Naruto Fan Fiction ❯ Colors of Life and Death ❯ The Youkai Gang ( Chapter 24 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

TenTen and Neji breathed heavily as they tried their best to keep up with the blurs of speed that were Lee and Jiraiya. Twice now, they had felt the shame of being babied when Jiraiya and Lee had to slow down to make sure they weren’t left behind and they were determined not to hold back the mission any further.

Jiraiya looked behind him at his slower subordinates. He lessened his pace just a little and Lee followed suit. Luckily, the two behind them seemed to not notice the drop in speed. “They’re probably too tired to care,” Jiraiya thought just as they came to the volcano bridge.

Neji’s immediate reaction to seeing the lake of lava under their intended path was to skid to a halt.

Jiraiya stopped when he realized he was missing a team member and turned around. “Oi, Neji! What are you just standing there for!” he bellowed. When he didn’t get an answer he frowned in irritation and ran back to the bridge entrance. “Neji, did you” he said, finishing softly as he got a good look at the boy’s face. Neji’s eyes, if possible, looked even more ghostly than normal, and his entire face was frozen in terror. “Neji!” Jiraiya said loudly as he waved a hand in front of Neji’s face.

“Neji-kun!” TenTen yelled as soon as she reached his position.

“Do you know what’s going on here?” Jiraiya asked quickly.

TenTen nodded. “I think so. We need to get him out of sight of the lava,” she instructed as she put Neji’s arm over her shoulder. Lee got the idea and took the other side.

Once they were roughly one hundred feet from the bridge they set Neji down. TenTen took out her canteen, poured out some water onto her cupped hand and splashed Neji in the face. She was relieved to see him immediately come out of his daze. “Are you okay, Neji-kun?”

Neji closed his eyes for a moment; when he reopened them, he sighed angrily. “Yes.”

“Would you two mind telling me what just happened?” Jiraiya said with his arms folded across his chest.

Neji and TenTen looked at each other, then Neji turned his gaze toward his captain. “I’m...afraid of fire,” he said, his voice dripping with self loathing.

Both Lee and Jiraiya’s eyes widened in surprise and confusion. “But...I’ve seen you fight enemies who use fire jutsu,” Lee said.

“I’ve worked very hard to control it. I spend at least twenty minutes a day sitting in front of a lit fireplace,” Neji replied in an even tone. “I thought I had gotten to a point where I could completely control my fear,” he said angrily.

Jiraiya sighed. “I see...Unfortunately, we don’t have time to wait for you to overcome this fear. I’m afraid you’ll have to return to the village.”

Neji nodded. “Understood.” He rose to his feet.

“Neji-kun, are you sure you’re okay with this?” Her brow was furrowed in concern. TenTen knew the idea of having to quit a mission would be highly detrimental to her friend’s pride.

“If you are forced to help me across the bridge, the mission will be compromised. It’s the only logical thing to do,” Neji replied solemnly.

“Alright then...We’ll see you when we get back,” Lee said with a hearty clap to Neji’s shoulder.

Neji simply nodded and ran off in the direction they had come from.

TenTen bit her lower lip as the remaining team members once again set off for Ganshou. “I’m sorry, Neji-kun.”


As the night sky began to lighten, Itachi watched with mild interest as his quarry surrounded an old building. He shifted his weight onto his left foot and pushed away the strand of hair that had been waving in his face for the last minute. “The coming battle should separate Naruto from Kakashi at some point. The time has come.”


“Thirty-nine now,” Hinata reported in reference to the number of people inside the building.

Kakashi nodded in approval. “It seems we picked a good time for this.” He looked around the area again for a moment. “Alright. Naruto, Hinata and I will go in from the roof level. Sasuke and Sakura, I want you stationed on the east and west sides of the building. You’re to keep anyone from escaping the area.” He noticed Sakura tense up and grit her teeth. “Is there a problem Sakura?” The girl in question quickly shook her head, embarrassed that she had been caught looking uncomfortable. “Alright then. Let’s move out,” he commanded as he handed out their radio headsets.

Naruto, Hinata and Kakashi jumped over to the roof of the gang’s hideout. As Kakashi turned the knob to open the door Sasuke’s voice crackled over his headset. ‘Sasuke, in position.’ After a second Sakura chimed in. ‘Sakura, in position’. Kakashi nodded. “Roger,” and nearly pulled open the door before thinking better of it. “Hinata, your Byakugan.”

