Chapter Twenty-Six: A Secret Between Jinchuriki
"Gaara? So, that's who you are." Kimimaru says as he sends an attack out, aiming right for us.
As the attack flew towards us, a wall of sand emerged and shielded me and Gaara from the attack. The small bone bullets moved slowly through the sand and when they made it out to the other side, they simply fell to the ground, losing the momentum they once had.
"You're hasty, aren't you?" Gaara asks.
"Gaara? What are you doing here?" Lee asked as we stood up.
"I have….a big debt to Konoha." He answered.
"Wait! If you're here, then that means Temari and Kankuro are here as well." I said to him.
"Yes, you are correct." Gaara replies. "They are helping the others."
"Hmm, well we appreciate the help." I told him. "Our opponent is Kimimaru. He can use his bones as weapons. Whether it for long-range or short range attacks. He uses them in strange dances, so be careful when getting close to him. And one more thing, he can create new bones."
"Gaara of the Desert." Kimimaru says. "As your name implies, I'm guessing you use sand."
Gaara used his sand to make Kimimaru move around the battlefield. As Kimimaru sent our more of his bone bullets, Gaara simply blocked using his sand. Then it started to cause sand to come down on rain, right on top of Kimimaru. The sand started to spin like a vortex, trapping Kimimaru inside. Now there was no way for him to escape.
"As long as I have sand, I can do anything. You're the one who's a fool." Gaara tells him.
"Ninja Art: Desert Funeral!" Gaara called out as he held his hand out. With that, he closed his hand, causing the sand to tighten as well. "Looking at him reminds me of that guy. Sasuke Uchiha. They have the same eyes." Gaara says.
"I know, I picked up on that as well." I said quietly. "Eyes that wish to prove the worth of their existence. Am I right?"
"Exactly." Gaara replied.
As we stood there, the sand suddenly started moving. Before long, Kimimaru emerged from the sand. As I looked on, I noticed marking covering his body. I knew it had to be the curse mark, the same as Sasuke's. Kimimaru just stood there as he glared at me and Gaara.
"This punk is still alive?" I growled.
"What impressive pressure." Kimimaru says. "If I hadn't created these marks under my skin, I would've been crushed."
"Those bones…. He's a monster." Gaara said.
"What a troublesome body." I added.
"I underestimated you, but I will not get caught by your sand again." Kimimaru growled.
After hearing that, Gaara started performing hand signs, which caused his sand to shoot out in a strong and powerful wave.
"Ninja Art: Desert Avalanche!" he called out.
Kimimaru tries to avoid the sand but before long is caught. The sand swallowed Kimimaru within seconds. Kimimaru continues to try to escape, but the power of the waves crushed over him once again. Sand covered trees and looked like a raging river. The way the attack looked, there was no way he could have survive that. This time, I actually thought that Gaara was completed, but to my surprise, he had one final attack up his sleeve.
"Ninja Art: Desert Requiem!" exclaimed Gaara. The ground started shaking violently once Gaara started his attack. "What an annoying guy."
"This punk is still alive? How is that even possible?" I thought to myself.
"What… what is that form?" Lee asked.
When Kimimaru emerged, he wasn't himself. Instead, he looked like a transformed monster. He was rushing right towards us at an amazing speed. Gaara quickly started using his sand to stop him, but found that it was useless. No matter what Gaara threw at him, Kimimaru easily dodged him. Gaara then formed a sand wall, but Kimimaru was able to jump right through it.
"Is that the limit of you so-called 'Ultimate Defense'?" Kimimaru asked. "Rather disappointing. I see. So you were covered with sand to begin with."
"He isn't your only opponent!" Lee said as we appeared behind him.
"We're still here!" I added.
I swung my sword while Lee sent his leg down to kick him. However, he easily dodged our attacks. As we jumped away, we saw his tail coming right for us. It was going to hit me first, so I quickly brought my sword up and block the attack. Luckily it took the impact, but I was sent back. I was knocked back into Lee and we were sent back. Lee was able to land on his feet before crashing to the ground, catching me in the process.
"Thanks, Lee." I told him once I returned back to my height.
"No problem, Kazumi." He replied. As we stood there, Kimimaru suddenly pulled out his spine, completely.
"Ninja Art: Dance of the Clematis." Kimimaru announced.
Kimimaru threw the whip-like spine cord towards Gaara and wrapped it around him, but now before Gaara protected himself with a wall of sand that he used to hold off the weapon from hurting him. He then caused his arm to be incased in a shield of bone, a large one at that.
