Uzumaki Naruto, Konoha Marksman Chapter 15: Rasengan

Disclaimer: Naruto is the property of Masashi Kishimoto, Shonen Jump, and Viz Media. All Trademarks featured herein are copyright their respective owners.

The task was set. The bet was on. Naruto now had four days to refine the Rasengan. The fifth day was the deadline, and by then, he needed to have mastered 4 properties to create the perfect Rasengan: chakra usage, manipulation, size, and power. He needed to use the appropriate amount of Chakra to form it as efficiently as possible. Then, he had to manipulate the Chakra as quickly as possible. From there came size and power. He needed to learn how to make a concealable Rasengan as well as a visible one, and manipulate the power of it properly, making it powerful enough to level a section of forest or weak enough to simply stun a person.

Today being the first day of refinement, Naruto ditched most of his weapons and gear, save for his STI Tactical, a combat knife, and bare-bones Kevlar body armor. He marked a notch on the nearby tree with his combat knife, and proceeded to start forming Chakra in his right hand. He forced more and more out as it began to take shape, but soon, he put too much, and it was gone.

"Damn." said Naruto. He tried again, slowly building Chakra. once again, as the glow began to surface, it slowly but surely took shape as he began to spin it. As it spun, he carefully added more chakra by using his other hand to shape it properly with small flashes of chakra instead of large splashes like he did during the fight with Tsunade. His Rasengan was forming just fine until he remembered something that would break his concentration.

"Shit! My arms shipments are supposed to be arriving this week! I need someone to take them in! Oh god, oh god, ohgodohgodohgod...."

Naruto ran about in a circle before accidentally hitting a tree with his face. This action also allowed him to clear his head.

"OK, let's not panic here. There's a reasonable solution to anything. Just call Konoha, get Hinata on the line, and ask her to come to my house each day and sign for the packages. She doesn't have to put them in the armory or even take them out of the box. Ok, that seems like a plan. Now, where's my satellite phone?"

Naruto checked himself for any sign of his Satphone being on his person. Then he realized, "Damn! I left it at the hotel!" and used Hiraishin Tama no Jutsu to speed back to the hotel.

An hour later, the Hokage's office Communications Reception department had made contact with Naruto calling from his Satphone. With security clearances passed, Naruto asked to speak with Hinata. After about 30 minutes wait, Hinata was finally put on the line.


"Hinata-chan? It's Naruto."

"Naruto-kun! Is everything all right with you?"

"Yeah, no problems here. But I have a favor to ask."

"What is it, Naruto-kun?"

"I forgot I was recieving Arms shipments this week, and since I'm gone, I won't be able to take them in. Kyle, Ryan, and Ike are all busy doing Recon flights along the border, and they don't get to go to the house all that often. I trust you the most with my belongings, Hinata-chan, so I'm hoping you can take care of this for me. Let the council know they have to charge me for this one as a D-rank mission."

"Of course I will, Naruto-kun." said Hinata.

"Excellent." replied Naruto. "Ok, so at my house, there is a spare key in a compartment under the doormat. Use that to enter the house. If you could watch over my place for the week while the guys and I are away, that'd be super. The kitchen is stocked, the bedrooms made, so make yourself at home. Just let your father know I asked you to watch over my place."

"Will do, Naruto-kun. You can rest easy."

"Not if I have to work on the Rasengan. Anyway, love you, Hina-chan."

"Love you too, Naru-kun."

"See you round."


With the call finished, Naruto concentrated on re-forming his Rasengan, opening his right hand once again and holding it out as he gathered chakra.

"Form, damn you." muttered Naruto. As if responding to his voice, the Chakra immediately began to gather in a near-spherical shape. He eased some Chakra from his left hand into the sphere as it began to spin faster and faster until it glowed a bright blue.

"All right then. Let's see if I can keep you in one piece."

Naruto moved his other hand away and tried to maintain the shape of his Rasengan. it worked for about three seconds before the Chakra disappated with a slightly violent spin.

"Hm. Let's see if we can't do that longer..."

And so, Naruto spent the rest of the day trying to increase the duration that the Rasengan would stay in its spherical shape. By sundown, Naruto had a 30-second window in which to power up a Rasengan and use it.

