Chapter 11 Bitter denials

A/N: Hit with inspiration! Although this is more of a setup chapter, paving a way for future stuff. I assure you... Action is coming. Scene switches and such.

Also, I came up with a age for Konan, I just slightly twisted the events of canon to fit it, since you know it's a fanfic. I'm not sure if I could fill in my twisted version of canon in the story. She's 23 years old. 15 when Yahiko died, Making the 3rd ninja war officially end at when Naruto was 6 years old (I'm pushing it as much as I can). I didn't want her in her early thirties or late twenties. So she's 6 years old than him. I guess I could explain more in detail later, If I could fit it in.

"I'm guessing that wasn't supposed to happen?" He asked as he looked upon the statue. The large aging brown statue had several prominent fractures that ran alongside it's face and down to its 'body'. He turned to the 'Madara' with the orange swirling mask. They stood in a darkened cave where the Gedo statue was being held, moments before they had finished discussing their upcoming plans. The statue itself was partially dug in the ground with its arms and hands facing upward.

"It wasn't" He replied. "We hadn't properly sealed the entirety of the 8-tails when we sealed the Kyuubi"

"So you did get to Naruto-kun, then?" Kabuto asked. He inspected the statue some more. The man known as Tobi nodded his head. 'So my sources were correct then' He felt some slight disappointment at the fact. Kabuto was greatly inspired by Naruto, it was partly because of him that he had gained the power he had now.

"Yes...It was a risk trying to seal the Kyuubi, it had more power than I expected" Tobi replied. Several minutes after they extracted the Nine-tails, some cracks started to appear on the statue itself. "If I had the whole 8-tails, this wouldn't have come to pass"

"So you risked the statue then?" He didn't get response, he felt the slight raise of killing intent he gave off. "Hn." Kabuto decided to press on with another matter."So where is his body?" Kabuto asked. Despite his disappointment, if he managed to secure some DNA samples. 'He would possibly be one of my best summons' He mused. 'He did defeat Nagato, and his hero status to Konaha would greatly demoralize them". The hero of Konoha battling on their enemies side, he had heard how Nagato, the rinnegan bearer had brought down the village to its knees and only one person had been able to stop him. He felt anticipation on the idea but yet, at the same time, he would be disappointed to find a body there. 'I'll see for myself...He did have a knack for surviving near impossible odds'. He thought to himself. "I'll gather the samples I need myself, just tell me where you left the body"

"I'll show you the location" He could tell that he almost sound eager for it. Kabuto smiled. He was getting closer to securing Orochimaru's dream.

"Why the hell are we all the way out here anyway?" Kiba complained. "I thought there was supposed to be a unified war coming up..." As the individuals rested around a campfire near north east part of the Land of Fire. The sky had begun to darken an hour before. They sat around the fire in on the ground with the exception of a green clad chuunin. He looked around him to see the team they were assigned. Familiar faces of the people who were once called Naruto's comrades and rivals. Lee, TenTen, Akamaru and himself.

"We're supposed to patrol the border in case the other minor villages decide to take advantage of our state" Ten ten replied. She sat across from him and looked into the flickering flame. "And besides, preparing for a war takes time" She added. They were given the task two days ago to patrol the neighboring countries of Ame and Kusa.

"It's just...Those Akatsuki have to pay for everything that they had done, that's all" He attempted to control his growing anger.

"I agree Kiba-san, They've taken a comrade from us, and they'll have to pay!" Lee proclaimed. He was doing some one handed pushups that the rest ignored.

"Naruto is... and we don't even know where the hell Hinata is" Kiba growled loudly. A whimper came from Akamaru who was curled up beside him. He heard some barking from his best friend. "Yeah I know, I guess... we'll just have to hope she's okay"

"We can only hope one of her friends run into her " The weapon user added. "And not someone else..." Konoha shinobi didn't take kindly to traitors and Danzo's decree to list her as a rogue ninja only made it worse. "Do you think the rumors were true Kiba-san" She asked. She didn't need to elaborate any further for Kiba to know what she was hinting at.

