Ok! This is a Naruto fanfic i wrote a while back! I really appreciate comments, when the are constructive, if you don't like it, tell me why and how i can improve my writing. If you do like it tell me!
Also, this fanfic covers up to where the story is in the manga!! so if you haven't read it, there are spoilers!!! You have been warned!!
It has been four months since the war ended, each country and village are recovering quickly, too quickly. The threat that had made us allies is gone, a victory won. But now, old grudges are coming to light in a new way, even my own shinobi whisper complaints against the other nations. This peace that united us for such a moment is faltering. It is everything I can do to keep up the trust between even our closest friends at Konoha.
My name is Gaara, Kazakage of the Village hidden in the Sand. I have endured what most would say is unbearable and even suffered death. Enduring these things would have been impossible without my comrades, namely one in particular. Naruto Uzumaki, Jonin of the Hidden Leaf Village, and the last of the Jinchuriki. I had once also been labeled Jinchuriki, a name given to those who have been made weapons for their country since the time of their birth. We had no choice in the matter, we both suffered the same fate, and I would have been lost, had I never met Naruto. This bond between him and I have created a mutual trust between our villages but now, fresh from the losses of war. Even this trust between our homes threatens to crumble.
This is why my team and I are traveling to his home, to meet with Konoha’s Hokage. A normal ninja team consists of a captain and three ninja, but my team is made up of myself and my two siblings, Temari and Konkuro. We once had a sensei that completed our team, but he was never active with our missions, and fell away from us quickly. We have never taken on another team member, because no one has ever fallen into sync with us, we know each other too well anyone who tries to join us was never able to be helpful. My advisors tell me it is too dangerous for me to travel with even just one team much less an incomplete one. But this is one area in which I do not take their advice. My siblings and I are more than capable of traveling alone and prefer it to having a slow procession of unnecessary guards.
The journey to the village is somewhat uneventful. We encounter two groups of rouge ninja, one has no idea who we are, looking to gain nothing more than any valuables we may have had. They are easily subdued and we move on. The next is a bit more prepared, they know who I am and in turn know who Temari and Konkuro are. They prepare a slightly more strategic approach, but my team reacts quickly and takes out the enemy.
“Man you would think they would like, team up or something, at least give us a challenge!” Konkuro mocks the group’s efforts. “I haven’t even worked up a sweat yet!”
“Well then maybe you should put a little more effort into running and work up a sweat there!” Temari rebukes, “Gaara and I would already be there if we didn’t have to move at your pace!” Her concentrated expression she wears while traveling falls for a moment to grin at her remark and the look of contempt Konkuro returns.
Temari is the oldest of us; she has grown into a strong kunochi recently. She was always strong in terms of battle, but now she is strong mentally. Ever since I was taken by the Akatsuki, a group hunting the Jinchuuriki, and in turn killed, she has become wiser and stronger. I can always turn to her; she has led us as a family and led troops into battle. Her ever present looks of concentration, tell me her senses are on alert, scanning for threats, always learning. But she is never too far gone to ignore Konkuro and his antics.
Konkuro is Konkuro, he is older than me as well, and has been a good brother and teammate. He has helped me become who I am today, by warning me of people and always telling me the truth. He never sugar coats anything to spare feelings. This is a quality I greatly respect, honesty. But this quality also drives Temari insane half the time, and is usually what begins their arguments.
“You’ve got to be kidding me! Gaara can freakin fly, so yeah, he could out run me but you?! Please! Don’t make me laugh!” Konkuro glared at our sister as we moved otherwise silently through the trees toward our destination.
“What do you mean I couldn’t out run you!? You’re about as quick as a snail compared to me!” Temari turned and jumped backward so to face Konkuro who was running behind her.
This was common for a lot of ninja, our senses have been sharpened enough to hear anyone running in front of you and know where to land your feet even without looking. Temari has excellent senses so this is not problem for her, but Konkuro can’t, and that’s exactly why Temari did so.
Konkuro didn’t disappoint, his face grew red with frustration and anger at this gesture and he opened his mouth to yell out at her. I knew what would follow and didn’t want to hear it.
“Enough, we are close.” This and a quick look at Temari shut them both up and Temari turned back around with a smirk. She had won this round, which also meant Konkuro had lost which put him in a bad mood all the way to the village.
Not long ago they both would have stopped out of fear of me, what I might have done. But now they did what I asked because they knew it annoyed me and cared about my feelings, today was one of the rare occasions when they both complied with my request, even though we were alone. When we weren’t in the village where I was in charge, things were very normal for us. No ‘yes sir’ or other recognition of authority, just a family traveling together. I liked these times, away from the stress of the responsibility I carried.
We were all anxious to get to the village hidden in the Leaves. We all loved being here and hadn’t been since before the war. I had sent forces to help the village after it was attacked, but the Hokage that had been instated following Lady Tsunade’s coma, sent them all back immediately. I would have gone myself but I needed to protect my village more than ever, and I trusted that Naruto would take care of things.
Since the war Naruto has visited my village a couple of times, personally bringing non-urgent messages instead of sending them by messenger bird just to come. He told us the village was making tremendous progress and things were pretty much back to normal. During his visits we started to notice the looks of distrust in the eyes of our people. Naruto was well known here and before the war was greeted like one of our own. The war had brought much suffering, through the loss of life. Now that the fighting was over the loss of comrades were blamed on those they fell among, ninja from other villages. If a Sand ninja fell while fighting with a Leaf ninja, those in the sand blamed the ninja from the leaf, saying they could have saved him. This wasn’t true of course, but those who had never known war, looked for reasoning, why so many had died. And blame began to fall on others from different villages. I did my best to defuse these thoughts from the beginning. But whispers of anger and loss passed and the distrust grew. Even to the Leaf ninja who was our closest ally.
I would do whatever necessary to maintain this bond with them, which is why we are going to the Leaf now. I will speak with the Hokage to see if they are facing the same problem and find a common resolve.
My question is almost immediately answered. We are almost to the village when Temari speaks, “There’s someone up a head.”
It would be unlikely for a rouge ninja to be so close to a village, so we all have a good idea of who it is. This makes a grin grow on Konkuro’s face, and he pushes himself ahead of our group. Temari stifles a grin, Konkuro and Naruto had become good friends as well. Both always pulling pranks and getting on each other’s nerves. Naruto’s ever growing work ethic, and Konkuro’s ever dwindling one made for clashing personalities that results in humorous arguments.
As we grow closer, we see the unmistakable orange hyperactive ninja sleeping in a tree. This is the perfect opportunity for Konkuro who is quite a way ahead of us now. Konkuro lands lightly on the tree Naruto is perched in and moved silently in front of him. Of course Naruto’s senses are great and his body reacts to Konkuro’s presence. He wakes up immediately and Konkuro screams in his face. Naruto returns the scream and loses his balance and falls to the ground. This of course is exactly what Konkuro has hoped for and he doubles over in laughter.
Temari and I land on the ground next to the screaming Naruto.
“What was that for you jerk?! Here I was having a perfectly nice nap, and I wake up and some freak in purple makeup is all in my face!!” This continues until Konkuro joins us on the ground whipping a pretend tear from his face while laughing.
“Oh that was perfect.” Konkuro remarks at Naruto’s fall.
“Naruto what are you doing here?” Temari asks, diffusing his anger at Konkuro.
Turning his attention to Temari and I, Naruto’s expression changes to his normal goofy grin and he throws his arms behind his head. “I’m here to be your escort into the village!”
“Escort?” Temari asks confused. We have visited the village numerous times before the war and never required an escort before. My earlier question was answered by Naruto; Konoha was facing the same unrest my village was.
Of course no one in Konoha would openly speak against us but the villagers would be uneasy. But Naruto was trusted so explicitly in his village, if he was with us no one would question us.
“I don’t know, Granny Tsunade just told me you were coming and told me to wait for you out here. It was pretty boring so I trained for a while, but you guys took so long I finally just took a nap.” Naruto answered unconcerned.
Naruto and I lead the group, running the rest of the distance to the village gate. If anyone I had met would be a candidate to complete my team, it would be Naruto, he works well with us and quickly falls into synch with our normal pace. Or as in synch as Naruto could be, as great of ninja Naruto is, if the time came that he felt it necessary, he would abandon his team’s goal to protect his teammates. This was still a bit strange to me, but it’s the way Naruto has always been.
We reach the village minutes later and are greeted by a girl I have never met. She appears to be a bit younger than Naruto and I, maybe by one year. She has brown shoulder length hair and blue eyes and wore her ninja headband on her upper arm. She is dressed in traditional ninja wear, light clothes and a vest jacket. I can tell she is shy by nature but genuinely excited to see our group. She wears a kind smile but seems tired.
“Guys this is Hannah, your other escort.” Naruto explained, Hannah’s smile grew at her introduction.
“Nice to meet you!” Hannah responded regarding each of us. “Naruto everything over there is ready for them, and Lady Tsunade got caught in a meeting with the elders it might be a while until the Kazakage can see her.”
She spoke to Naruto but then turned her attention to me, “I’m very sorry for the inconvenience.” She bowed her head slightly in respect as Naruto started laughing.
“Right, inconvenience. Well let’s get going then so you can get settled in. How long do you guys get to stay until the Sand village falls apart without you Gaara?”
“Perhaps a couple of days, my business with the Hokage shouldn’t take too long.” I answer. Naruto instantly closes the distance between us and puts his arm over my shoulder and mischievously asks.
“Sooo what are you and Granny meeting about anyway? Huh? Huh? Is something exciting going on? Ooh, is Temari and Shikamaru getting married?!” Naruto hardly has time to let the words out of his mouth before Temari hits him hard with the end of her enormous unfolded fan. Konkuro laughs again staring at Naruto. But Hannah isn’t looking at Naruto, her eyes are rested on Temari and her fan, the look in her eyes tells me that she is fascinated by my sister. And that’s when I notice Hannah’s weapon of choice. Hanging loosely from her kuni belt are two sister fans much smaller than Temari’s. Hannah must also have wind nature chakra like Temari and Naruto. Hannah notices my eyes on her and quickly looks away from my sister and laughs with Konkuro at Naruto.
“Oww what was that for?!” Naruto complains.
“Gaara’s meeting with the Hokage is none of your business!” Temari yells back.
“Oh I’m sure that’s all you were upset about, it had nothing to do with his comment about you and your boyfriend…” Konkuro pushes Temari’s buttons just too far, and a look he and I know well rises in Temari. That’s when Konkuro decides it’s time to run.
