Chapter Twenty-Four: The Sound's Invitation, A New Mission
Kazumi's Point of View:
Kakashi was currently standing in his room, glancing at his photo of Team 7. Suddenly he hears a quiet knock on his door. "Kakashi?" I said quietly as I stood in the doorway. Kakashi glanced back out the corner of his eye. "How did it go with Sasuke?"
Kakashi sighed quietly. "He said that maybe if he killed everyone important to me, those who ever meant anything to me, then maybe I would know how he felt." He explained quietly.
"Oh." I said quietly. "What was your response?" I asked.
"I told him that it was an interesting theory. But he was too late to try it." Kakashi said as he picked up a picture frame. Inside was a picture of the entire Hatake family. Sakumo was standing beside his wife, Sanako, a woman with dark navy blue hair, who was holding a small bundle wrapped in a dark blue blanket (newborn Kazumi), with Kakashi standing in front of their father. "Everyone he was talking about was already going, all except you."
"Our team is really falling apart. This rivalry between Naruto and Sasuke has gotten so out of hand." I thought as I stared out into space. "Wha…..what if they really tried to…."
"Kazumi?" Kakashi said as he placed a hand on my shoulder, snapping me out of my small trancelike state.
"Hm?" I answered as I lifted my head up.
"Don't worry, everything will be fine." he assured me.
"Right." I said as I nodded my head.
Later that night, Sasuke was sitting in, he sat in earlier, thinking about his teammates and his brother, Itachi. Suddenly four ninja appeared and landed right before the Uchiha. Sasuke quickly got up and stared down the group.
"Who are you guys?" Sasuke asked.
"The Sound Four." Kidoumaru answered. "East Gate's Kidoumaru
"Same for me, East Gate's Sakon." Stated Sakon.
"Same for me, South's Gate Jiroubou." Said Jiroubou
"Same for me, North Gate's Tayuya." Said Tayuya.
With that said, all four ninja jumped into the air and began attacking Sasuke from all directions. To the group's surprise, Sasuke was fighting back better than they thought he would. But Sasuke would come to find out that the ninja he was fighting had transformed into logs, indicating a substitution jutsu. The group had appeared right behind Sasuke.
"I'm having a very bad day." He told them as he glanced back. "If you want to keep going, I won't go easy on you guys!"
"You bastard, you shouldn't talk like that." Said Sakon. "Hey, come here." he said, motioning Sasuke to come to him. "I'll play your rib cage like a xylophone! Do-re-me-fa-so-la-ti-do!"
The fight between Sasuke and Sakon continued to become heated. Each blocked and attacked each time they could. Sasuke was soon able to land the Lions Barrage, sending Sakon through the roof of a nearby building. However, Sakon was able to catch Sasuke. He held his leg as he held the boy upside down before him. Before long, Sasuke's curse mark appeared and started stretching across his face.
"You….. possess the seal?" Sakon asked as Sasuke attacked. Sakon just kicked him back and showed him his own curse mark. "That doesn't mean that you're the only one Orochimaru-sama favors. The seal isn't something you should us so frivolously. However, it seems that you can't control it well. The more you use it, the deeper the seal will infect your body. You look like you are only in the first stage, so it is spreading slowly, however….. When the seal consumes your body, you will lose yourself. Forever."
Sasuke's curse mark soon retracted and was sealed once again as he sat there. The Sound Four started explaining to him what the curse mark was really doing to him. They soon started asking Sasuke what he's goal was. And then they hit the nail right on the head when they brought Itachi's name into the mix. They told him not to forget his goal, and how the village was only holding him back.
"Forget about those useless bonds. If you do that, you will be able to acquire tremendous power. Don't forget your goal." Sakon told him as he and the others jumped into the air and disappeared.
Sasuke just sat there as he leaves slowly fell before him. One he was able to catch and just stared at it as it sat in the palm of his hand. There, he saw Itachi's face and crushed the leaf in his hand as he glared evilly at it.
Meanwhile, Naruto and Sakura were eating ramen together as they talked. But the whole time, Sakura mind was somewhere else. She continued to constantly worry about Sasuke and that curse mark Orochimaru placed on him. Before long, they finished and proceeded to leave the shop.
"Come again!" Teuchi said.
"Sakura-chan! I'll walk you home." Naruto said as he walked out.
"It's alright." She tells him.
"What? What?" Naruto asks. "Isn't going alone dangerous?"
"Since it's so bright, I'll be fine." she says as she looked up to see the full moon shining brightly above in the sky. But for some reason, the flying leaves caught her attention.
"Sakura-chan?" Naruto asked worried.
"Naruto, thank you." Sakura says. "But for now I want to be alone."
"Oh?" Naruto said sadly.
"Don't worry." She told him.
"Yeah!" he agreed.
Naruto wave goodbye as he watched Sakura disappear down the street. As he stood there, he was about to walk back in but stopped.
"Hmm, I wonder what Kazumi-chan is doing?" he asked himself quietly. "Maybe she would want to get some ramen with me." With that, Naruto quickly started running in the other direction as he went off to look for Kazumi.
