This chapter is dedicated to my beta-reader, Ultra Sonic 007. I cannot express in words the magnitude of my appreciation for your help with the ending half of this story.

Naruto: Legacy of the Rasengan

By: Tellemicus Sundance

Chapter 37--Team Seven Splits

Konoha Hospital…

5:20 a.m.

It was very early in the morning. The sun was just barely peeking over the horizon, sending its blinding rays upon the still mostly slumbering village. There were few still or just waking up to be able to witness such a beautiful sight of the dazzling colors that shone brightly in the sky.

Among those awake was a certain Uchiha Sasuke.

Today was the day he'd be released from the hospital and return to his life as a genin of Konohagakure. But so many things had changed now. Things that he'd had a hand in changing, even if it was indirectly.

As his eyes stared unseeingly into the light of morning, his hand rose to the curse seal on his neck on almost it's own accord. He rubbed the slightly raised portion of skin that signified where the seal was.

He had finally gotten one of the things he'd been yearning after for the past month. But while he hadn't emerged victor from the battle, he had more than proven his abilities to himself and the others. In his mind's eye, he could see various phases of the battle replaying. Sasuke's pride didn't rise as he remembered it. No, there wasn't anything to be proud of in the battle itself. It was the psychological battle with himself that he was proud of.

In that battle, he had finally taken complete control of the suggestive whispers and urges of the seal. Not only had he taken control, but he'd utterly crushed the alien presence of the seal. When that had happened, he'd finally learned how to morph into the second level of the seal.

Sasuke could hear a pleasant silence and felt blissful serenity in his mind. There was no presence intruding and demanding blood, death, and general mutilation. He felt no urge to unleash the curse seal, to feel the rush of absolute power and almost unmatchable strength.

He felt…content. Content with himself, with his rivalry with Naruto (temporarily), and even his staying in Konoha.

But his newfound ability was far from being the only change. And the biggest one that he'd noticed since returning was Sakura. She had come to visit him and Naruto for an hour or two each day. In that time, he'd seen her casting him almost accusing glances with an occasional glare. Being the genius that he was, Sasuke figured that her sudden attitude had something to do with what had happened the night she'd caught him leaving.

Yet even a twelve-year-old Uchiha prodigy was utterly clueless to the mind of a young teenage girl. But I should probably apologize for that, though, he admitted to himself.

Glancing absentmindedly over at the bed that held his teammate, Sasuke did a double take in surprise. Naruto was gone.

Somewhere in the forests outside Konohagakure…

Same time…

The blonde Jinchuuriki was sitting silently in his old secret training grounds at that very moment. Lying on the ground in front of him were five unrolled scrolls, each labeled as his jutsu scrolls. In his hands was the newest addition to his collection of secret scrolls. Slowly, carefully reexamining his memories, he wrote down all that he remembered of the Tajuu Suiryuudan and Ijoufu Suiryuudan.

If he was honest with himself, he was once again surprised at his ability to create jutsus like those on a whim when he was in the midst of a battle. It was uncanny and almost disturbing how he could do that.

In fact, how could he do it? Was it a trait he'd developed during his long secret training and experimentation or was it something else? For most of his life, Naruto had only focused on what he knew and what his limits were compared to everyone else's and pushing himself pass them. That was where his pride and ego came from, knowing that he was stronger than he let everyone believe he was, yet also knowing what his limits were.

Sitting up and putting his brush aside, Naruto closed his eye as he drew into his thinking pose. Now that he was somewhat battle-hardened and was feeling a bit more content with himself, Naruto began to ponder a question that he rarely asked himself. Who was he really? Did he have any long-lost relatives? Who were his parents and was he anything like them? Would they be proud of him or ashamed of what he had and still was becoming?

Of course, he'd questioned the Sandaime Hokage countless times before joining the Academy (almost daily actually) about who his parents were and if they were coming back for him and if the spiral he wore was their crest. The old man had at first told him that they were somewhere very far away and wouldn't be able to return for a long time. But as he grew older and wiser in the ways of life and death, Naruto had come to understand that the Sandaime meant that they were long-dead or missing.

And the genealogy records kept in the Konoha Library showed a very saddening truth to him: he was the only Uzumaki in all of Konohagakure's known history.

Then when Naruto formed his lifelong goal of creating jutsus, and later his love of pranks, his search for his parents or family went to the dark recesses of his mind and left forgotten. After long years of study, fighting and training relentlessly, creating and mastering around a dozen jutsu he could proudly scream out were his own, the long-time desire to know his parents' names was slowly coming back to him.

But his mysterious origins weren't the only things going through his mind. There were two other issues that were troubling his mind. One of which was his mind recently. At first he hadn't noticed it, since he'd been overcome by a spiteful anger at the time. But once he calmed down sufficiently and began replaying the recent memories, particularly of his and Kakashi's conversation, he found something…strange.

During that conversation, he'd felt hot and festering anger towards the man, and to a lesser extent Sasuke. His ever-so-careful mask had somehow fallen off, and he'd shown one of his true sides for however short a time. He'd somehow 'felt' an alien yet familiar presence rise up inside him. It took hold of him for a time, not a total possession but enough to get its point and opinion across. When that happened, he'd also felt a small, almost unnoticeable, burst of his merged youki and chakra rush through him. It empowered and seemed to carry the presence through him and aided in the possessions when they occurred.

If there was one thing that Naruto was worried about, it was the fact that it wasn't the Kyuubi's direct doing. Of that, he was positive. If it had been the bastard fox, Naruto could've just channeled his chakra to temporarily reinforce the seal around his stomach. Though it was a weak defense because it could drain him quite quickly, it would help to remind the kitsune who was in charge of the body.

But because it wasn't the fox, Naruto was at a loss as to how to control the presence. He was beginning to suspect that it was something to do with his mind, rather than the Kyuubi. How he was suppose to counter against something like that left him baffled. He was a shinobi and soon-to-be teenager, not a psychiatrist!

One week later…

Konoha Hospital…

1:43 p.m.

It had been little more than a week since she had removed the bandages from Sasuke and Naruto. Things had finally begun to settle down at the hospital. Or as much as could be expected with several shinobi task forces now in recovery and training.

Tsunade smiled proudly from where she stood. In the classroom in front of her were what she'd hoped would become the next generation of Konoha's medic-nins. It had been surprisingly easy for her to organize this class and all following training sessions. Being Hokage truly did have its perks.

She hired out every spare or retired medic-nin to come in and teach at least one class a day. The fields of study were wide, varying from evaluating a causality to binding a broken limb or bone with a splint all the way up to healing a punctured organ. She had even passed a law stating quite clearly that it was now mandatory for all Konoha shinobi teams have at least one trained medic available.

In this classroom was a group of kunoichi who were all fully commissioned shinobi. As her gaze drifted over the kunoichi as they listened to Shizune going over the basics of the basics, her eyes were drawn to a pair of kunoichi in particular.

One was the Hyuuga heir, Naruto's unofficial girlfriend, though he'd never admit it. She was sitting comfortably near the back of the room, marking down notes hurriedly as her instructor marked them down on the board.

Tsunade couldn't help but smile slightly. The girl reminded her very much of Shinbi-chan, both in appearance and personality. It didn't really strike her as surprising that Naruto would like the girl, much less have her as a friend. And if she was right about Naruto's heritage, it would be ironic that he'd like Shinbi's daughter.

Shifting her attention, the Hokage zoomed in on her other target of interest. The head of pink hair stood out brightly among the browns, blacks, and blondes. It was Naruto's teammate, Haruno Sakura. Based on what she had read in the girl's file, Tsunade might have believed that Sakura had enrolled in this class to allow her dear Sasuke-kun and Naruto the chance to continue to train without being held back by her. But with the rapt attention and determination that she was exuding as she listened to Shizune, Tsunade began to doubt herself.

"Now," Shizune was saying. "Would someone tell me how far above the wound we'd set the tourniquet to stop the bleeding?"

"…Two to four inches, Shizune-san?" Sakura said, raising her hand somewhat hesitantly.

Nodding, Shizune smiled before asking, "Why do we not place it above the wound or any bandages that may already be in place, Sakura-san?"

"Because it could cause further injuries," she said, her voice growing stronger as her confidence rose. "And we don't tie it onto joints either because they'd eventually loosen. You have to tie them just below or as close to the joint as possible."

Tsunade smiled to herself as she was struck by a wave of déjà vu. She had been very similar to Sakura when she was at that age, even the attitude was similar. She had soaked up the knowledge faster than a sponge and had outstretched her associates quickly. Seeing it happening again with someone else was bringing back bittersweet memories of her youth.

She would have to keep her eye on Sakura for a while… But then again, this is still the basics of the basics. For all I know, she will never make it past healing a simple slash wound. As she turned to leave, she could hear Shizune beginning to discuss the methods tying a double knot to secure the tourniquet.

Walking down the hall, she turned and entered the main hospital. The classrooms for the combat life savers were being held in the empty, lesser used rooms of the hospital. Now it was time for her daily examination of her other patients.