“Oh come on guys don’t make this escort thing a pain!! Wait up!!” Naruto screams running after my siblings.
“Haha, your brother reminds me of Naruto in a way.” Hannah laughs.
“Yes they are very similar in ways.” I reply honestly.
“Well if you want I’ll show you where you’ll be staying while you’re here and if you ever visit again.” Hannah said.
“Yes thank you.” I say as Hannah and I turn to walk into the village. “Hannah you said ‘and if you ever visit again’ what do you mean by that?”
Hannah and I walked through the newly rebuilt village, Naruto had told the truth, things were returning to normal. The shops are open, while civilians and ninja alike pass us through the streets. Several children run in-between Hannah and I as we continue on our way while Hannah explains.
“Well while the village was being rebuilt Naruto suggested that in order to show our support of a continued alliances between the villages, we build a house for any visiting Kage and their teams. I’m pretty sure he was mainly thinking of you and your team though. Everyone considered it a good idea and the house was built neighboring the Hokage’s mansion. Inconsequently your house is also neighboring Naruto!” Hannah finished carrying the same smile she wore when she met him at the gate. I was beginning to believe she wore this smile most of the time.
“How do you mean inconsequently?” I ask.
“Well there was also building built across from the Hokage’s mansion to house all of the ninja without families, there is no need for us to have large homes that take up space in the village when we are here only half the time. And we decided we would rather be near the Hokage in case of crisis than be strewn throughout the village in homes.” She explains.
“Us?” I ask questioningly.
“Yes I live there too, I’m like Naruto, my parents died soon after I was born and I have no memories of them.” She told her story so casually and without any sound of regret. I could tell Hannah was strong, made strong by her life circumstances. I knew how it felt to grow up alone.
Hannah’s expression told that she needed no one to say they were sorry for her life. The confidence she wore, I wasn’t sure if it was real, but if it wasn’t I admired her for faking it. I knew we were getting close as what could only be the Hokage’s mansion rose above the village buildings. It looked almost identical to the old one he knew, just new and more polished. Hannah led us right in front of the Hokage’s office and into the building facing it on the other side of the street. It was a large house with a beautiful lawn and ornate woodwork. It was three stories high and the top floor had a large window in the center about half the length of the house.
“Here we are!” Hannah chimed as she walked down the path to the house. She entered the house and moved about the obviously familiar layout giving me the tour. The inside was just as impressive as the outside with fancy furniture and large windows covering the back wall showing off the beauty of the backyard. It was equally beautiful as it was functional, I immediately knew Naruto must have had a part in designing it. There was large training areas connected to the yard beside ours that must have been where he and the other ninja would live.
“Well this is floor is the kitchen and lounging room, the second floor is for your team there are three rooms so Naruto will probably stay in it while you are here. And the third floor is your room.” At her words she leads us up the stairs past the hallway that would surely lead to Temari and Konkuro’s rooms and into a small area with a door into the third floor. After going through the door we entered a large office area, the large window I had noticed from outside was at the back of a large desk and faced the Hokage’s mansion. There were numerous couches that made up the room, but the room’s most surprising feature was the large paintings and pictures of my village that lined the walls. The room was almost as nice as my quarters at home. Hannah had been right; this house may have been meant to house any Kage, but it had been designed for my team. This was all ridiculously unnecessary, but I was grateful.
“It’s wonderful thank you Hannah.” Hannah’s smile grew at my thanks, as she turned for the door.
“Well I’ll let you get settled in; your bedroom is through those doors.” Hannah pointed to a pair of large double doors just to the right of the desk. “If you need anything or want to go anywhere, I’ll be downstairs.” And with that Hannah closed the door and left me in my oversized office to wait for the Hokage.
Not long after Hannah left, I headed downstairs just as Naruto and my siblings entered the house.
“Oh Yeah!! This is what I’m talkin about!!” Konkuro exclaimed as he took in our surroundings. Hannah stood up from her spot on the couch and walked up to Naruto.
“I’m going to go check on the Hokage’s meetings status. Will you stay with them for a while?”
“Yeah sure, somehow I think I can bear being trapped here with them.” Naruto laughed as he watched Konkuro inspect the fridge.
“Well I guess this will do…” Temari tried to not to show her happiness like Konkuro. “How long are we staying again?” Temari directed her question to me.
“A couple of days.” I answered consistently.
“I say a couple of weeks.” Konkuro said giving his opinion as always.
Hannah laughed before saying goodbye and heading back out the door.
I walked to face the back windows and Naruto moved to stand beside me. “This is unnecessary Naruto.” I said.
“I know, but I’m not all to blame.” He chuckled as he continued. “I just suggested we build something for you guys, I mean build a Kage house. Then others started standing up and saying it was a waste, that we should focus on other things, but then Hannah stood up and said nothing was more important than securing friendships and trust with the other nations; never before had a blatant physical structure been built with this in mind. After she spoke more and more agreed to the idea. Then the girls got in charge and this is what resulted.” He held his arms out to regard the house as he spoke.
“Luckily my idea of a training area was admitted into the plans otherwise the place would have been worthless!” He laughed again.
“Hannah spoke in our favor? Who is she?” I asked him. The moment I did Naruto’s face fell slightly.
“Well Hannah and I grew up in the same orphanage; she is a year younger than us. She has always been kind, even when we were young she tried to talk to me as much as she could.” Naruto chuckled despite the hard memories of his past. “Of course the orphanage workers tried to prevent this as much as possible, worried I might, well you know.” He paused for a moment before continuing. “Once she got into the academy she learned pretty well, we didn’t see each other much but she always had that smile for me. She has always had a hard time getting into her own groove to fight though, or at least that’s what Iruka sensei has told me. She has wind nature chakra like me and she fights or tries to fight with twin fans her parents left her. But her sensei couldn’t teach her how to use them and so she just fights using normal kuni and small jutsu. I’ll see her at the training grounds often though; she gets up real early and tries desperately to teach herself how to use those fans. But learning on your own just isn’t that easy. I feel bad for her, even tried to give her some tips sometime, but I don’t know how to use them either. She doesn’t give up though; it’s almost like, in her mind if she can master using those fans she will make her parents proud. She passed the Chunin exams while I was gone training and was finally on her way. Until the war, all of her teammates were killed, leaving her only family in the world gone. She has been strong though, helping rebuild the village and even watching the kids from our old home sometimes.
She is a good friend. There were a couple of groups that really didn’t like you guys coming, and Hannah defended you and all the other villages. People argued that she should blame the other villages more than anyone after losing her team. But she said that they would have wanted us to maintain our friendships and fight to keep them. ”
Naruto finished talking just as Konkuro barreled down the stairs fleeing from Temari again, he pushed his way in between Naruto and I out into the back lawn screaming: “I didn’t mean it sis calm down!! You’re totally overreacting!!”
“Guys I am not chasing you all over town again, no one is to leave this house until Hannah gets back, cause I’m sticking with Gaara from now on!!!” The rest of Naruto’s words faded in the distance as he chased my family throughout the lawn. Then Temari swung her fan and sent Konkuro flying into a tree. And with that motion I knew I had one other request of the Hokage.
Soon after Temari is satisfied she has punished Konkuro adequately, and Naruto who somehow found himself at the mercy of her fury; they all reenter the house. I take Temari aside and we head up to my office.
We both sit down, me behind my desk and she directly across from me in one of the two chairs facing the desk and looking out the windows.
“Temari what do you think of this friend of Naruto’s, Hannah?” I ask peering over my folded hands leaning over the desk.
“Uh well she seems nice enough, why do you ask?” My sister replies confused. I tell her Hannah’s story and she listens intensively. “So you want me to help her with those fans of hers?” She asks already at my reasoning.
“Yes, as soon as she saw your fan, I could tell she was intrigued. Teach her the basics, if what Naruto told me is true, her work ethic will take her from there.
“Sounds easy enough, as long as Konkuro leaves us alone I’ll be fine,” she chuckles as she contemplates the idea, “It’ll be like a vacation.”
The next few days followed a certain routine, I would go with Naruto to speak with the Hokage; while Temari stayed behind and worked long hours with Hannah teaching her the basics of combining their wind natured chakra and their fans. It was a bit different with Temari’s large one and Hannah’s two small ones. Hannah’s attacks ranged from mid distance to short distance while Temari’s have always been long range. My sister reported to Naruto and I that Hannah never wanted breaks; and after Temari would come in for the night she was pretty sure she would head out to the training grounds to go over what they had practice that day. Temari had never had such a dedicated student that would put up with her difficult regimens, and it impressed her to no end.
On the last day we stayed in the Leaf village, I felt confident that the Hokage had laid the groundwork for Konoha to maintain its trust in our alliances. And I had a pretty good idea of how to maintain my villages trust in them.
I told Naruto that I needed to speak with the Hokage once again before we left, and we left to the large building where she resided.
“Lord Kazakage!” Shizune, the Hokage’s student, assistant, and friend met us in the hall. “I thought you and Lady Tsunade had finished your meetings?” She asked.
“Yes, if the Hokage would have me, I wish to discuss one last matter with her.” I responded. Shizune smiled at Naruto.
“Oh I know for a fact she wouldn’t mind! Today she is supposed to be doing a week’s worth of paperwork she has neglected!”
“That’s just like Granny! I would be on your toes Gaara! She’s likely to throw something at anyone who comes in if she thinks you’re bringing more paperwork!!!” Naruto spoke with a laugh that could only mean it had happened to him before.
Shizune led us both down the familiar hall back to the Hokage’s office and knocked on the door.
“Shizune if that’s you bringing me more work I swear I’m gonna quit!!” The voice of the Hokage was filled with frustration and exhaustion. He couldn’t blame her, he knew exactly how much paperwork came with the position of Kage.
Naruto moved past Shizune who was giving an embarrassed smile, “It’s about time granny, I’m ready to take over for you at a moment’s notice!” Naruto threw his arms behind his head and gave his leader that goofy grin that we all know him for.
“Yeah right Naruto, what do you want!? I’m busy here!” At that moment I followed Naruto into the large office, “Ah Gaara, what can I do for you?”
Tsunade shot a look at her student for not warning her that I was here.
“I apologize for coming unannounced, but I have another matter I wish to discuss with you.” I begin.
“And what matter would that be?”
“The Chunin, Hannah who has served as an escort for my family this week; Temari has been teaching her this week and Hannah has responded with great promise. Naruto tells me she has no family here nor a ninja team.”
“That’s right.” Tsunade prompted me to continue.
