Naruto Fan Fiction ❯ Colors of Life and Death ❯ Shinigami ( Chapter 22 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Colors of Life and Death- by Songbird21

Chapter 22

Thank you to everyone for your reviews. You have no idea how happy reviews make me. :)
wakizashi= Japanese short sword


The air around the team had begun to get warmer. So much so that Naruto and Hinata now had their jackets tied around their waists.

“Why the hell is it so hot?” Naruto complained.

Kakashi, who had just finished putting his jounin vest in his backpack, turned toward his subordinate. “You kids are about to find out why this is called the Fire country,” he answered with a knowing smirk.

Just when Naruto was at the point of wanting to remove his shirt they came around a corner and his mouth simply fell open.

The road they had been walking was now elevated above the ground by at least four hundred feet and underneath this bridge of rock was a field of fire. There were thin ribbons of magma visible segmenting the ground like organic veins. In between these veins were large vents which expelled hot steam; some of which nearly reaching half the height of the bridge. This vision of hell stretched on for a half mile or so. From the team’s right, a lone geyser shot its contents in to the air making the teens take an instinctive step backward.

Sakura’s eyes bugged out as she stared at the scene before her. “Th th th that’s an active volcano!!” she yelled with an incredulous expression as she jabbed a finger in the direction of the lava.

“Yup,” Kakashi answered nonchalantly. “Let’s go,” he said, and began walking. When he noticed his team was not following him he turned around. “Aren’t you coming?”

“That’s an active volcano!!” Sakura yelled again as though Kakashi didn’t have that knowledge.

Kakashi cocked an eyebrow. “And?”

“And you’re insane!” Naruto replied, pointing at the jounin.

“This volcano hasn’t erupted in over three hundred years. There’s no danger,” Kakashi answered plainly. The group looked at each other with uncertainty. “I’m telling you it’s perfectly safe,” he said with impatience.

Sasuke took a calming breath and took a few steps forward, the others followed suit. Before long they were all walking along the bridge. However, they were very tense the entire way across. Kakashi saw their trepidation and decided to distract them with a little history.

“When the first people to settle this land were looking for a place to build their home they crossed this bridge on the way. They named it the Fire country and then named the capitol city to match the theme.” He sighed wistfully. “I haven’t been to Ganshou in ten years. You kids will love it.”

Thoughts of the city, for the moment at least, pushed away their fears as they neared the end of the bridge. Kakashi pointed ahead to where the land became level again. “There’s the exit,” he barely got out before four teenage blurs shot past him. He blinked and chuckled to himself. “Well, at least they made up for lost time.”


Sakura could not have more resembled a deer caught in someone’s headlights if she tried. She stared, bug-eyed and guppy-mouthed, at the city that had just become visible as they cleared the crest of the hill they had been climbing for the past half hour. The rest of the teens had similar, yet far less extreme expressions of amazement on their faces.

Kakashi noted his team’s collective reaction and his eyes crinkled into a smile. “Well, now. I do believe I promised you a break once we got to the top?”

Sakura looked at her sensei as if he’d grown a second head. “Are you crazy?! Now that we’re so close?”

Kakashi looked at the others. “Anyone else suddenly have energy again?”

Naruto and Hinata sagged their shoulders and gave Kakashi a look that clearly said ‘Please, no more’. Sasuke just shrugged as though he didn’t care either way.

“Alright then, we’ll take a fifteen minute break,” Kakashi announced.

Sakura instantly looked absolutely crestfallen. She shuffled over to where her team mates were now sitting and plopped down heavily on the nearest large rock.

Naruto reached into his backpack and pulled out a small package. He tapped Hinata on the shoulder. “Neh, Hinata-chan? Want one?” he offered, holding out a chocolate covered butter cookie.

Hinata smiled warmly. “Arigato, Naruto-kun,” she said as she took the cookie from his hand.

Naruto grabbed a cookie for himself and scooted over so he could lean against his girlfriend a bit as he ate. Hinata blushed heavily, but didn’t feel the urge to pass out. She had begun to get used to Naruto’s affections and was loving every single second of it. “How did this happen?” she asked herself in her mind. “How did my dream come true?” She glanced sideways at Naruto. “Will I someday be able to tell him I love him as well?”

