Leo: Hey guys, so new chapter is up, enjoy it! :) But before we get to that I just want to warn you guys that after this point the plot will most probably be branching off from the real plot a bit. Just a warning, this chapter has a lot of explaining about jinchuuriki, I know most of you already know about them so feel free to skip it but it needs to be there.
Naruto: Leo does not own Naruto the anime, manga, merchandise, plot or characters in any way shape or form, thank the lord. The only thing that is owned is Misaki.
Leo: Well, um, thanks for that Naruto. Commencing story!
I breathed a sigh of relief when Sakura, Chiyo, and I managed to get a far enough distance away from Kakashi and Naruto's battle. Somehow, I was a bit surprised because of how seemingly easily we managed to get away. Maybe Itachi was plotting something…or he just doubted that we would survive what lay ahead. Going up against all of the Akatsuki within their own base was a pretty crazy idea.
Even so, I was more worried about Naruto and Kakashi than I was about myself. Itachi was strong and while I knew Naruto was strong too, I didn't know if he would be able to take Itachi even after two and a half years of training. Hopefully, his and Kakashi's combined forces would be enough to hold Itachi down. I just had to hope and trust Naruto enough to complete his part.
Feeling pretty fatigued from the mental exertion of this missions and the physical exertion from traveling to Suna for three days straight with barely any rest we made a collective decision to stop and rest. I opened my backpack and drank greedily from the water bottle I had inside of that. I panted keeping on the alert but also relaxing my position a bit. I jumped when I heard the familiar shout.
"Misaki, Sakura, Old Hag!" Naruto shouted Kakashi tailing close behind him. I frowned, in confusion.
"How did you guys catch up with us so fast? Itachi couldn't have been that easy to beat." I asked suspiciously.
"It turned out the Akatsuki disguised one of their lower members as Itachi in an effort to delay us from getting to Kazekage-sama." Kakashi briskly explained. I gawked so I had done all that worrying for nothing?! I knew Kakashi and Naruto could easily take on a grunt for the Akatsuki, I could give them that.
"Those sneaky bastards…" I tightened my grip on my water bottle. Were they really underestimating us that much that they didn't even feel the need to come out and fight us themselves?
"Their objective was obviously to gather information about our techniques before we actually butt heads," Kakashi explained, "in other words, they want the upper hand in the next fight."
"Those bastards have some really good jutsu, indeed." Chiyo cackled. "There's no mistake about it! They've already started to extract the bijuu from Kazekage-sama."
I blanched visibly, Gaara's bijuu was been extracted…?
"Perhaps they wish to use the Shukaku to make…a different jinchuuriki…?" Chiyo further questioned.
I stood up suddenly already putting my water bottle away, "Then why are we still standing here talking about it. We have to move."
"Yes…" Chiyo agreed.
"Wait, a jinchuuriki?" Sakura was still slightly confused on where the conversation was heading.
"Like I said, all the countries wanted the bijuu for military purposes. A jinchuuriki is something that exists to control the power of the bijuus." Chiyo elaborated.
"But just before you said that nobody could control that power at all…" Sakura said.
"Over time people began to start controlling that power by sealing it into humans." Chiyo revealed, "The power of the bijuu was compressed and could be directed. That is to say, people like Gaara are called jinchuuriki. Jinchuuriki can resonate with their bijuu and gain inconceivable power. Including Kazekage-sama, three jinchuuriki have appeared in the Sand's entire history."
"…These jinchuuriki…were used for war often…right?" Sakura bit her lip already dreading the answer.
"Yes." Chiyo didn't even bat an eye with her answer.
"Then the ones made into jinchuuriki-!" I blurted out angrily but bit my lip at the look on Naruto's face. We all knew it. They were used and then discarded.
"How…how do you remove a bijuu?" Sakura asked. Naruto and I perked up at this question.
"If, when using a sealing jutsu, the exact amount of power is used to match up with the bijuu is used…" Chiyo trailed off, "but that takes a considerate amount of time. And if that was done, the jinchuuriki would…"
I looked down, I had already worked this out on the way here; the jinchuuriki would surely perish. It's like having a part of your body ripped out and being left to bleed out. No chance of survival.
"…You mean…?" Sakura asked disbelievingly.
"Yes, if the bijuu is extracted the jinchuuriki will die." There was a chilling silence after Chiyo announced this.
"The two I mentioned that came before Gaara…both died from having the bijuu extracted from their body." Chiyo continued nonetheless.
I blandly looked at Sakura seeing her try to blink back tears, I quickly turned away not wanting to cry myself.
"Hmph…always being moved to tears, Sakura-chan. I told you to stop worrying." Naruto gave me a reassuring smile, "I'll rescue Gaara."
