"Sasuke!!!" Sasuke smirked before nodding.
"I see. I'll still win." Naruto glared at him before going deep in thought while Sasuke formed his chidori. Naruto, surprising many, performed his most devastating attack. Rasengan. The Uzumaki forced all of his chakra into his rasengan. The skin on his hand burn as the chakra was forced into the ball. Naruto felt the raw power trying to fight its way out of his attack, wanting to be free. The rasengan tried to break down Naruto's concentration in order to lose the small form it was forced into. The boy looked up and saw that Sasuke was done with his attack. The two glared at each other. Neither noticed the crowd's hushed silence. Neither noticed how Naruto's skin was being blistered and burned as he held the chakra. They only noticed that now was the time to see how was more powerful. Sasuke's attack burnt the edges of his clothes from the raw intensity. His hand lost feeling from the electricity coursing through it. Sasuke didn't pay attention to the fact that his arm was slowly going numb from all the power. Many watched in shock and fear as Naruto charged towards Sasuke with the fourth's technique. Sasuke charged with chidori. A blinding light filled the arena when the two clashed, causing most to shield their eyes. The wind had picked up and was throwing dust everywhere. Seconds seemed like hours as the two shinobi tried to force the other one back with their power. A deafening explosion pierced through the air. Both were thrown back as a large cloud of dust rose up into the air.
The Choices We Make
Setsuko ran. She ran as fast as her legs could carry her. When Naruto and Sasuke charged, she ran. She didn't care what the out come was. She didn't care. It hurt too much. Finally, she seemed to slow down. She had made it into the forest before she slowed. Her feet planted themselves in the ground when she heard him.
"Setsuko!" Kakashi little behind her. Setsuko didn't turn to face him. "What the hell are you doing?!" Setsuko cut her thumb and formed a spike. She spoke horsely as the hand with the spike dropped to her side.
"Kakashi-kun, I asked Tsunade about your past. Only recently have I bother to wonder your past." Kakashi reached out to her as he took a step forward. "DON'T!!!" She startled him with her sudden outburst. "Kakashi . . . you were part of the ANBU."
"Yes, how does that mat-" Setsuko cut him off.
"I'm not done!!!!!" Her voice almost cracked. "Kakashi . . . it wasn't until just now that I recognized it. The attack . . . the sharigan eye . . . the determination . . . I saw all of that reflected in Sasuke-san just now. When you fought Bensha . . . I've never truly thought about those fights . . . I didn't like them so I didn't pay attention . . ." Setsuko pulled on her braid. When she first entered Konoha it was only one or two inches pass her shoulders, now it was almost to mid-back. "It all clicked right into place." Setsuko paused, gathering her emotions and keeping them from going crazy. "Eight years ago . . . your squad was given a mission to hunt down the Bloodless Ninja who was reported to be in the Sand country . . . did you take it?"
"Yes. After a few months we were called back." Setsuko was silent for a moment.
"You encountered someone who you believed to be the Bloodless Ninja one night. You had been separated from your squad and fought them before they fled, correct?" She asked while rubbing off the little make up she wore.
"Yes. How does any of this matter?"
"Kakashi . . . what do you remember about that person you fought?" Kakashi thought for a moment before speaking.
". . . probably around my height, maybe shorter. Short hair, chin length . . . very thin . . . most likely a thin boy around my age at the time. He wore a hooded jacket and it was dark so I couldn't see much." Setsuko pulled off her jacket and threw it to the side. She pulled her braid straight out behind her before slicing it off with her spike. She let her now short hair fall down, free. It reached only her chin. The spike fell from one hand while the other held the cut off braid. Setsuko turned to face him, her eyes cold and angry. "Do I remind you of anyone?" She asked with a frozen tone in her horse voice. Kakashi stared at her inferno eyes.
". . . do you mean . . . ?" Kakashi trailed off, afraid of the answer. Setsuko nodded.
"Yes Kakashi. You did meet the Bloodless Ninja on that trip. You fought that night with the real Bloodless Ninja. We fought for nearly a hour before I got a chance to blindside you and escape."
