Chapter 4- Growing Leaves in Wave
Naruto and the gang, including Tazuna managed to get into town without any incidents and got their fallen sensei into bed.
Watching over him closely, the team sat in silence and then Sakura spoke up, "No, we need to prepare for his comeback...the hunter ninja was supposed to destroy the body on sight, instead of taking it away and the choice of weapon he or she used was senbon, useful only if you hit a vital spot." Kakashi spoke up, "Correct, I estimate that in a week, he will be back to finish his job. So we are going to train over that time period."
Sakura replied in a skeptical tone, "H-How is training going to help us beat Zabuza and that hunter ninja?"
"You have all grown, especially you, Naruto." Kakashi stated, looking at his students, "You have grown the most." Naruto nodded with a smile and Tazuna looked over at the open door as he heard footsteps stopping in the hallway.
"You guys against Gato? Good luck…nobody wins against him."
Everyone looked at the kid and Naruto commented, "Oh, great, Sasuke…you got some competition for being emo."
Sakura hissed, "Naruto, apologize, that was rude."
"What? Have you seen the man, he is a short midget with a cane…the only thing he has in his arsenal is money and thugs, that is it." The Jinchuuriki replied, ignoring Sakura's demand to apologize to the kid, "Hell, even Sakura could beat him."
Sakura shouted, "Are you trying to say that I am weak?!"
"No, more like you need to train more…a lot more. When we fought Zabuza and those two Demon Brothers, you barely did anything…seriously, Sakura, you are basically a ninja meat shield."
Sakura bristled in anger until Sasuke replied, "Naruto is right, Sakura. Out of all of us, you haven't produced anything on this team. Naruto has learned useful jutsu and right now, you only know the Academy jutsu…so essentially you are weaker than Naruto."
Kakashi stated authoritatively, "Enough…that is why we are going to help each other out, starting tomorrow. Set up a perimeter and secure this area. Naruto, I want you to set up traps 50 feet away from the house to make sure Gato's thugs think twice about approaching this house. Sakura, you will help Naruto while Sasuke, you will go into the town and get a map of this particular island here. Once you all are finished with your tasks, get some rest…I will discuss your training tomorrow."
The three Genin nodded and went to do their tasks, once they were done, they set their sleeping bags up. Naruto set up himself next to the kitchen, the only entrance where anyone could get through. Sakura set hers up near Tsunami and Inari while Sasuke slept upstairs as the last defense for Tazuna.
On the next day, Kakashi hobbled on crutches with his teenage soldiers into the forest, "Alright, first off, can someone tell me what chakra is?" he asked and Sakura replied, "It is the combination of physical energy and spiritual energy and when the necessary hand signs are used, the energy contained is expelled from the body as jutsu."
"Correct, now with that, I can say that you guys are not using your jutsu well because you are wasting your chakra. With the exercise, you can learn how to control your chakra and use less of it to perform your jutsu."
"So…" the Haruno questioned, "How do we accomplish that?"
"But everyone knows how to do that already." Sasuke said, not impressed.
"Not this way." The Hatake replied with an eye smile, "Maybe I should show you." With that, he proceeded to show them by applying chakra to the soles of his feet and uses the crutches to hobble to the tree and proceeded to walk up the trunk, making the Genin look up at him in surprise.
"Well, now…I suggest that you get a running start to get you up and use these kunai knives to mark your progress as you go up and attempt to pass your previous mark." The sensei stated as he tossed them in front of them.
The Genin nodded and charged at their chosen trees, "Naruto ran up a few meters before he lost his footing and marked his place before landing back on the ground. Sasuke was a bit higher than Naruto and deduced that he was expelling too much chakra to his feet, causing the bark to be crushed under pressure.
"So the trick is to find out how much chakra you need to stick. If it is too little, you slip off or don't even get up at all and if it is too much, your chakra will propel you off or crush your surface." The Uchiha thought, "This is going to take a while, but nothing that I can't handle."
