A Song for Them @nihilistic_bunny
Breaking Waves Arc, Tidal

Naruto Fan Fiction!

Adventure! SI-OC!

(Title)

"A Song for Them"

A/N: HOLY BU#Y$RO*&! 500 follows and we just went over the 100,000 word count and we're not even out of Wave country yet! Geez... and we're just barely getting started too~

Fun Fact! Sora's ocarina is a twelve-hole Sweet potato ocarina and it's made of a greyish metal. In case anyone was wondering.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own 'Naruto' or any of the cannon characters! Or any music, sadly.

WARNING! RATED M! Icha-Icha Paradise. Need I say more? Hm... an almost implied sexual situation? Suggestive themes? You'll see.

Breaking Waves Arc,

Chapter Fifteen: "Tidal"

"May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears," -Nelson Mandela

It's been six days since we first arrived in Wave.

Kakashi-sensei is looking stronger every day and the boys have to drag themselves back in every night, looking like they've been tied to the back end of a truck and then pulled through the dirt. No one stayed out overnight again at least.

...I may or may not have threatened terrible violence on them should one show up without the other. Sasuke was extremely skeptical at first but I think Naruto had set him straight.

Well, it worked. So no complaints from me.

I moved the cleaning rag in small circles over my Ocarina, making it gleam in the light. I had already run out of 'special' ink for today and was just passing the time until Tazuna finished working for the day so I could buy some more lemons. I've already had to go into town twice over the last few days to restock with how fast I'm using them up.

I just hope it'll be worth it...

Six days have passed already. It was almost time for our encounter.

Needless to say I was constantly sensing the surrounding area for any signs of Quiet and Heavy or Cold and Pretty. I was expecting Zabuza and Haku to visit any time now.

...and I still haven't spoken with Terra about what we were going to do about that yet.

Tazuna walked by carrying a stack of timber on his shoulder, his eye caught on my Ocarina. He looked up at me, "Do you know how to play that?" he asked a bit skeptically.

I tilted my head at him curiously. Of course I would know how to play the instrument I was polishing. What an odd question. Instead of nodding I felt a small smile creep onto my face and lifted the cool metal to my lips and started to play an upbeat tune.

Tazuna looked impressed as he listened, instead of speaking he went back to work, the corner of his mouth twitching up. I decided to play a bit longer, I didn't have as many chances to play since I became a genin. And I quite loved music.

Now, I was still observing the nearby chakra so I immediately noticed when something odd happened.

As the tune went on and music filled the air, the chakra of the people around me changed.

I'd grown used to feeling the undertones of fear and doubt in the chakra of the men around me. I didn't like it but I understood they're hesitancy. But now... something changed.

They were lighter somehow, spirits lifted, if only slightly. I watched in fascination as the men stood a little taller, hammered a bit harder and moved with a new energy in their step. What was even happening right now?

I heard Kakashi's voice ring through my mind.

"It isn't the first time I've noticed you do that actually. Usually you do it to soothe Naruto down when he gets upset or to head off an argument between him and Sasuke. You even do it with your Ocarina when you play. I also suspect that your instrument is a tool used for channeling chakra."

...huh, so this is what he meant. I'd never really played for this many people before, only for my closest people and I never really noticed the effect my playing had.

I'm influencing their emotions with what I'm feeling right now.

I'm really, really happy right now.

That's... so weird!

And kinda awesome.

So, I'm really, really happy and excited.

My eyes widened when I realized I can share that feeling with everyone here... with these brave people who come out here everyday, against fear of Gatō's wrath they come out here to build this bridge. Even if it's only for a little while and even if it's just a little bit...

Well, the least I can do is play a song or two.

Or twelve as it turns out.

I ended up playing for hours and I loved every second of it. When some of the men started humming along with my foreign songs I became ecstatic.

It was almost noon now, and I was in the middle of playing 'Blue Bird' from Naruto when I felt-Cold. Fragile and beautiful.

Oh. Haku was here.

I hit the wrong note sharply.

Wait.

Haku is here!?

I scrambled off the stack of metal beams where I'd been sitting and swiftly slipped into step beside Tazuna, never halting my song, placing myself between the bridge-builder and where I sensed Haku's chakra to the southern side of the tree line. I have some confidence in my abilities of stopping any assassination attempts.

Somewhat.

Faintly, I could feel the glowing curiosity from the Yuki boy's chakra... and that was it. Just that bright swirling, childish feeling I recognized as curiosity. No malicious intent anywhere in sight. Interesting.

What exactly was he doing? He was alone as far as I could tell. Zabuza should have no idea that I'm a sensor and be actively hiding from me, and Haku wasn't even suppressing that much.

Probably against my better judgement -Terra still wasn't present so, booh- I glanced from under my eyelashes towards the tree line, trying to spot... something.

I sensed him to the south of the bridge, towards the village. Right along the road everyone was using to traffic the building materials. My eyes scanned the foliage, looking for a pretty, pretty boy.

No luck though, but that's to be expected I suppose. Haku is good at hiding his chakra, but he's not Kakashi-sensei or Zabuza level. And I don't really see any reason Zabuza should be out of bed skulking around the bridge... yet, at least.

So, what is Haku doing here alone?

