A/N: Been a while, I know. But here we continue.
Gohan and Hinata sat in the Hyuga compound's courtyard, the two awkwardly facing one another.
The son of Goku had been nothing short of determined to help Hinata earn her father's respect, but now that he actually faced the reality of helping her… he quickly realised he hadn't the slightest idea how…
Her clan's fighting style was completely foreign to him. His methods of training himself; thousands of push ups, thousands of sit ups, brutally sparring under intense gravity; were all meant to focus on his brute strength and punches. Her clan's style of fighting was more about graceful touches, taps, and pokes.
Gohan's head tilted awkwardly, Hinata's lavender eyes lowering to her lap.
Frowning at this dilemma, Gohan pinched his brow in frustration, an action that worried Hinata.
"Um, I-I understand if you don't w-want to help, Gohan-kun." Hinata said, the girl completely understanding why someone wouldn't want to waste time on her.
Gohan's eyes widened, "No no, Hinata, it's not that!" He smiled, hoping to reassure her, "I promised you I'd help you, so I will, it's just…" he scratched his head as he took a deep breath, "look, I'm gonna teach you something, but if I teach it to you, I need your word that you'll keep it personal to you."
"O-okay?..." Hinata said, the young heiress ever confused, "Um, i-if it's okay, may I ask, why?"
Gohan was ready to tear his mental hairs out. He knew that question was coming, but he prayed she wouldn't ask.
"Because," Gohan said, struggling to find the right words to say, "I, uh, it's just, I'm not, exactly… supposed to be here…"
Hinata's head tilted in confusion.
"I know it sounds weird, but, there's no other way for me to put it." Gohan said, hand rubbing the back of his neck "If everyone were to learn what I teach you, it could really mess things up around here."
Hinata still didn't seem certain.
"Hinata, I can only teach you this if you give me your word that you'll be discreet." Gohan said with a slight steel in his voice.
The young heiress nodded, "Y-Yes, Gohan-kun. I will."
Gohan smiled wider, a weight feeling like it was pulled from his shoulders, "Good."
"B-But, wh-what was it you wanted to teach me?" Hinata finally asked.
Gohan tilted his head and smirked. Hinata's eyes widened as Gohan suddenly levitated off the ground, the Son boy still in his sitting position. He floated at least 4 feet off the ground.
"Can you do that?" He asked as he floated back down.
Hinata shook her head.
Gohan raised a finger, "Then that, and that alone is what I'll teach you." his eyes grew serious as he stood up, "With your style of fighting, levitation wouldn't do you much good at all." Gohan specifically left out the word flight. He wouldn't be teaching her full on ki-abilities. He knew there was a tight learning curve to simple levitation, and bird-like flight that one would have to grasp. To learn it on her own wouldn't be possible, so Gohan wouldn't have to worry about her learning too much without his supervision. "But," the saiyan boy continued, "the trick would be to keep your feet from setting into the ground." He bounced on the tips of his toes, "I think, if you learn how to at least levitate, you'll be much more light on your toes. As a result, you can maneuver much quicker and more effectively!" he gave a thumbs up, "That sound good?"
Hinata nodded vigorously, a small smile on her face.
Gohan stood up to his feet, Hinata timidly standing up with him.
"Alright," Gohan started, "Now, the first step to levitation is to get some sort of feel for your life energy." He poked a finger to his chest, "And you'll find it in here. I know people around here use that... chakra stuff, but if it's anything like ki, it shouldn't be too hard to pull from center mass." He held a hand out to Hinata, "Try it."
Hinata looked at him blankly.
Gohan slapped his forehead with a bashful smile, "Oh, right." he forgot to show her how. He crossed his arms in front of his chest, fists balled, and took a deep breath. A blue flame appeared around his form, eliciting a gasp from Hinata. He exhaled as he slowly brought his closed fists to his sides, the saiyan nodding, "All you have to do is pull."
Hinata nodded. She gingerly crossed her arms in front of her, before letting out a light grunt.
Hinata looked at Gohan worriedly, the demi-saiyan tapping his chin as he thought. This shouldn't be that difficult. She's already used to using a form of energy, so why would ki be so hard?
"Hmm," Gohan thought in wonder. Suddenly it clicked. He snapped his fingers, "Maybe that's it!" Before Hinata could ask what, he spoke up, "Since you're so used to that chakra stuff, it might be hard for your body to get used another energy source on the fly." He walked up to Hinata and put his hand on her back.