Sasuke looked over at Sakura. She was staring at the city with a longing expression, checking her watch every minute or so. “Sakura,” he called.

Sakura tensed a little at her friend’s voice, but forced herself to look his way. “Y...yes?”

“Dammit! She’s still scared of me,” Sasuke thought in frustration.

Naruto looked at his brother and frowned. He knew why Sasuke was upset. He remembered his conversation with him in the woods a few days earlier.....

-------------------------------------FLASHBACK-------------- --------------------------

“Sasuke?” Naruto called out just before seeing his target sitting in front of a small pond.

Sasuke sighed at not being left alone. “Hey,” he said without looking up.

Naruto sat down next to Sasuke. “What’s up?”

Sasuke sighed and threw a pebble into the pond. “Nothing.”

Naruto frowned. “Is it Sakura-chan?”

After a short pause Sasuke gave in. “Yeah,” he said as he picked up another pebble. “I don’t have a lot of people I care about, Naruto. You, Sakura and Kakashi are just about it. I just can’t stand the fact that one of the few people I fully trust no longer trusts me,” he finished as the last of the ripples from his pebble dissipated.

Naruto sighed in thought. “Just give her time, nii-san. She’ll come around,” he said with small smile.

For some reason, hearing Naruto use a family honorative in place of his name relaxed him a bit. “Thanks,” Sasuke said.

“No problem,” Naruto replied.

---------------------------------END FLASHBACK----------------------------------

“I hope I’m right, Sasuke,” Naruto thought.

“Sakura...are you ever going to stop jumping whenever I talk?” Sasuke asked sadly.

Sakura winced a bit. “I...I hope so. I just want you to know though, that I don’t hate you. I just need a little more time to deal with everything.”

This perked up the raven haired Uchiha a bit. “It’s a start at least...Thank you.”

After a moment of thought Sakura moved just a little closer to the boy her heart had grown to fear...and felt a little of that fear melt away.


The streets were made up of cobblestones, there were lights and advertisements everywhere and police roamed around instead of jounin. The buildings looked like the ones in their hometown, only much bigger–some of them topping out at eighteen stories. Naruto and the other teens simply stared at the scene before them. “A...amazing,” Naruto commented in awe.

Kakashi smiled. “Now, before we find a place to stay we need to speak with the Mayor,” he said as he unfolded a map.

Naruto looked at Kakashi. “What’s a Mayor?”

“Similar to a Hokage, although they usually aren’t ninjas and they don’t have absolute power,” Kakashi answered as he traced a street on the map with his index finger. He looked up at the street signs. “This way,” he announced and began walking.

“How can a leader not have absolute power?” Sakura asked, her curiosity piqued.

“They run under a system where the leader shares his power with a group of advisors. If a majority of the advisors don’t agree on an issue they rule against it. If they do agree then it is passed along to the Mayor and he has the final say over whether or not the decision of the advisors will go into effect,” Kakashi said as he walked, occasional pulling Sakura away from store windows.

After Sakura had resumed walking she frowned. “It sounds inefficient.”

“To a degree, but it gives the citizens a voice,” Kakashi said as he looked up at the number of the building they had just come to. “Ah. Here we are. We need to go to the tenth floor,” he said as he walked toward the front entrance.

Naruto and the others looked at each other. “Wouldn’t it be faster if we jumped up?” Hinata asked.

Kakashi shook his head. “We have to keep a low profile for now,” he said, opening the front doors.


Naruto stared at the panel of buttons that contained the one Kakashi had just pushed. “What’s this?” he asked, gesturing at the handle-less doors in front of them.

“An elevator.”

“Elevator?” Sasuke repeated.

“Yes,” Kakashi answered, sighing at their technological ignorance just as the doors opened by themselves. “Get in,” he instructed.

The teens looked unsure, but obeyed. The doors hissed shut and Kakashi pushed the button for the tenth floor. Naruto, Sakura, Sasuke and Hinata were a little startled when the elevator began to move.

“It’s basically a steel box raised up by heavy cables. Don’t worry. It’s perfectly safe,” Kakashi assured them.

The doors opened onto a floor with a lush, red runner carpet and doors peppering the long hallway. “It’s at the end of the hall,” Kakashi informed.


