Walking down Konoha's bustling streets the day of the Chuunin Exam finals was like being in a circus. The food vendors were all out, weirdly dressed people were being escorted into the village in carriages ( Naruto could only guess that their weird attire would be considered the wealthy look for this continent.), the children were running around screaming their heads off like little maniacs. Naruto smiled without humor. She was enjoying strolling down the streets without any issues; everyone was too busy to pay her any mind. 'They seriously do mess with me because they have nothing to do. Fuckers.' Looking around at how normal everything was going no one would ever think that they were about to be invaded in a few hours. That complacency with the recent peace time is what Orochimaru was taking advantage of.
It had been a long, anxious two weeks for Naruto filled with planning for the invasion. The third part of the Chunnin Exams was going to start in about an hour but first she had to deliver a heart felt speech from teacher to student.
"Listen, you guys, you've been working hard the past two weeks but it really won't matter if you don't win." Naruto announced staring at both of her students intently. They were outside the arena where the Chuunin Exam was being held. Shikamaru's eyes were droopy and a yawn escaped him every five seconds. Neji looked impassive as ever and impatient with Naruto's rambling. "So you'd better not lose and if you do lose you better be dead."
"That's really motivating." Shikamaru muttered looking like he would like nothing better to do than go back to watching the clouds.
"Don't take it so seriously. Naruto just wants you to do your best." Haku said encouragingly standing next to Naruto who muttered "Sure. That's one way of putting it."
"Please, Haku the only reason she cares is because she put some major dough on them." Kyuubi informed them slinking over to where they are with his arrogant slide. Just his walk generated ogling from the male and females entering the arena. Naruto was very tempted to blurt out that this was the Kyuubi they were leering at. Their voyeuristic looks directed at her demonic half made her skin bristle with repressed agitation.
"You bet on us?" Neji asked incredulously, his countenance changing from annoyed to outrage.
"It's only a sign of how much I believe in the two of you." Naruto said openly, her crystal blue eyes sparkling with innocence she did not possess.
"You are completely shameless. I'm disgusted to even be acquainted with you." Neji said the vein in his forehead pulsing.
"Ah, I love you too." Naruto replied happily radiating boisterousness she normally did not have at this ungodly hour. Neji's face turned slightly pink and red at the same time. He looked caught between throttling her and admitting her into an asylum.
"Anyway, good luck to the both of you and …" Naruto trailed off not knowing what else to say.
"Don't die." Kyuubi suggested rolling his eyes as the blond went 'oh, yeah'.
"Don't die." Naruto repeated as the two boys nodded mechanically hoping to be released as swift as possible. "All right, off with you both. Hasta la vista."
"What?" the three Japanese speakers looked at her blankly as Naruto just sighed waving her hand. "Just get your asses to the arena. "
"You think they'll be alright? " Haku asked Naruto who was staring off at the two genin.
"They've improved." Naruto said slowly before biting her lip. 'As long as the Sand and Sound invade before either of them gets matched with Gaara, I'll be happy. Otherwise, we'll be picking them up from the stadium piece by piece.'
"What about Uchiha?" Kyuubi questioned as they walked up to the audience section to look for seats.
"There's nothing I can do about him. He's way to prideful to listen to what I have to say about Gaara. Besides with him being the last Uchiha and all someone will probably interfere before Gaara kills him." Naruto responded indifferently her eyes shifting from each area of the audience to make out the ANBU guards stationed in each section of the arena.
They were spaced out through the arenas and their numbers were a trivial amount if a good number of enemy shinobi were to attack here, which was a high possibility. What could the Third be thinking?
"They don't know where the enemy is going to attack. He has to distribute the ANBU through out the entire village so that leaves less people to protect the visitors." Kyuubi told her as Naruto glanced at the nobles who were looking out at the arena with such anticipation, someone would think something life changing was about to happen. In reality, all they had come to watch were some teenagers beating the crap out of each other.
"Naruto! Hey, Naruto!" a familiar voice called as Haku smiled at the face Naruto was making. It was the same face found on someone who had swallowed a lemon.
"Looks like we found our seats." Kyuubi smirked at Naruto's resigned sigh as she made her way to where Sakura and the rest of Shikamaru's squad were.
"Hey, Sakura." Naruto greeted her teammate unenthusiastically slumping down in her seat. Haku and Kyuubi sat down more gracefully in the chairs adjacent to hers.
"Who are they?" Ino asked nudging Sakura and nodding her head towards Haku and Kyuubi.
"Oh, right. Haku, this is Ino and Chouji. Ino and Chouji meet Haku." Sakura introduced Haku to the members of squad 10.
"He's a boy by the way." Sakura whispered to them seeing Ino's envious look and the hearts in Chouji's eyes. Their expressions immediately turned flabbergasted.
"Who is he?" Ino asked gesturing toward the red headed male.
"I have no idea." Sakura answered staring at Kyuubi, who turned to look at her with his blood red eyes. Sakura and Ino blushed at having the handsome, adult male's attention.
"I'm Kyu." He introduced himself in a mock gentlemanly fashion as Naruto rolled her eyes in disgust. "Naruto's boyfriend."
"EHHHHHHHH!" All three genins yelled as Haku stomped on the demon's foot and Naruto slumped in her seat even further as the people in the audience turned to look at them.
Kyuubi grabbed Naruto's hand and kissed it to her extreme embarrassment. "Well, we're more like lovers than anything but she gets embarrassed when I say things like that in public." Kyuubi smirked at Naruto who knew she couldn't sit him in public like this.
"Just wait till this is over. You're a dead dog." Naruto whispered to him her eyes flashing with the promise of revenge, her cheeks pink. Kyuubi just grinned cheekily wrapping his arm around her shoulder to her extreme embarrassment and Haku's exasperation.
"How did Naruto land a guy like that?" Ino asked Sakura her eyes wide with disbelief. Sakura shook her head just as baffled as Ino. How did a complete tomboy who was usually mistaken for a guy herself get a guy as hot as that?
"Not everyone thinks about looks like you two, you know." Chouji explained to them munching on his chips. "Naruto is a lot of fun and she has a good personality. Lots of guys in the village like her."
"Chouji, you're exaggerating." Naruto said modestly waving her hand in front of her face to ward of the looks the other two females were directing at her.
"It's true, though." Haku said honestly. "You're very popular." Naruto laughed in embarrassment rubbing the back of her head.
"Look, the matches are starting." Chouji pointed out.
"Sasuke-kun isn't here yet." Sakura murmured worriedly scanning the arena for her Sasuke-kun.
"He's just lucky he wasn't disqualified yet." Naruto said unsympathetically, looking up at the Third's seat, as Neji and Kiba's match was about to start.
"I'll be back." Naruto said standing up and walking out of the aisle.
