The Dragon in Her Heart Written By: Crack God

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of the characters/places/unique 'things'. If I did then the king of the Biju nine would be the Eight Eyed Fox.

Chapter Eight

Face to Face with Gaara: Part II

The hairs on the back of the three's necks rose. They had just gotten to the palace and Gaara had instantly spotted them. His abilities were frightening enough to start with, but now he was at a completely different level.

"If you're going to kill us then do it," Neji spoke, almost challenging Gaara's words. He automatically recognized that it was a fake. "If not, then please let us through so that we can meet with the real Kazekage-sama."

This was more than enough of a signal to let Tenten and Lee know that it was a fake.

"Since you are that eager to die I have no reason not to, not that I had one before," Gaara spat, performing several hand signs. "Sabakukyu! The coffin of crushing sand!"

The sand on the ground instantly rose and rocketed towards Neji, twisting and turning as it went down its path. Soon the sand grew figures, reaching out to pull the Hyuga into the fullness of the attack.

"If you were the real Gaara then you would already know that my defense surpasses your own," Neji said. "I don't even need to use my perfect defense against you. Byakugan!"

The veins near Neji's eyes popped out as he activated his clan's trait. Instantly he could see the amount of Gaara's chakra that was in the sand assault. The second the sand's figures brushed against his feet he immediately bent down and attacked it with a palm-strike. This was so that he could release his own chakra inside of the sand at just the right amount so that he would have more of his chakra in the sand than Gaara did, thus stopping the sand from damaging himself.

"Lee, it's your turn!" Neji roared. "Tenten, get ready to strike after Lee!"

"Right!" Lee exclaimed. Now since it was all three of them against one fake Gaara, Lee could use his lotus technique without worrying about being defenseless afterwards. "Primary lotus!"

Lee darted up to Gaara and prepared to kick him, but Gaara's sand barrier activated, once again with sand from the ground instead of his bloodstained sand. But Neji easily countered by manipulating the sand that he now controlled and crashing it into Gaara's sand shield, making it useless.

With a fierce kick to Gaara's jaw, Lee's lotus began. Gaara sprung into the air and Lee leapt up to follow, consecutively kicking his opponent. The bandages on Lee's arms unwrapped and constricted around Gaara's body. And then the two spiraled down to the ground, releasing Lee his hold just soon enough for him to avoid all damage, other than the lotus's strain on the body.

But just as Lee left Gaara, the Kazekage manipulated more sand and easily cushioned his landing, suffering little, if not any, damage. Nevertheless, he still landed on his back and gave an opportunity for Tenten to strike.

The kunoichi hastily whipped out six scrolls, holding three in each hand. "I've been saving this technique for later, but you'll have the honor of viewing it first, Gaara!" Tenten barked. With swift hand signs, she performed the new jutsu. Instantaneously, thousands upon thousands of shuriken flew out of the six scrolls, joining together by Tenten's chakra to create several long chains of the weapons. The chains of shuriken darted at Gaara and easily wrapped him from his knees to his shoulders, but his arms still remained free. Then with precise chakra control, Tenten made the shuriken stars that were close to Gaara's vital spots spin rapidly, cutting past the coat of sand that mummified the Kazekage's clone and piercing into his skin. The fake had been crafted to be almost exactly like the real thing.

"An interesting jutsu, yes, but it has a major flaw," Gaara grinned. "By simply removing a single shuriken that is not spinning that whole chain will be broken and useless. But you've still wounded me, so consider yourself lucky."

Gaara manipulated more of the sand on the ground and directed to break the chains of shuriken. But soon he found out that the shuriken wouldn't budge. And when he tried to stop the moving shuriken from wounding him further he found his attempts futile again.

"Confused, aren't you?" Tenten smirked as Lee stood in disbelief that she could have learned such an effective jutsu. "All of the shuriken are immensely magnetized so that once they create a chain the chain cannot be broken by anything except my own chakra. And then the scrolls were used more than just to hold the shuriken. I coated each and every one of the scrolls with tiny, almost invisible, pieces of magnetized iron particles. And when I whipped them out all of the iron particles landed on you, Gaara. So now all of the shuriken are so strongly magnetically attracted to you that there isn't a way you could get them off of you."

Wow. Tenten really is a genius in her own way, just like Lee's a genius of hard work, Neji thought. She's truly a genius of weaponry, not just skilled with it. And she has her determined demeanor again. We might be able to make quick work of this fake and see what's really going on inside the palace.

"This is working out perfectly, Sasuke," Orochimaru spoke to the Uchiha. "With the three of them fighting our fake Gaara we shall be able to easily get the Powder of the Red Sun without them noticing. Knock out the guards and we'll have almost certain success in the assassination."

