handful of shuriken stopped him mid-step, digging into the wall in front of him, while cutting a few hairs from his head.

The boy swiveled around with a blank look on his face. Hanging from the ceiling was the big-chested girl from before everything turned black. She released her hold on the ceiling corners and landed softly and quietly, almost invisible. She flipped her hair and stared at Naruto's blue eyes with her own emerald eyes. Not a word was spoken and the two simply stared at one another for a good ten minutes.

"I'm not fighting you." Naruto said before turning around again and unlocking the window and sighing in luck.

"Then I guess I'll fight you." The girl shouted and dashed for the boy.

Naruto in a quick ditch effort to be free of the girl, let his hold of the window go, and descended. Little did he realize, the hospital he was in, was actually a part of the Nadeshiko Village, which was also apparently on three massive hills with bridges connecting each other the hills. The hospital just so happened to have all of the windows on one side; the cliff face.

His eyes widened in fear as images of his near-demise in the Chunin Exams by the same cause, flashed through his mind, clouding his vision. With a quick moment of blacking out, the Kyuubi took over, not wanting it's brainless container to die, and covered Naruto in three tails worth of the Chakra cloak. Naruto spun in the air and landed on his fists, causing a large explosion of chakra and dirt. In a quick motion, he pushed himself from the ground and charged through the forest.

With a massive wall of dirt covering his trail, Naruto managed to make it back to the town. But just before he could even enter into the borders of the town, he was quickly surrounded by the girl and a pair of other kunoichi. Naruto's eyes widened with fear and sweat once again started to flow down his cheeks and back. The girl narrowed her eyes at Naruto and dashed forward while the other two took to the flanks.

The girl closed the distance and drew out her blade, and slashed for Naruto's neck, but missed and kicked him towards one of the other Kunoichi. Naruto though, still in the Kyuubi's chakra, but no tails, spun around and punched the kunoichi back a few feet and caused her to dig into a tree. Naruto landed on his left foot and ducked just as the big-chested girl came for him again. As she flew over him, her breasts rubbed against his face in almost slow-motion.

He fell over and he found that his hitai-ate undid her wrapping around her waist and caused her battle kimono to unravel, revealing her bare chest. Naruto's eyes went as wide as plates and his blood ran cold. The other kunoichi screamed in surprise and charged for their heiress and tore off their own cloaks and wrapped them around the girl as quickly as possible. But in their actions, Naruto managed to escape silently, with the Kyuubi's chakra gone.

-Elsewhere…

"That concert was…" Karin trailed off.

"Weird…" Takeshi finished.

"I was about to say interesting but…you know, that's a good replacement." Karin laughed.

"I knew that other villages were weird, but I didn't know that they were that weird." Takeshi shook his head. "That guy…Omoi I believe…"

"He trailed off faster than I do!" Karin said with a look of astonishment. "The baka can find anything to worry about apparently."

"Good thing we're not like that, ne Karin-chan?"

Karin felt the corner of her lips curl up. Spending practically every day since the encampment near Kusagakure, she and Takeshi bonded very well and this was apparently their first date. Karin shook her head from those thoughts. This was simply a get together with a new friend and comrade that she had no idea existed. The redhead couldn't help but think that the boy was just perfect.

It seemed to be quite unfortunate knowing that they were about to fight a war very soon. Oh she wished she could have met him before the war. But no, she of course had to waste her time thinking and worrying about the blond idiot Naruto. Karin, for the first time, felt a sour taste in her mouth after thinking of the name. Her heart raced in excitement for the first time in a long time.

Am I over Naruto? Karin thought for a moment. Oh well…he lost his chance. Hope Ino is everything he hoped for.

Takeshi took a deep breath and the two continued to walk through the village, good thing that the Raikage took away the curfew. Now the stores were wide awake with hundreds of couples, both shinobi and civilian were walking around with their fingers interlocked and their gazes fixated upon one another. Karin and Takeshi felt their faces heat up for a moment, but they both apparently had the same thoughts.

It didn't take long but the two felt their fingers lacing with one another and the warmth spread between the two of them like a pan on a stove. Karin felt her heart warm up and her pulse increase. Within seconds, Takeshi was the same, but she didn't even need to sense him; he was shuddering. Karin looked at him from the corner of her eyes and saw him nervously running a hand through his brown spikey hair. Takeshi looked down to meet Karin's gaze only to cough out nervously.

