Just a few things before I begin.
This story was originally called 'Hollow' because when I first started I had planned for Naruto to be an emotionless person but later on I decided to go for a more indifferent/neutral Naruto. That's why I have changed the title.
Also I have decided NOT to make this a dark Naruto/revenge fic. That just doesn't fit into this Naruto's personality. Although, if you want a dark Naruto story then I have an idea for one.
I have been asked a few times if Naruto will receive hollow powers. The answer is no. The title 'Hollow' had nothing to do with Bleach. It merely meant that he felt nothing when he thought of Konoha.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any other anime references that shows up
Chapter 3- What does it mean to have someone precious?
"Hatake-san…I understand that you are an experienced jounin but how the hell is climbing trees supposed to help us defeat a dangerous opponent like Zabuza?" Naruto asked blankly.
"Mou, when are you going to start calling me sensei?" Kakashi asked with his customary eye smile.
"I already told you, when you actually teach me something worthwhile." Naruto answered smoothly.
"He has a point sensei. What good is climbing trees going to do? We already know how to do that." Sakura added not following where Kakashi was going.
"Well this is going to be different. You're not allowed to use your hands." Kakashi explained drawing confused looks.
"What do you mean?" Sakura asked confused.
"What I mean is that you will be climbing the tree with nothing but your feet and chakra." Kakashi said. Naruto was silent as he thought about this before he thought of a question.
"Is this anything like when you were walking on water against Zabuza?" he asked curiously.
"Very good Naruto. Water walking is actually a more advanced form of tree walking." Kakashi said.
"I get how water walking could be useful but what's the point with tree climbing?" Sasuke asked.
"This is a good chakra control exercise. The idea is gathering enough chakra at your feet and then using it to cling onto the tree. While clinging to solid surfaces is a useful ability the main thing this exercise does is give you better control. The more control you have over your chakra the more efficient you are with your jutsu." Kakashi explained as the genin watched him walk up the tree without his hand until he hung upside off the branch.
"Since this is your first time trying this exercise I would recommend a running start." Kakashi said as he threw 3 kunai in front of the genin. "Use that to mark your place that way if you slip you'll have a reminder of your last place."
The genin nodded before gathering their chakra at the sole of their feet before running towards their own tree. Both Naruto and Sasuke made it about same length before they lost control and were pulled back down because of gravity. Naruto frowned at this before he gathered more chakra around his feet. After some adjustments to how much he stored he went at it again and smiled in satisfaction when he saw that he was able to make it a bit farther than before. He raised an eyebrow when he heard Sasuke curse, looks like he lost control a lot sooner than his first try.
"This is a lot easier than I thought." They heard a voice from above. Looking up they saw Sakura sitting on the highest branch of her tree.
"Well this is interesting. Looks like the lone female of our group was able to surpass you two in this exercise." Kakashi commented.
"Shut up sensei!" Sakura shouted. She was hoping Sasuke would be impressed with her but her plan seemed to have backfired if the scowl on his face was anything to go by.
'Of course she would get this easier. Her chakra reserves are much lower than ours.' Naruto thought as he remembered one of the scrolls he read saying the more chakra you have the harder control you'll have. With that thought he ran towards the tree for his third try determined to get to the top before the day ends.
"It looks like you two are going to be busy. Sakura, you can stay here and continue to practice or you can escort Tazuna and keep an eye on him while he works on the bridge." Kakashi said as he left his genin to their training. Feeling bored Sakura decided to go to the bridge site to keep an eye on Tazuna leaving Naruto and Sasuke.
Later on that day Naruto and Sasuke entered the house exhausted. They looked to see everyone was seated at the table about to eat dinner.
"Oh you guys are back. Have you finished already?" he asked as they took a seat at the table.
"I was able to make it to the top a few times. Pretty soon I should be able to walk up the tree without a running start." Naruto said. Kakashi nodded before turning towards the scowling Uchiha.
"And you Sasuke?"
"Hn." He grunted as he took a bite of his dinner.
"He's just upset because he could only make it half way up before he lost control and fell of the tree." Naruto answered smirking as he remembered a particularly nasty fall where Sasuke landed on the ground face first.
As the small group began to converse Naruto fell into a deep thought. While he loved his chakra chains he felt that he needed to find a way to make them more offensive. It was then that he remembered his battle with the Demon Brothers. When they fought they used gauntlets and a shuriken chain as a weapon and it got Naruto thinking. Could he alter his chakra chains so that they were shuriken chains? Or maybe he could add some type of blade to the end of it. After all they were made of his chakra so with a little more control he should be able to alter them a bit right? As a wave of possibilities filled his mind Inari decided to speak what was on his mind since he saw the Konoha shinobi.
"I don't see the point in training." The young boy said in a dead tone.
"The point of training is to get stronger." Naruto answered looking at the boy as if he were an idiot.
"It doesn't matter how strong you are, in the end you'll only get yourself killed." Inari shot back with a glare.
"So what? You want us to leave your grandfather to the wolves so we can save ourselves?" Naruto asked with a raised brow causing Inari to pause in his thoughts. He did not want his grandfather to die but he hated how casual these shinobi acted about the whole Gato situation.
"Thought so. Why don't you do us all a favor and shut up." Naruto said annoyed.
"Naruto! Don't talk to him like that! He's just a kid!" Sakura scolded.