"You know, it would help if you actually told me what this powder crap is," Sasuke hissed. "But suit yourself. You just might not get the results you're expecting."

The two were in an empty room of the palace that appeared to be a library that hadn't been used in years.

"Patience," Orochimaru whispered. "You never know who might be listening. You'll find out what it is when we get there. But for now we need to wait until all four of them down there are worn out. The three from Gai's squad are proving quite a challenge to fake Kazekage. If we don't move fast then they might finish the fight before our operation is complete."

"Just tell me already!" Sasuke shouted. "We're in an abandoned library. Nobody is listening to us."

"But that's what they want you to think," Orochimaru said matter-of-factly. "Time to make our move. Let's move out further into the palace. Follow my lead."

Sasuke, once again, reluctantly agreed.

"Even if you do have me trapped, I can still attack you," Gaara spat, moving his sand towards Lee, whom was still damaged from the lotus.

But soon the sand came to a screeching halt and wouldn't move further. Gaara put more of his chakra inside it, but the sand only lurched a few more centimeters forward.

"I already thought of the possibility that you would attack, Gaara," Tenten spoke, "so when I threw the iron particles that were on the scrolls onto you, I also purposely aimed a large amount of the iron to land into your sand, making it extremely difficult for you to manipulate your sand without using the vast majority of your chakra."

"Then you have left me with only a few options," Gaara spoke. "Sabakusoso! Imploding sand funeral!"

Instantly Gaara's sand condensed until the point where it exploded from within, sending bits of sand, as well as the iron particles, in every direction. "Just because I can't make the sand move doesn't mean that it use useless. And now it's time to reclaim the sand that the Hyuga stole from me."

Since Gaara had been careful to make sure none of the iron particles landed on the sand that Neji was currently controlling, that sand was still usable. He performed a few hand signs and instantly more of his chakra filled the sand, making it so his chakra was dominant over Neji's within the sand. Immediately, the Kazekage whipped the sand away from Neji at a distance in which the Hyuga couldn't release any more of his chakra back into the sand. (A/N: wow… I used the word 'sand' a lot)

"You think that will help you?" Neji smirked, trying to lure the fake Gaara into releasing what he wanted. "The only way you'll be able to stop us is if you use you're bloodstained sand that's in your gourd."

"We'll see about that," Gaara commented. He then forced the sand to lurch forward, aiming directly at the defenseless Lee.

As soon as Neji and Tenten tried to move, Gaara split the sand into three major streams; one still heading towards

Lee and the other two blocking Tenten and Neji from reaching their teammate in time.

"Aiiieeeeeeee!" Lee screeched, the sandy fingers swallowing his body, threatening to crush him alive.

"You're lucky, bushy brow," Gaara hissed. "You are no threat to me, but now I have your teammates right where I want them. Particularly that girl." Gaara then turned to face Tenten, then started speaking to her. "You said earlier that this jutsu- only your own chakra can release it. But what happens if you can't control your own chakra, such as if you faint or even die? No doubt the jutsu will be broken and I will be released. So then that means you have to go out first."

The wall of sand that separated Tenten from saving Lee circled around her in a dome. Only the ground wasn't coated in sand, Tenten didn't have enough of her chakra left to keep her jutsu up and to escape. But if she released her jutsu Gaara would surely kill her and Neji instantly so she had to keep it up under any cost.

"Tenten!" Neji shouted. His byakugan was still activated so he could see through the sand surrounding Tenten, seeing that the sand was slowly but surely caving in closer to Tenten, almost about to grab hold of her.

"So that leaves just us, Hyuga," Gaara snapped. "And from your previous performance your defeat is surely inevitable."

"Tenten isn't the only talented one here," Neji barked back.

He hastily performed earth-style hand signs, and then plowed into the ground. He almost instantaneously resurfaced under the sand dome around Tenten. He then tightly grabbed her around her stomach and went back under ground.

This time he resurfaced directly behind Gaara, still clenching Tenten.

"Thanks, Neji," Tenten spoke. "I owe you one."

"No, your jutsu has probably saved us all so consider it free," Neji replied. "Besides, I wouldn't let this creep of a Kazekage hurt you."

"Hmm, it really doesn't seem like you care whether or not if your green clad friend dies," Gaara responded, clearly agitated.

"And it doesn't seem like you care about yours," Neji spoke, moving so fast that it seemed like he had teleported in front of Gaara. His hand was out and was clenching a kunai that was held up to Gaara's throat. "Now then, if you're intelligent you'll let Lee go. If you don't then you'll find out what I'm really capable of. Not even the jutsu that that Tenten used can stand up to my power. You see, both of us are on a team and we'll protect each other no matter what."

Neji was bargaining with a fake, something that was probably rather pointless. The cloned Gaara wouldn't care if it died, but Lee was still trapped in the sand. However, this was just the kind of distraction Neji needed to make in order for Tenten to sneak in and free Lee.

