44 Chapter 44

Kakashi trailed behind his team. They had just arrived on the land of waves. He was paying very close attention to everything around him. They were sure to get attacked again. This time it would not be chunin level ninja. They were sure to send a jonin level ninja after them next. Could his team handle it? Maybe. He believed in them. They had great teamwork. But he still had to be on high alert and protect them should the time come. He sighed and stared ahead of him. They were an interesting team and they got along surprisingly well. He wasn't surprised when it came to Naruto, Athena and Hinata. He didn't think they would fit together with the Uchiha. He kept to himself and never really made friends. He avoided the opposite gender at all cost because of their obsession over him. All in all he just seemed like a loner but there he was, playfully bickering with Naruto about who was stronger.

Athena had her hands in her jacket pocket. She was being patient. She could sense him. Zabuza. He was close. She closed her eyes for a moment. He was very close. Any minute now. Maybe now she could convince him to join her. He absolutely refused to work for her because she was a child. It angered her, but she could remain calm. It was hard getting him to see the good side of things. It's not like she'll be using him. He's free to go wherever he wants, he just needs to inform her of anything suspicious.

And there it was. She sensed it immediately.

"Get down! "Kakashi warned.

Athena was the first to move. She saw the incoming sword and made sure Hinata was out of harms way, but she herself didn't really move. She only smiled and awaited the perfect moment. When that time came she easily caught the massive blade, letting it's momentum carry her. She took to the air and planted the sword in the dirt while she stood casually on the hilt.

"Zabuza"

Shuriken was sent flying towards her and she easily evaded them. One was aimed at her legs. She had to jump, but landing gracefully on the hilt in a crouch. She raised an eyebrow when the owner of the sword appeared in front of her. He was glaring, but he made no move to attack her.

"Devil's shadow" the man scoffed. "Of all the nin I could have run into"

"Hey its MooMoo Child" Naruto said with a teasing grin. That earned him a glare and multiple shuriken.

"Shut up brat"

Kakashi sighed. Of course those two were casual around the missing nin of the mist village. One of the seven swords men no less. They obviously met before. They didn't seem on good terms. At least Zabuza wasn't making it seem that way.

"What do you want with me"

"I want you to accept my offer"

"The hell I will, get off my sword"

A kick was aimed at the calm Athena and she easily caught his leg. She raised an eyebrow as if asking him if they were really doing this.

Apparently they were. She had to dodge his dangerous attack, but she never left his sword. The man was angry. He could never fight the child. Eh, but he wasn't taking her seriously. Not yet. He knew what would happen if he did. That child was on another level. He hated to admit it, but she was a worthy opponent.

"Off"

Athena sighed and hopped off. She landed some distance from him and pushed her hands in her pocket.

"You're after the bridge builder "

"Wow, what gave it away? " Zabuza asked as he retrieved his sword and held it on his back. He let his eyes take in everyone present. He landed on Kakashi. "The copy cat of the leaf" of course the Blonde Devils were accompanied by that ninja. This was going to be a challenge. He smirked. He couldn't wait.

"Kids" Kakashi had a hand on his headband and was pulling it up. "This is a jonin level nin. Zabuza Momochi one of the seven swords men of the mist and a missing nin. He's dangerous. I'll handle him"

Athena chuckled, her hands still in her pocket and leaned against a tree.

"Do as you wish. I shall step in when you lose enough blood" she said casually, which earned her looks.

"You really have a grudge against me"