Same time…

The silence in the snake's den was even more eerie than normal. That was largely thanks to an overwhelming bloodlust that hung in air, almost as thick as fog. It shivers of fear down everyone's spines, no matter how valued they may have been to their deadly master, mentor, or savior.

The reason for the bloodlust? The mission to acquire Uchiha Sasuke had been a failure. After waiting for several hours since Kimimaro had run off to fulfill his last mission for Orochimaru, the Hebi-Sannin had finally grown impatient. He sent his entire shinobi force to track down his missing Sound Four and their precious cargo. All that the shinobi had discovered were their corpses and signs of heavy combat.

They had also tracked at least two teams of shinobi as they headed back towards Konoha. But by the time they had finally managed to uncover the exact location that the Uchiha must have been by then, it was far too late. The Uchiha had been returned to Konoha.

The rage that Orochimaru had displayed towards the unfortunate souls that had been 'selected' to report to him had been terrifying. Surprisingly, both shinobi had exited the room with their lives. Though one looked as though he'd need immediate medical treatment for the severe injury to his chest.

Ever since then, for the past week, the compound had been overflowing with Orochimaru-sama's anger. It wouldn't have been an exaggeration to say that the shinobi and personnel were wading through his wrath as though it were sludge.

Today, after a long week of recovery from his body transfer, Orochimaru was finally venting his frustrations. He stood out in the death arena of his research facility. The arena where he usually had his subjects battle one another as a means of experimenting the effects and abilities of certain drugs or curse seals.

With a mere flick of his new arms, hundreds of serpents burst forth. They ensnared and crushed the two dozen unfortunate men, women, and children that had been selected as his 'opponents.' Despite the fact that they were experiments, Orochimaru wasn't concerned for their survival. They all were marked to be disposed of sooner or later anyway.

Letting his arms fall to his sides, he watched as his snakes retracted back into him. His opponents all fell to the ground, little more than piles of mangled fresh and shattered bones. The various Juin Jutsus that had transformed a fair number of their bodies were fast to dissolve and return to their usual dormant state. Only this time, it would be permanently.

Turning to leave, he caught the faintest of movement out of the corner of his eye. So one's still alive, eh? ...Good.

Stalking over to the body, he gazed down at the figure impassively. It was a young boy, probably close to eleven years old. As he gazed down at the boy's broken body, he slowly remembered the boy. He was one of the 'failed' experiments where Orochimaru had tried to get an estimate on how young a human being could be to survive the implant of his Juin Jutsus.

For shinobi of low Chuunin to high Jounin, the survival rate was one in ten. But for civilians, with no training in chakra control, the survival rate averaged around one in hundred. This boy was that one, surviving the implant from when he was about six-years-old. But it seemed that because of the Juin Jutsu being placed on him at such a young age, he had absolutely no control of either his chakra or his seal. It made him a liability.

"I…ha…te…you," the boy managed to gasp out, his sharp green eyes displaying a level of hatred that no child his age should be able to conjure.

"…Your will to live is strong," Orochimaru said, his rage waning as he stared down at the boy. "…What did you hope to accomplish in your pathetic existence? …Tell me, boy."

"I…I…" the boy was wheezing, straining against multiple broken ribs to breathe. "…want…to kill…you!"

Now that he was actually looking, Orochimaru saw a glint of light with the child's eye. It was the same that he'd seen in Sasuke-kun's eyes when they met in the Chuunin Exam. This boy had seen too much darkness in his short life, most of it probably at this very facility. His green eyes reflected the darkness in his soul.

A darkness that was fueled by hatred, a desire for revenge, and a will of steel to achieve that revenge. It was this will that now drew Orochimaru's attention. If he could harness that will, direct it to where he wanted it…perhaps he could attain several of his objectives with greater ease. He'd seen what a will of steel could accomplish and he had seen two prominent examples of such. All his life he'd always scorned the willpower of a person, believing divine gifts and bloodline limits were superior to determination. Perhaps now he should invest in a little of that willpower that Jiraiya and Konoha so highly valued?

"What's your name, brat?" he asked.

The boy looked confused for a moment, before wincing again as his pain flared up. The boy couldn't honestly remember having a name other than brat, bastard, and freak.

"…I going to let you live," Orochimaru said impassively. "Only because you intrigue me…And perhaps, someday, you will gain what you desire…But until that day, you shall address me only as Orochimaru-sensei."

The hatred in the boy's eyes flared brightly for a moment. Then he slipped into unconsciousness as his wounds overrode his durability of pain. Almost uncaringly, Orochimaru reached and lifted the boy up into his arms.

He carried the boy easily to the hospital. With those injuries, he would be held up in the hospital healing for almost two weeks under the care of his personal team of medics. But that didn't matter to Orochimaru, time was merely an illusion to him now. He could wait.

When the boy was finally released, he would set in motion a new plan. A plan to crush the Kyuubi's Jinchuuriki, regain both of his desired bodies, and then finally begin the meaning of his immortal existence. And this small boy would be one of the keys to that plan.

"I shall call you…Kiryoku," Orochimaru said, staring down at the boy's face. His wild orange and black hair hanging limply in front of his face. "Dageki Kiryoku."

In Konoha…

Same time…

"What happened on the mission?" Shino asked. "Tell me."

It had been little more than two weeks since the retrieval mission. Things seemed to finally falling back into their normal routine. The pair were now walking quietly towards their usual team meeting spot. But, unlike every other day, it was just the two of them. Hinata had been given the day off as her new CLS class would due to start within an hour.

Kiba, who'd been watching Akamaru running about chasing a butterfly further ahead, glanced over at his teammate. Shino hadn't been included in the big mission, which he knew must have greatly annoyed him. But the fact that he'd heard rumors of an incredible fight between Naruto and Sasuke only made the annoyance grow deeper into his soul, as close to anger as he'd ever gotten in his life.

"It was amazing," Kiba said, grinning broadly. "…but I don't know if I should talk about…parts of it."

As he said that, his grin waned a bit. A brief memory sprung to his mind, of a Naruto covered in a terrifying red chakra flying through the air towards a mutated Sasuke, both holding jutsus he'd never seen before. The raw power that had been packed into those jutsus had been enough to make his head hurt at the time.

Now, more than ever, he wanted to get stronger. He wanted to reach that level of strength that they had briefly possessed and then surpass it. But he was no fool, despite what a lot of people may think. The stink of the chakra that was spilling out of his comrades were very unique, but similar in one condition: neither were normal or humanely possible. While he knew that Sasuke had been marked by a curse seal, he had also been able to figure out the secret of Naruto's power surprisingly easily.

The chakra's scent strongly reminded him of what he'd once seen that Suna Jinchuuriki using in the Forest of Death. That terrifying power, stinking of blood, and drenched in indefinable fury. Naruto was a demon vessel as well.

He hadn't told anyone yet. In fact, he wasn't even sure he wanted to. Kiba liked Naruto as a person and a rival. Should he go about spreading rumors about something that the Uzumaki couldn't control, Kiba would probably later regret it in more ways than one.

But still, I will train much harder from now on. Akamaru and I will gain that strength, one way or another, and we will beat Naruto one day. I just know it!

"No," Shino said, drawing him out of his thoughts and resolutions. "Tell me everything about it…That is what teammates do, right?"

Kiba glanced at his friend in mild surprise. Shino's tone was rather…insistent, more so than usual. Then he grinned as he returned his attention to Akamaru. "Are you just annoyed because you were left out?"

Shino made no reply. He merely remained silent for the rest of the walk to their meeting with Kurenai-sensei.

Training Field 9...

Same time…

Panting from sheer exhaustion, Gai-sensei finally collapsed on the ground. He could scarcely find the strength to continue breathing. Sweat covered his skin and had his near-skintight bodysuit sticking to his body more than usual. It would need a serious washing once he'd recovered enough stamina to stand again.

His favorite pupil, Lee, was still bouncing around like a spring though. He was throwing kicks as fast as he could while alternating on his legs. He was covered in just as much sweat as his beloved sensei but he showed no serious signs of exhaustion.

Gai had heard all about the magnificent battle Lee had seen Naruto and Sasuke engage in in almost excruciating detail. And as soon as the story had been completed, Lee had begged Gai to train with him at three times their usual workout. Gai had of course approved of Lee's zeal to improve, also inspired by the astounding tale. But now, he was slowly starting to regret his decision.

"Lee-kun…" Gai managed to gasp out. "…how about…a short break?"

"What's wrong, Gai-sensei?!" Lee asked, glancing over his shoulder in shock at the condition his mentor was in. "Youth never waits!!"

As Lee resumed his training with twice as much vigor, Gai couldn't suppress a grumble of annoyance at himself. Soon I will hit the age where youth is impossible, won't I?

Tenten just sat upon a tree stump, enjoying the show. It was very, very, very rare to see Gai-sensei so worn out and not shouting about youth, flames, and determination. She couldn't resist the almost star-struck smile that was growing on her face as she watched her weird teammate continue to out-train his mentor.

One week later…

Training Field 7...

10:00 a.m.

He stood in front of the monument. He'd been standing there since dawn, staring at the names of his deceased teammates and sensei. As he stared at the slightly worn and weathered names, he couldn't restrain the small grimace.

