Author's Note: …I actually write this after so long. I actually write this after the blunder of having my written stories erased from my hard drive and then final exam…and then there was also (and still is) Harvest Moon: More Friends in Mineral Town that I had begun playing in my computer (sadly I have no playstation or game boy or anything else really and it's more sad that this is the first Harvest Moon that I play). Right now I'm entering short term (no need to go back to my hometown, hell yea. It's so boring there. The only thing I look forward if I am there—which I am not—is my mom's cooking) so I have much time to spend (though mostly I spent it playing Harvest Moon). Doesn't mean that my writing will kick up soon though. I'm still too lazy.

I apologize for the lateness of the update of this fic…wait…actually I don't. It's not like I'm getting paid for writing this fic. Sigh…

Part Twenty Two

Naruto looked around the arena with a pout. It seemed Sandaime had done a sweeping on the arena before the tournament started to destroy any trap he managed to put there. What Naruto didn't know was that there were several ninjas got themselves transferred to hospital in the attempt to remove his traps and how the old Sarutobi got a bigger headache from it, especially that some of his ninjas were down to count when there was an invasion to fight off.

The whistle was sounded to announce the start of the tournament, but even then no one moved from their spots, carefully watching their opponents.

Tenten was already focused on Naruto. She'd make him pay for hurting her teammates while he seemed to enjoy seeing them suffer. At least Yakushi Kabuto had taken care not to injure Lee much and only trying to disable the taijutsu specialist with special care. It didn't mean she would dismiss the others' dangerous potential though. This was not one-in-one battle.

Kankurou warily watched Gaara from the corner of his eyes as he looked at Uchiha Sasuke. He knew that the black haired boy was one of the genins the red head was interested to and he didn't want to face Gaara's ire if he chose to attack the Leaf genin. Uzumaki Naruto was another one to be wary about. His presence seemed to unsettle Gaara, and he never saw his little brother did it before. Kabuto's chakra scalpel was one to be watch for this ability could cut the chakra strings that connected him to his dolls, beside he was between Uchiha and Uzumaki. He decided to target the bun haired girl.

Sasuke immediately dismissed Tenten from his list, for he didn't care much fighting a kunoichi. He'd like to fight Naruto if only to avenge all the pranks that happened upon him. Still that four eyed was annoying, ogling him like he was a piece of meat, so perhaps he should be the first one to go first. Kakashi had told him to be careful around Gaara, so he'd see what he got first. It would be a fool move to dismiss his teacher's warning. He didn't care much about Kankurou unless the older boy attacked him first.

Kabuto's target was definitely Sasuke, but he could feel Naruto's malicious smirk toward him even if he didn't see it. He clutched the hidden syringe tightly. It was still in its experimental stage, but he was pretty sure that he had managed to create a way to mirror the effect of Orochimaru's bite to make cursed seal. Inside it was Juugo's blood and Orochimaru's venom. The snake man had approved him using it, but warned him that if it failed, he'd pay for it. Kabuto was confident that his experiment wouldn't fail him. Beside if Sasuke died because of it, he could salvage the situation by implanting his sharingan eyes to Orochimaru like what had happened to Hatake Kakashi. He could think later how to implant the eyes many times so Orochimaru could still use them when he changed his body after years of use.

(AN: for those who don't know who Juugo is, Juugo is the original who has the cursed seal which was then twisted by Orochimaru to fit his purpose)

Gaara was looking at Sasuke. He had heard the rumored prodigy and would like to taste his blood. But his real target was Uzumaki Naruto. The boy didn't seem to fear him even though he knew that he was the vessel of Shukaku. He wanted to know why and to see whether he was truly not afraid or it was only a façade.

Naruto didn't care about Tenten, Kankurou, or Sasuke. He felt they weren't really worth his time. Who cared if the girl's eyes were drilling daggers against him. Kankurou was a wimp for fearing his own brother, even if said brother was jinchuuriki. And Sasuke? Time and time again the boy had fallen to his traps. Gaara would be definitely strong opponent, but he already knew what to expect from the red head. No, his focus was Yakushi Kabuto. He was on jounin level with great control to become an excellent medic-nin like Tsunade, one of The Legendary Sannin of Konoha. And his bloodline limit was definitely interesting for it reminded him of his own regenerative ability that was passed down from his furry tenant. And the old man did ask him to apprehend him.