Tenshi and Yoko were down at the rails, waiting for the dust to clear. Up with the other genin, Hinata clung to Robin in horror as the two waited. Everyone held their breath as the dust slowly began to settle. Three figures were in the arena. Genma stood, shaken by the power he had to with stand. He scanned over the field to see two genin. One lay on his back while the other stood up barely.
"C-che . . . dobe didn't s-stand a ch-chance . . ." Sasuke muttered.
"Winner . . ." Genma trailed off as Naruto stood up. Sasuke stared at Naruto in disbelief.
". . . but you were . . ." Naruto smirked as he rubbed some blood off of his chin.
"Heh, like you can beat me that easily." Naruto charged at Sasuke. Sasuke used the last of his strength to charge. When the two met, so did their fists. Both landed in a heap on the ground.
Setsuko dropped the braid to the ground.
"Kakashi . . . I want to fight. One more time. Everything we have. I need to know." Setsuko bit down on her thumb. Kakashi watched as she let her bleeding hand drop to her side.
"Setsuko I don't want to-"
"STOP IT!!!" She yelled. "Stop trying to protect me. We fight Kakashi. I have to know." A sword formed in her hand as she disappeared and reappeared above him with her sword coming towards his head. Kakashi pulled out his kunai and used it to stop the sword.
The boy stood up and stared at the other. After all the battles they've fought. All the things that were pulled during this match seemed impossible, but they still happened. The bloodline against bloodline. It was amazing. The kind of power they used? He shook his head to clear his mind. He had more important things to do than to remember. If he got back up . . . there was no telling how long it would keep up. His teammate did have a skill for pulling off crazy stunts to get to his goal. No matter how many times he was beaten, it only served to make him fight more. He looked over at Genma who checked on his teammate. Now that he was out cold, Genma announced the end. The boy felt relief flood his system as the match was finally called. Part of him wanted to fight but he was too tired. Who would have ever thought that this would happen? All the times that the two were knocked to the ground. Power had been evenly matched in several aspects.
"Winner! Uzumaki Naruto!" Naruto fell back as his mind turned black. The Uzumaki boy fell into Tenshi's arms as Yoko smiled up at the railing. Tenshi picked her cousin up and carried him out of the arena. Janghoon and Riki soon entered the arena.
"Begin!" Janghoon jumped back and performed one of his favorite jutsu.
"Guard Impact No Jutsu!" At that moment flames engulfed him from one of Riki's attacks. When the flames cleared Janghoon was no where to be seen. Riki scanned over the arena in hopes to find him. Suddenly a hand shot up out of the ground and grabbed Riki's leg. Riki looked down in surprise before looking up as several kunai came flying at him. Riki went through several different hand seals before blowing fire out of his mouth. Riki glared at Janghoon and his clones. Riki yanked his leg out of the clone's grasp and jumped away, only to trigger several traps that Janghoon seemed able to quickly set up.
Setsuko blocked a fist and grabbed Kakashi's arm to flip him over. The jounin was able to flip around in the air and land on his feet. Kakashi dodged a kick to the head and a following fist to his chest. He attacked with a few kicks and punches but all were blocked.
"Dammit Kakashi! Why can't you even bother to fight me?!" Setsuko let her hand go through several seals before black fire appeared. She glared at him while forcing the fire to surround her hands. She attacked again, this time her fists were far more deadly. Several times Kakashi would dodge only to be burned from the fire. Kakashi began to fight, blocking and punching only to be matched by Setsuko.
Janghoon threw several kunai and shuriken towards Riki again. As Riki blocked them with his own kunai, Janghoon launched himself at Riki. The two began to exchange kicks and punches. This continued for a long time before finally Riki leapt away and stared at the ground for a moment.
"Examiner, I forfe-"
"Riki!!!" Janghoon cut him off with a sharp tone. "What the hell do you think you're doing?!" Riki glared at him for a moment before sighing.
"Janghoon, you need to be chuunin more than me. What with your fa-" Janghoon cut him off once more.
"Oh cut the bull!" Riki looked at him startled. "You know that it doesn't matter in a fight. What matters is if we try our best. A chuunin can't be based on simple things like having their opponents forfeit out of pity. Riki, it doesn't matter who wins. This is just to see who's capable of being a chuunin. You giving up because you feel sorry for me won't help." Janghoon snapped.
