Prologue: Return to Kohona
Naruto: Sand Shinobi!
By Hugo Reed
Prologue: Return to Kohona
Soft leaves that had fallen from their wooden owners blew across the dirt road that lead into Kohona. The day was bright and sunny, and had a fair amount of wind. Two black outlines of figures stood in complete stillness at the great wooden gates of the village hidden in the leafs. Sakura Haruno, member of the ninja genin squad that trained under Kakashi Hatake, had a worried look on her face. She had pink hair with her ninja headband tied to the top of her head. Her red dress was swaying slightly in time with the wind, creating a small metronome for a symphony of the leafs hitting the dirt road.
The only other man at the gate was Sakura's sensei, Kakashi Hatake. Kakashi was also commonly Kakashi no sharigan or the copy cat ninja. His left eye, covered by his forehead protector, was his sharigan eye, given to him by his old teammate, now long dead. Kakashi wore what was common for most jonnin of the hidden leaf village. His black pants were covered from the middle of the calf down by leg wrappings that disappeared into his sandals. He had a black shirt with red spirals on the shoulders and on top of it all, a green vest that was gained at the chunnin level. The scarecrow ninja's hair was tall and white.
Both of these figures were waiting for someone to return. Naruto Uzamaki. The blonde boy was the human container of the terrifying nine-tailed fox, Kyuubi no Kitsune, and another genin who worked underneath Kakashi. He was the orange-clad knuckle-head ninja. Naruto Uzamaki was the self-proclaimed future hokage, and was far stronger then Sakura, and if he used Kyuubi's strength through the seal on his stomach, far stronger then Kakashi. Kakashi and Sakura were waiting for Naruto to bring back the last teammate of team Kakashi, Sasuke Uchiha.
Sasuke Uchiha was one of the two members left of the once mighty Uchiha clan. The other was his brother, Itachi Uchiha, who had murdered all of his clan as a test of his power. The Uchiha clan were the only people who could use the sharigan, save Kakashi. Sasuke was an avenger who had worked to make himself strong and talented. His was everything Naruto could've wanted to be. He was cool, popular, strong and the kind of genin a lot of sensei would love to teach. Most didn't look twice at Naruto Uzamaki, unless it was to hurt him for Kyuubi.
Kyuubi no Kitsune was the mighty fox that was the lord of all demons. Twelve years ago he had attacked Kohona in hunger, and the need for human flesh. Kyuubi was sealed inside Naruto, and not to be trusted. Yet, when most people saw Naruto they thought he was the nine-tails instead of it's holder. The Kyuubi killed many people and as such, Naruto gave people something to hate. Hate it is an eternal flaw in humans that forces them to attack each other. People hated Kyuubi, but Kyuubi couldn't be there to be hated. So, people hated Naruto.
Naruto had been beaten, hurt, cursed and attacked in some way or another by almost every person in Kohona at some point. However, after striving for years and years just to become good, Naruto had not only found a small group of friends, but managed to become on par with the best genin ever to come out of the hidden leaf village. Naruto Uzamaki was constantly made fun of for being the dead last, yet he had surpassed every single genin in his year. The sun was beginning to set over the hills, creating a picture that even the most skilled painter would've killed to see. It would've been a marvel to behold, had the situation not been so grim.
Sasuke had run away from Kohona, the village hidden in the leafs, to go to Orochimaru. Orochimaru was a traitor to the leaf village. He had been an apprentice to the third hokage, and after failing to become the fourth hokage he had betrayed the leaf village in the chance to learn the entire world of jutsu. Now that Sasuke had fled to this incredibly powerful man, all Sakura and Kakashi could do was wait for Naruto to drag him back to Kohona. Both figures at the gate were thinking the same thing.
If Naruto can't bring Sasuke back, who can?
If the members of team Kakashi were worried about the two boys returning, and not their state of health, then their worries were needless. However, while Naruto was managing to drag Sasuke back, the Uchiha was unconscious and had several broken bones. Naruto himself was little better. He was a hold over in his left shoulder the size of a fist, and he had broken bones throughout his body. Kyuubi was healing his container, but he couldn't do much more then start to mend bones because demonic chakra is toxic to humans, and Naruto had used a great amount of it in the fight against the Uchiha.
So, it was rather late into the night when Naruto, beaten, bloody and dying, could finally see the gates of the great ninja village again. Naruto's vision was cutting in and out. Suddenly, Naruto stumbled and fell to the ground heavily, dropping Sasuke. He was tempted, oh so heavily tempted, to just lay there, and never move again. Then, Naruto remembered that he had promised Sakura he would bring Sasuke back, and that it was the promise of a lifetime.
Naruto was deeply in love with Sakura because she had been his first childhood friend. However, when she saw how crazy about her he was, their friendship almost completely disappeared. Naruto was still in love with Sakura, and he knew that if he couldn't make her happy by being her love partner, then he would just have to do whatever he could for her. A blind devotion is not good for anyone, far more so if is not returned. This was how it was with Naruto and Sakura, and then with Sakura to Sasuke. In both cases, the former would do anything for the latter, but the latter didn't give a damn.
So, it was with his admiration of Sakura that Naruto picked up Sasuke trudged slowly up the long path that would bring both boys home. Back at the front gates Kakashi and Sakura had seen the two boys and after Kakashi confirmed them with his sharigan, he dashed off to the fifth hokage's office to tell her the news. Sakura, meanwhile, ran off to meet the two boys. She met them only around half-a-mile outside the village, and Naruto grinned seeing the happy smile upon her features.