"What? Don't act like you aren't thinking the same thing. We've been here for 2 days and he's done nothing but complain about how unlucky and unfair his life is. I mean yeah what happened to Wave sucks but sitting around and whining about it isn't going to help. If he wants things to change then he has to get up and actually do something." Naruto said seriously.
"You have no right to talk to me like that! You have no idea what I've been through! The man I considered a father was killed in front of me sticking up for what he believes in!" Inari shouted. The room was silent for a minute until Naruto spoke.
"Is that it?" he asked blankly as everyone but Kakashi stared at him in shock.
"Is that it? How can you say that? I guess I should have expected that from someone like you though. Someone who doesn't even know the meaning of the word suffer." Inari said glaring at Naruto in anger. The room looked at Naruto wondering what he would say. His face was completely emotionless as he stared at Inari, who was beginning to squirm a little under his gaze, until his lips curved into a small smile. Then to everyone's surprise he began to laugh, but it was a bitter empty laugh that caused a shiver to go down everyone's spine.
His laughter died and he stared at Inari with a dark smile, his cold blue eyes practically looking through the boy.
"That's a good one kid. I don't know what it means to suffer. Please, if you look in a dictionary you'll see my picture next to the word. Look around you. You have a mother and grandfather that love you. Guess who I have. Absolutely no one, for all I know my parents abandoned me because I've been alone since birth. While you received the love of a family the only thing I got were lies, hatred and isolation." Naruto said in a calm tone but his eyes showed how he really felt. "You said that I don't know what you've been through but the truth of the matter is that you aren't the only one who suffers in their life. The only difference is that while you're sitting here throwing a pity party I'm out there fighting."
Everyone watched as Naruto stood up and headed out the exit but he stopped at the door and looked over his shoulder.
"You said you're father died because he fought for beliefs but look at you, just sitting there judging those who are doing what you're too scared to do…pathetic." He said and with that he left. Might as well go out and test his theory about his chakra chains. The room was filled with a tense silence before Sakura chose to speak.
"I know Naruto's changed since he became a genin but that was…" she trailed of not sure how to describe it. Kakashi sighed before turning towards the shocked civilians.
"I'm sorry about that but Naruto has had a very difficult past." He apologized.
"What did he mean when he said he only got lies, hatred and isolation?" Tsunami asked hesitantly.
"What he means is that Naruto basically raised himself. He had no family, no friends and no answers to why he had such a difficult life." Kakashi answered solemnly not willing to say anymore.
Waking up to the sound of birds chirping, Naruto opened his eyes before closing them again. Rubbing his eyes until they adjusted to the light, he looked around trying to figure out why he was sleeping in the middle of the forest. Then last night's events came to mind. He remembered his talk with Inari and then storming away until he trained with his chakra chains until he succumbed to exhaustion. He stretched a bit to loosen his stiff muscles when he heard something.
Turning his head he saw a young girl in a pink kimono and long black hair walk into the clearing. She blinked in surprised when she saw him but then she smiled.
"Hello." She said in a soft gentle voice that caused him to frown. He could have sworn he heard that voice before but he shook off that feeling and offered a small smile.
"Hello there." He greeted back as she kneeled down.
"It looks like you have just woken up. That's pretty dangerous you know. You might have caught a cold or something." She pointed out as she pulled out some type of herb and placed it into the basket she was holding.
"Oh yeah, I was training a bit and I guess I lost track of time." He admitted. He thought about going back to Tazuna's house, but figured he should wait a bit. He didn't feel like being interrogated by his teammates. For people who claim to not care about him they could be really nosy at times.
"Training? For what?" the girl asked curiously.
"I'm a shinobi." Naruto simply answered.
"I see. But that really doesn't answer the question shinobi-san." She pointed out.
"What do you mean? I just told you I train because I'm a shinobi." Naruto repeated, but the girl just shook her head.
"No, I mean for what purpose do you train? Is there someone important in your life who you wish to protect or do you want to get stronger for fame?" she asked curiously. Naruto was silent as he thought about how to answer this.
"I used to care about how people saw me, but now I don't really care what they think of me. As for people that are important to me…I don't know." He answered honestly, confusing the girl.
"What do you mean you don't know?"
"There used to be someone who I considered important, but it turned out he lied to me my whole life. Now I find myself questioning everything. Why did he lie to me? What other secrets is he keeping from me? The only reason I'm a shinobi now is because it's the closest thing to a purpose I have at the moment." Naruto explained quietly as he stared at the sky. There was a time that he considered the Sandaime Hokage a grandfather, but after learning the truth about the Kyuubi and the fact that he still hasn't told Naruto himself, he just didn't know anymore. Plus there was no one in Konoha who he could call a friend. The closest he had to one were friendly acquaintances and even then there were only a handful of people.
"I see… I was once like you, alone without a purpose. But then I met someone who saved me from my own personal hell and ever since I have considered him my most precious person, someone who I would give my life for without a moment's hesitation." Haku explained, looking at Naruto sympathetically.
"I see." Was the only thing he said.
"I believe that when someone is protecting someone precious to them that they become as strong as they need to be." The girl said with a smile with a glazed look in her eyes as f she was viewing memories from the past.
"I honestly wouldn't know but it does sound nice. I hope that one day I can find someone precious to me." Naruto said with a wistful smile.