“With your consent I wish to ask Hannah if she would like to return with us to the land of winds to train under Temari until we return next.”
This took the Hokage by surprise, Naruto smiled. “And what has brought this on?” the Hokage asked.
“I simply believe it would benefit her to spend more time with Temari; not only that it, would show my trust in the Leaf’s ninja by her presence in our home. I would not send her on missions. She would stay with Temari under her care as her student inside the village. No harm will come to her.”
The Hokage leaned on her arms deep in thought, and right on cue Naruto had to break the silence… “That’s a great idea! Hannah loves Temari and Konkuro and she would learn so much, no one in the leaf knows how to handle a fan like Temari!! Great plan Gaara!” Naruto was grinning ear to ear as he patted me on the shoulder, Tsunade on the other hand did indeed throw a book at Naruto’s head which he barely dodged by ducking, inadvertently bringing me down with him. My sand knocked him off and I quickly recovered ignoring his presence and bringing the Hokage’s attention back to me. You could practically see the steam coming from her face.
She composed herself then addressed me, “I see no problem with this, if Hannah wishes to go. But if she does I will expect monthly reports on her progress to make sure her presence is still productive. Also, I would like prior knowledge if you take her anywhere with your team, I want to know where my ninja are. Understood?” She finished with a smile; something told me she knew this would be good for Hannah.
“Understood, that is all I wished to discuss, if you are finished I believe my team and I will return home.” I said as she stood.
“Of course, I hope you have a safe journey, Naruto and Kakashi will escort you to our border.” The Hokage said.
“Thank you for all your hospitality, Lady Hokage.” I turned to leave and a grumbling Naruto followed. As we left I could hear the Hokage speaking to her student.
“All right, I guess it’s time for lunch.” “Oh no milady, you’ve got way too much to do, if you finish that stack I’ll bring you some lunch.” “Have you forgotten who I am?! I’m your Hokage!!” “Ahhh!!” I hear as a large thump follows.
“She’s got a real bad temper she does…” Naruto says rubbing the part of his head he hit when my sand threw him into the wall.
“Maybe if you didn’t set her off so often?” I offer as we walk across the street to our house. “Naruto, the village would have made you a house just like this one? Why are you living in the building with all the ninja?” I ask genuinely curious.
“I don’t need a house like that! Hopefully I’ll be on super important missions most of the time and besides!” Naruto stops and points at the Hokage’s mansion. “The next house I live in will be that one!!”
We continue walking the short distance to our temporary home, and I see Temari and Hannah out the back windows hard at work yet again. Konkuro, yet again, is asleep on the couch with remnants of stale food surrounding him and a movie playing on the TV long forgotten. I send my sand to roll him off the couch onto the plush carpet which wakes him with a start. Naruto curls over in laughter at my brother’s murderous expression. “We are leaving.” I say simply.
I move through the house to the back door ignoring the profanities being screamed at my back and then directed at Naruto. Naruto yells after me, “Talkin to me about not setting people off!!!” This almost brings a smile to my face.
I close the door behind me and escape to the peace of the outdoors. I follow the path lined with beautiful flowers grown in sand, some which are familiar to me from home others I have never seen. As I reach the end of the path and walk across the short trimmed grass to where my sister and Hannah are training they both stop to great me.
“Gaara, were you able to meet with the Hokage?” Temari and I had discussed Hannah returning with us last night and she had accepted the idea without hesitation. She loved Hannah and hoped she said she would come with us. We didn’t want to ask Hannah before the Hokage in case Tsunade rejected the idea.
Hannah gave another small bow of her head in respect as she greeted me. “Lord Kazakage.” The kind smile I had guessed was a great part of her normal expression lined her face for the millionth time in the days I had spent in her company. Temari spoke quickly.
“Hannah we have something to ask you.” Hannah responded to Temari’s statement with a small look of confusion.
“Hannah, I have spoken with the Lady Hokage, and she has agreed that if it be your wish that you may return with us to the Land of Winds to train under Temari until we return.” Hannah did not react immediately; Temari and I could see the information passing through her mind. She turned to Temari.
“Are you serious? You, you would take me with you to train?” Hannah looked completely caught off guard, and to my surprise, a tear threatened to escape the corner of her eye.
“Yes we’re serious.” Temari responded. Just as the word yes formed on my sister’s lips Hannah leapt at her and embraced her in a hug. This time I didn’t fight the smile that came forward.
The most surprising part of it all happened next, Temari hugged her back. I think Temari thought of Hannah as a younger sister she always wished she had.
Behind me I could hear Konkuro and Naruto chuckling and turned to see them watching the scene. Apparently Naruto had told Konkuro what we were talking about.
Right about that time I hear the small rustling of leaves that unmistakably means the arrival of someone. I glance up at the tree above our group and see Naruto’s sensei Kakashi.
“Congratulations Hannah, Temari may not go easy on you, but she will teach you well.” Kakashi said without taking his eyes off his novel.
“Kakashi Sensei! Thank you! What are you doing here?” Hannah said releasing her embrace on Temari.
“Naruto and I are escorting the Kazakage’s group to the border of the Land of Fire, which now includes you.” Kakashi said as he silently dropped from the tree. “Hannah, perhaps you should go pack.”
“Oh! Of course, thank you Temari!” she said giving her another small hug, then turned to me, “Thank you Kazakage!”
“Gaara” I say, bringing an even bigger smile to her face, if that was possible.
The journey back home was even less eventful. We were only confronted once and Temari and Hannah did the honors as a training exercise. Just in the few days since the two met, Hannah had learned much. As we approached the village, Hannah spoke.
“I’ve never seen your village before; Naruto tells me it’s beautiful.” She confesses looking between us all.
Temari smiles at her student who looks nervous. We approach the large wall that surrounds the village, and pass under the arch. The light passing through the dark passage prevents us from seeing anything but sunshine, until we move out of the enclosed space.
Hannah gasps as she instantly takes in the sight. Her reaction makes me evaluate the village as well, really noticing all of its features. It is nearing twilight and the sun is nearing its setting point directly behind the village horizon. Each building has a slight glow from the sand reflecting the light. My home rests in the center of the village, casting a protective shadow across the ground. The villagers are running around finishing last minute errands before returning home for the night. Off duty ninja walk down the streets laughing and speaking to occasional villagers. As we pass through the scene people greet us and those that we know well, we introduce to Hannah.
At one point a small child sees our group and tugs on her mother’s dress. Her mother leans in close as her child whispers too her. For a moment an old memory of people speaking in hushed tones about me rises up to the surface and I feel a twinge of sadness. But just as these thoughts creep back to my mind, the child reaches to grab the four wild sand daisies’s her mother gives her from the pots in her shop; and runs over to me and shyly extends the flower towards me.
Temari, Konkuro and Hannah smile at the child as I reach to receive her gift. She smiles as I will my sand to form a bouquet of flowers and condense the sand so hard it will remain in its shape for a few days. I hand my gift to the girl and return her smile. Temari has scolded me before for keeping a passive expression when these encounters happen. The girl lets out a giggle at her gift and moves to give the remaining flowers to Temari, Konkuro and Hannah before making her way back to me and taking my sand flowers.
“Thank you sir!” She says with a small bow of her head, just like Hannah tends to give. Then she turned around and ran back to her mom who also gave a small bow of the head to me. “Mommy! Mommy! Did you see what the Kazakage gave me?!” “Yes that was very nice of him wasn’t it? Did you tell him thank you?” I heard the mother chastise as we move out of earshot.
“They love you.” Hannah said gently. I turned to in surprise. Past her in our line was Temari whose smile paired with Hannah’s made me greatly happy I had brought her back with us.
We reached the base of my home, the Kage’s mansion of the sand. The two guards who stood at alert stiffened at the sight of us, but also greeted us with a smile. “Lord Kazakage, welcome home.”
“Thank you.” We passed through the door and made our way through the large building up to the fourth floor. There are stairs of course but the workers had also carved holes in the floor on each level allowing access to the rounded hallways that held the doors to the various rooms. This was designed so I could have a quick way to get to and from each level. This was how we traveled today, Temari, Konkuro and I stopped and Hannah followed suit. I summoned the sand beneath our feet to carry us smoothly up to our destination on the fourth floor. Hannah stifled a laugh as she felt the sensation for the first time. We walked onto the hallway floor, which was decorated with various plants and held a flood of sunlight from the large rounded window that was at the end of the round opening which was my personal elevator. As soon as Konkuro had walked onto safety of the hallway floor I let my sand drift gently back down to it resting place on the ground floor.
“Hannah.” I address the girl to move into the room for which I am opening the door. She moves past me into the office. The head Security looked at Hannah with surprise and confusion which melted away as soon as I entered the room.
“Lord Gaara!” The man rose to his feet and addressed us.
“This is Hannah; she has come with us from Konoha to train under Temari. She will have level 1 security clearance understood?” I spoke mater-of-factly and the man’s face showed humor then utter confusion.
“Sir, I must protest, level 1! Sir that would grant her access to you at anytime, and passage through the entire building!?” The head of security gaped in surprise as he tried to recover.
“I understand our security levels. And I am telling you that she will have level 1 clearance. She will also have clearance to come and go from the village as she pleases if she so chooses.” My tone had changed I didn’t like being challenged in front of a guest. I think he got the message from my authoritive tone.
“Uh yes sir! I will notify the staff immediately.” He says as Hannah and I turn to leave. I close the door behind us and Temari raises her eyebrows at me. I know what she is thinking Level 1? Yes, if I am to show my trust for the Leaf and its ninja, what better way than to give her such a privilege. Not only that, I do trust her. I walk past them and pull the cork out of the top of my gourd, my stride doesn’t falter as I let my weight fall toward the open hole in the center of the room.
“Whoa!” Hannah exclaims as she wraps her arms around me and pulls me back without success, my sand reaches the space moments before my foot and I turn to look at Hannah’s worried expression. It quickly turns to embarrassment as she lets go of me and turns her face away. “Sorry Kazakage, I, I thought you were going to fall."
I move to the center of the hovering disk of sand and turn back to face her, “Gaara.” That’s all I say as I extend my hand to her. She smiles, embarrassment gone, and takes my hand to balance her as she steps over the gap onto my sand. We move up another floor, and I send my sand back into my gourd. Temari takes over from there.
“Well this is where all of our rooms are.” Temari continues to point out all of our various dwellings to Hannah, and finally leads her to the guest room that she will stay in. Temari seems to have everything covered so I excuse myself. I’m sure what’s waiting for me is equally frustrating as what Tsunade was facing when I last saw her. I summon my sand yet again and move up to the next and final floor. The floors get smaller as they go up and the final floor is solely my office and dwelling.