"I hope one of us do...But apparently, it wasn't a rumor" Ten ten gawked at this. "Yeah...I could hardly believe it either... I don't even understand it, she would never join the Akatsuki"

"What do you think what happened?" She asked.

"I don't know but I think she might under be a Genjutsu, but ones thing for sure, I don't want to lose another comrade, especially not a teammate"

"I don't think I would like to know what Sakura feels" She commented. "She lost two of her teammates, and one of them was responsible f-"

"That bastard Sasuke! It's all his fault! I'm going to kill him" Kiba interrupted.

"Kiba-san... If there's anyone that deserves retribution, it's Kakashi-sensei" Lee added. Kiba took a long deep breath to calm himself. It didn't do much for him.

"... I guess..." He constantly scanned the area with his nose, making sure they wouldn't be crept upon. The small group entered an unsettling silence, disturbed about recent events and worried about the upcoming war.

"I can't believe Tsunade-sama is still in a this rate, she'll-"

"Stop talking like that Ten-ten..." Kiba raised his voice. "Hokage-sama WILL make it through alright?" He threatened. Ten Ten retracted her words, before she spoke once again.

"Yeah... you're right, I'm just worried how she might bare the news of... you know"

"Yes, I heard that Tsunade-sama and Naruto-kun were quite close" Lee added.

"He was one of the disciples of Jiraiya-sama, and I heard he helped her become Hokage" Ten Ten recalled. Tsunade was a inspiration to her, a very well capable kunoichi that all inspiring kunoichi should look up too.

"Yeah... He was"

Konan willed down her panic. She couldn't look into his eyes. She felt overwhelmed, a flood of emotions came crashing down on her. She couldn't. Not now, not right in front of someone. She looked down on the table as he continued to speak. "I'll never go back on my word y'know!" He finished. She felt a whirlpool of conflicting emotions within her; Relief, heartbreak, happiness, anger, love.

"I believe you..." She blurted out. It was the only thing that she could've said to him. Nothing came to her about refusing him, or to pathetically voice any disagreement. She felt her throat painfully throb. She hoped she wouldn't send any signals about her distress. Thankfully, several knocks sounded at the door, alerting them that the food they had ordered was ready. A waitress entered the room carrying some platters of their meals and settled their orders on the table.

"Ramen! How I missed you so much!" Naruto yelled out. As he tore his chopsticks, he patiently waited for the others to take up on their meals. His cheery mood had returned, already forgetting about moments prior. Konan was able to calm herself down for now. She didn't dare look into his blue eyes as she looked at her own meal. A plate of flame broiled fish, one of her preferences to eat. "Itadakimasu!" Konan lowly said hers, and he eagerly delved into his food. She forced herself to take a bite of her food to look 'normal'. The emotions welled inside, threatening to reveal themselves. In the corner of her vision she saw the breath taking smile of Naruto as he finished a mouthful of his food. She also saw a concerned look in Hinata's eyes as she looked at her.

She ignored her and continued on with focusing on herself. She didn't feel the cheeriness he gave out. Konan was concerned on reigning in on her emotions. She hoped that the Hyuuga would get the message. She paid no attention to the loud banter of the blond while she quietly ate her dinner. Hinata kept sending some glances towards her way but thankfully didn't say anything or made any indication to Naruto about her state of duress. Dinner went by quickly, some small talk was made that she didn't partake in. When she was brought into the talk by Naruto, she quickly made her responses and didn't look at him. He didn't really seem to notice how she felt, she tried her best to hide it from him.

"It was alright" He rubbed his belly. "Although I could still eat more" She might have been amused by this on another day. Just not on the day that she realized that she had fallen for him, someone who greatly reminded her of Yahiko. She felt -and she knew- irrational hatred towards him, and it was something out of his control. She dug into a simple wallet and took out some Ryo, enough to pay for the meal and more personally for him. He looked quizzically at her.