Neji and Kiba seemed to be off to a hot start. Kiba and Akamaru were attacking with their howling fang while Neji deflected with his heavenly spin. If Kiba hoped to win this match he better come up with a better strategy and quick.
Naruto made her way up the stairs to where Sarutobi was, only to be blocked by a bodyguard.
"You can't go up there, kid. Go back to your mommy." The jounin said waving his hand dismissively.
"I need to talk to the Third." Naruto said reigning in her temper.
"Sorry, he's busy. Now, leave before I make you." The jounin snarled as Naruto ground her teeth.
"HEY, GRAMPS TELL THIS SHIT FOR BRAINS TO MOVE AND LET ME TALK TO YOU!" Naruto shouted at the top of her lungs as the jounin grabbed her by the scruff of her neck.
" Zushi, the Sandaime said to let the girl pass." Another jounin said descending the stairs a minute later to pass on the Third's message.
"Fine." Zushi grunted hurling Naruto towards the stairs where she performed an amazing flip and landed on her feet. She stuck her tongue at the jounin and continued up the stairs.
"Naruto, what is it?" Sarutobi asked his eyebrow twitching as he gestured discreetly with his gaze the kage sitting beside him.
"So this is the kid." The Kazekage said sounding amused, a glint in his eye as he followed Naruto's movement. "You've a healthy set of lungs."
"You're Gaara's father, right?" Naruto asked suspiciously wondering what the veil was for.
"That's right." He answered as Naruto extended her hand in greeting.
"Nice to meet you." She said flashing her teeth and as the Kazekage shook her hand she felt a jolt run through her hand as a vision of the past was hurled at her at unnatural speeds.
"Have I ever told you that the security in this village sucks?" Naruto whispered into the Third's ear after she finished introducing herself to the Kazekage.
"Many times actually." Sarutobi replied dryly in remembrance.
"Well, I am about to tell you something very shocking so don't move your body or tense or do anything that might give the element of surprise away, alright?" Naruto said glancing down at the arena as she felt the Hokage nod beside her.
"That's your former student sitting right next to you all garbed up as the Kazekage." Naruto revealed to the Sandaime keeping her eyes glued to the arena where Neji was making an impressive show of sealing off all of Kiba's tenketsu points. At the same time she moved the wind around them scattering the sound so no one could overhear them.
The Sandaime displayed amazing constraint, a testament to his ninja skills; he made no facial movements and didn't utter a sound only a nod of acknowledgement to show Naruto that he had heard what she said.
"Are you sure?" Sarutobi asked slowly so he wouldn't arouse suspicion.
"As sure as Neji's going to win this match." Naruto answered confidently and true to her word Neji delivered one last heavenly spin that knocked the force of Kiba's and Akamaru's attacks right back at them. They were knocked back into unconsciousness it seemed. The proctor began the countdown to ten.
"Winner: Hyuuga, Neji." the proctor declared as Neji walked back up to Shikamaru with his Hyuuga head ten times bigger.
"How?" the Hokage asked simply as Naruto frowned.
"That's not important." She replied in annoyance. "We need to get you out of here and-"
Sarutobi gripped Naruto's arm with his old wrinkled hand and Naruto looked up at the old man for the first time. "My dear girl, I'm not going anywhere."
Her cerulean eyes turned icy and her jaw set for a fight. "I'm not leaving you here when I know-" she broke off her sentence before she said too much.
"Naruto." The Third began softly looking at her pleading for understanding. "I can't leave. This is something that I've been waiting for, for a long time. Orochimaru became the threat he is today because of my foolhardiness. Now it's time I owned up to my mistake and end this once and for all."
"But what if something happens to you? Right now the village needs you." Naruto added in desperately trying to play on his love for the village.
"Don't worry about me Naruto." Sarutobi turned his gaze to the arena where Kankurou had just forfeited his match to Shino. "If worst comes to worst then you deliver my message, understand?" Naruto nodded reluctantly opening her mouth to protest further when she looked down at Shikamaru's opponent standing in the middle of the arena while he was still in the contestant's box looking like he was contemplating giving up . Her blood pressure soared.
"Shikamaru , Nara." She snarled getting ready to stalk off.
"Naruto don't worry about me." The Third repeated looking up at her with his old benevolent face. "All I want is for you to do the best you can do for this village when the time comes."
Naruto grimaced but nodded before she sprinted toward where Shikamaru was so she could give him a piece of her mind before he gave up.
"You can't be serious about just giving up?" Neji asked the Nara genius who yawned lazily.
"This is too troublesome for me. Besides, I don't hit girls." Shikamaru said raising his hand to tell the proctor that he was giving up.
"Shikamaru, Nara!" A familiar voice shouted from the staircase, the hat wearing blond came charging up the staircase towards the lazy genin. She didn't slow down as she reached them. Instead she charged at a horrified Shikamaru like a bull, kicking him right in the chest. He stumbled and fell over the railing and face first onto the arena floor coughing up dirt.
"Shikamaru, this is one match you're not giving up on so easily." Naruto said shaking her fist at him as he rose dusting his clothes off.
Temari who had been silent up until this point seemed to have gotten tired of waiting for Shikamaru to get his act together. She raised her fan, giving a battle cry and slammed it where Shikamaru was supposed to have been.
"His speed has improved." Neji observed in a tone that Naruto found insulting.
"What exactly are you trying to say?" Naruto asked her eyes zeroed in on the Hyuuga.
"I didn't say anything." Neji answered blithely as he closed his eyes, the girl's presence already seeming to wear on his patience.
"Hey, this is supposed to be an area for participant's in the Chunnin exam only." Kankurou interrupted glaring at Naruto. He was still remembering their last meeting where his throat had been in her claws.
"Then what are you doing here?" Naruto fired back smartly as Kankurou's painted face twisted in rage.
"Stop it." Gaara whispered dangerously to his elder brother, who froze recognizing the menacing mood his brother was in. His teal eyes turned to stare at Naruto, who realized with a knot in her stomach and a pang in her chest how much Gaara's dark, leering, malevolent eyes reminded her so much of what she could've become and what at one point she had contemplated of becoming.
"Where is Uchiha?" Gaara asked his eyes boring into her crystal gaze.
"What do I look like, his mother? I don't know where duck butt is." Naruto replied turning away from Gaara with a huff.
"Duck Butt?" Shino repeated startling the girl who had forgotten he was even there.
"Sasuke, obviously. Come on, Shino you never noticed the shape of the back of his head. It looks like a duck's butt. Therefore, you get Duck Butt." Naruto explained to them gesturing with her hands to demonstrate the odd phenomenon that was the back of Sasuke's head.
