Choosing One's Path


Summary: The story takes place after the mission to retrieve Sasuke is unsuccessful. The teams will be redone and many other changes and surprises will occur.


An unconscious Naruto was lost in the sea of his own memories. He recalled the pain of his past and the forming of team seven and the events that lead to his clash against Sasuke.

"Sasuke!" Naruto called out to his teammate.

"Are you alright, scaredy-cat?" the raven-haired boy asked with a smirk on his face.

"Hey! Are you alright, scaredy-cat?" the blond asked his eyes turning crimson as he looked on at a frightened Sasuke with rage building within him.

"Naruto, I want to fight you," the dark haired boy said shortly before the preliminary matches of the Chuunin Exam began.

"I want to fight you too," Naruto replied just before Sasuke's fight with Gaara.

"Shut up and fight me!" the young Uchiha yelled in anger as he activated his Sharingan.

"Before we start, you'd better put on your Konoha head protector," Naruto said to the Uchiha boy on the rooftop of the hospital.

"You won't even lay a finger on me, let alone my forehead," Sasuke replied. "You're pissing me off!" Sasuke yelled at his teammate for thinking that they were equals.

"That's because you're still weak, Sasuke-chan!" Naruto replied back to the Uchiha child.

"It's not meaningless… to me you've become my closest friend," the Uchiha boy said in the epic battle between friends and teammates that had finally begun.

"I won't let Orochimaru take you!" the blond said as the two stared each other down.

"Shut the hell up! Someone like you, who doesn't know of family or siblings… You had nothing in the first place! What the hell do you understand about me?" the Uchiha child screamed back in the midst of the battle.

"I don't understand about real family or brothers… When I'm with you… I wonder… if this is like being with a brother…" Naruto said after tapping into Kyuubi's chakra with a surprisingly calm expression on his face.

"From now on, we fight as equals… But you will never be able to scratch my forehead," Sasuke said after putting on his Konoha head protector and preparing for another round with Naruto.

"You were special… but…" Sasuke started to say as he underwent his transformation after activating his curse seal. "I'm more special than you," Sasuke finished as Naruto looked on.

The two charged in with their final attacks… and the outcome…

Sasuke's Chidori hit Naruto's chest. Naruto's attack managed to scratch Sasuke's head protector. The last thing the blond remembered before everything went dark to him was the sadness on his best friend's face. Deep down, Naruto knew that he had lost the actual fight, but somehow he felt satisfied. Sasuke had said that Naruto would never scratch his forehead. But Sasuke was proven wrong. Naruto couldn't kill his best friend. Instead he chose to win their silent bet. A smile almost appeared on his unconscious face as the Uchiha survivor stood over Naruto's body. The clang of metal could be heard as Sasuke's scratched head protector fell to the ground.

Several minutes later team seven's Jounin, Hatake Kakashi arrived.

"I was too late," Kakashi said, arriving as rain began to fall. Kakashi lifted the unconscious boy into his arms and began the long trek back to Konoha. Along the way several medical squads dispatched from Konoha met up with them. It was then that Naruto's teammates' fates were revealed. Naruto was still unconsciously holding on tightly to Sasuke's head protector. The mission was a failure…