I played for another half hour before Tazuna called it a day and we headed back to the house.

I sensed as Haku quietly left without anyone else ever noticing.

平和 Peace

I wish I had a camera.

My students really are like puppies at times.

I was first awake today, Sora was apparently too content where she was to wake up early. The boys were thoroughly wiped out from their training yesterday and passed out as soon as they hit their mattresses.

Which brings me to this sight.

Sasuke's first mistake was not bothering to move his bed from where it ended up next to Sora's, too tired to think of the awkwardness between them at the time. He must've figured that he was a safe enough distance from his roving blonde teammate.

His second was thinking that Naruto would be his problem.

In his defense though, he didn't know Sora was a cuddler.

Sometime during the night, my red-headish student with her frilly peach nightgown had migrated towards the Uchiha and now had an arm slung around him, pulling him towards her.

The Uchiha was unconscious and completely unaware of this, of course. He didn't realize the new heat source was his female teammate, and so, had no problem whatsoever with moving closer to her warmth. Going so far as to rest his head on her shoulder, placing his forehead in her neck.

Naruto, not wanting to be left out -or what's more likely, he noticed that his own heat source had moved- had drifted over right into Sora's bed, snuck under the blankets and now was curled up next to her, his back snug against her side. Sora also had an arm wrapped around the blonde, securing him in her grasp.

Cute.

It was really cute.

I really wish I had a camera so I could hold this over their little heads forever. The looks on their faces would've been hilarious.

生活 Life

He's here again today.

Again, chakra beaming with that sort of childish curiosity that reminds me so much of Naruto at times. I can only wonder what he wants, it's not as if I can leave Tazuna's side to confront the Yuki boy.

"Morning, Ojou-san!"

I turn to see Iwao-san, one of the more elderly of the men, wave to me. I kept an eye on the general area where Haku was sitting in the foliage and waved back to the man. Iwao-san didn't work on the bridge, he told me that he was too old for such heavy work and he was half-blind, not a good combination. So instead he brings fresh water everyday so no one gets thirsty, and he keeps me company by telling me tall tales.

So far my favorite one was about the giant, two-headed kingfisher who fell in love with a princess on the mainland. It was one of the very few that didn't end in tragedy.

As he walked towards me, I noticed that he had something strapped to his back, it was about two-and-a-half feet in length and wrapped in canvas. "Think 'ya can play us another song t'day?" he asked cheerfully.

I smiled at the older man, feeling bashful all of a sudden. I wasn't used to preforming in front of so many people. But I obligingly reached into my pouch for my Ocarina.

Iwao-san also took off the parcel on his back, unwrapping it, I immediately recognized it as an old Shamisen which has probably seen it's better years.

"If 'ya wouldn't mind my accompanyin' 'ya, Ojou-san? I used'ta be quite the performer in my younger days, I'll have 'ya know!" He said with a proud smile. Wait, he wants to-I quickly nodded my head with a grin. That would be amazing!

Now the questions is, what song do we play? I don't know how to write sheet music or play a Shamisen. We could just play off each other but-My eyes pass over an empty mixing pot sitting off to the side and I got an idea.

Excited, I rushed over and grabbed the pot. It was in the trash pile so I knew no one would be missing it. Next I pulled out my storage book and unsealed a sheet of leather I use for my kunai grips. I took the leather and placed it over the pot and pulled out a spool of ninja wire from my tools bag. I tied the wire tightly around the lip, stretching the leather taut.

I borrowed two mallets, graciously lent to me by one of the men, and began hitting my makeshift drum with a steady beat.

'Dum... Dum-Dum... Dum-Dum... Dum-Dum...'

I started to mouth the words Kaa-chan taught me so many years ago. Iwao-san began strumming gently in time, the light in his old eyes told me he knew this song by heart himself.

I loved when Kaa-chan would sing me the songs from her childhood. She once told me that she could hear this song from the docks of her village. The fishermen's rich, baritone voices would carry out across the water back to her.

It was my Grandfather that taught her Sōran Bushi.

"Yaren soran, soran, soran, soran, soran..." Michi-san, one of the workers, was the first to recognize the song. He started singing not long after, murmuring the familiar words."When I asked a seagull a tidal news... I am leaving now. Ask the waves the same-choi!"

I thought I was imagining it when I heard a number of others voices join in. But no, several of the men started singing along. Most of them were off-key and would never have jobs as performers but at the same time it was incredible.

"Yaren soran, soran, soran, soran, soran... Hai! Hai!"

Michi-san's grin was wide now, he raised his voice higher. "I will sleep on a satin pillow tonight, tomorrow I'll be out and sleep on the waves-choi!"

When I heard that even Tazuna had started singing a smile stretched itself across my face. Looking over, Iwao-san was grinning as well.

And all the while, Haku was watching this spontaneous concert all from his spot in the trees.

忍耐 Patience

"What are you doing?" I asked my red-headish student.

I knew exactly what she was doing.

I'd seen Minato-sensei and Kushina-san do the same thing on many occasions before. The fluid movements of her hands, the constant expelling of her chakra. She was making chakra ink. That much was obvious.

The reason why I asked though... well, Sora was currently hunched over a bowl of water and lemon juice. There was no actual ink in sight.