As the second day broke into dawn, Naruto got out of bed and prepared to see how fast he could mold chakra, spin it, and form it into a Rasengan. Meanwhile, things were a different story back in Konoha. Hinata, who had already gotten the o.k. from her father and the council to watch over Naruto's house as a mini D-rank mission, rose out of bed from the guest bedroom. After a quick shower, she went downstairs clothed in a simple black T-shirt and a pair of loose training pants. She decide to explore the house, taking advantage of the fact that it was her duty to take care of it while Naruto and his old friends were gone for the time being. She made her way to the Firing Range, where she simply took in the sight of the sheer volume of firearms Naruto kept in stock at any given time. This made her wonder, "Why does Naruto-kun need more guns when he already has so many?"

She then looked down the firing range, noting the man-sized targets up and ready for usage. Hinata then remembered the twin handguns Naruto gave her as a present some time ago. It had been a long while since she last used either of the pistols, and here she was, at a gun range, with plenty of targets to shoot. Without further contemplation, she went back upstairs and retrieved her pistols and brought them down to the range, loading both of them and preparing to fire. She squeezed the triggers simultaneously and stumbled a little bit. Regaining her footing, she locked her arms in place and kept firing both of them until the magazines in either pistol were empty. Pressing the "retrieve" button on her firing lane's counter, her practice target was electrically winched back to her. The results were less than satisfactory, with most of the shots being on the outer, less lethal zones. At most, one, maybe two "kill" shots were made out of 14 shots fired, and those were lucky shots at best.

'Perhaps if I fired them one after the other, my shots would be more accurate. Only one way to find out...'

Hinata loaded a magazine into each pistol again and sent a fresh target downrange. putting on her hearing protection, shooting glasses, and releasing the slides, she took aim and fired the right-hand pistol, then the left, and continued alternating until the ammunition ran out. She retrieved the target again, this time, with better results. Only a few rounds were not in a position to seriously injure a human being. The majority of the bullets, however, were more or less deposited into the target's kill zone, the center of its mass.

'Better.' thought Hinata, but then shaking her head. 'Practice makes perfect, though, and this good grouping, for all I know, could be sheer luck. I'm nowhere near Naruto-kun's level. Not yet. I need to keep practicing, even if it means having my wrists ache by the end of the day.'

Hinata was about to load yet another pair of 7-round magazines into her pistols and send a new target downrange when she heard the doorbell ring. She placed her weapons down, slides open, and ran upstairs to the front door. checking through the security viewer, she saw a deliveryman dressed in a gray uniform with a large truck the size of a moving van behind him.

"Who is it?" asked Hinata clearly.

"This is a delivery to a Mr. Uzumaki from Robinson Armaments. According to the list they have sent me, he ordered 10 RAV-02 assault rifles from them, all chambered in 7.62x39mm."

"That's about right." replied Hinata, checking the list Naruto had given her over the phone. She opened the door and spoke to the deliveryman further.

"I apologize, but Mr. Uzumaki is not home this week, so I have been asked to take care of his home while he's gone."

"That's no problem at all, as long as he's authorized someone to sign for his weapons shipments." replied the deliveryman, turning over a digital clipboard to Hinata. "Just sign here and tell me where this crate of rifles is gonna go."

"In the living room."

"All right, then."

As Hinata signed for the crate, the deliveryman wheeled the large wooden crate into the living room and set it down where it wouldn't impede foot traffic through the area before taking back the clipboard, bowing to Hinata, and then getting in the truck to drive off. Hinata shut the door and then went back downstairs to keep practicing her dual-wielding accuracy.


Back with Naruto, the firearm specialist had managed to put together a sturdy, clean Rasengan in the span of 15-20 seconds. While that was an impressive feat, Naruto was determined to form it in 10 seconds or less. Time in combat was a finite resource. getting up from his rest, Naruto pulled out his stopwatch and reset it. As he began feeling the Chakra gather in his hand, he started the stopwatch and quickly tried to form it into one that was stable and powerful. By the time he stopped the clock, 9.5 seconds had elapsed. Naruto smiled. Seems like if he was determined enough, he could accomplish it. But at this point, it was getting late in the day. He needed food and sleep. Tomorrow would be a different challenge.


