Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto nor The Gamer. I own nothing, really.

Chapter 71

[Tsunade]

How had this happened?

She didn't know, but she was blaming Jiraiya, of that she was sure. After all, she'd been perfectly fine before her old teammate came to "visit". Gambling and drinking was what she did and she was ok with doing that for however long she managed to live. She might not like the idea of Shizune spending her life as her friend/student/carer, but that wasn't her decision to make and she'd given up convincing the younger woman to leave long ago.

Tsunade had been living like she did for a long time, and she'd never faced a bigger problem than someone trying to get her to pay a debt in a casino or something of the sort. Trying being the operative word there, since she would be hard pressed to find a person that could actually make her do something that she didn't want to do. She almost welcomed the idiots trying to do something to her, getting to smack some fool around was fun once in a while.

She'd never had to fight someone that was actually a threat, but Jiraiya had managed to drag her into such a battle.

There she stood, in front of Shizune and facing what seemed to be a cross between a man and a shark. Even his sword looked like a strange mix between a blade and a sea monster, scaled, with a mouth and living. 'This is definitely Jiraiya's fault,' She thought to herself, eyebrows twitching.

Tsunade couldn't even expect the one that caused this to help her either, much to her annoyance. No, because the stupid pervert had to deal with his own freak wearing a black cloack with red clouds on it. An Uchiha to boot, although he had a mini-Uchiha of his own on his side, so she supposed that was good?

'How did this happen?' Tsunade wondered again, increasingly angrier as time passed and she asked herself the same thing again. She jumped back, the sharkman's sword striking the place where she had been standing a moment before.

She'd been fine, gambling - losing, but who cared? - money on a game, when suddenly Jiraiya had entered the place with not one but two brats following him around. As if he wasn't annoying enough on his own, the old bastard. At least one of them was quiet, the same couldn't be said for the blonde one though. It was like seeing a mini-version of Jiraiya.

Although, this "Naruto" also reminded her of...

The picture of a brown-haired, brown-eyed boy flashed through her mind, perpetually blushed cheeks and wide grin in place, just like he'd always looked.

Tsunade closed her eyes for a moment, pushing away that image and concentrating on her battle.

Her mind wasn't done though. It flashed back once more. This time to the conversation she'd had with her old teammate, about how their sensei was calling for her to come back, and to the letter that said teacher had sent her. They were asking her to come help heal the village that had now suffered an attack when it hadn't even completely recovered from the Kyuubi. They were, apparently, in need of her for more than even her specialization in medical techniques.

As if she would do anything for the village that had cost her almost everyone she cared about.

Tsunade's eyes widened when her opponent, probably realizing that she was more trouble than it seemed at first, changed his approach. Maybe it had been a while since she'd been an active kunoichi, but she had kept up her training, if a little less strictly than in the past. She was called a Sannin for a reason too, so she was no easy target.

The same couldn't be said about her student.

Shizune's own eyes widened when the maniac with a living sword charged at her, cackling all the while. She was good, Tsunade would proudly tell anyone, but she was not on her level and neither was she in this freak of a swordsman's. Strengthening her legs, the Sannin prepared to jump back in to intercept their attacker. Her instincts were telling her that she was late, even with all her strength, she wouldn't reach them in time.

Her body might still be trained, but evidently her reflexes had suffered.

Tsunade almost felt proud when she saw her student realized that she couldn't get away fast enough. Shizune acknowledged that the attack would hit her and thus, did something else other than trying futilely to dodge. Instead, she opened her mouth and a dark purple cloud escaped from between her lips, surrounding herself and the swordsman.

Poison, obviously. Shizune had always been better at that than even Tsunade herself had been. It was her specialization, even if the woman herself wasn't a fan of the art. It was what she was good at, and she would use it effectively, even if she preferred to heal over harm.

Unfortunately but expectedly, that wasn't enough to deter the man from his attack. The strange sword slashed and proved that despite its appearance, it could do a sword's job and cut. The scales were the reason, Tsunade guessed, but that was as far as her mind went because a second later, all she could see was the red.