"Wh-what are you doing?" Hinata asked.
"I'm giving you some of my energy," Gohan said, keeping his hand flat against her back, "just a little bit to help you get used to a different source of energy." he nodded to her, "Now, try to pull."
Hinata gulped, praying she wouldn't screw this up, effectively disappointing the person taking extra steps to help her.
She pulled from her center of mass, and, surprisingly, felt an odd sensation. Her body grew warm…
A gasp escaped Hinata's throat, the demi-saiyan smiling when he heard.
"Ya feeling it now, Ms. Hinata?" Gohan asked jokingly.
Hinata nodded her head vigorously.
"Great! Now, what you're gonna do next is channel that energy into your feet, and steadily eject it." Gohan said as he pulled his hand from her back, "Think you can do that?" He asked.
Hinata looked to her feet, and with the same principle as water walking, channeled this energy to the bottom of her feet.
She closed her eyes, praying this would work.
To her awe, the ground beneath her feet vanished.
Hinata looked down, to see herself hanging about an inch off the ground.
"Awesome!" Gohan said with a slight hop. He stepped back in front of Hinata, giving a slight stretch to his arms, "Now, like I said before, the trick is to not let your feet touch the ground. Come at me, but just don't let your feet touch the grass." He held out his hand and beckoned Hinata forward.
Hinata looked at the boy with uncertainty, but Gohan gave her a reassuring smile, "It's okay. Give me everything you've got. Trust me, I can handle it."
Hinata nodded, before taking her family's juken stance. With a nod from Gohan, Hinata launched herself at him, but she instantly noticed something different. She moved faster and covered more ground in a much quicker rate, the tip of her sandal barely grazing the ground.
Gohan dodged Hinata's palm strike, the girl just shooting past him. She planted her foot to break herself, turning to see Gohan standing confidently behind her.
"See the difference?" Gohan asked, "Now come at me with everything you've got! I'm serious!"
Hinata launched herself at the demi-saiyan, throwing palm strike after palm strike that Gohan weaved and parried. The Son boy could tell Hinata was trying, but he could sense a hint of hesitation behind each strike.
Her lack of confidence was her biggest weakness.
Gohan casually dodged a palm strike to the face, his heart sinking when he saw the downcast look in Hinata's eyes.
It was then Gohan knew, the only way for one to gain confidence, was to succeed.
He gave a slight pause when Hinata threw a palm at his stomach. This pause allowed her a successful hit.
"Ow!" Gohan cried out as clutched his stomach, "Ow ow ow ow!" he dropped to his knees.
Hinata gasped, the heiress herself hurt at how much pain she caused the boy.
"Oh, I-I'm sorry! I'm so sorry Gohan!" Hinata begged for forgiveness, the girl covering her mouth as tears came to her eyes.
Gohan may have been a bad liar, and a bad actor, but lucky for him Hinata was sensitive enough to buy into his charade. He added a bit of huffing and wheezing to better sell the act, "I-It's okay, Hinata," Gohan huffed with a smile, "it really is!" Although he wasn't hurt, he could feel his insides shift a bit, like a cramp after a long run. He got back up to his feet, making Hinata silently question how he recovered so quickly, "You got a hit, so that's a good thing!" He took a few steps back and took a fighting stance, "Lets see if you can do it again!"
'So strange…' Hinata thought as she eyed Gohan. She honestly couldn't think of a stranger boy she'd met in her life. But alas, she nodded and took her stance.
With a nod, Gohan ordered the girl to come at him again.
Hinata obliged by launching herself at the teen, throwing aggressive strike after strike. Gohan could tell, that having gained success, she had gained just a bit more confidence in herself.
Which was great, because it meant he could do this,
Hinata gasped as Gohan shoved her, knocking her down on her glute.
She looked up at the saiyan who stood over her, before offering her a hand, "You gotta show a little defense too, haha!" Gohan laughed, Hinata smiling back as she took his hand. She found it a blessing that he wouldn't judge her, no matter how many times she failed in her own eyes.
Gohan beckoned Hinata, "Keep doing what you're doing, just know I won't be on the defensive the whole time, alright."
And with that, Hinata once again pursued him.