She didn't get the response she was hoping for. They all stared at her like she had said she just saw Sasuke sharing the Fire of Youth experience with Gai and Lee.
"This is what I get for trying to explain it to a bunch of boys, whom don't have a funny bone in their boring bodies." Naruto sounded extremely disappointed as she shook her head in dismay.
Looking back down to the arena she returned her attention to Shikamaru's fight. Well right now it didn't seem to be much of a fight. Shikamaru had hidden himself in the trees biding his time to come up with some kind of strategy while Temari released her furious winds.
They sliced through the trees with frightening force but the Kazekage's daughter was losing her aloofness. Shikamaru's flight response to the fight was a serious insult to a ninja who was used to fighting opponents dead on.
Naruto hummed softly wondering what Shikamaru's next move would be. Temari had sliced through most of the trees in the arena revealing Shikamaru in his thinking pose.
"Is that his thinking pose again?" Neji asked quietly recalling the name Naruto had given the pose when she had seen it during their training.
"Sure is. The wind girl doesn't have a-" Naruto blinked in rapid succession as she looked at who had just returned and was now perched on her shoulder.
"R-Ryouma , what are you doing here?" Naruto asked inwardly cursing at this new complication.
"You have a cat?" Neji smirked and shook his head bemusedly in a way that made her want to take a bat and swing at his head like it was a piñata.
"Yeah, what of it?" she said as Ryouma leaped into her open arms.
"Nothing. I just find it scary that someone would allow you to be responsible for the life of an animal. Then again knowing you , you probably just kidnapped him from his rightful home."
"Ryouma! Sick him!" Naruto ordered as the black cat's emerald eyes gazed at her with amusement.
"Come on! Attack this asshole who dares insults your master." Ryouma sprung and perched himself on Neji's shoulder as Naruto's countenance became gloomy with the betrayal of her fake familiar.
Neji petted Ryouma with a tenderness he never displayed with humans at the same time the byakugan user plastered a smirk of superiority on his face. Ryouma purred traitorously. Naruto hmphed and turned away as Neji chuckled softly.
"It seems the cat is better mannered than the owner." Neji stated haughtily turning back to the match where Shikamaru's jacket was floating in the air for some reason.
Naruto was about to retort caustically when she noticed he was still petting Ryouma with tenderness. His countenance seemed a tiny bit less asshole like then usual. She slumped in defeat. These ninja kids were too messed up and it was her observant side that noticed that most of the messed up children in this village had grown up knowing their parents but losing them at a tender age. There was a similarity between Neji and Sasuke that was uncanny. The difference was that one had his entire future ruled by the seal on his forehead and the other had an entire future ahead of him but his past was leading him on the path of revenge that would ruin him.
It would be interesting to see how these children grew up. The one and only thing that she ever liked about ninja villages was they sure as hell were never boring.
"He caught her." Neji's surprise jolted her from her musings. Turning her head towards the arena she saw that indeed Temari had been caught by Shikamru's shadow imitation jutsu and he was forcing her to walk toward him.
He raised his hand.
"He's not going to give up is he?" Neji said.
"He better not. Shikamaru , come on, you better not give up or I'll hurt you. Think. What would I do?" Naruto shouted at him showing him her fist.
Her words didn't seem to affect him at first until he grabbed two kunai's. He grabbed two kunai's one he planted in front of Temari and the other he planted in front of himself. He bend down and gripped the kunai lightly and brought it back to his collarbone with Temari forced to mimic his every move.
"Give up now or the entire arena gets to see us strip." Shikamaru said his voice ringing through out the arena. The male audience was edging out of its seat. Temari's face flushed with anger and embarrassment.
Naruto's mouth hit the floor in shock while Neji shook his head. "You had to say 'What would I do?'" Neji taunted as Naruto gaped at him.
"I wouldn't do something like that!" Naruto exclaimed her lip trembling. "That's terrible!"
"Oh? And here I thought you wouldn't mind stripping in front of an audience." Neji said condescendingly.
Naruto's face flushed with anger. "I'm not a stripper you stupid transvestite."
"Tranvestite! Look who's talking?" Kankouro gawfed . " Come on , man. Are you just going to let that midget talk to you like that?"
"The guy who plays with dolls and make up more than any girl shouldn't be talking. Are you sure you're not the Kazekage's daughter ?" Naruto replied smirking as Kankouro's face heated up.
"Enough." Gaara said quietly stopping Kankouro from retorting to Naruto's question.
"I give up." Temari announced loud enough for everyone to hear her. Shikamaru's shadow retracted immediately as he fell on his behind, the strain of keeping the shadow imitation jutsu going for so long evident on his face.
"I'm going to go talk that idiot." Naruto grumbled before hopping down into the arena.
"So, how does it feel to finally have balls?" she asked reaching out her hand to help the Nara up.
"It's that kind of language that convinces the rest of the population that you're not female." Shikamaru drawled smirking as he watched the grin spread on Naruto's face.
"Well how about this as proof of my femaleness." the blonde troublemaker let one of her wicked grins splay over her lips. "My female intuition is saying look out at 3 o'clock."
BAM. A log bounced off of Shikamaru's head. A bump was beginning to form as the genius hissed in pain. Temari walked up beside him her eyes screaming murder. The fan in her hand looked like it was barely being restrained. "I'll pay you back for this tenfold."
Shikamaru gulped, Naruto grinned as the Sand female made her way up the stairs. " Aww , look at that I think she likes you."
"This isn't funny." Shikamaru sighed, his shoulders slumping. "Another troublesome female has appeared."
Naruto petted him on his bump as he grimaced. "It's never smart to humiliate a woman publicly. They hold grudges for eternity."
"I thought you'd have wanted me to win at any cost for your bet." Shikamaru said observing as Naruto's face turned to stone.
"The bet? Thanks to you deciding to be unpredictable for once, I lost." Naruto grumbled downcast her lip trembling.
"You betted I would lose?" Shikamaru asked curiously as Naruto glared at him.
"I was counting on you being so lazy that you'd forfeit. Like I said; Real good time for those balls of yours to drop." Naruto said slapping Shikamaru on the back.
"What happened to Uchiha? Why's he so late?" Shikamaru asked. " He's going to be disqualified."
"Well, the tardiest ninja in all of history is the one training him, so yeah." Naruto pulled on a silky blond bang giving Shikamaru an exasperated look. "I mean I'm usually never on time but by like five to fifteen minutes not two hours. This is ridiculous." She put on an affronted look.
"How dare they make me wait like this? I'm gonna kick their asses when they get here."
Shikamaru sighed tiredly." Making you wait isn't the problem." He ignored the evil glare she directed at him and continued. "If he doesn't hurry up he is going to be disqualified."
"Lee-san!" Sakura said in surprise looking at the crutches he was leaning on. Gai-sensei was also with him sparkling with the springtime of youth.