The day draws to a close and I decide I have done enough for a night. It is hard for me to sleep now, for the longest time sleep was my greatest enemy. And now with the pressure off, I still can’t sleep anymore than a couple of hours a night. I look out one of the small windows in my room and face a full moon.
I will the sand that makes up the walls of the building to open and allow my gourd sand to carry me up to the roof before re-closing the wall I sit there for a while, simply looking over the village. It is beautiful even in slumber. A few windows show signs of life, shadows dance across the openings reveling figures moving about.
I lean back and move my gaze to the sky. The moon rising in the sky tells me it’s about eleven now. It will be at least three hours until my mind allows me to fall asleep. My mind wonders to memories of the past, and threatens to pull me into despair. Then I think about my new life, the Kazakage, that child who brought me a sand daisy. Hannah saying they loved me. Could that be true? Could people who despised me so, love me now? The answer comes to me quickly, yes. I know it is possible because I have seen it elsewhere. Naruto, he was despised just as I was, but I have seen without a doubt, his village loves him.
I pull my mind from these thoughts and decide I should make a pass over the perimeter and make sure we are secure. I trust my people explicitly, but I couldn’t call myself Kazakage if I didn’t take my people’s safety into my own hands. My sand forms almost before I think for it to come. And I move silently above my village surveying the streets. Everything is quiet, but a small figure almost passes without me noticing far beneath me. I fly lower and see it is Hannah walking around the Kage mansion. She doesn’t notice me until I am a few feet above her.
“Hannah, it may not be smart for you to walk alone out here at night.” I say to her as I land and my sand retreats back to its resting place.
“Oh yes, I’m sorry, I just couldn’t sleep.” She says in return. “I’m not sure, but I’d say your home is just as beautiful at night.” She says smiling up at me.
“Yes, it may be.” Then the inevitable question comes.
“What were you doing?” Hannah asks.
“I like to take a look over the village every night and make sure all is well.” I answer honestly. I summon my sand to hover inches from the ground and step up again. I beckon Hannah to join me and she does without question. “Temari will not go easy on you because of your lack of sleep.” I try to joke; Konkuro says it makes me more pleasant. I reach the wall that I know to lead to Hannah’s room and have it fall away so she may step into the building.
“Thanks for the advice, good night.” She laughs quietly. I send the sand back to reform her wall and return to my survey of the village.
I make my way from the center of the village to the outer wall and move slowly around its perimeter. Occasionally a ninja on duty will notice me and respectfully salute or nod. But otherwise everything is quiet.
I move back to the center mansion and don’t stop there. I push the sand to raise high over the roof to give me a view of the surrounding desert. I know what to look for to recognize a threat, moving or disrupted sand, unexplained shadows in the moonlight. Sometimes if I feel uneasy I return to the roof and summon up as much chakra as I can and feel the desert.
I can sense anything moving be it a desert hare or an intruder. There is no reason to do so tonight so I return to my room. There is nothing to do now but make use of my time until I make another round at four o’clock before I finally give into sleep. I return to my desk and busy myself with more paperwork and lose myself in my work. I may hate this part just as much as the Hokage, but I face it with a bit more of a ‘suffer in silence’ attitude. Somehow I can’t picture the Raikage ever doing any paper work. The thought jolts me from my concentration and I check the moon. It’s around three, when you spend years without sleep, one tends to learn the patterns of the moon. I leave my work behind and do another round checking the village before heading off to sleep.
The next day I wake up naturally at six thirty as always. I shower and dress before heading out to do another sweep of the village before the day starts.
On my way back I see Temari and Hannah already hard at work in one of the training arenas below. I would go and observe if I didn’t have all that paper works still left to do, much less the various meetings and missions to assign.
The days go on following this pattern, Hannah grows stronger and whenever I have a slow day I take her to the arena and train her in defense. She is attentive and respectful and works diligently. Every time she sees me or my siblings she asks if we need anything and thanks us for bringing her here. Temari teaches her to direct wind chakra past the ends of her twin fans like throwing kuni. She struggles with the nature change and it takes several weeks for her to perfect it.
One morning after several months, I receive a message from a man who runs a small village island east of the land of fire. He reports that his village is struggling to survive now that the war is over. The lack in fighting has left his home, which makes weapons, without income. He asks that I travel to his island to discuss us buying weapons to keep them alive. I speak with my advisors and we decide to help the village.
“Temari,” I say after the meeting had adjourned and the crowd dispersed, “I need you to send a message to the Hokage telling her we are traveling with Hannah. Explain to her the situation and tell her we will bring Hannah back as promised on our journey home.”
“Gaara we still so much to teach her…” She begins before I cut her off.
“Hannah has learned from you what she came here to. You have taught her how to learn to control her wind chakra and use it with her fans. That was why she came; we cannot go back on our agreement with the Hokage, no matter how we feel personally about Hannah.” This made Temari stop short. She knew as well as I that she wanted Hannah to stay for more than to teach her more. We enjoyed Hannah’s presence, especially Temari. I was right when I thought Temari regarded her as a little sister. That was exactly how she talked about her now.
“Ok.” She finally said leaving the room.
The next day preparations were complete. My team plus Hannah set off to leave the village and take our second journey together. Hannah said goodbye to the few friends she had made and promised to take every mission around here she could. One of the friends she has made is my former student Matsuri; they exchanged a small embrace and said their goodbyes before we left.
We made our way quickly through the familiar desert and past the country borders. Hannah was the youngest and sometimes we could tell the pace was weighing on her, but then she would push herself ahead so we wouldn’t suggest we slow for her. On the other hand Konkuro, older than both Hannah and I couldn’t stop complaining about the pace.
“Ok I just don’t understand one thing.” Konkuro began in his whining tone. Temari let out an exasperated sigh and told Konkuro to give it a rest but he continues. “Gaara why don’t you just fly us there? I mean really then none of us would be tired!” His tone reveled his ignorance; he honestly thought he had found a key solution. Luckily Temari saved me the annoyance of having to explain the reality to him.
“Yeah all of us but Gaara! He can’t just fly around all day without getting tired you idiot! You do remember that he is Kazakage right? And that being on his team means that you are here for the sole purpose of protecting and helping him right? It’s not his job to accommodate you!!” She finished her rant and Hannah tried without success not too laugh. Not long after Konkuro’s response of ‘whatever’ Temari spoke again.
“There are three people up ahead.” We were quite a ways north of Konoha and I don’t know this part of the Land of Fire very well.
“Civilians?” I ask.
“No, they are in the trees. Should we go around them?”
“No, if they are friendly we do not want to appear to be moving to avoid leaf ninja, and if they are not there are only three of them.” Konkuro chuckled at the end of my statement and Hannah’s eyes narrowed in concentration.
At that moment a flash of orange appeared right in front of the branch Konkuro was jumping to, and fell to the ground. Konkuro swore after seeing who it was.
“Naruto!!!! What was that for?”
“Payback.” Naruto said laughing. Our group stopped and Kakashi and Sakura ran up to us. Hannah yelled a welcome to Naruto and he moved to talk to her.
“What brings you here?” Temari asked.
“The Hokage received your message, and thought it appropriate to provide you with an escort to show our support of your weapons deal so the ninja here wouldn’t think your were arming up. That is if Gaara doesn’t mind.
I of course didn’t as long as none of them moved as slow as Konkuro, knowing for a fact they didn’t .
We continued on with a slightly quicker pace. Naruto and I led the group, and made our way to the shore line. “The Hokage also arranged for a ship to transport the group to your destination.” Kakashi explained. Naruto led the way to the right one and the ship was all prepared to sail.
Every action the Hokage took was to show friendship between their nations and villages. For this I was grateful. We were shown our rooms; the inner workings of the large ship were simple but comfortable. There was a long hallway with two doors on each side. One a room for the girls, and the one across from it a room for the men. The other two doors housed a kitchen and sitting area. And at the end of the hall was a room that was assigned to me.
Our voyage was easy, Naruto told humorous stories about his journey by ship with Rock Lee’s sensei; while Hannah and Temari trained off the back of the ship. It was a just over a full day’s journey to the small island. After thanking the crew for their services our group made its way through the island until we were met by a man who claimed to be the author of the letter he had received.
The subordinate questions Kakashi’s teams presence saying he is not prepared to make any deals with the Leaf ninja. Naruto almost comes apart at the man’s attitude but Sakura punches him hard before he gets the chance. Kakashi explains that they are here strictly as escorts and the man’s attitude is persistent.
“We have prepared a house for the Kazakage and his team.” The man speaks emphasizing the lack of planning for the leaf ninja.
“What of our ship’s crew?” I speak drawing away his scowl at Naruto and bringing back a pleasant smile as he addresses me and my team.
“They will be taken care of sir.” The man quickly replies.
Remember to comment if you like it!! Thanks for reading!
So from here is where I actually started writing this and so it is poorly written, but I'm too far into the story to want to come back and fix it. After this it gets back to normal! As always if you like it let me know!!
The next day Naruto is walking on the island beach where he is met by kankuro who explains that Gaara looks weak for having so many people with him, but wouldn’t tell Naruto that because he is his friend. Kankuro asks Naruto to leave and take all three of his team with him.
Feeling bad for making Gaara look bad he heads back to the house to get Kakashi and Sakura and go.
When he realizes that Kankuro said to take all three of this teammates with him. This makes Naruto uneasy and reminds him of the villager who looked the same way when he greeted Gaara and was annoyed by Naruto’s team being with him.
On his way back to the house Naruto is stopped by Sakura who he talks to and then heads back to the house.
When he goes into the living room Gaara is standing and Kakashi is sitting on the couch reading his book. Kankuro is walking up to Gaara and Naruto feels strange and defensive against kankuro.
Naruto senses something is off about Kankuro’s chakra and runs to him, punches him and pins him against the wall. Kakashi jumps off the couch and Gaara begins to send his sand at Naruto.
Naruto yells at Gaara to stop and says it’s not Kankuro. Gaara and Kakashi look at Naruto like he’s gone insane and try to coak him to let Kankuro go. Kankuro curses at Naruto and asks what the hell he thinks he’s doing.
Naruto begins to explain the way kankuro talked to him and what he said about how Naruto should take his 3 teammates and leave and how Naruto sensed something was off with his chakra. Naruto tells Gaara he will let kankuro go if Gaara asks him a question only kankuro would know the answer to and he gets it right.