"I've tried, Sensei," Kakashi said quietly to the large stone. "…I've tried to be a sensei like you…give all my students the things they needed to survive and grow, but…the circumstances have made it very challenging."

Nodding his head in shame, he thought back reluctantly to all he'd done with his team. How had things come to be like this?

Naruto and Sasuke, by far the most talented shinobi of their generation, were the fiercest rivals Kakashi had ever seen. After the invasion, their rivalry had somewhat intensified due to Sasuke finally realizing the fact that Naruto possessed something he could never have, a demon. His desire to become the stronger of the two had pushed the Uchiha to go with Orochimaru's underlings. Though Sasuke vehemently swore that he only went to acquire the drug they had that would allow him to control the curse seal, Kakashi was still very suspicious.

Naruto, as always, was shrouded in mists and shadows as he hid behind his metaphorical mask. Whatever his true feelings of Sasuke and Sakura were, he never seemed to reveal them. The only people that Kakashi had seen that grinning mask slip off for were the Hyuuga heir and himself. But where he showed true happiness for Hinata, Naruto showed his disgust and fury for Kakashi. And though Kakashi had tried to explain his reasons for teaching Sasuke his jutsu behind his back, the Hatake had a feeling the blonde would never ever forgive him completely.

Sakura, though brilliant, was very weak. She had depended on the boys to save her in all the fights they'd been involved in from the beginning as far as he knew. Only recently had she begun to step up out of the darkness of their shadows. Kakashi was finding that he was being constantly surprised by her actions as she took steps to improve herself. The first true step had been when she'd finally gotten over her animosity with Naruto. Then she made her own genjutsu to be acknowledged by the blonde. Now he had found out that she'd willingly enrolled in the new CLS classes that Tsunade had created only a few days ago.

Overall, he felt that his team was beginning to progress very well. But it was the little issues that kept forcing him to reevaluate his views of them. And despite all that they'd been through, Kakashi could see something about to happen. Something that he'd seen many times over in most Chuunin squads. As a rule of thumb most Chuunin teams were the same as they had been when they were genin. But eventually, the team would begin breaking apart as the members began being assigned different missions based on their talents and abilities.

Now his team was at this stage.

Naruto, he knew, had been assigned a three-year training mission with Jiraiya-sama outside Konoha. This was to keep him safe from the Akatsuki, and to prevent them from keeping tabs on his progress as they did whatever they were planning to do. And if he knew Naruto at least fractionally as well as he hoped he did, the boy would be dancing for joy at the opportunity. Not only would he be given time to train with one of the best shinobi ever, but he would have months of uninterrupted training for his latest goal.

Kakashi was no fool. He knew that once he explained the Rasengan's intended purpose, Naruto would not stop until he'd attained the next level. In that way, Naruto was very much like the man he so strongly resembled. But where the Yondaime and himself had been unable, Kakashi had no doubt that the sneaky blonde would accomplish his goal.

Sasuke was another matter all to himself. Like Kakashi had thought, the boy had set himself to training the very same day he'd been released from the hospital several days ago. What he saw the boy doing was almost amusing when he spied on him. It seemed that Sasuke had been more than awed by the fact that Naruto had learned a jutsu that the Yondaime had made, though the boy would not admit it.

Now the Uchiha was determined to further master the first of his own ninjutsus, a certain 'Gouka Tenohira,' a very clever combination of the Chidori and a simple Faiatama. Yet he was positive the boy would attempt to further develop it by undoubtedly trying to combine shape and nature chakra, just to prove to his greatest rival that he too could create one.

Sakura was putting her all into mastering her new self-appointed goal. Kakashi had actually stumbled upon her walking through Konoha just the other day. She had her nose buried in a scroll on beginner's medic jutsu. The fact that she hadn't even noticed his presence, even when she brushed right past him, was a little amusing to him. Kind of like how Rin-san used to be years ago.

Sighing to himself, Kakashi looked back at the memorial stone. The Yondaime Hokage's name was engraved into the stone, a few names below Uchiha Obito. Both names were weathered and worn down the point of being nearly illegible. But Kakashi didn't need to be able to read the names to know they were there. He could remember, clear as crystal, the days each had been carved into the cold stone.

Sighing again, he quietly said, "I wonder what you would say if you were here, Obito, sensei."

Truly, he would've given everything he had to be able to know that, and what they'd have done in his place.

"Kakashi-sensei?!" three shocked voices cried out.

Turning the silver-haired man spotted the three subjects of his contemplations. Each of them had an unbridled stare of shocked disbelief, Naruto and Sakura were even pointing at him as though he were some kind of rare or supernatural being that shouldn't have been but was.

"Yo," he said in his usual tone as he waved in greeting. "What's up, team?"

"Y-You can't be Kakashi-sensei!!" Sakura said, eyes wide.

"Eh? What do you mean, Sakura-san?" he asked, rather confused now. "Last time I checked, I was."

The three students looked amongst themselves, as though trying to determine each of them saw the same thing. Now Kakashi was starting to get annoyed as they looked back at him.


"YOU'RE NOT LATE!!!" Naruto and Sakura yelled loud enough to disturb the surrounding forests.

"Eh?" Kakashi looked absentmindedly up at the sun for moment, quickly calculating the time. Then he remembered, he'd asked them to come to the training grounds at ten for some 'special training.' Yet when he'd arrived at dawn and started staring at the monument like he always did, he'd somehow lost track of time!

"Oh, I guess I am," he said, smiling brightly at them from under his mask. "…but don't get used to it. This is a special occasion after all."

"Special?" Sasuke said, quickly recovering his usual indifferent posture. "Why? Nothing's anymore different than it was yesterday or last week."

Staring at his team, Kakashi saw that they all agreed on the point. That could only mean one thing, they hadn't been told yet. But why not? Surely with how close Tsunade-sama and Jiraiya-sama were with Naruto, they'd have told him this bit of news wouldn't they?

He could understand why Tsunade-sama couldn't, being Hokage and all. Yet why couldn't Jiraiya? But now as he thought about it, he hadn't seen the man since shortly after Naruto had returned with Tsunade a few weeks ago. Kakashi quietly bemoaned his fate that it was now his job to enlighten them.

"I see you haven't been told yet," he said, more to himself than them. He had to reach up to pinch the bridge of his nose. He was really not looking forward to this.

"Told what?" Naruto asked, his guards rising unconsciously.

"Tomorrow, Naruto is to be sent on a three-year training mission outside of Konoha with Jiraiya-sama," he said, mentally counting down to the impending explosion.


"WHAT?!!" three voices cried, in varying levels of disbelief. The loudest was of course Naruto, the most shocked was Sasuke, and the humblest was Sakura.

"Why Naruto? Why now?" Sakura asked, but her question was overridden by Sasuke and Naruto.

"NO! NO WAY!!" Naruto cried, his voice rising to unbelievable levels of volume as his face quickly turned an angry red. "I'M NOT GOING ANYWHERE WITH THAT PERVERT AGAIN!!!"

"Naruto gets to train with a Sannin?!" Sasuke barked, considerable jealousy and anger causing him to momentarily loose his cool again.

"It is by order of the Hokage," Kakashi said loudly so he could be heard.

"Why does Naruto get personal training with a Sannin?!" Sasuke demanded pointedly. "As if he even needs it!"

"Want to trade, Sasuke?" Naruto asked hopefully as he glanced at his indignant teammate. "It's not like the pervert is going to teach me anything other than how to peep anyway!"

"Training is only the 'official' reason that you're leaving, Naruto," Kakashi spoke up before Sasuke could reply. When he had all three genins' attentions again, he continued, "The real reason is…complicated and classified."

Catching on surprisingly fast, Sakura bluntly asked, "Does it have anything to do with the Kyuubi?"

Naruto visibly flinched at hearing Sakura say that before staring openly at her, who ignored him as best she could. Sasuke merely glanced at her before looking back expectantly at Kakashi. Sighing to himself, Kakashi dropped all pretense of subtlety.

"Hai," he said answered. "…Sasuke, Sakura, this information I'm about to tell you is an A-Class secret, understand?" He stared fiercely at them, drilling into them the importance of the secrecy. "…There is an organization comprised of S-Class nuke-nin somewhere out there who are hunting the Bijuu and Jinchuuriki. We don't know how many there are or what their goals are, but we do know that they've already sent people after Naruto already."

"…Are you talking about that two guys in black robes with red clouds?" Naruto asked, calming himself considerably.

"Yes," Kakashi said. "Godaime-sama believes that they may have some means of checking your strength and growth, Naruto. She wants to send you to train somewhere away from Konoha to keep out of their sensory range. Then, in a few years when we're all stronger, we'll go after them."

Nodding, Naruto stared at the ground as he processed this information. "I understand I guess, Hatake. But still…why does it have to be Ero-Sannin?!!" the boy whined quite childishly.

"Because he's got the skills to necessary to keep you safe," he answered without missing a beat.

As his team realized just what was happening, Sakura suddenly looked up questioningly. "Ano, what does this 'special training session' have to do with all of this, Kakashi-sensei?"