"Enjoy the rest of your night together" She felt some pain saying the words.

"Huh are you sure? I mean I don-"

"Yes" She interrupted. She forced herself to look into his eyes. A piercing cerulean eyes gazed into hers, she felt like the eyes were deconstructing her defensive walls. Some concern filled it, except right now she needed to be alone. "I must plan for the next few days" She almost fell on her words. She swallowed the lump in her throat and continued. "We have plenty to do tomorrow and the days ahead, so be sure to enjoy tonight" She gave a small false smile and stood up from her seat.

"It would be pretty great if you were here Konan-chan" He gave another grin which nearly break through to her. Her breathing quickened, shallow and disconcerting.

"I'm supposed to help you remember?" She replied. He nodded a little. "Then I have to go" She said a little too quickly for her taste. He frowned at the logic.

"If you say so..."He said disappointingly. As she turned on her heel to exit out the door. She heard the 'byes' from both the individuals as she closed the door behind her. She entered a hallway that was painted beige, to her right was the stairs leading to the ground floor. She looked to her left and down a large hallway to find a fire escape that led to the outside. She turned to the left and Quickened her pace she made her way down the hall and quickly flung the door open. The loud noise from the nearby festival met her ears, the cool air was a pleasant feeling to her as she tried to take deep breaths but to no avail. Quickly gathering herself, she looked down on the fire escape she was on. She looked to her left to see below numerous people passing through the alleyway. She prepared her 'Dance of The Shikigami' jutsu to avoid any unnecessary contact with civilians. Turning herself into paper she flew through the air to return to the cabin. As quickly as she could she arrived at the cabin as she set foot on the ground.

She deactivated her jutsu and she starting breathing heavily, but it started to get more shallow as she opened up the door and entered. She realized her vision had started to blur and some wetness on her cheeks. She felt the tightness in her throat weigh painfully. An impossible ocean of pent up emotions welled up inside her, only something equal in size would have been able to seize it. She couldn't stop it. She whimpered, her legs wobbling and she felt she couldn't support herself anymore as she fell on the floor in despair. "I...I don't..." She bowed her head and looked at the floor where he hands were shakily supported herself. "H-How did this happen?"She cried.

More emotions well inside her. She felt like it was a chaotic mess. She screamed in frustration. "How could I?!". She felt hatred towards herself. Angry and hurt that she had fallen for Naruto Uzumaki. She cried at her self-pity, tears that she hadn't shed in years flew freely from her eyes. She fell to the ground and looked up at the ceiling, her origami flower nestled atop her hair fell from its place. Tears continuously slipped down, her breathing labored, but she felt some relief hit her. It was odd to her, how she fell in love with the blond. She hadn't shown this much emotion to anyone, a smile hardly ever shown on her face before she met him. She barely even noticed how he had simply casted down the defensives she put up, to protect herself from the pain. She thought if he even tried to accomplish it.

She didn't know how long she laid on the floor. Slowly, she picked herself up and unbuttoned the cloak and threw it beside her bed. She pulled a blanket over her as she lied down. She felt even more tears well up. "I...I don't want to get over you..."

Hinata looked at the blond she laid beside with. Since first coming here, she had been incredibly nervous when she was forced to sleep in the same bed as him. She peered up at the blue eyed blond, who was doing the same. His piercing gaze had a slight look of happiness, she felt something stir within her stomach knowing she was partly responsible. "I...I had a really great t-time tonight" She whispered. Keeping her voice low to not rouse Konan from her sleep. They had gone out on their date, it lasted only about two hours before they decided to call it a night. She treasured every moment of it, even if it was relatively simple.

"Me too..." He gave a content smile. She felt a little boldness swell within her and she quickly took command of it. She quickly crossed the short distance between their lips and seized him. She tasted ramen as she felt his lips on hers. It took a moment for him to respond to the kiss and it ended far too quickly for her liking. She retracted and she found her heart beating furiously and nearly gasping for air. She looked shyly away from his another one of his heart stopping smiles. He chuckled lowly. "You're changing..."He leaned in closer. "I like it..." He whispered. Sending pleasant shivers down her spine.