"This is the thickest bone in my body." Kimimaru said. "It'll easily pierce through you and your sand defense."
"Ninja Art: Absolute Defense, Shukaku Shield!" Gaara exclaimed.
A large, monster-like shield of sand appeared and protected Gaara. Kimimaru ran forward and started his attack. He continued to force he's so-called thickest bone into the sand, but before long, the bone shattered into pieces.
"That strong?" Kimimaru asked.
"I collected the strongest minerals from underground and with chakra pressurize them into dense sand around me." Gaara explained. "You… That special jutsu….. It's a bloodline Limit, isn't it?"
"The Kaguya Clan's…. Now, it's my ability alone." Kimimaru answered.
"You're the last of your clan?" Gaara asks. "Then your clan will be finished off here and now."
"That may happen." Kimimaru says. "Because of my illness, I don't have much time left. But… I won't be destroyed….because I am not alone."
"You're not alone?" I ask.
"That's right." he says. "As a life that protects Orochimaru-sama's ambitions, I will remain in his heart forever."
"Is that Orochimaru's brainwashing?" Gaara asks. "You're pathetic. I've used my techniques too much. My chakra is almost gone."
Suddenly, the sand below Kimimaru's feet. The sand created a sand hold and began to pull Kimimaru down into the earth. Kimimaru was desperately trying to escape, but it was useless. He continued to sink down. Lee and I stood behind Gaara, watching as this took place. We were both amazed as to how strong Gaara was. I thought he was hard to handle before, now, he's in a whole different league. No one would think about messing with him.
"You'll sink two hundred meters underground and be held there." Gaara told him. "With the sand's pressure on your body, you'll soon be unable to move even a finger." Before long, Kimimaru was submerge. But suddenly, bones started poking out of the ground like daisies. Gaara quickly uses his sand to hover us all three of us in the air, away from the attack.
"Is he….truly done this time?" Lee asked.
"He's finished. He won't be coming back." Gaara said.
"It's not brainwashing! That person….. Orochimaru-sama….. It's all my own reasoning!" Kimimaru yelled as he held another bone drill. "What the hell would you know about it?!" He asked as he pushed his attack forward.
"Gaara!" Lee and I yelled.
Just as Kimimaru's attack was about to strike Gaara, Kimimaru stopped. His bone weapon was just inches away from Gaara's face. Kimimaru just hung there before us, motionless, as blood dripped from his mouth.
"He's dead." Lee said.
Lee, Gaara and I sat together as we leaned against some trees. The fight was over, but that was too close for comfort.
"It was sheer luck. I should have been killed." Gaara said.
"No. it was not meant to be." Lee assured him. "My sensei has often said to me: a good ninja always makes his own luck."
"That meddlesome mother hen." Gaara replied.
"Gai sensei is nothing of the sort." Lee snapped. "Yes, he stepped in. But only that once. And only because I was not yet strong enough. Kazumi and I are grateful of you for saving our lives, but I abide you, I will not sit back and allow anyone to talk ill about my sensei."
"So, you're another one, huh?" Gaara asked.
"You have someone in your life, that you honor. That every hurt inflicted on them is inflicted on you as well." Gaara said. "The closer they are the greater the pain."
"That's true. It was the same for Kimimaru." I said.
"To feel so strong for someone that you'll fight for them." Gaara continued "And even die for them."
"You and Naruto Uzumaki have that in common." He said. "However, what if this person you honor and would even die for, is not a virtuous person?"
"That's a hard one to answer." I replied. "Because mainly, it depends on that individual. And what also comes in play is if that person were to have some kind of connection to them. Its mainly up to them to make that decision. Every person's answer varies."
"That's true. But in some cases, a person doesn't deserve such." Lee added. There was a brief period of silence between the three of us.
"So, I assume that we are allies from this point on?" I asked.
"Yes. The Village Hidden in the Leaves and the Village Hidden in the Sand are now allies." Gaara said.
"Heh, I appreciate you coming out and helping us. But now, it's all up to Naruto." I said as I sat back. "Only he can bring Sasuke back."
"Naruto Uzumaki." Gaara said. "Naruto was able to save me. But I wonder if he will be able to bring back Sasuke Uchiha." Gaara thought. As we sat there, I spotted Lee had fallen asleep. I didn't blame him for being tired. I soon turned my attention onto Gaara. "Kazumi Hatake." Gaara suddenly said.
