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Old 01-15-2009, 07:44 AM   #16
thegodfather2450
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Re: Everything

The noisy sounds of a zipper being pulled and heavy footfalls awoke Sakura. She turned slowly onto her side, opening her eyes, and saw a familiar blonde figure stumble painfully towards a gnarled oak tree. An unsettling aura fell upon the area, making Sakura shiver involuntarily, and she quietly slipped out of her sleeping bag.

Naruto dry heaved, a hand pressed against the tree trunk for support as his seal wreaked havoc on the rest of his body. It brought him to his knees and his expression contorted in agony as his stomach twisted like a serpent with twice the venom. When Sakura placed an inquisitive hand on his broad shoulder, he jumped as though a gun had been fired. When he realized it was her, he absentmindedly leaned his head back. It rested against her shoulder sloppily and he squeezed his eyes shut, waiting for the pain subside.

“Is it your stomach again?” she asked him and he managed a small, hoarse sound of confirmation in the back of his throat.

She tried to ignore the fact that her heartbeat had suddenly accelerated to the point that, had it been a car, she would probably have been in prison for life. Lowering herself to the ground, the blonde repositioned his head so that it rested in the crook of her neck. He had already opened his jacket and Sakura’s fingertips pressed gently against the hard muscle of his abdomen.

A gasp escaped her mouth as she found he had a massive stomach infection that must have been absolute agony. Her chakra quickly seeped through his skin in an attempt to kill the infection but she realized that it would be too tiring for her if she tried to get rid of it all at once.

“Naruto, you’ve got a really bad stomach infection. It must be all that instant ramen you eat,” she told him darkly.

“Eh, don’t go insulting ramen,” he rasped out indignantly.

She simply shook her head with a slight smile. At least he didn’t have cancer or a terminal illness, she thought. The infection would eventually come to pass. As she soothed the pain, Naruto let out a breathy sigh of relief.

Silence stretched over the area and she found herself thinking back to their impromptu kiss a couple of days ago. Her face tinged pink and she became infinitely grateful that it was too dark for either of them to discern colours very well.

“Sakura?” the sound of his voice dragged her back to the reluctant world of the present and she blinked in surprise, glancing down at him.

“Yeah?” she acknowledged him and his eyelids slowly lifted, revealing an intense gaze.

“You know…two nights ago…” he trailed off.

Her head was suddenly spinning and she found herself inwardly cringing. She had been hoping to avoid a confrontation about the kiss but if Naruto wanted to talk about it, they were going to talk about it. He deserved an explanation, though she wasn’t really sure if she had one ready.

His question wasn’t the one she had been expecting, “Were you thinking of Sasuke?”

Thinking of Sasuke? After the initial shock, she felt anger begin to cloud her vision and wondered where the hell he had come up with a stupid idea like that. As the Sharingan wielder’s face flashed in her mind, she felt another constricting lump form in the back of her throat.

“What do you mean thinking of Sasuke?” she asked, her voice weaker than she had intended.

He hesitated before rephrasing his question, “Was I the…replacement for Sasuke?”

“No!” she burst out before she could help herself.

He seemed as though he was awaiting an explanation and suddenly she was babbling, “I didn’t like Sasuke, no, I mean I didn’t like Sasuke in that way but I would never be so awful to use you as a replacement for him even if I did like him because that would mean and low and when we kiss-”

She came to an abrupt halt. Saying that they had kissed seemed to finalize everything and it was an even bigger shock to her. She couldn’t bring herself to say anymore and turned bright red, looking away from the dumbstruck blonde. This was so awkward! She might as well have just told him that she loved him straight out, she was such an idiot!

Silence fell over them. Naruto took time to digest this new, startling piece of information and as the intense relief subsided, a sly grin stretched across his face.

“So…does this mean you like me?” he wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.

She began to stutter, “I-I-”

“It must be my manly charm. I’m irresistible, you were bound to fall for me sometime,” he said with a smirk.

In an embarrassed huff, she tried to shove him off of her but he pressed harder against her front. She snapped at him hurriedly, “Naruto, only an idiot would fall for an idiot like you.”

“Then it looks like we can be idiots together, huh?” he teased, his wide smile lighting up his eyes.

She began in a huff, “Shut up, if I fell for a guy he would be more charming, better looking, smarter-”

However, she was silenced by a pair of chapped lips.

To present a balanced argument, one must show both the negatives and the positives to combat against them. In her mind, she inwardly went through all the points she had summed up in her head.

She began with the negatives. His lips were too dry, he was pressing too hard, the position they were in made her neck hurt, he could have been spreading whatever the hell was in his stomach and Sai and Kakashi could wake up any minute.

Then came the positives.

He was kissing her.

The positives far outweighed the negatives.
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:46 AM   #17
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Re: Everything

“Naruto.”

His cerulean eyes flashed open instinctively and he propped himself up on one elbow. He was lying down and for a moment, confusion hazed over him before he realized that he was in the pale yellow place somewhere in the depths of his seal. At least he thought it was somewhere in the depths of his seal…

“Where the fuck are we anyways?” he asked, pushing himself up into a sitting position.

Suddenly, Naruto became very self conscious of his little slip. Somehow, he felt the Yondaime would ridicule him for his language or something but on the contrary, a small amused smile stretched across Minato’s face. The Fourth walked towards him and sat down, bending his knees. Atop his knees he rested his elbows languidly, leaning forwards slightly, and Naruto let his eyes rove over the strange looking place. He couldn’t call it a room, there were no corners and no doors, no walls and no ways out. It was just endless colour.

“This is the other side of the seal, away from the Kyuubi,” he explained matter of factly.

Naruto put his hands behind him and pressed most of his weight on his palms. He lazily bent a knee and questioned in surprise, “I thought the tunnels lead to Kyuubi?”

“Well, have you gone the other way before?” Minato inquired with a smile.

Naruto found himself struck speechless. He had been in the seal countless times before and had never bothered to go anywhere but the Kyuubi’s cell. The knowledge that he had just done something extremely stupid washed over him and he began to flush in embarrassment, avoiding Minato’s teasing gaze. He just sort of presumed that the seal was only for Kyuubi.

“Congratulations by the way,” the man beside him commented offhandedly.

He now had no idea what the Fourth was on about. “Huh?”

“Sakura,” Minato smirked the telling smirk of the all knowing.

“H-How the hell do you know about that?!” Naruto blurted out indignantly, feeling as though his privacy had been horribly invaded.

“Your emotions affect the seal a lot and depending on how strong a feeling is, the seal will change drastically. If there’s a really big change, then sometimes images of what you’re thinking about crop up and lately Sakura’s face has been all over the place,” he explained.

“Oh. So that means…” Naruto trailed off. He had been about to say that for seventeen years, Minato had seen all of his greatest emotions. Then he realized that Minato had been in his seal for seventeen fucking years.

“Wait, why haven’t you ever come out before? Why is it only now?” Naruto asked warily, his brow creasing in suspicion.

“This side of the seal used to be locked so I couldn’t get out. It could only be opened either by an outside force or by you, but since you never wandered down this way it stayed locked,” he began another tiresome explanation.

Naruto was still confused. He pressed Minato for answers, “Wait, but I never came down this way so how come it’s suddenly open?”

“When I met you that day when the Otokage used his Edo Tensei jutsu, the seal was forced open so that my soul could be called out for the jutsu,” he answered.

Naruto flinched involuntarily at the painful memory. He looked away guiltily and Minato watched him indifferently. He said nothing, he simply let Naruto get over it, and Naruto found himself grateful that Minato had not pressed the matter any further than he had needed to. Suddenly, overwhelming pain washed over Naruto’s stomach and he contracted violently, gasping for breath.

Two warm hands steadied his swaying shoulders and his heavy head sagged forwards until his forehead came into contact with a thick green vest. He shut his hazy blue eyes, trying to control his breathing. The man in front of him stiffened in surprise at the contact before instantaneously relaxing a moment later. He placed a hand atop Naruto’s messy blonde mop of hair and suddenly, it felt as though nothing could harm Naruto.

Indescribable calm and security washed over the boy who had always been a pillar of strength for others, but had never himself had any steady foundations. It felt as though even if the world was falling down around them, as long as he was with Minato he would be fine. This man was slowly building up the forgotten foundations without him even realizing it and the pain subsided until it was nothing but a dull memory.

“Sakura says I’ve got a pretty bad stomach infection,” Naruto explained and lifted his head from Minato’s chest.

“The Kyuubi’s chakra is causing it. It’s leaking out of the seal and damaging your stomach walls. As the seal grows closer to breaking point, the pain will get more intense so you might want to hang around Sakura a bit more. Not that you’d mind, would you?” Minato couldn’t help but throw the last sentence in for good measure.

It was worth it because Naruto went a vivid crimson red that made Minato laugh, a warm rich sound that filled the emptiness with joy. The seventeen year old looked away indignantly, muttering an incoherent, rude argument that probably made no sense anyways.