"I hope so too shinobi-san. Now if you'll excuse me I must be going." She said as she stood up to leave.
"Thank you but my name isn't shinobi-san, it's Naruto. You're a lot different from the other girls I've met." Naruto said but the girl just looked at him in amusement.
"Very well Naruto-san my name is Haku and I'm a boy." The now identified boy said. Naruto kept a cool face but mentally he was shocked beyond belief.
"My bad." Was the only thing he could think of. Chuckling, Haku left the clearing while Naruto stood there in shock.
"And to think he's prettier than Haruno." Naruto muttered as he shook his head.
Tazuna's House- days later
Naruto was currently asleep having overworked himself in last night's training. The rest of his team went with Tazuna to watch over him as he worked on the almost completed bridge. However he woke up when he heard then aloud crashing sound. Getting out of bed he left the room he was in and went to investigate. When he entered the room his eyes immediately narrowed at the scene in front of him.
In front of him were two thugs, each had a sword strapped to their hip. One of them was tying Tsunami's hands behind her back while the other was looking at a shaken Inari with a cruel grin. Inari had tears in his eyes as he helplessly watched these men restrain his mother and take her to who knows where. Naruto was about to make a move when Inari seemed to have gathered enough courage and looked at the men defiantly.
"Let go of her!" he shouted glaring at them. The two men looked at him then each other before laughing.
"Scram kid. We only need one hostage and I'm in a good mood. Beat it while you're still alive or I'll gut you where you stand." One of them said as he fingered the hilt of his sword.
'They need a hostage? Are they with Zabuza and Gato?' Naruto thought with narrowed eyes getting ready to make his move when needed.
"No! I won't just stand by and let you take my mother away!" Inari protested and without a care for his own safety he released a battle cry as he charged at the two men who smirk in amusement.
"Inari no!" Tsunami shouted in fear as one of the men drew his sword.
"Can't say I didn't worn the kid." He said as he went for a slash before he felt something slam against his wrist with enough force to make him release the grip on his sword.
"What the hell?" he asked looking around forgetting about Inari which was a mistake. The young boy didn't notice what happened and he still charged until he reached the man. Cocking his fist back he punched the man as hard as he could right between the legs.
"Grahhh!" came the high pitch scream from the pain as he fell on his knees with the corners of his eyes watering.
"Oi, what the hell just happened?" the other man asked before he saw a glinting light. He looked at it and saw that it was the sunlight reflecting of a silver chain…a chain that was heading right at him. Before he could react the chain smashed into his jaw causing him to let loose a scream of pain as he took a step back.
"Picking on a defenseless woman and her child…how pathetic." Naruto said leaning against the wail spinning a chakra chain around as he watched the two swordsmen.
"Bastard!" the one on his knees gasped out obviously still affected by Inari's attack.
"You'll pay for that!" the other one shouted as he drew his sword and charged. Naruto sighed as he ducked to avoid the blade before doing a sweep kick causing his opponent to fall to the ground. Naruto kicked him over so he was on his stomach before he grabbed the back of his head and repeatedly slammed him against the floor until he passed out.
"One down." Naruto commented in a bored tone as he shot a chakra chain that wrapped around the remaining thug's neck. Naruto pulled the chain to tighten the hold it had before the thug blacked out from the lack of oxygen. Dispelling the chain he walked over, pulled out a kunai and cut the ropes that trapped Tsunami. Now free she immediately rushed towards Inari and hugged him tightly asking if he was okay.
"Not bad kid. Mind telling me the change of heart? If I remember correctly you said it was pointless to fight back but that's exactly what you just did." Naruto asked looking at the boy with a raised brow. Once free from his mothers hold, Inari looked down looking as if he was in deep thought before looking at Naruto. Unlike last time though there was something new in his eyes, hope and determination.
"You were right. I was always so proud of my dad but look at how I honor him. Instead of following his footsteps I just sit around, complain and insult anyone who's brave enough to do what I'm too scared to do." He paused as he thought about how to continue. "I already lost my father and the worst part was that I just stood by and let it happen. Then the same thing was going to happen to my mom…I won't let that happen again. I refuse to just stand by as the people I care about suffer."
Naruto stood there as he silently listened to the boy's speech. When he was done he allowed a small smile to stretch on his face before he ruffled Inari's hair.
"You used to annoy the hell out of me with your doom and gloom attitude but you know what? I may be starting to like you. Look after your mom while I go to the bridge and make sure your grandfather's alright." Naruto said before heading out the house.
"Make sure you kick the bad guys' asses!" Inari called after him. Naruto chuckled and shook his head before he ran off. Mother and son were quiet before Inari spoke in a soft tone.
"I used to think this was hopeless…but there's something about Naruto that makes me can't help but feel hope." Inari said still gazing at the direction Naruto ran off.
"I know." Tsunami agreed with a warm smile as she watched hope fill her son's eyes for the first time in ages.
Currently on the bridge it was a battle between shinobi as a thick mist filled the area. In the thickest part of the mist where it was impossible to see Zabuza was currently engaged in battle against Kakashi. Off at the other part of the bridge where it was still visible Sasuke was currently fighting the hunter-nin while Sakura stood on guard by Tazuna.