"Hmm?" I answered as I looked at him.
"I, I want to apologize for what I did. Back during the Chuunin Exams." Gaara explained. "I…"
"There's no need for that." I quickly said. "After all, it was Shukaku's fault, not yours. Besides, you, me and Naruto…. We're not so different."
"Huh? What do you mean?" Gaara asks.
"I'm sure that Naruto already explained to you that he's the container for the Kyuubi, right?" I asked. "And we both know that you're the container for the Ichibi."
"Yes, what about it?" he asks.
"Well, only a few people know about this. But I feel that I can trust you as well, so I'm going to tell you." I started as I saw a curious look on Gaara's face. "Naruto already knows, but in truth, I'm a container as well."
"You….you are?" he asks.
"Yes. I'm the container of the Juubi." I told him. "I have the Ten-Tailed Wolf inside me. But even if I wasn't treated as bad as you and Naruto were, I still lived in fear. I always wondered what would happen if people knew that I held the most powerful beast of them all. But since I knew Naruto had a beast inside him, I easily became friends with him. And I hope that I can be friends with you as well."
"Really?" he asks.
"Yes. After all….we are siblings in a sense. Siblings of Tailed Beasts that is." I told him.
"Hmm. Naruto Uzumaki and Kazumi Hatake. They are containers of the beasts just like I am. They know how it is. Sort of." Gaara thought. "Kazumi Hatake…."
"Yes." I answered.
"We…..we can be friends, siblings." He says.
"Heh, good to hear, Gaara." I said. "That's great to hear."
Gaara, Lee and I just sat there, in silence, enjoying it actually. We both wondered how everyone else were and if they defeated their opponents like we did. Also, I had Naruto on my mind. I was thinking if he made it to Sasuke yet. I would try to contact him, but he could be in the middle of something important, so I decided not to.
"Naruto…." I thought as I sat there. "Please make it back, alive." I just sat there quietly with Gaara an Lee, falling asleep as well.
Normal Point of View: Back at the Village…
"What? Only rookies were sent after Sasuke?!" Kakashi asked, in shock.
"There was no other choice, considering the condition of the village." Tsunade explained. "And, I've already dispatched the necessary minimal amount of help."
Kakashi just stood there for a minute, thinking. Before long, he turned around and started to exit the Hokage's office.
"Hey, hey! Your mission has already been decided!" Tsunade called out.
"I'll return once I take care of a few things. No need to worry." Kakashi told her as he walked out. As he walked back outside, he heard someone calling out to him.
"Kakashi-Sensei!" Sakura yelled as she ran over to where he stood. "Kakashi-Sensei…. It's been two days since Sasuke-kun left the village…. Naruto and the others still aren't back….. Not even Kazumi….."
"Yeah. I've heard most of the story." Kakashi told her.
"I believe in Naruto. I believe in him, but, if something were to happen to him and the others…." Sakura started.
"Sakura, don't worry about anything." Kakashi told her as he placed a hand on her shoulder. "Leave the rest to me."
With that, Kakashi proceeded forward. As she watched him leave, she quickly took off after him. When Kakashi made it to the gates, he summoned his dog team. Sakura stood back and peeped behind the nearby wall.
"First, go off in all directions and track Naruto's and Sasuke's scents." Kakashi explained.
"Naruto and Sasuke? What happened to them?" Pakkun asked.
"I'll explain later. This is urgent." Kakashi said firmly. The dogs suddenly started barking as they got ready. "Once you've got the scent, call for me, and then keep going. Alright, scatter!"
And on command, the dogs did so. Sakura stood there with a depressed look on her face. Kakashi glanced back to see her still standing there. As he stood there, he heard a call from one of the dogs. Quickly reacting to it, Kakashi disappeared into that direction. Once he left, Sakura ran out to look around.
"Kakashi-Sensei…." She said quietly to herself.
"Please let me make it in time!" Kakashi says to himself as he jumps for branch to branch, making his way to the boys' location.
Meanwhile the fight between Sasuke and Naruto continued to become even more heated. Naruto had activated his Nine-Tails form and Sasuke was able to activate his complete Sharingan. But soon Sasuke activated his second-form of the curse mark. But charged their strongest attacks and charged forward. The Rasengan and the Chidori clashed, creating a blinding white light. When everything calmed down, it was Sasuke who stood victorious once the dust settled.