Gaara asks kankuro a question and kankuro gives a knowing smile then pushes Naruto off and goes after Gaara with a kuni knife, and the sand pushes him back into Naruto who punches him in the face and Kankuro disappears like a shadow clone.
After the fact Naruto takes up a defensive position in front of Gaara and yells at Kakashi to tell him who his father was. Gaara says Kakashi has been with him the whole time but Naruto tells Kakashi to answer the question.
Kakashi calmly answers “My father was known as the white fang of the leaf, he committed suicide when I was 13 years old.” Naruto relaxes a little and steps to the side of Gaara.
“Sorry I had to check!” Naruto exclaims. Putting his hands behind his head and looking through one eye at his sensei
“I understand now what that was all about?” Kakashi says bringing his book out again.
“Dude could you guys be any louder down here? I was finally getting some sleep!!” Kankuro sleepily walks down the stairs into the room. Naruto and Gaara look from one another than to Kakashi.
“Kankuro,” Gaara says, “What is the name of our sensei?” Kankuro looks at Gaara like he is bothering him.
“You mean Baki? What does he have to do with anything? Geeze you are all weird.” Gaara looks to Naruto to confirm the answer.
Naruto sighs in relief then his eyes go wide as he makes a shocking realization. “You’ve been asleep this whole time!? It’s two in the afternoon!! Someone just tried to kill your brother and you were sleeping??”
“Yes I’ve been asleep.” Kankuro states matter-of-factly. “Wait what did you say?”
“You heard me!! While you were off getting beauty sleep someone made a shadow clone of you and tried to kill Gaara!!” Gaara who had moved to the window crossed his arms and bowed his head in deep thought.
“We need to get Temari, Hannah and Sakura here so there are no more mix-ups while we figure out what just happened.” Kakashi says without looking up from his book.
“Temari is in the garden in the back. I will go get her.” Gaara says to himself more than anyone. Naruto is still explaining and arguing with Kankuro and doesn’t register Gaara’s words until he is out the door.
“Wait! Don’t you get it! You can’t just go off on your own!!” Naruto yells running after Gaara. Just as Gaara walks out the door Temari looks up from her book and three kuni with paper bombs land on the bench next to her. Gaara’s eyes widen with shock and he sends his sand to protect her a second before they go off. In the same moment more kuni bombs fall to the ground surrounding Gaara in a circle while his sand is with Temari. Naruto tackles Gaara and the paper bombs all go off.
Kakashi and Kankuro run out and Temari emerges from the sand, shocked. Gaara crawls out from under Naruto eyes wide at the scene. Naruto used himself to defend Gaara from the bombs in place of his sand, while it was with Temari. Naruto’s back was bloody and his cloths ripped and singed. Several kuni were protruding his back and one had clipped his neck which was bleeding profusely. Apparently after the Explosion another wave of raining kuni’s had been thrown in case the attacker missed his target with the bombs. Gaara helplessly looked into his eyes which were alight with Naruto’s sage mode, which faded as Naruto quietly mouthed Gaara’s name. “Naruto!” Temari yelled, as Naruto’s vision faded.
Please tell me what you think, the rest of what I have written is normal, no naration parts.
“Quickly get them both inside and don’t let anyone in without questioning their identity, even me. I will go find Sakura and Hannah.” Kakashi yelled addressing Temari and Kankuro, and was gone. Kankuro and Gaara lifted Naruto’s bleeding body into the house and Temari bolted the door behind them, and went to the other doors to do the same.
“Ah crap, come on Naruto keep breathing.” Kankuro yelled at Naruto as he pulled the knives from his flesh. “Dang it that’s a lot of blood. Temari we need lots of towels and something to use as a turnicut!!”
Gaara had his sand cut off Naruto’s blood flow to this bleeding leg.” Hold pressure on the cut on his neck Gaara!” Temari entered with the towels then heard the sound of the door being pounded on by what sounded like a giant.
“That’s probably Sakura.” Temari huffed as she darted to the door. Looking out the window her assumption was confirmed and she quickly yelled out to her, “What team number is Team Kakashi?!”
“Team 7,! Now let me in!!” As soon as Temari reached the door she opened it and Sakura ran past her into the bloody scene. For half a moment she was overwhelmed by the sight of her friend, then resorted to her training with Tsunade and took control working quickly and efficiently. “How long has it been?”
“Two minutes at the most.” Temari answered as she re-entered the room. Sakura swore under her breath as she moved beside Naruto.
“What’s his worst injury?” She yelled at Kankuro and Gaara who were both holding towels to Naruto’s body.
“I would guess the cut on his neck it’s been bleeding really bad.” Kankuro yelled back although they were now inches from each other. Sakura instructed Gaara to remove the towel and Gaara moved a few feet back and watched with a muted sense of panic and anger. Temari moved beside Gaara for a moment before being instructed to get water from Temari.
After another 5 minutes of work, the sand sibling could sense a small sense of relief from Sakura. Shortly after, Naruto’s eyes opened and he looked blankly around the room. His eyes met Sakura’s and widened, he coughed and tried to speak. “Don’t talk,” Sakura said with finality, “there’s still a lot of blood in your lungs I have to remove.” Naruto looked at Kankuro questioningly who laughed.
“Don’t worry retard, it’s her. We questioned her, she’s not about to attack Gaara.” Gaara sighed with exasperation at the genuine relief that over took Naruto’s face. At that moment there was another knock at the door.
“That will be Kakashi.” Kankuro said moving to the front of the house to the door. Naruto moved to sit up and tried to cover the pain on his face with a smile.
He coughed again and laughed, “Don’t worry about it Sakura, you know how fast I heal!” Sakura grumbled something about him never listening to her when Kakashi and Hannah came in the room.
“Hey guys.” Naruto smiled and winked at Hannah, whose color began to return to her face.
Hannah’s eyes swept the room finally leaving Naruto and found Gaara. The expression he wore was one she had never seen before, and she never wanted to see again. It was a mixture of extreme pain and anger. The kind of emotions that only go together when someone close to you is hurt. She quietly moved to his side and yearned to comfort him. This confused her since Naruto was the one hurt, but her heart was telling her Gaara needed her more than him. She gently lifted her hand and let it rest on his elbow that was tensely tucking his other arm into a tight cross filled with stress.
At her touch Gaara’s arms tensed further, then relaxed as he looked down at his friend. She didn’t smile at him or tell him it would be ok. Gaara didn’t need that; he just needed someone to be there with him in that moment.
No one paid any attention to the exchange between the two, which held so much meaning to Gaara. With the slightest touch Hannah brought him back to reality and allowed him to find the strength to take charge.
He was angry, so angry at whoever had done this too his friend, and at the same time he was furious at Naruto for doing what he had done. But he came to the realization that he would have and did do the same for Temari, sacrificed his defense for his sister. Just as Naruto had done for his friend, he knew it was Naruto’s instinct, to always protect his friends before himself. That’s what made him so unpredictable on the battlefield.
“All right, while Sakura patches up Naruto’s back we need to figure out what our next course of action is.” Kakashi cool and collected voice instructed the group and faced the situation in a way forward.
“Hold up!” Naruto yelled. Everyone looked from Kakashi to Naruto, who was still looking pretty rough. “Multi-Shadow clone Jutsu!” Naruto yelled and 10 Naruto’s filled the room to full capacity. Naruto wavered slightly as the smoke cleared and kankuro held him up.
“You idiot!!” Sakura yelled as she hit Naruto on the head. “What do you think you’re doing? If I told you not to talk I probably didn’t want you to be doing a jutsu did I!!”
“Ow! Geeze Sakura give me a break!” The encounter lightened the mood in the room slightly.
“What could you possibly need ten clones for right now anyway!?” Sakura continued.
“Give me a sec and you’ll find out!” Naruto yelled back. Sakura gave him a look that threatened another punch to the face but Naruto turned from her to the clones and gave instructions. “I need you guys in pairs of two, one pair on each side of the house and one pair on the roof. One of the two on the roof I want to go into sage mode until I can and watch for anyone approaching. If you see anyone of us approaching the house with clone chakra attack it and let me know.” Naruto finish out of breath and sent the clones to their positions outside the house. They all left instantly.
They all moved to the living room and sat down, Sakura finished the cut she was working on then moved to help Naruto in to join the group.
“Hey Sakura?” Naruto said as they stood up together.
“Well I was wondering what would happen if someone on our team like, lost a leg or something while on a mission? Could you help them?” Sakura looked at him confused.
“Well yes, I guess. I’ve been trained to deal with most injuries that can happen in the field. Why do you ask?” Sakura explained questioningly.
“Well would you like put them to sleep if you had to do that or would we just have to pass out or something?” Naruto said with fear in his eyes contemplating the scenario.
Sakura chuckled,“ No I have some anesthesia I carry with me to all our missions in case I have to do something like that, it’s in my bag upstairs. And your leg wasn’t that bad by the way.” She finished with a smirk.
They moved together into the living room where Kakashi had already begun talking. Sakura led Naruto to a coffee table that had been moved to make a bigger circle for them to sit in that was now part of the circle. Naruto sat down and Sakura continued to work on the smaller cuts on his back.
“…the attacks were clearly aimed at Gaara, both the Kankuro clone and the episode outside.” Kakashi finished.
“But they attacked Temari with those three kuni.” Kankuro questioned generally confused by the whole situation and blunt wake up.
“Yes but the attack on Temari was most likely just to move Gaara’s defenses away from him to open him up to a much larger attack. Which was also followed by an attack with many more kuni in case the first was deflected.” Kakashi explained looking at Naruto who had no hint of regret but wore an expression that said it was all fact and it all went according to plan. This made Kakashi smile slightly under his ever present mask even through the situation.
“So,” Kakashi continued, “We know that the enemy has the ability to make shadow clones of other people. Although we have no idea how many they are able to control at once. Our enemy has already proven to be a serious threat and very strategic. We need to decide where to go from here…” Kakashi was cut off by Naruto.
“Well obviously our first move is to get Gaara off this island.” Naruto stated matter of factly; looking at the ground as Sakura moved her hands away from his back and stated that she was finished. Naruto turned to her and thanked her.
It always amazes me how quickly he heals himself; his body had started healing before I even got to him. He is truly amazing. Sakura caught herself within her own mind and forced herself to focus on the situation at hand as she moved to take a seat next to Kakashi.
Gaara had closed his eyes refusing to make eye contact with Naruto as he gave his opinion on Naruto’s plan.