With a kunai in hand, Sasuke swipes at the hunter-nin who ducks out of the way before driving his knee into Sasuke's gut followed with an open palm strike to his chin. Grunting in pain Sasuke staggered on his feet the hunter-nin goes for a sweep kick then another kick to the chest that sends the Uchiha flying.
The hunter-nin wasn't done there though. He went through a series of hand seals. By the time Sasuke got back to his feet he was greeted with the sight of thousands of water needles.
"Sensatsu Suishō(Thousand Flying Water Needles of Death)." he said as the needles charged at Sasuke. Cursing Sasuke gathered chakra into his feet and with a sudden burst of speed he was able to dodge the needles before they turned him into a pin cushion.
"Impressive, it seems like you've improved from the last time I saw you." The hunter nin-commented.
"Don't underestimate me." Sasuke said with a glare as he threw several shuriken. Seeing this the hunter-nin shifted his body to avoid getting hit but was surprised when he felt steel pressed against his neck.
"You were able to get behind my guard." The hunter-nin pointed out calmly.
"Like I said don't underestimate me." Sasuke repeated with a smirk. But the smirk was wiped off his face when his opponent turned into water and fell to the ground.
'A water clone?' Sasuke thought with wide eyes before he felt a foot slam into his jaw.
"I think the problem is your overestimating your own skills." The hunter-nin said.
"Don't you dare talk to Sasuke-kun like that!" Sakura shouted as she threw a kunai at the hunter-nin who caught it effortlessly.
"If you shouted like that you just bring attention to yourself." The hunter-nin said as he threw the kunai back at Sakura who quickly pulled out another kunai with a yelp of surprise and blocked the incoming knife.
"I think it's about time I end this." The masked shinobi said as he went through the necessary hand seals as the water around them began to rise.
Kakashi vs. Zabuza
"What's wrong Kakashi? Worried about you're brats?" Zabuza taunted as he swung his sword that Kakashi barely dodged. If it wasn't for the damned mist then he would be able to fight more efficiently but looks like he wasn't that lucky. Truth was he was worried. He just felt a spike in chakra and his instincts were telling him things were going to get a lot more difficult for Sasuke and Sakura.
"Not really. You shouldn't underestimate them. They're stronger then they look." Kakashi lied. It would be best if he didn't show his concern and have Zabuza use it against him.
"Maybe but just like your kids, my kid is full of surprises too." Zabuza's voice rang out trough the mist.
"Well if what you say is true then I guessed the best course of actions is to take you down and then your friend." Kakashi said catching movement with his sharingan. Seeing this he threw a few shuriken at the direction and heard the sound of metal crashing. No doubt Zabuza blocked his attack with that butcher knife he calls a sword.
"You talk as if you actually have a chance against me. You're sharingan won't be able to help you this time." Zabuza said appearing behind Kakashi prepared to cut him in half. Kakashi heard this and quickly ducked to avoid the sword before sending a mule kick at Zabuza's chest.
"Lucky shot but back to your earlier comment. Even if by some off chance you do beat me…chances are you're students will be lying dead covered in a pool of their blood." Zabuza taunted before the mist seemed to have thicken even more, if possible, and Kakashi could barely see his hands in front of him.
'Hang on guys, hopefully Naruto will be there to give you some back up.' The silver haired jounin thought expelling any thought of his genin out of his head. If he wanted to defeat Zabuza then he needed to be focused solely on his opponent.
Haku vs. Sasuke
Sasuke watch in shock as the water around them began to take shape. The area around them dropped in temperature as the water froze until he was trapped in the middle of a dome of ice mirrors.
"Makyō Hyōshō (Demonic Mirroring Ice Crystals)" he said calmly as he walked towards one of the mirrors and then to the shock of everyone watching, he walked into it as his reflection spread into the rest of the mirrors.
"Now that this jutsu is active your chances of living is practically non-existent." The hunter-nin said as he pulled out a senbon.
"Please, I was able to dodge your last jutsu what makes you think this one can hit me?" Sasuke taunted but his thoughts were different.
'Ice? I've never heard of someone who uses ice. Is this a kekkai genkai?' he thought with narrowed eyes.
"You call that speed? Allow me to show you real speed." The hunter-nin said and then Sasuke suddenly found himself in the receiving end of what seemed to be an endless onslaught of senbon.
"Sasuke-kun! Sakura shouted eyes filled with concern as she watched her crush scream in pain as he was continuously stabbed by needles.
'What the hell was that? They're just reflections? How was he able to hit me from all directions?' Sasuke thought once the assault of needles ended.
"You can make this easier for yourself if you just surrender." The hunter-nin said as the multiple reflections stared at Sasuke who was glaring defiantly.
"An Uchiha never surrenders." He said as he went through some hand seals.
'These mirrors are made of ice and the best way to take down ice…' Sasuke thought as he took a deep breath before exhaling.
"Katon: Gōkakyū no Jutsu (Fire Release: Great Fireball Technique)" he said unleashing a large stream of fire. He smirked in satisfaction thinking he was successful but it turned into a frown when he saw that his flames did nothing.
"It will take more than those small flames to break my mirrors." The hunter-nin pointed out.
"Damn it." Sasuke cursed as he began to scan the area knowing his opponent's counter attack was about to begin. And right he was because the next thing he knew he was on the receiving end of a barrage of needles although he was able to pick up a strange blur.