Yet, that happy smile turned to a look of pure hell and rage when she saw the two boys' injuries. The young girl sprinted to close the few feet of distance between them. Naruto thought she intended to thank him and help them both get back to the village, and he happily held out his free hand.
"YOU... YOU BASTARD!" yelled Sakura. "LOOK AT WHAT YOU DID TO SASUKE-KUN!"
Sakura was blinded by her rage and desperate to hurt whomever had hurt the one she loved. Naruto had only done it because she said so, but he was still responsible, and that meant he was the only one who could've ended Sakura's pain. Sakura drew her fist back and hit him across the face. In this weakened state Naruto could not stop himself from falling over. He understood that Sakura was in pain and the only way she saw to end the pain was to kill the one responsible for Sasuke's state. In other words the only way she could feel better was to hurt him.
Naruto sighed and took Sasuke's arm off of his shoulder and prepared to die. Sakura picked him up, and tossed him up in the air, then jumped up and hit him repeatedly. Naruto hit the ground and fell in a heap. He didn't stop any of the blows, or attempt to fight back. Sakura drew out a kunai and ran at Naruto, fully prepared to kill her teammate. Love makes people absolutely crazy. It makes them do stupid things, crazy things that they wouldn't ever normally consider. Normally, Sakura would never attempt to take her teammate's life, and normally, Naruto would never just lay down and wait for death.
However, they both loved someone, which made them crazy. Yet, Their love lives weren't the only ones involved in this struggle. There was one more. One shy, timid Hinata Hyuuga was very deeply in love with Naruto. Hinata had just seen Sakura pull out the kunai, and knew there was no way in hell she would stand by and let her Naruto-kun get killed by this bitch. Hinata quickly dashed to the scene, pushing chakra out of her feet to move at unparalleled speeds.
She saw Sakura running at her love with the kunai and knew she could never make it in time to stop Sakura's strike. Hinata was in love with Naruto. Love, of course, starts to turn into devotion, and Hinata was deeply devoted to Naruto. So, she acted as the crazy world of love demanded she act. She threw herself in front of the kunai to protect the man she loved. Sakura only saw Hinata for a split second before it happened, and nobody could've stopped it, and Hinata had her arms spread out of protect Naruto, so she couldn't attack. Sakura ran Hinata through the chest with the kunai.
Sakura saw what she had done and fell to the ground, holding her head and sobbing uncontrollablly. Naruto opened his eyes that had been closed waiting for death. He saw little Hinata standing there, bleeding from the kunai that was lodged in her chest. She fell backwards onto Naruto, and he held her weakly in his arms. Hinata looked at the man she loved and knew that she must tell him, before she left the world of the living.
"N-Naruto-kun... please... l-let me... speak," Hinata managed to say, and Naruto nodded slowly. "I... I al-always, lo- loved you... Naruto-kun."
Hinata, having said her piece lay her head back, prepared to die, but kept her eyes open, wanting Naruto to be the last thing she saw. Naruto struggled not to pass out from pain as he held Hinata in his arms. The news she had delivered to him shocked him. He was so desperate, so waiting, for affection that he took it from the woman dying in his arms.
"Hinata, why didn't you tell me?" he asked. "We could've been together for months, years maybe. I'm sorry I never looked at you Hinata Hyuuga. I'm so sorry."
Hinata looked at the man she loved, and knew that this was it. She was really going to die. Hinata looked at the man, and asked for the one thing she had always wanted from him, but had always been too afraid to ask of him. She loved him too much to die without it.
"Naruto... Naruto-kun," she begged. "Please... k-kiss me."
Naruto bent towards her to oblige, and their lips connected in a loving, first and final kiss between the two children. They broke apart, and Naruto held Hinata's head to his chest as her eyes misted over, and all life went out her. Naruto swore and sobbed calling out Hinata's name. Sakura by this time had composed herself enough to stand back up, though she was still sobbing. She grabbed another kunai and held it in her shaking hands as she spoke to Naruto with rage in her voice.
Rage. Rage that still was within her. It was no longer anything against Sasuke's attacker. It was mere hate for Naruto, because he had messed up again. He had lived.
"Y-y-you g-goddamn monster! Y-you... I'm... I'm g-going to kill y-you. Kyuubi."
Naruto felt a spark of shock. So, Sakura knew of the fox, but like all the others, she hated him for it. Naruto saw her move to kill him with the kunai, only to be stopped again. This time it was the hokage that had stopped her. The hokage was a woman called Tsunade. She was a gambler, drinker and old teammate of Orochimaru. All those qualities made her sound like a bad person, but in all honesty she was becoming a fair hokage. Naruto was the only reason she had even taken the job. His strength and determination showed her that the leaf ninja had something worth fighting for.
Sakura started in fright at the hokage. Tsunade processed super-human strength and when it came to people she cared about, she had a very short temper. So, basically, the fifth hokage was seriously not someone to piss off, and Sakura had found the best to do just that.
"Naruto... I'm so sorry this had to happen to you. Hopefully, there you'll be appreciated. I'm sorry, little brother. I thought I could make life here liveable for you. I thought I could protect you. I see that I can't. Not when people like her can get to you. Don't forget, I care about you, I always have."
"I'm sending you to Suna."
Naruto nodded with tears in his eyes. He didn't want to leave. Though he knew he had too, it didn't make the knowledge that he was leaving everything behind any better. He slowly stood up and handed Hinata's body to the hokage and told her that she had loved him. Tsunade nodded.
"Goodbye, Tsunade-baa-chan," said Naruto. "I'm gonna miss you probably most of all. Tell my friends bye for me."
She nodded again, and Naruto stumbled off to leave Kohona behind, for how long, he didn't know.