"M-Me too" She replied, she bit back her disappointment at stuttering. She felt a familiar sensation the she had felt the last few times they made out. Once she gathered her bearings she reached up to him once again, Interlocking their lips in another passionate embrace. She felt the urge to be touched by him, she was able to content herself by reaching into his hair with her left arm. Her free hand trailing up the blonds chest, he squirmed from the unfamiliar touch and she felt butterflies in her stomach. She could have never imagined that she would be this intimate with him. Not in her life time. She retreated and felt the a large rush of heat on her face. "I think...w-we should go to bed now, we have a long day t-tomorrow" resisting her growing desires.

"Yeah... alright..." She could hear the disappointment in his voice and she almost gave in.

"Good night... Naruto-kun"

"Are you ready?" Konan asked. "I won't use any dangerous jutsu" Hinata looked at the two as she sat down away from the clearing, where Naruto had watched her train several times. She rested her chin on her knees and she looked to where Naruto was.

"Yeah!" He agreed. He faced down his chosen opponent, Konan. Naruto got in his taijutsu stance. She wondered if he had paid attention to their little training sessions, it might give him a little insight to her battle style, which was a mostly a mid ranged fighter.

"We're here to assess you" He nodded. "We must see if you're still capable without the Kyuubi" Hinata wondered about the things she saw in her eyes yesterday at the restaurant Hinata felt a little anxious, especially from the events of yesterday and from what she had seen. She had wanted to try and help her, only to be distracted by the blond. It was selfish of her, but she could tell that Konan had wanted to be alone. "Let's try taijutsu first" The blue haired woman said.

"Okay" Naruto replied. As soon as he gave his reply she lurched forward. He was surprised at the sudden speed as she quickly crossed the distance between them. She reformed her entire body in front of him but she looked like paper covered her clothes and face. She opened up with roundhouse kick aimed to his face, which he quickly blocked with his right arm. He thought that it might have a much lighter hit, not like he was hit with some steel bar. 'I guess that's how her shuriken's work' Quickly thinking he grabbed a hold of her leg to throw her... only for it to slip out of his grasp as she turned it into paper. He jumped over a sweeping kick and returned it with low kick of his own, she jumped away and he sped in after her. He quickly gained momentum and he put her into a defensive state as they exchanged blows.

It was clear that she relied on her paper ninjutsu, but the focus was just on taijutsu and both were holding back. It was a spar to determine his skill and his performance. Naruto grunted as he block a low kick with his right shin. From what he seen with her practices with Hinata, she specialized in ranged fighting and wasn't a close combat type of person. He blocked a flurry of punches aimed towards his face and chest. Despite this, her attacks did hurt from her chakra hardened paper ninjutsu. She was quick and flexible and often sent powerful kicks, so instead of simply blocking it he retaliated with grabs to help soften the blow. They continued like this for a half hour or so, resetting themselves whenever Naruto landed a solid hit or when Konan did.

At the start of another round she seemed to have changed the tactics as she retreated several feet into the air. He watched as she basically turned into paper and hovered several feet off the ground. Wings sprouted from her back like an angels wings. He was slightly intimidated by her appearance, he hadn't seen her take this form before. "Let's see what you're capable of Naruto-kun" She sent hundreds of paper shuriken at him. With nothing to hide behind he had no choice but to jump in the air to avoid it. She took advantage of this as he had no chance to move in mid air, she created a spear and threw it at him. He quickly made a familiar cross and a clone popped up beside him and threw him aside, the spear harmlessly passed through the air . He made two other shadow clones and launched one directly at her."Gotcha" as he grabbed the blue haired. Which was met with disappointment when she escaped from his grasp ' right she's made of paper!' He quickly thought of a solution while he evaded more blunt paper shuriken. He didn't want to potentially hurt her with a rasengan. 'how can I make her stick together?' He created a substitution to avoid some spears which broke on impact when it struck the ground. 'Water?! No wait oil I think!'