Blood was everywhere. It drew an arc following the curve of the sword's path. It splashed against the ground and flowed down her student's body, a sight made possible by the wind taking away the poison cloud Shizune had unleashed on her attacker. It covered Tsunade's hands too.

It covered Dan.

And she couldn't stop it, she couldn't stop the blood from flowing.

She couldn't do anything as her student was attacked.

She couldn't do anything as he died.

She couldn't do anything.

Her knees gave up from under her, her shoulders sagged and she felt her face paling. The blood was everywhere and it numbed her mind. She couldn't move, she couldn't fight and she couldn't heal her student. She couldn't do anything, once more, as the fear of blood stopped her. Fear of failing to heal a loved one once more, ironically keeping her from doing just that.

She could only look...

Again.

[}-o-{]

[Naruto Uzumaki]

'Why me?' Naruto wondered to himself as he slapped a seal tag on his arm. Instantly, the illusions of crows and men in black and red cloaks disappeared. 'Thank God Eiji made me do these tags,' He thought to himself.

They didn't last long, burning through the chakra embedded in them quite quickly, but they would do the job for a good few minutes. Or, that would be the case for someone else. For Naruto, he would be good to go for a good hour or so. Maybe the secret to the Uzumaki Clan's prowess with Fuinjutsu was just the stupid amount of chakra they could pour inside the things. Naruto was quite sure that was it.

That wasn't the time to think about that though, he reminded himself as he looked around. The old lady, Tsunade or whatever, was fighting the shark guy with the other, much nicer lady. On the other side, Pervy Sage was fighting Sasuke's brother.

Sasuke's brother by blood, at least.

Naruto didn't know what to think of that.

The younger Uchiha was not so far from the blonde, his hands already placed in a dispelling seal to get rid of the Genjutsu. The Uzumaki didn't know how Sasuke must have been feeling then and there. Everyone in the group knew what he wanted to do and what he'd been through to decide that was his goal in life.

How would his closest friend - Eiji didn't count - feel with his brother suddenly so close? Naruto would easily admit that he had no clue about the answer to that. Looking at the other boy then though, the blonde was surprised to note that there was none of that unrestrained anger that he'd expected.

"He's after the Fox?" The Uchiha asked, the words cutting through the sound of the battles going on around them. Naruto grimaced at that. Would Sasuke get angry at him for having his brother's attention? "They're after the Fox?" The boy corrected himself then.

"Sharp one, isn't he?" Naruto heard in his mind and blinked.

"Since when can you speak to me?" He asked out loud, drawing a confused look from Sasuke before he sheepishly pointed at his gut. At that, the younger Uchiha's eyes narrowed.

"Since you started working on your Mindscape," The Fox replied. "I just didn't see the point in doing so before now."

"And now you do because…?"

"Because these people are after me," The creature sealed inside him growled. "And I won't be hunted as if I were mere prey. Also… you don't have to speak out loud, you know that, right?"

No, he hadn't known that. Naruto's silence was telling and he almost could see the fox rolling his eyes at him. He chuckled weakly, scratching the back of his head.

"My container is a dumbass."

"Hey!" Naruto protested, before blinking and realizing that he'd, possibly, maybe, proven the Fox's point with that.

"Completely idiotic."

This time, the Uzumaki remained silent, gritting his teeth. That is, until he felt the now almost familiar feeling of the Fox's energy coursing through him. Looking down at his body, he saw whisps of the red chakra coming out. From the corner of his eyes, Sasuke tensed.

"Naruto?"

"I'm ok," He mumbled, his right eye twitching as anger dripped into his mind. Everything seemed so annoying all of a sudden. He wanted to punch things, everything and everyone if at all possible. They were all little shits anyw- "I hate the feeling this gives me though," He grumbled, gathering his thoughts and reminding himself that this was the Kyuubi's effect and not his own mind.

"What do we do?" The Uchiha asked, and that was a good question. These people were pushing around Pervy Sage and his old teammate. Much as he didn't want to admit it, they might be a little out of their league here.

"Provide support, not get in their way?" Naruto offered with a grimace that Sasuke immediately copied. Neither liked how that sounded, but it was what it was. 'Gotta train more after this,' He decided.

"Are you gonna use it?" Sasuke asked with a raised eyebrow and he grinned.