Kazumi's Point of View:
I have been roaming the village streets, allowing my thoughts to roam freely. Our team was falling apart and there was hardly anything would could do about it. Ever since Sasuke's encounter with his brother, Itachi, he's been acting different. I guess it's because he didn't do what he thought he could. He wasn't able to kill Itachi. Hell, Itachi literally beat the living hell out of him. Something told me this was going to get worse.
"Kazumi-chan!" I jumped out of my thoughts and spotted Naruto. He was smiling, so I figured he was doing all right.
"Hey, Naruto." I greeted back. "You're feeling all right now?"
"Yeah, I'm doing great." He smiled. "In fact, I was looking for you."
"Huh? You were looking for me?" I asked.
"Yeah. I was meaning to talk to you about something." He said.
"Why don't we take a walk." I suggested. "Afterwards we can go get some ramen. That's if you're up to it."
"Sure. You know I'll never turn down ramen." He smiled.
Normal Point of View:
Sasuke was inside his room, standing in front of his desk. He was staring at a picture of him and Team 7. After staring at it for a few seconds more, he took a hold of the frame and sat the picture down face first. He soon left his room once he grabbed his backpack.
Sasuke walked pass the Hokage Tower, the academy grounds and the swing Naruto would always sit at. He soon made it to the path were he could leave the village. As he walked pass a bench, he saw someone walking around the corner. It was none other than Sakura. Sakura just stood there and noticed his backpack.
"What are you doing down here so late at night? Just out for a stroll?" Sasuke asked.
"In order to leave the village, you have to take this road." Sakura said quietly.
"Go home and go to sleep." Sasuke told her as he started moving, walking right pass her in the process. The two remained silent and tears were slowly falling down her cheek.
"Why?" she asked. "Why won't you say anything to me? Why do you shut everyone out? Why won't you tell me anything?"
"What do I have to tell you?" he asked. "I'm telling you that you meddle too much. Stop bothering me all the time."
Sakura and Sasuke continued to talk, well mostly Sakura. She reminded Sasuke of the good times they had when they first formed Team 7. The times where they enjoyed each other's company on each mission they were on. Sakura continued to allow tears to rim her eyes and slowly drop down to her face.
"Don't do this, Sasuke! You don't have to be alone! You don't have to leave!" Sakura told him. "Sasuke! I'm so in love with you I can't even stand it! If you could only be with me, I promise, I'd never let you regret it! Every day will be a joy! I can give you happiness! Because if not…if not I'll be just as alone as you feel right now! Please, Sasuke! I'm begging you! Don't walk away! Or if you have to go….please! Take me with you!"
"You haven't changed." Sasuke told her. "You're still annoying."
"If you leave….I'll scream. I swear I will!" Sakura told him.
In an instant, Sasuke disappeared and reappeared right behind Sakura. "Sakura…..Thank you. For everything." Sasuke told her and with that he hit a pressure point and knocked her out. He then placed her on the nearby bench. Sasuke stood there for a few seconds but soon turned around and started moving forward.
The next morning…
"It's already four in the morning." Kotetsu yawned. "Man, Lady Hokage sure works us hard. If she forgot these things, she could have at least….." Kotetsu suddenly came to a stop.
"Huh? What is it?" Izumo asked.
"Hey, wake up! If you sleep down here, you'll catch a cold." Kotetsu said to a knocked out Sakura, who was lying on a nearby bench.
Sakura mumbled a few incoherent words quietly to herself as she slowly gains consciousness. Once she opens her eyes, she remembers Sasuke telling her something before she passed out. Sakura quickly snaps her eyes open and shoots up. As she sat there, new tears began to fall down her cheeks. Kotetsu and Izumo soon make it back to the Hokage Tower and report what Sakura had told them.
"What did you just say" Tsunade asked as she jumped from her seat. "Is that true?"
"Yes." Kotetsu answers.
"According to Sakura's story. It seems there's no doubt about it." Izumo adds.
"Can it be….. that he's already on the move?" Tsunade thinks to herself. She soon takes as seat and looks to the two men before her. "Izumo, Kotetsu. I want you to bring someone here."
Inside Lady Tsunade's office, Shikamaru was standing before the Hokage. Izumo and Kotetsu had went to his home, telling him that she wanted to see him. There, Shikamaru stood there with a surprised expression on his face.
"Late last night, Sasuke Uchiha left the village." Tsunade told him. "And if I'm not mistaken, he is probably heading towards the Sound Village."
"Left?! Why?" Shikamaru asks.
"Because he was invited by Orochimaru." She answers, causing Shikamaru to look at her in shock.
"Why would Sasuke be involved with such a dangerous guy?" he asks.
"The reasons don't matter." She says. "In any case, I need some time. So I would like you to make this your first mission as a Chuunin."
"Just bring back Sasuke?" he asks. "If there aren't any enemies, it won't be that troublesome."