Smiling broadly, Kakashi reached unobtrusively towards his weapons' pouch. "That is a wonderful question, Sakura. Now, as I understand it, you've applied for a full-time position at that new medic school Tsunade-sama put together, correct?"

"Hai," she said, blushing as Naruto and Sasuke looked at her in surprise. "I-I wanted to find my own path to becoming strong."

"Keep going as you are," Kakashi said as his smile grew larger. "and I'll bet you'll become Tsunade-sama's newest apprentice within the next month." That statement seriously drew on a deep blush as both boys turned truly surprised but reluctantly (in Sasuke's case) proud gazes upon her.

"And with Naruto leaving tomorrow," Kakashi continued. "that only leaves Sasuke and myself left on Team Seven. I've already gotten it approved by the Hokage to take Sasuke as my own apprentice for the next few years… After this last training session, Team Seven will be officially disbanded."

That statement met an eerie silence that not even the winds and forests could disturb. Each of his students showed their feelings in different ways, ways that were as unique as they were. Sasuke looked faintly surprised, despite trying to hide his feelings. As the boy looked to side, Kakashi caught an air of disappointment and sadness resonating from him. Sakura had a wide-eyed stare as the news truly took on a new meaning for her, a lone tear slowly working its way down her cheek. Even Naruto's signature grin had vanished, his gaze turned hollow as he stared unseeingly down at the ground in front of him, his emotions completely hidden.

After a moment, Naruto looked back up with a wide foxy grin on his face. "Then that's all the more reason to make today's lesson really count, isn't it?"

Sakura and Sasuke looked over at him before small smiles crept up their faces. Yes, we will make it count, was the thought that ran through all their minds at that moment.

Finally withdrawing his hand from his weapons' pouch, Kakashi held out his closed fist to them. "I figured that for today's lesson we'd do an old favorite of mine…the very first one we did together."

A pair of bells dropped into view, hanging limply on strings that he held securely in his fingers. The sight of the bells brought a wide grins from the genin. How could they forget the terrible bell test?

"One condition though," Kakashi said warningly as he gazed at Sasuke and Naruto. "No curse seal, no youki, got it?"

Nodding, the boys' grins waned ever-so-slightly at having those restrictions. Not that they had really planned on using them, but the thought of increasing their speed and strength to overwhelm their sensei in the same test that he'd overwhelmed them in was a very tempting one.

"Alright," Kakashi said as he tied the bells to a loop on his pants. "You three will have two hours to try to take these bells from me." As he was speaking, he reached back into his weapons' pouch and pulled out a timer which he set on the center training log. After setting the time, he turned and continued, "However, like last time, if you don't come at me with the intention to kill me, you most likely won't get the bells."

"Let's go then, Hatake!" Naruto yelled eagerly, snatching a kunai.

Just as he was about to rush the man, Kakashi disappeared and reappeared behind the blonde, grabbing his wrist and positioning the knife at the base of the boy's skull.

"My, my, Naruto," Kakashi said smiling when he noticed neither Sakura or Sasuke had been too surprised. "You certainly have gotten impatient since last time."

"I'm just anxious to kick your ass, kokuzoku!" Naruto snapped, but his eager grin betrayed his excitement.

Releasing the boy after playfully ruffling his unruly hair, Kakashi took a few steps back. "Well then, if we're all ready…Start!"

In the next half second after he'd said that last word, the three genin disappeared into the tree cover. Kakashi mentally counted down the time it would take them to disguise themselves. Once again, he wasn't far off in his estimate.

In the first test, he'd contented himself with silently guessing who would be the first to appear, how long it would take for that person to decide on a strategy to fight him, and even how long it would take each of them to properly hide themselves. However, this time was slightly different.

In the first test, they were highly inexperienced, possessing a few tricks up their sleeves perhaps, but they'd had no truly serious training. Now, after having to endure the trials of not only the Chuunin Exam but the deadly fight and training in Wave Country, each of them was more than experienced enough to know the importance of chakra. They suppressed their chakra auras almost immediately, so low that he almost lost track of them. But because they were grouped together, albeit a hundred meters into the tree line, he could still sense them.

Absentmindedly pulling out Icha Icha Paradise, he began reading.

10:05 a.m.

"What do you think, Sasuke?" Naruto asked quietly, his eye never leaving Kakashi's form.

"He knows we'll be attacking as a team," the Uchiha answered in a voice just as quiet. "Probably anticipating on fighting you and me while Sakura sneaks in to get the bells."

"But we can't attack him separately!" Sakura whispered. "We may have gotten better, but Kakashi-sensei is still stronger than us."

"Yeah," the boys said.

Naruto drew himself into his thinking pose. This time I swear we will pass this test on the first try!

"Naruto?" Sasuke said, disrupting his train of thought. "remember in our fight? You were able to increase your speed?"

Thinking back quickly, the memory segment rose up quickly. "Yeah, what of it?"

"Can you do that again? Without the youki?"

Could he? Thinking back and trying to remember what he had done, he closed his eye in concentration. He could vaguely remember reaching into his body, towards some previously and still largely unknown reservoir of chakra. What was that feeling like again?

As he slowly tried to mimic his instinctive move, the sudden rush of power and energy hit him. With it came a feeling of deadly excitement and a yearning for a tough battle. Opening his red eyes, he grinned at Sasuke mischievously.

Sasuke and Sakura had been watching their teammate as he concentrated. Apparently, he'd found what he was looking for as he raised his head. The emergence of his red eyes was more than enough of a hint that he'd done it. And the lack of any noticeable youki was a large relief.

"Good," Sasuke said, not missing a beat. Turning to face Sakura, he said, "Sakura, do you think that you can get Kakashi in your genjutsu?"

Surprised, she looked back towards the man. Quickly judging the distance and the amount of chakra required, she turned back to Sasuke and shook her head. "Not from this distance. And he'll probably notice it as soon as its cast."

"That's what I'm counting on," Sasuke said. "Here's my plan. We get closer for you to cast it. Then, while he's distracted, Naruto and I will go out and attack him. Naruto, it's your job to get him into the air, where he can't dodge."

Naruto nodded seriously. So far this plan sounded like a good one.

"I'll help you in distracting him, making him think that I'm the one after the bells," the Uchiha continued. "Meanwhile, Sakura, you sneak out there invisible and try to take the bells while he's busy. But you have to quick about it, understand?"

"Seems pretty good for an Uchiha," Naruto said a slightly conceited foxy grin in that bestial tone of his.

"N-Naruto?" Sakura said, caught by surprise by Naruto's sudden change. "Why are you talking like that?"

"What's wrong with the way I talk?!" he snapped heatedly.

As Sakura recoiled slightly in surprise at his tone, Sasuke smacked Naruto in the back of the head in annoyance. Ignoring the blonde's glare, he turned the girl, "When his eyes change colors, so does his personality, Sakura."

"I do not!" Naruto growled, glaring at Sasuke.

Sakura instantly picked up on Sasuke's meaning. "Um, well…okay."

"Come on," Sasuke said, turning to leave.

"Wait!" Sakura said as an idea came to her. "I've got an idea!"

10:15 a.m.

So they're finally on the move, Kakashi thought as he turned a page in his book.

Upon sensing the movement of the faint chakra signatures, he began paying a bit more attention to his surroundings. He could feel Sasuke and Naruto take up flanking positions on either side of the tree line. It was easy to tell that they were the boys because their chakra signatures, no matter how faint, didn't possess the 'softness' that girls do.

Curious, he glanced up from his book in the general location of the boys. They were waiting for something but he wasn't sure what. Based on what he knew of their abilities, they wouldn't be able to do anything subtle from the distance between them and himself. They were short range fighters, despite Sasuke's Katon jutsus.

It was only when he felt the sudden intrusion in his mind and disruption of his senses that he realized what they'd been waiting for. In his adjusted vision, he saw the trees' leaves change colors to a soft pink as the scent of cherry blossoms washed over him with a breeze.

With one hand, he replaced his book into his pouch. With the other hand, he formed a handseal and quickly molded his chakra. If he wasn't quick, he'd fall under the subtle power of Sakura's genjutsu!

Just as he sent a fierce pulse of chakra out of his body to disrupt the genjutsu on him, he spotted boys as they bore down on him at surprisingly fast speeds. Twenty Kage Bunshins of Naruto were racing in from all sides, apparently trying to hide the Uchiha as he worked his way behind Kakashi.

Rapidly dodging the fierce, if simple, lunges of the clones, Kakashi dealt them each a quick punch or kick as he maneuvered around them.

"Gotcha!" several voices snapped just a second before he was literally kicked in the ass up into the air by three pairs of feet. The remaining blondes jumped into the air with him, all with their fists back and ready. "You're going down this time, kokuzoku!"

So that was their plan, he guessed. Trying to make me immobile. Twirling in midair to dodge the fists of two Naruto, Kakashi pushed off their heads to propel himself slightly higher in the air. "You'll have to do much better than that, boys, to get these bells" he taunted.

"How about this!" a voice snapped from behind and slightly higher than him.