"Well, I have a bet to win, don't I?" Naruto asked, drawing a snort from the Uchiha. "How about you?"

"Hn," The other boy grunted in response. "I think I can use it once," Sasuke added with a twitch in his expression. Evidently, he wasn't quite happy with his progress. Neither was Naruto, for that matter, but they'd both have to make do.

Their attention was called back to the fights then. Evidently, they'd taken too long to think over the situation. It was at that moment that Pervy Sage was attacked with a Great Fireball and the old lady's apprentice was hit by the shark guy's sword, sending blood everywhere.

"Move, idiot!" The Fox snarled inside him and he readied himself.

"You help Pervy Sage, you know your brother better than I do," Naruto told Sasuke, receiving a stiff nod in response. 'Huh, figured he'd be… well, not happy, but not so reluctant either,' The blonde thought before shaking his head.

"Move already!" The Kyuubi demanded.

He moved.

With the chakra beast's chakra running through his pathways, he felt on the top of the world. Angry as all hell, but also equally as powerful. In the blink of an eye, he stood in front of Shizune, he was pretty sure her name was. In another instant, he'd set two seals between himself and the swordsman. An orange barrier rose, stopping the sword for a moment.

The creepy weapon didn't seem to take that too well though, opening its mouth and seemingly sucking the energy off the seal.

'Oh, that's not good,' Naruto thought to himself.

'Indeed,' The Fox agreed.

For all the times the Uzumaki had wished he could get along better with the Kyuubi, he wished he hadn't agreed with him this time.

[}-o-{]

[Tsunade]

She needed to move, she needed to help.

Tsunade knew that.

The blood tied her down, however, reminding her of her failures. Reminding her of what happened when she was on the battlefield. Reminding her that everyone she was close with would die in the end.

And so, she sat there, on her knees, only being able to watch as a genin jumped in to save her student. Shizune tried to drag herself up, maybe even join the battle again. The wound was too much for the young woman though, who could only hold onto her shoulder with her uninjured arm.

Behind his barrier, the blonde sent a bunch of kunai around, all of them with tags. 'Naruto,' Tsunade reminded herself. The least she could do was use the boy's name, if not out of respect, then out of gratitude.

She blinked when, as the swordsman moved around the first orange barrier - 'Orange, of all colors' - another rose right on his face. Then another and another, until both Naruto and Shizune were surrounded by them. That wasn't quite right though, the upper part was open and the swordsman knew- That weak point didn't remain for long as the blonde threw his hand up and the top side was sealed too.

They were far from safe though, everyone realized. The living sword seemed to be sucking the energy right out of the barriers and Tsunade would bet that they wouldn't be able to hold up for long. Naruto seemed to know this too, because he stepped outside the barrier, running away in the opposite direction from where the man was standing.

'Guess he made the barrier so that he could go through?' Tsunade's addled mind guessed. Then she watched, body weak and hands shaking, as the swordsman jumped over the defensive structure and followed the blonde. As he did so, she saw another Naruto stepping out of the barrier from another side. 'Where did that one come from?' She wondered, blinking, surprised.

'A clone?' She hazarded as she turned back to where the first blonde had gone. However, that didn't make sense. A simple clone wouldn't fool a ninja just like that. Although, there had been no sign that there was another Naruto inside the orange construct, which begged the question of how that came to be.

'Seal illusions?' She guessed again. As good an answer as any, especially considering how Naruto had been boasting about his seal techniques and what not. She'd ignored most of it, really. Especially when he'd said that he was studying that technique.

That brought her mind back to their bet.

Could it be?

No, it was impossible.

"Hey, grandma," Naruto called next to her. 'When did he get so close?' Tsunade thought to herself. "You are a medic, aren't you? What are you waiting for? Shizune needs help!" He half asked half demanded as he took one of her arms and started dragging her towards the closest orange barrier.

"No, no," She protested weakly, without being able to muster any strength into her limbs. "The blood," She added in a whisper. There was blood everywhere, especially where they were going. She almost stepped on it!

"Yes, yes, there's lots of blood," Naruto exclaimed exasperatedly, pulling her arm even harder, unaware of her crippling fear. "That's why you need to stop it. Shizune can't!"