The redhead couldn't help but giggle at how cute he looked. The two walked around for a good twenty minutes but then Karin saw Ino walking with a group of kunoichi that almost everyone knew; Hinata, Sakura, Tenten and Temari. Well Tenten not so much since she was always training her ass off and hung around with Hinata's cousin; Neji. Karin was thinking about going over to them and introducing them to Takeshi, but she saw the brown-haired boy's discomfort.

Takeshi grabbed Karin and quickly whisked the redhead away towards another alleyway and faced his back to the street. The girl traced her crimson eyes on the trail that the five girls were leaving behind. Karin was confused by his sudden reaction but once the girls disappeared, Takeshi let out a sigh of relief and leaned against the wall of the alleyway and wiped even more sweat from his forehead, slightly grossing Karin out.

"What the hell was that about?" Karin asked with a raised eyebrow.

"The pink haired one…" Takeshi gasped. "She…"

"She what?"

"She's terrible at giving physicals…" Takeshi burst into laughter.

There was a small glint in Takeshi's eyes that make Karin blush. His smile and his laugh were filled with so much innocence, but she knew he was far from it. To see a jounin, medical ninja no less, laughing about the most childish of things such as a medical nin who's aggressive at physicals. So much of this kid made Karin like him, but he wasn't going to get her as easily as he thinks. With a small laugh escaping her lips, she reached down and pulled the medic-nin from the ground and gave him a look.

"Oh you baka."

-The next day…elsewhere…

Naruto awoke with a crimp in his neck. The sun was already beating through his window. His head beat harder with each passing second, so with a painful grunt, he toppled out of his bed and slowly pushed himself off the floor and stared in amazement at the current time; thirty past noon. Naruto shot from the floor with new found energy and ran back and forth through the hotel room throwing on his clothes all the while washing his hair with some water and some shampoo.

Today was going to be the last day on the island and he would have to leave by noon tomorrow. There was just one more thing that he wanted to do before leaving. He had a strange epiphany of a dream the night before. If he could talk Zabuza, Neji, Gaara, hell even Nagato into changing sides, then he maybe thought that he might be able to talk the girl into changing the law of her village. He thought back to what Towika told him the first day he was on the island.

Shaking his head, he left the room and walked out of the hotel and down onto the street looking for the nearest ramen stand and sighed in relief when he found it within a few seconds of walking through the street. But just before he could even reach the ramen stand, there was a strange mechanical sound and followed by a few screams. Naruto took off down the street with a battle stance taken but in the middle of the street were the black-haired beauty that's been trying to literally fight him for his heart, and a sleazy looking man in a large machine of sorts.

"Oh Shizuka-chan…It is time for me to defeat you and for you to become my wife!" The man called out in a perverted sing-song voice.

"I will never marry you." She said in a dark voice slightly scaring Naruto.

Naruto charged in to fight the guy, but Towika appeared and held the blond back and shook her head and mouthed the words watch. Naruto gave her a strange look but complied anyway and loosened his stance and stared at the black haired girl staring down the man and his machine. There were many things that Naruto noticed about the machine; the first of which was a massive '99' on the belly of the machine. Not only that, but it was obviously running on chakra in some strange way.

Shizuka jumped up from the ground and she didn't even reach for her blade. Naruto was about to charge out, but he was once again held back by Towika. Shizuka though dodged the arms of the machine as they shot up to her. She spun in mid-air and grabbed onto the arms and slid down to the cockpit of the machine and sent a chakra enhanced kick into the apparent engine block of the machine. Without another second past, Shizuka flipped her hair and jumped back away from the machine as electricity started flowing around in all directions.

Naruto's eyes were wide with surprise, but soon enough, the machine exploded in all directions, sending the man flying in a comedic way, with a large trail of smoke following him from the initial explosion. Once it was all said and done, Naruto was suddenly face to face with Shizuka and the girl had a massive blush marring her face. She tried her hardest to make eye contact with the boy, but she quickly looked away and started walking down the street with Towika trying to catch up.

"Shizuka." Naruto called out. The girl stopped mid-step and slowly turned to face the Konoha jounin.

"If you want a fight…" Naruto said slowly. "Meet me in the clearing you first met me in later today at sunset."

Shizuka turned to the boy and bowed with a faint hint of a blush on her face. Shizuka turned and hopped away to the rooftops and headed toward the village. Towika was left behind, but the woman faced Naruto with a look. Naruto sighed and walked up to the woman and motioned for her to follow after him. Once the two were back in the ramen stand that they first met in, Naruto swiveled in his stool to face her as their orders were being cooked.