"Are you well enough to be out of the hospital?" Ino asked with concern remembering the last time her and Sakura had visited him.
"Of course." Lee cheered with a huge smile on his face before it turned serious. "I heard that Neji won against the match against Kiba."
" Yeah, it was a quick match." Chouji confirmed as Lee tensed.
" Shikamaru-kun also won. They've both been training with Naruto-san." Lee observed quietly staring down at the arena where Naruto was yelling something at Shikamaru.
" How do you know that?" Sakura asked curiously.
" I saw them being chased in the Forest of Death by Naruto-san. She winked at me. She really is amazing if she could do that to Neji." Lee admitted ignoring the openmouthed stares of the three genin and his sensei as well as Haku's sighs.
"We barely survived the forest of death the first time and she put them in there a second time." Sakura looked nauseous.
" How cruel! Poor Shikamaru!" Chouji cried.
" Naruto's crazy. I'm not going to mess with her anymore. "Ino added in terror.
" You guys!" All three of them jumped at Lee's voice. "Naruto-kun performed a great service to those two. Just imagine how strong those two have gotten. We should all take their example and train-"
" We aren't crazy like you and that midget!" Ino screeched while Sakura and Chouji nodded in agreement.
Haku tapped the raging Ino who immediately melted. " What is it, Haku-kun?"
" Well it's ..." the academy teacher pointed to the arena.
Ino and the others turned to look and blanched. Naruto was giving them the hundred and ten percent evil glare.
" Waaaa! Why is she looking at us? "Ino whined trying to hide behind Chouji.
" She probably heard you calling her a midget." Sakura guessed accurately.
" WHAT?" Ino shouted pointing down at the arena. "We're all the way up here .She's all the way down there. With all the other people talking there's no way she could've heard us."
" Naruto's hearing is really acute ...and when she hears the word midget she always assumes it's about her." Sakura explained as Naruto's scary glare intensified.
" Ino, she might throw you in the Forest of Death." Chouji told her. "You should hurry up and apologize."
Ino grimaced before waving her hands and shouting "Don't worry, Naruto. You've got me now. We'll go shopping and find you some really nice high heels."
Kyuubi burst out laughing hysterically.
They looked down to see Naruto had turned her back to them and was facing Shikamaru who was inching back.
"Shikamaru, if you end up with one less teammate don't think too badly of me." Naruto said sweetly as she glowed brightly.
"Stupid Ino." He muttered inching back when a white cloud from a transportation jutsu went BOOM next to where they were standing.
The smoke billowed and captured the crowd's attention immediately. The smoke cleared to reveal Sasuke and Kakashi standing back to back looking so pleased with their cool entrance, a vein popped in Naruto's forehead.
" Oh, Sasuke, look who dropped by-" Kakashi's commentary was cut short as Naruto walked up at him and slammed the heel of her boot into Kakashi's foot. Kakashi went rigid. Naruto pulled him down enough so that he was eye to eye with her.
"Do you think that just because he's an Uchiha that you could risk him being disqualified by being late?" Naruto growled as Kakashi smiled at something over her shoulder.
"Didn't know that you cared so much." An unforgettable Uchiha voice said from behind her.
Naruto released Kakashi, to his immense relief, and turned to examine her male teammate.
He was wearing a black (well she didn't know what it was but she was going to tell him to change as soon as possible) one-piece suit, his hair had gotten really long and he had bandages on his arm.
It wasn't his physical appearance that surprised her though; it was the reading she was getting on his chakra that surprised her. It was sizzling and sparking freely. It was crackling wildly like a jungle cat that would not abide to any rule but its own. That reading was definitely the attributes of the thunder element. 'Has he been training his chakra affinity?' Naruto thought curiously.
"You missed me so much you can't stop looking at me?" Sasuke said quirking an eyebrow, a detestable smirk on his face.
Naruto returned the smirk stepping into his personal space and fingering his bangs. " You trying to grow this weed to cover that ugly face."
" I'm trying to grow it out so I don't have to look at your ugly face." Sasuke retorted his eyes on her fingers as they played with his soft ebony locks.
"You need to get a hair cut." Naruto drawled releasing his hair and earning herself the infamous Uchiha glare.
She petted him on his head, he swatted her hand away. "Save the attitude for him. Good luck, Sasuke-chan."
Gaara had descended and he was gazing at Sasuke thirstily. Sasuke smirked in return.
" NARUTO!" Two banshees screeched at her as she escorted Kakashi, on his insistence, to where everyone else.
" What do you two want?" Naruto said annoyed as the two girls got in her face.
"What do you think you were doing with, Sasuke-kun?" The two screeched at her in unison.
Naruto gave an annoyed sigh as she glanced at Kyuubi who was in a stare down with Kakashi.
Brushing past the two girls who were about to protest she cut them short with a cocky grin. "If you two don't stop harassing me you are going to go to sleep one day and wake up in a familiar forest."
The two gaped at her in surprise as she put herself in between Kakashi and her bijuu.
" I know you're debating the pros and cons of taking him for a night but I refuse to sell him to you, Scarecrow." The blond said as Kakashi took it in stride and smiled back at her pleasantly. She felt the glare at her back from the demon lord who was sending her a message ' I have much better taste than him.'
"Why won't you introduce me to your friend, chibi?" Kakashi returned in the same pleasant manor.
Naruto bristled and was about to retort when Sakura's big mouth worked its way in.
"His name's Kyuu. He's Naruto's boyfriend." Sakura said.
Kakashi's one visible eyebrow rose to above his hairline as everyone's attention was turned to Naruto who was turning red with embarrassment and anger.
"Do you have a problem, Hatake Kakashi?" As always, the way Kyuu spoke was soft and silky with an undertone of cross me and vultures will feed off the carcass of your disposed body.
"Yes. I do have a problem with my twelve year old student going out with a fully grown man." Naruto's face was rapidly approaching the color of Kyuubi's hair. Naruto was praying that a comet would fall out of the sky and hit her. Out of all the things she could predict would happen today, Kakashi being introduced to Kyuubi in human form as her boyfriend was the last thing she had on her mind. The young blonde shuddered at Kakashi's assumption about the two of them.
" Are you implying that I treat my women with anything but the utmost love and respect? "Kyuubi growled menacingly as Naruto's eyes widened so much they were ready to pop out of her head.
"Hold on a second." Shikamaru interrupted scratching his head in confusion. " I thought you two were cousins."
" We are." She said sticking to the cover story. "Although if someone-" she stressed the someone shooting Kyuubi a glare that could put fear in even the stupidest of creatures. " doesn't shut up and keep themselves seated , my families going to be holding a funeral very soon."