The next dawn, Hinata rose from bed early again, looking to get in more target practice. A quick shower and breakfast, and she was off to the range to improve her aim. At the range, she found another advantage to being Naruto's significant other. Because her boyfriend was extremely well armed and stocked enough weapons to outfit a small army, she had the advantage of having access to nearly limitless ammunition. She had gone through 15 targets, 10 pairs of magazines, and still had plenty of ammunition to spare, so long as she refilled the magazines. She was about to load another pair of magazines when the doorbell rang. Another shipment, another crate that would occupy the living room. Hinata went to the door, looking through the security viewer to find the same man, same truck, and as usual, a crate filled with weapons on the other side of the door.

"Delivery to Mr. Uzumaki, care of Heckler & Koch Defense Systems. I have a shipment of five HK417 Recce Model Designated Marksman Rifles, plus spare magazines and optics." stated the deliveryman in monotone.

"That's on the list." replied Hinata, unlocking and opening the door.

"Where would you like these to be put?"

"Living room, like yesterday. I'll sign for these."

"This place is gonna be cluttered soon."


Miles away from Konoha, Naruto was already up and about, practicing size and power control. It was not an easy task. For the time being, it seemed that the power of his Rasengans were proportionate to their size. It was frustrating, not being able to use one of his father's jutsu while fooling an opponent. Naruto wanted the element of surprise and deception. He wanted a cannonball-sized Rasengan that could do no more than move an opponent a few feet without blunt force trauma, and a tiny, concealable orange-sized Rasengan that could whip its unlucky target as far as two city blocks, if not more. Problem was, he was so used to keeping a steady amount of chakra. A small bout of impatient, scowl-faced brainstorming resulted in a solution in which he mentally kicked himself for not seeing the possibility sooner.

"Duh!" thought Naruto aloud. "I just need to drop or increase the amount of Chakra at the last moment!

With this new thinking in mind, Naruto breezed through this part of his training. He started making a small, puny, weak Rasengan, and upon contact with his target tree, increased its energy. The Rasengan penetrated through the tree trunk and flew off to blast holes in several more trees.

"Awesome." commented Naruto, looking at the hand that just let a destructive jutsu fly. "Let's try the opposite, now."

Naruto charged an especially large-sized Rasengan, and running to a nearby tree, slammed it into the trunk, dropping its power significantly as he did so. The result was that the underpowered Rasengan merely stripped off the bark, exposing the healthy white wood beneath.

"Excellent. I'll definitely have the Rasengan mastered in no time! And for sure, Tsunade-obaa-san is gonna lose that necklace of hers. I'll show her a thing or two about insulting the position of Hokage..."

Naruto practiced and practiced the rest of the day, perfecting his power manipulation technique as much as he could.

The next day, Hinata woke up from another peaceful slumber in the guest room and went about her morning routine. Over the past few days, her aim had improved significantly while dual-wielding, all thanks to consistent practice. Reloading efficiently was now second nature to her, the muscle memory of inserting a full magazine and pressing the slide stop to chamber the first round completely ingrained into her arms. For about an hour with breaks in between targets, Hinata would fire steadily, piling up casings on the firing range floor. At around 9:00 am, the doorbell rang once again. Safing her pistols, ejecting the magazines, and clearing the chambers of any unfired rounds, she set the twin .45's slides-open on her firing lane counter and dashed upstairs. The same procedure as the previous days occurred, and this was the final delivery.

"Delivery for Mr. Uzumaki, care of Izhevsk Mechanical Works. It appears that Mr. Uzumaki has ordered two Saiga-12 Automatic shotguns, eight AK-47 assault rifles, eight AKS-74U carbines, two AK-104 assault rifles, and three PP-19 Bizon submachine guns."

"That checks out. Bring them in here."

"In the living room?"


Hinata opened the door, and the deliveryman wheeled in the large crate and set it on the carpeted floor as gently as possible.

"I don't know how you'll manage to move around with all this stuff, but I'm not paid to give housekeeping advice. Please sign the electronic clipboard, and I'll be on my way."

Hinata signed for the delivery, and with a tip of his hat, the courier left. As the sound of his truck's diesel engine faded into the distance, curiosity got the better of Hinata, and she opened up the crate and removed an unloaded AK-47. Compared to her dual pistols, the AK-47, made out of stamped sheet metal and pine wood, was considerably heavier. Accompanying the AK-47 was a short instruction manual, featuring how to operate and disassemble the weapon. She glanced carefully at it and then looked at the rifle in her hands.