"Tell me everything about Shizuka that I need to know." Naruto looked down. "Please."

-Elsewhere…

Karin awoke in a rather comfortable setting. She stretched but found that she was in a rather strange situation. She wasn't in her room nor was she anywhere near her barracks. She was wearing her long-sleeved shirt and found that she was in someone's bed. She turned over and slipped her glasses onto her face and found Takeshi wearing his own shirt asleep. Karin shot from the bed in surprise and forced the boy awake.

Takeshi shot awake with a handful of senbon and breathing hard. Karin hit the wall in fear. This was a different side of the boy that she had seen for the last few days. Takeshi was trembling and struggled to keep his breath calm. He looked over to Karin to see her against the wall, nursing a bruise on the back of her head. Takeshi was staring at her with wide eyes and stabbed the senbon into the bedside table before throwing the covers off of the bed.

Karin shook her head and covered her hand with green light. Takeshi was surprised and watched her continue. Karin gasped as the warmth passed through the back of her head and spread throughout her body. She took a deep breath and sighed in relief as the pain of the bruise disappeared. She pushed herself off the ground using the wall as a crutch. Takeshi was about to help her up, but Karin once again shook her head.

"I-I'm s-sorry…Karin-chan." Takeshi said with a frown. "I didn't mean to-"

"No…it's fine." Karin gave him a small smile. "I've experienced worse…"

There was a moment of silence that ran between them as they stared at one another. Karin took a deep breath and looked away. But there was a sudden knock on the door, it seemed like someone was desperate. Takeshi shook his head and faced Karin wanting to say something until the banging started getting louder and louder. Karin shut her eyes and was suddenly bombarded with a large amount of negative emotions, specifically fear.

Karin charged for the door and swung it open revealing Sakura panting. Karin looked out of the door to see other shinobi running back and forth knocking and beating on doors waking shinobi and kunoichi from their sleep. Karin looked at Sakura with a look of surprise.

"What the hell is going on Sakura?" Karin asked while getting tossed her chunin vest. "Any news on the Akatsuki?"

"Yes and no…" Sakura took a deep breath. "We still haven't found the Akatsuki's main army, but there was an Akatsuki force that went through the night…we beat them back and managed to capture a few of them in the battle."

"Then why are we all getting forced awake?" Takeshi asked.

"The heads of the Alliance are calling all shinobi together to start getting our supplies together." Sakura said. "We were thrown out of formation and we lost some resources in the skirmish."

"How come we weren't called up to fight?" Karin shouted while running out of the room.

"We didn't know where they were coming from."

-Elsewhere…hours later…

Naruto sat meditating in the center of the clearing and calling in the powers of nature chakra. Within seconds he managed to sense the girl making her way towards the clearing. Naruto was nervous but he really wanted to get everything to go to plan. It was his mission to not fight the girl. Naruto listened to Towika tell Shizuka's story for a good thirty minutes, still surprising the boy about how messed up their village is.

He wanted to help her get her nerve back and her will to fight back against the rules like she did before. Naruto felt that he could convince her, but if things were to go awry, he felt that he'd need to go to drastic measures to convince the girl to stop following the rules and fight back against something so immoral. At least what he felt was immoral.

Soon enough, the girl rushed through the trees and landed in front of the boy and walked up to the meditating shinobi. From what Naruto learned from Towika was that Shizuka was a lover of dancing and deep heart to heart talks. Judging by her demeanor, Naruto could only surmise that she was wearing a mask to ball it all in.

Shizuka was about to say something, but candles lit up around them covering the entire clearing in a beautiful color, causing Shizuka to gasp in surprise. The meditating Naruto popped away revealing nothing. Shizuka was about to turn around, but Naruto's strong arms wrapped around her waist causing her to freeze in his embrace.

Shizuka has a weak spot for things like that. Naruto thought back to what Towika told him. Towika likes small, but also romantic things…this is the way to get her weak so I can have the heart to heart talk.

Shizuka though, took advantage of his moment to think and flipped him over and crashed him into the dirt below. Shizuka's face was burning hot and she was apparently getting slightly aroused. It was in this moment that Naruto realized that Towika had probably set him up with the wrong techniques. Shizuka used her flexibility and straddled his waist while staring deep into his sapphire eyes.

"N-Naruto…" She whispered.

"Shizuka…" the boy replied.

