"Veni, vidi, vici. (I came, I saw, I conquered.)"

-Julius Caesar

Chapter 13

Crossing The Rubicon

"Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the first match of the Grand Tokyo Marital Arts Tournament!" the announcer's voice boomed over the loudspeakers.

"In our first match, an unexpected young fighter, Sasuke Uchiha, will face the intimidating Dojo Destroyer!" the announcer's voice was suffused with the dramatic. "Can this previous unheard of young man defeat the giant martial artist who is said to have crushed nearly a hundred martial arts dojos?"

Sasuke made a scoffing noise, a cocky smirk on his face as he strode into the arena, without a care in the world, arms loose at his sides.

From the opposite end of the arena, the Dojo Destroyer stomped through the doorway, barely managing to fit through the entrance. His large bundle of wooden planks was still on his back. He grinned, looking every bit as confident as Sasuke.

"Once again, the rules are simple." The announcer reminded both the fighters and the crowd, to most unnecessarily. "A winner is counted only after a knockout or if the other fighter surrenders of their own free will. This is a single round fight, and once you've been defeated, you are eliminated from the tournament."

"Want to quit now, little boy? You can go run home to your mommy." The Dojo Destroyer taunted, grinning.

A dark, murderous look spread like a cancer across Sasuke's face, and the Dojo Destroyer took an involuntary step back, unnerved by the darkness in that gaze.

Sasuke's coal black eyes vanished, replaced with the crimson, otherworldly gaze of Sharingan. The dots spun furiously, revealing the full rage behind those eyes.

"I'm going to make you suffer for that one." Sasuke hissed viciously, crouching low. His killing intent was charging the arena, casting a tremor of terror through his opponent's soul.

The Dojo Destroyer forced out a laugh, trying to regain his confidence. The boy was so much smaller than him, after all. "Just try it, boy!"

"And now... FIGHT!"

The word fight was still booming from the loudspeakers when Sasuke rushed forward, striking forward with his fist. The Dojo Destroyer let out a single, booming laugh and lashed out contemptuously with one hand.

As if guided by his hand, the wooden boards on his back were suddenly flying, blocking Sasuke's attack with a solid thud.

Sasuke pulled back, doing a few backward leaps, unsure of what he was dealing with.

The Dojo Destroyer laughed loudly, and the wooden boards began to fly in an orbit around his massive frame, scores of them, moving close to the limits of Sharingan's capability to see.

"Not so cocky now, are you boy?" the Dojo Destroyer sneered.


"Whoa... it's like Gaara and his sand..." Naruto muttered, blinking as he watched the fight begin.

"The Dojo Destroyer's tough, like I said." Ranma reminded him, watching the fight with a serious look in his eyes. He wanted to fight Sasuke very badly. But right now was a good chance to scope out more of Sasuke's fighting ability.

"I do hope Sasuke won't be hurt badly." Kasumi said, looking a bit worried.

"Do you think Sasuke can win?" Akane asked, eyes also glued to the fight.

"The current odds are ten to one against Sasuke." Nabiki commented airily, checking a calculator and idly ticking off something in a notebook. "Most people seem to think size matters."

"Sasuke'll win." Naruto said determinedly. "He's a lot stronger than any of you know."

"Well, if he does, some people will make a killing." Nabiki said slyly. "I'll take your word for it, and I'll put my bet on Sasuke."

"Nabiki!" Akane scolded, looking rather scandalized.

Nabiki smiled a fox's smile. "Well, what can I say? Naruto's confidence is a bit infectious."


Sasuke charged forward, lashing out with his foot in a powerful crescent kick. Once again, the Dojo Destroyer merely hurled up the boards, which easily deflected his attack. Not willing to give up the fight just yet, the Uchiha twisted away, striking out with his other leg.

And again, the moving stream of boards blocked the attack with a solid thud.

Sasuke frowned, retreating again, barely avoided a powerful strike from the massive fists of the Dojo Destroyer. Close combat looked like an unnecessary risk at the moment; after all, he had other means of attacking.

Katon: Housenka no Jutsu!

The crowd let out a nearly simultaneous array of gasps as a barrage of fireballs erupted from Sasuke's mouth, hurtling towards the Dojo Destroyer.