"Got it!" He yelled out. He ran away with Konan in hot Pursuit. He ran away from the field and more into the forest. He passed a large boulder out of her line of sight and quickly made a shadow to transform into a rock. He put some distance between the clone and Naruto made some hand signs and nicked his thumb. He quickly thought of a suitable summon, any toad as large as a human "Summoning Jutsu" As Konan appeared in sight. A medium sized green toad appeared from within the smoke. "Spray her with some toad oil, but don't hurt her" he ordered.

"Got it boss!" His throat expanded for a moment and It quickly shot some toad oil, aimed toward the bronze eyed woman. She dodged to the right to escape from the sudden jet stream of oil. She neared the clone that had popped out from its hiding and made a direct jump to her. She was surprised by the sudden appearance as the clone was able to grab her around the waist and stopped her long enough for the toad to drench her in the sticking liquid. She immediately dropped to the ground while the clone held steadfast onto. The original quickly shot in front of her and brought a Rasengan in front of her.

He smiled as he looked into her eyes " I win!" He said playfully.

" It seems so..." She replied. She was impressed for sure, he hadn't even activated sage mode. He had quickly found out a weakness to her jutsu and had quickly exploited without giving her anytime at all to give a counter 'Just like Jiraiya-sensei'. She thought about how different it might've been if both were going for a kill. She would have definitely have used the arsenal of her Jutsu, restraining him or the paper chakram. She felt entirely uncomfortable using such a Jutsu against the blond. 'He thinks quick on his feet' Except for Jiraiya and Naruto, shinobi never really had any oil based attacks. She frowned at a thought.

"Something the matter?"As the blue sphere disappeared and clone restraining her dissipate. She noted how it felt to be held by him, she ignored it for now.

"It's just, I'm covered in oil"

"Oh" As he rubbed his neck in a embarrassed manner. "I'm sorry" he said sincerely.

"It's quite alright"

Hinata came on by, she had watched the final parts of the fight with her Byakugan. She found Konan covered from head to toe in oil. The liquid dripping from her clothes and blue hair, she found an emotion similar to what she found during the early moments of yesterday at the restaurant. It quickly disappeared after a moment or so.

"After I return from washing the oil off, we should discuss our repetoire of jutsu" Hinata nodded in agreement. "we'll act better as a team if we know each other's jutsu"

"Got it!" Naruto voiced. Konan turned on her heel and left on her way to the cabin. Hinata watched as she left on her way. She recalled what she saw in her eyes when Naruto had spoke yesterday. For a brief split second moment, she had seen awe and admiration in them. '...For Naruto-kun...'. It was replaced by grief and anguish before she sealed them off under careful guarded eyes. The same eyes she had seen on their mission to rescue Naruto. Hinata felt... sorry for her, that she had suffered in the past, whatever it may be. 'She... must have suffered so much...' She disappeared from her view as she entered deeper into the forest. She looked over to the blond who had just wished a farewell to a toad, which disappeared in a cloud of smoke. Hinata felt at such lost at what to do for Konan, she wanted to help but she hadn't had a faintest clue. 'I should to talk to him about this'

"Naruto-kun?" she called out to him. She made her way to where he stood and her turned to face her.

"What's up Hinata-chan?"

"We need to talk"

"Yeah? What about?" He asked. She was about to voice her question when she knew how wrong it was to ask. She couldn't just talk about someone else's feeling and their distress. Hinata didn't even know the full extent of what she felt. It was all just what she thought. She decided against it. The truth was, she didn't even know how Naruto would react.

"Can you help me train?" She asked. Diverting from her original question. She did want to get stronger.

"Yeah of course" He happily agreed. "Oh wait..."

"What is it?"