" Why did he say he was your boyfriend if he's really your cousin?" Sakura shot Naruto an accusing look as if Naruto had lied to her and broken their sisterly bond.
Kakashi didn't look placated at all. "So does this cousin of yours have immigration papers? If he doesn't then he has no license to be in this village."
" Kakashi-sensei!" Sakura exclaimed surprised at the rigid demeanor the usually laidback jounin was displaying.
Naruto raised an eyebrow at the same time Kyuubi sneered at Kakashi. " He has papers. In fact, he's a citizen of this village so step off." Naruto replied in irritation while Kyuubi rose out of his seat.
Kyuubi towered over the majority of men with his height and Kakashi was no exception. The fox demon grinned wickedly at the jounin and gave him a bit of sagely advice. " If you want your dear Uchiha student to live any longer you'll pull him out of this match."
Kakashi gave the redhead a withering look whilst Kyuubi walked away from the humans towards the exit.
Naruto sighed in relief as she watched Kyuubi's silhouette fade through the exit of the stadium. She would kill him later for the embarrassment he'd caused her. She turned only to receive two heated glares from the two most avid fan girls the village of Konohas had ever known.
"What the hell does that cousin of yours mean ! " Ino sneered gesturing to Gaara who was having circles run around him by Sasuke. " Look at that! Sasuke-kun has that sand ninja beat , no problem."
"As usual the stupidity of the kunoichi of this village does astound the unastoundable." Naruto replied sitting herself in Kyuubi's seat.
"That's not even a word." Shikamaru muttered.
" What did you say?" Ino screeched. Haku who was sitting between the two winced at the volume.
" Do you people ever shut up?" A man sitting behind them yelled. "Are you here to watch the match or talk and talk ? Goddamn-"
"What'd you say, you ugly old man?" Ino screeched back. Shikamaru and Chouji blanched predicting the coming storm.
A kunai was flying through the air toward the middle aged rude man before the kunai went rigid in midair and lodged itself between the man's legs.
" If we are bothering you so much then you can move somewhere else. This isn't the Olympics. It shouldn't be an amusing thing, stupid old-man." Naruto sneered twirling a kunai on her index finger before turning her attention back to the arena.
" Your people skills have not improved, I see." Kakashi commented back to his usual annoying self with Kyuubi gone.
" And your stupidity has drastically risen." Naruto quipped back with a sarcastic smile before turning serious. " You should really listen to what my cousin said. Pull him out of the match before it's too late."
" If Sasuke knew that you didn't have confidence in him, he'd be very angry." Kakashi said watching as Sasuke began making hand seals to perform a jutsu she had never seen before. A chirping ball of blue lightning was forming in his hand as everyone watched awestruck.
" Kakashi, you didn't!" Gai exclaimed turning to his rival.
Naruto's heart leaped into her throat as she remembered some of Obito's words. ' Kakashi created this really cool jutsu but without my eye it was useless. It's a really cool jutsu. You'd really like it , Goldie locks.' The goggle wearing ghost had told her before she had smacked him for the Goldie locks quip.
" Chidori is the perfect for jutsu for Sasuke." Kakashi was saying.
" Doesn't matter." Naruto cut in quietly suddenly in a somber mood.
" Naruto! Have faith in Sasuke-kun ! You never-"Sakura started to lecture but was cut short by Naruto's glare.
" I would never encourage someone into a fight that I was one hundred percent positive that they might lose their life in if I really gave a shit about them. Part of being a smart adult is knowing when you are in over your head, which that boy desperately needs to learn." Naruto retorted the anger infused into her words and her glare.
" Gaara is a really scary guy but why are you so sure Sasuke's going to lose? I mean right now it looks like it could go either way. "Shikamaru put in getting nods from his two teammates.
"I know because Gaara and I were made by ninja's ignorance and their arrogance. We, as you people call us; monsters won't be beaten so easily. "
Kakashi and Gai looking shaken only stared at her.
" Are you telling me that that boy is...?" Kakashi looked calculative looking at Gaara speculatively.
" The same as me, stupid scarecrow." Naruto turned and walked towards the exit. " You really need to look underneath the underneath better, darlings. After all, the others like me are not as nice as me."
"She's the nice one?" Ino muttered glancing at Sakura who was staring at Kakashi worriedly.
" Sensei, what's Naruto talking about?" She asked biting her lip in anxiety at the tenseness radiating from Kakashi.
" Kakashi...why didn't she say something earlier if that was the case with this sand ninja? Sasuke could be killed." Kakashi glared at Gai who clamped his mouth shut guiltily when Sakura went pale and Ino cried out.
" What did you mean that that Gaara guy was like you?" Shikamaru asked following Naruto through the exit.
" Curiosity killed the cat, you know." Naruto told him in a sing song voice taking out her walkie-talkie from her cargo pants pocket.
" You aren't anything like that crazy sand ninja." Shikamaru pointed out before she could digress from the subject.
" Crazy? " She snorted. Her ocean blue eyes glittered with unhidden resentment and sadness ready to pool out. "It takes a village to raise a child and in the case of the ninja villages , they are hardly an adequate place to raise children. Gaara is the product of his precious villages care." She turned her back to him to tinker with the frequencies on the walkie-talkie. " You wouldn't understand but that boy has no one. Everyone looks at him like he's something they've found on a toilet seat, no one will acknowledge he's there, no one wants to play with him or even talk to him and everyone's afraid of him, even his own siblings. If everywhere you go , you're looked at like people hate your guts and want to stick your head on a pike , I doubt you'd be Mr. Sunshine either."
" If you can sympathize with him this much, then you're the one that should be out there fighting him not Sasuke."
Naruto shot him a startled look.
Shikamaru grinned. "You understand him better than anyone. Maybe you could get through to him."
" What makes you think that I can get through to him? He's suffered so much mentally and physically that he has started talking-"
"You can see him. "Shikamaru stated simply." And it's not just him. Look at Neji, he's a complete asshole but you saw what loneliness he was carrying and he probably puts up with your insanity because he is grateful to you."
"Are you saying, pretty boy, doesn't like me?" Naruto asked her bottom lip quivering.
" Ah, well. He probably likes you deep, deep down. Neji is a reserved and antisocial guy but I guess he must like you if he can tolerate all -"
" Who likes who?" An eerie voice asked from behind them.
" Pretty!" Naruto exclaimed jumping up to hug the Hyuuga.
" Get off of me!" Neji ordered trying to shake her off. Ryouma leaped off of Neji's shoulder and onto the floor to avoid getting hit.
Naruto stubbornly clung to Neji's torso.
"Dead-last!" A voice called from behind Shikamaru. "Don't you know the meaning of let go? Or is that just too hard for your blonde brain to comprehend?" Tenten shouted her hands on her hips. Shikamaru swallowed audibly daring a glance at Naruto.