The mountain of a man merely "humphed" in a dismissive tone, and lashed out with his hand to send the boards flying forward, smashing the fireballs and dissipating them with the force of his rather formidable defense.

"You fool! Not even fire has an effect on these boards!" he roared, laughing. "I am the Dojo Destroyer, and these are the dojo signs I've collected after defeating dojo after dojo. They are infused with my ki! You cannot defeat me!"

"Give me time." Sasuke growled, rushing forward, straight for his opponent.

"Idiot boy!" the Dojo Destroyer snarled, lashing out with his hand, directing the boards to smash Sasuke into the ground- or at least, where he would have been a second ago.

Sasuke, propelled by a running leap, was directly above the Dojo Destroyer, hands moving in a rapid set of seals as he gulped down as much air as possible with a single deep breath.

Katon: Gokakyu no Jutsu!

The flames of the inferno washed over the Dojo Destroyer's massive form, and Sasuke smirked as the heat from the attack filled the atmosphere.

The smirk faded a second later when a stream of wooden boards tore out of the fireball, completely unharmed, and delivered a crushing blow to Sasuke's chest, sounding out with a vicious crunch.


As Sasuke's rather limp looking body hit the ground with a nasty thud, the crowd went up in groans and winces of sympathy.

"Ouch." Ranma muttered, actually looking rather sympathetic with the boy he considered to be one of his biggest rivals.

"Oh my." Kasumi placed a dainty hand on her lips, looking a bit concerned.

"He'll live." Naruto said offhandedly, unconcerned. "I've hit him worse than that and he's hit me even harder a second later."

Sasuke staggered to his feet not a moment after Naruto finished, looking winded, ragged, and supremely annoyed.

"Ooh... he's angry now." Naruto grinned, looking amused. "This will be good."


"Still standing, huh boy?" the Dojo Destroyer sneered contemptuously. "You're a tough little cockroach, aren't you?" he lashed out again and again, sending a stream of boards smashing into the ground where Sasuke had been just a second before, kicking up dust and debris.

Sasuke dodged from side to side, waiting for his opening, the mask of annoyed fury on his face still on.

The Dojo Destroyer lashed out again, sending a long stream of boards right toward Sasuke, who seemed to be rushing the attack head on. At the last moment, however, Sasuke turned his body slightly, narrowly avoiding the attack.

Eyes widened across the arena.

Sasuke smirked, his hands moving into a set of seals Naruto knew very, very well.


"Oh no. Oh no." Naruto murmured, looking agitated as he watched Sasuke grip his left wrist with his right hand, and an otherworldly blue glow began to shine brightly on his left hand.

"What is that?" Akane breathed, eyes wide in amazement.

Ranma's eyes were wide as well. No way... that just looks like my technique, but focused just on the hand...

"Don't do it Sasuke..." Naruto pleaded desperately, but it was too late.

Sasuke's face, lit up by the flashing blue light, looked vicious and cruel. "You said something about me running to my mother earlier, didn't you?" he asked rhetorically, his smile a twisted, mocking thing. "Well, here, you can go meet her!"

And with that, the Uchiha was nothing but a blur of motion and lightning, loose bolts from the attack tearing apart the ground where he passed.

"Stay back! Stay back!" The Dojo Destroyer's eyes were wide and fearful, his giant frame shaking, his entire body coursing with fear. His boards were too far to recall fast enough, he had overextended himself...

"DON'T KILL HIM!" Naruto begged loudly, sitting straight up from his seat in the stands. Only the fact that Akane and Ranma were both gripping his clothes kept him from jumping down into the arena.

If you kill him Sasuke... you'll have crossed a line, Naruto thought, face tense, fists clenched in helpless anger. And if that happens, I don't know if I can ever get you to change back.

Sasuke's smirk turned deadly.

The chirping of exactly one thousand birds filled the air.



It was over in an instant.

The Dojo Destroyer, eyes stricken with numbing fear, whipped his other hand out, sending up a shield of boards, just as Sasuke closed the distance, the sounds of the Chidori ringing throughout the silenced arena.

Within the span of a single moment, Sasuke's Chidori easily tore through the boards as though they were made of tissue paper. Without a single moment of hesitation or pause, Sasuke's Chidori plunged forward, slicing into the flesh of the Dojo Destroyer, who screamed out in pained, choked agony.