Kurenai walked towards the Hyuga compound with her two genin, the two boys accompanying her in finding the missing member of their team.
"Where does Hinata get off not showing up for training?" A teen dressed in a grey hooded parka asked, a small dog perched atop his head. The pooch gave a sharp 'yap' in agreement.
The other boy on the team wouldn't voice it, but he was just as curious as the Inuzuka. This boy had bushy black hair, equally black shades, and a high collared jacket that covered the lower-half of his face.
"Whatever her reasoning, she better have a damn good one." Kurenai answered. Though she was displeased, she did know Hinata quite well. She knew the girl wouldn't deliberately miss training of her own accord. If anything, there was at least a half-decent reason even if she hadn't yet heard it.
When the team arrived out in the courtyard, they were greeted to a rather surprising sight.
Hinata was sparring with the new arrival to the village, the Son boy weaving the girls strikes. In the eyes of the boys of Team Kurenai, it appeared that Hinata completely had this boy on the ropes.
"Yeah Hinata, kick his ass!" Kiba cheered when he saw the heiress throwing strikes while Gohan seemed completely unable to fight back. Shino, though silent, still held an obvious air of approval.
Kurenai knew better.
She knew this boy had to have been holding back considerably. That Gohan was capable of going against scores of Anbu at even his absolute weakest. If he'd wanted, he could have downed her at any moment. But then, she noticed there was something different about Hinata. Every few moves, the moptopped teenager would throw a half-assed kick at Hinata's legs that she successfully dodged, but her movements were much quicker, and more fluid. Almost like she was weightless.
Hinata jabbed her fingers into Gohan's stomach, causing the saiyan boy to gasp and clutch his gut, "Ow ow ow ow ow!" he cried, an act that pushed Hinata to back off and Kiba to cheer for her.
'Terrible actor.' Kurenai thought with a roll of her red eyes. 'He isn't hurt in the slightest.' and that observation worried her, 'Does that mean he's resilient to the juken?!'
Gohan rubbed his stomach as he straightened himself up, "I think you've beaten me down enough for today, Hinata." he passed her a warm smile, "Good job."
Hinata smiled back, before noticing her team nearby, "Oh!" She gasped in surprise.
"Yeah, oh." Kurenai said coldly, "You missed our training session, Hinata."
"I-I'm s-sorry, Kurenai-sensei." Hinata said timidly, "I just, I-I let time get-"
The jonin shook her head, cutting Hinata off, "Save it." her eyes went to Gohan, the demi-saiyan's heart leaping up into his throat. He hadn't forgotten about the bit of history he and her had…
Hinata's eyes went from Gohan, to her sensei, to her teammates, "Um, Gohan-kun, th-this is my sensei, Kurenai."
Gohan stared at the woman, Kurenai glaring down at him with judging eyes, "Er, hello, miss Kurenai." he said awkwardly.
Kurenai didn't greet him in return.
Hinata swallowed and moved on, "And these, are my teammates, Kiba and Shino."
With this opportunity to make friends, Gohan gave a smile and held out his hand, "Hiya, um, I'm Gohan, but I guess you knew that!" he said with a small laugh.
Kiba looked at the son of Goku's hand, before looking him in the eye, "You stink, kid. You smell like a monkey!"
"Aarf!" Akamaru yapped in agreement.
"Kiba!" Hinata gasped offended for Gohan, "That isn't nice!"
Kiba snorted as he walked away, "It's true."
Shino also looked at the boys hand, though he was just a tad bit nicer, "Hi." before turning on his heel as well.
Gohan sighed and put his hand down, "Not the meanest thing anyone's said to me." the boy admitted.
Kurenai shook her head, "Hinata, come. We have four missions planned for the day."
"O-Oh, okay." Hinata said as he turned to Gohan and gave him a bow, "I-I'm sorry about that, Gohan-kun. I really am."
Gohan bowed back, "Don't worry about it, I've had worse. I'll see ya later, okay!" He gave her a two-finger salute as goodbye.
Hinata nodded, and went with her team.
The son of Goku sighed as he watched Team Kurenai walk off.
He stood alone in the courtyard for several long minutes, before he realised something...
He was bored...
He hurried into the main building where he bumped into Hanabi in the hallway,
"Oh, hey Gohan-kun!" the girl said excitedly. Judging by the backpack slung over her shoulder, Gohan could tell she was on her way to the academy.
