(-Author's Notes-)

Well, Let us start the final battle, shall we? Read on...

(-THE SERPENT STRIKES-)

Massive explosions shake the very foundation of Konohagakure as enemy ninja enter the village from all sides, accompanied by several large snakes, including one with multiple heads.

)-Tsunade's Office-(

Aoba enters the room in a rush, "Godaime-sama!" he exclaims, "Sound ninja are attacking Konoha!"

Tsunade stands up and walks toward the window behind her desk just as another explosion rocks the building. "It's Orochimaru." She says, looking out the window, "He's come for Sasuke, just like I thought."

"Godaime-sama! What should we do?" Questions Aoba, "The Sound ninja are attacking from all sides and we--"

"I've already taken neccessary steps." Tsunade interrupts, seeming rather calm in light of the situation, "The students and other non-combatants are already in the secured location. And, I've sent word to the shinobi who are best qualified for this situation."

"Tsunade-sama, What do you mean?" Queries Shizune from beside the blonde's desk. Tsunade turns to her attendant and smiles a rather toothy grin that says '(Don't worry, everything'll be fine)', causing Shizune to smile in relief.

The scene suddenly switches to the spot the large two-headed snake is rampaging through just as it's caught in the large talons of a giant bird, a head in each, and crushed. The giant bird flies upward, carrying the snake's body with it as someone leaps off the bird's back and lands in the midst of many Oto-nins. Before we even get a clear view of the person, the Oto-nins lunge at him from all sides, however...

"Hakkeshou: Dai Kaiten!" The person states as the spinning chakra created by the move blows all of the enemy shinobi away. As the person comes to a stop in the center of the large crater created, it's revealed to be none other than Hyuuga Neji.

Neji raises his gaze forward, revealing his active Byakkugan, as he stands up straight. Even more Sound ninja surround him as the Hyuuga takes his Jyuuken stance, "It's futile," he says, simply, "No matter how many of you Orochimaru sends." "The Konoha will -not- crumble again." He then adds.

/Scene-Switch/

"Chidori!" Sasuke states as his left hand is thrust through the left side of a Oto-nin's chest.

Another Sound ninja attempts to attack Sasuke from his right... only to have a second Chidori, this one right-handed, thrust through his torso. As Sasuke jerks his hands free, he turns his Sharingan on the surrounding Oto-nins, causing them to back down frightenedly. He then activates Chidori again, one in each hand, and dashes toward the paralyzed enemies.

"Chidori Reppu!" Sasuke states as he dashes through the gathered Sound ninja, attacking at blinding speed. Time stops for but a second as the Uchiha thrusts a left-handed Chidori through the final enemy's chest before pulling his hand free and leaping over the Oto-nin to land in a kneel, the lightning-like energy of Chidori slowly fading from around his hands as the bodies of the defeated Sound ninja fall.

Sasuke stands up and stuffs his hands into his pockets, casting a quick glance back at his dead opponents, "Hn."

/Scene-Switch/

A view is shown of another part of the Konoha where the bodies of around a dozen Sound ninja lay on the ground, pretty much all seeming to have been killed with one type of weapon or another. The view changes to show someone's hand repeatedly pitching a kunai up and catching it, before the view pulls back to reveal Tenten.

"Konohagakure's weapons-specialist doesn't miss her target." She says just as she catches the handle of the kunai and, without looking, tosses it off to her right, hitting another Oto-nin in his left eye.

The bun-haired girl then ducks under an attack from her left as she turns toward the attacker and thrusts her right palm against his torso, forcing chakra into his chakra circulatory system and causing his heart to burst before he falls to the ground, dead. However, She's soon surrounded by even more Sound ninja, which causes her to sigh with a shrug before she quickly performs a set of very famous hand-seals, "Time for another new trick, Kage-Bunshin no Jutsu!" Two Tenten clones appear, back-to-back with the original in a tight pyramid-formation.

The three identical bun-haired girls cast a glance and a nod to each other before running toward the enemies and leaping over them. After circling the ground of enemies once, each Tenten reaches in her back-pouch and pulls out a weapon-summoning scroll, followed by tossing them into the air and forming several more hand-seals. "Kakouryuu!" All three state in unison as the scrolls appear to transform into gaseous dragons and fly downwards toward the Sound-nins. (Kakouryuu means Descending Dragons - a new jutsu I created for Tenten)

The three dragons descend until they near the enemies only to circle once above their heads before flying upwards again and practically twining themselves around one another, reverting to scrolls. Tenten(the original one) crouches down before seeming to disappear only to leap upward in the center of the three scrolls, "Issen Debabouchou no Mai!" She states as she begins summoning and tossing weapon after weapon down at the enemies. (Issen Debabouchou no Mai means Dance of 1,000 Knives - another jutsu I created for Tenten)

At the same time, Her two clones toss open the large scrolls their wearing and begin using the weapon-summoning technique to summon kunai and other weapons to throw at the Sound-nins from both sides as well. Tenten lands a few moments later in a kneel as her two clones disappear in poofs of smoke and the three scrolls land around her in a circle before the bodies of the enemies are shown.