Hinata nodded and aimed her enhanced vision at the door. “It’s wired to explode.”

Kakashi frowned. “What kind of device is it?”

“Contact point,” Hinata answered.

“Hmm. Can you cut the wires with jyuken?” Kakashi asked.

Hinata chewed her lower lip and released her Byakugan. “I...I don’t know. Neji-nii-san is better at jyuken than me.”

Naruto put a gentle hand on his girlfriend’s shoulder. “I believe in you, Hinata-chan,” he said with a winning smile.

Her cheeks flushed pink, but she smiled gratefully. “Thank you, Naruto-kun.” She gave him a quick peck on the lips. Naruto blushed a little as Hinata turned around to face the door and re-activated her Byakugan. She swallowed and raised her hand, causing it to glow just before bringing it down in a cutting motion near the door’s latch. She saw the wires separate and she nodded in satisfaction. After making two more cuts at points around the edge of the doorframe, she turned around and smiled at her companions. “It’s safe now.”

Naruto grinned. “Good job,” he said, giving her a gentle squeeze.

“Follow me. Hinata, you take point,” Kakashi said quietly as he opened the door and went inside.

As Naruto and the others descended the staircase he felt uneasy. “Calm down, Naruto. They’re all bad guys. You can’t make a mistake here.”

Hinata noticed Naruto’s expression and frowned. “I wonder if he’s thinking about that girl.” They came close to the end of the stairs. She suddenly held out her arm and put her finger to her lips. “There are two guards pacing the room,” she whispered.

Kakashi looked at Naruto. “Take the one on the right. I’ll take the other.” Naruto nodded and the two shot forward from the stairwell opening.

Kakashi knife-chopped his target in back of the neck, while Naruto simply punched his opponent dead in the face. Kakashi sighed as Naruto gently laid the woman he had just knocked out on the floor. “Couldn’t you practice at least a little finesse?”

Naruto simply grinned. “Not my style,” he replied, causing his sensei to sigh again and shake his head.

Hinata looked through the floor below them. “Six on the floor below us,” she informed the rest of the team.

Kakashi pulled out a kunai. “Alright, from here on in, we fight.”


Lee sped over the rooftops at a break-neck speed. “Sakura-san...please be alright.”

Jiraiya sighed as he watched Lee pull further from he and TenTen. “OI! Lee!”

Lee stopped in his tracks, which required a rather long skid, and turned back. “Hai?”

“Try to stay with the team, alright?” Jiraiya said with a cocked eyebrow.

Lee’s face took on a downcast look. “Gomen...It’s just that...Sakura-san...”

Jiraiya gave the green clad ninja a lopsided grin. “We’ll make it in time.”

Lee nodded, and the group continued their search.


Naruto, Hinata and Kakashi burst into the room, causing the guards to pull out various weapons. A teenage male pulled out a two-way radio. “WE’RE UNDER ATTA...” was all he managed to get out before Hinata used a ground level spin kick to sweep his legs out from underneath him.

The other five guards responded to Hinata’s attack on their comrade by surrounding the girl, but they didn’t get a chance to attack as three Narutos came at them. One clone delivered a punch to a male guard’s windpipe, sending him choking and gagging to the floor. The real Naruto swung his fist backwards, punching a boy in his mid-teens in the ribcage. The boy’s bones broke with a sickening snap.

A girl sporting a nasty looking set of jagged edged, bladed gloves swung at Naruto’s third clone. The clone bent its body backward to avoid it, but was hit from behind by an arrow from a crossbow. Kakashi punched the assailant in the bridge of the nose, then threw him against the wall, knocking him out.

Hinata used her jyuken on the girl with the claws and had her unconscious in seconds.

Naruto smiled at Hinata. “She’s gotten more confident.” He turned to the final guard; a woman in her mid-thirties with waist-length, blonde hair. As he began to throw a roundhouse kick towards her head he heard her utter a name that made him wish he had been able to stop in time.

With her mouth and eyes wide open at the young, blonde ninja attacking her, she spoke one word. “A...Ara-shi?” she barely managed to say before his foot connected with her head.

Naruto was so shocked at hearing his father’s name spoken by this total stranger that he nearly didn’t land his kick correctly and stumbled as he regained his balance. He ran over to the woman and picked up her head in his arms. “Wh..what did you say?”

The woman used all her remaining strength to reach up a hand and gently touched Naruto’s cheek. “How...You...?” she said before losing her battle with unconsciousness.