Thus, the ask.

Purple eyes snapped to mine and she had a small smile on her lips. She carefully set the water back into the bowl, and lifted her hands to speak. 'Just making some special ink.'

Special? "What for?"

Sora tilted her head to the side in a way that reminded me that I should probably introduce the Pack to my students at some point. Ūhei does loves puppies.

Then she blinked rapidly like she just remembered something, it was soon followed by a sheepish smile. 'To use on the bridge.'

She's using chakra ink on the bridge, and she didn't think to tell me.

I gave her a painfully flat look. "Sora. Are you placing Fuinjutsu on the bridge without Tazuna-san's knowledge?"

'He had asked!' She defended hastily.

"For Fuinjutsu?" i asked with a raised brow, her purple eyes glanced away and she was looking more and more embarrassed every second.

'Well, no. He mistook my silencing formula for art.'

"Mm. And you didn't correct him?"

My female student shook her head sullenly, shoulders slumped, a frown pulling on the corners of her mouth. Damn it, now she looks kicked puppy.

A terrible thought struck me.

If she starts crying I am so fucking screwed.

As calm and rational as Sora seemed to be -most of the time- she was still a teenaged girl. I remember just how calm and level-headed Rin always seemed to be but then... I remember the times when she wasn't.

I shuddered inwardly.

Sora's head was lowered now and her bangs were shading her eyes from view. She sulkily signed, 'It's just a back-up plan in case we run into trouble on the bridge. I actually have no idea if it'll work or not.' she then shrugged listlessly.

I exhaled long through my nose before lowering myself to take a seat across from her, I set my crutches to the side and rested my arms on my knees, chin in my hand. Sora looked up at me questioningly and I looked at her expectantly in return.

"Maa... aren't you going to tell me about this 'back-up plan' you've come up with?" I drawled.

Ah. She's fixed now, smiling and excited again. Thank Kami-sama that was easy.

New

Now, I may not be entirely sure due to the gaps in my memory but I'm fairly certain that only Naruto had spoken with Haku before the battle on the bridge.

I'm only 'fairly certain' of this because I also don't remember Sakura or anyone else noticing the Yuki boy visiting the bridge the last couple days either.

Which brings me to my latest problem.

Currently, there was a pretty fifteen year-old boy standing a few meters away from me. He wasn't disguised this time, he was dressed in the same outfit he wore our first day in Wave, the only difference was that he wasn't wearing his hitai-ate.

After leaving the construction site for the day, Kakashi had given me some free time from bodyguard duty. Instead of going to harass the boys up their trees I decided to go for a scenic walk near the water. I'd found a peaceful little spot on some rocks and dipped my feet into the cool water. I started playing on my ocarina before I sensed him approach quite suddenly. One second I was alone and the next he was standing out on the water. Which looked really cool by the way.

His chakra was... muted. A carefully controlled neutral feeling, it was impressive. I haven't met many that have had their emotions under such a tight hold. His emotions were muted but his intent was still clear, it allowed me to relax slightly.

Innocent curiosity.

His voice was soft but clear, "You play beautifully."

I nodded shallowly to acknowledge his compliment. Then a somewhat tense silence washed over us, at least on my side. I was beyond confused at this point.

This? This did not happen before. I know that for a fact. Something has changed, that much was obvious. But what did I do that was so different from Sakura's actions?

He lips twitched up wryly, "So I was right..." he murmured. I raised one brow at him questioningly.

"You aren't surprised to see me. Not even in the slightest." He elaborated. And what? "You recognized me that day in the forest, didn't you? At the time I didn't know how, but you did."

Oh.

Oh.

That's right. I'd seen his face in the forest but the outfit was when he was pretending to be ANBU. I hadn't look surprised at all. Whoops?

So that's what changed I guess. He knew I knew. I didn't think much of it at the time and I probably should've. So I guess that's why he-

-Did he just say 'At the time'?

I finally figured it out. It was a threat assessment.

All his visits to the bridge, the surveillance... he was assessing my sensory abilities the whole time! I felt the corners of my lips turn down. A small part of me was hoping against hope that... Haku didn't show up because it was his job, but because...

I'm not going to say it because it's totally Naruto's influence on my brain!

...I still felt disappointed though.

"Zabuza-sama has told me about Sensors before, but I've never had the chance to meet one in person. He always makes it a point to kill them first." The Yuki boy said calmly.

...huh.

That should've been a terrifying threat to my person but his polite matter-of-fact tone threw the whole scare factor out the window. I really do have issues. I should be preparing for an attack, not playing in the water.

I gestured for him to sit on a rock adjacent to me. I figured it was rude for him to keep standing on the water -which was so fudging cool, by the way- while I sat on my bum and I really didn't feel like getting up from my spot. The water was nice on my feet.

Terra could make snarky comments on my survival instincts later.

The Yuki boy blinked, surprise rising in his chakra. His dark brown eyes scrutinized me carefully as he slowly moved closer. He sat down about six feet away from me, close but not close enough that he couldn't react if I decided to attack. The same for me, I suppose.

He spoke slowly, his eyebrow slightly pinched together. "You do know I just threatened you, right?"