"Hey Hanabi, you know where Natsu is?" Gohan asked her
"Oh, she's in the kitchen!" Hanabi said, "I think she's still cleaning up from breakfast."
"Great!" Gohan said as he walked on, "Have fun in class!"
"Have fun doing whatever it is you do all day!" Hanabi giggled as she hurried off.
The demi-saiyan maneuvered his way through the halls, following the sounds of shifting dishes until he reached the kitchen. There he found Natsu doing the dishes as expected, and another Hyuga standing against the wall.
Hearing the sounds of Gohan's footsteps, Natsu immediately stopped doing the dishes; she and the other Hyuga turning to him to bow.
"Ah, Gohan-san, good morning!" Natsu said.
Gohan returned their bow, "Good morning Natsu, and…" he trailed off when he tried to address this unfamiliar Hyuga.
"My name is Ko, nice to meet you for the first time, Gohan-san." the Hyuga said. The man was young, maybe early twenties. He had pale skin like most other Hyuga, and short black hair swept back in spikes. He wore a black kimono with matching colored sandals.
Gohan returned their bow, "Heya Natsu, and nice to meet you Ko. I was just wanting to tell you guys, I was gonna take a walk around the village. I was hoping I wouldn't be needed for anything around here."
Ko looked to Natsu, silently telling her to resume her cleaning. He smiled at Gohan, "That should be fine, Gohan, but if you don't mind, I was going to be accompanying you." He'd been instructed by Hiashi to keep an eye on the boy. Ko, having been Hinata's main caretaker, was ordered to treat Gohan with this same amount of care.
Gohan shrugged casually, "No problem. Let's go!"
The half-saiyan having picked up his cape and weights, the two walked down the roads of the shopping district, Gohan hopping in and out of various stores.
Ko, while being around, wasn't going to bother Gohan with his presence. Whenever the demi-saiyan would buy something from a store (just about everything being food related) he'd be the one to tell the shopkeepers to charge the Hyuga Main House tab.
The two passed by a trio of genin; two girls arguing heatedly over a guy who irritably walked away from them.
As Gohan snacked on a squid leg on a stick, he came across a weapons shop. He decided he'd stroll inside.
As he walked through the open door of the store, he quickly grew fascinated by the array of knives, swords, and other pointy things arranged around the shop. One particular sword caught his interest, the boy stepping up closer to get a better look at it.
"I see you've taken a liking to that one."
The demi-saiyan turned to the voice, a girl not much older than he at all. She had brown eyes and brown hair tied up in two twin buns. She wore a pink qipao styled shirt and leaned casually against the front desk with her head resting against her hand.
"It's pretty neat, I admit." Gohan said, "I can tell this sword has a lot of history behind it."
"And you're absolutely right about that." An old man said as he walked from a room at the back of the store, holding a box filled with various shuriken and kunai, "That there sword is the remnant of a legendary samurai dynasty. Only six of those swords were made in existence."
"Cool." Gohan said in awe as he eyed the sword again.
"That sword hails from the Akamatsu clan, yes?" Ko asked, he himself having some knowledge of the blade.
"Yup! The warriors of the Akamatsu clan managed to conquer over 40 regions in a two month period." the bun-haired girl said as she walked up next to Gohan, "You a swordsman?" she asked him.
Gohan thought back as he scratched the back of his head, "Mmm, not really, but I know my way around one! My main weapons are my fists and my feet."
The girl rolled her eyes, "That sounds like my teammate."
"Oh, you're a shinobi too?" Gohan asked the girl.
"Yeah!" She said with a smile, "Been one for around a year or so now. I just work here in my grandfather's shop on my downtime." she jabbed a thumb to the old man at the back of the store. "His name's Hanzo, and my name's Tenten, by the way."
"Gohan, Son Gohan." The demi-saiyan said with a slight bow.
"Psh, don't have to be so formal." Tenten said with a slight laugh.
"The boy's a real gentleman." Tenten's grandfather said with a hearty laugh, "You should be palling around with more like him."
"Anyways," Tenten said, "Are you a part of the forces?"
Gohan shook his head, "No, not me." he shrugged, "It's not really a good fit." he quickly changed the subject, "Um, if you're a shinobi, and you work in a weapons shop, I guess you're pretty well trained in a lot of these?" he asked as he glanced around.
