Chapter 14: Acknowledgement

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Naruto watched as Temari and Kankuro leaped from the stands and carry a half-transformed Gaara out of the stadium as Sand and Sound shinobi alike began invading, fighting the Leaf shinobi in the stands. 

Naruto turned his head and saw Sayuri, Shikamaru, Shino, and Sakura running towards him. As they arrived, he rose an eyebrow. 

"Obito-sensei said we need to follow you and take care of Gaara!" Sakura said quickly, worry evident in her voice. Naruto looked at the giant hole that was now in the stadium, no doubt Gaara having made it in his escape with his siblings. 

"Alright," He said. "Did he put anyone in charge?" 

"Yeah, you," Shikamaru said a bit bitterly, still angry about how Naruto had poised a sword at his throat just an hour ago. Naruto didn't look the least bit surprised, angering Sayuri further.

"Don't let it get to your head, dobe." 

"A pity," Naruto said as he suddenly whirled around and beheaded a Sound shinobi who was trying to sneak up on them with his sword. "Alright, just follow me. Shino you'll be taking care of Kankuro. Shikamaru and Sakura, you'll be facing Temari. Sayuri and I will take down Gaara." 

With that, they left the stadium, sprinting towards their goal. 

"Are you sure they're going to be alright?" Sayuri asked as they left behind Shikamaru and Sakura to deal with Temari and Shino with Kankuro. Naruto nodded.

"Positive." He knew what he was doing. He knew what he wasn't doing. 

He was failing to save Hiruzen in order to protect everyone else. He knew it. Hiruzen was going to die and he was the only one besides Hiruzen himself who knew of that information. He shook his head. 

He would mourn later. 

As they dashed forward, Naruto's eyes widened. "Duck!" He shouted as he tackled Sayuri to a large branch that could support both of their combined weight, a large hand of sand hitting down a tree right where they had been moments before. 

Sayuri's face turned bright red when she realized that Naruto was hovering over her body, holding himself up by holding his hands on the bark on either side of her head, his head turned towards Gaara who's mental state kept deteoriating. 

"UZUMAKI! PROVE THAT I EXIST!" Naruto pushed himself up, glaring at Gaara. 

"You do exist, Gaara. I'm sorry that you feel that way, but I'm going to change you." With that, he took off, rapidly gaining on Gaara, flipping and spinning over the sand that Gaara sent his way. "I want to save you, Gaara!" 

Sayuri watched as Naruto expertly dodged each of Gaara's attacks, all the while talking about saving the crazed Sand ninja. 'Naruto,'  She thought as she stood up. 'Let me save you too!' 

Sayuri dashed forward, not having to avoid any of Gaara's attacks since the red head was focused solely on Naruto, giving her a chance to stop at a nearby tree branch and make a couple signs, her right hand sparking blue as lightning began surrounding around her, her left hand clutched to her wrist as she prepped the shot. 

'Sasuke,'  Naruto thought as he heard the familiar sound of birds chirping rapidly, no doubt a Chidori. 'No, Sayuri. Good, attack him while I distract him!' 

Naruto dodged a quick blow from Gaara and was now in front of that boy. "This is going to hurt you a lot more than you'd like to think." Naruto spoke before stabbing a kunai into Gaara's sand armor, a paper bomb laced along the handle. 

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