"I need to figure out something important first, I'll send a shadow clone to train with, is that okay?"

"Umm... okay" They made their way back to the field. Naruto made a shadow while he sat at where she had watched them spar. The clone accompanied her to the middle of the field.

"What do you need Hinata-chan?" The clone asked.

"I need help with my r-rotation" she replied to him, he had a quizzical look on his face. "You can help me, just by throwing shuriken" She clarified. Getting a understanding nod from him. He quickly turned and ran to where some supplies were laid about. He grabbed a bag full of ninja tool, full of blunted throwing stars. She took a deep breath. She would have to find out about Konan's feelings, she didn't want to hurt her. She could only hope that she had not fallen for the blond she loved. The clone took out a few tools and prepared to throw it, only waiting for an approval from her "I'm ready..." As she prepared to spin.

The original Naruto sat himself down on the sidelines. "Alright Kurama...let's try your thing..." He got himself into the lotus position and closed his eyes. He found himself in his mindscape, his feet and ankles were still submerged in the flooded room. He wondered how it came about this, the 'water' didn't get his clothes wet. He looked around to see the pipes strewn about in the ceiling, it was still dim as ever. The area had an look that was similar to a sewer or some waterworks. He turned around to see where had Kurama been kept. He almost expected him to be there. He looked at the large broken gates that had kept the Nine Tailed fox. Once the large bars looked like it could hold against any abuse, now it lay broken. The gates were still technically closed, but there was a large gaping hole in the middle. The bars were torn apart and looked deteriorated by rust, it's lock missing. He thought about how the seal would look on his stomach. Was it even there anymore? Or was just a hollow seal? He shook the unimportant thoughts away as he approached the gates. He jumped through the hole of the busted gate and looked around.

"Wow...Jeez" The area where the fox stayed in was large. It didn't appear to have a set distance, he had to hope it wasn't endless. "How the hell am I supposed to find you're sensory thing Kurama?" He complained. Despite the large space, he heard no echo. He had been told that he held a power dormant in him. Kurama told him that because he had held 'captive' he had inherited a sensory ability. The power to sense negative emotions and malicious thoughts. Kurama had said it might come in handy in the future as to sense those who had wish to cause him harm when he went on his quest. Despite the vastness of the dark place he was in. Kurama had assured him that it would only take a day or so to find it. He was also told that if he was natural sensory type, he might have already had it, but he wasn't. The ability belonged to the fox but to only his half of the chakra. The ability had manifested itself into Naruto "Well I might as well get started" He created a some shadows clones to help him search. Particularly, he didn't feel a drain on his chakra, but he did feel a strange strain in his head, like he was thinking too much.

Konan looked at the tile on the wall. It was clean white ceramic tile, a familiar sight in the washroom. She felt the hot water flow in her hair and the smell of shampoo in the air. It had a subtle aroma of vanilla. The near scolding water ran down her body as she ran soap across to nullify the oil that still bore a faint layer on her skin. The worst area that had suffered the most from the toad oil was in her hair. Which she had to use had to have two doses of shampoo to help wash off. She thought about her little spar with the blond. Most prominently, the way she felt just being simply held by him. She felt safe... She wanted it to go away, she didn't want to acknowledge her feelings to him. Simply because... It would also be acknowledging that she had moved on from Yahiko. She wished she had never felt something for the blond, but there was one thing that she knew. Emotions simply didn't work like that, it was far too complex, if it was simple she would have forgotten Yahiko by now.

She felt her heart get a little heavy at the thought. She sealed her thoughts away and concentrated on the events and plans. It helped tremendously in her attempts to put away her thoughts and emotions. She rotated the knobs for the shower, and the water turned off. She stepped out and quickly dried herself. After several minutes she walked out of the bath room feeling a little renewed. She wore he regular clothing, underneath the dark red cloak she now wore. She moved to her desk and brought a piece of paper out to write with, satisfied with it. She opened the door and made gave it enough chakra to fly to Ame, her home country. She had written to the temporary leader of the country, she was still leading it of course, but she still had important matters to attend too. Such as helping the blond with his quest. She wanted to help him, it was Yahiko's dream and one that should be achieved. She made her way towards the their designated training area.