"Not only am I well trained, I'm specialized in all of these." Tenten said proudly, "I've managed to master over 107 different types of weapons from the katana, to the kunai, to the sai, to the nunchuck, to the bo staff and their variants."
"Cool." Gohan said in awe, "How many different teachers did you have to help you learn that?"
Tenten shook her head, "All self taught. You could say it's a gift of mine, really. You give me a weapon, I could master it in a few hours."
"That's amazing!" Gohan said, making Tenten blush bashfully, "I pretty much had to self teach myself how to use a sword, but I don't think I could say I ever mastered the skill."
"What pushed you to learn?" Tenten asked.
"I didn't have a choice." Gohan admitted, "My master dropped me off in the wilderness when I was four, left me a sword, and wished me luck for the next six months."
"Now that's amazing!" Tenten said, the girl almost in disbelief.
"That, was nothing." Gohan said, "The real challenge was what came a year later, but I'm not even gonna get into those details." the half-saiyan laughed as he got nostalgic, "It's funny you mentioned the bo staff, because I actually have quite a bit of experience with that too."
"Oh really," Tenten said, "the staff's my favorite weapon!"
"My dad passed down a special staff to me, it's sort of a family heirloom." Gohan explained, "We call it the 'Power Pole'. It starts off pretty small and dinky at first, but once you learn to 'activate' it, it can grow to great lengths, even as tall as a building according to my dad! The average person couldn't handle it once it's been roused."
"That sounds amazing!" Tenten exclaimed, the idea of wielding such a weapon exciting her. Hanzo, on the other hand, couldn't believe what he was hearing. He simply stared at the two in disbelief, his cheeks turning red as his eye twitched, "You should show it me sometime!" Tenten said, making Hanzo's cheeks turn a deeper red as he sputtered in horror.
Gohan laughed, "If I ever get the chance, I will." he turned to leave the store, "See ya around Tenten!" he waved as he left, Ko following him.
"See ya Gohan!" the bun haired girl said, Tenten watching as Gohan disappeared into the streets outside, "Hm, cute." she admitted as she went back to work.
Hanzo simply watched the boy as he left, the old man speechless, 'Was… was he talking about his di-'
Gohan and Ko continued down the roads, the saiyan intent on heading back to the Hyuga compound when he spotted something odd near the village gates. He looked to see it was an old man, the elder stumbling oddly with a bottle in hand.
He could see a troubled look in the man's eyes, something that worried the boy.
"He looks like he needs help." Gohan said, Ko overhearing the boy.
The Hyuga traced Gohan's gaze to the man. He could instantly tell the man was a drunkard. "I think it's best we leave him be, Gohan-san."
Gohan ignored Ko, instead heading over to the drunk man entering the village.
"Excuse me, are you okay mister?" Gohan asked the drunk elder. The man had gray hair and droopy red eyes. He was dressed in a construction worker outfit.
The man looked down to the Son boy, grumbling irritably, "What's it to you, brat?"
"Jeez, sorry," Gohan said defensively, the boy giving a sarcastic roll of his eyes, "you looked like you needed a hand, that's all."
The old man huffed rudely, before turning away from Gohan. He started walking away, but as he felt the teen's eyes keep baring holes into his back, he turned back to him, "If ya gotta know, I'm building a bridge and I've got shinobi after my head. I can't get back home without an escort and I probably don't have the money to afford it. That good? Now leave me alone." He turned away from Gohan, and started walking away again.
"You need an escort? That's it? I can do that, and for free!"
The bridge builder turned back to the boy, the man studying the demi-saiyan. Although he didn't see a headband on this boy's forehead, he did take notice of the boy's build. He was muscular, more muscular than any kid he's seen at this boys age. The eagerness in the boy's voice and determination in his eyes told the bridge builder that this kid had faced danger before.
"You don't look like a ninja." The elder told Gohan.
"Maybe because I'm not one." The son of Goku admitted with a shrug, "And not to sound cocky, but I'm probably just as capable of protecting you as any of them."
The bridge builder looked the saiyan up and down. This kid may have had some type of training, or he may have been crazy. Either way, the old man knew that to get a mission from the Leaf village, he would have to lie about the mission details… which could get him in very serious trouble. This kid was offering him risk free protection.
And if the kid really wasn't as good as he claimed, then screw it, the carpenter would have been dead anyways.