The laughter died down and Naruto was torn between leaning his head against Minato’s shoulder or if that would be was crossing a line that he wasn’t meant to. He was too comfortable around this man and couldn’t help but feel that if he did overstep the line even the slightest, Minato would disappear and Naruto would never see him again. For a fleeting moment, he found that Minato disappearing scared him much more than the breaking seal.

“You know…” Minato began awkwardly and Naruto glanced at him inquisitively.

“You can always come here whenever you want. The door’s always open,” he continued.

Suddenly, a door that Naruto had sworn he couldn’t have missed caught his eye. It was a simple wooden door with a tarnished brass doorknob; a modest door, he thought, for one that led to a place the Hokage lived in. Minato waited for an answer, looking awfully uncomfortable and hesitant.

Eventually, Naruto felt a genuine smile pull at the corners of his lips.

“Yeah, sure.”
__________________

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The frog in the well drifts into the great ocean.
Feel pain,conteplate pain,accept pain and know pain.
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:50 AM   #18
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Re: Everything

They were moving much faster than Sakura would have liked, but it was understandable with the dangerous situation they were currently in.

The woman had cracked and spilled her guts out about everything under Kakashi’s intense gaze. He was much too talented at interrogation to have never done it before and Sakura mused that maybe ANBU prepared a ninja for every situation. It turned out she was the daughter of a multimillionaire who had employed rogue nin to do his dirty work for him, however he had failed to pay them. This had angered them and they had decided to kidnap or maim his daughter as justified payment. Her father was an exceptionally shrewd businessman and hadn’t wanted to pay an insanely high price for an A rank mission, resulting with his huge bluff.

As a tough shoulder nudged her, she glanced upwards to meet a worried cerulean gaze.

“Are you alright? You were spacing out for a minute there,” he asked her.

Her muscles ached and she was suffering from severe chakra depletion. The little chakra that had been restored after having used it all up a few days prior had been drained out of her because she had been healing Naruto so frequently. She knew that if she told Naruto the truth, he would insist they stop and rest or worry about her for the rest of the trip. They had a job to do and he didn’t need any distractions.

She lied with a weak smile, “I’m fine. I’m just a little bit tired.”

He caught her hand momentarily in his own and squeezed her fingers in a brief show of affection. She was unable to react, shocked by the blatancy of the action, and as his hand fell away from hers her face began to flush. An overwhelming happiness washed over her and her mind was doused in fleeting euphoria.

They were roughly an hour’s walk away from Suna and, at this moment in time, were travelling through a rugged pass in between two towering craggy rock walls. It was considerably darker and the lack of light set an ominous feel to the place. It was so silent that Sakura could hear her own heartbeat and each individual grain of sand beneath her foot crunching against countless others. If she looked long enough, the shadows seemed to morph into demons and reach for her with smoky fingers. She shivered inwardly.

She could hear the nin behind them, around them, and she knew that her other three team mates were aware. It was another one of the rogue nin’s painful waiting games that had her palms sweating and throat clenching as she swallowed in anxiety. No matter how many times she experienced it, the wait never seemed to get easier.

She started as a rock clattered down the wall to the side of her, narrowly missing Sai’s head by a hairbreadth. Naruto took her hand again quickly, hiding it behind their backs subtly, and made slow, calming circles with his thumb on its back. Sai looked as though he was itching for a kunai whereas Kakashi was walking along in his enviable fashion, indifferent and unconcerned. The world could fall down around him and he’d still look like he was going out to buy some bread.

A deathly silence followed that set even their charge on edge. The impossibly high walls seemed to be closing in on them the harder Sakura looked so she kept her eyes fixed on the path in front of them. She tried to focus on the sand while at the same time keeping her senses alert as she forced her anxiety away.

The sand crunched beneath her feet. A calloused thumb traced the back of her hand. Kakashi’s eyes flickered upwards for the briefest of moments. The sand crunched beneath her feet. A calloused thumb traced the back of her hand. A painter’s hand reached into a kunai pouch. The sand crunched beneath her feet. A calloused thumb traced the back of her hand. The walls were closing in on them.

The sand crunched beneath her feet. A calloused thumb traced the back of her hand and her breathing began to quicken until she could hear each ragged breath in her own ears, until she began to see white spots before her, until her heart pounded like a gong in her ears, until, until, until-

Kunai crashed and rocks began tumbling from the tops of the walls like hail upon their heads. In the span of three seconds, a glowing green dome shield of chakra formed over their heads from Sakura’s fingertips. Stones clattered against it uselessly, littering the soft sand like rubbish, and when the barrage came to pass the shield disappeared.

Sai had already finished painting and a gigantic dragon soared overhead, thrashing wildly with razor sharp jaws outstretched. There must have been twenty nin at the least and with their current state of fatigue Team Kakashi would be hard pressed to come out of this fight the victors. Their enemies leapt from the walls and landed on the sand in a sloppy circle that forced the Konoha nin into a tight protective formation.

Sai’s dragon roared wildly as it crunched into a man’s upper torso and Naruto winced as he heard each individual bone break painfully. It tossed the now paralyzed nin into the wall as if it were kicking off its shoes after a long day at work and when he fell to the ground, he never got back up again. Kakashi’s fingers began to form seals at a speed that would have made Uchiha Itachi envious and the sand beneath them began to ripple like water. All of a sudden, sand rose like gigantic fingers and dragged three men underneath the ground. They didn’t come back up.

As a nin drew too close to Naruto and their charge, the blonde boy whipped out his kunai and slashed it across the nin’s neck. Without even a glance, Naruto threw the kunai to his left and it thudded into another nin’s stomach who dropped to the sand like a stone. Sakura was on her knees, feeding chakra into the sand and began to manipulate it. When four nin attempted to rush her, it rose in a gigantic grainy wall and they ran into it before they could stop themselves. It hardened, reinforced by chakra, and the struggling shapes in the sand wall came to a halt shortly afterwards.

Sai and Sakura exchanged a look of understanding and he began to form hand seals. It was a long, complex string of seals and from her fingertips Sakura produced another chakra shield big enough to protect the five of them and a horse. The dragon began to morph and split into many different sections, one for each of the remaining nin. The remains of the dragon now resembled smoky black tendrils and they raced towards their respective targets. Sakura squeezed her eyes shut as the sound of screaming and rapid explosions began to deafen her.

A deathly silence fell over the area and as her chakra shield disappeared with a soft ping, the thick smoke eventually cleared. Gigantic scorch marks covered the rocky walls of the pass and something black and shivering caught her attention. It was two of Sai’s art explosives but how could that be if every explosive had found its target…?

Then she realized that two ninja were still alive. The ground beneath Naruto’s feet had begun tremble but he had yet to notice. A hand holding a kunai burst from the ground and suddenly, her mind went absolutely blank.

All she could think and feel was Naruto and an unspeakable fear that she was going to lose him. She couldn’t lose him, he was hers and he had always been there, he was invincible and he was Naruto. Time seemed to slow as the ninja emerged from the sand and suddenly Sakura was moving, moving impossibly fast because he was in danger, because he could die-

Thud thud. Thud thud.

Her blood was pounding in her ears. She was in somebody’s arms and was trying hard to catch her breath. Kakashi’s chidori ripped into the chest of the man who had been going to kill Naruto. She glanced down at her chest and was suddenly too tired to feel surprised at the black steel protruding from it. She saw two tanned arms lock around her waist and she was pulled up to meet a pair of cerulean eyes. She had never been happier to see that colour.

Thud thud. Thud.

He was alive? That was good. She almost laughed. Relief was spreading through her like a painkiller and it drowned out the pain. She had reached him in time! She smiled blearily at him and suddenly he was angry, yelling words she could no longer hear because the blood was pounding in her ears and it was so loud. Her eyes had been captivated by the movement of his lips and she watched them open and close, amazed at such a tiny phenomenon.

Thud. Thud.

The blood pounded in her ears, louder and louder, until she thought she was going to go deaf but struggled to keep her reluctant eyes open. Her hand rose with so much more effort than it should have taken and brushed the whiskers on the side of his face absentmindedly. She watched in fascination as it fell limply to her side and suddenly she was so tired…so…

Thud.

As her vision faded to black, Naruto’s skin burned like fire against her own and an evil chakra filled the air. She tried to keep her eyes open, tried to see what was happening but the blood was pounding in her ears and she was tired, so exhausted-
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The frog in the well drifts into the great ocean.
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:53 AM   #19
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Re: Everything

The hospital in Suna nowhere near as advanced as the one in Konoha. There were fewer ninja patrolling the linoleum tiled corridors and, from the little Naruto could gather, they hadn’t even heard of chakra therapy. But a hospital was a hospital and he was more than glad they had managed to rush Sakura over in time, even though she hadn’t woken up yet.