…Okay, maybe he used that excuse so he could freely beat the shit outta him.

There was still no one instigating the first move.

Tired of it and didn't feel like having a staring contest, Naruto moved first. Kabuto dodged the kunais that flew toward him with ease. Naruto grinned, already expecting that. If four eyed couldn't dodge it obviously he really overestimated him. He still had a trick up his sleeve though. As he jumped to avoid the incoming sand from Gaara he mouthed, "Boom."

The kunai in the ground unexpectedly exploded, catching Kabuto and Sasuke nearby who saw no explosive note in the kunais in surprise. It was fortunate that Kabuto was more than a competent ninja and had been able to avoid the worst of it, but his ear had went temporarily deaf and his left arm was hit by the small rocks that came from the explosion.

"Will you please wait a moment until after I deal with him?" Naruto politely asked Gaara as he twisted his body to avoid the sand. He sighed when he received no answer. "Oh well, it is a battle royale so I shouldn't ask you to wait your turn. Kuchiyose no jutsu!" the summoning smoke faded to reveal Naruto stood above his two tailed mount. There were gasps from the spectator's stand but Naruto didn't care in the slightest. So what if they knew he could summon fox, he'd get out of the village soon anyway. The boy tilted his head and scratched his mount's ear, earning him purrs. "See that red head, Kibi? He's your opponent. I don't need to tell you what he is, right?" the fox raised its eyebrow and stared at him in disbelief. "Don't worry, I don't ask you to fight him full front, just keep him busy, will you?" It snorted and nodded.

Naruto jumped from the fox and landed softly on the ground. He cracked his knuckles and grinned at Kabuto who was watching him warily. "I hope you are prepared to lose against me," he announced.

Kabuto fixed his glass. "Actually…I'm not."

Naruto's grin widened further. "We'll see."

Sasuke was thinking furiously, 'Why do I feel like I'm just a canon fodder?' he grumbled as he watched Kabuto decide to go against Naruto. Not wanting to face Naruto's ire (red: prank) if he interfered, Sasuke attacked Kankurou, who was the next nearest opponent even if he was currently fighting against Tenten. It wasn't like Sasuke cared what the weapon specialist thought about him.

Kankurou was manipulating the chakra strings on his fingers when a ball of fire was launched toward him. Cursing, he dodged and redirected his doll that was supposed to fight Tenten to launch its poisoned folded knives against the black haired boy.

Grunting, Sasuke unfolded his fuuma shuriken from his backpack and threw it. The giant shuriken deflected the launched knives and created and open path for its owner.

Tenten was pissed for a moment before she realized it would be her chance to attack Naruto with her attacker was busy fending off the attacks of her fellow Leaf ninja.

Meanwhile Gaara was ticked off with the two tailed fox that continuously kept him from fighting its summoner. The fox was too fast for his sand although it could not go neared either with his sand defending him. It sent a jet of fire stream so hot which made his sand turned into fragile glass that with one swipe of its tail break it. Fuming, Gaara commanded his sand to catch the infuriating fox from all sides. After he dealt with the summon, he'd make sure its summoner died horribly.

Kibi was hoping that after this was over it could blackmail its summoner to give it special meal for telling it to fight against a jinchuuriki. A vessel for one tailed bijuu he might be, but he was still a jinchuuriki while it was only a two tailed fox. It felt that its summoner should summon its superior instead of itself or he could at least summon more foxes. Still at least its summoner only told it to keep the red head busy for a moment instead of fighting him head on. That, it could still handle for speed was his specialization and it was the fastest of its group. As long as it dodged the sand, it would be okay.

Naruto, who had decided to forgo his usual black katana for two black wakizashi, was deflecting Kabuto's chakra scalpels when a wave of weapons forced him and his opponent to move from their spots. He was snorting inwardly when the Leaf spectators were cheering for Kabuto to beat him up, not realizing they were cheering a traitor. It was obvious that most of them further believed he was Kyuubi incarnate after he summoned the fox.