"Well shoot, alright then, you're hired."
At this, Ko had to jump in, "Now hold on Gohan-san, these matters are normally carried out through Leaf missions. To escort this man would take money from the village."
"He just said he didn't have any money." Gohan said in the bridge builder's defense, though Ko didn't believe that, "The village isn't getting any money if he doesn't have any. And why leave him out to dry when I don't have to?"
Ko shook his head, "I think it's best if we left this matter to the Hokage. Regardless, Hiashi-san would expect you back."
"No disrespect to Hiashi, but he's not my father." Gohan said with a frown, "I stay with his family because he asked me to. If me helping this man is such a bad thing, then Hiashi can kick me out. No biggie. Same with the Hokage. I don't think it's right to charge this man for protection if he's genuinely in danger. The Hokage can deal with me himself if he has any issues."
The bridge builder had to admit... this kid had balls.
Ko sighed, knowing Gohan had his mind set. "Okay, fine, just allow me to accompany you and inform the Hokage that we'll be gone."
Gohan nodded before Ko shushined away.
The Hyuga appeared within the Academy building, heading to the mission assignment room. He noticed Team Kakashi coming up the hall as well, likely looking to receive their next mission.
Ko disregarded them as he walked in.
The Hyuga walked up to Hiruzen, giving a bow, "Lord Hokage, I have news."
"Do tell." Hiruzen ordered.
"Son Gohan met a carpenter near the village gates. He's taken on this particular carpenter's request for an escort." Ko informed, "I know this is taking away from the village, and despite my best efforts, Gohan is adamant in his decision to aid the man."
Sarutobi stroked his chin in thought, "This… is fine. Accompany him. If he encounters any enemy shinobi, take note of his abilities, and update me upon your return."
"As you wish." Ko said as he phased out.
Gohan stood patiently, the boy's arms casually folded while the bridge builder kept taking glances at the gate.
Ko reappeared in front of them. The Hyuga held his hand to the village gate, "We may head off."
"Awesome!" Gohan smiled, "Time to go old timer."
"My name's Tazuna, shortie." The old man grumbled.
"And the name's Gohan, old man." Gohan said back. Pointing a finger behind him, "And our chaperone's name is Ko."
Tazuna grumbled, "Yeah yeah, let's get out of here."
And so they set off.
Gohan, happy to be walking the nature lined roads in this journey, whistled a tune and signaled for a small bird to ride on his palm.
Tazuna huffed at the boy, 'What a weirdo…'
"Hey kid," Tazuna started, eyeballing Gohan's hair, "When was the last time you've seen a pair of clippers?"
An almost visible question mark appeared over Gohan's head, before the boy rubbed his hand through his messy mop of hair, "Uhhhh, long enough to forget."
The old man snorted, "You could use some."
"Thanks for the tip." Gohan threw back with a forced smile.
Soon, they came upon an odd puddle in the dirt road.
The teen's eyes narrowed. He could sense two foul ki signature's coming from that puddle…
Two cloaked figures shot out of the puddle, Tazuna gasping as one of the figures slung a chain at him.
"Damn!" Ko cursed as he pulled a kunai.
The hostile ninja's eyes widened as the chain went taut.
Gohan held the metal with a smirk on his face, everyone who lay witness staring in shock at the act.
The boy's hand gripped the metal rings tighter, warping the metal as he swung the spiked chain, "HYAAAAAAA!" he shouted as he whipped the nin around and around in a wide circle, before slinging them up high, and throwing them down into the ground.
Ko and Tazuna looked on in shock as the boy single handedly subdued the nin with little effort on his part.
'So fast, reflexes are incredible!' Ko thought, 'I heard he was good, but to actually see this from someone his age…'
"God damn…" Tazuna said as he eyed the crater his two attackers lay in, "He wasn't kidding around…" He flinched as he watched the two nin struggle to get up. Before they could, Gohan appeared and chopped the two in the back of the neck, knocking them both out cold.
Gohan smiled at Tazuna and Ko as he stood over the beaten assassins, "Well that was a delay."
"You're telling me." Tazuna said, "What are you gonna do with those two?"
Gohan looked up, before looking to Ko, "Wouldn't have any rope or wire on you, would you?"