She arrived after her five minutes of flight, She reformed herself just outside the field where the other two were. Entering from the forest she saw Hinata practicing one of her jutsu, the Rotation with Naruto, or a shadow clone. Konan saw her retry an attempt, which lasted about 3 seconds before the chakra dome dissipated. To her left she saw Naruto sitting in the lotus position and meditating. A bit unusual for someone who liked to move, and had complained about it when he was incapacitated. The midnight haired teen was the first to notice her and the shadow clone puffed away, alerting the one meditating. "Hey Konan-chan!" As he popped right up, she nodded in recognition and walked to where he stood.

"I think we should discuss our jutsu now" Hinata came along and stood in their little circle. "I'll start" She explained her paper ninjutsu, her knowledge in fuinjutsu and her mastery over fire manipulation. She only knew a jutsu or two for her fire style, Her paper ninjutsu was more than enough for her to use in fight, so she had never used her fire style in years . After she explained, Hinata went after. She used her jyuuken techniques and simple academy jutsu, she hadn't mastered her known elemental manipulation. Konan already knew this information from helping her train, she had begun helping her in manipulation, but the focus was on her byakugan techniques. She was a taijutsu expert and her Byakugan was invaluable for infiltration.

"My turn! I got the Shadow clone jutsu, the..." He proceeded to list his jutsu. Which had several variants of the rasengan, A thousand years of death, which she assumed was a joke since he accompanied it with a slight chuckle."The Se- Nope never mind that's useless...". He had some slight fear in his eyes but she didn't push him, nor did Hinata. The last thing he listed was his senjutsu. Konan took in the information of her small team. With the use of his shadow clones, Hinata's Byakugan, and her paper ninjutsu, they were nearly perfect for a infiltration team.

"Could you still do sage mode?" Konan asked.

"Yeah I should actually" He went completely still for a few minutes and some orange tint appeared around his eyes. He inspected his hands and felt his face. "Got nothing on my face right?" He asked. She and Hinata shook their heads and he sighed in relief. "Nice..."

"Explain how it works..." She asked. He went into great detail about the advantages of sage mode as well as the disadvantages. After he finished she thought about his jutsu, their uses and popularity. The orange tint around his eyes disappeared after his explanation.

"There's something you should know" Konan interrupted.

"What's that?"

"I don't think I have ever seen someone with such a mastery with the shadow clone jutsu" She complimented. She had seen him create shadow clones effortlessly, most ninja didn't create more than a few to conserve their chakra. He didn't seem to be affected by the shadow clones he created earlier. He said his thanks while he blushed and rubbed in neck in a embarrassed manner. "It can be a problem, since you can create so many effortlessly, I recommend you don't create more than 3 , if we ever get into a fight"

"Really?" he asked. He frowned at this information. "Well I guess I could do that, no problem" He recovered quickly.

"Along with your rasengan, since there aren't very many who can use it, but it won't be a problem since I don't expect fights to occur while we travel"

"Damn that too...If you say so...I guess it makes sense, I mean only me and Kakashi-sensei know it now" He nodded a bit reluctantly. "I think I could still do it, I still got sage mode after all"

"If we're lucky at all, we don't even have to fight, but just as a precaution, since you have mastered you elemental training, I can secure some wind style jutsu for you to utilize" She reassured him.

"Nice! Teach me some fuinjutsu too!" He replied.

"If we have time..."

"I got to find something out!" He seemed excited. He created the cross for the shadow clone. Konan suddenly found herself looking at hundreds of shadows clones, her vision filled with the blond with the snug fitting red sweater. She heard a gasp and looked back to where Naruto stood and found him falling over. He fell to her side and Konan quickly grabbed him before he plummeted. "Damn it, it's not as much as I used to make" as he leaned on her for support.