The hard seated chair was extremely uncomfortable and, considering he had been sitting in it for an entire day already, it was justified for him to say that he didn’t want to sit anymore. However, he couldn’t bear to leave Sakura to wake up alone because he knew that feeling and the pain it wrought. He was so tired though and hadn’t slept a wink since the end of the mission.

He didn’t know where Sai and Kakashi were, Kakashi would come in occasionally for a few minutes whereas Sai hadn’t come in at all. Sai was never one to doubt a doctor’s words and if he said Sakura was going to be fine, then she was going to be fine, and there was no point in wasting time. Still, Naruto thought, it wouldn’t have killed the bastard to come at least once.

As Naruto found his head drooping forwards, he decided Sakura wouldn’t mind too much if he slept for a little bit. She wasn’t even awake anyways and he was only sleeping for a little while…
“How is she?” Minato asked, as concerned as Naruto was.

Naruto told him tiredly, “She’ll be fine. She fainted from blood loss but we managed to get her to the hospital in time.”

The Fourth nodded in understanding. His relieved expression morphed into a solemn one as he questioned quietly, “How are you?”

Shuffling uncomfortably, Naruto sat down on the pale yellow. After a moment’s hesitation, he settled for something that resembled a shrug. Minato walked towards him until he came to a halt in front of the blue eyed boy and silence fell over the both of them, not for the first time.

Finally, a tortured whisper. “I was…I was so scared that I wouldn’t be able to regain control. I could see myself moving but I couldn’t-couldn’t fucking stop it.”

Minato sighed silently, sitting down in front of the Kyuubi container. Naruto avoided his searching gaze and fixed his eyes on the ground somewhere to his left, hugging his knees to his chest. It was one of the very few times he felt completely and hopelessly vulnerable.

“I almost killed Kakashi-sensei. What happens if I really kill somebody on my side next time? What happens if I really kill Kakashi-sensei, or Sai, or-or Sakura?” his husky voice trembled with fear.

As Naruto’s voice trembled, the entire room began to shake. At first it was a gentle, unnoticeable shaking but as time progressed and Naruto’s terrified thoughts overwhelmed him a violent quaking wracked the place. Somewhere, he could hear roaring, a nonsensical string of death and destruction. He was losing control.

Minato gripped Naruto by his shoulders and forced the boy to look at him. His cerulean orbs were clouded with fear and Minato’s sapphire ones fought to contrast them with an unwavering calm. As the colour and endlessness of the Hokage’s eyes drew Naruto in, he subconsciously focussed on the blue. The thoughts of utmost fear slowly subsided and the trembling room eventually came to a steady halt.

“If you let your emotions rule you, the Kyuubi will take over. What happened after Sakura got hurt is what will happen if you lose control but on a much greater scale. You must not lose control,” his last words were spoken with steely conviction.

Naruto’s eyes flicked away once again guiltily. He had come so close to the brink of releasing the Kyuubi and it was only because of this man he had been brought back. He couldn’t allow another repeat of what had happened a few days prior. He couldn’t.

“…okay,” he managed.

Minato’s hand reached out and sat atop Naruto’s head. It was getting easier, Minato found, to treat this boy like the son he really was but he was hesitant; scared of driving the last link in his tarnished chain away. The urge to tell Naruto everything was overwhelming but at the same time, unfair to him.

His sapphire eyes blinked rapidly as he glanced up at the infinite ceiling blearily. It was times like these he really wished he had lived.
__________________

Failures must be seen as amusements,they are trials which hone your skills.
The frog in the well drifts into the great ocean.
Feel pain,conteplate pain,accept pain and know pain.
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:56 AM   #20
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Re: Everything

White. Detached, unwelcoming white.

Her jade eyes protested against the offending sight and her mind instantly filled in the blanks. That universal colour and sterile smell could only belong to one place she had spent more time than most anyone would have liked, the hospital. She closed her eyes again, trying to piece her memories back together.

Hospital…mission…and there was sand and the missing nin…and then Naruto…Naruto!

She bolted upright. Something shifted on her blanket covered legs and she glanced down at the source. Her eyes suddenly filled with tears as she realized who it was and she began to shake his shoulder roughly.

Naruto moaned in protest and mumbled, “What is it?”

“Naruto, Naruto, Naruto-”

His name was the only thing she could say and she spoke it, over and over again, until the tears rolled down her face and she was gasping for breath amidst her sobs. Her hands reached for the sides of his face and traced every last detail to make sure he was really there, to make sure he was alive. She pressed her forehead to his and closed her eyes, biting down on her lip in an attempt to quell her crying.

Maybe it was impolite but he kept his deep blue eyes open, watching her. His voice was soft as he murmured questioningly, “Sakura?”

“I thought- I thought you were dead,” her voice broke.

Something snapped in his chest. He pulled her close to him, arms wrapped securely around her waist. She pressed her ear against his chest, listening for a heartbeat and for the life she had tried so hard to save as his coarse fingers threaded through her short hair. She gripped at his shirt so tightly her nails left marks in it afterwards, as if, if she let go she would lose him forever. Her entire body trembled in his embrace and he kissed the top of her head, rocking back and forth.

“Sakura, Sakura, I’m here and I’m alive, alright? I’m not going to leave you,” he told her in a soft whisper and she nodded helplessly, fingers scrabbling at his chest.

“Never,” she gasped, her speech distorted by the loud ragged sobs she let out.

He kissed her forehead, feeling his own eyes begin to water. What would happen if he couldn’t keep his promise? What would happen if he couldn’t find a way to save the seal and he ended up dying? He couldn’t leave Sakura on her own, he could never do that, but how could he not? His heart was bursting and hers was breaking; what would she do if she lost him?

That would never happen, he told himself firmly. “Never,” he repeated her words, holding her all the more tightly to him.

Outside the room, a navy blue mask pulled taut as its owner smiled a small, melancholy smile. An onyx eye gazed up at the whitewashed ceiling and a calloused hand slid into a grey pocket as the jounin leaned against the pale wall. His broken arm ached dully against his chest in its sling. It seemed as though his time as Team 7’s leading figure had finally ended and, the man admitted to himself reluctantly, he would miss the role. He supposed that perhaps he had long lost his role a long time ago, when a sun kissed boy returned from a three year long training session, but had never really opened his eyes to it.

As he pushed off of the wall and walked away from his two former students, he followed the green signs towards the hospital cafeteria. He came to the conclusion that he was in dire need of coffee. When the brown double doors came into sight, he pushed through them and walked over to the cashier. He ordered a coffee, spotting his third black haired team mate as he did so, and sat down in front of him.

Sai looked up at Kakashi, who was stirring his dark coffee with a thin plastic stick. The copy-nin meticulously tore open one of five sugar packets and poured the first one in, and then the second. Taking an experimental sip of his coffee, his lips curved downwards in dissatisfaction and he set to opening the third and the fourth, pouring them both in as well. He didn’t even bat an eyelid as he tore the last one and instead of putting it in his coffee, poured it straight into his mouth.

Sai supposed he was feeling the emotion called shock.

The plastic stick swirled the dark coffee around, causing a tiny whirlpool in its murky brown centre. It was only after Kakashi had taken his second sip that he looked up at Sai.

“Have you been waiting in the cafeteria the whole time?” his question seemed tired and drawn out, as though he already knew the answer but was merely filling in the silence.

Glancing away, Sai said nothing. For a moment, a striking resemblance to a brooding, prideful young boy flashed in Kakashi’s mind but it fled in the next instant. When the pale artist finally brought his eyes to a single onyx one, he met it unflinchingly. For the first time, the copy-nin began to believe that maybe this boy was capable of emotion. Raw pain and confusion filled his eyes but from the silence the Root member instigated, he came to the conclusion that Sai had no idea how to deal with his feelings.

“Yes,” he answered. His usually velvety voice seemed rough and frayed at the edges, as if he hadn’t used it in a long while. He cleared his throat quietly and, sighing inwardly, Kakashi drank from his coffee cup deeply.

“So…you mean to tell me that you’ve been waiting out here for three days straight?” he pressed.

With a hesitant nod, the copy-nin’s question was answered. Kakashi told him, “Sakura’s awake now. She’s fine.”

So what if he was lying a little bit? It wasn’t as if Sai would know any better and, as the ANBU member’s shoulders relaxed visibly, the copy-nin had a feeling he had actually said something right for once. Although the pale artist tried to force down his relief, it escaped through a small, genuine smile that he tried to hide with the palm of his hand.

“And...Naruto?” Sai ventured tentatively.

Angry, terrifying images flashed in their minds for the briefest of moments. Sai’s dark brown eyes lingered on Kakashi broken arm for longer than was comfortable. Kakashi remained unfazed and took another long sip of coffee before answering.

“He’s fine. He’s in control now,” He said seriously.