"Actually, I do." Ko said as he pulled out a bundle of thread from his ninja pouch. His white eyes were glued to the unconscious ninja laying on the ground, the Hyuga studying them as he handed the wire to Gohan, "I recognize these two. They're missing nin of Kirigakure; the Demon Brothers Gozu and Meizu."
"And?" Gohan asked casually as he began tying the nin up.
"So they're probably too dangerous to be left alive." Ko said.
"You guys do arrests right?" Gohan asked, "They're already beaten, so we'll leave'em to get picked up when someone else comes through."
"What if they wake up and break out from their binds before then?" Ko asked.
Gohan looked back to the two nin, before giving another hard chop to the back of their necks, "I seriously doubt that." the son of Goku smiled.
Ko sighed and shook his head before turning to Tazuna, "Why would you possibly be pursued by missing nin?"
Tazuna looked to Gohan, noticing the boy was curious as well.
"Okay," Tazuna sighed, "I... don't suppose you're familiar with the name Gato? From Gato Industries?"
"Nope." Gohan said.
"A businessman sent them after you?" Ko asked as he quickly put the pieces together.
Nodding, Tazuna continued, "He runs a successful shipping company, models himself as a successful self-made entrepreneur, but its all a front for the monster he truly is. Drugs, racketeering, prostitution, you name it he's involved." Tazuna explained, "Wave, already too poor to afford proper protection, allowed Gato the means to take over the entire Land."
"This bridge is a detriment to him somehow..." Gohan concluded.
"Yes. The second I complete the bridge, the economy of Wave can stabilize..." Tazuna trailed off,
"And you guys could hire ninja to deal with Gato." Gohan finished, a hardened gaze in his eye and a folding of his arms making Tazuna humble. The old man expected the boy to lash out at him for withholding that information, "Why didn't you just lead with that?"
Tazuna's eyes widened, "What? You'd still follow through with taking me back?"
"Gohan," Ko said, "You don't have to do this. All of this is more than you agreed to."
"I know." Gohan said, turning on his heel and continuing down the road, "I just wish you woulda told me about this Gato in advance, because now I gotta stick around and help deal with him."
"Then how about I go and get backup?" Ko asked.
"Do that if you want, but I'm not sticking around to wait for you." Gohan said, smiling as he walked, "Daylight's burning!"
Ko huffed in frustration before following the boy. Tazuna smiled hopefully and followed after the two, "Wow, you're a damn good kid Gohan."
The boy turned to Tazuna as he walked, "Thanks old timer!"
"But you could still use a haircut!" the bridge builder joked.
"So what's your story, kid?" Tazuna asked as the three of them continued down the path, "You aren't a ninja, so that tells me you're a civilian. Mommy and daddy aren't concerned that you're just wandering the world like this?"
Gohan gave a nervous laugh, "I think my parents are concerned about a lot of things right about now. To be honest, I don't know where my parents are… at the moment. In the meantime, some nice people in the Leaf Village have taken me in."
Tazuna nodded sympathetically, thinking he had the boy all figured out, "Oh… an orphan. I'm sorry."
The half-saiyan had to resist the urge to correct the bridge builder. He stopped himself when he remembered, at the end of the day, it didn't matter.
A white rabbit scurried out from the brush and onto the path, Gohan smiling at the critter as he stopped to greet it.
"Hey there little guy, how are ya!?" Gohan said as he kneeled down to pet the rabbit.
Tazuna groaned, not thrilled at this delay in the trip.
Ko eyed the rabbit suspiciously. 'Comfortable around people… maybe a little too comfortable.' he then eyed the rabbits fur, 'White… yet there hasn't been any snowfall in months… which means-!'
Ko was barely able to let out a warning before he heard the sound of a blade whirling through the wind, "Gohan, Tazuna, look ou-"
Gohan suddenly vanished, reappearing in the path of a massive sword chopping through the air like a helicopter blade.
He stopped the blade on its cutting edge with both hands, Tazuna and Ko gasping at the act. If Gohan struggled with holding the sword that was at least 5x bigger than him, he didn't show it, the son of Goku seeming more annoyed than anything else.
Raising his eyebrow, the teen threw the sword into the ground, the blade sticking out from the dirt at an angle.
Ko pulled a kunai as he got in front of the bridge builder, Gohan standing his ground as he thought irritably, 'What now?'
A shape suddenly appeared atop the handle of the sword, a malicious looking man looking down on Gohan.