I deliberately and slowly stowed my ocarina away and reached into my tools bag, making sure both my hands were visible to him the entire time. I pulled out my notepad and clicked my pen.

"You didn't actually." He looked even more confused, that was cute. "Threaten me, I mean. You just stated a fact. And it's a sound strategy to incapacitate any sensory-types first, makes things easier in the long run." I replied cheekily.

I noted that Haku's eyes lingered on 'incapacitate' longer than the rest of the words. Cold brown eyes met my own. I saw humor slowly warming them. "I see."

It was quiet after that. It was weird so I wrote the first thing that came to mind, "So... nice weather we're having today." I say, because really, what else is there to talk about? With him?

He took a moment to respond, chakra a bit thrown off-kilter by my social awkwardness. "Yes, it is." He agreed politely.

The quiet returned.

I tapped my fingers rhythmically on the side of my ocarina.

I could faintly hear some warblers singing to each other in the distance.

...It really was some nice weather today.

"Why did you not attack me in the forest? You had the numbers, the element of surprise..." He tilted his head, the action causing his long hair to sway. My attention was oddly drawn to the movement.

His hair is so much nicer than mine. I felt a pang of envy in my chest.

"...you could've killed me."

Maybe, I allowed. "Why didn't you attack?" I asked instead.

"I didn't want to." He answered simply with a graceful shrug. I didn't know you could make a shrug look graceful. His pretty chakra remained calm and continued to flow naturally, he wasn't lying.

"Your turn."

I answered back just as honestly, "I think you're a nice guy."

Aw, there was that endearing confusion again, his chakra began swirling faster. He looked in-between me and the page a couple times before he found his voice again. "You can't know that."

"Yes I do. In the forest you could've hurt my friend, yet you didn't. So, thanks for that." I flashed him a grateful smile.

There was a light in his brown eyes. "Uzumaki Naruto-kun... he is precious to you. I saw it in your eyes that day in the forest." His voice was serious. "You are willing to do anything for him."

I didn't even hesitate. "Yes."

Not just for Naruto though, I'd do anything to keep each of my boys safe.

They're mine.

"You're very odd."

I blinked, then grinned because that was adorably blunt. This kid is cute, no wonder Zabuza keeps him.

He continued, "I've noticed that most people wouldn't say that so easily. Less, that say it and actually mean it."

Smiling softly, I reached for my sealing book and opened it to the first page. There were two pictures there.

One was probably the only picture ever taken of Uzumaki Ikari. She was lying on a bed mat and her red-brown hair was damp and sticking to her forehead from the sixteen-hour labor, she looked exhausted but you could see a glow around her. Her river-blue eyes were gazing over a sleeping little pink blob with wispy orange strands of hair on it's head.

Her lips were pulled into a beautiful smile that I miss every day.

The second was Team Seven's official/commemorative team photo. The boys had been trying to make the other disappear with glares alone because they had to stand semi-close to each other, as I was on the right. Too tall to be in the middle. As the photographer was counting down I reached over and pulled Naruto into a side-hug and tickled his ribs to draw out a surprised laugh, washing away his previous glower. As the man said 'one' Kakashi-sensei had grabbed Sasuke's shoulder and pulled him in, basically squishing him next alongside Naruto.

Scarecrow was eye-smiling, Naruto was laughing and I've gotta say, Duckie's surprised face is better than the usual doom and gloom one. I was grinning and holding up a peace sign with my free hand.

My smile was fond now. Haku's eyes were on the picture as well. I flipped it over, my handwriting was on the back.

1/12

My family. Hero (Center, Age 12), Duckie (Right, Age 12), Scarecrow (Above, Age "26") and Me! (Left, Age 14)

His chakra had been relatively calm until he saw my pictures. Now, his pretty chakra was swirling with something like... envy? Oh. That's right, isn't it?

...he's kinda like me.

Zabuza is Haku's 'Hero'.

Zabuza who is going to die soon.

That's...

I couldn't imagine ever losing Naruto.

I wrote, "Gatō is going to betray you both the at the first opportunity he gets. You know that, don't you?"

Haku didn't respond, his chakra became agitated though, and it wasn't directed towards me. He swiftly stood and bowed his head. "Thank you for speaking with me, Kunoichi-san. This has been enjoyable."

Then he started walking away. I quickly wrote and gave a short whistle to grab his attention before he could leave, he turned back to me curiously.

I raised my pad. "In case you were wondering my name is Sora."

His eyes drifted over the characters and then he gifted me with a small smile that would make anyone blush.

"Haku."

And then he was gone.

I'm convinced of it now.

The stronger the ninja, the weirder they are.

Why did I think this?

Well, I was currently sitting on the back of Kakashi-sensei's legs as he did one-finger push-ups. Oh, and he had Tazuna sitting on his back as well.

Y'see? Weird.

"I wanted to ask you earlier but... why are you still here when I lied to you about the mission?" Tazuna asked my teacher.

"To abandon your duty is not courageous. Below the courageous there is nothing." 194... 195... 196... "These are the previous Hokage's words."

Really? I lean backwards to catch his eye, 'Which one?'

"The Niidaime's." Tobirama had said that? You learn something new everyday, I suppose. He resumed speaking to Tazuna, "That is the way of the Shinobi. Shinobi don't move for money alone."