That made sense, self-healing was difficult, even for experts, and that wasn't even taking into account how serious her student's wound was. However, Tsunade couldn't… She couldn't do it. The blood, the wound, healing…

She couldn't.

"Come on!" The boy urged, and at any other time it would have galled her to be ordered around by a genin let alone someone so young. As it was, her mind could barely work through the red haze that blood cast over her mind. "Come on, I can't heal her and everyone else is busy. Are you just going to leave her like that?!"

'To die?' Her mind whispered to her and she felt her muscles tense up, even if she couldn't gather the strength to move or even push off the boy that was still dragging her, this time through the orange barrier. Her eyes found her student, looking pale, even as she tried to heal herself.

To her credit, Shizune was actually doing it, but it wasn't nearly fast enough to actually be effective. Tsunade knew that there was no way her student would succeed on her own. She also knew that there was little chance of her surviving if she continued bleeding.

Bleeding…

'Nonononono-'

"Help her already!" Naruto demanded, looking more panicked than angry now. "What are you waiting for?!"

"Tsunade-sama is… afraid of blood," Shizune said and her teacher almost flinched at that. Shame filled her as she heard her student say those words, as if they justified being left alone, to possibly bleed out.

"I don't care!" Naruto shouted. "She's your friend, isn't she?" He asked Tsunade, staring intently at her eyes. His had turned red and slitted, she noticed and, at any other time, would have felt fear just seeing them. "She's your student! Do something!"

The last part was even more panicked than what he already sounded before. Shizune had tried to say something, probably in Tsunade's defense - 'I don't deserve that' - only to mumble incomprehensible words and slump down, almost passing out. The blond boy had rushed to her side, uselessly holding onto the woman, trying to lend her support.

"Do something!" Tsunade heard in her head, Naruto's words echoing in her mind. But, what if Shizune died anyway? What if Tsunade failed again? She would lose her student, her hands covered in her blood signaling her failure… She couldn't take that, she couldn't

'But you can let her die?' A voice whispered in her head and she flinched.

"She's your friend," The boy's words continued repeating themselves in her mind. "She's your student."

Tsunade took a step forward.

She had to try… Even if she failed…

She had to try… right?

[}-o-{]

[Naruto Uzumaki]

He turned around as soon as he saw the old lady move towards her student. Much as he wanted to help out, he couldn't. 'Man, I wish I had asked Eiji and Hinata to teach me some first aid,' He complained to himself.

No use crying about it though. Especially when the shark guy was already on his way back. After all, Naruto's illusion seals were good, yes, but they didn't last long, especially if he tried to make them move far from the actual seal. It was already a wonder it had lasted as long as it had.

"Think you can make a fool out of me, huh?" The man asked, although he was still grinning, as if he was amused by his attempt at distraction. Naruto didn't know what he would have prefered, honestly.

"I mean, I don't need to do much," He shot back. Man, Naruto was sure that many in the group would have smacked him just for that comment. He needed to do something to calm his nerves though.

At least the guy didn't seem to get angry with that either, instead barking a laugh.

"I like you, kid. A shame I have to take care of you," The guy said and Naruto grimaced.

"No cowering!" The Fox shouted in his mind and his back straightened.

''As if," The blonde shot back with a wide grin as his body was enveloped with the Beast's chakra. His mind raced through the seals he had already prepared and some that he could make on the fly if given half an opportunity. With the speed and reflexes enhancement that the Kyubi chakra gave him, he had even more options than normal.

He stepped outside the barrier. It wouldn't do to have the Tsunade interrupted from saving Shizune, after all. He eyed the living sword the guy carried warily. If that could suck the energy out of his seals, then it could probably do so with himself, right?

"Wow, that was almost smart," The Fox commented, making his eyebrow twitch. Sometimes Naruto almost forgot why he wanted to make friends with the stupid rabbit. "For my power, of course," The Kyuubi told him, and he could almost see him rolling his eyes. "And I'm not a rabbit!"

Naruto sighed. Power really wasn't worth all this annoyance, he was sure. Now, a friend, that might be worth it. He'd never have enough of those.

