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Chapter 4: To The Land Of Waves!Edit

A Month, 22 D-Rank, and 5 C-Rank Missions LaterEdit

Naruto landed on the tree branch, "I'm at point A." "Take it slow Naruto," Kakashi told him. "Target sighted," Sasuke said into his com-link. "I think we're ready," Sakura said. "Proceed to capture," Kakashi replied. Naruto grinned and the three young genin leapt into the clearing, circling the escaped cat and cutting off all avenues of escape. It attempted to bound between Sakura and Naruto only to be caught from behind by Sasuke.

The cat attempted to scratch him only to find its claws useless against Sasuke's thick clothes. Sasuke calmly activated his Sharingan and after a moment of eye contact, the cat stopped struggling and passed out. "Confirmation of red ribbon on right ear?" Kakashi asked through the com-link. "Confirmed," Sakura replied, "Positive ID." "Good," Kakashi said, "Lost pet Tora captured. Mission accomplished."

An Hour LaterEdit

The cat received an exceedingly unpleasant awakening as Sasuke handed the sleeping cat back to its owner, the wife of the Land of Fire's feudal lord who loudly and joyfully proceeded to smother the unhappy cat before paying the clerk for the mission. Naruto grinned as the frustratingly elusive cat struggled, Stupid cat deserves it.

Lord Hokage looked at a list as Kakashi turned to him, "For Squad Seven's next mission we have several available tasks, babysitting the chief councilors three year old, helping his wife to do the shopping, digging up potatoes in..." Naruto groaned as the list went on and then perked up when he heard, "And a new C-Rank, guarding a bridge builder on his journey home to the Land of Waves." "C-Rank to the Land of Waves!" Naruto grinned to Sakura and Sasuke, "I'm down for that."

Lord Hokage looked up at him, "Are you sure you're sufficiently healed from your last C-Rank?" Naruto had gotten some fairly nasty bites off a wolf that had been terrorizing some local farms. It had turned out to be more than one, which was how the wolf had gotten Naruto after the first wolf had been subdued. Sakura had broken its neck and Naruto had gotten away with only two bite wounds, but the second one had been rather deep and bled quite a lot. It had hurt, but Hinata's loving ministrations and attention when he got back had made it completely worth it.

That was why they had taken several D-Ranks over the past two weeks, they needed something to occupy them while Naruto healed. Now Naruto grinned and pushed up his sleeve to show that his arm was completely unblemished where the wolf had bitten him thanks to the healing abilities imparted by the Nine-Tails, "Good as new and ready to fight Boss!"

The Hokage smiled, "Alright then. Bring in our visitor!" A moment later a door opened and an old man with a bottle of alcohol in his hand walked in, "What the? A bunch of snot nosed kids?!" He paused and chugged for a moment before continuing, "And you, the little one with the idiotic look on your face, you really expect me to believe you're a ninja?" Naruto looked at Sakura and then at Sasuke, then he frowned irritably as he confirmed that they were indeed both taller than him, Oh this is going to be a long mission...

The old man continued after taking another drink, "My name is Tazuna, I'm from the Land of Waves and a master bridge builder. I must return to my country. I'm building a bridge there that will change our world, and I expect you to get me there safely, even if it means giving up your lives." Naruto, Sakura and Sasuke swapped glances and sighed, "Why do they always think we're cowards who'll wimp out at the first sign of trouble?"

Two Hours LaterEdit

They met at the front gate and casually fell into a subtle formation around Tazuna as they headed out. Naruto led the formation so that he'd have an easier time resisting the constantly growing urge to lodge his foot in the old drunk's keester. Sasuke and Sakura had a difficult time not acting on a similar urge, which made it fortunate that Kakashi was bringing up the rear.

Not much was said after Tazuna got tired of complaining. Then Kakashi started whistling a cheerful tune and Naruto Sakura and Sasuke all had to try very hard to not stop and look around as they heard the team signal for, "At least one pursuer, be on your guard." Suddenly there was a splash behind them, and two masked and cloaked figures leapt seemingly from nowhere, a cutting chain whipping out from their massive metal gauntlets and wrapping around Kakashi, shredding him as the two enemy ninja yanked the chain taut.

Or it would have if Kakashi hadn't been revealed to be a shadow clone. The two enemy ninja suddenly leapt back to back, only for Kakashi to appear next to them, casually grabbing them by their faces and slamming their heads together. That Kakashi turned out to be a clone too, disappearing as the real Kakashi yelled, "Now!"