201... 202... 203-How long is he going to go? As much as I enjoy this teacher-student bonding time and being used as a training method, I've actually got better things to do. Like, check my handiwork on the bridge or trying to figure out the trick to my silencing formula or decoding the Fuinjutsu on the Uchiha stone or like, anything other than sitting on Kakashi's legs!

It's official, I'm bored.

My eyes scan for anything to occupy my mind. We were in the guest room, the window was open but all I could see was blue. Blue water, blue sky. Nothing of interest right now, sadly. My bag was against the far wall with my storage book sitting on top of it, if I had it then I could at least unseal a book to read -a Genjutsu manual or something- and pass the time that way.

Reading a book...

Unconsciously, my eyes slid back to my Sensei, the only other bibliophile in my acquaintance.

Icha-Icha Paradise... what's so great about Icha-Icha anyways? I know Scarecrow is obsessed with the series but can it really be that good? I mean, Jiraiya wrote it after all.

...I eyed his right tools bag. I could just barely see the orange cover peeking out from behind the fake one.

The question is though; was I really so bored that I'd risk my sadistic teacher's ire?

220... 221... 222... 2-The answer was yes, apparently. Yes I was.

Slowly, my hand drifted towards the bag. Sneaking behind Tazuna's line of sight... I carefully, oh-so carefully, lifted the lid and I froze. Expecting to get throw off or skewered for daring to even think of touching Kakashi's book. But oddly enough, nothing happened. Scarecrow made no reaction.

My hand slipped in and I stole the infamous book.

I held my ill-gotten goods close to my chest and cautiously watched my Sensei for any sign of knowing. He was still doing one-fingered push-ups. I briefly considered that I was giving my teacher too much credit but quickly killed that thought with a well-aimed mental kunai.

I am so getting YOUTH-anized for this when we get home...

I opened it up.

The pages flipped and I started on one somewhere towards the middle that'd been dog eared, an apparent favorite of it's rightful owner. The characters were in Kanji and it was printed elegantly.

Katsumi's ample chest heaved with swing of her blade. Although he was busy dealing with the brigand in front of him, Takeo felt his eyes drawn to the rising and falling movements. He was so mesmerized by the sight that he failed to avoid the brigand's giant pet scorpion lodge it's stinger in his inner thigh.

"Shit!" He cursed under his breath. He cursed himself for being such an thick-headed idiot and getting wounded, he cursed the brigand for having a damned scorpion as a pet, he cursed the scorpion for being so damn big and lastly he cursed Katsumi for being so obviously distracting.

The fight wrapped up with a few more cringe worthy innuendo's and cheesy jokes, then the two protagonists escaped the ambush and made camp for the night in a dark and isolated cave. I'll admit it, it wasn't half bad so far.

"The damn thing was poisonous." Takeo grunted as he peeled away the bloodied cloth covering his swelling wound. He'd had to take off his pants to examine the wound better, no time for modesty when he was possibly dying.

"It serves you right." Katsumi scoffed, her pretty face was set into a scowl. "You had been too distracted with staring at my breasts to pay attention to your surroundings!" Her beautiful dark eyes were harsh and accusing. When he made no denial, the woman scoffed again, more exasperated and annoyed this time.

When Takeo began prodding at his rapidly swelling wound Katsumi slapped his idiotic hands away. "Don't do that, you idiot! You'll only make things worse." The woman hissed, after looking at it herself she crouched to get closer to the wound and examined it.

Takeo swallowed thickly, suddenly overcome with the sight of the woman in front of him. The beautiful and sharp-tongued one that was currently sitting in-between his mostly bare legs.

It may have been the warm glow of the firelight bouncing off her pale flawless skin. Or the way her silken black hair was falling in cascading waves around the curves of her hips... or it may have just been the poison slowly eating away his insides, but he thought that Katsumi looked like a goddess given form.

He swallowed again but his mouth was still dry.

Katsumi placed her lips on his thigh and Takeo choked in surprise. She pulled away and looked up at her from underneath her full lashes, giving him her flattest look. She spoke very clearly, "You are going to die if this poison stays in your body any longer. Unless you know what kind of scorpion that was and have the correct antidote on you?" She asked dryly. Takeo slowly shook his head. He held his breath in anticipation as she moved closer again.

Katsumi placed her mouth over the meat of his thigh and began to suck-

-The orange book was disappeared before my very eyes. I blinked dumbly at my now empty hand.

"Nope. Not happening." Scarecrow said unreasonably. I looked up at my silver-haired teacher, trying to figure out how that just happened? I was still sitting on his legs.

He stowed his prized possession away in his flak jacket and gave me a wary glance from the corner of his eye and continued working out.

But... I want to find out what happens next!

Sora set foot on the cool sand of the beach, and when she opened her eyes she saw a storm was brewing. The skies were dark and there was a sharp wind whipping her wavy hair into her face. The girl knew this was her other half's way of telling her that she was not in the mood for this conversation.

"Well, that's just too bad..." The girl reasoned quietly.

They were going to have this conversation. They have been putting it off since before they arrived in Wave country, and after the meeting with Haku today it has become even more imperative that they come to a decision.