Turning his head, he spotted another Naruto with Sasuke. The Naruto held the collar of Sasuke's shirt in preparation to throw as the boy finished a series of handseals. A Faiatama burst to life the Uchiha's hand. Kakashi's eye widened slightly as he recognized the following compression of the flame into a small sphere.

He's actually going to use the Gouka Tenohira on me? He asked himself, slightly panicked now. While he could tell that the flame was nowhere near strong enough to kill him, it would most certainly cause some rather unpleasant burns.

A sudden faint wind caught his attention for a moment, as well as a new scent. He realized what was happening instantly when he heard the bells give a small jingle before going quiet. Oh no you don't!

Arm lashing out to where he guessed she was, Kakashi was rewarded to feel his hand come into contact with a head of shortened hair. Yanking the invisible Sakura in between him and the plunging Uchiha, he sent a pulse of chakra through the girl's body to drop her personal genjutsu. With his free hand, he snatched back the bells that were in her grip.

Upon seeing Sakura being used as a shield by Kakashi, Sasuke was forced to release his hold on his Gouka Tenohira. The sudden lack of chakra that had been being used to feed the fires caused the jutsu to fade as the flames flared around his hand for a moment. Sakura brought her hands up reflexively to shield herself from Sasuke as he crashed into her. Using Sakura's mass to his advantage, Kakashi shoved her on top of Sasuke before pushing them back towards the earth in a heap.

Landing lightly nearby, Kakashi quickly sent out a numerous shuriken. The remaining six Kage Bunshins were destroyed as the real Naruto ducked under the weapon meant for him. Bringing his hands up to form the tora seal, Naruto inhaled and blew out a familiar dense cloud of smoke. "Enmaku no Jutsu!"

"Idiot," Kakashi called out as he let the smoke envelope him while he replaced the bells on his pants. "You know that won't work."

"Oh yeah?!" Naruto yelled out as four blondes erupted from the earth under him. They latched onto his legs and waist, restraining him as best they could. "Then trying dodging this! Sasuke!"

A large ball of fire came racing into the smokescreen shortly after Sasuke and Sakura recovered. Held in place, Kakashi was forced to throw up his arms to shield his face from the fire. Feeling the clones be destroyed by the Goukakyuu as it hit them, he leapt out of the fire and smokescreen as quickly as he could.

Standing up and facing his team, he absentmindedly patted out the small patches of fire that had caught on his sleeves and pants. It was a good thing that most Jounin uniforms were fireproof or that flame attack would've done a lot more than just heat him up.

A sudden flare in chakra drew his attention. Dashing through the remainder of the smokescreen was Naruto, proudly holding his Rasengan while under the protective layers of his Oboro, and Sasuke, with a loudly chirping Chidori being guided his mature Sharingan.

Crouching down slightly as he lifted his headband to reveal his own Sharingan, Kakashi waited as the two boys attacked him. This was going to require perfect timing, which was going to be tricky thanks to Naruto's Oboro.

Just as the boys were nearly upon him, his hands came up and he was able to grab their wrists. Despite being pushed back a few feet from the force of the boys' rush, he held his position and grip on their hands.

The looks on their red-eyed faces was priceless in Kakashi's opinion. Before they could recover their dignity or balance from their overextended thrusts, Kakashi gave them a sharp tug. They were pulled clean off the ground and sent flying behind him, jutsus still active. The explosion of dust and dirt when those jutsus met the earth was enough to throw up its own smokescreen for a moment.

Turning to face the boys, he grinned as he watched them pull themselves out of their respective craters. To think that they'd actually attack me with their best jutsus, together. What an interesting surprise.

"Alright," Kakashi said as he replaced his headband back into its earlier position. "I'll admit it, your attacks really aren't that bad this time."

Apparently Naruto didn't think so. He snapped over to Sasuke, pointing like a little brat. "This is all your fault, Uchiha-teme! You're so useless!"

"My fault?!" Sasuke snapped, clearly not in the mood for another one of Naruto's episodes.

"Yeah! Did I ask you to do something so stupid as to attack from the front like that!"

"If it was so stupid, why did you do it?!" Sasuke shot back. "and who are you to tell me what to do?!"

"Ever hear of the phrase: diversion?!" Naruto yelled. "and of course I'll tell you what to do! I'm the leader here!"

Sighing to himself exasperated as the boys descended into another petty argument, Kakashi rubbed his forehead for moment. It was times like this that he wished he'd never had to take a team, as well as wishing that they would grow up. You'd think that with all they'd been through that they'd be more mature. At least Sakura-san is finally starting to grow up.

Speaking of which, where was she? Glancing around, he couldn't find the pink-haired kunoichi anywhere. Reaching out with his chakra awareness, he finally found her. Looking back over at the arguing boys, he watched as she suddenly appeared in between them after pushing them apart. Genjutsu again?

"That's enough, guys," she said, causing Kakashi's eyebrows to raise. She'd never really broken up one of their arguments so…peacefully before. "The plan worked like a charm!"

Plan?! A sudden feeling of foreboding fell on the Jounin and he quickly looked down at the bells. But they were gone!

Hearing a pair of jiggling bells, Kakashi looked back up at his students. Naruto and Sasuke, no longer red-eyed, wore identical smirks of triumph as Sakura held the bells smiling innocently.

"Huh?" Okay, now I'm confused. "Hey, when'd you get those?"

"Just a moment ago, sensei," Sakura said, teasingly sticking out her tongue at him.

"That first Sakura that attacked you was one of Naruto's Kage Bunshins in a Henge with a genjutsu that Sakura put on it," Sasuke clarified.

"Sasuke and I used the Chidori and Rasengan to force you to concentrate on stopping us," Naruto continued, his smirk turning into a familiar foxy grin. "The argument was a diversion, to keep you focused on us while Sakura snuck up to you from behind."

Now that he understood what had happened, Kakashi dropped his face in slight shame. They knew that he'd take such jutsus as the Chidori or Rasengan very seriously and they used that against him. He'd been outsmarted by his very own students!

And he couldn't have been prouder!

"Come on, Shika!" a loud voice from the path called out.

Team Seven turned and watched as Yamanaka Ino came into view, angrily dragging an obviously reluctant Nara Shikamaru behind her. Choji followed them, red faced and panting from exhaustion.

Glancing over into the field, Ino spotted Sasuke very quickly. Releasing Shikamaru, Ino rushed over and practically lunged for Sasuke. "SASUKE-KUN!!"

Seeing the excitable blonde rushing for them, Kakashi walked lazily over towards the training logs to collect his timer. Naruto, spotting the lustful desire in the pale blonde's eyes, turned tail and fled up the nearest tree like a frightened cat. Memories of all previous times he'd seen that gaze and somehow got caught between it and her desire rushed through his mind, times that rivaled the worst of Sakura's early beatings of him.

Sakura quickly moved in front of her Sasuke-kun protectively. The Uchiha's fabled Sharingan flared to life in Sasuke's eyes as he watched the blonde approach at speeds he didn't think she was capable of.

Somehow dodging around Sakura, the long-haired blonde latched herself onto Sasuke before he could move. "Sasuke-kun!" she purred. "I've missed you so much! I was afraid that you'd left me for good two weeks ago."

As Sakura and Sasuke tried to jointly pulled Ino off him, Shikamaru rolled his eyes in extreme annoyance. Though he'd never admit, he hated it on so many levels when Ino glomped Sasuke like that. It was just wrong!

"Come on, Choji," Shikamaru said, unwilling to put up with another one of these scenes. "You want barbeque for lunch right?"

"Yeah!" Choji said, smiling happily at his best friend. "But let's come back and keep training afterwards!…Besides, by then Ino should be done."

Smirking slightly, Shikamaru nodded. Ever since his near-death experience and recovery, Choji had been noticeably pushing himself while training. He didn't want to have a repeat of his battle with the cursed Oto-nin ever again in the future.

Leaving Team Seven to its troubles with their love-sick teammate, Shikamaru and Choji continued on at a leisurely pace.

10:27 a.m.

The next day…

Hyuuga Clan Compound…

7:37 a.m.

Panting heavily, Neji's limbs trembled from near muscle-failure. He'd been pushing himself hard, very hard since dawn. His chakra levels were dropping slightly in his exhaustion, but he paid it no mind. His sweat was thick, coating his body and turning his training clothes into little more than sweat rags. The bandages around his right elbow and knee were covered in dirt and stains.

Standing as proudly as he could under these conditions, Neji watched his opponent, Hiashi-sama, carefully. Though the clan head had joined his training only an hour earlier, the man showed no sign of exhaustion. A light sheen of sweat perhaps, but not exhaustion.

Forcing his body to slide into the advanced Jyuuken stance that he'd been drilling for the past few weeks, Neji couldn't restrain the involuntary trembling of his body as his muscles complained. Gritting his teeth resolutely, he ignored the weakness and slow numbing creeping into his limbs as he faced his opponents.

In his perpetual vision, he spotted a familiar figure walk somewhat hesitantly up to the courtyard. It was Hinata-sama, dressed in her dark clan kimono. She was carrying a small plate with a pair of cups on it.