Soon Sakura's voice rang out, breaking the avenger from his analytical thoughts, "This is kinda fun…" The three men looked up to see Sakura high up in the tree, sitting on the branch near the canopy. "Well, well, looks like our girl is more proficient in handling her chakra very well, but Sakura, don't get cocky over this. You also have lower reserves than Naruto and Sasuke, so I would like you to do that exercise as many times as you possibly can't…this is also a great way to expand your reserves."
The Genin trio worked hard through the afternoon to master the tree walking exercise, Sakura was currently on the ground, exhausted while Naruto and Sasuke were both still going at it, panting lightly.
"How the hell can they keep going like this?"
Kakashi stated, "Well, both of them are from distinct clans with higher chakra reserves than the average ninja."
"Um, Kakashi-sensei, what do you mean both? I know Sasuke-kun is from the Uchiha clan, one of the founding clans of our village, but what about Naruto? What clan is he from?"
"Naruto's own clan is just as ancient as the Senju and Uchiha clans…the Uzumaki clan. We were allies with them back in the Shodaime and Nidaime Hokages' terms, but soon most of the clan was wiped out during the early years of Sandaime's first term for their dangerous skills. Right now, Sasuke has reserves of an average Chunin due to his body developing to handle the stress of the Sharingan."
Kakashi paused for a moment as he stared at Naruto, "But…Naruto, on the other hand, has very special chakra. His clan was known for their mastery of fuinjutsu as well as longevity and dense chakra…some of them could even manifest them into actual weapons. It took Kumo and several smaller villages to take down Uzushiogakure, hence why we have the spirals on all our uniforms to honor them…wearing their clan symbol as a reminder of our relationship as comrades."
Sakura looked at Naruto, "Poor Naruto…does he know about his clan at all?"
"Well, it was in our history books…but I doubt Naruto made the effort to stay awake during Iruka's boring lectures."
Naruto, overhearing Kakashi's conversation with Sakura, made a mental not to go to the library or at least, ask the Hokage about his clan and possible any scattered remnants of it. Knowing how stubborn he was, he figured at least a few would be alive, being too stubborn to die.
Later on, Naruto took the time to work on his new taijutsu style and using the headband that Iruka gave to him as a weapon…well, the cloth at least on it to strike out at invisible enemies, also known as trees.
By using the training from the Tree Climbing exercise, he would transfer chakra to this hand and into the cloth, by doing so at the exact moment of impact, the cloth would become a sharp weapon or a hard club, lucky enough that Kakashi was teaching this now.
With the knowledge that the Jinchuriki now possessed, he was only able to give a few lashes on the trunks of the trees that he hit. For two days and nights, it was the same routine until one day, Sakura asked, "Who is this person?"
"That man…he was a hero to our village once." Tazuna stated in a somber tone, causing his grandson to get up from the table and go upstairs to his room. Tsunami glared at her father and scolded him, "Father, I told you to never speak about him in front of Inari."
"Excuse me, Tsunami-san." Naruto interrupted, causing the concerned mother to look at him, "But if it bothers your son so much that you tore off the man's face from the picture…then why would he hold a picture of the same one in his room, crying over it while watching the sea…judging by its value, they must have been very close."
"I-I thought he threw that picture away." Tsunami stammered in disbelief.
"Obviously not, every day I noticed he would do the same thing…just hold the picture and cry silently, the occasional 'Daddy' came out a few times…so who is this guy?" Naruto stated. Tazuna nodded and began to reprise the rise and tragic fall of Wave's Hero.
The Jinchuuriki wordlessly got up and strode to the door while Sakura asked, "Naruto, where are you going this late?"
Naruto replied, "Why do you care? It's not like you cared about anyone other than yourself and Sasuke…but if you want to know so badly, I am going to train, I got a lot on my mind right now." With that, Naruto left the house into the darkness of the woods and went to where his team was training in the tree climbing exercise.
"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!"
Soon fifty clones appeared out of existence and Naruto barked out, "Alright, separate into five groups of 10…first group will work on the trees, second group will work on the taijutsu, third group will work on the jutsu, Wind Style: Beast Wave Palm, fourth group and fifth group, sparring with me…let's go."
Meanwhile as Naruto had left, Sakura was a bit downcast, "Why does he seem so angry at me?"