Sora scanned the stretch of beach, no sign of Terra. The grassland was also void of light or sound. The waters were dark and swelling with 30-foot waves in the distance.

So, Terra really didn't want to talk then.

Sora began to walk down the beach, looking for her grouchy other half. She'd come across her eventually, she always did.

The girl's blue dress was whipping in the wind as she walked. The stronger the winds got, the closer she knew she was getting. Sora spotted the little house where the most precious of memories were stored, there she saw the lengthy form of her other half. Terra was on the porch, leaning on a post with a thousand-yard stare into the distance, no bikini's or pajama's in sight, just blue jeans and a black halter top.

Sora came to a stop on the porch and the wind was suddenly gone, they were standing in the eye of the storm.

"Terra."

She didn't turn to greet the girl.

"It's time to come to a decision. We can't act until this is resolved."

No reply.

Sora exhaled through her nose, it was never a good sign when Terra was giving her the silent treatment. "...please?" She tried a different approach, "You know we can't act until we come to an agreement. I need you."

Terra crossed her arms over her chest defensively, then uncrossed them as soon as the thought entered their mind.

What's there to decide? She asked dully.

"The confrontation with Haku and Zabuza. What are we going to do?"

That's simple. Terra drawled.

Sora waited patiently, she had been expecting a fight between them. With lots of yelling and screaming and denials until one of them won the argument. Terra didn't often win, but that didn't mean that Sora never loses.

We do nothing.

Sora froze. "What."

Finally... Sapphire eyes turned to meet violet hues.

We... do... nothing. Terra slowly repeated.

That's what Sora had thought she heard. The girl was frowning now. "They'll die if we don't do anything."

Terra snorted derisively, Uh, yeah. They'll die. Gatō'll die. And all the land will be saved. Woo... She waved her hands unenthusiastically.

Sora's frown deepened. "Explain."

Terra raised a brow at the demand but humored her other half, What do you imagine'll happen if they live, huh? she asked. They are rogue ninja of a foreign village. Zabuza is a killer. Don't delude yourself into thinking that if he survives this, that he'll just turn into a nice guy and stop his mercenary ways.

"I didn't think that. I know what he is, but I also know that he tried to stop Yagura! He has some sense of right and justice-and Haku shouldn't have to die because of Zabuza's choices!

Terra scoffed and looked away, You're such a kid sometimes. So you want to save them, okay then. What about Sasuke then? she asked sharply.

"...what about him?"

While you're off trying to validate your existence, Sasuke will be the one in danger! He's the one who will be going head-to-head with the dangerous Ice-user!

"Don't be dramatic, Terra." The girl sighed, she pointedly ignored that first comment.

Why? Terra snapped, Because dear Haku wouldn't kill him?

"Haku won't kill him." Sora assured her other half. She didn't understand why Terra was getting so worked up over this. The decision was simple and she was just being stubborn.

You can't depend on Haku not to miss, you realize that don't you? This isn't some story where everything will turn out okay in the end! If he misses by even an INCH Sasuke will wind up dead.

"He won't miss." She said confidently.

Is that so? Even if he's being distracted by a teenage girl who's actively interfering with his fight? You have that much faith in a story that's already changed? Because from what I've seen, he's already been distracted by you once.

Sora faltered.

It was true. Things were different, if only slightly and in the tiniest of ways... by even an inch.

Flashes of a two-dimensional Sasuke bloodied and riddled with senbon came to mind.

By an inch.

And for the first time since entering her mindscape Sora felt it, she felt the choking cold that stifled the air. Terra was always good at hiding it but not here, not in this place.

"You're afraid... you're terrified of something going wrong." Sora realized. The girl knew that Terra cared deeply about the boys underneath all her teasing and sharp words but...

Something physically snapped and Terra's face twisted with anger and indignation.

Sora then remembered that her other half has never dealt well with confrontation of her emotions before. Crap.

I AM REALITY! She roared.

I am the one who has to think of the repercussions while you just flit around in your daydreams! Dreaming about stopping the bad guys, saving everyone so that no one dies and living happily ever after!

Sora's nose scrunched up, "I don't-"

Yes you do! The brunette hissed, And what about Naruto, huh?

"Naruto isn't in any danger. Kurama would never allow anything to happen, he would die too." Sora was certain of at least that much. The Fox will protect her Hero, for now.

The woman placed her hands on her hips. No, Naruto learns from Haku's sacrifice, Sora. This is when he decides to create his own ninja way! Are you going to take that away from him?

Terra was desperate. She was desperate and afraid of all the things she didn't know. Of the future she didn't know for fact.

Sora has a bad habit of not being properly afraid.

The girl's face had a dark look as she spoke slowly, making sure every word was clear. "They are people, Terra. They are NOT lessons to be taught to a twelve year-old boy!"

Terra moved closer and leaned down, until their faces were only inches apart. And are you really willing to trade Sasuke's life for Haku's?

"I won't allow that to happen."

You can't guarantee that.

"Like hell I can't!" She snapped.

Blue eyes narrowed sharply.

"I will not allow anything happen to Sasuke or Naruto! I will save Haku and Zabuza!"

There was a beat of silence.