"Ano…" she said with a small smile, earning her father's and cousin's full attention. "I brought tea."

With a small smile of his own, Hiashi slid out his basic Jyuuken stance. "Neji, let's take a break."

"H-hai," Neji said, straightening as well.

Joining the Hyuuga heir on the deck, the two older males drank the delicious tea in silence. Hiashi watched out of the corner of his eye as his brother's son slowly regained his breath. He wasn't quite sure what had propelled the Hyuuga prodigy to suddenly begin training so frantically, but he wasn't going to question it.

He'd been watching Neji ever since he returned from the retrieval mission. Once his burn injuries and bruises had been healed by the medics, his nephew had thrown himself headlong into training. It was almost like the frenzied training he'd underwent for the Chuunin Final Exam. Yet there was a certain lack of bloodlust or rage to fuel Neji's fires.

If Hiashi knew Neji, he knew that Neji was training to surpass someone he'd been awed by. By Uzumaki again, perhaps? If so, it would most certainly make things a little more interesting in the future. He knew what was happening between the two. Naruto was forcing Neji to adapt and evolve in order to find new ways to counter him. And these new ways were already starting to take effect, starting with the ruin and death of a strong traditionalist in the clan council.

Hinata was also proving to be instrumental in changing his clan for the better. Though her role somewhat smaller, it was still a key role. She had been condemned as weak from a very young age, thus growing up believing such. Now, with the enigmatic Uzumaki as one of her best friends, she was taking her first true steps to becoming a proud Hyuuga in her own right.

Signs of her growing improvement were marked by the endless hours she'd train by herself in the fields and behind the compound. Recently, she'd been assigned to attend a class for medics set up by the Hokage. As a Hyuuga, she would have a somewhat unfair advantage over all her other classmates. And, Hiashi was strongly beginning to suspect, Hinata seemed to be making her very own jutsu.

"Hinata-sama," Neji's voice drew him from his thoughts. "I heard that Naruto's leaving today for training…shouldn't you go see him off?"

"Oh, she already tried," a voice called from the other side of the courtyard. The Hyuuga spotted a trio of familiar figures standing easily watching them. It was Shino, Kiba, and Akamaru. "She went to see him in the hospital with Sakura-san. But when she and her 'Naruto-kun' were having a little mushy moment, I kind of interrupted…Ha, it looked like she wanted to faint!"

"Ki-Kiba-kun!" Hinata cried out, her face turning a brilliant shade of red. This only drew smiles from all present, even Shino.

"…I wish I could've seen it," Neji said, smirking in a teasing manner at Hinata.

Hinata resolutely stared at the plate she held in her hands, trying to pretend that she was invisible.

"Anyway," Kiba said as they started walking forward. "We came to get you and Hinata-san. Naruto's leaving in a few minutes and I know he'll want to say goodbye to everyone!"

"Hiashi-sama?" Neji asked, glancing at his uncle and sensei.

"…Of course," the clan head said, nodding his approval.

One hour later…

Ichiraku Ramen Shop…

8:46 a.m.

They found him at the Ichiraku Ramen Shop like they'd guessed. He was 'stocking up' on his most treasured meal of Konoha, once again going for the record of bowls eaten in a single sitting. Iruka sat beside him, squeezing in as much conversation as he could with the blonde.

"So that's what happened to your eye," Iruka said, looking both sad and worried at the same time. "I'm sorry to hear that, Naruto."

"Oh, don't worry!" Naruto said, smiling happily to his father figure. "I'll just have to get used to it…and when I come back, you won't even be able to tell I was hurt!"

That statement put that a small smile on Iruka's face. Naruto would never change that much, would he?

"Naruto!" Jiraiya said as he stepped forward. "Say goodbye to your friends and let's go."

"Hai hai hai!" Naruto said, waving his hand dismissively as his other hand picked up the nearly empty bowl and drank the remnants of his most favorite food.

Then, to Iruka's eternal surprise, Naruto reached into the large bag that lay next to him. What he pulled out a large amount of ryo, which he placed down on the counter they were sitting at.

Smiling brightly at Iruka's astonished expression, he said, "Ramen's on me this time!"

Slowly returning the smile, the teacher nodded and watched as Naruto stood and left the ramen stand. But he didn't get very far before he was suddenly assaulted by various members of his graduating class of genin. Shaking his head sadly, Iruka returned his attention to his own bowl of ramen. He would have to get back to the Academy soon.

They accompanied him all the way to the gate. Kiba was trying to scare Naruto by giving him small hints of what he was going to be training on in the coming months. Neji, though silent, was giving him that gaze that he somehow interpreted as 'you better come back stronger, or else.' Shino was as silent as ever, watching over the group as they moved from the farthest point behind them.

Sakura wore a sad smile as she walked on his other side. She didn't say anything, but he could feel her sadness as though she were radiating her unshed tears. Sasuke walked quietly beside her, his gaze resolutely away from Naruto.

When they reached the threshold of the giant gates of Konoha, the group stopped while Naruto and Jiraiya continued to walk forward for a few paces. Stopping to face his group of friends and comrades, a strange ache made itself known to him. It was weird, not exactly centered on any part of his body but there. Most notably it was throbbing his chest and his stomach, what was it? But the stinging and quivering of his eye was one that he knew very well.

He didn't want to leave, and it was hurting him inside. Not only that, but the one person he wanted to say goodbye to the most wasn't present.

"Don't cry, dobe," Sasuke growled, his face as empty as it usually was. "or I'll give you a reason to."

"Shut it, Kizuato!" Naruto snapped, however a large foxy grin spreading across his face betrayed his appreciation and slight amusement. "or I'll give you another set to match that eye! And if I come back to find that you left again, I'm going to kick your ass so hard not even Obaasan will be able to fix it!"

As Sasuke glared at Naruto, the others had to forcefully restrain themselves from laughing at the Uchiha's expense. Though it went without saying that Sasuke was going to forever be branded by that nickname now.

"Whatever you say, Sekigan," Sasuke said as an evil smirk formed, causing Naruto to throw him an angry red-eyed glare.

Ignoring the pride spat that was about to start, Sakura moved forward. Tentatively she gave Naruto a hug, surprising the hell out of him. Drawing back after a moment, she smiled sweetly as she said, "You better come back stronger, Naruto. We wouldn't want Sasuke-kun to get too arrogant now, would we?"

"Hell no!" Naruto cried, appalled by the very idea. Turning a sincere smile upon Sakura, he said, "You keep training too! I don't want to have to hold your hand anymore!"

Nimbly dodging Sakura's automatic punch, Naruto broke out in laughter as he turned and ran after Jiraiya who'd left at some point. Yelling over his shoulder, Naruto flashed them all a foxy grin. "Keep training, guys! When I come back, I promise to fight all of you!"

"Don't think for a second that you'll win though!" Kiba yelled back to the retreating figure.

After watching the orange-black figure disappear into tree line, the group gradually turned and left. They had vital training and missions to accomplish.

When all had vanished, only then did the small figure peel itself away from its hiding spot. Moving forward a little bit, she stared down the road to where her best friend had went. She had wanted to say goodbye to him, but after that horribly embarrassing situation that occurred in the hospital not too long ago, she just hadn't had the courage to face him again so soon.

"Hinata-chan," a familiar voice said behind, startling her.

Whirling around and sliding into a Jyuuken instinctively, she faced whoever had snuck up on her. It was Naruto-kun! But…didn't he just walk away with Jiraiya-sama?

"Whoa there!" the blonde said, backing away with his hands up in surrender. "Sorry about that."

Snapping out of her stance, she broke her hands up and began pressing her fingers together as a bright blush lit up her face. "G-Gomennasai, N-Naruto-kun."

"Don't worry about it, Hinata-chan," Naruto said, smiling happily. "You didn't think I'd leave without saying goodbye to you too, did you?"

Blushing brighter, she couldn't bring herself to look at him. It was just so embarrassing! Somewhere inside, she was ecstatic that he'd want to say goodbye to her…when they're alone. But right now, it was just so embarrassing. Especially after so many…awkward situations that had occurred between them recently.

Lost in her thoughts, she didn't notice Naruto moving closer to her until he'd enveloped her in a warm hug. Snapped out of her thoughts, she froze for a moment. Then, as his warm body began to thaw away her stiffness, she returned the hug.

"I'm going to really miss you, Hinata-chan," Naruto said quietly, burying his nose into her hair. As he got a strong whiff of her scent of lilacs, idly tracing his hand over the soft and smooth skin of her exposed neck, that ache that had been tugging at his being returned. Only far stronger and many times more unbearable.

Hinata couldn't suppress her shivers as Naruto caressed her body. It felt so comforting, so…right. Why did he have to leave her?! "I-I'll miss you too, N-Naruto-kun."

"Hinata-chan," he said as he slowly drew away from her. "There's something I want you to look after for me. Can you protect these until I come back?"

As he was speaking, he had reached into his bag and extracted a tin container. He held it out to her, which she tentatively took. Gazing down upon the container, she spotted a familiar seal formation upon the top of the container. The seal was that of a blood seal, only Naruto could open it, most likely.