"I'm sorry!" Shizuka pushed off of his body and started backing away. "I didn't mean to! I…"

"N-No…Shizuka…it's alright…" Naruto sat up and walked over to her.

"I can't betray my love…" Shizuka whispered. "I know that you know how it feels."

"I…do." Naruto plopped down next to the girl and let out a sigh. Naruto paused for a good thirty minutes and sat in awkward silence. "I was with this girl…"

Shizuka perked up. "Was?"

"It's a painful and strange story…but basically…I made a mistake…a big mistake and now she's going to the frontlines of the war." Naruto sighed. "I can't go yet to join her, but before we left Konoha…we basically broke apart and now, I don't know how I'm supposed to feel, but…I just know that…"

"I know what you're going through." Shizuka slowly spoke. "My lover…former lover…"

"Sagiri…right?" Naruto said.

"H-How'd you know?" Shizuka asked with her heart racing.

"It doesn't matter." Naruto turned and started closing in. "What does is what you're going to do about your village."

"W-What about my village?" Shizuka asked with a small blush growing on her face.

"You're the heiress…you can fix the laws and change the way things are being run!" Naruto said. "I'd gladly marry you but…"

"You would?" Shizuka asked suddenly.

Damn it! Not again. Naruto looked down and sighed. Might as well continue where I am. I'm already in.

"Why wouldn't I?" Naruto asked. "You're strong…smart…terrifying and most of all…just, gorgeous."

Shizuka froze. Her face went up in red. Her eyes sparkled in the candlelight and she started to close the distance with Naruto. Her arms wrapped around his neck, making the blond nervous. This wasn't what he wanted. While he didn't want to fight, he didn't want THIS! Shizuka started pushing him back and pressed him against the ground. Naruto's face was just as red as hers and his eyes were as wide as plates. He wanted to push away from the girl, but found that she had a grip of iron.

Naruto started getting a bit uncomfortable, but before he could escape, Shizuka shot her face down and pressed her lips against Naruto's. The effects were immediate. Naruto thawed and flipped her over, for some strange reason, letting the Kyuubi take over his mind for a moment. Just a moment. But the moment the color came back he was on top of Shizuka and she was breathing hard. Her eyes sparkled and her pupils seemed to glittering. Naruto couldn't hold himself back and let his emotions go.

-Kumo…

Karin sat against the wall of her room with a distraught look. She was worried about Naruto. Karin remembered what Naruto told her before she ended their relationship; the place he was training wasn't even far from Kumogakure. It was well within her range of sensing and the boy's signature was nowhere to be felt. Karin looked down at her feet and felt the weight of her guilt.

"Why did I give up so soon?"

Karin stood up from the wall and headed over to the door to find something to do. Takeshi was off in the medical tents helping out with the wounded from the skirmish the night before. She was starting to get extremely worried. The Akatsuki was starting to make more moves into Kaminari no Kuni, but they were always small groups and they weren't even aiming for anything. It was bothering her. But what really got to her was that she couldn't sense them.

Twice they attacked, and twice she couldn't get any word out to the people around her. She had never felt so useless before. But before she could even reach the door, Takeshi popped into the door with some scars on his arms and neck. Karin screamed at what she saw but grabbed the boy into her room and started to heal the damage done to his body.

"Takeshi, what happened to you?!" Karin asked.

"I just…I was in the recent skirmish…" Takeshi grunted. "They attacked the front gates…"

"WHAT?!" Karin stopped channeling her chakra and ended the flow. "That can't be! I didn't sense anything! Or even hear anything! Why didn't they call up-"

"D-Don't worry…my, my you get loud…" Takeshi smiled. He leaned on his elbows and reached out to Karin. "I'm fine…a lot of us are fine…we managed to fight them back, but those injured were forced to return to the barracks."

The two were silent for a good minute. Karin was worried for her new friend and even felt a strange pang of fear for the life of the Konoha shinobi. She took a deep breath and helped Takeshi into the bed and started wrapping bandages over his body as tightly as she could. The night was dark and for a moment, she thought she sensed a familiar chakra signature.

Concentrating back to Takeshi, she reached down and started healing his wounds, albeit slowly since she wasn't in her right mind at the moment. After all, she was moping for a good few hours just before the boy appeared at her door. Karin reached down once again, hoping to heal her friend as best as she could before he'd have to leave.