"I won't lose here." Sasuke breathed out as he fell onto his knees pain washing over him.
"I would have liked to avoid killing you if possible but it looks like you leave me no choice." The hunter-nin said as he stepped out of a mirror stalking over to his fallen enemy. He reached towards the Uchiha with the intent to end his life when he felt a fist connect with the side of his head.
"I don't really like him either but I can't just stand by and let you kill my teammate." A new voice said. They turned to see Naruto standing in the dome keeping his eyes locked on the masked shinobi.
"Naruto…" Sasuke said as he stood back on his feet though his legs were a little off balanced.
"Uchiha, looks like you could use a hand." Naruto pointed out as he spared his teammate a glance before returning his gaze to the hunter-nin.
"Please, I had everything under control." Sasuke scoffed. He would have looked more convincing if he didn't resemble a human pin cushion.
"I can tell." Naruto said dryly as their opponent stepped into the mirror.
"You know fire jutsu, why don't you just melt these mirror?" Naruto asked causing Sasuke to roll his eyes.
"Don't you think I already tried that?" he asked in annoyance but Naruto just shrugged.
"You want my honest answer? I thought you were too busy getting your ass kicked to think of it." He answered plainly causing Sasuke to glare at him.
"What was that?!" he shouted.
"That's what it looked like when I got here." Naruto answered honestly.
"Well that most certainly isn't the case!" Sasuke said still glaring.
"Of course, because you had the situation under complete control." Naruto said in a sarcastic tone.
"If you two are done…" the hunter-nin's voice said interrupting their argument. The next thing they knew, another wave of needles where heading towards the. Naruto created two chains, one in each hand, and began swinging them around knocking away as many senbon as he could but a few where able to get past his defense and hit him. While this was going on Sasuke was scanning the area. Like before he was able to see a blur and he was almost able to identify it.
'If I had to guess, I'd say that was a person.' He thought to himself trying to following the constantly moving blur. Then as soon as the needles stopped the blur disappeared.
"That was not fun." Naruto grunted.
"Dobe how many chains can you make at once?" Sasuke asked.
"A bunch why?" Naruto asked with a raised brow wondering where his teammate was going.
"The next time he fires his senbon I want you to make as many chains as you can in every direction." Sasuke explained.
"Okay." Naruto said warily. They didn't have to wait long for the next attack. Naruto crouched down a bit as he prepared to test out his new move.
"Yasei Chēn Kyōran (Wild Chain Frenzy)" he said as multiple chains shot out of his back, arms and legs but they were different from last time. Instead of ordinary chains the end of them had kunai attached. Sasuke started to look around ignoring the stray senbon that hit him and saw as the same human shaped blur weaved around the chains. Suddenly Naruto began shifting his body causing the chains to move in a more erratic pattern causing the blur to weave and turn as the amount of needles decreased.
Naruto was too busy with his chains and the hunter-nin with dodging that none of them noticed Sasuke, or more specifically his eyes. His usual onyx eyes turned blood red with two tomoe around his pupils.
'So that's how this technique works.' Sasuke thought as he identified he blur he's been seeing as the nunter-nin. 'He doesn't attack from the mirrors but instead he moves at such high speed he made us think he was still in the mirrors.'
"You're trick won't work anymore!" Sasuke shouted as he threw a kunai where he predicted the hunter-nin would be. Seeing this, their mask opponent was able to turn his body, the kunai only grazing his shoulder before disappearing into one of the ice mirrors.
'That last attack, it wasn't a lucky shot. He was able to follow my movement and hit me.' The hunter-nin thought. He studied the Uchiha and the only thing that was hiding his shock was his mask. 'His eyes, he's developed Sharingan!'
"Yo Sasuke…your eyes are red." Naruto pointed out surprising the Uchiha.
'What? I have the Sharingan?' he thought before smirking in satisfaction. He was one step closer to his goal.
"Now that I can keep up with your movements you don't stand a chance." Sasuke boasted as he stared at one of the many reflections.
'This isn't good. Now that he has the sharingan things have gotten more difficult.' The hunter-nin thought as he tried to come up with a plan before his gaze fell on Naruto. 'But just because he can see me does not mean his teammate can.'
And with that thought he charged at the blonde. Sasuke saw this and his eyes widened. His body reacted before he could even think and he jumped in front of Naruto taking the full force of the attack screaming in pain as his body was repeatedly stabbed with senbon before he fell to the ground.
Naruto watched wide eyed as this all transpired. He looked down to see Sasuke breathing become ragged and his eyes began to droop as his sharingan returned to his normal onyx color.
"To think I would sacrifice my life…my revenge…for you." Sasuke gasped through labored breathes.
"Why?" was the only thing Naruto could ask. He and Sasuke had never gotten along so seeing him sacrifice himself like this shocked him.
"Earlier you saved me from the demon brothers…now we're even. Don't think this means…I like you or something…" Sasuke said in a weak voice before he closed his eyes.
"Is this the first time you've seen a comrade of yours die. While painful it is still part of the shinobi path." The hunter-nin said as he re-entered his mirror but Naruto didn't hear him.
He was still staring at Sasuke's unmoving form with a lost expression. He had no idea how to respond to this. He never met anyone who would risk their life for him the way Sasuke did and the thing was they didn't even like each other. So for this to happen? How was he supposed to react? He still didn't like the Uchiha, he was too arrogant for his own good but his respect for Sasuke grew a little.