Sasuke replied in a condescending tone, "Considering your treatment of him in the Academy, you shouldn't be so surprised, Sakura. Yeah, he was annoying and pestering you for a date, but you could have said yes to shut him up and told him afterwards that you were interested in someone else or told him politely no. Instead, it was a no with harsh words, a hit and a lot of insults. He has the utmost right to be angry with you, Sakura."
The Haruno's face fell as she has flashbacks of the treatment of his blond teammate. "What have I done?"
Forest- Next morning, Haku was walking around, looking for herbs to help her master return back to peak performance. As she stopped to pick up some of them up and place each of them within her straw-woven basket until she noticed something out of the corner of her eye.
It was one of the ninja that she and her master encountered a few days ago. Haku's hand treaded close to his neck until Naruto's arm caught it in a firm grip with his eyes wide open. "God, woman, don't do that! Waking up a stranger you don't know is quite hazardous to your health."
Haku smiled sweetly, "I didn't want you to catch your death of cold…besides isn't it dangerous of you to be sleeping out in the open like that."
"Touche, miss…well, thanks for waking me up, lady."
"Haku…my name is Haku, what is yours?" she asked innocently.
"Thank you, Haku, I am Naruto Uzumaki…." The Jinchuriki replied as he got up slowly, "Allow me to repay you by helping you pick up those herbs for your friend." Haku inwardly tensed up as she asked, "How do you know these are for a friend?"
"I do a lot of gardening myself and I had to grow some healing herbs since I got hurt a lot in training…plus I also don't see you hurt, but you pick them carefully as if they are your lifeline."
The hunter ninja smiled slightly, "You have got good observation skills…are you a ninja, by any chance? I heard rumors in the village that there were ninja bodyguards in the village."
"Then may I ask you a personal question?" the innocent girl said as he picked up the herbs alongside Naruto.
"Go for it."
"Do you have someone to protect?"
The Kyuubi Jinchuuriki looked up at the sky with a solemn look, "Hmm…well, to answer your question, I am gaining some. In my village, there is this old guy, who treated me his own grandson and there is my team, we are somewhat like a dysfunctional family."
The girl smiled softly, "Never lose them, eventually they will become your lifeline when the world comes crashing down around you." The Konoha Genin looked over at the Yuki member, "It sounds like you have experience in this…"
She nodded, "You could say that…this is enough, thank you so much, Naruto-san." The Jinchuriki stated, "No problem…just be safe, Haku." With that, she nodded once again to leave with a grim look on her face, contemplating on how she could steel her heart to kill someone like him."
Naruto thought to himself, "That girl…her aura seems so familiar…better put it on the backburner, I have to narrow down my next technique, the Shining Finger Sword." Soon he heard a voice calling his name and looked to see Sakura running towards him with a worried look.
"Sakura…what are you doing here?"
"I came here to get you back to the house and to…well, uh, apologize for my behavior towards you."
Naruto looked skeptical at her words, "Are you doing this because Sasuke said something?"
"No, but he was the one who made me relook over my treatment of you in the Academy. I was not the…best person."
"Sakura, you were a bitch, despite me constantly asking for a date from you, the least you could have done was say no or I am not interested, but it was always an insult, then a Sasuke is better than you tirade and a fist to my body."
Sakura frowned at the bitch comment and protested softly, "But that…was because you acted so annoying, you were constantly vying for attention, a prankster and always antagonizing Sasuke-kun."
"I am an orphan, I have no parents, nobody to care for me except myself…I don't even know if my parents was killed or abandoned me as a baby. So of course, I am going to call attention because I practically had no friends. As for Sasuke, I was competing with him as a rival." The Kyuubi Jinchuuriki replied before he got up and dusted himself off, "C'mon, before they think you got lost too…and Sakura."
"I thank you for your apology, but you have a lot of work to do if you want me to forgive you and I don't forgive so easily." With that, he walked on towards the residence of Tsunami with Sakura running to catch up to him.
Unbeknownst to Sakura, Naruto had a small little smile on his face as he thought, "Maybe this team will be actually be fun."