/Scene-Switch/

Haruno Sakura is shown as she dusts her hands off after having just dispatched her own share of Sound-nins. However, As the dust settles around the battle area, The pink-haired kunoichi raises her gaze up to see a certain glasses-wearing Oto-nin.

"Yakushi... Kabuto."

The ponytailed Oto-nin adjusts his glasses slightly, "Ah. It's you, Sakura-san." He says, a hint of arrogance in his voice as the pink-haired girl takes a ready-stance. He remembers Sakura as she was during the Chuunin Exam and is quite confident that she'll not be a match for him, then decides to make the girl an offer, "There really isn't any need for us to fight." He says with a grin and a shrug, "Just give us Sasuke-kun and we'll gladly be on our wa--" However, He's suddenly cut off as he leaps out of the way of a crack that's speeding toward him through the ground.

Kabuto lands in a kneel several feet away and looks toward Sakura to see the pink-haired girl with her fist against the ground and the crevice that extends from that point to where the Oto-nin himself was previously standing. ("That's... the same as Tsunade-sama...") He mentally observes as Sakura stands back up, ("So, Sakura-san has become a medical ninja. But, I also...")

("According to Tsunade-shishou, Kabuto is a highly-skilled medical ninja also.") Sakura contemplates, not taking her eyes off her opponent, ("I'll have to be careful as to how I approach him. My best course is...")

After the two have decided on a method of attacking, Kabuto performs a series of hand-seals that Sakura immediately recognizes as those used for the Shousen Jutsu. Kabuto reaches into the ningu pouch at the back of his waist with his left hand and pulls out a kunai.

("Those hand-seals...") Sakura deduces, then smiles, ("I see. So, That's to be his plan of attack: To close the distance between us using a feint attack with his kunai, in order to use Shousen to attack internally. This method would also neutralize attacks like I used moments ago.") ("Heh, Baka.") She mentally concludes, ("He assumes I'll look for an opportunity to use medical skills also.")

Thinking his plan is set, Kabuto darts toward Sakura with his kunai drawn. Sakura, seeing his approach, quickly reaches into her back-pouch and pulls out several what-appears-to-be smoke balls, then she tosses them at the advancing Oto-nin. However, As the small orbs, some of which Kabuto knocks aside, blow open... there's no smoke, only what-appears-to-be something like confetti that covers the glasses-wearing medical ninja, causing him to stop his approach. Kabuto looks at the small strips of paper, only to realize that they're actually miniature explosive tags, "Hell!" He states, raising his gaze back toward Sakura.

Sakura pulls out a kunai, "Didn't expect my special attack, huh?" She says, "Sakura Fubuki no Jutsu!" With the name revealed, Sakura tosses the kunai at Kabuto, who jumps back a step to avoid it as it lodges in the ground in front of him... only to notice, at the last second, a small explosive pack attached to it just before it explodes, setting off a chain reaction that has all of the small explosive tags on the Oto-nin exploding as well.

However, as the smoke clears, Kabuto is revealed to still be alive despite the number of miniature exposions he suffered... just in time for Sakura to show up behind him. The pink-haired medical kunoichi quickly touches the back of Kabuto's neck with her left hand(which is embued with Shousen Jutsu), severing the nerves that connect to the brain, followed by delivering a fully chakra-powered right punch to his back, sending him flying into the wall of a local house.

Sakura walks toward Kabuto as he slumps into a sitting position, unable to use any part of his body from the neck down.

"H-how?" Kabuto barely manages to ask, his head still nodded forward as he's unable to lift it.

"Your strategy was too obvious." Sakura explains, "You figured out that I had been trained by Tsunade-shishou and came to the conclusion that I would also fight like her. And, while I do use her fighting techniques, I invented my Sakura Fubuki no Jutsu separately. Further, I realized that the conclusion you came to about my fighting techniques and knew that you wouldn't be expecting something like it."

"I... see. Your intelligence and... analytical skills, they surpass... even my own." Kabuto responds, coughing as he speaks. He knows that he can't use his self-healing ability in his condition and is aware that his time is growing short. "Demo..." He continues, "Orochimaru-sama will... will stop at nothing to... retrieve Sasuke-kun. He won't stop until he... until he possesses the Sharingan... until he possesses Sasuke-kun. uhn..." With those words, Kabuto's voice fades away as his breathing comes to an end.

"We won't lose Sasuke-kun to Orochimaru again." Sakura says, assured that Orochimaru won't succeed.

/Scene-Switch/

Orochimaru is shown within Konoha as he encounters none-other-than Hatake Kakashi.

Within moments, Sasuke also reaches the place where they are, "Orochimaru..." He says before starting toward the snake-sannin, only to be stopped as Kakashi holds his left arm out in front of him.