Sasuke quickly unleashed his Fireball Jutsu and set the two enemy ninja on fire. They howled with pain as their armor was heated scorchingly hot, and then suddenly Sakura leapt and delivered a double flying pile driver with her own armored gauntlets that actually dented the two enemy ninjas' helmets, sending them crumpling to the ground. She leapt away and two Naruto clones quickly covered them with a chain net pulled from a seal stitched into his coat as half a dozen more ringed Tazuna facing outward, eyes sharp and kunai at the ready in case there were more attackers. As Sakura and Sasuke helped the two Naruto clones bind the two unconscious assailants in the net, the remaining Naruto clones kept a sharp eye out until Kakashi gave the all clear signal and dropped from a tree.

As he walked over, Sasuke tied a chain around the opening of the net and Sakura helped the Naruto clones hoist the two subdued ninja into the air over a sturdy tree branch. Kakashi walked over from the tree line, "Mr. Tazuna, we need to talk." He walked over to the two bound ninja as they started coming around, "These two are chuunin from the Village Hidden in the Mist; their specialty is relentless attack. They keep fighting no matter how steep the cost."

"How did you know about our ambush?" One of the two Mist ninja asked. "A puddle," Kakashi replied, "On a clear day, when it hasn't rained in weeks?" "In that case," Tazuna asked, "Why'd you leave it for the genin to do the fighting?" "I could have taken these two out quickly," Kakashi replied, "but then I'd have learned nothing." He looked at Tazuna, "I had to know who their target was, and what they were after."

"What are you getting at?" Tazuna grumped. "This," Kakashi replied, "Were they after us, ninja attacking ninja, or were they after you, the master bridge builder? When you put in your request, you asked for standard protection, from robbers and highwaymen. You didn't say there were ninja looking for you, hunting you down. If we knew this, it would be a B-rank mission or higher," Kakashi continued, "Our task was simply to get you to your destination and protect you while you finished building your bridge. If we had known we'd be fielding attacks from enemy ninja, we'd have staffed differently and charged for the cost of a B-rank mission. Apparently you have your reasons, but lying to us is not acceptable. We are now beyond the scope of this mission."

Tazuna had the decency to look at least a little ashamed as the silence stretched out for a moment. Finally Naruto hmmed, "Kakashi-sensei, we've already taken the mission, and if these guys were even average for whatever group is after him, then unless he's got an army out to get him, I think the four of us we can handle it. We're training for heavy combat after all, what better practice is there than fighting other ninja? We can send him a bill afterwards for the difference."

Tazuna flinched at the mention of a bill, and Kakashi scratched his head thoughtfully, "You know Naruto, I do believe you have a point. We can probably handle it. If it gets rough I'll send a message back to the village letting them know we might need a reinforcement team." He turned back to Tazuna, "So Mr. Tazuna, it looks like you're stuck with us after all."

"However," he added, turning back to the two bound ninja, "I see no reason not to find out whether or not we'll need the back up team now while we've got these two here to answer our questions." "We won't tell you anything!" One of the two bound ninjas exclaimed. "I rather expected you to see it that way," Kakashi said with a cold smile behind his mask, "So I'm going to let Naruto beat an answer out of you."

The Naruto clones all suddenly brandished arm sized limbs quickly collected from the tree line. Before the two Hidden Mist ninja could react, the Naruto clones all leapt forward and started hitting them with their makeshift bats with vicious glee. It wasn't long before, "ALRIGHT WE'LL TALK! WE'LL TALK! JUST CALL HIM OFF!" Kakashi smiled, "I rather thought you'd see it my way. Ok Naruto, you can stop hitting them now."

The Naruto clones all backed off, but they kept their sticks at the ready. "So," Kakashi asked, "Who sent you?" "We took a contract to get rid of the bridge builder. We weren't told who took it out, the boss just said go kill this guy." Kakashi frowned, "And who is your boss?" The two Hidden Mist ninja looked at each other and promptly clammed up. Kakashi poked them, "You can tell us now or you can find out the hard way how bad an idea it is to keep your mouths shut." "He'll kill us if we talk!" one of the two exclaimed. "That'll be a mercy after I'm done with you," Kakashi told them coldly.

The two swapped another glance but didn't say anything, then Kakashi looked at Sasuke, "Sasuke, set them on fire. Let's see if the heat loosens their tongues any." Sasuke's hands started flashing through the activation sequence for his fireball jutsu and one of the two bound ninja exclaimed, "No! Don't! We'll talk! Our boss is Zabuza Momochi!" Kakashi raised a hand and Sasuke stopped, "The Swordsman?"

The other ninja shot his brother a furious look and then sighed, "Yes, that's him. Not that it will do you any good," he added. Kakashi smiled, "Oh I don't know. The bounties on his head and the heads of every member of his team is enough to cover the rest of Mr. Tazuna's fee for the A-Rank mission this just became and then some."

The two Mist ninja suddenly looked worried, and Kakashi confirmed their fears as he turned to Naruto, "Send one of your shadow clones back to the village and tell them our client is being targeted by Zabuza Momochi, one of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist, and we need at least one, preferably two back up squads to deal with any additional forces he might send, as well as one squad to escort these two back to the village."