"You've got to be kidding me," he muttered when a raging Tenten sent a volley of kunais with explosion notes toward him. Kabuto used this opportunity to slip away. "Oh no, you don't!" he growled. Eyeing the flying kunais in annoyance he blew it away with a well placed "Fuuton: kamaitachi!" that also forced Tenten to defend herself in the air using a steel umbrella that she took out from a scroll. She was blown away by the heavy wind and effect of the notes from exploding in the air nearby, but her umbrella took the brunt, so she was alright although her sleeves and hair were singed.

Noticing Naruto turned his back toward her, she clenched her teeth and dashed as soon as her feet touched the ground. A two tailed fox breezed past her as it dodged a wave of sand and she stopped when she realized she entered another battlefield. The sand decided to finish her off too, so she was forced to let go Naruto at the moment. She cursed inwardly. She dodged the sand while trying to escape the battlefield to search Naruto, when—in a moment of inattention—sand crept to her right ankle and swung her body to the ground hard. She cried out in pain.

Wincing, she sent a kunai with an explosion note in it and blew the sand tentacle forcing the sand on her ankle to retreat. She stood up, but a sharp pain on her ankle told her that she had twisted it, decreasing her speed and chance to escape and defeat Naruto. She cursed her terrible luck. It seemed she would be unable to fight Naruto and instead would be forced to try to stay alive against Gaara.

"It seems Leaf have many exceptional ninjas this year," Kazekage commented from his seat.

"Sand also has exceptional ninjas too," Hokage replied with a polite smile.

"Ah, but there are only two ninjas from my village, while you have four," he complimented.

"Yes, but that's because Leaf has entered the most contestants," sandaime said humbly.

Polite conversation was always required in the world of politics.

"Hmm, I have never known that Leaf holds Fox summoning, especially after what happened 13 years ago."

Sandaime chucked. "I'm afraid it is a village's secret," he answered lightly. Inwardly he hoped Naruto realized the repercussion of his act to reveal his ability to summon fox to public.

"Why, yes of course. Forgive me for asking."

"It's alright. I'm sure many others are curious about it too," their bodyguards had to force themselves from snorting outloud

"Indeed," and the two leaders went back to watch the battle.

Meanwhile the rest of the genins and their teachers were observing the match.

"Wow, I don't know that Uzumaki have a summoning contract. And I don't know there is a fox summoning out there. Is that why many people, especially adults, seem to hate him?" Ino directed the last question to her teacher who was calmly seeping his cigarette.

Before he could answer Shikamaru cut off, "Riiight, and it must be such a common knowledge that even the villagers know that Naruto has a fox contract," he muttered sarcastically. "If you observe carefully, you'll notice they are shocked when they saw Naruto summoned the fox. Although I have to admit, they looked angrier than usual after it happened," he cried out when Ino pummeled his head.

"Don't take that tone with me," she hissed. "Oh, Sasuke-kun hit that Sand puppeteer!" she cheered loudly, completely forgetting about her earlier rage toward her teammate.

"Woman, so troublesome," Shikamaru moaned, as he nursed the bump on his head. On his left, Chouji nodded as he munched his chips. Asuma shook his head in amusement. Inside he was worried though. Naruto seemed careless, giving hints of S class secrets (even if the secret was related to him) out like that. Not to mention Jiraiya blurted out the secret that he was yondaime's son. At this rate there was no way to tell how many other secrets would come out.

"Tenten, you can do it!" Lee cheered from his stand.

"What do you think her odds against Gaara, Gai-sensei?" a frowning Neji asked the bowl cut haired sensei.

Gai looked serious that moment. "Hmm…not good. It seemed she had twisted her ankle. It will be difficult for her to dodge continuously," then he brightened suddenly. "But don't worry, Neji, she'll overcome her trial with her burning youth!" he slapped his student's back hard, causing Neji to wince in pain.

"Is it just me, or is it true that that Kabuto guy seems to target Sasuke, Naruto targets that four eyed guy, and the weapon chick targets Naruto, and that creepy red head targets Naruto too, but doesn't mind crushing others while he's at it?" Kiba scratched his head.

"…It's not just you," Kiba was startled for he didn't think Shino would answer his question.

"Oh," he could only offer that. Hinata was fiddling with her fingers nervously, seeming to be lost in thought. She remembered the blank look on her father's face that she had known as disappointment when he knew she didn't even pass her second exam. She beat her urge to cry out in shame. She had already done so on her room a month ago.