"It contains my most of my personal jutsu scrolls," Naruto said, answering her unspoken question.

Snapping her head to stare at him in surprise, Naruto just smiled that sheepish smile that she loved so much. "I don't trust my landlord too much. And I don't want to damage those while I'm away. Can you hold on to them for me until then?"

Staring at him for a moment, Hinata quickly returned her gaze upon the artifact that had been entrusted to her. Without looking up, for fear of showing her uncertainty at accomplishing this task, she nodded slowly.

Raising his hand to her chin, Naruto lifted her face gently. He smiled at her as her cheeks lit up brightly. Leaning slowly in, he rested his forehead against hers. This caused her blush to grow even brighter, nearly encompassing her entire face. Hinata was only too aware of how close his lips were to hers. She so wanted to lean in that final inch and kiss him. But she was almost positive she'd faint afterwards from such a daring and intimate action.

"Arigato, Hinata-chan," he said quietly.

Then he closed the gap, kissing her gently on the cheek.

For Hinata, all time hung in complete stillness. For that one single moment, she was shielded from the conflicts that plagued her life. All that existed for her was Naruto who was gently kissing her cheek. It seemed to last for an eternity, despite being little more than a mere peck on the cheek.

As he slowly pulled himself away from the girl that meant more than anything to him, Naruto smiled at her warmly. Raising his hand, he teasingly flicked her nose as he said, "Remember not to faint, Hinata-chan, I won't be there to pick you up anymore."

As he raised his hands to perform a handseal, a single tear slid out of his eye. But it would never reach the ground as at that moment, he muttered, "Kai."

In a puff of smoke, the Kage Bunshin vanished. Leaving a badly blushing Hyuuga heir lovingly cradling the tin container she'd been entrusted with.

She swore silently she'd watch over it with her life. So she could return it to her Naruto-kun in three years.

Akatsuki Hideout…

Same time…

The cave was filled with a foreboding darkness. Thousands of stalactites and stalagmites covered the ceiling and cavern floor, giving the illusion that it was the gaping maw of a gigantic demon. There was a silence in the chamber that was as deafening as thunder, but more terrifying than a lion's roar.

All thanks to the single figure that sat at the center of the cave. It was too dark inside to make out any distinguishing features. But it was clearly male and respectably tall. Resting on the earth in front of it was a sheathed katana, which gave off an aura of terror equally as powerful as its owner.

With his eyes closed, the figure meditated. He could sense it. His prey was moving, leaving his range of sensory perception. He had to repress a sigh of annoyance.

That sneaky Kage had apparently caught onto his plan somehow. Now his target was on the move, no doubt to begin a training mission in an effort to be able to resist him. His lips twitched upward as a wave of amusement washed over him. The boy could train for a hundred million years and still never gain the power needed to win.

That was why he was leader.

But he could wait. After all, his underlings were even now scouring the planet in search of ancient jutsus and sealing methods. It shouldn't take too long, as they were all dedicated to their supposed cause.

The plan he had crafted to ensnare their aid was as brilliant as it was false. Harness the power of the Bijuu, use that power to wage war on the planet, and eventually gain complete control of it. While it was possible that such a wild scheme could and probably would work, it was far being what his true goal was.

Reunification! Then revenge!!

(Author's Note) Well…that's it. End of Naruto: Legacy of the Rasengan.

I must say, looking back on it, this story is the absolute best I have ever written! Thanks in no small part to Ultra Sonic 007, NoneAvailable, Moshulel, Dragon6, Jess D., and especially to all of you! Thanks for all the enthusiasm, even if some of these chapters had stuff in them that you didn't agree with.

With this chapter, Ultra Sonic bids you all farewell. Life is getting quite busy for him so he has been forced to resign his post as my beta. Farewell, my friend. I shall miss your help greatly.

On to other matters: I hope you all enjoyed reading about this 'Dageki Kiryoku.' He will be playing a role in Legacy II. Though how big remains to be seen. To honest though: he kind of just snuck his way in there, I never saw him coming! But I like his character, so he's most definitely staying.

IMPORTANT: I am officially being shipped overseas to Kuwait sometime in August of this year. Of course, because that date is growing so close, I'm getting extremely busy here. While I shall try to post the Legacy II, don't get your hopes up for the rapid updates of this past month. Also, I would greatly appreciate it if you didn't send emails, PMs, or reviews to me demanding updates or new stories/chapters after that time. I'll try to post a notice to let you all know when I'm leaving exactly.

I don't know how long it'll take me but I promise that I will eventually get the next story out. Keep your eyes open for it. Legacy of the Rasengan II: Makaze Rekidaishi is the title.

Total New Jutsus: (Note: Anyone can use my jutsus in their own story(s) as long as credit is given where it is due)
Danmatsuma--Death Agony//A genjutsu that is used to fool the mind into experiencing horrible pain. The flames and lightning that surround Kabuto's hands are nothing more than a fancy light show. It's only after he has gotten a hold the target that he can put the genjutsu into effect. By manipulating the flow of chakra and various nerve signals in the brain of his enemy, he can willingly determine what kind of pain they feel, usually burning and electrocution. How he is able to capture his target is to send a very brief but powerful killer intent, capable of instinctively freezing the body, even against the person's desires to evade him. Requires near-perfect chakra control to utilize. (A-Rank Genjutsu.) (Kabuto) (Created by Tellemicus, perfected by Ultra Sonic 007)

Doton: Sarutobi Sandaime Hokage--Earth Release: Monkey King Third Great Fire Shadow, also known as the Sarutobi no Jutsu//Dedicated to the memory of his beloved 'Ojisan,' the Sarutobi no Jutsu is meant as a surprise frontal attack. The fact that Sandaime Sarutobi was a powerful shinobi even prior to becoming Hokage is what gives this jutsu it's real power of intimidation and surprise. But it is quite easily avoidable once the surprise wears off. (High C-Rank Ninjutsu)

Enmaku--Smokescreen/ An incomplete katon jutsu that surrounds the immediate area around the user with a dense cloud of smoke. This jutsu is used mainly for escaping enemies or for guerrilla fighting tactics, which depends heavily on keen senses of smell and hearing. This jutsu, however, will dissipate gradually over time as the smoke clears or with even the gentlest breeze. (upper D-Class Ninjutsu)

Fuuton: Kaze Doriru/ Wind Release: Wind Drill Technique--Currently it is a combination of the Kaze Wana and Kaze Kiwa jutsus. Naruto made this on a whim of desperation to get Gaara away from Sakura in the forest, it was only to be used as a distraction anyway. But now that he has made it, he will continue to experiment and enhance its effects. It will essentially just become a Kaze Kiwa extended to cover the whole body while Naruto is taking a nosedive at an opponent from a great distance above. The speed of the dive with the cutting power of the Kaze Kiwa makes this a lethal jutsu…if it can hit the enemy. If the enemy sees it coming, it is very easy to avoid it. But if he's taken by surprise, there is a high possibility that he/she will die. (High C-Class Ninjutsu)

Fuuton: Kaze Kiwa--Air Release: Wind Edge/ A concentration of spinning chakra and wind around the person's arm. The speed of the spinning chakra winds added to the amount of chakra used gives it its blade-like capabilities. The Kaze Kiwa depends heavily on an excessive amount of chakra to keep active and 'sharp' else the jutsu is severely weakened. However,this jutsu has yet to be defeated. (C-Class Ninjutsu)

Fuuton: Kaze Misairu Rendan--Wind Release: Wind Missile Barrage//An advanced version of the Kaze Doriru. After either being thrown or jumping into air, Naruto creates a series of clones. The clones activate the Kaze Doriru, while Naruto uses his Kaze Tate. With gravity and the Kaze Tate's powerful winds boosting their descent, the Kaze Misairu Rendan is a much more dangerous version of the standard Kaze Doriru due to the less likely chance of the opponent being able to dodge in time. (B-Rank Ninjutsu.) (Inspired by Ultra Sonic 007)

Fuuton: Kaze Tate--Wind Release: Wind Shield/ This jutsu creates a small tornado like wind around the user. In general this jutsu is only able to deflect the average kunai and shuriken and has several other minor uses. But the true power of this defensive jutsu lies in the amount of chakra used in it, the more chakra used means the stronger the shielding action will become. There is no real definite answer as to just how powerful this jutsu could become, but it could most definitely blow away an entire army if used correctly. (low C-Class Ninjutsu)

Fuuton: Kaze Wana--Wind Release: Wind Trap// The exact opposite of the Kaze Tate (Wind Shield). It sucks objects into its vortex, centered around the person who activated it. The spinning motion of the user increases the suction power surprisingly. The only weak point of the jutsu is from the top or bottom of user's spinning body, the eye of the storm. A quick-thinking shinobi could counterattack once inside this vortex. If used correctly, it can disorient an opponent and leave them open to a secondary attack if the jutsu is released before reaching the center. Also, if the user is skilled enough he/she can use the person's approaching body as a punching bag with little fear of retaliation. (upper C-Class Ninjutsu)