But as she ran her hands over his body, she started to read his emotions and by that, she could read his thoughts. They were bright and caring, surprising her. She stopped channeling her chakra and stared at the shinobi lying in her bed. She sighed and started channeling her chakra again, but this time, the girl sensed something else, something akin to attraction coming from the boy.

-Elsewhere…the next morning…

Naruto awoke in a strangely comfortable embrace. It was strange and warm, almost as if it was a tight, form fitting blanket. Naruto stretched but the first thing that registered in his mind was the forest surrounding him. It was warm and he was on top of someone. His eyes widened once more and he pushed away rolling in the grass, but quickly shot up, realizing that he was butt naked. His screams woke the girl from her sleep, revealing it to be Shizuka.

"N-Naruto-kun?" Shizuka asked. "W-What are you doing screaming so loud…?"

"I…uhm…wait…I…" Naruto was about to faint, but Shizuka rushed forward and pressed his head in between the mountainous breasts she had.

Naruto's blood flow changed directions and shot straight from his nose, but Shizuka didn't let him go. Naruto though, was starting to run low on breath and struggled to push away from the embrace of her super breasts. Naruto, after a good ten minutes of fighting back, Shizuka released him. The two stared at each other for a good few minutes before actually saying anything.

"So…last night…" Naruto said slowly.

"Last night…" The girl trailed off. "It was…"

"Fun?"

"No, I'd like to say…erm…energetic." Shizuka laughed. "Energetic!"

"I guess it was." Naruto laughed as well. "I think we should put our clothes on before anything should happen against our will…you seem a bit wet."

"And you're kinda hard." Shizuka giggled.

Naruto took a deep breath and zipped up his jacket and his jounin vest and slipped his pants on as fast as possible. He turned to see Shizuka already dressed and starting to clean her weapons. The boy deadpanned at the scene and let out a small sigh, quickly realizing that it was the day he was leaving the island. He turned to Shizuka, but was quickly embraced in a tight hug and her soft lips.

"Can I at least have a fight before you go?" The girl smiled. "I'll make it worth your while…"

"I wouldn't mind it at all…" Naruto tilted his head slightly but smiled anyway.

He took up a fighting position and glared at her as she did the same. This time, there was no form of malice between the two of them. Within a second, the closed the distance and were matching each other kick for kick and blow for blow. Naruto though, used a senjutsu taijutsu kata and found himself behind the girl and quickly wrapped his arms around her waist and held her close. Shizuka blushed and gasped at the embrace, but quickly went to laughing.

She pushed away from Naruto and rolled in the grass and pulled out a handful of kunai and hurled them straight for the Uzumaki. The blond of the two back flipped away and took one of his own kunai and blocked each projectile with perfect accuracy; some of them even being deflected back to Shizuka. The black-haired beauty though, dodged each one, all the while sending more.

They were neck and neck, matching each other with each strike and retaliatory strike. It was like a synchronized dance of death, where neither could make a mistake. But just before Shizuka could finish the hand seals for a jutsu, a gigantic robot charged into the clearing. In the cockpit was the ever elusive and stubborn Kokuyō.

It was the very man that has been building ridiculous contraptions to try and beat Shizuka in a battle. Ninety-nine times if the numbers were any indication of what machine it was. This was the one hundredth battle between Shizuka and Kokuyō; hopefully, the old sleazebag would get the picture that Shizuka was nowhere near about to marry him. Naruto got in a battle stance, but Shizuka shook her head, ready to take the robot on her own.

The black-haired beauty jumped into the air, her hair and breasts, shaking in the wind as she ascended. She turned around and smashed her fist into the cockpit of the machine, just like all other times, but something was different. Kokuyō sped through his own hand seals and Shizuka was suddenly taken over by a strange sensation, almost like a violent and enslaving feeling. Naruto narrowed his eyes at what he was seeing.

"Naruto-kun." Kushina said, finally speaking up for the first time in a long while. "That's a binding seal! Break the man's hold on Shizuka by cutting the chakra strings that are being attached to her limbs and torso."

Got it Kaa-chan! Naruto dashed forward with a kunai and rushed as quickly as he could, getting in between the massive machine and Shizuka. Naruto looked up and could hear Kokuyō laughing with a half-manic tone in his voice. Naruto saw the glimpse of the chakra strings and jumped as high as he could, slashing his kunai up as quickly as he can, severing the connection between the girl and the puppeteer.