Smirking, Sasuke planted his feet on the Dojo Destroyer's chest, and, with a scoff, kicked off, removing his hand from the Dojo Destroyer's flesh, the fierce glow of the Chidori fading away.

The massive mountain of a man toppled to the floor, silent and graceless as a felled giant oak, eyes blank with the shocking force of the Chidori.

Sasuke landed gracefully, knees bent, eyes closed in satisfaction. His shirt had a few droplets of blood, nothing too outrageous... his hand, on the other hand, was completely clean.

"SASUKE!" Naruto roared from somewhere in the stands, looking furious, betrayed, and hurt.

The Uchiha turned around, glancing at Naruto with a wicked smirk on his face. "Relax, dead last." He sneered offhandedly. "He's not dead. I pierced his shoulder, nothing serious."

Naruto blinked, mouth opening and closing soundlessly, like a fish gasping for air. After a moment, his face reddened with fury and he stormed off.

The crowd still seemed in shock, silence hanging over the arena like an ominous thundercloud.

Finally, the announcer seemed to get his wits back, and said in a shaky, awed voice, "And the winner is Sasuke Uchiha! What an astonishing performance, and what a way to kick off the first match of this tournament!"

Sasuke made a "tch" noise, turning around, hands in his pockets as he stalked out of the arena, as though nothing at all had happened, ignoring the cheering from the crowd.

Ranma's fists were clenched, and his eyes widened as he realized they were shaking, digging into his palms so hard that it was hurting seriously starting to hurt.

"What power." Akane murmured, hand over her mouth, eyes just as wide as everyone else in the arena.

Akane's words seemed to jar Ranma back to reality. Swallowing hard, Ranma nodded reluctantly. "Yeah... he's going to be a lot tougher to beat than I thought."

Just who is Sasuke? And Naruto, for that matter?


"That was way too much Sasuke!" Naruto snarled, glaring at Sasuke as they stood, alone save for the other, in the locker rooms where fighters were to prep for their own fights.

"He didn't die." Sasuke replied lightly, looking bored. "I don't see the problem."

"If you go up against Ranma, will you use it?" Naruto asked, his voice running a dangerous tone.

Sasuke's face was shadowed for a moment, even in the light. "If it comes to that." He said flatly.

An empty silence descended between the two.

Outside, the announcer's voice boomed across the speakers, loud and cheerful and rather false-sounding.

The second match had begun.


"Wow, Natsume's just as good as ever." Akane commented, a wistful note in her tone as she watched Natsume unleash yet another powerful gust at Ryu Kumon, who was fighting defensively, though not by choice.

Ranma, possibly due to his training, his time with Akane, or just plain using his brain for once, replied offhandedly, "Ah, don't sweat it Akane. You've gotten a lot stronger. You could take her."

Akane's head jerked and she stared at Ranma in disbelief, even as her fiancee was completely focused on the match. Did he really just say that?

"Ouch." Ranma muttered, watching as Ryu pushed through the wind, dealing a particularly powerful kick to Natsume's stomach. Winded but not out yet, Natsume responded with a series of swipes from her weapon, a rug beater, which Ryu took a few hits from.

"They're pretty evenly matched." Ranma noted, watching as Ryu suddenly ducked Natsume's swing, trying to deliver a powerful blow to her stomach.

Akane blinked, remembering the fight, and turned back towards it once again.

Natsume, having dodged Ryu's attack, struck out again with a powerful sweep towards his head. Ryu, however, nimbly stepped backwards, just out of range, and then came forward with a powerful punch, back by a charging motion.

Natsume evaded the attack, unleashing a powerful blast of wind once again, which howled a battle cry that rang throughout the arena.

Ryu responded with by slamming his cupped palms together horizontally, at the wrist. He shouted something that was lost in the winds of Natsume's attack, but the result was clear as a blast of blue ki slammed into the storm and punched right on through.

Pretty strong, Ranma filed that away for future reference. He didn't catch the name of the attack, but he was sure it had at least as much power as the Moko Takabisha, possibly even more. He was impressed, considering that only a short while ago, Ryu had to rebuild his entire fighting style.

Or perhaps he was using what he had learned about ki techniques from the Yama-Sen-Ken Ranma forbade him to use and simply building a whole new style from that basis. Either way, his progress was remarkable.