As one of the Naruto clones took off, Kakashi turned back to Tazuna, "Sorry about this Mr. Tazuna, we're going to be delayed a little while. You just became a very important client with a very profitable mission."

Four Hours LaterEdit

Naruto grinned, "Here they come." A few moments later a dozen leaf village shinobi came around the bend led by the clone Naruto had sent to get them. The Naruto clone promptly dispersed and Naruto grinned as he caught sight of a small black clad figure at the front of the group, his clone had gotten Hinata's team as one of the backup squads. Naruto walked over to greet them and had a hard time not running to Hinata.

As was she leapt and hugged him with delight and he enthusiastically hugged her back as the rest of the back-up team headed over to observe the two captured ninja, talk to Sakura and Sasuke, and confer with Kakashi. "I can't believe we've got a mission together!" Hinata said excitedly, her smile blotting everything else from Naruto's sight as he held her close.

"I know!" Naruto replied, "I'm gonna have to thank that grumpy old bridge builder now, if it weren't for him we wouldn't have this mission!" He kissed her and rested his forehead against hers, "I'm glad you're here." Suddenly someone tapped them on the shoulders and they turned to see a young man in brown and gray with long dark brown hair, white eyes and a neutral expression, "Are you Naruto?" Hinata squeaked nervously, "Hi Neji."

Naruto blinked, "Yeah, why?" Neji smiled, but there was no warmth in it, "My uncle Lord Hiashi wanted me to convey to you that if you act inappropriately with Hinata on this mission he'll castrate you for it." Naruto's expression went from delighted to "Crap..." in an instant. "Neji!" Hinata exclaimed, and Neji raised an eyebrow, "Sorry Lady Hinata, orders are orders." Hinata groaned.

Naruto sighed, "Well, guess the happy reunion's over for the moment." Then he extended a hand, "So you're Neji right? Hinata's cousin? Hinata says you're good." Neji shook his hand, "I am." "Good to have you along then," Naruto declared with a smile that was only half forced, "We're going to need all the good we can get." "Why is that?" Neji asked.

Naruto jerked a thumb at the two Mist ninja in the net, "We managed to beat it out of those two that the guy who sent them is Jonin level and has at least one more with him plus his own personal hit squad. Apparently this is also a pretty big contract, so Kakashi-sensei's expecting them to bring everything they've got." Neji looked at the two bound ninja, "That explains why they sent us then." "Why?" Naruto asked.

Neji turned to him, "My team is a heavy combat squad." "Mine too!" Naruto grinned. "Perhaps we shall have to train together," Neji replied. "Since we're all on the same mission I expect we will," Naruto grinned.

A few minutes later it was decided that Squad 10 would escort the two captured ninjas back to the village, and Team 8 and Neji's team, Squad 9 would carry out the rest of the mission with Team 7.

Now I know what you're thinking, "Wait, they're only genin! Why have they had so many C-Rank missions already?!" The answer is simple. It makes no sense to me for functioning operatives to be taking D-ranks. That's the sort of crap you send people in the Academy on as a learning experience. Also, Squad 7 is a Heavy Combat squad, they need combat experience. So they get preference for C-Rank missions involving combat, such as escort jobs and eliminating low level threats, like wild animals terrorizing farms.

I'm sure you're wondering why they called for back-up. What I wonder is why in the bloody hell Kakashi, a freaking former ANBU operative, didn't bother to interrogate the captured Demon Brothers in canon to find out who sent them and who else might be coming. So I corrected that, and it makes sense to me that Kakashi, even as bad as he is and as tough as my version of Squad 7 is, Zabuza is at least an A-Rank missing nin, and Haku is by all accounts way the hell worse, not to mention the at least three more henchmen they are seen to have in canon, plus ever how many more they might have slinking around the hideout, so I think Kakashi would have the damn sense to call in some back-up, and his best friend Might Gai's squad and Squad 7's year mates with their jonin instructors are to me the obvious choices.

And I know somebody's going to go, "Wait, Hinata's wearing black? What?!" It never made a bloody lick of sense to me for the Hidden Leaf shinobi to wear such flamboyant clothes, and I know other people have asked what the hell is wrong with Naruto that he wears bright orange and doesn't even try to hide his even brighter hair. So there are numerous wardrobe changes for most characters involved. Hinata's coat is now reversible, with a black side that she wears out on missions to help her keep hidden. Neji wears brown and dark gray instead of white and beige. Naruto wears a dark orange almost brown with camouflage pattern coat and a hood. There are many others, such as all Heavy Combat squads wearing at least light armor and I'll endeavor to find time to make pictures of them all with their altered wardrobes.

Next Time: The Demon Of The Mist!Edit

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