And now he faced another problem. The hunter-nin had more experience, more speed and more dangerous techniques. None of his attacks could compete with these ice mirrors. He mentally cursed at his situation when he heard it.
"Pathetic." A dark sounding voice said but from where he had no clue. He looked around to see if anyone else was here because the last thing he needed was another enemy.
"To think my container would be so weak that he needed to be rescued by an Uchiha of all things." The voice said as it spat out the word Uchiha with such hatred that Naruto couldn't help but flinch.
Naruto looked at his masked opponent to see if he heard the voice but it looked like he didn't.
'What's going on? Whose voice is that?' he thought trying to keep his cool.
"Listen well human, I am not doing this out of the kindness of my heart. No, I am doing this because I am stuck with you and I refuse to be sealed in a weakling who needs an Uchiha to save his sorry ass life." The voice said and that's when Naruto felt it. A wave of chakra surged through him. But something was off, it wasn't like normal chakra. No, this was darker, malicious…demonic.
Naruto threw his had back and released a primal roar as red chakra enveloped him. His wounds were healing at an accelerating rate, his nails began to sharpen until his hands resembled claws, his teeth sharpened so they looked like fangs, his spiky hair started to become more untamed and wild, his whisker scars became darker and more pronounced and then there were his eyes. His once blue eyes turned blood red with slits for pupils as they looked at the hunter-nin as if he were nothing more than common prey.
"W-What's going on?" the hunter-nin asked as he began to panic.
With Sakura and Tazuna
Both kunoichi and bridge builder broke into a nervous sweat when this feeling of dread filled the air. They had no idea what was going. When Naruto came to help the mist thickened to the point where they couldn't see anything except for what was right in front of them.
"W-What the hell is going on?" Tazuna asked in a shaky voice. This feeling was too intense for a civilian like him, not that Sakura was feeling any better never experiencing this before.
"I-I don't know." The pink haired girl answered before whispering to herself. "Please be safe Sasuke-kun."
With Kakashi and Zabuza
'This feeling…is this one of Zabuza's tricks?' Kakashi thought to himself before his eyes widened in panic. 'No it can't be! Has the seal broken?'
'What's this dark aura that's filling the air? It's much too foul to be Kakashi's doing?' Zabuza thought as he felt the same thing Kakashi felt.
'We're safe for now. The fox hasn't broken out but the seal has weakened a little.' Kakashi thought in relief but he needn't to act quickly.
"Well Zabuza, I'm afraid something's come up so what do you say we end this thing?" Kakashi asked as he pulled out a scroll.
"How interesting, what tricks do you have under your sleeve Kakashi?" Zabuza's voice asked somewhere from the mist.
Naruto's blood red eyes scanned the area before lounging at one of the mirrors. Seeing this, the hunter-nin threw a few senbon hoping to stop him but it was useless. Naruto released a primal roar that was infused with the red chakra that blew back the needles.
'Incredible, he deflected my attack with nothing but chakra. What is he? He is nothing like the calm boy from earlier…now he resembles a bloodthirsty animal. Perhaps a sneak attack' he thought as he quickly moved mirror from mirror until he was behind the feral looking blonde.
However it was a futile effort because Naruto sense the attack coming. He jumped away to avoid the strike before launching the chain that snaked itself around the masked shinobi's wrist. But this time the chains were coated with the red chakra that felt like fire to the hunter-nin who hissed in pain at feeling his wrist getting burned.
"Gotcha now." Naruto growled with a fanged smirk before pulling the chain with enough force to send his opponent flying towards him. He cocked his fist back but the strangest thing happened. His clenched fist started to change until it was black and felt much denser than before. Taking a note of this Naruto stored it away before getting back to the task at hand. With a ferocious roar he punched the hunter-nin with his black fist with enough force that he was sent crashing through a mirror shattering it to pieces as he bounced off the ground until he came to a halt.
"S-Such strength." The hunter-nin said as his masked was shattered to pieces. He looked up at the sound of footsteps and saw Naruto stalking towards him, red eyes glaring at him with such intensity that he couldn't move.
Naruto looked down at his opponent with a frown. He couldn't shake the feeling that he knew this person from somewhere. Where had he seen that face before?
"F-Finish me…that one blow was enough to reduce me to such a state." The hunter-nin said.
"You…you're that guy from the forest. The one picking herbs…Haku." Naruto said as he finally remembered him his red eyes turning back to their normal shade of blue.
"Why aren't you attacking me? Showing mercy to an enemy will only get you killed." Haku said.
"Why? I never would have thought that guy I met in the forest would be an accomplice of Zabuza." Naruto said trying to figure things out.
"It is because…Zabuza-sama is my precious person." He explained causing Naruto's eyes to widen.
"Him? How?" Naruto asked confused. He didn't believe in judging someone before you know them but from he saw of Zabuza it was hard to understand how the Demon of the Bloody Mist became Haku's precious person.
"Like I told you before, I was alone without a purpose. Nothing and no one to live for. He was the one who saved me from my solitude and now I have failed him. Please finish me…Zabuza-sama as no use for a broken tool like myself." Haku said with a sad smile before looking at Naruto. "You and I are not so different but while you have not found your precious person I have and I have failed him. So please…finish me."
"Is that really what you want?" Naruto asked quietly.