"Are you okay, Hinata?" she was startled when she heard Kiba called her.

"Y-yes, I am, Kiba-kun."

"…If you say so," the dog boy didn't seem convinced though. He turned back his attention to the battle royale.

Tenten thought she would die when her balance was offset and she wouldn't be able to dodge the sand coming to get her, when a blue haze of fire intercepted the sand and turned it into glass. She was relieved but quickly quench that thought when anger flooded her brain. It was the two tailed fox summoned by Naruto who had saved her.

She glared at the fox angrily.

The fox stared at her lazily and would have raised its eyebrows, if it didn't have to dodge the sand below it. Apparently Gaara decided to convert the land around him to become sand using his chakra since his own sand was turned into glass. It sapped his chakra at faster rate than using his own sand that was already saturated by his chakra and the blood of people he had killed though, which was exactly one of Naruto's goals to use his summon.

Realizing that his tactic wouldn't work, Gaara growled low and decided to use his trump card. He compressed his sand around him into a ball and decided to undergo the stages to transform into Shukaku. He didn't care about what the ninjas of his village thought. What he wanted was to crush this annoying animal and everything else.

Kankurou was paralyzed in fear when he recognized what his little brother was doing and prayed inwardly he wouldn't get involved, which was seemingly unlikely. He didn't notice Sasuke snuck behind him and knocked him out of the battle. His doll crumpled to the ground as its master lost his consciousness.

"Stupid. He should know not to avert his attention from his opponent," Sasuke rolled his eyes. Now he was wondering who should be his next opponent. He turned to Gaara-Tenten-Naruto's fox summon match and saw that the kunoichi was having difficulty fighting off the wave of sand even though Gaara didn't move from his spot and was covered inside a ball of sand. His defense most likely. The fox didn't seem to have trouble dodging the sand and continued with its assault. His eyes narrowed when he saw the sand turned into glass. Obviously the fire the fox let out was very hot or the sand wouldn't change. Hotter than his fire at any rate. Inwardly he grumbled at the thought.

The black haired ninja then turned to see Naruto-Kabuto match. The burning wakizashi on Naruto's hands obviously didn't agree with Kabuto if the burns on his body were any indication. The four eyed guy was busy fending off Naruto's fury attacks. Naruto also had several cuts on his body but it was healing at a rate he had never seen before. Infact…Kabuto was healing at fast rate too, though it seemed slower than Naruto and he got more wounds than he could inflict to his blonde opponent.

Sasuke watched the grin in Naruto's face widen when he managed to cut Kabuto's hair tie and some of his hair.

Nope…he'd rather fight Gaara. Coming between Naruto and Kabuto right now would only land him in the land of pain from any prank imaginable.

With that he ran toward the sand ball as he made seals to create the famed chidori.

The vessel of Kyuubi had felt the built up of demonic chakra coming from the red haired Sand ninja, but decided to deal with him later. Still he realized that he had to move his timetable and defeated Kabuto faster. Kibi wouldn't be able to deal with Gaara any much longer if the boy turned into Shukaku.

Kabuto ducked to avoid the fire blade that coming off from the blonde's wakizashi. The tips of his bang were singed.

"You're not too bad," he said to the panting boy whose glass was cracked and his hair undone. Most of his chakra was used to fasten the speed of his healing to heal his burns. It was unfortunate for Kabuto to be a short ranged fighter. He had to get close to Naruto and his fire to attack. If he was a long ranged or even middle ranged fighter, his chance to dodge Naruto's burning flame would be higher.

Knowing his disadvantage, Kabuto decided to retreat for a moment. He entered Gaara's attack zone. He'd rather take his chance here. He might have to fend off Gaara's sand, but Naruto had to do the same if he chased him and he knew that the jinchuuriki of One Tail was interested with the blond. Gaara would be able to divert Naruto's attention from him so he could finish his job. He flicked off his offending hair from obstructing his sight although his cracked glasses didn't help any. Perhaps he should get a hair cut after this or he should get metal hair tie to avoid things like this from happening again.