"Naruto! It's you, I'm-" Sakura started to protest but Naruto promptly turn his back on her and began to walk away moving in the direction of the Akatsuki base.
"C'mon let's hurry!" He murmured with false excitement. I frowned deeply, biting my lip to keep myself from crying.
The Akatsuki were going to try to…?
No, it's impossible they can't. Naruto's too strong, they…
I shook my head and took a deep shuddering breath trying to get my emotions back into check. I would not think about this anymore. I refused to.
As night time fell, we gradually came to a stop and set up camp. I unpacked my bad and covered myself in the blanket I had packed to come to Suna. Once I hit the ground I quickly fell asleep, escaping from the harsh reality of this world to dream land where I was guaranteed some mental rest.
I was softly shaken awake by none other than Chiyo, I slowly sat up and patted my cheeks trying to wake myself up and become sufficiently alert again. I stood up hastily packing my supplies back up and standing up. We all gave each other a quick nod before we jumped off towards the hideout again.
It was only a few minutes later that I noticed Naruto was jumping very quickly ahead of us. I didn't say anything; I didn't know what to say at this point.
"This child, why is he going so far to save someone who's not even from his own village?" Chiyo remarked, impressed with Naruto's determination.
"…" I was silent, not knowing if it was information, I was allowed to give out or not.
"He's also a jinchuuriki; the Kyuubi was sealed inside him." Kakashi smoothly, explained in the simplest terms possible.
I could see the obvious shock on Chiyo's face as she stumbled and spluttered.
"To Naruto, he's not doing this for the sand. But…he's a jinchuuriki just like Gaara." I elaborated on Kakashi's comment, "More than anyone in the Sand…I think Naruto understands Gaara the best."
"Ah, I see…" Chiyo nodded eyes still wide.
"Not only that. The kind of treatment jinchuuriki receive is the same no matter what village you're from. That's why to him he can never let Gaara go." I continued, more firmly this time, "Konoha and the Sand. To him, that just doesn't matter. To Naruto Gaara is a precious friend. Someone who understands the same kind of pain as him."
"Naruto dreams of becoming Hokage. When he heard that Gaara had become Kazekage before him, he was pretty disappointed in himself. But on the other hand… Naruto was also happy for Gaara from the very depths of his heart; he was even congratulatory towards him. I'll tell you something. Naruto has a very mysterious power…"
"What is it?" Chiyo asked interestedly.
I smiled happily, fond memories of our academy days coming back to me. "…Even without saying much, Naruto can very easily become friends with anybody."
"…" Chiyo took this into consideration before speaking, "I've lived long, and seen many different things. I've even learned some of the way of the world itself. When I learned alliances with countries were just in name, I worked out a method to protect the Sand."
"Oh?" I glanced at her.
"I was the one who sealed the Shukaku into Gaara." I frowned but she continued, "I did it to protect the village but it just ended up causing more hardship for us. The village we were avoiding is now protecting us. What I did was maybe entirely mistaken…and now I've gotten senile up to the point where I give up easily."
I laughed nervously; it was true she was pretty senile the old bat.
"Youth is something that holds such possibilities…I'm envious." Chiyo said wistfully.
"You've still got a way to go from here. You're young enough aren't you?" Kakashi jokingly said. Chiyo cackled loudly and boisterously.
"Well then maybe a senile fool like me still has some ability." Chiyo smiled, I smiled back when she was like this (sane and all) I found her just a bit more enjoyable to be around.
I looked ahead quickly seeing a figure clad in green that stood out from all the trees surrounding us, I grinned, happy to see a familiar face, "LEE! NEJI! TENTEN!"
He turned around happily, a grin quickly growing on his face, "Misaki-chan, Naruto-kun, Sakura-chan! Good to see your youthful faces again!" I jumped tackling Lee into a hug, while Naruto was good I had made friends with the other genin and chuunin. I even got along with Neji now after forgiving him for what he said to Naruto in the Chuunin Exams.
"You're late, Kakashi-san." Gai smirked at Kakashi as he casually walked up to him.
"Eh, well, we ran into a bit of trouble along the way." Kakashi smoothly excused his lateness, probably for the thousandth time in his life.
"Yo!" Naruto grinned wolfishly obviously happy to see all the old faces for the first time in a few years.
"Naruto…" Neji seemed a bit surprised to see him again.
"Everyone was one step ahead of us, huh?" Sakura smiled.
"Who's that old lady?" Tenten asked.
"An advisor from the Sand." I explained briskly.
"Right! Let's go for it Kakashi!" Gai grinned looking at the rock covering the entrance to the Akatsuki hideout.