Somehow, it was getting harder for Sai to speak. He couldn’t find the right words to say and it was frustrating him. He began awkwardly, “He…Naruto- there were five tails and he…”

The cup clinked as a rough hand set it down gently. Kakashi began, “Naruto’s seal is breaking. I’m not sure if he knows yet, but I’ll tell Jiraiya when we get back. He’s the one who knows how to deal with these sort of things.”

Sai nodded and swallowed with some difficulty. A long, pregnant silence filled the air and a pair of dark eyes burned with the insatiable need to speak. Being in ANBU however, meant that he was able to hold in his words for as long as possible.

“If you have something to say, say it,” Kakashi stated in a monotone, stirring the coffee around again simply for the sake of doing so.

Crimson eyes, burning like forest fires, crimson chakra, growing like five tails, and the blood splattered the ground like red rain-

Again, Sai looked like he was struggling for words. He managed, “I thought he was a monster.”

-there was a ninja, rising from the sand like a god, but a flash of golden, a terrifying blur tore him down effortlessly-

The silence that followed was different, tinged with shame and intrigue. Sai continued, “Naruto just…just ripped open that man and pulled out his heart and he wasn’t even dead yet.”

-and the screaming, the screaming, but he never stopped and suddenly something was beating in his wet, red hand-

Kakashi watched Sai, stirring his coffee absentmindedly. He thought he could see the painter’s hands tremble for the fleetest of moments but when he looked again they were still.

-bloodlust, twisting his face into something monstrous, and Sai swore he would never forget the way those eyes lit up with sadistic delight-

Sai felt like he was going to be sick but held back his bile. His gaze flickered up to the ceiling and then back down again in frustration because he didn’t know what he was feeling. He knew he never wanted to feel it again.

-then it bled, with claws sinking into the flesh, and a silver saviour stepped in; only to be thrown against a wall like a rag doll-

Kakashi’s broken arm moved uncomfortably and jarred painfully as he knocked it against the table on accident. He hid his wince however, and drank from his coffee cup again.

-then the screaming stopped. It sent shivers up his spine, paralyzing him to the ground with an emotion that blinded as the golden monster turned to him, and somehow, somehow, he knew he was next-

What would Sakura have done if she had seen Naruto lose control? Kakashi mused. He knew she had seen it before but never on that scale. Thinking about it now, Kakashi was quite relieved she hadn’t seen the Kyuubi take control for those few terrifying seconds.

-but his bloodstained enemy fell, fell like lead to his knees and a hoarse sound burst from his mouth as he yelled for it to stop, for the torture to end. A flash of silver and a paper slip of rescue and as the blonde fell forwards in a faint, Sai swore he had never been more relieved.

“What would have happened if you couldn’t get Naruto under control?” Sai asked.

The empty bottom of the coffee cup glared up at the both of them.

“I would have killed him.”
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:00 AM   #21
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Re: Everything

The water was turning pink but he no longer cared. He was so dirty, so filthy, so impure but no matter how many times he tried to wash the blood off it felt like it was never enough. He could feel it, trickling down his face and over his fingers, and he could taste it in his mouth; a sickening metallic taste that made him retch.

He began to rub at his skin harder with the ragged cloth as the water beat against his back. For a moment, he could have sworn the water was red but when he blinked again it was clear as crystal. The smoke filled the entire bathroom, fogging the mirrors and windows, he was using too much hot water. His skin was red and blistered but he kept rubbing, his cerulean eyes glazed over and dead.

There was a knock at the door that barely registered in his mind. A muted, feminine voice asked, “Naruto, are you alright? You’ve been in there for more than an hour already.”

He tried to open his mouth to speak but his throat had closed suddenly. He reached for the soap and ignored the stinging pain it wrought as it seeped into now open wounds. He rubbed with his wet cloth, and then rubbed harder. He wanted to call out her name but he couldn’t, trapped in an eternal nightmare.

There was a second knock. “Naruto?”

He couldn’t move. An image flashed in his mind of a still beating heart seeping blood and he swore he could still feel it in his hand, wet and pulsating. He had held life in his hand and had taken it away effortlessly. It made him sick to his stomach and pain ripped through him as if he were being burned alive, pain that brought him to his knees with a loud thud. He dry heaved loudly but he was suddenly shivering even though it was so hot…

“Naruto? Naruto, I’m coming in,” her voice was rushed with worry.

The bathroom door opened and she was assaulted by a wave of obscuring steam. She could hear the shower running but apart from that it was so silent. Her jade eyes could faintly make out the shape of the shower cubicle and she made her way towards it, pulling the sliding door open.

“Naruto?” she whispered, her words tinged with disbelief.

His haunted blue eyes met hers. Her heart was suddenly so full of agony and she felt her breath catch in the back of her throat as she took in the scene. His knees were pulled tightly to his chest and he was trembling in the corner of the cubicle, like a vulnerable child.

She watched his mouth open and close like that of a fish; trying desperately to speak but unable to find the words or strength. He rose to his feet shakily and leaned against the dark shower wall for support, his eyes watching hers all the time. There was a silent plead for help in their depths, one she longed to satisfy but she didn’t know what to do; she didn’t know what was wrong.

Then she was pulled into the shower with him and into a desperate, needy embrace. Her clothes were now wet and clung to her body like a second skin, her last change of clean clothes. His face was buried in the crook of her neck and she could feel him trembling against her body. She moved her arms, placing them around his torso and pulling him closer to her to provide him with the comfort he needed.

He swallowed painfully and the palms of his hands cupped the sides of her face, meeting her beautiful green eyes. What happened if he lost control again? He might kill her, kill her like he had that rogue nin, and he wouldn’t be able to stop it until it was over. The next heart he ripped out with his bare hands could be hers but he told himself he would sooner kill himself first. Sakura meant everything to him.

Time had stopped for the both of them as he looked deep into her eyes, as if looking for an answer to all of his questions. She leaned into his hands and placed one of her own atop his left one gently. Her jade eyes closed and she very softly squeezed his fingers but he took her hand and kissed the inside of her wrist, slowly and never tearing his eyes away from hers.

She placed her arms around his neck and pulled him into a deep kiss as the tears flowed down her face. A thousand emotions and feelings were poured into it, none of which she could name but knew somewhere in the back of her mind. He returned the kiss and held her tightly to him, desperately hanging onto her because the only thing that scared him was losing her.

She needed this.

He needed this.
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:03 AM   #22
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Re: Everything

As Naruto dropped to his knees in front of him, his head touching the floor in an expression of utmost respect, the Fourth found himself extremely surprised.

Naruto’s voice was thick with emotion as he said, “Hokage-sama, please help me with the Kyuubi.”

Bending down and sitting on the floor in front of Naruto, the Fourth studied his son contemplatively. He touched the back of the blonde’s head with a slender, calloused hand gently and Naruto raised his eyes ever so slightly to meet Minato’s gaze. A small, sad smile stretched over Minato’s face.

“There’s no need for you to bow to me. I’m no longer the Hokage and I’d much rather you call me Minato,” he told the naïve boy with the patience of a wise sage.

“Minato-san,” Naruto rephrased the man’s title and slight happiness filled the depths of Minato’s melancholy blue eyes.

“I was going to help you with the Kyuubi from the very beginning, Naruto, so there’s no need to ask me for my help. How far away from Konoha are you right now?” The Fourth asked, acting as though nothing had happened a few moments prior.

“We just came in an hour ago,” Naruto answered, sitting up self consciously.

Nodding in acknowledgment, Minato inquired, “How tired are you?”

Naruto’s brow creased at the strange question but he still replied, “Not too tired.”

“Alright. Go to the training fields and use as much of the fox’s chakra as you can,” he instructed Naruto and slowly, Naruto nodded.
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:09 AM   #23
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Re: Everything

He gasped for breath and staggered against a tree for support as his knees gave way. The training field was a battlefield of deep, circular holes and fallen trees; not a single trace of the healthy green grass that had been there previously remained. The entire area reeked of evil and corruption, as though it had been threaded into the foliage before anyone had noticed. Naruto shut his tired cerulean eyes for a moment and then they flashed open with determination as he forced himself to his feet.

Roaring, Naruto formed a glowing red Rasengan in his right hand and slammed it into the already tortured ground. As it rotated rapidly, the dirt flew up and around him like fireworks and marred his already grimy face. He hoped the Kyuubi’s chakra was being depleted because he wasn’t so sure how much longer his body would be able to take the physical strain.

His body had never felt so heavy, he thought. It was all he could to do drag himself along and running was out of the question. His blue eyes were half lidded with fatigue and if he had taken time to notice, his entire body was trembling with the slightest of shivers. An image of vibrant green eyes and a flash of pink was what kept him going.

A second, smaller Rasengan formed in his large hand, spinning at a painfully slow speed. He squinted in concentration and forced as much chakra into it as possible. For a moment, it grew to its usual size but as time passed it grew smaller and smaller until it was the size of a ping pong ball. The Rasengan disappeared with a hiss.