Natsume's eyes widened as she was lifted bodily by Ryu's ki blast, thrown through the air to slam painfully into the ground.

"Natsume!" Kurumi said loudly, a few rows down from where Ranma and Akane were sitting. "You can do it!"

As if urged on by her sister's words Natsume staggered to her feet, her jaw set tightly, wiping a bit of blood from her jaw. Shifting her grip to the middle of the handle, Natsume whirled the rug beater above her head, and the winds picked up fiercely, turning into a massive dervish around her body.

Ryu looked impressed, holding himself a distance away. Ranma was nearly out of his seat by now, totally engrossed in the fight.

Natsume suddenly leapt into the air and gripped the end of the rug beater, spinning it out in a wider rotation. The howling, fierce wind began swirling around her weapon. As she finished the end of her rotation, she lashed out, unleashing a destructive tornado toward Ryu.

The crowd gasped in unison as dust and loose bits of debris were kicked up by the tornado.

Ryu, a determined look on his face, retreated backwards, and from Ranma's now enhanced ki senses, he detected a sudden surge in Ryu's ki, centering on his legs and right hand.

"Shinshoken!" Like an ascending meteor, Ryu rocketed from the ground by kicking off from it with impressive force. His fist, raised in an uppercut motion, was blazing with bright, fierce blue ki that created a kind of shroud around his body, pushing through Natsume's winds as though they were nothing.

Natsume's eyes widened as Ryu closed in, and, with incredible force, struck out, his technique blazing as it slammed into her stomach. As it connected, Natsume's eyes went blank, and, after Ryu pushed forward, she hit the ground with a harsh thud.

Ryu landed next, gracefully, his back turned to Natsume, his fist returning to normal, his eyes closed, the picture of victory.


Ryu cocked his head, turning towards Ranma with a challenging look in his eyes. Ranma glared back defiantly.

"He's going to be tough to beat, huh Ranma?" Akane said quietly. Ranma didn't answer, but then again, he didn't need to.


Naruto whistled, arms tucked behind his head as he watched them carry Natsume out of the arena on a stretcher, her little sister Kurumi tagging along every step of the way with a worried look on her face. "That guy is pretty tough." He commented, glancing at Sasuke.

Sasuke smirked where others would have grinned. "Yeah... I think fighting him might be very interesting..."

Naruto looked almost bored as he stared at Sasuke. "You know, you're pretty creepy when you talk like that."


Natsume's eyes opened, and the first thing she understood was that she had lost. "Damn," she cursed, uncharacteristic of her normally polite, serene manner. But she had been knocked out in the first round of the tournament...

"Natsume!" Kurumi's face appeared in view, unusually concerned.

"Kurumi? Where am I?" Natsume murmured, looking around. She was lying in a hospital bed, the curtains packed to the sides, allowing her to glimpse the infirmary that had been mentioned by the info pamphlets at the beginning of the tournament.

At the other end of the room, the massive form of the Dojo Destroyer lay unconscious, on top of two beds put together and still barely fitting on them.

"That bad man beat you up! But don't worry, I'll get him!" Kurumi said confidently, looking fiercely determined to avenge her sister's defeat.

"No, Kurumi." Natsume replied slowly, picking herself up so that the pillows allowed her to sit upwards in bed. "I was defeated in one on one honorable combat. There is no shame in being defeated by a strong opponent."

Kurumi allowed the words to sink in, slinking back into the chair next to her sister's bed. "Okay, fine. But I'll win this tournament, just you wait and see!" she promised, her voice strong.

There was a quiet knock on the hospital door, and both sister's turned to see Ryu Kumon leaning against the doorframe, looking sheepish and uncomfortable. "I... I came to see how you were doing. I... I hadn't tested the Shinshoken properly, and I was... concerned." His cheeks were stubbornly red.

Natsume flushed prettily. "Oh. Well, I'm fine." She said quietly, looking down at her folded hands. "That was an impressive attack."

"Thank you." Ryu replied softly. "You were very impressive yourself. The Shinshoken is a desperation move... you are extremely skilled to force me to use that technique."

Natsume, unused to such compliments, said shyly, "And you must be even stronger to be able to defeat me." They glanced at each other, smiling slightly.

Kurumi looked at her sister, then Ryu, then back again. Finally, she grinned impishly and said teasingly, "Should I leave?"