Shizuka screamed out as she slowly regained control of her body, but she was too high in the air. Kokuyō and his machine were falling down, so Naruto used it as a kick board and launched himself toward the girl as fast as he could. Naruto caught her just a few feet above the ground and dug his feet down, trying his best to slow their momentum, so as to not cause any unnecessary injuries.

"T-That was…"

"Awesome I know." Naruto smirked. "Hey!"

Kokuyō was seen pushing himself from the metal and wires. He was forcing as much chakra as he could and Naruto was starting to get nervous. The puppeteer jumped from the body of the machine and charged for Naruto with a strange chakra-enhanced pair of brass knuckles. Kokuyō swung for Naruto hoping to do some damage, but in the split second it took for Kokuyō to even think of attacking Naruto, the boy already called on Senjutsu chakra.

Just before the punch could connect, Naruto came around with a rasengan fully formed, and slammed the volatile ball of chakra into the man's gut. Naruto narrowed his eyes making sure to not kill the man, but brutally maim him. Once Naruto felt the crushing bone and the jelly organs beneath, Naruto forced the rasengan from his hand and the man flying into the air with a rasengan drilling into his belly.

"W-Wow…" Shizuka was amazed. "T-That was…"

"NARUTO!"

-Elsewhere…Kumo…

Karin awoke suddenly as a nightmare formed in her dream. She was covered in sweat, but it wasn't from fear, and she wasn't wearing any clothes either. She turned over, confused and aching in all places. She saw a lightly bandaged Takeshi lying in the bed next to her, and the lack of clothing seemed to have passed on to the brown haired medic-nin. She was about to jump, but quickly thought back to what Takeshi did the last time she freaked.

She looked down to her arms and felt cold when she saw that her bite marks were free for the world to see. And if she and Takeshi did what she's starting to think they did the night before, she's just surprised that Takeshi hasn't freaked out or anything. Karin laid back and stared at the ceiling above her confused on so many levels, especially on how she felt about Naruto.

Karin slid out of the bed as quietly as she could; not wanting to rouse the sleeping Takeshi from his blissful rest and took a quick shower. After slipping into her clothing once more, she zipped her chunin vest up and walked from the bathroom to see Takeshi already slipping into his sandals. The boy looked up but then blushed when he and Karin locked eyes. Takeshi looked away and started smiling.

Karin walked over to him and gave him a weird look, but then the boy reached over before Karin's blurry vision could clear out. The redhead was about to ask what he was doing, but he shot right back up with her glasses and quickly slid them onto her face. Karin couldn't help but admit that the boy sure was a bit of a romantic. He leaned in ready to give her a kiss, but the door suddenly swung open, revealing once again, Sakura.

"What is it?" Karin quickly broke the embrace and walked to the door. "You seem to be more distraught than before."

"We received a message from our spies before they were intercepted." Sakura said. "The Akatsuki has been found, and not only that, but they're moving out as we speak!"

"What now?" Karin asked.

"We are to meet with our divisions and set up for the rally before we deploy to the fronts."

"But what about Naruto?" Karin asked. "We should at least wait until he masters the Kyuubi's chakra-"

"There's no time." Sakura said quickly. "There is literally an army heading this way."

-Elsewhere…

Naruto stood at the docks with his jounin companions walking onto the boat behind him. He looked at the three hills of Nadeshiko Village and looked back to the girl in front of him. She was beautiful and had a head of black hair and a pair of emerald green eyes to compliment. Her face was red and she was looking a bit timid as she held her right arm. For some reason she looked nervous.

"Hey…Shizuka-chan." Naruto smiled. "There will be a man out there for you one day…you're still young."

"You're talking like you've experienced it all." Shizuka sighed.

"Nah." Naruto laughed. "I'd prefer to say, I am making an educated inference."

"And now you're using words I would have never guessed you-" She was cut off by a deep kiss from the blond shinobi.

"Jeez woman." Naruto huffed. "Take care…Shizuka-chan."

"Be safe Naruto-kun…" Shizuka waved the boy off as the ship started heading out into the great blue. "Wait! Will I ever see you again?!"

Naruto though made no movement to signify that he heard her. Shizuka heaved a heavy sigh and slowly turned around. The girl ran a hand through her black hair and wiped her emerald eyes of their stray tears. She turned and made one last glance for the ship as it disappeared along the horizon. She had really hoped she could see him again. There was a strange feeling though, that told her that her path and Naruto's will cross once again.

I'll be looking forward to it…


Next Chapter! The war begins! Naruto starts training! So much other things happen! .

Ja ne!

gottahavekyuubi