"Hmm, can't be that hard..."

And thus, Hinata bravely pressed in a metal button and popped off the receiver cover...

Meanwhile, back with Naruto, the boy awoke to face the deadline of his bet with Tsunade. Strangely, Jiraiya wasn't there yet, but Naruto was sure the elder pervert could take care of himself. Using a summoning scroll, Naruto replaced the broken ceramic armor plates that were irrevocably destroyed by Tsunade days earlier. He also made sure he had loaded all his magazines, expecting a trip home as soon as he proved to Tsunade just what he was capable of. With a final check of his weapons, he secured them to himself and headed for the door.

When he opened it, he found Jiraiya trembling uncontrollably on the floor.

" me..."


About an hour later, Naruto was now involved in a fight he never expected to have to deal with. When he found Jiraiya at the inn, Naruto was quickly informed of the circumstances occurring. Tsunade had slipped something in Jiraiya's drink the previous night, and now its effect on him left him with impeded motor skills. Despite their best efforts to flush the toxin out of Jiraiya's system, the Frog Sannin was still not to 100 percent fighting capacity. They quickly went off in search of Tsunade and were quickly joined by her companion, Shizune, who had been similarly incapacitated earlier. It was clear to them now that Tsunade intended to deal with Orochimaru, and they immediately moved to stop her before Orochimaru's arms were healed.

Now, Naruto was battling Kabuto one-on-one. As it happened, Jiraiya, now fully restored, had his hands full with Orochimaru and the Snake Sannin's contract summon, Manda. And Tsunade was currently being defended by Naruto himself. The original plan to defend her was for Naruto to use his Ketsueki Bunshin jutsu to create an active security detail that would use Naruto's training and skills learned while working for Blackwater and keep her out of danger by overwhelming the enemy with a hail of lead. As luck would have it, however, Kabuto managed to dispatch them all, forcing Naruto to both fight him and defend Tsunade from being assassinated by Kabuto, which now seemed to be his true intention.

As a hail of kunai flew towards him, Naruto shot them each out of the air using the last magazine in his HK416. He immediately switched to his STI Tactical and continued firing, desperate to end his battle with Kabuto before he himself ran out of bullets. Naruto advanced, moving closer to Kabuto in order to be more accurate with his shots. Kabuto responded by ducking behind a rock. Without warning, a plume of smoke whooshed out from behind the rock, and Naruto was met with a rattling report he was all-too familiar with. Naruto dodged out of the way in time and got back up to a knee, and he saw Kabuto confidently stroll towards him with an AK-47 assault rifle in hand. Naruto had no idea where he got it, but he could tell that Kabuto was quite smart. Despite having no formal training, Kabuto's handling of the assault rifle was perfect. The older boy held the butt of the AK to his shoulder instead of firing from the hip. No doubt about it, Kabuto was clearly more well-disciplined than some third-world child soldier.

"Give it up, Naruto. You can't win against me anymore. It doesn't matter how good you are, the odds are stacked in my favor. I've got an assault rifle with more range and ammunition than your handgun. You already used up the last of your other weapon's ammunition, and you're probably down to half the magazine in your handgun. So why not just do us all a favor and surrender already?"

"Okay, so you got yourself a hot new weapon." replied Naruto. "A good choice nonetheless, I'll give you that. But you don't have nearly an ounce of the experience I have. As far as I'm concerned, you're still just an irresponsible rookie."

"We'll see who's the rookie when you've got holes through your head and chest!" threatened Kabuto, who placed his finger on the trigger. Naruto saw this and shifted his aim. He fired a single round that tore off the bottom of the magazine, causing all the remaining ammunition in the AK-47 to fall out. Kabuto was shocked for a moment, and as he moved to swap in a new, undamaged magazine, Naruto shot out the top part of the front handguard , effectively removing the small gas tube that allowed the weapon to automatically cycle. Naruto adjusted his aim again, and this time placed a round into the rear area of the receiver cover, destroying the guide rod for the recoil spring. He then directed a third shot at the area just above the weapon's trigger, shattering the internal hammer that slammed into the firing pin mounted on the bolt carrier assembly.