“I will not seem a coward and run from every threat that comes my way. Do you think so little of me? We will find this person or these people and eliminate them. A message will be sent that the Kazakage will not be intimidated by such people.” Gaara spoke with dignity and power as he spoke. Even though Temari and Kankuro liked the idea of getting there little brother away from this threat that had already bypassed his defenses, Gaara was speaking as there Kazakage now, as their leader. Hannah felt it to, the pride in Gaara’s voice as he spoke with absolute authority.
If Naruto felt it, he ignored it. “Whatever! Even I can see something’s going on here, we’ve got to go with the worst-case-scenario on this one and that means getting you out of here.” Temari began to speak possibly to remind Naruto that Gaara was the Kazakage and he was in charge, but Naruto didn’t give her the chance. “That guy that met us when we got here acted the same way to Kakashi, Sakura and I being here that the Kankuro clone did. That means that this goes all the way down to Gaara being invited here. Which means the whole invitation was a trap.” He rephrased himself just to get the point across. The main thing is getting Temari and Kankuro on board with getting Gaara out of here, something tells me they would go along with it if they weren’t bound to his Kazakage crap. Naruto kept pushing his point.
“Think about it, they picked the perfect scenario to trap Gaara! The island itself is too far for you all to call backup that’s why they didn’t want us here with you guys. From what the enemy has already showed he is able to make seemingly perfect clones of people. If they enemy took the Kazakage out on an island that he went to alone what do you think he planned to do then?!”
Naruto was standing now; anger building at his friend who he had sworn he would protect that wouldn’t even acknowledge him.
“Gaara look at me!!” Sakura flinched and Temari looked stunned.
Gaara slowly raised his head and glared at Naruto as he faced him. “They probably want to replace you with a clone and control the Sand village!”
Kakashi, who had long given up on calming his student, contemplated everything Naruto had said. It was a possibility, but not only that, it was likely. It was common knowledge that there were many that were unhappy with the new era of peace and the alliances between the great nations. No one thought the alliances would last forever but to some the sooner the alliances broke the better. Many of the smaller nations had heavily profited by the constant state of confrontation between the large powers by making weapons and armor. It was not so farfetched to assume someone would go to such lengths to break up the current alliances.
“Gaara open your eyes! Do you remember what you asked me after you lost the shukaku?” Naruto waited for Gaara to answer as he knew he would.
“I asked you why you would come after me knowing the Akatsuki was after you as well.” Gaara answered, obviously confused as to how this applied to the current situation.
“And I said it was because you were my friend. And you were more important than me anyway.”
This conversation was news to everyone else in the room and they listened eagerly to Naruto as he recounted the event.
“Not only because you were the Kazakage, but because you had a family. Something I don’t have, something more important than anything else!”
There was pain in Naruto’s voice as he spoke, and it had nothing to do with his injuries. Gaara briefly looked to the ground before looking at Temari and Kankuro. He had nothing, no defense against Naruto’s words. Naruto continued; raising his hand to point at Gaara’s siblings as they sat together on the couch opposite him.
“We have already established that our enemy isn’t stupid! If they plan to replace you with a stupid clone, don’t you think they would assume your own brother and sister would notice!! That would mean they would have to replace them too!”
This time Gaara stood and faced Naruto. “So you expect me to leave! You think I will sit idly by safe on my way home while I let them and you stay and look for this faceless enemy! I will stand and fight to protect my comrades and my family just as you do! What gives you the right to stand and fight while I run and hide!?” Gaara yelled with anger.
“Because I’m not their target! They don’t care about me! They’re not gonna stop hunting you! You’re the Kazakage! And I don’t expect you to leave them here to defend you! I expect all of you to get the hell out of here and let us handle it. We will send for backup and find these creeps! But we can’t fight and search the island while worrying about you three the whole time! We stand a better chance of finding whoever is behind all of this crap if you are safely away from here!”
“How so? Leaving the three of you here alone leaves you defenseless. And our presence at least keeps the enemy close!” Gaara yelled back at his friend.
“So what, you want to be bait!? Like we are going to let you stay just to be bait for the enemy! We do not use such tactics Gaara.” Naruto calms his voice, knowing he has presented his argument to its fullest and it’s the right course of action.
“Gaara you are my friend, and I will defend you and your siblings and eliminate those who are threatening you, I promise. And I always keep my word, cause that’s my nindo, my ninja way!”
Finishing his speech with a smirk on his face, Naruto moves out of the square of couches and moves behind Gaara’s seat and walks away.
“Don’t worry Sakura, I’ll be right back, I’m going upstairs to get my kuni bag, cause whatever we do, I’ll probably need it!” Naruto heads upstairs down the hallway that separated the four bedrooms that accommodated their party.
But Naruto passes he and Kankuro’s room and walks into the girl’s room. Quickly and quietly he finds Sakura’s bag and finds the needle that would make the night go according to plan. Naruto ducks out of the girl’s room with his spoils and moves into his room and straps on his kuni bag. Shoving the needle under the elastic of his sleeve, Naruto sits on the floor with his feet crossed and closes his eyes. Sitting without the slightest movement Naruto allows the nature chakra around him to flow into him, balancing the three chakra’s within him perfectly he opens his eyes with the power of sage mode within him.
Running back down stairs he meets the eyes of those in the group as they look up. Gaara and Hannah are still on the couch with their backs to him, Kakashi and Sakura on the couch across from them facing him, and Kankuro and Temari on the couch facing Naruto’s vacant coffee table. It was now late evening and the sun was almost set leaving a dull glow of orange outlining the trees and casting shadows through the windows. The TV was all but forgotten, and the living room was now for all intents and purposes the strategy room as they faced this crisis.
Naruto lets out a dramatic sigh. “Cum oooonnnnn guys! Aren’t you going to ask if I’m really Naruto or ask some kind of personal question or something?!” The expressions he is met with are not apologetic.
“You idiot you’re in freakin’ Sage mode, I don’t think any knock-off clone could pull that off…” Kankuro explains with an annoyed tone. Naruto squints and meets his gaze with a glare.
“Yes Naruto, we were just discussing that since the Kankuro clone didn’t have his knowledge to answer the question then they probably aren’t able to duplicate our special jutsu’s.” Temari states.
Naruto stays at the bottom of the stairs conflicted within by what he planned to do. He knew it was for the best. It would ultimately protect his friends and allow his plan to be put into action. But the thought of what he was about to his friend did not sit well with him. Ultimately, the risks of what his actions might do to his friendship with Gaara and his trust could not outweigh the need to keep his promise to Lady Chio and protect Gaara.
Naruto moved casually towards his seat as the needle in his sleeve moved into his hand. Before anyone knew what had happened, especially Gaara, Naruto had gracefully used his sage-mode enhanced speed to gently plunge the need of anesthesia into Gaara’s shoulder. Everyone immediately jumped out of their seats and started yelling. Naruto looked down into his friends eyes as Gaara fell into a deep sleep from the medicine. He couldn’t meet any of the angry faces now looking at him for an explanation. He could only look down at the face of his friends with a look of peace on his face.
No one but Sakura actually understood what had happened.
“Naruto! Was that my anesthesia?!” “What the hell did you do to my brother you stupid jerk!” “Gaara, Gaara, answer me!” Naruto what’s going on, why, why would you do that?” These were the cries of everyone who yelled, Sakura, Kankuro, Temari, and Hannah. Kakashi just looked exhausted and annoyed at the same time.
Finally Kakashi spoke, loudly demanding attention and immediate action. “Ok! Everyone quiet.” Silence took over the group, but nothing could mute the glares that met Naruto when he lifted his head. “Alright, that’s better. Now, Naruto would you care to tell us why you used Sakura’s medicine to put Gaara to sleep?” Kakashi finished his statement clearly expecting some unintelligent answer in return. When Naruto finally met the gazes of his friends in the room, they were all shocked further when they realized that Naruto was crying softly.
“I’m really sorry. I know I had no right to do this, I know Gaara is the Kazakage now and he is in charge of this mission and should have the final say in whether he stays or leaves the island. But I have a really bad feeling about this. Whoever it is we are dealing with got through Gaara’s defenses too quickly, it scares me. The day we brought Gaara back, before you and the other Sand ninja got there, Lady Chio, with her dying breaths, asked me to protect and look out for Gaara. And I have tried to live up to that request ever since. And everything within me is screaming to get Gaara out of here in order to keep that promise. I know that I’m probably going to lose my friendship with Gaara over this, and maybe even his trust. But if I can keep him safe, it will be worth it. I knew he would never agree to leave, from the moment I suggested it. Gaara is too good of a guy to leave anyone behind to protect himself or even his family.”
He looked up at Temari and Kankuro, as he continued, “I just needed to explain my actions and reasons to you, so that you might be able to understand why I did this. Gaara is fine; if you don’t believe me ask Sakura, he is just asleep. And if we choose to, he will be asleep long enough to get him out of here without any resistance. There that’s all I have to say.”
No one said anything for a long time, apart from Sakura confirming Naruto’s earlier statement about Gaara just being asleep.
Sakura was feeling sad thinking of Lady Chio, who had fought with Sakura and given her life to save Gaara. She remembered that day well and remembered the promise Naruto made to protect Gaara. She too felt compelled to go along with Lady Chio’s final wish and do whatever necessary to keep Gaara safe. She had to admit, Naruto must really care about Gaara if he had been devising a way to get his friend off the island even right after waking up from his injuries.
Temari and Kankuro were essentially thinking the same thing. They were appalled at Naruto for what he had just done to their little brother, and their Kazakage, but at the same time looking at Naruto cry over possibly losing his friendship and his intense desire to protect Gaara. Naruto had shown his will to help their brother many times in the past going all the way back to when Gaara lost the Shukaku up until a few hours ago when he defended him from an attack with his life. They knew they could trust Naruto’s intensions but they were worried about his methods. They too desperately wanted to protect Gaara, but he was also their leader, and he called the shots.
Naruto new that Gaara’s brother and sister would be conflicted by their instincts to protect their little brother, and following the orders of their Kazakage. “If you guys catch crap about disobeying his desire to stay later, you can just say I knocked him out and he was defenseless and we had to get him out or something, just please help me get him off this island tonight.”
No one knew what to say, they all knew the benefits of getting Gaara out outweighed the risks but still they were hesitant. They all ended up resting their gazes of confliction yearning for resolve on Kakashi.