"Yes." Tsunade says. "However, as easy as it sounds, it may become problematic."
"What?!" Shikamaru says.
"There is a high probability that Orochimaru's men are guiding Sasuke." Tsunade explained.
"This has become a troublesome mission." Shikamaru thought. "In that case, please assign only Jounin and Chuunin to this mission." He says.
"I would but right now, almost all of the Jounin, except the ones needed here, are out of the village on mission." Tsunade explains. "Now, you have thirty minutes to collect as many talented Genin as you can think of, and leave the village! And, there's someone that I would like to recommend."
With that, Shikamaru left the Hokge's office and quickly started looking for other Genin who could aid him in the mission. First he stopped by Naruto's place and then Choji's. There, they were greeted by Kiba and Akamaru. As they walked around, the found Neji and they quickly ran to the gates of the village. Once the thirty minute time limit ran out, the group began to strategize and soon headed out. But just before they could, Naruto say Sakura standing behind them. There, she begged Naruto to bring Sasuke back to her. Naruto agreed and headed out with the others.
As the group made their way out of the area, there were able to catch up to the Sound Nin, which were resting at the time. But as the group stood before the enemy, Jiroubou had captured them inside a regenerated chakra earth wall. As he held them there, he's teammates quickly took off. But with the help of Shikamaru's quick thinking, the group was able to break free of their temporary prison.
Choji decided to stay back and fight, allowing the others to move ahead to catch up with the others. Choji put up a good fight but had to use special pills to enhance his power. He took the blue and yellow pills and started back fighting but in the end, he had no other choice but to take the red one. And to take all three pills was a dangerous and risky thing to do. But in the end, Choji was able to take out Jiroubou permanently.
As the team moved on, they were able to catch up. However, Kidoumaru decided that he would take care of the brats. Neji decided to fight him off, buying the others time to continue following the remaining Sound Nin. After an outstanding fight against the spider-like opponent, Neji was able to take the enemy down. But because of suffering severe injuries caused by Kidoumaru's Spider Bow Arrows, Neji couldn't continue to move forward to meet the others.
Naruto, Shikamaru, Kiba and Akamaru were able to catch up with Sakon and Tayuya. Naruto and Kiba were able to snatch the barrel away from the Sound Nin while Shikamaru distracted them. But the barrel was suddenly taken away by another figure. He had long white hair and was wearing a similar outfit as the other Sound Nin. Tayuya called him, Kimimaru. Kiba had disappeared to go fight Sakon, leaving Naruto and Shikamaru to deal with Tayuya. Shikamaru told Naruto to head out, that he would deal with the girl. Naruto reluctantly agreed and left to follow Kimimaru.
Kimimaru soon made it to a small clearing and set the barrel down. Before long, Naruto appeared and lands a few feet away from Kimimaru and the barrel. Naruto's eyes were blood were with a slit down the middle of them both, plus his fangs had appeared as well. For those who knew, you could tell that Naruto had awaken the power of the Nine-Tails.
"What does Orochimaru want to do?" Naruto asked. "Why is he after Sasuke?!"
"….Orochimaru-sama has already perfected the immortality technique. To acquire all jutsu, you need a long amount of time." Kimimaru explained.
"What does that have to do with Sasuke?" Naruto asked.
"Even though he is immortal, the body is not able to last forever." Kimimaru continued. "Before the body rots away, a newer, stronger body is made into a soul container."
"That is….. And that's Sasuke." Naruto growled.
"Yes…. That's right." Kimimaru said as he pulled out a bone to use as a weapon.
"As if I am going to let that happen!" Naruto growled as red chakra flowed around him.
With that, Naruto summoned over a hundred clones and had Kimimaru surrounded from all sides. Meanwhile Kiba and Akamaru continued to fight their own battle. But with one final effort, they both were able to take down their opponent, Sakon. However, Sakon wasn't truly defeated. Naruto fought against Kimimaru but was knocked down. Kimimaru easily started eliminating the clones, one group at a time. Kimimaru soon started explaining the five dances to Naruto, showing him as they fought.
Shikamaru was having a hard time with Tayuya and her summoning. He could only dodge as Tayuya played her flute, making the beasts to go berserk and attack with amazing strength and speed. Naruto continued to fight Kimimaru off with his clones, but before long, all the clones were defeated. Now it was only Kimimaru and the real Naruto standing in the field.
"Only one left." Kimimaru said.
"This guy, he's insanely strong!" Naruto thought.
As the two stood there, the seals on the barrel exploded and a large cloud of dark, purple smoke surrounded the area. This caught both Kimimaru's and Naruto's attentions. When the smoke cleared, it revealed Sasuke. Naruto had calmed down that the small Nine-Tails transformation ended, returning him back to normal.
"Sasu…ke?" Naruto said. "Sasuke! What the hell are you doing with these guys! Come on, let's head back! Everyone's worried about you. Did you hear me, damn it!" Sasuke just continued to laugh evilly as he stood there. Not paying Naruto any attention whatsoever. And suddenly just takes off.