The Mayor looked up when his secretary walked in. “Yes, Rei?”

“A Mister Hatake Kakashi is here to see you sir,” the woman replied.

The Mayor smiled. “Ah, very good. Show them in, Rei.”

The woman nodded with a smile. “Yes, Sir.” She disappeared and came back a moment later with Kakashi and his team in tow.

The Mayor’s face lit up. “Ahhh, Kakashi,” he said with an enigmatic grin. “How long has it been?” he asked as the men gave each other a polite bow.

Kakashi smiled. “Ten years, sir.”

The Mayor moved back to his desk. “Much too long.” He pushed a button on his desk.

“Yes?” came his secretary’s voice over a small speaker.

“Please bring in two extra chairs.”

“Right away, Sir.”

Just a moment later the secretary entered the room, dragging two cushy looking office chairs behind her. She pushed them into place, gave the Mayor’s company a polite bow and left.

“She’s wonderful. I don’t know how I’d manage around here without her.” He noticed his company was not sitting. “Sit, please,” he said with a smile.

“So what’s the situation?” Naruto asked with a firm expression as he sat down.

The Mayor cocked an eyebrow. “Impatient, isn’t he?” he directed at Kakashi.

“The curse of youth,” Kakashi said with an amused smile.

The Mayor chuckled warmly. “I see you still have issues with your looks,” he said, indicating the mask on Kakashi’s face.

Kakashi flinched as his team stared at him. “There’s a reason for this mask,” he retorted.

The Mayor rolled his eyes and smiled. “Yes yes, I remember,” he said with a few dismissive waves of his hand. “It doesn’t make that reason any less ridiculous though.”

Kakashi, suddenly sensing his student’s eyes boring into his body, decided to do away with any more potentially reputation damaging small talk. “Mayor Kurata, we really should get started,” he said tersely.

“Alright then,” Kurata answered with mild disappointment. “A few weeks ago some people who know a few jutsus moved into the city and took over one of the larger gangs. Unfortunately my regular police forces have proven less than adequate. You will be heading to the north side of the city. The gang calls themselves the Youkai. We have very little information about them except that they are headed by a woman named Minako. Hopefully you will be able to find them before things escalate further.”

Kakashi nodded. “Understood. We will do our best,” he stood and bowed to Kurata.

Kurata stood also. “I have rooms for you at the hotel across the road. Please make sure they know you are my guests,’ he said as he bowed to the group.

“Hai. Thank you, Sir,” Kakashi said.

The team stood and left the office. Naruto jogged a bit and got in step with Kakashi. “So why do you wear the mask anyway?”

Kakashi twitched. “Never you mind.”


The sliding shoji paper wall moved to the right and Sakura and Hinata stepped in. “It’s a nice room,” Sakura commented with a smile.

Hinata nodded in agreement, but glanced at the wall separating their room from the boys’. “I’m separated from Naruto-kun,” she thought in disappointment.


“Are you sure?” said a male voice.

“Hai, Takeshi-san. They are definitely ninja,” said a girl in a maid’s outfit who was bowed in front of the man who’d spoken.

The black-haired man curled his thumb and index finger around his chin in thought. “Alright then. Keep an eye on them. I will inform Minako-sama.”

“Hai, Takeshi-san,” the girl said before getting up and leaving the room.

“So...another Uzumaki....” Takeshi mused.


Naruto laid down on his sleeping mat and stared at the soft glow of a lantern that outlined Hinata’s form in the next room. From what he could tell, she was reading. “Hm?” he said as Hinata stood up and removed her jacket. His eyes widened to their ultimate capacity when he saw her also remove her shirt. He tried desperately to turn his eyes away. “I’m not a pervert. I’m not a pervert,” he chanted in his mind. He swallowed hard as she completed undressing and was slightly relieved when she slid on some pajamas. “If she ever finds out I saw her naked shadow she’ll kill me,” he thought nervously as he wiped away the small trickle of blood that had escaped his nose.

Naruto rolled over onto his other side, trying as hard as he could to shut out the image of her body. “Damn, I hate growing up.”


Hinata walked out of the door to her room and saw Naruto, Sasuke and Kakashi already waiting. “Good morning, everyone,” she greeted as Naruto was busy stretching his arms over his head and yawning.