"Ready or not, brat, here I come," The swordsman announced before jumping in.

Regardless of his internal musings, Naruto jumped into action before the man could even finish his sentence. He dashed to one side, and then towards the man himself. A clawed hand reached to cut into the swordsman's torso.

As Naruto expected, the hit was nowhere near actually touching him before the sword swung his way. Which made the fact that he'd prepared for that good, otherwise it would have been a rather short battle. Good thing he was used to fighting someone with a sword that was leagues ahead of him. Although, Eiji's blade wasn't nearly as big as this one, but it gave Naruto something to work with in this situation.

'I just have to expect him to be three steps ahead of me, easy,' He thought to himself with a wry smile. Being the weak one in the fight sucked.

More red chakra coursed through him then. More power filled his limbs as he dodged a downward cut from the strange sword. The crimson cloak that covered his body became even more distinguishable and, while he couldn't see those changes, he was aware of two ear-like constructs appearing on top of his head and one tail behind him.

"I knew you cared," He teased in his mind, receiving only a huff in response. Rolling his shoulders, he dashed around the man that had been charging once more. His eyes caught the smirk falling off of the shark guy's face. Apparently, the more Fox chakra he used, the more serious he would get. "Slow power ups are a bad idea," Naruto told his partner.

"Just fight, will you?" The Kyuubi demanded, and the clear anger in his voice made Naruto decide to stop annoying him… for now. "Why did I get stuck with an idiot."

Ignoring his tenant, the blonde continued focusing all his energy on dodging the scaly sword that his opponent was swinging at him. He didn't think he stood a chance actually fighting him, after all. Naruto knew where his strength laid and that was traps and schemes, not close combat. He could do well enough in that, of course, but against someone that was clearly stronger than him? Yeah, no.

"Why won't you stay still for a second?" The shark guy asked. Although, contrary to his words, he was actually still grinning. 'Almost like he's having fun with this,' Naruto thought to himself, feeling the blood draining from his face.

"Ok," The blonde replied. It was a good thing that he didn't actually expect the easy acceptance to startle the man, because it didn't. Instead, the sword slashed towards him once more. However, it was stopped by an orange barrier once more.

"This again?" That seemed to kill the swordsman's mood, making his smirk disappear.

"I mean, they are kind of my thing, you know?" Naruto asked and this time it was his turn to grin. More and more barriers rose from the ground. Beforehand, as he dodged, he'd set hidden tags all over the place and was now activating them all, with the shark guy right in the middle of them. He'd even set up some on nearby buildings so that he would have a roof for the orange prison he was building. "How do you like them? I like the color."

"Time to go."

"Huh?!" Naruto jumped at the new arrival, or would have if he hadn't been grabbed by the arm and dragged away from where he stood. He almost had a heart attack, thinking it was the other guy, Itachi, that had gotten him. A moment later, he sighed in relief, realizing that it was, instead, Jiraiya.

What had happened in the other fight, he didn't know, but it couldn't be that bad if his sensei was there to take him away. Still, just in case, Naruto checked that his seal against Genjutsu was still working. That cleared all doubts he could have had about the situation.

"That barrier of yours and a little distraction of mine should be enough. We have to get away," Jiraiya told him and he righted himself, the Fox's power still flowing through him.

Naruto nodded as they dashed towards where he'd left Tsunade and Shizune.

Here was hoping everyone would be able to get away.

It was a shame that he hadn't managed to try using that.

[} Chapter End {]

Hey guys! How's it going?

Well, this chapter got a little away from me. I didn't expect it to be completely occupied by Tsunade and Naruto but it happened anyway. At the very least I'm kind of happy with how it went.

I'm unsure of how well I managed to get Tsunade's hemophobia though. I was hesitant to do this from Tsunade's PoV for that alone, but my mind wouldn't let me do it any other way. Here's hoping this worked out well.

As always, if you can't wait until next week for next chapter, there's up to three new chapters in my Pa tre on:

P a treon . com (slash) AdrianKing

Discord Link: discord .gg/UTDransjJZ

Random Question: What's your favorite season? Seeing as I much prefer cold weather, I have to say Winter, just for that, really.

See you.