Chapter 22: Curse

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Naruto was woken up with frantic banging on his apartment door. The sound alone was enough to make him jolt out of bed. He quickly got dressed, the banging on his door not ceasing the slightest, if at all getting more intense and frequent. 

"Alright alright, I'm coming!" He shouted. "Don't break my damn door! My landlord will have my ass on a silver platter!" He put on his slippers and quickly exited his room and went to his door, opening it wide and seeing Sakura panting slightly, her eyes slightly red from crying.

"Sakura?" He was confused. Why would Sakura be at his door like this? "What's wrong?" Tears welled up in Sakura's eyes again, causing Naruto's blue eyes to widen slightly. 

"I-It's Sayuri," She hiccupped, her voice on the edge of hysterics. "Apparently she was attacked last night! They branded her or something with a mark on her neck! I found her this morning passed out and she was brought to the hospital!" 

After she had said something about a mark, Naruto's ears had stopped listening, his eyes wide and his body trembling with anger. He knew exactly what happened. "Orochimaru," He whispered with so much anger and venom that Sakura stopped talking, shocked as Naruto cursed the name. 

His grip on his doorknob caused the metal to bend into a now unrecognizable clump of metal. "You bastard." The amount of loathing in his voice scared Sakura, never seeing Naruto as filled with anger as she did now. 

"Naruto?" Her voice breaking him out of his trance. He looked up and saw her emerald-colored eyes filled with a bit of fear, but mostly filled with worry. He forced himself to calm down, taking a deep breath before releasing it in a large sigh. 

"Sorry, Sakura-chan," He apologized quickly and gave her a reassuring smile. "How about we go visit Sayuri in the hospital together?" Sakura wiped a few tears away from her face and smiled at him.

"Sure, make sure you actually dress properly though," He was confused for a moment and looked down to see what he was wearing and paled when he was wearing hole-ridden pajama pants and a super-baggy t-shirt that reached down to his thighs. 

A healthy blush stained his cheeks as he laughed awkwardly out of embarrassment. "Wait right here, I'll go get changed!" He said quickly before shutting the door. Sakura looked down at the doorknob that was now incredibly disfigured. Why had he reacted like that? 

It seemed that he knew exactly what she was talking about when she mentioned Sayuri's injury. Was there something he knew that she didn't? It worried her that he was keeping secrets. During their team meeting, he had mentioned meeting Orochimaru again when he was out with Jiraiya to retrieve Tsunade but didn't say anything else. 

And when he had gotten angry just moments before, he had said Orochimaru's name. Was Orochimaru connected to this? She shook her head. Why would Orochimaru be interested in someone like Sayuri? He had attacked them during the Chunin Exams, but she had merely chalked it up to wanting revenge on Konoha shinobi. Was she wrong? 

Her thoughts were interrupted when Naruto emerged wearing a plain grey long-sleeved shirt with black cargo pants and boots. So this was his civilian clothing? It looked a lot like his shinobi attire. She shook her head. Naruto had no sense of fashion, but it was a thousand times better than that horrendous jumpsuit he always wore back in their academy days. 

He truly had changed a lot, hadn't he? 

As they walked towards the hospital, they talked about a variety of things, mostly about how their training was going. She asked him about his trip with Jiraiya and asked him about what Tsunade was like, but he shrugged the question off and gave her vague answers. But then he suggested that she go ask Tsunade for training, surprising her. 

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