Naruto jumped a bit at Hinata’s voice and blushed furiously.

“Naruto-kun, are you alright?” Hinata asked as she walked over and put a hand on the boy’s forehead to check his temperature.

Naruto suddenly felt a new warmth moving its way down the inside of his nose. “Oh please, not again,” he mentally begged.

Kakashi cocked an eyebrow at seeing a small line of red come out of Naruto’s nose just before the boy hurriedly wiped it away. He chuckled. “Maybe I should loan him my book.” He shook his head to rid himself of the idea. “Nah. Tsunade-sama would rip me in half.”

He decided he’d better diffuse the situation. He walked in between the two and spoke loudly. “Eh hem. We should get something to eat. We have a long day ahead of us.”

The team nodded and followed their sensei to the hotel exit.


Sakura drummed her fingers on the tabletop as she watched her blonde-haired friend polish off his fourth bowl of ramen and order another. “Naruto....we’d like to start the mission soon,” she said with and irritated expression.

The waitress set Naruto’s order down in front of him. “Sakura, this is the best ramen I’ve ever tasted! How can I leave before I’m stuffed solid?” he answered, happily patting his stomach.

Kakashi leaned over to Naruto. “Make that your last bowl or I tell Hinata about that nosebleed earlier,” he whispered in the boy’s ear.

Hinata wondered what Kakashi was telling Naruto. Her curiosity became even stronger when she saw her boyfriend turn a rather bright shade of scarlet. “Naruto-kun?”

Naruto hurriedly finished his ramen and paid for the meal. “Ready!” he announced with a sheepish grin.

As the team left the restaurant and headed toward the north side of town they didn’t notice the girl on the rooftops that followed their every move.


Itachi stood on a radio tower on the outskirts of Ganshou city. As the wind rustled his ebony black hair he wished he had Kisame with him. It would’ve made the search go much quicker.

He scanned the streets closest to his perch; seeing no one resembling his quarry he shot off over the rooftops. “Where are you?”


Kakashi stopped walking for a moment, looked around a bit and nodded. “Okay. This looks like a good spot to start our search. “Sakura and Sasuke, you two will question the locals. Get as much information as you can.” He noticed a tentative look on Sakura’s face. “Problem, Sakura?”

“Ummm,” Sakura replied, biting her lower lip. Finally she sighed. “No, Sensei.”

Kakashi nodded in approval. “Good. Naruto, Hinata. You two will look for any buildings that the Youkai might consider using as a base of operations.”

Naruto and Hinata gave a sharp nod of obedience.

“I’ll search on my own. We’ll meet back here in one hour. If you find anything, don’t engage the enemy. Tsunade-sama’s assignment letter said that the gang has nearly seventy members so we will be attacking as a group. Got it?” His team nodded in understanding. “Alright then. Dismissed!”

The two teams shot off in different directions. Kakashi sighed heavily in thought. “I hope this mission doesn’t turn out to be more than we’re being paid for....”


It was difficult for Sakura to put aside the unease that working with Sasuke was giving her, but since she had no choice she ignored her churning stomach as best she could. “Let’s start here,” she said, pointing at a small convenience store.

Relieved that Sakura didn’t require any prodding to get her to work with him Sasuke answered her. “Okay.”

Sakura and Sasuke walked up to the counter. “Excuse me?”

“Yes?” replied the male store clerk with a smile.

“Do you know anything about the Youkai gang?” Sakura asked quietly.

Instantly the clerk’s expression darkened. “No...I don’t. And if you know what’s good for you, you won’t ask about them again. Now, please leave before you get me in trouble,” he said firmly.

“I hope everyone’s not like that,” Sakura said as they left the store.

Sasuke sighed. “All we can do is keep trying. Let’s go.”

Sakura managed a small smile. “Hai.”

“How bout that store?” Sasuke offered, pointing at a ramen shop.

“Okay,” Sakura agreed. “Thank God Naruto’s not with us. We’d never get out of there,” she thought with a grimace.


Naruto landed neatly on a fire escape and Hinata jumped up behind him. He scanned the alley below and, not finding anything, leapt to the roof across the way.