"But nothing!" Janghoon yelled. "If anything, Setsuko-sensei taught us that pity doesn't get you anywhere. Now fight me!" Riki blinked a few times before nodding.
"Yeah, you're right. I don't know what I was thinking." They two charge each other again. Riki let out an enormous flame seconds before he fell victim to another one of Janghoon's traps. Janghoon, startled by the flame, barely had time to perform his guard impact no jutsu. When the flame cleared, Riki lay unconscious from the trap and Janghoon was on the floor, passed out from using so much chakra.
"Draw!" The two boys were carried out of the arena.
Setsuko stood in front of Naruto as the boy lay on a bed. Blood and dirt clung to her skin.
". . . I take it you've made up your mind?" Setsuko turned to see Tsunade.
". . ." She looked back at Naruto and watched him sleep. ". . . I had to see."
". . . if I could protect him . . . but I can't. I can barely beat Kakashi and he holds back." Tsunade was quite for a moment.
"Are you sure?" Setsuko smiled coldly to herself.
"Tsunade-san . . . you told me yourself. The world knows who the Bloodless Ninja is. It doesn't matter if I'm under the protection of the leaf. People will come. They will come to fight me and try to take revenge." Setsuko reached out and brushed some hair out Naruto's face. ". . . I love him to much for him to be hurt because of me . . . I don't know how I could live with myself if that happened." Setsuko faced Tsunade again. ". . . I . . . I need to go now."
". . . . when will you be back?" Setsuko was silent as she searched her mind for the answers.
". . . when I'm ready . . ." Tsunade sighed and stared at her.
"Where will you go?"
". . . wherever the wind takes me." Tsunade was quiet for a moment while Setsuko walked passed her. "I'll be leaving now. I don't think I could make it through the end of the exam." With those last words, Setsuko left the room. Tsunade stared down at fox vessel. Silence hung in the air for several minutes.
". . . Hokage-sama?" Tsunade looked behind her, startled. Janghoon stood by the door with a worried expression on his face. "Hokage-sama, is . . . . is Setsuko-sensei really going?" Tsunade sighed and nodded.
"Hai. The identity of the Bloodless Ninja was revealed. Setsuko left if fear of the leaf being attacked." Janghoon was silent as shock flowed through his body.
". . . I . . . I want to go with Setsuko-sensei." Tsunade looked at him, startled.
Temari sighed and she spread some of her blood over her fan and gave a powerful swing with it. The ninja she was fighting fell to the ground, out cold. She placed her huge fan on her back once more and stalked off. Because Janghoon and Riki tied, she and Naruto would have one less fight than everyone else. Robin sighed and leapt over the railing once more. Neji smirked before making his own way down there. Genma sighed and looked between the two before being the match. Robin sighed as Neji dropped into his family stance.
". . . why do you still act this way?" Her monotone question startled him, along with the crowd.
". . ." Robin stared at him before shaking her head in amazement.
"My cousin Naruto defeated you, proving how your ideas of destiny were wrong. Your own cousin rose above what everyone thought of her. Yet, your heart remains cold." Neji glared at her before speaking.
"You know of the seal from the main family." Robin snorted in response.