Fuuton: Tatewaru--Wind Release: Shieldbreaker//A much more powerful version of the Kaze Kiwa. The chakra requirement of this jutsu is so extreme that it is easily visible to the naked eye. But what the Tatewaru gains in strength over the Kaze Kiwa, it loses in finesse. The Tatawaru is better used as a battering ram than a blade or drill. However, because the strength of the Tatewaru is so great, Naruto easily loses his concentration whenever he hits something with it. The loss of concentration causes the winds to break loose and usually results in sending the victim or whatever was hit flying a great distance away. (upper B-Class Ninjutsu)

Haruno Sakura no Jutsu--Field of Cherry Blossoms//Sakura's first original genjutsu. A genjutsu that targets a person's sight, hearing, and smell. It surrounds the user in a field of cherry trees in full bloom, complete with a realistic smell. This genjutsu is very useful for calming a person down, bringing a sense of peace to a troubled heart and mind. While this jutsu is in effect, Sakura is completely invisible since she is able to control what the victim sees, hears, and smells. And because the victim will almost always drop their guard, it is very easy for her to sneak up on the victim and deliver a fatal blow. Of course once she attacks, the genjutsu becomes useless and she usually dissolves it. The genjutsu is extremely well-made, due to Sakura's perfect chakra control and thus nearly impossible for any but the most experienced Chuunin to escape from. (Low B-Class Genjutsu) (Sakura)

Inu Bunshin no Jutsu--Dog Clone//A modified version of Jujin Bunshin and Henge that transforms the user into the mirror image of their canine companion. This jutsu is exclusively used in the Inuzuka clan, and is considered a precursor to the Garouga no Jutsu. Due to Akamaru's small size, as well as increased chakra potential with thanks to a soldier pill, the Inu Bunshin usually make the user three times as fast and agile as they normally are. When facing multiple enemies who use this jutsu, there is a very low possibility for victory or escape. (High C-Class Ninjutsu.) (Kiba/Akamaru)

Katon: Faiatama no jutsu--Fire Release: Fire Ball//A simpler version of the Goukakyuu no Jutsu. Rather than blown out of the mouth, it's concentrated into the palms of the user's hands, which is the easiest place to mold chakra. It is much weaker than the Goukakyuu, but ideal for beginners to learn. As well as for spooking a retreating enemy by these hand-thrown projectiles. And like many Katon jutsus, the power of this jutsu is that the more chakra used in it can make it even more powerful. (High D-Class Ninjutsu.) (Named by Ultra Sonic 007) (Jiraiya/Sasuke)

Katon: Gouka Tenohira--Fire Release: The Palm of Hellfire//Sasuke's first original attack ninjutsu, a combination of the Katon: Faiatama and the Chidori. He concentrates the fires of a standard Faiatama into one palm before compressing the fire into a tiny bead of light and heat. The Gouka Tenohira has two possible attack uses. It can be used to blow any enemy away (regardless as if it's handheld or thrown) with a concentrated blast of fire caused by the explosive properties of fire. And it can also be used like the Chidori: if he's traveling fast enough, he can potentially burn and/or melt his way through anything that he desires. However, because he's holding a ball of fire, he suffers similar damage as his target. Though this makes the Gouka Tenohira as dangerous to Sasuke as his opponent, he is able to partially shield himself by putting up a layer of chakra over his hand. (B-Class Ninjutsu) (Sasuke)

Katon: Karyuu Saikou Kyuuzou--Fire Release: Fire Dragon Supreme Explosion//The second jutsu that Naruto learned from the Forbidden Scroll of Seals. Because of the jutsu's extremely high chakra and precise control requirements, this is commonly considered an S-Rank jutsu. The jutsu is very difficult to control, even for a Kage. Should the user gather chakra wrong, not be able to manipulate the fire, perform the fire conversion correctly, or even something as simple as just overpowering the jutsu, it will backfire and incinerate the user just as easily as it would the user's intended target. Because Naruto's alignment is with wind, he has a harder time than many shinobi in the conversion process. But it is entirely thanks to Kyuubi's youki being the very essense of fire that he is able to wield the jutsu at all. (S-Class Ninjutsu)

Katon: Okibi Doriru--Fire Release: Blazing Fire Drill//Merely a standard Kaze Doriru that has been in contact with a Katon jutsu. While the winds and flames don't harm the user, it is exceptionally hard to control if the user is fighting in the midst of allies. Since the moment the winds die down, the fire goes rampant, burning and potentially wounding all within range. (High C-Class Ninjutsu)

Kibou Te--Trick Hand//An accidental hybrid jutsu of Jyuuken and Rasengan, it possesses the major qualities of both its 'parent jutsus.' It is capable of attacking a person's inner coils by shoving so much of the user's chakra into them that the coils are temporarily paralyzed until the chakra fades. And because of the Rasengan's distinctive spinning motion that has been added to its forceful entry of the enemy's body, any muscle or organ that has the misfortune of being in its path will get torn. If enough chakra is applied, it could easily reduce a person's organs to mush. But it requires a precise amount of chakra and control to use, and will easily fail should the user's attention shift in even the slightest bit. (low B-Class Ninjutsu)

Naiyabaito--Diamond Bite//A supplementary jutsu for the Inu Bunshin. What it does is merely increase the biting power of the user's teeth and jaws. The stronger the user is, the greater the bite becomes. However, it is very easy to lose track of how draining this jutsu can be on the user when they're focused more on the battle situation. (Low C-Class Ninjutsu) (Kiba/Akamaru)

Oboro--Hazy//A cloud of chakra that surrounds the user and blurs his image to everyone who looks at him, even if they're directly in front of him. This jutsu can be used for multiple things; escape, espionage, fighting, and (Naruto's original purpose) pranking. It is reliant on the user's ability to expel large amounts of chakra from nearly all their tenketsu points for an indefinite period. This jutsu is more suitable to shinobi around the jounin level, who have developed large chakra reserves. This jutsu is yet to be defeated. (B-Class Ninjutsu)

Raiden--Thunder and Lightning//Like a bolt of lightning, a flash of light momentarily alights the area directly in front of the user. This has the potential of badly hurting the eyes of an enemy, even temporarily blinding them. And, like lightning, with the sudden removal of the light causes an almost instantaneous explosion of sound that is as deafening as thunder. If used in a crowd, there is an almost guaranteed chance of utter confusion and chaos. (High C-Class Ninjutsu)

Sentakushi Nou Sakujo--Selective Memory Eraser//Does as its name suggests. It can erase anywhere from a few selective up to a person's an entire mind. Most times, this jutsu is used on captured enemy shinobi to turn them to the captor's side or to erase a person's memory of a specific time or event. The problem with the jutsu is that if not used properly, in terms of application and distribution, it can just as easily backfire on the user; at worst, turning the user into a vegetable for life. (Upper A-Class Kinjutsu.) (Jiraiya/Hyuuga Higyou)

Suiton: Ijoufu Suiryuudan--Water Release: Great God Water Dragon//A Suiryuudan no Jutsu with nearly twenty times the amount of chakra needed. It takes extremely high chakra reserves and control to wield this jutsu without it falling apart. (S-Class Ninjutsu)

Suiton: Tajuu Suiryuudan--Water Release: Multiple Water Dragons//Merely a standard Suiryuudan, except many of them are launched from a number of Kage Bunshins. Capable of beating an opponent unconscious from the many impacts should the jutsu be successful. (High A-Class Ninjutsu)

Suna no Tatsumaki--Tornado of Sand//Just as its name implies, it is a tornado composed solely of sand and chakra (or youki) -enhanced winds. The chakra requirement for this jutsu is immense. But it is one of Gaara's most favorite attack/defense jutsus, even if he can rarely use it. The Suna no Tatsumaki could be considered the equivalent of the Kaze Tate, but the sand adds in a potential attack ability if used correctly. (Low A-Class Ninjutsu) (Gaara)

Uzumaki Kyokudo Rendan--Uzumaki Extreme Barrage/ This is an advanced version of the standard Naruto Rendan. While there are countless ways of beginning it, it can only be done properly if there is a large swarm of Kage Bunshins already in the air when it starts. The fact that many of the blows target the victim while he/she is still helpless from the previous attack makes it especially deadly. This jutsu was inspired by Rock Lee when he'd opened his Celestial Gates and was knocking Sabaku no Gaara about through the air. But it is considerably safer to the user than Lee's version, as long as the user has enough chakra to maintain the bunshins. (B-Class Taijutsu)

Uzumaki Tonsou--Uzumaki Escape//Not particularly any single 'jutsu,' it's mostly just a series of strategies he'd developed in the past. The Uzumaki Tonsou has no less than a 90 percent chance of success, seven percent of that failure record had been due to Umino Iruka-sensei's appearance or interference, or ramen. (Lower D-class to A-class, varying on strategies used.)

Translations for chapter
Sekigan--one eye
Makaze--evil wind
Rekidaishi--chronicles, annals

Legacy of the Rasengan 2: Makaze Rekidaishi: It is a time of intense training. But as the Rookie 9 carry on with their lives and missions, some of them run into a very familiar face