As Hinata followed Naruto she got the distinct feeling someone was watching them. She shot ahead so that she was jumping in synch with him. “Naruto-kun, there’s someone behind us.”

“Are you sure?” Naruto asked as his feet landed on a roof access housing just before his next jump.

“Byakugan,” Hinata whispered. Using her now nearly three hundred sixty degree vision she looked behind them. “Hai, one girl. I think she’s been there for a while now.”

The girl behind the two Konoha ninjas frowned when she saw the short-haired girl move into synch with her partner. “Have I been spotted?” she wondered.

The girl saw the pair drop out of site into an alley for a moment then come right back out again and continue along the roofs. “What the hell?” she thought in confusion. She landed on the edge of the building and was about to follow her targets onto the next one when the boy came flying at her from below and delivered a kick to her midriff. “OOF!”

Naruto jumped after the girl when she flew backwards onto the roof from the force of his kick. The kage bunshin that had been running with Hinata poofed out of existence and she quickly doubled back.

The girl stood up, breathing heavily and ran at Naruto and Hinata, pulling out a wakizashi as she did so.

Naruto put his hands together in his favorite seal. “KAGE BUNSHIN NO JUTSU!” Instantly, five more Narutos appeared around the girl in a circle.

The girl’s eyes went wide when her number of enemies suddenly tripled. “What the hell jutsu is that?!” she thought as the copies of the boy rushed her. She held her sword above her head and put her left hand and forearm in a taijutsu pose. “Danshingu kaze no jutsu!” she called out. A swirl of chakra embedded wind pushed her about two feet into the air. Her feet pointed and the chakra began to spin her at a dizzying rate. With the grace of figure skater she neatly sliced through all the bunshins in the span of a second.

Unfortunately for her, as she was spinning she failed to notice the real Naruto above her. He dropped out of the sky and executed a half round house kick, connecting his foot with her face. She went flying backwards, then skidded along the ground for a good eight feet before stopping.

Naruto landed as Hinata ran towards the girl, meaning to attack when she saw something that made her stomach turn to cement.

Naruto ran to where his opponent lay. “Hinata-chan, why’d you stop?”

Biting her lower lip, Hinata simply pointed at her reason.

Naruto swallowed hard at the sight that met his eyes. The girl’s mouth was oozing blood, her arm was bent in a very un-natural way and sticking out of her ribcage was what appeared to be a long metal pole; probably leftover from an old roof sign. Blood coated the entire length of it and even more of the red liquid came from the hole in her chest. He sat down hard on the roof top, nearly loosing his balance as he did so. “Can anything for her?” he asked in a hollow voice.

Squeezing her eyes shut in regret Hinata shook her head.

Suddenly the girl coughed loudly, choking up blood. She opened her eyes and looked over at the boy who was staring at her dying body in disbelief. “How...d-i-d you....?” she asked dumbly before closing her eyes again for the last time.

Hinata looked over at Naruto. He was pale and his mouth formed an ‘o’ of shock. “Naruto-kun?” Hinata asked in concern.

After a moment of silence Naruto spoke. “I...I didn’t mean to...I just...wanted her we could question her.”

Hinata, not knowing what to say simply curled her fingers around Naruto’s hand.

“I...I’ve never...killed anyone...before,” Naruto said as tears filled his eyes.

“Naruto-kun....” Hinata said as her own eyes misted over. She pulled the stunned boy into a comforting hug.

A few tears fell down his face as Naruto sank into Hinata’s arms. He opened his eyes and stared at the face of the girl he had killed. She couldn’t have been more than twelve years old. “I’m sorry,” he thought.

Hinata took a moment to glance at her watch. “Um...we’re late...We should go,” she said gently.

Naruto sighed and reluctantly pulled away from the sanctuary that was his girlfriend’s embrace. He nodded and wiped his eyes. Hinata stood and Naruto picked up the girl’s broken body. The friction of the pole against her insides made a sickening sound as her pulled her off of it. “We’ll take her to the police station first.”

Hinata nodded. “Okay.” They took a few steps. “Naruto-kun? Maybe I should take her?” she offered.

Naruto shook his head. “No...I’ll do it,” he replied quietly.

As Naruto walked past Hinata she could have sworn he looked older...tired. She sighed and followed him as he headed toward the police station.