"Yes, a seal. I've heard all about it. Well, people have it worse than that." Robin snapped before kneeling down and untying her right boot. The Emotionless Executioner stood up and pulled her foot out of the boot. She quietly pulled off her sock without kneeling again by using her other boot to hold down part of it. A silent gasp went through the crowd. Almost like it was a shadow, a left hand was burned into the skin of her foot looking as if it was grabbing her foot. Her next words were spoken as if Robin was talking about some boring event. "This was parting gift from my mother. She had no intentions of loving me. I was only useful in teaching me her techniques so she could die. But, it seems like at the last moment, she didn't want to die." Robin knelt down and pulled back on her sock and boot. Once she finished tying the boot she stood back to her full height. She tugged on her braids."So, will all the anger, despair, hate, and sorrow she could muster, she grabbed onto my foot right before I killed her. She burned her hand into my foot for all eternity. I was only 4 at the time. I have no memory of the her. I only remember her grabbing onto my foot and glaring at me with as much hatred as she could image and burned her shadow powers into me. I will never lose that black hand on my foot. It is a part of me, just like your seal." Robin lifted up one of her braids. "Her name was Uzumaki Keiko. Her name in the final stage was Umbra Deus. She was nicknamed as the Grim Reaper's Shadow. She trained me to kill her, nothing more. But . . . I was told that there were times where she acted like a mother. In the morning she would brush my hair and put it into braids. She liked my hair long so she could do it that way. So I've always had long hair I can wear in braids. Tenshi-san raised me like she was my older sister or mother . . . honestly, I do not know either. I have no true way to describe those kind of ties. But she's the closest I could ever come." Robin let the braid drop down. She looked back to him before gently touching her upper lip. "I know that people find it strange how I only have my upper lip black. I do as a symbolic gesture." She let her hand drop to her side once more. "So never assume that you are the only one that knows lose. Akira lost his eye sight to his gift. Tenshi can never gain muscle mass. Her legs are covered with scars. Masaru has scars all over his arms. Yukio lost much strength in his bones in order to gain his technique. Yoko had her very soul nearly torn apart in order to master her jutsu. And I killed my mother and ended up with a hand burned into my foot. Don't you get it now? Your father died. He died for his family. Do you really think they would have killed him if he wasn't ready to give up his life already? You think your uncle would be able to look at himself in the mirror again after that?"
Setsuko walked through the trees before she heard a twig snap. She spun around to see Janghoon, breathing heavily wearing a dark green vest over his clothes.
"Setsuko-sensei!" Setsuko stared at the vest before looking at him.
"I'm not your sensei anymore. You're a chuunin." Her tired eyes watched him shake his head.
"Iie!!! I want you to keep training me. I still have so much to learn!" Setsuko sighed as she turned her back to him. "Please! You've taught me more about life than anyone else." Setsuko was silent for a moment before she nodded.
"Fine." With that quiet word hanging in the air, the two set off into the dark world that awaited them.
Prologue for Aka Koi
Kakashi blinked in surprise as he found himself in front of the Uzumaki Estate. With a look of longing he let himself in. Though his house had been rebuilt and he was finally able to move out, the Uzumaki had told him that he could stay there any time. Yoko and Tenshi told him that they were the oldest and had already decided that he was family. He could let himself in any time he wanted. Kakashi was careful not to make any noise as he went to her room. She had been gone for awhile. Even so, Kakashi felt better whenever he went in there. Kakashi looked at the clean room. It seemed like there was an unspoken law that said dust wasn't aloud to gather.
"She's dead, you know." Robin leaned against the doorway. The tank top she wore wasn't as baggy as it used to be. You could see some tape and bandages peeking out of the top of her shirt. She had, much to her displeasure and the pleasure of most of the male population, grown quite a figure. However, she had resorted to tapping her chest, claiming that it would be easier to fight without having . . . certain body parts to worry extra about. She had let her bangs grow out to her cheek and swept them to the side. Now her braids weren't as long as before. Now they were alittle shorter than mid thigh. Robin stepped into the room as she looked around. "She's been dead for almost two years." Her name was a sacred thing in the Uzumaki house. No one really spoke it.
". . . I know." Kakashi picked up a faded picture of the woman and her team. The team picture that Naruto and Robin took of her. ". . . she was beautiful." Robin nodded.
"Hai. She had a shine to her that seemed like it would only be effective on her." Kakashi smiled as he put down the frame.
"Yes. She was so beautiful in every way." He let his eyes scan around the room once more. "But there was this certain beauty to her. She seemed to have shined the most on the battlefield. Those were her moments. That beauty seemed to radiate through the darkness of a battle and give new hope and energy." Robin brushed some dust off a table top near the door.
". . . I know. Even with the little amount of battle I've seen her in, she seemed to quite lovely in the mist of battle." Before anymore words could be exchanged the ground shook. Robin stumbled forward and was barely able to regain her footing. She looked up at Kakashi and they both shared a look of confusion before a blinding light filled the air.