Terra straightened up and crossed her arms over her chest, running dispassionate blue eyes over the girl's small form. She was calmer now, seeing Sora so resolute, so sure that she'll win...

They've been spending too much time around the Uzumaki boy, Terra decided.

...it's always been your way or the highway, hasn't it? Tell me this Sky-girl; what are you going to do when things don't go your way?

Sora couldn't resist it, a small smirk made it's way onto her lips without permission.

"I suppose we'll burn that bridge when we get to it."

Sassy. And you used to be so sweet and innocent too, what has being around those boys done to you? The brunette moaned with faux sadness as she walked towards the porch swing. Her attitude from before was almost completely gone, the weather was clearing up as well.

The girl supposed she just needed to vent. Sora followed the taller woman and sat beside her on the white swing. "Have we come to a decision?"

Terra sighed heavily, running her hand through her long brown hair and placing the other one around Sora's shoulders. You'd made your decision long before you came looking for me, Sky-girl. Sapphire met violet... and they softened. We'll go ahead and try to save the world.

"I'm not trying to save the world." Sora protested.

Terra ignored her. Your 'plan' is hilariously stupid by the way.

The girl frowned, feeling mildly insulted. "So says you. I think it has a good chance of working and Sensei agrees with me!" The girl was quite proud of that.

Yeah, says me! She laughed. I'm the only one around here with some gawddarned common sense! Kakashi doesn't count either, he's as crazy as the rest of 'em!

The girl stuck up her nose haughtily, but leaned into Terra's side. "We'll will just have to wait and see who is right, then."

The front door opened. Duckie and the Hero came stumbling in, Duckie practically carrying the Hero, looking filthy and exhausted and-OH, wow! They stank. Like, really, really badly.

Tazuna spoke. "Oh, you guys are finally back. What's this? You guys look super dirty and worn out." And stink. That's also important to note.

My blonde friend laughed breathlessly, "Heh... both of us... made it to the top 'ttebayo."

Warm pride glowed off Kakashi's chakra as he spoke. "All right! Naruto, Sasuke, starting tomorrow you two will also help protect Tazuna-san."

"OKAY!" Naruto cheered. Then I spotted that underneath all the dirt on the boys, there were a bunch of cuts and bruises.

I stood from my seat and went into the guest room, I went to my storage book and unsealed a roll of gauze, a bowl, a couple clean cloths, medicinal cream and some plasters for good measure.

I walked back in and placed most everything on the table, went to the sink and filled the bowl with water and came back to sit right next to the Hero. He saw everything and grimaced, but didn't protest as I wet the rag and began cleaning the dirt off his face.

'If I leave them be, the fools would probably get infections from their cuts.' I was frowning on the inside.

Probably not, but your kind of a mother hen. This is more for your sake than theirs. I didn't respond to that. Mother hen or not, they are still boys who don't take care of themselves. Especially the grown one who is supposed to be our role model.

Inari-chan's chakra spiked, it was building up with a string of different emotions. People were talking before. What did I miss?

"Whut?" Naruto managed to say as I was trying to clean off a particularly stubborn spot on his cheek.

The little boy exploded.

"WHY DO YOU GUYS BOTHER TO TRY SO HARD!? NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRAIN, YOU'RE STILL NO MATCH FOR GATO'S MEN!"

Oh, wow. Tears were streaming down his face and I couldn't help but pity the boy. This has been building up for awhile hasn't it? His emotions are all over the place, I couldn't read what he was feeling.

"NO MATTER WHAT GREAT CLAIMS YOU MAKE OR HOW HARD YOU WORK! WHEN FACING THE STRONG, THE WEAK WILL ONLY END UP GETTING KILLED!"

Naruto's annoyance spiked in his chakra. "Whatever kid, I'm not like you."

He continued screaming at us, "YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS COUNTRY, YET YOU'RE BEING SO NOSY! WHAT THE HELL DO YOU KNOW ABOUT ME?! I'M DIFFERENT FROM YOU, YOU'RE ALWAYS CLOWNING AROUND AND ACTING CHEERFUL-YOU DON'T KNOW HOW HARD LIFE CAN BE!"

My hands stilled.

What.

'He did NOT just say that.'

Oh, but he did.

I felt as Naruto's chakra twisted and rolled, all his emotions got into a tizzy too. His eyes were hard and there was a snarl in his voice.

"So... it's okay to pose as the star of a tragedy and cry all day?" Naruto lifted his head, his face twisted with anger, "Just keep on crying forever you idiot! You little sissy!"

The air was still. The anger left my best friend almost as soon as it entered. I began cleaning the dirt of his forearm, there was a shallow gash on it, probably from a bad fall.

Inari quietly left the table, still crying. Scarecrow stood and followed him out at his own pace.

Guilt washed over the Hero almost immediately. His head and shoulders drooped with depression. He won't ever openly admit to it but Naruto cares about the boy, it's just in his nature.

He murmured softly with his sad baby blues looking up at me. "Hey, Sora-chan... do'ya think I was too harsh just then?"

I shook my head as I finished wrapping up his forearm. I lifted my hands, 'People need a good scolding sometimes. Some can't hear or won't listen to soft and sweet words, and that's when loud and forceful come in handy.'