Naruto was still clinging to Neji, who had stopped trying to get her off, and sniffling.
" Neji, your girlfriend is so mean! I feel bad for you. No wonder you're always in a foul mood. You can do much better. My boys deserve much better." Tenten's face rapidly turned different shades of color.
"I'm not his girlfriend!" She shouted storming up to them.
"Really? That's great." Naruto smiled as Neji glared at the both of them.
" That doesn't mean you can have Neji!" Naruto exploded into laughter.
" Oh Merlin, the girl's in this village get stupider day by day. I really think we need to check the water these mothers drink when they're pregnant because something always goes terribly wrong. "
"Stop it." Neji hissed. He didn't bother to dislodge Naruto since she was going to attach herself for as long as she wanted.
Tenten grabbed one of Neji's arms and Naruto held onto his side. "Let go of him." Tenten ordered pulling on his arm. Naruto responded with a glare and held on tighter.
"Let go of me!" Neji commanded yanking his hand out from Tenten and crossing his arms.
" What do you want from me?" Neji growled . Naruto grinned in response leaning up on her tiptoes to whisper in his ear.
Naruto gestured for Shikamaru to come closer and when he was in arms length she grabbed him by the scruff of his neck. " I need the both of you to do something for me." She whispered seriously . " I'm going to need you to protect me."
The two males blinked in surprise.
" Protect you from what?" Shikamaru asked perplexed by the odd request.
" Ah. What's with that white smoke?" Tenten asked out loud gathering the attention of the three genin.
" Looks like its begun." Naruto said quietly returning the attention of the three to her. " Listen, the Sand and Sound Villages are invading the Leaf right now."
" What?" The three exclaimed in shock and horror.
" The Sand are supposed to be our allies!" Tenten said as if that would put a stop to the invasion.
" Well if ninjas kept their word then this would be a world full of rainbows and unicorns but it's not and they don't keep their words and this village is being invaded right now." Naruto said dryly earning a glare from the kunoichi.
" So you want us to protect you from the Sand ninja?" Neji asked skeptically since the question sounded stupid even in his ears. Naruto was the last person who needed protection from them.
Naruto sighed . " I need-" Her vision went foggy and she felt the nausea approaching and braced herself reflexively.
' Gaara was covered in his blood soaked sand and it was cloaking him like a second skin. His eyes were jade green and she could tell even from the vision that the Shukaku was rapidly gaining control over his unstable host. Sasuke was covered in Gaara's sand and it was wrapping around him like a blanket of bloody death. Gaara roared and the sand completely enclosed Sasuke. Gaara roared again and blood spurted in every direction possible coloring the trees tainting the surroundings with the blood of the last Uchiha child. In the distance she heard a howl of a scream that rang bone-chilling throughout her entire and turned her veins into ice.'
She staggered and felt her knees give out under her.
" Naruto!" Shikamaru shouted grabbing her around the waist before she fell down.
" What's wrong?" Neji asked quietly as Tenten looked on worriedly.
The witch put a shaky finger to her lips silencing them.
She could smell Sasuke's blood and it made her want to gag. 'That idiot!' She thought furiously. ' My visions have a ninety-five probability of coming true if I don't interfere and this is the second time he has shown his stupid Uchiha ass in one of my visions. He screws up everything just by being there!'
"You three, go back to the arena and find the Scarecrow and the dancing traffic light and take your orders from them." Naruto ordered leaning off of Shikamaru.
" But-" Tenten protested but froze when Naruto's eyes zoomed in on her like an archer zoomed onto a bulls eye.
" What about you?" Shikamaru asked his arm still supporting her. "You almost fainted! We can't just-"
Naruto's gloved hand enclosed his mouth. "I'll catch up with you guys shortly." She looked up her nose catching the scent of snakes coming from the west and east.
"Devil Queen, Devil Queen come in!" Obito's voice shouted through the communicator audible only to her ears. "Where are you? They brought huge snakes! We need to commence our battle plan."
"What's wrong with your communicator? It's just started with that annoying static .Is it broken?" Tenten asked putting her hands over her ears.
"Can you guys just go and do what I told you to do?" Naruto yelled running towards the exit.
"Who died and made her boss? We're older than her and taller and she looks like a boy. I bet she's completely flat under that jacket too." Tenten fumed following the two boys back into the arena.
"What's with the ' Devil Queen' crap?" She asked Obito from on top of the roof of her house a vein pulsing in her forehead as Obito hid behind Hashirama. She had just dropped off Ryouma inside and after giving him some milk mixed in with a sleeping draught, he'd be out for a while. He'd kill her afterwards but at least he wouldn't interfere at the moment.
"Is this really the time, you brat?" Fugaku asked as Naruto took of her cap and jacket.
"Someone really needs to explain to me why it is that you need to be here?" Naruto inquired taking of her hat and letting her long blonde locks rein free. Fugaku glared at her while Mikoto sent an eerie smile towards Naruto that caused a huge ball of dread to settle in the pit of her stomach.
" Naruto-chan, you haven't had a premonition about Sasuke-chan, have you?" Mikoto asked as Naruto took off her jacket and avoided looking at the Uchiha couple.
"Nope. Not a one." She answered the Uchiha matriarch her eyes focusing on the seal made of her blood that she had etched on the roof of her house. She was thankful she hadn't collapsed with all the blood the seal had required. She had done the seal over the last couple of weeks since she hadn't wanted to exhaust herself with blood loss. It was just lucky her blood replenished itself so quickly.
"You're lying!" Fugaku growled fading away from his spot and then reappearing abruptly in front of her.
"For the last time looking after your son is not my job!" Naruto snarled brushing past him. "If you weren't stupid enough to drive your son into a murderous rage then you'd still be here and you wouldn't-"
She gasped as she felt a suffocating pressure perch itself on her back. She clutched her throat gasping for air as she fell to the ground on all fours.
" Naruto!" Obito screamed before rounding on his aunt. " Stop him!"
She really couldn't see what help Mikoto would be when Hashirama and some other ghosts were already trying to subdue the Uchiha clan head to no avail.
Her vision had started to go black. She couldn't fall to unconsciousness now. If she failed then the Third would die along with Sasuke and she would never be able to help Gaara. The pressure was lifted as she gasped for air.
"We're in the middle of preparing for an invasion! And you go-" Mikoto shouted while Fugaku was in a headlock courtesy of the black sheep of the Uchiha clan.
"I don't give a crap about that!" Obito roared the air around him starting to shimmer a murderous dark red. Naruto blinked in surprise. She had forgotten that Obito was over a decade old ghost. Fugaku was still too new a ghost, he had no chance against Obito especially when he was this angry.