Jolted from the moment, Ryu and Natsume blushed again and chorused, "No!"

Kurumi laughed loudly.


"The next match of this tournament features the beautiful Kodachi Kuno. Many of you may have heard of Miss Kuno as the rising star of the Rhythmic Gymnastics World."

The crowd (especially the male sections) cheered loudly for Kodachi (and her tight, form fitting leotard, of course).

"And her opponent is a member of the Daimonji School Of Martial Arts Tea Ceremony, Sanae!"

"Wait..." Akane said slowly, "Isn't Sanae the-"

Eyes and jaws literally dropped in the arena.

"No way." Naruto muttered, dazed, mouth dropping open and eyes as wide as humanly possible. Next to him, Sasuke looked a little better, but not by much.

"A monkey?" Sasuke said incredulously.

"A monkey? This is who they send to face the might of the Black Rose, Kodachi Kuno?" Kodachi laughed loudly in a high, shrill voice, whipping a red ribbon around herself in a whirlwind pattern.

Indeed, it was a brown furred monkey, standing there, tea kettle in hand, wearing a frilly dress and a bow in its hair (well, the hair on its head).

Kodachi continued laughing, and the crowd continued staring.

Until Sanae threw the tea kettle at Kodachi's head.

What followed could only be described as the worse case of cruelty to animals seen by most people thus far in their lives.



Naruto shook his head, looking a bit shocked. "That was a bit... unnecessary." He said lightly, chuckling weakly.

"She's insane." Sasuke commented, rolling his eyes.

"Said the kettle to the pot." Naruto replied impishly, cackling at the mere mention of the word "kettle".

"Shut up dead last."

"Make me, asshole."


"For the fourth round of this tournament, we will see the mysterious Mu Tzu, practitioner of Chinese black magic, face off against Sentaro Daimonji, heir to the Daimonji Martial Arts Tea Ceremony School. Let's hope Sentaro fares much better than his comrade, Sanae, did in her last match."

"Mousse'll win." Ranma said lightly, looking bored. "Man, between this and last fight, I'm getting so bored out here."

"Quiet Ranma!" Akane scolded, shushing him as the fight began.


"This fight is utterly pathetic." Sasuke spat, watching as Mousse shredded Sentaro's teapot with a barrage of knives attached to chains.

"That Mousse guy is pretty good though. Maybe you'll fight him." Naruto commented, leaning against the wall.

"I'll beat him. I'll crush them all." Sasuke said lightly, his nose still wrinkled in contempt.

"Someone's cranky." Naruto muttered, staring at Sasuke with a blank look.

"I'm going to get some food." Sasuke said, pretending he didn't hear.

"Oi! Wait up asshole!" Naruto shouted, chasing the other genin down the tunnel that lead to outside the arena. "I'm hungry too!"


"We're running out of time." Shino said flatly, after each member of the team reported no sign of the Bikochu. "Within the next three days, the Bikochu will hatch its eggs. If that window passes us, we may not get another chance."

Sakura tightened her fists. "Then we'll just have to find it in the time we have left." She replied determinedly.

"How?" Kiba asked, annoyed, arms tucked behind his head as he shot her an irritated look. "We've still got ground to cover, and this bug isn't exactly glaringly obvious." He looked around surreptitiously, his voice lowering, "Plus, there's those ninja who've been following us."

"We don't know there intentions. We can't assume anything." Shino cut in, pushing his sunglasses up to the bridge of his nose. "But it does add an element of risk to this mission."

"It doesn't matter!" Sakura snapped, turning the members of Team Eight toward her. "I'm not giving up on Naruto or Sasuke! We all know Naruto would do the same for us. Can we do any less?"

Kiba looked uncomfortable, sharing a glance with Shino.

"Sakura is right." Hinata said quietly, and the gazes focused on her, causing her to blush and glance downwards. "Naruto-kun would never abandon us. We can't just give up."

"Then it's settled. We continue the search." Shino said calmly.


As Mousse and Sentaro left the arena, the former with a confident grin, the latter bleeding and carried on a stretcher, Ranma began yawning. "Oh great. Next is that dumb Mikado against Shampoo."

Akane blinked. "Hey Ranma... Mikado loves kissing beautiful girls as soon as he meets them, right?"