Kakashi let out a sigh. “Considering the Kazakage has been rendered unable to command this team. I will take charge if this is ok with the sand ninja.” Temari and Kankuro could not express their relief and willingness to have this decision lifted from their shoulders. Kakashi acknowledged their expressions as confirmation and continued. “Considering the evidence that the meeting that brought the Sand Kazakage and his team here was formed under false pretences, I believe the Sand ninja’s involvement is no longer relevant and this is officially a Konoha matter. Therefore the Kazakage and his team should return to the land of fire where they will be escorted safely back to the land of wind.” Kakashi met Naruto’s face with a smile. “Maybe wait until we run out of options before putting someone to sleep so they will do what you want Naruto.”
“Hey you heard him! He was talkin all high and mighty and was gonna use himself as bait just because he’s so stubborn and couldn’t find and other reason to stick around! Thank you Kakashi. Temari, Kankuro, please forgive me for what I did to Gaara.” Naruto met the gazes of each of them waiting to hear an earful, mainly from Temari.
“We forgive you; we know that you had your reasons, however misguided.” Temari said after exchanging a look with her brother. “But if you ever tell Gaara we went along with you we will lie, and tell him we beat you up.” Kankuro added.
Kakashi begins the new mission saying, “Ok, let’s get a plan together.”
After summoning two more clones, Naruto and a clone carry Gaara up to his room and stay with him, both in sage-mode. The second clone stays in the living room with everyone to get a plan together. By eleven o’clock they have put together their mission.
“Alright lets run over everything again. Our formation to the docks will consist of two levels of protection around Gaara. One Naruto clone will carry Gaara on his back in the center. Surrounded by Naruto, and three of his clones, all in Sage-mode, ready to alert us to any clones, or other persons approaching. Our next level will consist of myself at the north, Kankuro and Hannah running to the east and west with their mid range jutsu, and finally Sakura with her medical jutsu running in the south. Temari will take point to accommodate her long range jutsu without any of us being in her way. She will be our first point of attack on any clones approaching. We will not attack any ninja or civilian with normal chakra without being provoked. We have to be prepared for any scenario. No matter what happens we keep moving toward the docks.”
Kakashi paused to let this point take precedence with the group. Feeling everyone understood his point, Kakashi continued. “Once we reach the docks Sakura, Naruto, and all of his clones will move onto the ship we came in on or any other ship available depending on the situation. Naruto will check the ship for any chakra, clone or otherwise and Sakura and three of the clones will rid the ship of any people found. Simply tell any civilians to leave and kill the clones. After double checking for foreign chakra, two of the Naruto clones will take the Kazakage into the inner bedroom of the ship and stay with him, one clone will stay directly outside the Kazakage’s door and the final clone will guard the door to the inner part of the ship. Once the clones are assembled Sakura will come take Hannah’s place on the defensive line and Hanna will take the place of one clone in Gaara’s room. That clone will come out on deck and wait. After that the real Naruto will advance halfway down the dock and Kankuro will head to the ship and use his puppets to pull down the sail, and Naruto will summon two regular clones to start pushing the ship to sea. After Kankuro pulls down the sail he will guard the door to the inner ship and the two sage clones already on the ship deck will tie down the sail on either side of the ship. Remember right now we are planning all of this to happen simultaneously and happen within seconds. We are still planning on a worst-case-scenario; which would mean the defensive line will be harder to maintain every moment. Assuming the enemy clones work the same way as Naruto’s, every time we defeat one of them the rest will learn more about our attacks, tactics and weaknesses. Anyway, once the sails are secured, and the boat is moving. Naruto will release the two new clones and Temari will run for the ship, using her powerful wind technique to push wind into the sails and push the ship far into the sea away from the dock. Then Naruto will summon Gamakichi and Gamatasu. Sakura and I will fall back to Naruto forming a new line and Naruto will use a combined attack with the toads to push back the enemy long enough for the ship to get out to sea.” Looking at Temari, Kankuro, and Hannah, Kakashi continued.
“After that your mission will be to protect the Kazakage, and ours will be to locate and eliminate the enemy on the island. The four sage clones will stay with you until they pass beyond Naruto’s chakra range, which we have no way of anticipating, but if I had to guess I would guess they would be with you halfway to the land of fire. The Naruto clone in charge, umm Naruto will figure that out, will have a message to give to a messenger bird explaining the situation and asking for you an escort and us some back up. If anything happens and you need help, dismiss one of the Naruto clones and we will know to come help. Everyone got it?” The group looked at one another determined and ready to go. Only Hannah looked worried.
“Will,” Hannah looked unsure whether or not to speak, “Will you three be ok?” Looking from Kakashi, Sakura and Naruto all of the worst-case-scenario ran through her mind.
Naruto smiled and put his hands behind his head. “Don’t worry about us Hannah! You just stick with Gaara and be the leaf’s representation on that boat ok!” Hannah new Naruto could handle just about everything, he had saved the whole village when it was attacked by the Akatsuki leader last year, and had grown even stronger since the war.
If anyone could handle himself out here it was Naruto. And these three had worked together as a team since day one; a team that had been through so much must be pretty powerful together. Especially led by Kakashi and having the Hokage’s student. Hannah decided she would probably just get in there way, she was nowhere near their level right now.
Hannah decided two things in that moment: one, she had no worries about leaving and would do her best to fulfill her part of this mission perfectly; and two, she would train harder than ever from here on out, so next time she would not be in the way or on a lower level than anyone, she would be a trusted comrade just like the sand and leaf ninja.
“Ok. When do we leave?”
---------- Post added at 09:49 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:48 AM ----------
With the plans set, the clone disappeared and Naruto looked at the clone beside him and then to his friend, still in a deep sleep. Naruto helped the clone pick up Gaara and his sand gourd and put them on the clones back. They both jumped out one of the large windows into the cool night. Naruto bites his finger “Summoning jutsu!” Out of the smoke appear Gamakichi and Gamatasu, the toad brothers.
“Naruto! What’s up!” “Do you have any snacks?” Gamakichi and Gamatasu greeted Naruto in their typical fashions.
“Guys I need your help tonight.” Naruto give a short version of what’s been going on, “so we are getting Gaara of the island tonight. Eventually I may summon you depending on how bad things get.”
Naruto contemplates the situation and how he hopes things aren’t as bad as he feels they are. “So, if I summon you, just ignore it and start drinking toad oil Gamatasu, then I’ll summon you again and you both come and hopefully we can push the enemy back enough with our toad oil flame bullet attack to let the ship with Gaara and his family gets away.”Naruto looks pleadingly at the brothers, praying they understand. “Any questions?”
“Uhhhh I’m confused…” Gamatasu says. “Don’t worry about it Naruto, we’ll be there, I’ll explain everything to Gamatasu later.” Gamakichi assures Naruto.
“Alright then, I’m counting on both of you! Thanks!” The toads both disappear into the same smoke they arrived in and Naruto turns his attention to the next part of his mission.
“Oi! Everyone get over here now!” All of the clones he summoned earlier appeared instantly. Dismissing all but three, the four of them sit down and go into sage-mode together. Just as they are finishing, the rest of the team emerges from the house. Naruto and his three clones, now in sage-mode, form the first level of protection around Gaara. The rest of the team takes their places silently, all knowing their jobs. Once the formation is complete, everyone waits silently for Kakashi’s word.
“Alright, let’s go.” Before Kakashi could even get the last word out they were all running as one. Naruto ran without focusing on where he was going, instead he focuses on expanding his mind to sense even the slightest amount of chakra that might come close to the team. Everyone ran swiftly and silently through the thin island forestry, heading west toward the docks.
The night sky and the forest brush offered some concealment, but the moon and bright stars illuminate the night, like a dimly lit sun, setting the entire island alight. Once they reached the docks there would be no hiding their large group, the large amount of light would prove to be helpful and unhelpful as the night went on. After reaching the halfway point between the house and the docks, Naruto and all of his clones stiffen suddenly.
Kakashi notices the movement and calls out to Naruto, “What is it?” Naruto’s eyes were beginning to widen with anger as he ran behind the clone carrying his friend.
“Their coming, and there’s a lot of them, don’t forget! They’re only clones, keep moving to the docks no matter what! They waited to attack until we were too far in to turn back to the house. They want to take us all out right here.” Naruto reports back to Kakashi. “They must not know who they’re dealing with.” Naruto spits with anger and determination in his voice.
“How many is a lot?” Kankuro asks.
“As many as I can make…” Naruto reports angrily. “We need to pick up the pace; we will meet them in about five minutes. Just plow through them and get to the docks!!”
Naruto’s mind was spinning with the amount of chakra that was heading their way, and now building up behind them, they were surrounding them expecting them to stand and fight. He knew it was an illusion, clones were fairly easy to take out even in large numbers, but what made clones tricky was their ability to pass information to each other and their creator. They were constantly learning. The less they confronted the clones the better. Their mission was to get to the docks while fighting the least amount of them possible.
“Here they come, get ready.” But no amount of warning had prepared the group for what met them. Although they didn’t waver or stop moving, the group was surprised by the enemy that they were now facing. Emerging from the trees at the exact same moment all around them was thousands of themselves even clones of Gaara. Hannah screamed a bit when a Temari clone attacked her, she was facing her sensei and she hesitated.
Naruto noticed the hesitation and sent a kuni into the clone and bringing Hannah back to her senses. Without any further hesitation the group quickly forced their way toward the docks avoiding as many attacks as possible. When the end of the trees was finally in sight, the group all silently went over the second phase of their mission.
Each one of them had a specific task to accomplish. Clones were covering the dock and blocking their way. Temari who still had point jumped clearing the rest of the beach and landing on the front of the dock. With her large fan she sent a surge of chakra filled wind that acted like large blades down the dock clearing the way for Naruto and Sakura to make their way to the ship with her brother.
Temari, Kakashi, Hannah, and Kankuro formed the defensive line holding back the never ending swarms of clones as they tried to reach the docks.
Immediately Naruto saw it, the large amounts of blood smearing the wood of the boat and the dead crewman that lay lifeless over the deck. Naruto could sense only a few clones on the ship and pointed out their locations to Sakura and the rest of his clones, as they swept the ship eliminating the enemy Naruto and the clone carrying Gaara stood watching the battle ensuing on the beach.
The clones were getting more aggressive and smarter. Temari and Kankuro were on the outside of the line with Hannah and Kakashi in the Center on both ends of the dock. Their line was large and had gaping holes, but no clones had a chance to even get close. The four were working together to keep the clones as far away as possible. Kakashi had used his water dragon jutsu as a long range attack, Hannah was sending sharp chakra blades from her fans, and Temari and Kankuro were using their regular techniques to keep the enemy far enough away to avoid and physical confrontations which was about all the clones could do.