"If you ever try to hurt her again, I'll make sure to send you to somewhere where you'll wish you were in hell!" Obito continued while Naruto's face warmed a bit and a flutter passed through her stomach to her chest .
"Obito." Hashirama called laying his hand on Obito's angry shoulder. "We don't have time for this."
He nodded in agreement before releasing his uncle.
Fugaku looked livid. He was shaking with anger and his eyes spat hatred at his nephew.
" One more thing." Obito said reaching down to take hold of Naruto's elbows and gently pull her up. " The Uchiha , my whole family, is dead because of one reason. The only thing this family was ever good at was hatred and we were wiped out because of that. And now the son you want to help so badly is falling to the same thing. And the other son was forced to destroy himself because of your hatred. Are you happy now?" Obito yelled to Fugaku who had his back to him. "Brothers hating and killing each other for power. That's the legacy this great clan has left behind and even dead you still haven't changed. Instead of trying to help Sasuke see the truth and open his eyes , you've let him drown in a pool of guilt and hatred. Itachi probably already wishes he was dead thanks to you. Are you satisfied with the pain and turmoil you've left behind?" Naruto grabbed Obito's trembling arm and he brought one hand to clutch her hand protectively. "Don't blame Naruto for what you've done. The only one who can fix this is you! Learn how to ask for help like a regular person and she might and, that's a big might, help you."
Mikoto looked at her husband the only one whom he didn't have his back to and whatever Fugaku's expression was it brought a bittersweet smile to her face. Fugaku faded out followed shortly by his wife.
"It's supposed to be till death do us part. She does know that she doesn't have to follow him like a puppy anymore, right?" Naruto asked out loud.
"Be nice, Naruto." Hashirama told her ushering her back to the circle. Small little tremors were shaking the ground and the sounds of explosives and weapons clashing were ringing in the distance. The smell of blood and ashes soared through the air.
"Take this vessel and multiply by two, so the world may review."
Naruto gasped as she was surrounded by a blinding blue light. When she opened her eyes there were was a carbon copy of herself smirking at her. 'Wow.' She thought to herself. 'My smile is scary!'
"Alright! Clone spell is a success. Although, your spell casting wording is still lame. " Obito said looking a little disconcerted at having two Naruto's.
The original Naruto sat in the middle of the blood seal on the roof. "Okay . I need you to-"
"I already know what I'm supposed to do. I'm not stupid. Don't think that just because you're me you can boss me around." Her clone interrupted glaring at the original before disappearing with a whirlwind of wind.
Naruto's eye twitched and her nostrils flared. "What the hell is with the attitude? How rude. Maybe the spell backfired?"
"No. I think it went perfectly." Obito remarked rubbing his chin thoughtfully as everyone there nodded in agreement.
Naruto snorted before closing her eyes and letting the magic filter through her to interact with the runes. They runes started to glow a dark red color and the runes in the innermost circle surrounding Naruto lifted themselves as if they were on invisible scrolls instead of wood. They travelled up until they reached her bare skin. The blood runes slithered up her arm. Her eyes cracked open and in the center of her pupil a rune was em blazed. She could only feel the earth magic within the village and the presence of those that have trespassed. She was in her won world.
"Shodai-sama, you never told us. What exactly will this ritual accomplish?" One of the ghost shinobi asked.
" This ritual will connect Naruto to everything of nature within the village. Every leaf, pebble ,stream and acorn will become deadly weapons for our unsuspecting invaders. They'll be dead before they even enter the village." Hisharima explained grimly as the crimson runes subsided and Naruto's eyes closed before opening again to reveal a rune engraved in both of her pupils. Simultaneously explosions started going off near the village walls and the screams of defeated shinobi was being heard instead of the advancement of the foreign shinobi.
" What the hell is this?" A sound shinobi screamed his limbs immbolized by the sudden upturned roots of trees which had encompassed his entire body leaving only his mouth and nose bare.
" How the hell would I know?" His comrade shouted in response in the same perdicament as him. "Someone use an explosive tag!"
" I've tried that! These roots won't even budge. It's not normal! No one said Konoha had a shinobi who could do something like this." A Sand shinobi said struggling. The roots only grew tighter. " But why aren't they killing us ?"
" Isn't that obvious, idiot? They're trying to make us suffer first." The first Sound shinobi bellered. " Damn you, Konoha shinobi. Come out and fight like a man!"
A pebble soared through the air and hit the sound shinobi in the nuts. His scream rang through the entire village. The other men decided it was best to keep quiet.
" Damn that stupid Uchiha!" Tenten grumbled jumping from tree to tree.
" Sasuke-kun is not stupid. He's trying to stop that Gaara guy." Sakura said glaring at her upperclassmen.
" That sand guy is too strong for him! And now we have to risk our lives trying to get him back." Tenten said pushing her feet angrily against a tree branch.
" There's no point in fighting amongst ourselves. We've been given a mission to retrieve Sasuke so there's no reason to complain." Neji said sharing a look with Tenten who scowled and turned her head away.
" Where is Naruto?" Sakura asked after a moments silence.
" Who knows? She took off after telling us to go back to Kakashi and Gai-sensei." Shikamaru said glancing at Sakura's pensive face . " She'll be fine. It is Naruto ."
" Still ...WHY THE HELL DID SHE JUST DITCH US? NARUTO, YOU BETTER WATCH OUT BECAUSE THE NEXT I SEE YOU I'M GOING TO-"
"You are going to do what ? " Naruto asked leaping down from a tree top causing everyone to halt. Naruto pressed herself nose to nose with Sakura a grin on her devilish face.
" Does Sakura-chan want to beat little old me up?" Naruto mocked as Sakura turned red with air practically coming out of every pore on her body.
" She's not the only one." Tenten muttered.
"So you're Naruto?" a gruff voice said. Naruto looked down to observe that the voice had come from a little brown dog with a konoha hiatie around its neck. Naruto was not a fan of canines so she couldn't tell what breed it was but she could only guess it was one of the uglier ones.
" The one and only." Naruto pulled Sakura signaling everyone to continue their tree hopping to Sasuke and Gaara. " Who are you?"
" Pakkun is the name. And you smell weird." Pakkun's nose twitched. " You smell too-"
" I don't need to hear about smell from a stinkin mutt!" Naruto snapped. " Keep it to yourself or I'll be making puppy shish kabob for dinner and guess who's gonna be the one roasting in a pot of boiling water and seasoning."
"Kakashi was right. You are a devil child." Pakkun said shrinking away from the blonde in fear. The dog's expression changed to alarm as he seemed to sniff something. "We have pursuers. Looks like eight of them. No, looks like there is another one."
"Don't worry about them. They won't get far. "Naruto said as the others turned to look at her.
