Better Equipped

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of its characters.

Italics: Thoughts

Chapter 12 - The Chuunin Exam: Over?

Naruto woke with a big headache. His eyes were blurry for a minute and then it began to clear. Naruto jumped up on his bed as he discovered he was in a hospital.

What am I doing here? What the hell happened while I was out? Is the Chuunin Examinations over? What happened to Sasuke and Orochimaru?

"You're finally up."

Naruto turns to the door where the voice was coming from. It was his teammate Inuzuka Kiba. "Why am I in a hospital? What happened while I was out?"

Kiba walked in and sat on the chair beside the hospital bed. "Crazy things had happened man. You got your ass handed to you like you predicted. Then you got eaten by the big snake. The anbus arrived with that examiner but they chased after Orochimaru when we told them which direction he went. They said they couldn't help you since we were still in the middle of the exam. We thought you were going to die until that monkey sliced the snake in half while still in his transformed state. We got you out but you were unconscious due to the snake's venom being in your blood stream due to the cuts on your body. We stayed hidden for awhile with Team Seven, trying to save both you and Sasuke. Of course with our luck, our position was found out by the Sound-nins."

Naruto nodded his head. "Go on, what happens next?"

"I got knocked unbalanced from a sound attack and so did Lee, the guy with the thick eyebrows. He showed up to save you and Sakura. Hinata was the only one holding her ground while Ino and Sakura tried their best. Things got better when Team Ten appeared. Shikamaru formed a plan and we started to gain leverage. It was then that Sasuke woke up with these black markings on his body. Akamaru was scared of him because he was giving off this evil aura. Afterwards, I carried you to the exam tower and took the next exam with Hinata while you were sent here."

"I see, so I'm not part of the Chuunin Exam anymore."

"Don't worry; you'll get a second chance in half a year. At least that is what I was told. Want to hear the results?" After he sees his friend nodded, he continued. "Sasuke, Shino, Shikamaru, Neji, the three Sand-nins, the Sound-nin with that sound vibration tool on his arm, and I passed. I ended up passing automatically at the end because there was no one left to fight me. Talk about luck huh." Then his expression became serious. "Hinata did well in the fight but now she's in the other room next to you. She's hurt bad man. Hinata lost to her cousin Neji."

Naruto jumped up and flipped towards the door. Then he noticed his mask was gone. "Hey, where are my clothes?"

"Some of the things we had to leave behind in that Forest. I couldn't lift you so that monkey you summoned took those weights off before he disappeared. While you were unconscious, we took off your mask so that we could give you medicine. Ino kept on wondering why you wear suck a thing so she kept it.

So that means everyone saw my face and knows what I look like. I can't help it now.

"Lee was also seriously injured in his fight," said Kiba "As well as that female teammate of his".

Two days later, Naruto was already up and about. Sandaime had been pestering him about the situation in the Forest of Death and he replied as best as he could. The blond Genin wished he could have stayed conscious and attended the next trial. He could have avoided many problems like Hinata and Lee from getting seriously hurt. Seems like the situation got worse again when he wanted to help. He remembers back at what happened to the Uchiha Clan when he tried to help. The past made him shiver.

"Where are you going to now?" asked Sandaime. "Are you sure you are able to move around? You just got out of the hospital and were in pretty bad shape."

"Don't worry about it. Kyuubi's power healed me. It would have been a whole lot faster if there wasn't venom in my veins and if my body hadn't suffered strains from the overdose of chakra." Naruto turns to his sensei. "Was Orochimaru ever caught?"

"Anko caught up to him but he still escaped. How did you know it was him in the first place? You seem to know much of everything. Is there something that you like to tell me? You've been a very strange boy and I have looked the over way many times because you are a nice child but if you know something or have information that pertains to the safety of this village, I urge you to tell me."

Like I really want to tell you that your world was simply a manga back in my past life.

Naruto looked at his sensei and saw concerns in his eyes. He felt guilty of holding something important from the old man but something like that he thought ought to be kept secret. People might think he belongs in a loony bin if he spreads word that he was in his past life, a Naruto fan. However, the old man had taken cared of him ever since little and taught him jutsus without much question. He owes a lot to the man and he wanted to keep Konoha safe, the home his sensei loves and cares deeply.

"Please keep an open mind when I tell you this. You seeā€¦."

An hour has passed after Naruto had finished explaining. As he thought, Sandaime had a hard time excepting his story but at least he kept an open mind. "I know it's hard to believe but that is the truth. It's up to you to believe me or not."

"How come you waited till now to tell me?"

"It's not very easy to say these things you know. Plus, I never thought it was extremely important for me to say anything. I thought if I acted alone, I could have change things for the better, but it looks like I always get the opposite effect of what I wanted. I hope by telling you now, things would finally change for the good. You're like a father to me so I don't want you to die. I don't want Konohamaru to lose his grandfather or the Hidden Leaf to lose a great leader in that way. The final portion of the Chuunin Exam begins in a month and at that same time the Sound and the Sand led by Orochimaru will attack. From what I remembered, you were killed after sealing that snake's hands into you with the same kinjutsu my dad performed on Kyuubi."

Sandaime got up and look outside the window and gaze over his village. "I don't know whether to believe you or not but I can't afford to make a mistake. It won't hurt trying to sort this mess. Tomorrow, I will contact the Kazekage of the Sand about this. Let's hope he hasn't been killed by my pupil yet."

Being able to move around again, Naruto didn't want to waste time and started to head towards the hot springs district in Konoha. While he was checking on Hinata, Lee, and Tenten's condition, he met up with Kakashi who was guarding Sasuke's room. The two talked for a bit and it was decided that Kurenai will continue his training while the Copy Cat Ninja trains Sasuke for the upcoming event. He wasn't opposed to the idea. The Leaf needed strong ninjas for the upcoming war even if it meant Sasuke using that technique against him in the future.

The hot springs district was truly a great place to relax and have fun. Everyone around the area seemed to be enjoying themselves. If the timeline hasn't changed, Jiraiya would be making an appearance soon. He hasn't seen the old man for a long time. It would be great to catch up with him again and together find Tsunade before the month was over. With both their help, the numbers of Leaf-nin casualties would be low. Naruto waited by the hot springs for hours on and but hasn't even seen a shadow of the old pervert. Three days went by with the same outcome. Naruto was left stunned and confused about the situation. Things were not going as he planned again which is likely to be trouble. Unfortunately, he doesn't know how right he was on that.

It was about ten in the morning when Naruto woke up. Loud noises from the outside woke him up. Last night, he set his alarm clock to run at noon since he stayed up all night training. He had to work off some steam after becoming frustrated about Jiraiya's unknown whereabouts. Naruto got off his bed and head towards window to see what the commotion was about. It was then that the window exploded inward.

Naruto was shocked to see a Sound shinobi crashed into his room. He immediately went on high alert as the stranger got close baring a kunai. "Flash Kick!" Naruto jumped up and did a backward somersault and hit the enemy shinobi in the chin with his right foot blazing with chakra. The move instantly killed the man as Naruto forgot that his weights are off which meant his strength and speed is now more than doubled.

The blond ninja went over to the human size hole in the wall and saw chaos. Sounds of fighting could be heard in the entire area along with people screaming. "What the hell is going on?"

Then he saw a Leaf citizen running away from the area with his family in tow. "Konoha is under attack! Hide!"

Naruto was stunned speechless.

Weren't they supposed to attack in a month during the exam? What is causing this to happen? Damn, stupid things always happen to me.

As quickly as possible, Naruto got dressed and dashed out into the scene. Konoha was at war and it needs his help.

Author's Notes:

It's been awhile but the story is back now.