Which was exactly what Tenten did. Once she was next to Lee, she put all of her remaining magnetized powder into the sand encasing her teammate. She tried her best to mix it in with the chakra dense sand, which was by all means not an easy task. She clawed her fingers into the sand, making them bloody red in the process. But it was what she would have to do to save Lee.

Once the sand was thoroughly mixed, she retrieved one of her shuriken chains and held it up. Slowly but surely, the sand began to be attracted to the metal and it flew up off of Lee. In about a minute, he was free.

As soon as the green clad ninja had escaped the sand, Neji knew it was time to put an end to the fake Gaara. He thrust his Kunai into his opponent's throat. Seconds later, the clone returned to being a blob of mud.

"Come on guys," Neji spoke. "Let's see what's really going on in the palace."

"Right," Tenten agreed.

The three then sprinted off towards the palace entrance.

"Sasuke, stop touching everything that you see!" Orochimaru complained. He and Sasuke were inside the Kazekage's palace. Lucky for them there were few guards posted inside it, and the ones that were inside were very easy to silently knockout.

"Sorry," Sasuke apologized. "…Everything here just looks so unusual. Could you please give me a description of the 'powder of the red sun'?"

"Don't make me repeat myself again," Orochimaru spoke as the two turned into a hallway. "No doubt the three of Gai's squad still think that the Powder of the Red Sun is Gaara's bloodstained sand. It is definitely something different, but still related to the Kazekage. And more of the role Kazekage than Gaara specifically."

"Whatever," Sasuke halfheartedly replied. Then the two exited the hallway and entered another room.

"Well, I do believe we've reached our destination," Orochimaru stated.

The room was dimly lit with several candles. Its roof was dome like and made of stained glass. There was a statue in every corner, each one identical- a cylinder pedestal made of red clay with a crouching tiger on top. The beasts' claws were made of diamonds, as well as their eyes. With the pedestal and the tiger, each one was about eight feet tall, five feet wide, and six feet long. Each of the tigers was facing the center of the room. But beside these statues, the room was completely empty.

"And what is supposed to be in here?" Sasuke questioned. "It's empty."

"Once again, that is what they want us to think," Orochimaru replied. "The Powder of the Red Sun is an item handed down from each Kazekage. Before a Kazekage resigns they must have created a jar of the powder or when they die they will not be remembered as a Kazekage. Gaara has already created at least seven jars of the powder. And what the powder does is restores lost memories. Which means that we need to steal all of it or our initial plan can be potentially ruined. And since the time three years ago when Sound formed an alliance with Sand I have discovered the clues to open the chamber in which the jars dwell. They are all kept right under the floor of this room."

"Alright," Sasuke replied. "Then just open the chamber already. We can't risk anyone using that stuff to restore memories or the jutsu would have been useless, or so you keep on saying." His voice still was as emotionless as ever.

"Of course," Orochimaru spoke. "This is actually the reason why we came to Sand in the first place."

Orochimaru stepped out into the center of the room. Then he knelt down and performed four 'tiger' hand signs followed be three more hand signs that Sasuke had never seen before. Suddenly one of the tiger statues crept from its corner, revealing a small chamber that was underneath the floor. And in the chamber were rows and rows of jars filled to the brim with the Powder of the Red Sun.

Orochimaru pulled out an empty scroll and performed a jutsu that sealed every single one of the jars inside the parchment. He then grabbed a small scroll case, put the scroll inside it, and then sealed the case in another jutsu so that the container could never be opened, broken, burned, or damaged in any other way, shape, or form as long as Orochimaru himself was alive.

Then the snake man stepped out of the chamber and pushed the statue back in place as if it hadn't ever moved.

"Come on, Sasuke," Orochimaru spoke with a deep grin on his face. "It is time to kill Gaara." And with that the two exited the room and headed down another corridor towards the Kazekage's office.

A/N: Thanks for reading and please spend the time to review with your thoughts of the chapter.

B/N: UH OH! WHAT ARE THEY GONNA DO WITHOUT THE REAL POWDER OF THE RED SUN?! Well then, ask Crack God—genius of writing—in a review! Anyway, I'm too…out of ideas…to bother to come up with something lame yet cool to stick into this space, so I'm gonna just skip to the chappy preview of CHAPPY NINE!

So…ORO-CHAN and SASU-CHAN go and almost kill GAARA-CHAN! BUTTTT! They meet trouble in the form of TEAM KAKASHI and TEAM GAI COMBINED!! WHAT could this POSSIBLY MEAN?! Find out- in Chapter 9 of The Dragon in Her Heart!

See y'all next time in chapter 9! Ja ne, SnAS!