Naruto shook the woman. “Hey, how do you know Chichiuei! OI!” he yelled in vain at the sleeping woman.

“Naruto-kun!” Hinata yelled to get his attention

Naruto turned around to see more gang members flooding from the doorway. Realizing he didn’t have time for solving mysteries, he simply grinned. “Heh. Time for a workout.”


Sakura used a chakra filled punch on the gang member in front of her. He hit the wall with a crunch, spider web cracks extending out from the point of impact. Sakura smiled in satisfaction. “I’m really starting to get the hang of that.” She suddenly noticed someone climbing out of a window midway up the side of the building. “Sasuke-kun!”

Sasuke finished knocking out his current opponent and looked down. “I’m on it!” he replied, making the two-story jump to the fire escape where his target was standing.

The red-headed girl ducked Sasuke’s kick and pulled out a pair of sais. “Outta my way or I’m gonna kick your ass!”

Sasuke smirked. “Heh, you better have the skill to back up your mouth,” he said as he settled into a classic back stance.

Sakura saw the girl bring out her sais. “Sasuke-kun, be careful!”

Sasuke blocked his opponent’s sai thrust with his kunai. “I know that! Watch your post!” he yelled back in irritation.

Sakura blushed in embarrassment and hurried back to her side of the building.


“KAGE BUNSHIN NO JUTSU!” A second Naruto appeared and began spinning the chakra onto Naruto’s hand. “RASENGAN!” He charged forward at the attackers who were still in the stairwell, sending unconscious bodies flying left and right.

Kakashi sighed, shook his head and turned to Hinata. “Let’s hurry and take these two out so we can follow him.”

Hinata nodded and made an affirmative sound.

A man with broad shoulders and messy brown hair smirked. “Let’s hurry and take these two out, huh? You honestly think it’ll be that easy?”

Kakashi chuckled. “I can tell just from looking at your stance that you’re not a threat.”

A black-haired man next to the one who had spoken gritted his teeth. “You’ll regret that!”

Kakashi yawned. “Yes yes. Let’s just get this over with,” he said as he lazily slid into his basic stance.

The brown haired man ran at Kakashi, who simply side-stepped and thrust his arm out and forward, giving the man a solid punch to the kidneys. The thug coughed up blood, doubled over and fell to the floor in an undignified heap.

The black-haired man looked from Kakashi to his friend on the floor and dropped into a floor-kissing bow. “I surrender!”

Kakashi smiled. “Good choice,” he said, bringing out a rope. “Hinata, can you handle tying them up while I check on Naruto?”

Hinata nodded. “Hai.”

Kakashi handed her the rope and disappeared through the doorway.


Sakura had just finished delivering a high side kick to a woman’s head when she notice a green blur in the distance, heading toward them at lightning speed. She squinted against the sunlight. “Lee...kun?” As the blur got closer she could tell for sure. “Sasuke-kun! Lee-kun is coming!” she yelled excitedly at the raven-haired boy.

“Nani!” Sasuke turned around just in time to see Lee only about six hundred feet away, with TenTen and Jiraiya trailing not far behind. He waved a hand in the air to get their attention. “Lee! This way!” he yelled.

Lee turned his head in the direction of a voice he barely caught over the howling of the wind in his ears and turned toward it. He smiled when he saw who it was. “Jiraiya-sama, they’re over there!” Lee yelled behind him as he sped off toward Sasuke and Sakura.


Hinata took extra care tying up the woman who had said the Fourth’s name. “Who are you?” she thought. She looked around the room at her work. Once she was satisfied that they weren’t going anywhere, she ran towards the sounds of fighting emanating from the hallway.


Lee landed on the roof top and ran to Sakura. “Are you alright?” he puffed.

“Hai, I’m fine! Go inside and help the others!” Sakura replied.

Jiraiya shook his head. “TenTen and I will take over out here. You and Lee go.”

Lee and Sakura gave Jiraiya a puzzled look but hurried inside.

Jiraiya breathed a sigh of relief. “That was close. If those two were separated I’d never have heard the end of Lee’s whining.”


Itachi watched Jiraiya’s team with irritation as they landed on the roof of the building across the way. He hadn’t expected the presence of a sannin and knew that Jiraiya and Kakashi together would prove to be more hassle than it was worth. “I’ll have to wait until Jiraiya leaves before making my move,” he thought as he narrowed his eyes.