Ranma nodded, wrinkling his nose in disgust. "Don't remind me."

Akane grinned. "Well... doesn't Shampoo have a policy about kissing too?"

Her fiancee's face slowly showed his realization, and he grinned too.

"This'll be good."


"From the wilderness of China, the exotic Amazon beauty, Shan Pu!"

As with Kodachi, the males were particularly loud in their cheering as Shampoo stalked in slowly, smiling sultrily, wearing a tight Mandarin dress that complimented her figure exquisitely.

"And her opponent, a member of the Golden Pair of Martial Arts Figure Skating, Mikado Sanzenin!"

The young man was handsome, his aristocratic features winning him massive amounts of cheers from the female portion of the crowd, many of whom were irritated at the cheering their male counterparts had been doing earlier. He wore a loose fitting blue sweatshirt, white slacks, and ice skates at his feet.

"What a beautiful girl... I hope I won't have to mar any of that beauty." Mikado murmured, his blue eyes sparkling as he ran his hand through his wavy brown hair.

"Before we begin," Mikado said slowly, an affable smile on his face as he strolled toward Shampoo, "I'd like to give you my special hello." And with that, he pressed his lips against Shampoo's, before she could react.

Ranma grinned. "He's a dead man."


"Another brutal beating." Naruto mumbled, scratching the back of his neck. He winced as Mikado let out another pained scream.

"Culling the weak from the herd." Sasuke shrugged. "Next round will be much more interesting."

Naruto yawned. "Well, anyway, I think this one's just about-" a nasty sounding crunch tore throughout the arena, and Naruto shook his head pityingly, "Finished."

"And the winner is the lovely Shan Pu!"


"Oh great. The old freak's up next." Ranma groaned. "This is going to be a painful one."

"Isn't Asuka that 'White Lily'? The one who's enemies with Kodachi the Black Rose?" Akane questioned.

"Yeah." Ranma replied offhandedly. "Bet the old freak's going to love this match-up." He stood up, turning towards the exit.

"Ranma?" Akane blinked, looking confused.

"The old man ain't gonna lose this one, Akane." He said slowly, walking off. "I'm gonna go get ready for my fight."


"First off, we have Asuka Saginomiya, the White Lily!" Male sections, once again, were cheering as loud as they could.

"And her opponent is the venerated master of Anything Goes Martial Arts, Happosai!"

The female sections were even louder than the males... as they booed Happosai, the most infamous pervert in all of Japan.

"I'm fighting a troll? Is this a joke?" Asuka wrinkled her nose, her refined beauty marred by the haughty look on her face.


"AH! Let me go this instant you pervert!"


Naturally, Ranma was proven correct in his assumption, and Happosai emerged victorious after a hedonistic session of groping until the poor girl finally fainted.

And naturally, the females (and even some of the males) were both disgusted and amazed that the old man would win through such a dirty tactic.

"For our next match, we will feature the kunoichi Konatsu against the infamous Copycat Ken! Months ago, Copycat Ken had defeated many martial artists with their own techniques, but hadn't been heard from again until this tournament. What a treat, ladies and gentlemen!"

Copycat Ken waved and looked rather pleased with himself. He was a rather skinny, dark haired young man, wearing a sleeveless red shirt and blue overalls. Around his neck was a camera attached by a strap, and his head was wrapped in an orange bandanna with yellow spots dotting the cloth.

"A kunoichi?" Naruto blinked, gazing at the pretty girl that was Ken's opponent.

"She's probably nothing like a real kunoichi." Sasuke scoffed. "Remember, no one else can perform jutsu in this world. Whatever she's going to use, it'll be parlor tricks."


"And the winner is Copycat Ken!"

"He's like you," Naruto commented airily, watching as the bandanna wearing Copycat Ken grinned, looking rather pleased with himself.

"That camera of his is nothing like Sharingan." Sasuke scowled, feeling insulted that Naruto would dare compare him to a charlatan like that.

"Touchy, touchy." Naruto teased, but was already looking toward the arena once again.

It was time for the final round.

And it was not going to be epic.

"For the final match of this round, we will see Ranma Saotome, of the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts, face off against his very own principal, Principal Kuno of Furinkan High School. It's student against the administration!"

"Kuno? What, more of 'em?" Naruto muttered, rolling his eyes. "Guess he must be the dad, then. No wonder they're so messed up."