"Good luck shooting with a broken gun, Kabuto." announced Naruto, holding his smoking STI tactical. "I just took out your gas port, so your weapon won't cycle on full-auto or semi-auto, your recoil spring guide's been removed, and so it won't advance even as a straight-pull bolt action system, and I also took out the hammer, so now, those rounds in your fresh magazine are dead weight."

"I-impossible! A shot like that is a one in a million chance! There's no way someone like you could do that so quickly!" refuted Kabuto, the disabled AK in his hands shaking.

"You should know never to mess with a gunslinger such as myself." spat Naruto coolly. "Face it, when it comes to firearms, you're several hundred years too early to beat me." he added, spreading his arms wide, making himself an easy target.

"You'll eat those words, fox brat!" yelled Kabuto, taking aim and squeezing the trigger of the AK-47. Much to his shock and surprise, all he got was a hollow 'click'. He tried again and got the same response. Naruto smirked at his frustration.

"Like I said, several hundred years too early." repeated Naruto, raising his STI Tactical and placing a round in Kabuto's left shoulder. This only seemed to enrage Orochimaru's servant, and he pulled out a kunai and charged towards Naruto and Tsunade. As the bespectacled ninja closed in, he thrust the knife forward and was aiming to kill when he was stopped in his tracks. He looked at his hand and saw Naruto clutching his fist with the kunai slowly being pushed away as Naruto used his wrist to twist Kabuto's fist, and by proxy, the kunai, the other way. Behind Naruto appeared a Kage Bunshin currently busy spinning Chakra in Naruto's free hand, which had holstered his pistol a second earlier.

"As long as there is a breath in my body, I won't allow harm to come to those I must protect!" declared Naruto, Tsunade looking at him from behind in disbelief at what he was accomplishing. The orb building in his right hand had not been seen in many years, and despite only having a week to improve it, the Rasengan was in more or less perfect form. As the orb of Chakra reached full capacity, Naruto held Kabuto's fist tight and slammed the Rasengan into his center of mass, just below the sternum and held it there for a brief few seconds before he let go of Kabuto, sending the older ninja flying several hundred feet away into a rock. Naruto wasted no time in drawing his STI Tactical to administer the coup de grace, carefully lining up Kabuto's stunned form in his sights.

'Not the most sporting thing to do, but I don't have a choice.' thought Naruto as he was about to pull the trigger. Suddenly, he felt his body quaver and his sights began to shake uncontrollably. His muscles were beginning to spasm and it was getting difficult to keep his sights on target.

'Dammit! What the hell is happening?! I should have put him in the dirt by now!'

Naruto felt his heart rate begin to decelerate as he slumped to his knees, the world around him going into a blur. He was losing strength fast, and the pistol he once held fell out of his grasp. Kabuto smiled. Taking that Rasengan was worth it if it meant he could nail Naruto with his Chakra Scalpel.

'This isn't fucking funny. You gotta be kidding me, this is how I'm going to die? I'm not ready to leave this world yet, there's too much I haven't done. I wish I could at least say goodbye to Hinata-chan, but that's looking pretty impossible at this point.' he thought as his vision began to dim.

The next few moments were foggy. Naruto could faintly see Tsunade knock Kabuto unconscious with her legendary monstrous strength. Another moment, he saw her bent over his body, her hands glowing green with Chakra as she desperately tried to keep him from slipping away into the cold grasp of death. Then, darkness, before suddenly reappearing in a void directly across from Kyuubi.

" I dead?" Naruto asked, apprehensive of the answer.

"Almost. Tsunade-san is keeping you alive, if just barely. However, I'm going to make sure you never get into mortal danger this badly ever again." replied Kyuubi, steeling himself for what he was preparing to do.

"Wait... I don't like the sound of this. What's it gonna involve?"

"I've already dedicated my existence to ensuring your survival. To that end, I am willing to make myself part of whom you are. In other words, I will merge myself with you in body, mind, and soul. You only stand to benefit from this, my boy."

"Do I, now?"

"Yes. In effect, my legacy will be your legacy as well. You will have complete command over all of my power, you will gain the contract of the Kitsune Clan, and your healing will be increased tenfold."

"I...I don't know about this." said Naruto cautiously."This will change life for me as I know it, and I really don't know if I should do this."

"Then think about those that care for you. Think about Iruka-sensei, and how he would react if you were killed at your age. Think about your friends. Your bloodline. Most of all, think about Hinata, still waiting for you to come home. Do you think for one second that they would simply be able to accept the fact that they've lost someone so important to them?" countered Kyuubi.