"Yes." Was the only reply he got.
"Very well." Naruto said as he pulled out a kunai. Haku closed his eyes and braced himself for death.
"I hope that you are able to find someone you consider precious." He said.
"You and me both Haku…goodbye." Naruto said as he attacked but then they heard the sound of cackling lighting.
'That sound…it's coming from Zabuza-sama's location!' Haku thought with wide eyes as he grabbed Naruto's wrist to stop his attack.
"Forgive me Naruto-san but it looks like I may still be of use." Haku said before vanishing in a burst of speed.
"Time to die Zabuza. Raikiri (Lightning Cutter)." Kakashi said as he charged at the missing-nin his hand engulfed in lightning. Zabuza cursed when he saw Kakashi approaching him. Earlier Kakashi used some strange summoning technique that had dogs biting into his limps keeping him in place. When Kakashi reached him, he lunged his lightning covered hand and blood splattered everywhere. When he looked at his opponent his eyes widened.
Standing in front of him was not Zabuza but instead a young boy and his arm was through the boy's chest were his heart was.
"Time to die huh Kakashi? Looks like you're wrong again." A blood Zabuza said from behind the boy not the least bit disturbed that his partner was killed right in front of him. However both jounin were low and chakra and the mist began to clear allowing Naruto to see them. His eyes widened when he saw Kakashi's hand penetrating Haku's chest. But the thing that surprised him the most was the fact that Haku was smiling.
'Your sacrificed your life for this man…and you were able to do it with a smile. He really was important to you huh Haku?' Naruto mentally asked himself but frowned when he heard Zabuza's low chuckling.
"Heh heh Good job Haku." Zabuza said as the dog summons pinning him down disappeared in a plume of smoke. "Looks like I really found a treasure in that gutter! To think that he would give me the opportunity to end this battle!" he said as he reached for his blade and prepared to cut through Haku's body to get to Kakashi.
Seeing this Kakashi quickly pulled his arm out of Haku's chest and grabbed it before it hit the ground. He jumped out of the way right before the blade was able to hit it. Kakashi placed the corpse on the ground and closed his eyes before turning towards Zabuza. Naruto though, was beyond angry. He was about to say something when someone called out to him.
"Naruto you're alright! Where's Sasuke-kun?" Sakura shouted with a smile thinking that if Naruto was okay then Sasuke was too. She frowned the when Naruto refused to look at her. "Naruto?"
The blonde merely pointed in the direction of the fallen Uchiha not saying anything. Unable to take the silence anymore she ran towards to where they battled and tears fell from her eyes when she saw the state of the Uchiha.
Meanwhile, with Kakashi and Zabuza it turned into a one sided battle. No matter what he did Zabuza could not land a hit on his opponent. He swung his blade but Kakashi ducked out of the way and then counter attacked by stabbing his shoulder s with kunai knives disabling them from any further use.
"You might as well give up. You can't beat me in your current state." Kakashi advised as Zabuza tried but failed to move his arms.
"Look at the big bad demon of the mist. To think that you would be reduced to such a state…how pathetic." A new voice said. The shinobi turned to see Gato and a large group of bandits.
"What are you doing here Gato?" Zabuza grunted.
"I'm afraid there's been a change of plans Zabuza. You see, I'm going to kill you. I have no intention of paying you for your services. Hiring and killing missing-nin is so much easier then betraying shinobi that are still loyal to their village because no one will give a damn when you die." The business man explained.
"So you were going to betray me this entire time?" Zabuza growled out.
"You seem upset. What are you going to do about it? Demon of the mist? Please you look as dangerous as a bunny." Gato scoffed as the thugs around him laughed in agreement.
"Looks like our fight is over." Zabuza said glancing at Kakashi.
"Looks like it." He agreed.
"What do you mean? A few seconds ago you were trying to rip each other's heads off and now you're just done." Naruto asked incredulously.
"Their target was Tazuna but now that Gato is betraying him he has no reason to go after him anymore meaning there is no reason for us to continue our fight." Kakashi explained. Naruto nodded in understating but he was still mad as he gazed at Haku's lifeless corpse. Did that mean that Haku died for nothing?
Gato noticed this and smirked as he walked towards the corpse.
"That reminds me. I still have to pay this little punk back for breaking my arm." Gato said as he looked at his arm that was in a cast. Walking towards Haku he smiled cruelly before kicking his head causing Naruto to growl.
"What the hell is your problem? He's already dead!" he shouted glaring at the business man.
"Calm down Naruto. Don't let you anger get the better of you." Kakashi warned. Naruto took a deep breath before turning towards Zabuza. He felt his anger return when he saw the man's impassive face.
"Oi ,are you just going to stand there and watch this crap? Look at what he's doing him!" Naruto said pointing towards Gato who just spit on Haku.
"What do I care? He's dead, remember?" Zabuza said turning away from the blonde.
"What kind of answer is that?!" Naruto shot back and Kakashi had to blink. This was the most emotion he's seen out of Naruto since he became a genin. "He was you comrade you bastard! Don't you care at all that that scumbag is desecrating his body?"
"Weren't you listening? Gato used me like I used Haku. Shinobi are nothings but tools. Why should I be sad that Haku died? He was just another tool and all tools can be replaced." Zabuza said in a monotone voice.