Then suddenly, he no longer had any chakra.

They were the most terrifying moments of his entire life. Something ominous, something dark chilled his blood and the fine hairs on the back of his neck prickled malevolently. His breath caught in his frozen throat and suddenly his heartbeat was too loud, beating, beating, beating…

He could still sense the Kyuubi’s chakra in the depths of his seal but it was though he couldn’t reach it anymore, as though…as though he had been cut off-

Minato’s scream filled his head, “NO!”

Realization dawned on Naruto’s face but it was seconds too late. His entire body pulsated and suddenly he was burning, burning from the inside out. A sickening smell reached his nose and his skin started to bubble and burst, bubble and burst in a twisted never ending cycle. He could feel the fangs starting to grow inside of his mouth and they pierced the thin skin of his lip as he tried to keep himself from screaming out in agony. His knees hit the ground heavily and his hands clenched into tight fists.

“Let me free! I will destroy Konoha! I’ll crush it, crush it until not even the smallest child lives and then what will you do, Minato?! Minato!” The hysterical, animalistic screaming deafened him.

Naruto scrabbled to find Minato’s presence in the back of his seal but the door was locked and bolted. He couldn’t get in and was becoming desperate; Naruto needed Minato’s help. Minato knew what to do, Naruto was sure of it, and his mind was in a frenzy as he pounded on Minato’s door.

He could feel the power overwhelming him and he couldn’t breathe. Blood trickled from the side of his mouth, sizzling as it came into contact with his skin and he could only see in shivering black and whites. His fingernails – his claws that ached for blood - dug deep into the flesh of his palms as he tried to force back the Kyuubi’s chakra. He was losing himself slowly and becoming the Kyuubi – as his tails swished behind him powerfully – and the name Uzumaki Naruto began to fade into the recesses of his mind.

“I’ll start with your child, I’ll rip his throat open and cut his heart out!”

A scream erupted from Naruto’s throat as he fought to keep control. His body pulsated again painfully and a wave of corrupted chakra covered the entire area. The trees shook in the surrounding area and evil spread through the city like a disease. Only a few people knew that chakra and instantly, four people raced towards the training field.

- I would die for Konoha Minato’s eyes were dark with determination and suddenly jealousy raced throughout him as he flexed his claws and his chakra spiked -

Suddenly, an insatiable need to kill flooded through him and everything around him began to fuel the hatred growing in the bottom of his heart and he needed to destroy, destroy Konoha- NO!

“Naruto, Naruto, listen to me,” He could hear Minato’s voice in the back of his head but as he grit his teeth and tried to keep a hold of his slipping control, he found it difficult to concentrate on anything else.

“You have to remember who you are, you’re Namikaze Naruto. You are not the Kyuubi, remember Naruto, remember.”

Throwing his head upwards, Naruto’s eyes morphed from a bloody red to a vibrant blue, from a bloody red to a vibrant blue in a painful struggle. His gaze rushed to everything around him but only one colour seemed to register in his mind and that was the deep green of the leaves. As he watched, the green morphed into something paler and into a pair of captivating, smiling eyes.

- everyone, this time get a good luck at my back she had looked like a goddess as her eyes lit with determination and then in that moment he knew he loved her –

- I’m sorry I wasn’t there on the mission then he knew he never wanted her to suffer like that again; sadness never suited her and she always looked her best when she was happy -

- never never never and her jade green eyes filled with tears and suddenly his heart was bursting because he knew that he might not be able to keep that promise -

And he remembered.

Deafening silence pressed against his ears. The ground rushed towards him and he fell with an exhausted thump, his body bleeding and skin charred black. His chest rose at an unhealthy, unsteady pace and he could hear himself wheezing. Pain coursed through every last nerve but he was just so relieved because he was Naruto, he was Uzumaki Naruto not anyone else.
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:21 AM   #24
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Re: Everything

Strong, scented tendrils of smoke permeated the air. The smell made Jiraiya’s eyes water but Gamabunta, who sat across from him comfortably on the grass, paid him no mind. The big, long pipe in his webbed crimson fingers crackled in the silence.

“So, what did you call me for, Jiraiya?” Gamabunta’s loud, deep voice made the ground rumble and the trees shiver.

Jiraiya asked, “Before Minato died, did he tell you anything?”

Gamabunta took another long drag on his pipe and let a smoke ring form from between his lips. He answered him evasively, “Of course he did; I knew him for five years. Never could tell what that boy was thinking, pleasant enough though.”

“But did he say anything in particular? About Naruto or the Kyuubi, maybe?” the toad hermit pressed further.

Gamabunta let out a great sigh. He touched his tongue to one of his thick red fingers so he could put out his pipe and it hissed like a snake as it was extinguished. It was slipped into the thick white band surrounding his waist and his great yellow unblinking eyes stared at the white haired man. He said nothing.

“Naruto’s seal is breaking. I need to know if Minato told you anything,” Jiraiya finally explained.

The toad boss answered, “Minato didn’t tell me anything.”

A great pang of disappointment formed deep inside Jiraiya’s chest. After a long period of silence, he nodded eventually and dispelled Gamabunta with a gigantic cloud of smoke.
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:24 AM   #25
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Re: Everything

He was suddenly enveloped in a tight, warm embrace. After a moment’s shock, Naruto realized that it was Minato hugging him but so strong was the shock that all he could do was stand stiffly. Eventually Minato pulled away and placed his heavy hands on Naruto’s broad shoulders, meeting his cerulean gaze with his own searching sapphire one.

“Naruto, I’m so sorry, I should have thought everything through better because I didn’t think that would happen and…my God, you’re alright, aren’t you?” Minato’s words were rushed and stringed with concern. However, underlying them there was the unmistakable tone of relief.

“I’m fine,” Naruto managed.

Minato’s eyes flashed a cold, steely blue that sent shivers down Naruto’s spine. They narrowed ever so slightly and Minato demanded, “Are you sure? You’re not just lying to me so that I won’t worry?”

Naruto had been shocked by the sudden change in character. Was this what it was like to have a father? Minato’s searching gaze lingered and Naruto swallowed, trying to think of an answer. He honestly didn’t know.

“I…I think I’m okay. It’s kind of weird though; the only time Sakura’s really nice to me is when I’m hurt. It must be some sadistic tendency women have,” Naruto mused.

All traces of coldness slipped out of Minato’s eyes to be replaced with amusement and his lips quirked into a smile. He released Naruto and said, “I think you might have a point there. Your mo- a woman I used to know was exactly the same.”

Thankful Naruto hadn’t caught onto his little slip, Minato was silently grateful Naruto wasn’t too observant or curious. He would have had to ward off questions left and right if his son had been.

“Have you taken Sakura out on a date yet?” Minato asked and a slight flush spread across Naruto’s face.

He stuttered, “N-not yet. I just got out of hospital and all and I kind of forgot…”

“Alright, then you still have hope. Women work in opposites you see. When they say yes, they mean no, and if they say no they mean yes. If they say they don’t want to do something, they actually do want to do something and if you ask her for sex and she says no she actually just wants you to rip off her-”

“Ah! I don’t want to know anymore!” Naruto clapped his hands over his ears in an attempt to drown out Minato.

Bursting into warm, deep throated laughter, Minato ruffled Naruto’s hair fondly. Minato told him, “Well, when the two of you get married you’ll be begging for my advice.”

Very suddenly, the atmosphere sobered. The ‘when’ added to the beginning of Minato’s sentence made all the difference and Naruto began to wonder if that when would ever come.

“Minato-san…what are we going to do about the Kyuubi?” Naruto asked quietly.

Minato realized his mistake and removed his hand from atop of Naruto’s head. The smile faded from his face and he answered, “I have another plan but it won’t work if you don’t have enough chakra. Your chakra still hasn’t completely returned and you need to be in top form if we want this to work. We’ll try and work on it tomorrow.”

“But the Kyuubi might not wait until tomorrow! It might take over me at any minute!” Naruto protested.

“If we can’t do anything about it at the moment, then we can’t. If we try and go through with my new plan in your current state, you’ll end up having to use the Kyuubi’s chakra and what happened last time will repeat again. Unless you want that to happen again, you have to wait,” Minato explained patiently.

Bitter silence followed his words as Naruto came to terms with what Minato was telling him. A warm hand squeezed his shoulder, bringing him out of his reverie and Naruto’s cerulean eyes met Minato’s amused sapphire ones.

“Why don’t you ask Sakura out on a date? You’re going to have to wait until tomorrow anyways and who knows, maybe you won’t need my advice on that anymore,” Minato suggested with a teasing smirk.

Naruto became horribly embarrassed and managed to grumble under his breath, “Damn it, leave me alone.”