The walls of the first floor of the building had a few speckles of blood on them by the time Hinata had gotten to the bottom of the stairs. It looked like Naruto and Kakashi had already cleared at least five more of the gang members. “That leaves twenty-five. Still a lot for the three of us though,” she thought as she chewed her lower lip.

“Hinata! Don’t just stand there!” Kakashi scolded.

Hinata, ashamed at having been caught doing anything but her job, rushed into the fray.


Jiraiya watched Itachi out of the corner of his eye; easily seeing through the genjutsu that was making the Uchiha look like an old rooftop generator. “So, he’s here already. I’d better warn Kakashi as soon as I have the chance.”


“Kakashi-sensei!” Sakura yelled over the din.

Kakashi whipped his head around. “Sakura, why are you away from your post!” He took down a woman with a roundhouse kick then noticed that Rock Lee was right behind Sakura. “Odd. I wonder why Tsunade would send re-enforcements.”

“Kakashi-sensei, the Godaime sent us to inform you that Uchiha Itachi is on his way here to capture Naruto-kun,” Lee said.

“What!” Kakashi exclaimed as he blocked a punch from a male assailant.

Naruto was surrounded by a group of six thugs. “Kage bunshin no jutsu!” A perfect clone of Naruto poofed into existence and swirled the chakra on Naruto’s palm. He jumped into the air, then the clone grabbed him by the ankles and swung him in a circle. “Rasengan Jiten!”

Kakashi ducked as one of Naruto’s attackers sailed by his head. “Naruto, watch what you’re doing.”

“Sorry!” Naruto called back as he bounced off the floor with his hands and used the momentum to kick another thug.

“Lee, who else is with you?” Kakashi asked.

“TenTen and Jiraiya-sama,” Lee reported. At that precise moment Naruto lost his balance and took a punch to the face.

“Naruto-kun!” Hinata called out in alarm. She flat-palmed Naruto’s attacker in the windpipe and offered Naruto her hand. “Are you okay?”

“Y...yeah,” Naruto said as he used Hinata’s counter weight to pull himself to a standing position. “Ero-sannin, why are you here?”

Lee made an aerial cartwheel, bringing down his feet at the end onto an enemy’s shoulders, slamming her to the floor. “Only five left!”

Kakashi crinkled his eyes in concern. “This isn’t right, it’s too easy.” He blocked a thug’s dagger with his kunai. “Everyone, be careful! We haven’t encountered the ninja members yet!”


Jiraiya saw ten flashes of color shoot into the building through the main entrance. “Sasuke, did you see that?”

Sasuke nodded. “Hai.”

“I think it’s time you headed inside. I’ll stand guard.”

Sasuke nodded again, dropped down to the fire escape and disappeared through a window.

He glanced in the direction he’d last seen Itachi, but he was gone. “Hmm. Must have decided Kakashi and I together were a problem.” Jiraiya suddenly got a sickening smile on his face and rubbed his hands together. “Hm hmm. If he’s no longer a problem I can check out the women here,” he thought. A small trickle of drool leaked from the corner of his mouth.


Sakura concentrated her chakra to her right hand and sliced into the arm of the boy in front of her. He howled with pain, but maneuvered behind her, meaning to put her in a choke hold. Sakura simply flipped him forward over her head. He landed on the floor, coughed up some blood, and then lay silent. Sakura was surprised when she heard clapping and looked behind her to see who it was. There were now several new figures concealed by the shadows of the entryway.

“Very nice, Kakashi,” said a woman’s voice.

Kakashi cocked an eyebrow at hearing this new person use his name.

“Oh, don’t look so surprised, there’s hardly a ninja in the entire Fire Country who doesn’t know who you are,” said the woman as she walked out of the shadows. She had shoulder length, blonde hair and blue eyes. She wore a simple pair of black training pants and a skin-tight black leotard.

Kakashi squinted. “You...look familiar.”

The woman cocked an eyebrow. “I ought to, you’re the one who introduced my brother to that detestable woman,” she nearly spat.

Kakashi’s eyes went wide. “Minako-chan!”
“Very good, Kakashi,” Minako said with a venomous glare.

“Kakashi-sensei, who is she?” Naruto asked, looking at the woman intently.

As Minako’s subordinates stepped out from the shadows Kakashi expelled a long puff of air. “Naruto, this is Minako...Uzumaki Minako...”


*runs and locks self in reader proof room until next update*