"Is that how you really feel?" Naruto asked quietly but Zabuza was silent.
"Stop talking Naruto. He is no longer an enemy so just let it go." Kakashi said as grabbed Naruto's shoulder but he shook the hand off.
"You know I really envied Haku." Naruto started as he glanced at Haku before turning to Zabuza's back. "He told me about how he had this precious person that meant the world to him. Someone so important that he was able to die with a smile knowing he was able to save that person. To think that he cared so much about a heartless monster like you. Do you really feel nothing when you look at his body? Don't you have a single happy memory of him? Shinobi are tools but in the end we're still human."
"Kid…shut up." Zabuza said as he looked over his shoulder and Naruto was surprised to see tears falling from his eyes. "You know Haku was too kind for his own good. He hated harming others. Fighting you and your friends broke his heart." He continued as he began to eat at his bandaged masked ripping it. "I'm glad that my last fight was against you guys. You're right you know, no matter how you see it we shinobi are humans no matter what. I pretty much lost everything…think you can hand me a kunai?"
Naruto reached into his holster and pulled out a kunai before tossing it at the missing-nin. "Sure, here you go."
"Thanks." Zabuza said before catching the kunai in his mouth glaring at the group of thugs before his eyes landed on Gato. "Chances are I'm going to hell today Gato…and no matter what I'm dragging you down with me!" and with that the Demon of the Mist charged.
Seeing this Gato freaked out before retreating to the back of the group of thugs. "Why are you just standing there?! Stop him!"
"You heard he boss!"
"He's got no chance in hell!"
"It's only one man and he's half dead."
The group prepared their weapons but paused at what they saw. Zabuza was heading right towards them without an ounce of fear but the thing that bothered them was something else. Surrounding Zabuza was this strange aura and if they didn't know any better they would say that it was a demon.
"What the hell?" one of the bandits muttered wondering if his mind was playing tricks on him. That one moment of hesitation was enough for Zabuza who used the kunai to slit the thug's throat. Blood flew in the air as the body was dead before it hit the ground.
What Naruto saw next was something unbelievable. No matter how many times that Zabuza got stabbed he was still going cutting anyone close enough to his kunai. When he finally passed through the crowd his eyes gained a sadistic glee as he grinned viciously at Gato before driving the kunai into his chest.
"W-What do you think you're doing?" Gato asked, blood dripping from his mouth.
"What do you say Gato? Care to join me on this trip to hell? There I can really show you why I was called a demon." Zabuza grunted.
"If you're in a hurry to die then feel free but don't take me with you." Gato coughed out his vision getting blurry.
"S-Sorry but you're no longer my employer…I no longer have a reason to listen to you." Zabuza growled before pulling the kunai out and with one quick move he aimed for the neck and watched in satisfaction as Gato's head fell to the ground, a look of fear plaster on.
'Looks like this is it Haku…for what it's worth thank you…and goodbye.' Zabuza thought before exhaustion and blood loss took over and he fell to the ground.
"That was…I can't really describe what that was." Naruto said with wide eyes but he wasn't the only ones. The remaining bandits looked at the scene in disbelief before they scowled.
"What the hell? That bastard just killed our paycheck!" one of them shouted in outrage.
"Tch. Looks like we'll just have to invade the village. If we loot every business and home we should be able to break even." Another said causing the rest to shout their approval.
"But maybe we should kill you damn shinobi first." Another added as they prepared their weapons.
"Damn, do you have any plans on how to deal with this Hatake-san?" Naruto asked.
"I'm afraid I'm a little low on chakra at the moment." Kakashi admitted causing Naruto to curse under his breath. He raised his arms and was about to make as many chains as he could to subdue as much as he could when an arrow soar though the air and pierced the ground right in front of the group of bandits.
Looking over his shoulder Naruto's eyes widened when he saw Inari leading a group of villagers each carrying various amounts of weapons. Tazuna looked like he was about to cry after seeing his fellow villagers finally standing up for themselves.
"Inari? What the hell are you doing here?" Naruto asked causing a grin to break free on the young boy's face.
"Oh you know, a hero's work is never done. I figured coming around last minute to save the day would add to the suspense." He joked before turning to the group of bandits who's looks of confidence was replaced with one of apprehension.
"Oh shit." One of them mumbled.
"They outnumber us now."
"Screw this. You guys can try and steal some money if you want but I don't plan on dying today!" another panicked and pretty soon they bandits ran away.
"Guess this mission is finally over." Naruto sighed before he heard Sakura scream. He turned to look at her and saw Sasuke sitting up causing his eyes to widen. Wasn't he dead?
"Sasuke you're alive!" He heard Sakura shout before glomping the groggy Uchiha.
"So you survived after all." He muttered softly.
'Tch. What a shame. I preferred it when he was lying on the ground dead.' he heard the same dark voice from earlier causing him to jump a little catching Kakashi's attention.
"Are you alright Naruto?" he asked. Naruto blinked a bit before shaking his head to clear his mind.
"Yeah I think I', just a little tired. This whole thing has been pretty stressful." Naruto said causing the jounin to nod in understanding.
"Understandable. Now that Gato has been disposed of things should go smoothly now." he said.
Naruto nodded absently but he still couldn't get that voice out of his head.
'What's going on? What was that chakra from earlier? What was that voice?' he thought to him.
End of Chapter