Minato heard and he began to laugh loudly. The sound of Minato’s warm laughter followed Naruto as he ran towards the wooden door, his face redder than a tomato.
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:30 AM   #26
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Re: Everything

Sakura’s hospital shift ended at six, which meant Naruto had four more hours to kill before he decided to take Minato’s advi- before he decided to ask Sakura out for dinner rather. Even just remembering the Fourth’s smug face made his cheeks burn, but with anger or with embarrassment, he wasn’t sure. Wandering the bustling streets of Konoha alone was something he was prone to doing and this time, he let his feet lead the way.

What should I do for four hours? Naruto wondered. He had already eaten at Ichiraku’s for two hours and he didn’t think he’d be able to go again, not because he was full but because he wouldn’t have enough money. Training? No, he had just eaten and Tsunade would probably murder him if he tried with all his injuries anyways. Go talk to ero-sennin?

Naruto shivered inwardly. Where the hell had that one come from?

For a moment, Naruto longed to go see to Minato again. Then he remembered how the man had treated him and that thought was instantly cast into exile a long way away. Suddenly, a blast of cold air conditioning forced him to stop in his tracks. Glancing upwards in confusion, he realized he was in a place he normally tried his very best to avoid. He was in Konoha’s library.

An aging kunoichi, who sat behind a large semi circular desk further ahead, raised her eyebrows at him. As Naruto walked past her with a trancelike look to his cerulean eyes, she shook her head in disbelief and ignored him. Naruto still had no idea what he was doing in the godforsaken library of all places and he stopped to recollect his thoughts.

Squinting his bright blue eyes slightly, he raised his thumb to his bottom lip to take his thinking position. It hadn’t changed at all in the past few years. What was he doing here? Minato probably would know, but wait! How would Minato know? Wasn’t Minato inside his head? But Minato was in the seal…but technically the seal and Naruto’s mind were sort of the same…right? What the hell was Naruto thinking about? Gripping at his blonde hair in frustration, he let out a small whine of frustration.

Wait a minute, a burst of inspiration exploded in Naruto’s mind, Minato’s the Yondaime so there must be some information on him in the library, right?

Bringing his fingers together he whispered, “Kage bunshin no jutsu!”

Several clones formed around him in a poof of smoke and he quickly explained the plan. They all nodded and raced off, grabbing as many books as they could that looked remotely linked to the Yondaime or the Hokages. Settling down at the largest table, every Naruto was thrown a dodgy look from another library user and quickly the table he sat at was empty apart from eight orange clad ninja.

An hour later, the clones cried, “I found information on Minato!”

“Good job!” Naruto congratulated them and all of the clones beamed at each other, patting themselves the back. Dispelling all of his clones, he began to go through the new information in his head.

The Yondaime was one of the greatest ninja ever to have lived, but died at the tragic age of twenty five saving Konoha. It has been said that he was the most humane and down to earth Hokage. He graduated from the academy at the age of ten – ten?! – and developed two famed jutsus, Rasengan and Hiraishin. He was trained by Jiraiya – ero-sennin was his sensei? – and later on became the teacher of the famous copy-nin, Hatake Kakashi. He was later given the nickname ‘Konoha’s Yellow Flash’ because of his technique, Hiraishin, that would allow him to travel to various places at an impossible speed and would become a yellow blur.

Leaning back in his wooden chair, Naruto sighed and let his cerulean eyes rove over the dull white ceiling. Although he was happy he had found some information on Minato, he couldn’t help but be disappointed with what he had. It was almost as if he was expecting something more, something else. He felt like…like something important had been missed out. Not only that but he found himself longing for the little details, like what flavour ramen Minato had liked or what Minato’s goal had been. He wouldn’t have minded finding a few scrolls on Minato’s techniques either; especially on Hiraishin.

Standing up and walking towards the librarian, he asked her, “Do you have anything else on the Fourth Hokage? His jutsu scrolls maybe?”

The librarian frowned at him, age lines gathering at the corners of her mouth. In a curt voice she told him, “Any other information on the Fourth Hokage is restricted and kept in the Hokage’s personal library.”

Glancing at the large luminous wall clock, Naruto realized he had two hours more until he could go see Sakura. Walking out of the library, the deep red Hokage building caught his eye. Stopping in his tracks, he began to think. He wanted to get into baa-chan’s library but he wasn’t absolutely sure if she would let him in if his reason wasn’t good enough. Somehow, he believed that satisfying his own curiosity didn’t quite cut it.

There was only one other option then. A grin split across his face. He would have to break into Tsunade’s library.
__________________

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The frog in the well drifts into the great ocean.
Feel pain,conteplate pain,accept pain and know pain.
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:34 AM   #27
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Re: Everything

“Haruno-san, its six o clock already,” a mature, aged voice spoke tenderly to bleary eyed Sakura.

Looking up in confusion, she met the eyes of an elderly medic nin who had been in the hospital far longer than she had. Almost as if in a daze, Sakura nodded absentmindedly and dropped her pen on the table. She had made her way through three stacks of paperwork and had almost finished her fourth but her shift had just ended. She stood up and brushed imaginary dust off her front, stifling a yawn.

Naruto said he’d come and pick me up at the hospital, Sakura remembered and subconsciously, her step quickened.

When she eventually pushed through the double glass doors of the hospital into the grassy open space outside, her jade eyes scanned the area quickly. A lump of disappointment formed at the back of her throat as she realized Naruto was not there and found it odd that he hadn’t come on time. He was the one who had been insisting that he’d come an hour early after all.

She spotted one of the many stone hewn benches and made her way towards it, sitting down. She’d give him fifteen minutes and then she’d go home if he didn’t show up.

Fifteen minutes passed and there was still no Naruto. Leaning against her back against the bench with a loud sigh, she folded her arms over her chest irritably. Where was he? Maybe he was held up or had an unexpected mission briefing. Yeah, that was probably it. She’d give him another half hour before she left.

As a few medic nin walked out of the building, Sakura was thrown a few very strange and suspicious glances. Most medics were glad to be free of the hospital once their shift ended and that Sakura was still sitting outside almost an hour after her shift had ended was ridiculous. Sakura could feel their glances and was beginning to grow quite uncomfortable and stupid herself. Looking at her watch, she realized that forty five minutes had passed. It was now seven and he was officially an hour late.

Maybe Tsunade-sama was taking a bit longer on the briefing than she thought. Another hour maybe, but that was it! She’d definitely go home.

An hour and a half passed.

Naruto would never stand her up…would he? No, he wouldn’t, she thought firmly. She felt really tired and she swore that if she laid eyes upon that stupid man he would be taking her out to the most expensive restaurant in all of Konoha whether he liked it or not. She’d make him buy everything on the menu just to add insult. She closed her eyes and let out a sharp exhale of annoyance. Another ten minutes at most, she decided, and then she would most definitely go home.

“Haruno-san? Haruno-san, please wake up,” a soft, quiet voice tugged at the back of Sakura’s mind, jolting her back into consciousness.

With the most grace she could muster, she managed a ladylike response. “Huh?”

Bolting upwards, the skittish blonde medic nin in front of her took a few steps backwards as Sakura fished around in her bag for her watch. As she pulled out the elusive black piece of plastic, she swore colourfully. Ten o clock? Where the hell was the bastard?! He was four hours late!

“Haruno-san, do you need some help getting back home?” the blonde girl asked nervously but with all the kindness in the world.

Shaking her head, Sakura forced a smile onto her face and told her she’d be fine. As the girl departed, the silence pressed against her ears painfully and she became very aware that she was the only one in the area. Averting her eyes, she could feel them prickling with heat and glanced up at the night sky to keep the liquid in them from spilling over. Naruto wouldn’t stand her up. He’d be here soon. Anyways, she’d been waiting for four hours already so he had to be coming soon.

Pulling off her navy hitai-ate, she looked at her moonlit reflection in scratched metal. A painful image of a pathetic fourteen year old girl, forever waiting and forever wanting, flashed in her mind and she bit down viciously on her lip as she tried to convince herself that history wasn’t repeating itself.
The black sandals scuffed the ground as the wearer dragged his feet across the path, to nowhere in particular. They kicked up dust clouds that faded into nothingness, much like ripples in a pond or the thoughts racing through the man’s mind. He didn’t know what to think anymore and cerulean eyes betrayed the inner turmoil within him.

Catching sight of his reflection in a shop window, he stopped to stare. Spiky blonde hair, vibrant blue eyes, a strong chin, high defined cheek bones…running his calloused finger over the skin of his face, he felt something painful form deep in his chest. His breath caught in his throat and he averted his eyes from his reflection to focus on a clock inside the shop window.

It was eleven thirty. Naruto was surprised at the time and then suddenly he remembered.

Sakura.

And then he was off, sprinting like a demon towards the hospital. When it came into view, the unmistakable pastel pink of Sakura’s hair came into view. He slowed to a stop in front of her and felt guilt spread through him like poison. She was fast asleep on the uncomfortable stone bench and he realized she must have been waiting more than five hours for him. Why didn’t she go home?