All the clones could manage to do were send countless kuni and shurikens at the line. The group was able to avoid them most of the time but occasionally one would catch them. Hannah took one hard in the shoulder and Kakashi thought she might break the line, but Hannah fought through the pain.
“Naruto! It’s all clear!!” Sakura yelled as she emerged from the inner part of the ship. Naruto motioned to the clone carrying Gaara and the clone ran back to the inner room and placed Gaara on his bed. Two clones stayed in the room with Gaara, one outside the door and the final took his place outside the outer door that granted access to the inner part of the ship.
Sakura ran back down the dock and took Hannah’s place next to Kakashi, who ran down the dock and took one clones place in guarding Gaara. Although the kuni was still in her shoulder, and two small shuriken were lodged in her leg, Hannah didn’t allow herself to relax; she stood, directly behind the open door ready for anything. The clone she replaced runs out to the ship’s deck just as Kankuro is pulling the sails down.
The two clones, now on the ship’s deck, jump and grab the ropes attached to the sail and tie them down on either side of the ship. The two new normal clones Naruto summoned have cut the ships anchor off and are pushing the large ship a few meters off the dock. With the ship free and moving, Naruto dismisses the two new clones and yells at Temari to come, at the same time Naruto bites his finger to use the summoning technique for the first time to alert the toad brothers to get ready.
Surprisingly Gamatasu appears. “Hey Naruto, oh whoops I wasn’t supposed to come yet. Do you have anything to eat?” Gamatasu says, and then he looks down the dock and see’s Kakashi and Sakura, who are now engaging countless clones in close combat. “That’s not good… I’ll go back.” Gamatasu says without hearing Naruto’s screams and protest about him messing up the plan.
Well at least Gamakichi will be ready. This really is a worst-case-scenario. Kakashi and Sakura were holding the line, but just barely, by now Temari was running past Naruto and starting her jutsu to really get the ship moving. With the final swing of her massive fan, Temari lets loose a ferocious wind without her usually chakra blades and the white sails of the ship stretch to their full capacity and the boat lurches forward just as Temari leaps off the end of the dock to the ship where Kankuro helps her balance and stay on the ships edge.
With one final look at the Sand siblings, now safe with their brother inside, Naruto turns to the mob of clones that threatened to break through with their new sense of panic at their targets escape. Naruto quickly forms the hand signs and yells once more “Summoning Jutsu!!”
To everyone’s surprise Naruto was lifted into the air much higher than expected as the chief toad appears below Gamakichi under Naruto’s feet. Naruto begins to question the chief when he realizes his mouth is full with the toad oil he had asked the chief’s son’s to bring.
Without further hesitation, Naruto yells: “Kakashi sensei, Sakura fall back!” while giving the orders Naruto forms more hand signs yelling “Wind style, Toad oil flame bullet!!” just as Kakashi and Sakura fell behind the massive toad. The chief toad releases a huge stream of toad oil which Naruto manipulates with his wind style attack to form a projectile at the charging clones, just before the oil impacts the enemy, Gamakichi uses his fire style to create a huge flame along the oil. They continue to sweep the beach until no remnants of the enemy remain.
“Thank you, chief toad; by the way, what are you doing here?”
“Well after Gamatasu messed up and came over here early, he told us you were in a bit of trouble over here and could use some more help, so I took his spot on your ridiculous team. Naruto can we put out the fire in the forest so I can go home already, I’ve got better things to do.” Looking around Naruto realized the chief was right, their attack had been so big, it had not only whipped out every clone in the forest, but it had set most of the western part of the forest on fire.
Naruto quickly formed a few more hand signs and he and the chief toad used the same concept to create a water bullet instead and put out the flames. “Finally kid, you owe me big time for this one…” “Later Naruto!” Gamakichi called to Naruto as they both abruptly disappeared letting Naruto fall to the ground. “What’d you do that for you stupid toad!?”
“Well it looks like we’re in the clear for now…” Temari sighs to her brother. Looking at the scene from a distance might be even more spectacular.
Watching Naruto summon such a creature and perform a jutsu with it was incredible. He must really have a bad feeling about this if he summoned something that powerful.
”Tsk, how do you figure?” Kankuro answered. Temari looked around the sea that surrounded them and finally looked at her brother questioningly.
“We are on a ship, with no escape, in the middle of the ocean, with our brother who was just drugged by his best friend, He Is Going To Be Pissed.” He spoke the last word with bitter anticipation, Temari laughed in response.
“It may sound crazy, but I think I’d rather have him here angry at us than back on that island.” Temari turned back to face the island as it faded into the distance. They had a good strong wind to carry them away and they were making good time. She could hardly see the huge billows of smoke caused by Naruto and his summon.
“Ya, it may be crazy, but I think I agree. Well in any case,” Kankuro continued with a lighter tone, shrugging it off, “That clone already let the messenger bird go so we should be met by some Leaf ninja before too long. I hope they get here before Gaara wakes up…”
“How long do you think it will take them?” Temari asked as she walked to large crate to sit on.
Kankuro joined her before answering. “Depends I guess.”
“Depends on what?” Temari pressed.
“On whether or not your dashing boyfriend is with them, I’m sure he will come to your rescue faster than light itself.” Kankuro finished mockingly. He didn’t have much time to revel in his witty remark before Temari pushed him over the boat. Much to Temari’s dismay a Naruto clone grabbed his hand halfway down the boat.
“Uhh… I know that Naruto left you to like ‘protect’ us and our little brother, but if I push my brother over the side of the boat, you don’t have to intervene…” Temari explained with a smile. The clone smiled back and let go of Kankuro letting him fall into the cold water.
“Owww… that stupid toad, who does he think he is?” Naruto groans standing up. “Are you two ok?” He looks to his friend and sensei. Both look uninjured and generally ok. Probably because Kakashi wouldn’t have had a problem with the fight, and Sakura wasn’t involved for as long.
“We’re fine, that was really cool Naruto; I didn’t know you could do that with your summons.” Sakura replied enthusiastically.
“All right, well what do we do now?” Naruto says looking to his captain. Kakashi sighs, contemplating their next course of action. Nothing had been planned from here on out and it was only a matter of time before the enemy fled the island. Their only lead at the moment was the man who had greeted them in the village. So Kakashi decided to start there.
“Let’s go find the village subordinate who greeted us when we arrived. You know, the one who acted the same way as the first clone.” Kakashi prompted, sensing Naruto’s confusion. “Then we’ll see from there.
The clone Naruto gave the note too will have sent word to Konoha and we should be getting some back up soon; but until then it’s just us so don’t do anything reckless.” Kakashi and Sakura both turn to face Naruto.
“Bwahaha!!” Temari laughs not expecting the clone to actually drop Kankuro.
“What’s wrong? What was that noise?” Hannah runs out of the inner part of the ship ready for a fight; only to see her sensei laughing and perched on a crate just to her left.
“Oh nothing, Kankuro just wanted to go for a swim that’s all!” Temari looks to Hannah for the first time since boarding the ship. Hannah was younger than the rest of them and it showed from the injuries she sustained with the clones.
Hannah had only had a few months of real training with her after all, and it had been basic stuff. Hannah had apparently not relaxed a second since getting on the ship. Temari felt a twinge of guilt for joking with her brother earlier while Hannah had been alert inside.
Her clothes were torn in several places with small cuts underneath; nothing serious except for two shuriken that still protruded her thigh. She had a larger cut on her shoulder too. Temari and Kankuro hadn’t been hit with any kuni but had been cut with a few shuriken too, but not near as often as Hannah had by the looks of it.
“Shoot, let’s get those shuriken out of your leg and clean it up.” Temari moved to her new student and sat down with her. She was by no means a medical ninja but everyone knew how to take care of basic wounds. She carefully removed the two small shuriken from Hannah’s leg and cleaned the cuts left behind and the larger cut on her shoulder. Temari noticed that Hannah never stopped scanning the surroundings, watching the horizons as the sun began rising over the eastern sky from which they had just come from. Hannah was looking for threats, ready to spring into battle at any moment. Her whole body was tense and her muscles ready to react instantly. Temari looked into her students face and said “Hannah relax, if you could have seen what Naruto did to all of those stupid clones you wouldn’t be worried about any of them following us. They have plenty to deal with back on that island with those three there. Go down and rest for a while, me and Kankuro will keep watch with Naruto’s clones until the leaf ninjas get here.”
Hannah looked confused and a bit dejected, but she also looked exhausted, she had gone as long as Temari had without sleep but it was more than that. Temari realized this was probably the most important mission she had ever been on, and she hadn’t been prepared for it.
“I’ll be alright; I’m supposed to watch the Kazakage after all.” Hannah retorted. At that time Kankuro began crawling over the ships rail and fell to the deck with a loud thump.
“Glad you could join us Kankuro. I was just telling Hannah that we would keep watch until the leaf ninja get here because you slept till two in the afternoon yesterday anyway…” Kankuro’s face turned from annoyed to disbelief.
Just as he was about to protest he looked at his sister who was giving him that ‘do what I say even though you don’t want to’ look. Looking past Temari he spots Hannah behind her and senses the same physical and mental exhaustion. Kankuro lets out a heavy sigh realizing he isn’t going to get to sleep for a while before he repeats his sisters prompt for Hannah to get some rest.
Hannah feels bad for wanting to say ‘ok’ but looking into the faces of her teachers; she realizes they won’t judge her needing rest. Her whole body was starting to hurt all over and she was feeling a little faint, so she decided to swallow her pride. “If that’s really ok, I will go rest for just a little while.”
Temari and Kankuro both tell reassure her and she moves back to the door she came from. As Hannah walks down the hallway, she passes her room, or the one that was her and Temari’s when they came, and goes back into Gaara’s room. He is still asleep as she looks at both of the clones standing between the door and the bed. They bore the same kind smile that Naruto always carried. It amazed her how not only did they match him perfectly in appearance; but they both held the same determination in their eyes as they stood protecting their friend.
She had come into the room to remind them to watch out for Gaara, but the notion seemed dumb now, it would be like reminding Naruto himself. So instead, as she turned to go to her own room, Hannah jokes “Wake me if anything exciting happens!” Hannah walked into her and Temari’s room and sat on her bed, finally letting her body and mind relax, and leave her defensive state.
The exhaustion she had been holding back overtook her and she collapsed back onto the hard bed. She could feel her heart beat in every cut she had received and the one on her shoulder throbbed so bad she wondered if it was moving her sheets. After scolding herself for letting such small injuries concern her, she closed her eyes and completely gave into her body’s demand for rest.