"Not as much?" She asked. She looked around the field, where the clones were supporting themselves on their knees. She could easily tell there was about 200 scattered around the field. 'Could he have made even more before?' As she thought about the biju that had been extracted from him. It should have been impossible for any ordinary ninja. She didn't doubt it now, he did have chakra that rivaled Nagato.

"Well... I know my limits at least..." As he took a deep breath.

"Y-You shouldn't have made so much Naruto-kun..."Hinata lightly scolded. She looked around once again to see the clones already recovering.

"Since you have them out, you should learn how to form a rasengan without the aid of a shadow clone" He nodded in agreement.

"Yeah...I did have a little practice before when I traveling with Pervy-sage, but it was little hard... but now I feel like I could do it" He said. He was able to support himself now as he stepped back to his original place.

"It is because you no longer have the Biju inside of you?" She asked.

"I think so... Pervy-sage said that there was always its chakra mixing in with mine, so it was always a bit unstable, but now I feel like I have better control of my chakra"

"So the shadow clone jutsu also used the biju's chakra as well..."She commented.

"Guess so..." A small silence filled the trio while Konan thought of their plan. What they had to accomplish. Gather a specific jutsu, make their way to Uzu and summon his father. All the clones made their way towards a nearby tree that wasn't occupied by another clone. They would have to get started tomorrow or soon, she looked towards the blond to see him shaking. He looked a little exhausted from the exertion of creating those shadow clones. 'He would have to recover for the rest of today, and we'll begin tomorrow'.

"You should see if that toad got the jutsu, so we can continue on if he doesn't" Konan interjected.

"Good idea..."Biting his thumb, he made the hand signs and completed the jutsu."Summoning jutsu" The small white Mohawk toad by the name of Fukasaku appeared. "Alright, Geezer-sage give it to me straight" Naruto asked firmly. A strained silence filled the air as the toad looked up at the former jinchuuriki.

"I'm afraid ...I only got bad news Naruto-boy" Fukasaku replied glumly.

"What is it?" The blond waited impatiently. Konan thoughts raced to find a solution.

"We haven't found any of the remains of the forbidden scroll" Konan took this information into account, Naruto had a disappointed look on her face. "Worse..." Everyone surrounding him wasn't expecting the next words he spoke. "There will be a war for the last of free biju..."He stated. Naruto could only stare wide eyed at the toad. '...This changes things...' Konan could only think.

A/N:Please review. Also There will be a real fight next chapter.

Dang, I didn't really like that fighting scene all too much. Taijutsu fights are fairly difficult for me, ninjutsu battles is where I feel all the goodness comes from. Also Naruto really needs some more jutsu up his sleeve. Anyways it was really short and simple spar, and obviously they didn't intend to maim or kill each other and it was more of an assessment. So I hope you can forgive me for this one as I got more -hopefully better- fights planned ahead.

Clarifying something, its mostly a opinion. Some fanfics have this incredibly diverse characters. Master of all trades type of things (Taijutus, ninjutsu, Genjutsu) which sounds unrealistic to me, I think the Jyuuken is exceptionally hard and takes devoting years to master, unless you're like genius, which Hinata isn't. With the exception of genjutsu, unless you're Naruto - with all those shadow clones - I don't see how's that possible. You don't become an expert in such a short time frame. And in my story they don't have vast amounts of time required with them, so they'll mostly focus on their specialties. So there won't be much training. Naruto will 'Temporary' other techniques until his comeback. He'll also still use his original jutsu in certain circumstances.

I'm trying to be realistic, so forgive me if you expect them to shoot all these crazy jutsu. Naruto is going to learn a few more jutsu, but not much honestly.

Also because romance.

So here's their team, (I suck at this)

Naruto: Close range fighter, ninjutsu user.

Konan: Mid-long ranged fighter, ninjutsu user.

Hinata: Close ranged fighter, Taijutsu user.