He took in her sleeping figure. She was in a sitting position with her head tilted back, exposing her long, pale neck. His cerulean eyes roved over the exposed piece of skin and then his gaze fell to her long, slender legs. He swallowed painfully, trying to pull his eyes away but he was powerless to do so.

- and a woman with burning red hair laughed, stealing his master away from him as jealousy writhed within him like a dying snake -

Suddenly, carnal instincts raced through him and he wanted to throw her to the ground, to rip off all of her clothes and make her eyes roll back in pleasure. The taste of evil tainted the air and his world began to bleed as the red eyes of the Kyuubi fought for dominance with the clashing blue of his own. Tensing every muscle in his body, he could feel his claws growing and he just wanted to rip off her shirtjust needed to feel her slickskin against hisjust wanted to feel her around him just needed to get back in control.

His head span sickeningly and his claws pierced into the fleshy palms of his hands. His need was growing to the point that it was nearly painful and the dark sounds of sadistic laughter rang like a gong in his ears. With a loud gasp, he fell to his knees on the pavement and his claws left long, spidery marks in the cement.

Thousands of images of her writhing beneath him screaming his name filled his head and he raised a single, trembling hand towards her. His fingers brushed against bare, taut skin and it was with a pained gasp that his razor sharp nails sank into it like butter.

And then sudden silence.

It was as if all the sounds in the world had been sucked into a vacuum and hidden far away. The lack of noise pressed against his ears painfully and as he slowly pulled his fingers from deep within his leg, he winced. His hand was stained a deep garish red, dripping onto the pavement beside him.

He fought to keep from looking at Sakura again, terrified of a repeat of the previous performance. Maybe he wouldn’t be able to stop himself the next time, maybe he would really hurt her. He couldn’t stand knowing that the biggest threat to the person he loved was from something he could barely protect her from. How was he meant to protect her from himself?

His eyes fell upon her limp, slender hand. She was trembling with cold and, gritting his teeth in determination, he realized he wouldn’t be able to leave her here. Could he risk carrying her back to his apartment without another relapse?

Bring her back to your apartment. You managed to stop yourself once, you can do it again. Minato’s soft voice trickled through his mind.

The sound of the Yondaime’s voice made every last hair on Naruto’s neck prickle and he stiffened. It was with some force that he managed to pull himself to his feet and, reaching for Sakura hesitantly, his clean hand brushed her cheek. He made himself look at her, really look at her, and all of the unbridled lust he had been feeling moments before had disappeared.

He wiped his bloody hand on his black pants, knowing Sakura wouldn’t be too happy if he stained her clothes. As he picked her up and held her tightly to his chest, he could feel the throbbing pain in his leg but it was more than worth it, if it meant he had saved her from himself.
__________________

Failures must be seen as amusements,they are trials which hone your skills.
The frog in the well drifts into the great ocean.
Feel pain,conteplate pain,accept pain and know pain.
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:14 AM   #28
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Re: Everything

Her eyelids lifted slowly like curtain blinds, revealing a beautiful view of dazzling jade. She noticed absentmindedly that she was no longer outside the hospital and had been moved, but although she should have been alarmed she felt safe. The blue mattress and sheets told her that she wasn’t in her home but she had a good idea who the person pressed against her back was.

She turned onto her side and a bandaged muscular arm shifted. As she watched the features of his face, they twisted in annoyance and his cerulean eyes fluttered open. Their eyes met and the silence became tainted with something Sakura couldn’t quite place. Naruto’s hand lifted to her face and brushed the pastel hair out of her eyes, lingering upon her cheek before removing it again.

“I’m sorry I was late,” he whispered, breaking the thin silence.

She murmured to him, “If we weren’t in the bed together, I would probably hit you. I was there for more than five hours.”

“I know, but I got sidetracked,” he began, draping an arm around her slim waist again.

“You had better have a good explanation or I’m going home,” she threatened in an undertone.

The smile that spread across his face was without humour. He said, “I do have a good explanation.”

“Oh?”

“I have a father.”

Her beryl eyes widened in surprise. The words spilled out of her mouth as she blurted, “You do? Did you go find him? He’d probably be really happy to see you-”

“Sakura…he’s dead,” he interrupted softly.

She fell silent, wondering if Naruto was disappointed. He didn’t look disappointed but he looked very melancholy, as though somebody he had known had recently died. He had never met his father so he didn’t really have much to be sad for, right?

“He’s the Yondaime.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Naruto’s victimized whisper carried across the pale yellow desert like wind.

Minato didn’t turn to face him. “Tell you what?”

Betrayed blue eyes glittered and he repeated in the same pained whisper, “Why didn’t you tell me that I’m your son?”

Silence fell as the Yondaime absorbed the weight of his words. He closed his eyes, exhaustion settling in. He had been hoping that maybe Naruto could remain ignorant for a little bit longer, until after they had sorted out the Kyuubi, but time and coincidence had never favoured Minato.

“How did you find out?” He asked softly.

“Does it matter? I know now, so answer my question,” Naruto demanded angrily.

Minato answered reluctantly, “I wanted you to find out for yourself.”

“What, find out you’re hiding things from me?” Naruto retorted.

“Aren’t I entitled to my own secrets?”

Something in Naruto snapped as he yelled, “Don’t give me that bullshit! You could be hiding so many things from me, you could be usingme to do things you couldn’t finish in your own life-”

Minato’s eyes flashed cobalt steel. “I would never use you.”

“How do I know that? I don’t know anything about you except for what it says in the textbooks! And, why didn’t anybody tell me after all this time? I have to find out for myself that I actually had a family and I’m the son of the Yondaime Hokage, who’s only one of the greatest ninja ever to have lived. I had to grow up alone with the hatred of nearly the entire village to find out that my dad was the reason why I was abused by everyone!”

Naruto’s eyes were wide with anger, frustration and a hundred other things he couldn’t name at the moment. This man was somebody he had grown to trust as much as he did Kakashi, somebody who he had trusted with his life and the pain of betrayal hurt more than anything he had ever experienced. His loud, heavy breathing filled the tentative air and the Hokage turned to face his son.

“Are you finished?” he asked, in a quiet voice.

Who was this man, to think that everything was okay and that this was just some stupid once in a while rant? This was his god damn father and he was acting like nothing was wrong, that he hadn’t hidden the fact that he had parents for seventeen fucking years and it pissed him off!

His fist smashed into the Yondaime’s face and Minato stumbled backwards with the intensity of the hit. Naruto was breathing heavily, his eyes flashing with fury and as Minato straightened up to face Naruto with that infuriating calm, patient expression, Naruto hit him again.

Naruto was screaming, “What’s your fucking problem? Do you know how much I’ve suffered because of you? Do you know what it’s like to wake up to an empty house every morning? Do you know how many times I’ve seen families walking past and wonder what it’s like to belong to one? No, you don’t fucking know damn it, so don’t pretend everything is okay!”

His sapphire eyes met Naruto’s. He said, “I’m sorry.”

And then Naruto exploded. He hit Minato over and over again, because sorry didn’t cut it, sorry didn’t make up for all the times Naruto had cried, sorry didn’t make up for a lifetime without a family that cared for him. Minato took every single one of Naruto’s punches without a word, without ever once raising his own hands. Every time he fell, he would stand up and take another hit only to fall and repeat the vicious cycle. Naruto wanted Minato to scream back at him, to get angry and say something because he wanted Minato to know his pain.

Something cracked with a sickening snap as Naruto’s foot smashed against Minato’s chest, but Minato didn’t even wince. He was silent and stationary, like a punching bag awaiting its user.

Why didn’t he do anything? He was the Hokage, he could have thrown Naruto to the floor and broken his neck in three seconds!

The crimson blood splattered the floor, a stark contrast against the pale yellow. Minato stumbled to the floor and this time he didn’t get to his feet. His eyes were still watching Naruto, still calm and filled with that stupid, stupid trust that only a family member could give, and Naruto hated it.

He should have been screaming too, should have been hitting Naruto!

Finally, Naruto fell to his knees, shuddering with the aftershock of his own anger. Minato was just letting him hit him, again and again, and he wasn’t fighting back like he was supposed to, fighting back like Naruto wanted him to. Deathly silence fell over the room and Naruto couldn’t stand it.

He yelled, “God damn it, say something all fucking ready!”

“Do you honestly believe that it would have made a difference if I had told you from the start?” the entire room became filled with Minato’s quiet murmur.

“I’m dead. I can’t do anything a parent is meant to do, I can’t touch you, I can’t hold you, I can’t protect you. What kind of a father is a person who has only held his son for half an hour?” He said bitterly.

“I don’t care if you’re dead, if you can’t touch me, hell, if I’ve never seen you face to face - I just…”

Naruto’s cerulean eyes had begun to burn and prickle as a thick lump formed in the back of his throat. He clenched his hands, once, twice and then looked above him in frustration. He never had been good with words, but this time the words were important and he didn’t know what to say.