Kabuto changed his weapon to that of senbons coated with poisons. He didn't have time to exchange his weapon because of Naruto.

True to his theory, half of Gaara's sand turned to Naruto who seemed rather annoyed by the turn of event. His fox summon seemed rather intent to defend its summoner though as it fought harder. What he didn't expect was for Tenten to change her priority from staying alive to attack Naruto. It was a welcoming gesture for him though.

"Soshuryuu!"…or perhaps not. The girl had released a 'bunch' of weapons against the blonde nin from her scrolls. Unfortunately it was an area attack and Kabuto got himself involved involuntarily. The medic nin grumbled in irritation. The invasion had turned out harder than what he planned. If only Orochimaru had succeeded planting cursed seal on Sasuke before, he wouldn't get involved like this. He barely avoided a sickle from screwing his face, but it had managed to break his glasses completely. A piece of glass scratched his cheek and created a bleeding cut that was immediately healed by his regenerative ability. At least it wasn't a burn. That would be harder to heal than a simple cut.

He heard a screeching noise that irritated his ears and found himself watching Sasuke with a crackling lightning on his palm, racing toward the huge sand ball that held Gaara inside.

Now was his chance.

He saw his blonde opponent knocked out the brunette kunoichi with a chop of her temple from the corner of his eyes and that rushed him faster. The fox turned its attention to him. Bad news. He had to rely on his instinct and ability to feel chakra to locate where Sasuke was for his sight was blurry, after he got his glasses blown away.

He flicked his fingers to send the poisoned needles against the fox, not slowing down in the process. The fox was forced to dodge them, slowing it down. His hand grabbed the syringe he had prepared, while dodging the sand attempt to crush his body.

Sasuke's chidori plunged into the ball of sand with a sickening crunch. And when he tried to pry his hand away from the sand with difficulty.

"It hurts. Mother!" there was an unholy scream coming off from inside.

Sasuke felt like something had gone from bad to worse.

How right he was.

He barely turned around when he felt a flicker of chakra before he felt something sharp was jabbed into his neck and everything went dark.

Kabuto had just injected a forth of the liquid inside the syringe when a firm hand caught his wrist and wrenched the syringe out of the neck away forcefully. The hand tightened its hold and broke his wrist, causing him to drop the syringe. Kabuto only had a moment to turn around to see a pair of raging red blood eyes before he felt the dropped syringe he intended for Sasuke was being used against him. His mouth let out a silent scream, as the rest of the liquid was introduced to his blood stream.

Naruto released Kabuto's body to the ground and caught Sasuke's and slung him on his shoulder like he was a sack of potato, before he jumped high to avoid the lashing sand from the screaming jinchuuriki below him. He saw his fox carried away Tenten's unconscious body.

"Aw man, you've got to be shitting me!" he winced when he saw Kabuto's body was batted away like a rag doll by the lashing tentacle of sand into the arena wall where he heard the sound of his ribs cracking. That seemed hurt.

The Sand jinchuuriki had gone out of control.

Kabuto injected something to Sasuke.

He himself injected that something to Kabuto.

And Sasuke was moaning restlessly even in his sleep.

He didn't think Sandaime would be pleased, both for what happened to Sasuke and Kabuto who should be captured alive and coherent.

Could anything go worse?

Of course he should stop jinxing himself because apparently the Sand and Sound ninjas took that as a sign to start the invasion.

Naruto cursed his luck.


Shorter than last chapter, but who cares? Obviously not me.

I'm not too happy with how this chapter turns out, but won't be bothered to redo it. Too lazy to do that. At least I actually update something.

If you think that Kabuto goes down too quickly, you'll just have to realize that he's at disadvantage against this Naruto. It's rather difficult to get close to him when Naruto has his flame around. Kabuto isn't prepared to fight someone with a higher regenerative ability than his. That's not to say he won't be able to defeat Naruto ever or make his life more difficult. If anything you know how crafty and cunning he can be. However I'm not saying that he'll fight Naruto again. Don't know what will happen next.

In the end Naruto only used his summon, speed, a futon jutsu, his two wakizashi and his flame in this fight. I had planned to have him use rasengan, but decided against it.

Next chap: the invasion. I just want to say that, again, it will be somewhat different from canon. You'll just have to see what the difference is later.