Did you really just give him permission to be loud and forceful? Terra asked dryly. I ignored her, she knows exactly why and is just being sassy.

'Though some find you loud and obnoxious,' His whiskered face scrunched up, 'you have a real gift for talking sense into people because you understand them better than most.'

Naruto's baby blues widened before a smile split his face, then Sasuke scoffed derisively. The Hero's smile turned into a scowl and he made a move to get up to probably to throw himself at Duckie and start a brawl but he stopped when I squeezed his arm and shot him a dark look.

I hadn't finished patching him up yet.

The blonde settled back down and let me finish. When I was done I signed, 'I'm done with you now. Go finish washing, I won't allow you to sleep in the same room as me smelling like that.' I told my Hero before making shooing motions.

The blonde grinned as he stood and placed his hands behind his head, "Heh. That's that smell of a man, dattebayo!"

My lips twitched.

Then I broke down laughing.

'The smell of a man!' I cried inwardly.

Oh my gosh... This kid. Does he ever actually think before the words come out or is it on reflex, like word vomit? She sighed, but she started chuckling too though.

When I started getting short on breath, using the table as support so I wouldn't fall onto the floor, Naruto was frowning at me.

"...it wasn't that funny." He grumbled as he headed towards the washroom.

I wiped the water from my eyes once I could breathe again. Sighing contently, I gathered my supplies, stood and walked towards Duckie. He eyed me warily as I sat down next to him. I motioned him to give him his arm and he frowned.

"I can do it myself."

I pointedly looked at his dirt covered hands that were littered in cuts. He followed my gaze and then crossed his arms over his chest, conveniently moving his hands out of sight. I smiled knowingly and he petulantly looked to the side, his cheeks tinged ever so slightly with embarrassment. He looked simply adorable.

I licked my thumb and started wiping dirt off his face.

"Hey! Stop that!" He tried to swat my hand away but I easily blocked him with my free hand. He was way too exhausted to put up a real fight and I'm raring to go.

"Cut that the hell out!" He hissed at me.

Terra was cackling with glee, egging me on.

Duckie was trying to resist my efforts, sputtering and cursing. He'll soon learn that resistance is futile.

Tazuna and Tsunami-san watched us with amused expressions from the side.

Scarecrow walked back in and once he laid eye on us, he sighed, but wisely decided against interfering.

It was a good night.

The morning wasn't too bad either. Naruto had spent the majority of the night using my arm as a pillow and in turn I wrapped myself in his Bright and Breezy chakra, allowing me to sleep soundly until morning.

I unashamedly admit to the Hero being my safety blanket.

I rose from my futon and started my morning stretches, by the time I was finished Kakashi was up and getting his gear ready, Sasuke was awake and rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.

I reached over to wake Naruto up but Kakashi-sensei spoke, "Let him rest. He seriously overdid it yesterday, I'm not sure he'll be able to move for the rest of the day."

I huffed a laugh before signing, 'He'll probably be up and running around by lunch.' Duckie made a vague sound of agreement with me and I think Scarecrow smiled under his mask.

I tucked the Hero's blanket up to his chin brushed some of blonde strands to the side before standing and following Duckie and Scarecrow out. We said goodbye to Tsunami-san before heading towards the construction site.

I'm sure we'll be fine for one morning without our Hero.

Breaking Waves Arc,

Chapter Fifteen: "Tidal"

END

A/N: Hah... lots of things happened, huh? Sora and Haku had a little chat. Terra raged a bit. There was a concert and the boys finished their training! Yay! Oh, and Sora wants to read Icha-Icha now.

My new favorite verb is: 'YOUTH-anized' Especially with anything relating to the Handsome Green Beasts. If any other writers use it PLEASE tell me so I can read it and laugh my ass off.

The song they started singing eariler was a version of 'Soran Bushi' a traditional sea shanty. I thought it was fitting for the people of Wave country to know it.

So, I'm thinking of rewriting/editing the first few -three- chapters 'cuz I kinda hate them and I first wrote the prologue over a year ago. I had no idea who Sora was or what I wanted to do with this story... It will basically be the same but better, maybe a little longer. Definitely more coherent. So, I'll let you guys know when I do that. Probably be ready next week sometime.

You guys have awesome taste in fights and Thank You to everyone who assured me that Naruto and Sasuke's interaction was cool! So, Thank you to Outcast00, Noface, rickrossed, xenocanaan, Dareth, Innieminnie, Lilgreenearth97, iluvfairytail, DiabolicalGenius1, Mayumi Yuki, Dark Rose Charm, -Sorry! I know you were hoping for Sora to become to become a medic!- Mikado X Goddess, PinkCassy, Irissiell, allykat5, Espeon35 and ReadingnerdOtaku! You guys drive me to get these done!

Anybody else ready for the fight? Sora is. She's got plans... yep! It shouldn't last for more than one chapter. We'll see, I guess.

Author Question!

"Naruto filler/movie/whatever would you like to see happen? In the story, of course."

I'm excited for some Team Seven 'Unmask Kakashi!' antics. I'm kinda dreading the oncoming Chuunin Exams, I hope I don't screw it up too badly.

'Till next time~ Wuv yew all!

-Nanami

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