"Whatever gave you that idea? "

~~~~~~~~~

Kakashi and Zabuza stared eachother down. Kakashi had just revealed his Sharingan and Sasuke was staring. He knew he had it. It was in his nickname. You would be stupid not to know. What he could not understand is who he got it from. The man was not an Uchiha. Not at all. Someone gave him that eye. Athena wasn't affected. She stood in front of the bridge builder with both swords drawn. She eyed her team mates.

"Formation "

That was all that needed to be said. They immediately joined her and stood on all sides of their contractor. Naruto had his famous kunai drawn and twirled them around his finger. He was ready to move should he need to. Sasuke retrieved his Shuriken and kept a close eye on the adults. He wanted to see how this fight played out. Hinata was a bit nervous but she took on her trained position and activated her Byakugan.

"We protect the bridge builder and each other, understood? "

"Yes"

"Good" Athena directed her attention to Kakashi and Zabuza. She'd get her turn.

Athena remembered this being the moment where Sasuke explains to a very dense Naruto what the Sharingan is. But that was no longer needed. The boy knew what it was. Hinata most definitely did as well. No one needed an explanation, but there was still a conversation going on.

"The nin who copied over a thousand jutsu. Aren't I lucky? " Zabuza chuckled. "This will be a very worthy fight. I'll take care of you and handle the Blonde Devils later. I have a score to settle with those two"

"What have you two done to him? "Hinata asked the two smiling blondes.

"Nothing much" Naruto shrugged. "We were hired to protect a very important person from assassination, guess who the assassin was"

Athena hummed and glanced at her swords. "That battle was interesting. I was trying to get him to agree to something important. He refused " Athena detailed. "In the end we clashed and my swords left their marks"

"That X scar on his chest is your doing? " Sasuke asked.

"Yes it was not my intention, however" Athena admitted. "I apologized and even healed him. He tried to kill me"

"You slashed his chest" Naruto said bluntly. "Of course he would want to kill you"

Athena shrugged.

Athena followed Zabuza's movements. He was standing on the water of a nearby lake and took on a famous position.

"Hidden mist jutsu"

"Things are about to get dangerous"

Mist started to fill the air. It was thicker by the second. The four protecting the old man stood on guard. Hinata could see it all. His moves were silent. No wonder he's known as the silent killer. You won't know what took place until it's too late.

"You have eight choices"a voice sounded out from the mist. "Heart. Lungs. Liver. Kidneys. Neck vein. Brain. Spine. Clavical vein. Take your pick and I'll make sure you die quickly "

The killing intent around them was heavy. It had no affect on Athena and Naruto, but Sasuke and Hinata felt it on their shoulders. They were frozen as terror slowly over took them. They felt as if they would die should they make even the slightest of movements. It was hard to breathe. Oxygen wasn't being friendly at the moment.

The blondes noticed.

Athena sent quick chakra to the mark she had given Hinata. She could not succumb to fear right now. It was dangerous. She made sure to pull her focus away from it all.

Hinata looked down to her hand and saw the kanji glow slightly. She looked to Athena. She wasn't looking at her but she felt reassured. She took a deep breath and slowly released it. She should not let the situation get to her head. She'd be in danger and weigh everyone down.

Sasuke felt something hit him in the side of his head. It snapped him out of his mindset and he looked to the direction the hit came from. Naruto was close enough for him to see. The boy looked to him with a grin and a thumbs up.

"What's wrong scardy cat? "

"I'm not scared"

"Sure seemed that way to me"

"You're full of yourself. I'm not afraid"

Naruto chuckled. Sasuke sighed but smiled. The grip over him was gone all of a sudden. He couldn't let his fear control him.

The second his fear left him there was a presence behind him. His body didn't want to react, but he pushed through and quickly turned around

Athena threw her sword at him the second she turned around. He dodged and aimed his ridiculous sized one at her. Her movement were as quick and silent as usual. His sword hit nothing. A short sword was stabbed into his back. His body quickly turned to water. Athena sighed. Her other sword had hit another water clone in the chest just before it could reach Kakashi.

"Well" she said casually as she took her sword out of a tree. Just then the familiar sword of Zabuza sliced straight through her.

A water clone.

A short sword flew past Zabuza. He pivoted on his heel to meet his enemy when he was kicked in the back.

Water clone.

The cycle went on and on. One would Land a hit only to find out that the other was a water clone.

"Isn't that fun"

Everyone jumped when Athena suddenly appeared between them. She had her swords sheathed and was watching the scene casually.

"Where's Kakashi? "

"He's fighting the real Zabuza" Hinata informed. Her eyes were glued to what they supposed was the fight between the jonin nin. Her eyes moved with each movement each nin made. Things weren't going so well. It was also a battle of water clones. When Kakashi thought he had Zabuza it was just a clone. He was behind him and then he was gone.

Zabuza managed to get Kakashi into the water. The four heard a splash and Athena knew what would take place. She told the nin she would be needed. Zabuza isn't easy to handle but of course she could handle him when the time came. The time seemed very close.

~~~~~~~

"Foolish" Zabuza said to himself as he made a handsign. The cat had walked right Into his trap. He just had to take care of him and direct his full attention to the blondes. Especially that girl.

The water felt heavy. Kakashi could not climb back up to get to his feet. It was as if the water was dragging him down, refusing to let him go. He heard a chuckle behind him, but he could not turn to face his enemy.

"Fool" Zabuza loomed over him and began to form the needed handsigns. "Water style: Water prison jutsu"

~~~~~~

Athena smiled. "There we go"

"He captured Kakashi? "Sasuke asked Hinata. She nodded. Damn. Is he that strong? Athena and Naruto didn't seem worried at all.

"What do you suppose we do? " Hinata asked.

"As long as that Jutsu is activated he cannot move. He needs to be there to make sure prison remains"

"Ah, he'll send water clones"

"We need to go for his real body, but we'll need to defend ourselves and the bridge builder from his clones" Hinata said as her eyes looked around. She didn't see anything. She expanded her range. Where was he?

"I'll go after him" Athena said determined. "You three stay here, keep each other safe. Keep the old man save"

Hinata blinked. There.

"Athena"

Athena could not see but she followed Hinata's gaze and locked onto the chakra she felt. In an instant she was gone.

"Naruto, on your right. Sasuke, behind you" Hinata warned as her eyes caught sight of two more clones.

Naruto and Sasuke immediately reacted. They were blind but knew where to aim.

Hinata continued to point out clone after clone, making sure her team was alert. Zabuza came to realize who she was and what power her eyes held.

"You! "

Hinata yelped. He suddenly appeared in front of her. His movement was too fast for her to follow and his sword came down on her.

There was the sound of metal clashing and a low growl. Athena was in front of her and had stopped the blade with her own. She was glaring up at the clone.

"Zabuza" her voice was calm and cold as she forced the clone back. "I tolerate a lot of things you do, but this... " her second blade Made sure the clone reverted to its true form. In an instant she was gone and right next to the original. He immediately created clones to protect him, but they turned back to water as soon as they appeared. Athena's eyes were cold and blue as she pressed her sword to his neck.

"No one" she started slowly as she pressed the blade harder against his flesh. He couldn't move. He felt like someone was gripping onto his chakra and his strenght was fading. "And I repeat, no one" she drew blood. "Harms Hinata"

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