"Y-you have a point." replied Naruto. "But what of future generations? Will my children, if I so choose to have them, be affected by this?"

"That, I cannot say." replied the fox. "You will cross that bridge when you get there, and you will be around to guide them if this moment does shape their lives."

" I'm counting on you then, Kyuubi." said Naruto with a smirk.

"Here's to your life, Uzumaki Naruto." finished Kyuubi, grasping Naruto's hand. With a sudden flare of Chakra, the void they stood in grew into white light, and it quickly enveloped Naruto before his vision went dark again.

"...'s breathing...!"

"...'s ... right..!

"...-aruto...-ake up..."

"Naruto...can you hear me? Open your eyes if you can..."

When Naruto opened his eyes again, He was greeted by the sight of a relieved Jiraiya and Shizune, and Tsunade's tear-streaked face. Without warning, Naruto was pulled up and squeezed against Tsunade's chest as she hugged the boy tightly.

"Thank Kami-sama, you're alive!" wept Tsunade joyfully.

"Of course I am." replied Naruto, somewhat weakly. "I can't afford to die now, I still have to become Hokage."

"That's right... That's your dream, isn't it?"

Tsunade rubbed Naruto's head and stood up, walking a few feet away, looking at the landscape.

"Naruto-kun, I never would've imagined it, but you've managed to remind me what's important. You've reminded me of what it means to be a shinobi, much less what it means to be a leader. Watching you fight like that to protect me from that four-eyed villain, I was reminded of my youth, somewhat, and I remembered where I came from and what that means to me. So I owe you this."

Tsunade removed her Necklace and placed it around Naruto's own neck.

"Heh, guess that means I won." said Naruto, smirking.

"You did demonstrate your mastery of the Rasengan, Naruto-kun. I have to hold up my end of the bet, right?"

"You mean..."

"Yes, Naruto. I'm going to accept the position of Hokage."

"That's good to hear. I think you'll make a capable leader, Tsunade-sama. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm calling us a ride home." finished Naruto, pulling out his satellite phone. After making the call to Konoha Air Command, the four gathered their belongings from their lodgings and waited patiently as one of the Hind D's was sent to Tanzaku Gai to pick them all up. In minutes, the troop-carrying gunship landed on a grassy plain and the four of them boarded for the quick flight back to Konoha. Aboard the helicopter, Naruto settled into a seat near the open door of the helicopter and strapped himself in. As the helicopter took off and began flying back to Konoha, Naruto settled his empty HK416 across his lap as he gazed out the open door before leaning his head back and closing his eyes to sleep the rest of the way back. Tsunade and Jiraiya watched his behavior with interest.

"Look at him..." observed Tsunade. "He's just like an old soldier who's seen too many battles."

"He is an old soldier, just in a young man's body. I am sure he has seen his share of violence, and he probably will live with that for the rest of his life." replied Jiraiya.

"If that's true, then why does he keep fighting?" asked Shizune with concern.

"It's simple. He holds a sense of duty. Naruto has a patriotic fire burning within him hearkening back to the days of old. His father was like that too, and as you can see, that flame has been passed on to Naruto himself. That is why one day, he will become Hokage, the likes of which the world has never seen."

"That's good." said Tsunade with a smile. "In the meantime, I'll keep the chair warm for him, I suppose."

"Sorry to disappoint you, Tsunade-sama, but you're actually gonna have to work." said Naruto, eyes still closed but now possessing a smug smirk on his face. Tsunade was caught off-guard by this, while Shizune and Jiraiya had a laugh at her expense. The soon-to-be Godaime Hokage sighed and rolled her eyes.

"Cheeky brat."

To Be Continued

Konoha will finally have a leader again! Sasuke will be healed! The village will rebuild once more! Hinata... knows how to use an AK-47!(?) But what's this? Konohamaru locked himself inside the Hokage's office?! And he's threatening to shoot anyone who comes in? Another crisis has emerged; how will it be solved? Find out in the next chapter, "Changing of the Guard!"

Wow, I can't believe it took me this long to update.... What can I say, I didn't have much drive to continue this project, but I thought, what the hey, I should give it a shot. Sorry for the long delay, but don't expect regular updates from me; I have a lot of other stuff going on.