He managed in a choked whisper, “I just wanted family.”

He looked everywhere but the Fourth. He was scared of what was to come, what he would do, what would happen to them. Swallowing painfully, he settled for staring at the ground.

Minato moved hesitantly. His uncertain shift became a cautious shuffle, his blue eyes fixated on Naruto. But then his shuffle became a slow walk, and the walk became a quick stride and the stride became a hurried jog-

And then Minato was running, sprinting to his son, his son, and silver, a slip of it, charted a course down a whiskered face. The smell of sandalwood overwhelmed Naruto but it didn’t matter anymore, nothing else mattered anymore because he had a father, a father who didn’t hate him, and he clung to the shirt of a man who should have been alive.

Minato embraced him so tightly it hurt, pulling him closer as if Naruto was going to slip away now that he had found him again. A gasp escaped his mouth and he brushed the back of his hand over his sapphire eyes roughly. This was a moment he had longed for since he had first laid eyes upon his child and it was finally here. They were both trembling.

Naruto’s hands were shaking as he sobbed, over and over again, the words, “Dad...dad.”
__________________

Failures must be seen as amusements,they are trials which hone your skills.
The frog in the well drifts into the great ocean.
Feel pain,conteplate pain,accept pain and know pain.
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:31 AM   #29
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Re: Everything

A burst of cold air shocked Sakura awake and her jade green eyes flashed open. Sitting up, she looked down at the bed and realized that all of the blankets were on the floor and the mattress was shaking.

“Naruto?” her voice was weaker than she would have liked in the darkness.

The bed shifted and there was a sharp hiss as Naruto breathed in deeply. His voice was strained as he asked, “C-can you heal my stomach infection?”

A second wave of pain wracked Naruto’s body and whiteness exploded before his eyes as he gasped, covering his stomach instinctively. He could feel the acid in his stomach attacking itself and as Sakura’s healing chakra swirled around his organ, he fought to keep himself as still as possible. His teeth grit and his hands clenched in the fabric of the mattress cover, damp from his sweat.

“I really think you should go to Tsunade-shishou about this,” she murmured to him in concern as she began to numb his nerves to block out the pain.

Closing his eyes, he remained silent. As the pain faded into the recesses of his mind, so did his consciousness and he fell asleep once more.
__________________

Failures must be seen as amusements,they are trials which hone your skills.
The frog in the well drifts into the great ocean.
Feel pain,conteplate pain,accept pain and know pain.
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:41 AM   #30
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Re: Everything

Summon Gamabunta-san and ask for the scroll I left him,” Minato instructed Naruto from within his mind.

“You actually managed to make Gamabunta do something for you?” Naruto mumbled as he walked towards the furthest, least used training fields.

The afternoon streets of Konoha were bustling with people, none of whom took a second glance at Naruto as he passed them. His skin had healed nicely and although his body felt a bit tight and stiff, it was nothing a little stretch wouldn’t fix. Weaving his way through a dense forest, his footsteps were muffled by the moist, soft soil underfoot and he emerged in a large clearing far away from the city. Winter had come with icy winds and quick darkness, which was why Naruto was walking along in a thick black jumper.

“Well, Gamabunta-san realized that it was the first and last favour I’d ever ask of him as I was hours away from dying anyways,” Minato explained.

Naruto felt a strange pang in his chest as he was reminded not for the first time that Minato was dead. He asked awkwardly, “Is it weird? Being dead, that is.”

“Not much different from being alive. Though, using the Shiki Fuujin meant that I traded my life to a Shinigami with a sense of humour who decided to put me inside you along with the Kyuubi. I haven’t had a very normal death and I haven’t gone to heaven or anything, so I’m probably not the best person to ask,” he answered lightly.

“So…when I die, will you go to heaven?” Naruto questioned.

“I don’t know. But you’re not going to die anytime soon, so don’t ask questions like that. Now, summon Gamabunta-san,” Minato’s voice was curt and instinctively Naruto dropped the subject.

Biting into his thumb with a sharp canine, Naruto pressed his fingertips against the ground. He murmured, “Kuchiyose no jutsu!”

There was a gigantic trembling and very suddenly, an obscuring, tinted red smoke covered the area. Choking and waving his hand around to bat away the smoke, Naruto could discern the huge, blurry outline of the toad boss.

“Who keeps on summoning me?! The one day I get time off, everybody decides to call for my help,” Gamabunta’s loud, annoyed voice rumbled and the trees shook.

“Sorry boss, I’ll make it quick. Can I have the scroll the Fourth Hokage left you?” Naruto began.

Gamabunta’s unblinking yellow eyes narrowed. He put away his pipe and crossed his arms over his chest, staring down at Naruto. He said flatly, “No.”

“What?! But, boss, I need that scroll!” Naruto pleaded. Gamabunta very openly ignored Naruto, closing his eyes and turning his head away.

“What do I do?” Naruto asked Minato in frustration.

“Tell him that he’ll be meeting one of his old friends if he doesn’t hand it over soon,” Minato replied.

“Eh…eh, boss!” the blonde haired seventeen year old tried to get Gamabunta’s attention.

One of Gamabunta’s eyes flickered open in exasperation and he demanded, “What?”

“If I don’t get the scroll, you’ll be meeting an old friend of yours pretty soon,” Naruto repeated Minato’s words.

A long silence fell over the area.

For a moment, Naruto thought the toad boss was going to dismiss himself and leave Naruto empty handed. However, one of his huge webbed hands reached into his white waistband and he produced a scroll. The scroll looked like a toothpick in Gamabunta’s hands, but as he set it down beside Naruto it came up to about his shoulder. Naruto picked up the scroll and looked back up at him. Gamabunta crossed his arms, shaking his head in exasperation.

He commented, “You know, most people say that you’re more like your mom than your dad. But personally, I think I see more of your dad in you.”

Gamabunta then dismissed himself in a gigantic cloud of smoke.

“…what was mom like?” Naruto asked, before he could help himself.

A soft laugh resounded in Naruto’s head, a laugh that sounded fond and…lonely. Minato answered, “Her name was Uzumaki Kushina, from the Whirlpool country. She was one of the smallest kunoichi I have ever known, but definitely had a mouth to make up for it.”

“So she was annoying?” he pressed. That was a low blow to his pride.

“No, no. She was really likeable but she’d never let anybody help her, which could get annoying at times. And, she ran into things without thinking about them beforehand so I had to make sure she always had a medic on her team. She was too honest though, but it was nice having someone around who’d tell you straight out that you looked like a walking Christmas tree in green and red,” Minato’s voice was tinged with humour, as if he were reminiscing on good times.

Swallowing painfully, Naruto debated over his next question. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to know the answer but curiosity was killing him from the inside. He blurted, “What happened to her?”

There was a quick, agonizing silence. Then Minato answered quietly, “I don’t know.”

“What do you mean you don’t know? You’re her husband, aren’t you?” he demanded, slightest traces of indignation creeping into the edges of his voice.

“Yes, but I died,” his dad answered, with a voice that was almost too casual to be real.

Words escaped Naruto. Guilt quickly tore at every inch of him and he wondered what his dad was feeling. He tried to put himself in Minato’s situation. If Naruto had to live every single day with the fear that maybe, just maybe, Sakura was dead or dying and he was been unable to do anything to help her…

He didn’t know how he’d be able to survive.

“Naruto, open the scroll,” Minato’s voice tore him from his moody train of thought.

Naruto did as his father said and read over all the thick inked kanji thoughtfully. It was an extremely complicated jutsu, he found, and he frowned down at the aged paper between his fingertips.

He asked, “What does the jutsu do?”

“The jutsu will allow you to release the purest form of untainted chakra and then use it against Kyuubi. The purity of the chakra should purge the evil chakra from your body until it fades into nothingness,” Minato explained.

“Should? So, there’s a chance the jutsu won’t work?” Naruto questioned.

His father smoothly cut in, “It’s untested. If it doesn’t work, then we’ll just find another method to get rid of the Kyuubi.”

“But, if this doesn’t work, would we be able to come up with another plan in time? I can only hold back the Kyuubi for so long,” He murmured, eyes glazing over as the words in the scroll blurred with his inattentiveness.

“We’ll manage something, I’m sure,” The Fourth reassured Naruto.

Rolling up the scroll, Naruto slung it over his shoulder and began the journey back to the hospital to see Sakura. Words were tugging at the back of his vocal chords, but he was unsure if he should voice his opinion on the matter in case he upset Minato. Naruto’s foot caught on a rock and he stumbled slightly. He glanced up at the large Hokage monument and locked eyes with the unseeing gaze of the Fourth.

A lump formed in the back of his throat and he swallowed painfully.
__________________

Failures must be seen as amusements,they are trials which hone your skills.
The frog in the well drifts into the great ocean.
Feel pain,conteplate pain,accept pain and know pain.
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