"Nice reflexes, kid." a shirtless man said, voice gravelly and lower face wrapped in bandages. His skin was gray and he had a short bush of black hair on his head. Gohan instantly noticed the man's headband, noticing the four small diagonal lines etched into the metal. "Sorry about the sudden introduction, but you'll have to hand that bridge builder over to me." Gohan saw the man's bandages warp with his grinning smile.
"And why would I do that?" Gohan asked casually.
"Gohan, be careful!" Ko warned, "This man is Zabuza Momochi, an S-rank missing ninja of the Hidden Mist." This boy had proven his strength time and time again, but if he by chance wasn't capable of taking Zabuza, the three of them were already dead.
"If you valued your life, you'd stand down." Zabuza said as he hopped off the blade handle, pulling his sword from the dirt before letting it rest on his shoulder, "I don't see a headband, that tells me you're not shinobi. Who is this bridge builder to you, anyways?" Zabuza asked the boy. Though he wouldn't admit it, the nin was a bit weary of this kid… after all, the boy caught his sword in mid throw…
"You're right, I'm not a shinobi." Gohan said, mentally preparing himself for battle, "I'm just a kid lending a helping hand to a stranger."
"Hn." Zabuza shook his head. Time to trim the world of more charitable folk.
Ko flinched as Zabuza moved at Gohan at a speed he could hardly track.
The Demon of the Mist swung his sword in an arc to cleave Gohan in half, the half-saiyan simply standing his ground.
Gohan simply held up his forearm to block the blade, Zabuza's eyes widening in shock as his attack was stopped cold.
With a quick step-in, Gohan buried his fist deep into Zabuza's gut, dropping the older man to his knees in one punch.
Zabuza gagged and spit up into his bandages, Gohan standing over him as the man tried to suck air back into his body.
"Are we done?" Gohan asked Zabuza.
Zabuza passed the boy a hate-filled glare, his fingers coming up to form hand signs for his blinding mist jutsu.
Gohan responded by grabbing Zabuza by his arm, before swinging and throwing the nuke-nin into a nearby tree. The bark cracked the instant Zabuza's back made contact, the nin sliding down to the ground in a daze.
"Un… believable…" Zabuza coughed out as he eyed Gohan.
"Are you gonna tap out, or do I have to hit you again?" Gohan asked dangerously.
Zabuza tried to stand, only for a senben needle to suddenly shoot into his neck. His eyes widened, before he collapsed to the side, dead.
Gohan, Ko, and Tazuna were completely caught off guard by the turn of events, the three pairs of eyes going up to a nearby tree to the source of the attack.
The three men saw a masked woman standing atop a tree branch, overlooking them.
"A hunter-nin?" Ko asked, "How convenient…"
"My apologies," the woman said, "I've been tracking Zabuza Momochi for some time. I just managed to find an opening to finish him off." she hopped down next to Zabuza's body, "I must take his body to be disposed of."
Gohan stared at the deceased enemy ninja for several long seconds, "Okay."
Without saying another word, the Hunter-nin vanished with Zabuza's body.
Ko looked to Gohan, 'He… he dropped an S-rank missing ninja with one punch… what is he?'
A hearty laugh came from Tazuna, "You are something special, kid! A true marvel!" he clapped Gohan's shoulder, "My goodness, I owe you an apology for ever doubting you!"
"Heh, thanks old timer," Gohan said bashfully, "but I still gotta get you home first. We can celebrate after I do that and deal with this Gato guy."
"Sounds like a deal to me!" Tazuna said, "Let's get a move on!"
Ko followed the two as they continued down the path, the Hyuga giving one more passing glance to the tree Gohan threw Zabuza into. Something seemed off with that hunter nin, but the Hyuga couldn't quite put his finger on it.
Ko sighed, "Well, on the bright side, with Zabuza dead this whole mission shouldn't be much of an issue"
"Well, actually," Gohan smiled, getting Ko and Tazuna's attention, "Zabuza's not dead."
"What?!" the two men said in disbelief.
"Yeah," Gohan shrugged "that hunter-nin lady wanted to make it seem that way, but I could sense Zabuza's energy."
"And if he comes back?!" Ko asked.
Gohan's smile never waned, "If Zabuza wants a rematch… he can have one."
A/N: Been a while, I know. I have no excuse for why, so just review your thoughts and have a great Thanksgiving!