"Matte, Sasuke." Kakashi says back to the young Uchiha without looking away from Orochimaru, "How about you let me handle Orochimaru, okay?"

After a moment of deliberation, Sasuke agrees in his own way: by stuffing his hands in his pockets with a "Hn." Before walking away to observe the fight.

Kakashi raises his left arm and pulls his hitai-ate up to reveal his Sharingan-embued left eye. "So, Orochimaru. What do you say, we get started?" He queries, then performs several hand-seals before stating, "Suiton: Suiryuudan no Jutsu!"

A huge water-dragon forms in the nearby body of water and launches itself toward Orochimaru. Showing no sign of concern, Orochimaru performs a series of hand-seals before kneeling and placing his palm against the ground, "Kuchiyose: Rashomon!" With that, A towering gate-like structure quickly erects in front of the snake-sannin and Kakashi's water-dragon smashes into it, reverting back to plain water as it splashes onto the ground. However, Orochimaru's ankles are suddenly grabbed from below ground by Kakashi's hands, "But, This is--"

"Doton: Shinju Zanshu no Jutsu!" Kakashi states from underground. He abruptly pulls Orochimaru underground, burying the snake-sannin up to his neck as Kakashi, himself, appears back aboveground.

Looking down at Orochimaru, Kakashi says, "Now, You won't be able to avoid my attacks." The silver haired jounin then closes his right eye, looking at Orochimaru with just his Sharingan, and performs the seal of the rat, which causes leaves to swirl up around the snake-sannin's head. (In case you're unfamiliar with this, it is the Genjutsu used by Kakashi against Sakura during the first training - Magen: Narakumi no Jutsu).

Orochimaru uses his 'Nan no Kaizo' ability to -slither- out of the hole which his head was sticking up through, only to find that Kakashi is nowhere around. Realizing that this is a Genjutsu, Orochimaru smirks before forming the Kai hand-seal and dispersing Kakashi's Genjutsu just in time to tilt his head to one side as a kunai, tossed by Kakashi, flies by to lodge in a tree behind him. The snake-sannin looks toward Kakashi to see him knelt down, with a scroll placed on the ground in front of him, and he can tell Kakashi performed a Kuchiyose.

Suddenly, Kakashi's kawaii nin-ken burst up through the ground all around Orochimaru to latch onto him and stop him from moving. Seeing that his Kuchiyose: Doton: Tsuiga no Jutsu succeeded, Kakashi stands up and performs the hand-seals to activate Raikiri... albeit with a white chakra as opposed to the normal blue.

"Orochimaru!" Kakashi states, Raikiri crackling in his right hand, "Your ambition ends here! I'll see to it!" And, with that, The silver haired jounin dashes toward the immobilized Orochimaru with his right hand pulled back.

However, As Kakashi advances toward Orochimaru, the snake-sannin uses his 'Nan no Kaizo' ability to launch his head toward the silver haired jounin. The kusanagi sword extends from Orochimaru's mouth as his head nears the advancing shinobi... only for Kakashi to vanish, using Hiraishin no Jutsu. Kakashi appears behind the immobilized Orochimaru and thrusts his right hand through the snake-sannin's chest.

Orochimaru's head and extended neck fall to the ground and Kakashi jerks his hand free as the kawaii nin-ken all disappear, allowing the snake-sannin's body to fall as well. Reaching up and pulling his hitai-ate down to cover his left eye, Kakashi sighs and says, "Finally, It's over."

)-Elsewhere-(

At the Akatsuki's super-secret 'hidden' base...

Amidst the darkness of the hidden cave-like base of the Akatsuki, all remaining members' bodies are lying on the ground around two shadowy male figures. The two shinobi are standing with their backs to each other and they're revealed: Gouma Toramaru and Karite Shugou.

"For a group of S-rank shinobi," Shugou says, calmly, as he sheathes Chimidoro, "I expected more of a challenge."

Toramaru nods once slightly, then responds, "When a shadow turns fully from the light, it dooms itself to die in darkness..."

"Aa. So, Should we return?" Shugou queries, then adds, "They're probably worried."

Toramaru nods again, "Indeed."

With that, the two shinobi vanish: Toramaru in a swirl of leaves and Shugou in a flash of violet smoke.

)-Konohagakure: Naruto's Appartment-(

Naruto is shown in his bed, fast asleep, snoring loudly... having slept through the entirety of the battle against Orochimaru.

(-The End-)

Ramblings: Well, That's it! It's finally over! Anyway, In case you're wondering: Gouma Toramaru is the 'mysterious ninja' that appeared in the first chapter of this story as well as the chapter before this. Karite Shugou is a character created and owned by Hanako-chan, and I obtained permission to borrow him for this fic. Also, The mystery shinobi that was atop the Hokage stone monument in the previous chapter was not revealed. However, I may write a sequel and he'll be the main antagonist in it. Well, I think that covers things. Ja for now!