"Aloha, Ranma!" Principal Kuno looked vastly different from the aristocratic features of his children. His skin was deeply tanned instead of the pale white of his offspring, and he was stocky rather than slender. His attire was also drastically different- he wore tacky red rimmed sunglasses, a loose fitting blue shirt, a yellow flower leis, and a red rose just beneath the leis.

"This'll be quick." Ranma muttered.


"Pineapple bombs?" Naruto laughed loudly, grinning as he watched the Principal hurl another fake pineapple loaded with explosives.

Ranma ducked the bomb and leapt forward, charging even as the

"This is ridiculous." Sasuke muttered, feeling like he had stepped into some alternate universe where common sense and sane combat tactics no longer existed.


The impacts were solid and resounded throughout the arena, finishing with a particularly hard blow to finish the match. Principal Kuno's eyes went blank and he let out a low groan, toppling onto the ground with a quiet thud.

Ranma grinned. "Didn't even break a sweat."

"That one wasn't even worth betting on." Nabiki murmured, looking bored.

"The winner is Ranma Saotome!"


"Still nothing, huh?" Kiba asked, as Sakura and Hinata came back from searching, both of them looking dirty and disappointed.

"We'll try again tomorrow. It's dark enough that it'd be nearly impossible to find the Bikochu." Shino said slowly, staring into their campfire, its light reflecting off the darkness of his glasses.

They were silent after that, and the sounds of the insects around them filled the gap in place of words.

After a while, Kiba spoke in a quiet tone, "Do you think they're safe? You know... wherever they are?"

"I hope so." Hinata said softly, her tone barely audible through the merry crackling of the campfire.

"They are." Sakura said firmly, gazing up into the stars. "I trust Naruto completely. He's the only person Sasuke-kun respects enough to listen to."

"Why'd he do it?" Kiba asked, brow furrowed in consternation. "I don't get it. Why would Sasuke just up and leave for the Sound like that?"

Sakura's throat clenched. She remembered what he had said to her, just before he left. But...

"I had heard that it had something to do with the Uchiha massacre." Shino said quietly.

"That was a horrible tragedy." Hinata whispered, remembering how even her own father was in shock over the news.

"Who did that, anyway?" Kiba questioned, glancing around the campfire. "No one ever talks about it."

"That's a good question." Shino said slowly, a contemplative look settling behind his glasses. "Who could possibly be strong enough to wipe out the Uchiha Clan?"

Sakura looked down, a melancholy look in her eyes. She didn't know who Sasuke was so angry at, who Sasuke wanted to kill so badly that he would leave them all behind.

Did Naruto?

"Yeah..." Sakura said softly, "Who?"

And, barely a mile away, the only Uchiha still on that world sneezed.

His partner glanced at him, an amused look on his shark-like features. "You sick or somethin', Itachi?"

Author's Notes


Katon: Hosenka no Jutsu (Fire Style- Art of the Phoenix Flower, the Touch-Me-Not)- A burst of multiple, smaller fireballs sent at the opponent.

Katon: Gokakyu no Jutsu (Fire Release: Great Fireball Technique)- The user uses up a large amount of chakra, gathered in their chest with a deep breath, and exhales out a massive fireball. Can be controlled into a flamethrower using one's hands. An Uchiha family speciality.

Chidori (Thousand Birds)- A-level ninjutsu technique. The user grabs their wrist, and focuses chakra until it becomes visible, usually as blue lightning. It's used as a swift, powerful finishing blow that requires a great deal of speed and the Sharingan (Copy Wheel Eye) to complete. It gets its name from the chirping sound it makes when it strikes.

Shinshoken (Rising God Fist)- A powerful upward blow that creates an ki aura around the attack, which can deflect many attacks while ascending.

With regards to last chapter, I must explain that the Dojo Destroyer character I'm using is the anime version, who was condescending and more malicious than his manga self apparently was.

Also, I've seen multiple translations of Kurumi's name. I was originally using the Ranma ½ perfect edition site's translation, which was Karumi, but since more sources translate it as Kurumi, I've decided to trust them.

Ryu Kumon's new techniques are a tribute to Ryu from Street Fighter (which I don't own). Shinshoken, for example, is similar to Shoryuken- but not totally similar.