"How exactly can you be so sure?" Tenten asked. "If they're coming after us then someone is going to need to be a decoy-"
"There are others who are working on it. They won't get anywhere near here before they meet with an unfortunate accident, alright? If you want to keep second guessing me then go ahead and be a decoy. I'm out." Naruto snapped leaping forward before the others resumed following.
Pakkun lifted his head in surprise as he sniffed the air. "They've stopped."
"How'd you know that they would ?" Sakura asked her teammate.
"Because I know everything." Naruto answered dryly as they finally arrived to where Sasuke and Gaara were fighting. Or at least that's what could be concluded from the charred missing pieces of the tree trunks and sand everywhere.
"Neji!" Naruto called.
"I know." He replied his byakugan already activated and scanning the arena. "It's not looking good."
He couldn't stand this. He was losing to this Sand freak. He had done all that training, spent all that time and he still couldn't beat him. He couldn't die before he avenged his clan. He couldn't die before he killed Itachi and before he beat Naruto.
He grimaced when he thought of her ; his insides churned and boiled when he had seen her in the audience and instead of watching him she had been arguing with everyone. His teeth gritted together when he remembered looking at her unimpressed face and when she had walked off after saying something to Kakashi. He knew instinctively that she had just expressed her lack of confidence in his ability, that she had told Kakashi to pull him from the match and she had strutted out of the stadium without any concern or faith for him.
He couldn't stand that arrogant, flashy, stupid kunoichi teammate of his and he refused to let her be right about him. That's what he had thought but staring into this freak's monstrous green eye as he clenched his arm in pain from overusing the chidori unable to do anything about the sand that was heading straight for him, all he could think was that if he died here he swore he'd come back and haunt Uzumaki, Naruto for the rest of her damn life.
"Sasuke-kun!" A voice shouted before a pink blur stepped in front of him and a little dog came to sit next to him.
" Sakura! Are you crazy?" another voice shouted before the sand that was attached to Gaara's body stopped an inch from Sakura's face.
"Good job, Shikamaru!" An annoyingly, familiar voice said. A blue and black blur jumped out from behind a tree to kneel next to him.
Sky blue eyes stared into his obsidian eyes. "You okay?"
He felt like a spring that had been pulled too far and had finally reached its maximum elongation. Juts like the spring snapping back, he also snapped. He raised his fist and slammed it right into her nose before he even realized what he was doing. Sakura's horrified gaze, Naruto's falling back and the gasps of surprise from Shikamaru and the others all happened in slow motion to him until Naruto's back hit the tree branch.
The pain in his fist brought him back to reality. There were flecks of blood on his fist. Her blood. His teammates blood. A comrade's blood. His only friend's blood. The only person that treated him like he wasn't special and challenged him forward and he had just socked her in the face.
"Naruto, are you okay?" Sakura asked rushing forward to help her up. Naruto batted her hand away and cracked her neck sideways before walking up to Sasuke.
Blue bore into black. Sakura eye's went back in forth between them nervously.
"You got some chemical inbalance going up in there?" She smacked his head hard enough to make it spin. "Or you just lost your damn mind?"
"Naruto! This isn't the time for this." Neji reminded her.
"Tell that to shit for brains. " She turned to Sasuke. "You're lucky I have bigger fish to fry or I would take great pleasure in educating you about what happens when you hit girls."
"You shouldn't have come. I don't need your help." Sasuke growled the fist he had hit Naruto with clenched and his sharingan spinning.
" Sasuke-kun, we're a team. Of course we have to come and hel-"
" What help will you be?" Sasuke cut Sakura off who proceeded to look deeply wounded as Naruto's eyes began to glitter with suppressed rage. "No, it's always Naruto to the rescue or we're so lucky to have Naruto as a teammate. I don't need any of you!" He began making hand seals before getting into a familiar stance. The sound of lightning crackling filled the melee.
" Shikamaru is still connected to him, you shit-head Uchiha!" Naruto shouted as he charged for Gaara, who seemed to be regaining control of his body as Shikamaru's shadow imitation jutsu weakened. "Release the jutsu Shikamaru!"
Shikamaru remained where he was still holding onto the half-transformed Gaara . He seemed to be waiting for something. Sasuke lifted his chidori , an inch from Gaara , but Sasuke's triumphant expression turned to surprise within a fraction of a second of his imbolization.
"What the hell?" The Uchiha cursed as he looked down at himself. There were wires encircling him and they all connected to that stupid weapons girl who was actually smirking at him as tugged on the wires as the Hyuuga approached him . His byakugan activated as he jabbed his fingers into the tenketsu points of the arm with the chidori. The chidori dispersed as soon as Neji closed off the tenketsu points that were leading the chakra to his arm.
"What the fu-" Sasuke's outrage was drowned out by the explosions that suddenly went off where Gaara was . Shikamaru darted out from where the smoke was coming from.
"Gaara!" Temari shouted in alarm.
The smoke cleared to reveal Gaara's sand sliding off in wet clumps of heavy droplets of sand. He was howling like a neutered dog as his sand slid off faster than snow on a mountain during an avalanche.
"No way! You…" Temari gaped at these genin.
"Sand is weak against water. Shukaku can only be found in the desert for a reason. No rain, honey. " Naruto said quietly as everyone looked at her and tried to understand what she was talking about.
"Gaara! You need to stop this. You have nothing to gain by listening to that stupid raccon dog. Tell him to go suck it." Gaara's right eye seemed to become even more demonic. A malicious killing intent filled the air
" You little fox whelp! Just wait. You're going to be begging me for mercy when this is all over." Shukaku's demonic voice coming from Gaara's mouth instilled fear into the densest of creatures. The madness in Gaara's bulging eyes, his mouth drooling like a mutt starving for a morsel to tear into and the laughter of the deranged demon filling the forest chilled the genin to the bone.
" What the hell is he?" Tenten wondered out loud.
" The product of this corrupt and vile ninja world where the ends never justify the means." Naruto answered quietly. " I hate the Fourth but at least what he did, he thought of as a last resort." She looked between Gaara and Temari. " It always amazes me what a ninja parent can do to their child and family in the name of their village. It makes me feel lucky I never had it." She raised her arm to point her finger at Gaara. " Shukaku , you have two options. One, you can be a fool , continue playing to be that boy's mother and I promise you, I will have you sealed so tight you won't be able to even see what he see's." Gaara's demonic eyes widened and a snarl worked its way to his lips. " Two, you can retreat peacefully into Gaara's subconscious and get the hell out of here and you won't have to deal with me."
"I don't think he's afraid of you." Tenten muttered when Gaara laughed and the confident grin on Naruto's face grew and the cold glint in her eye shone brightly.
"Shukaku, you are certainly the dumbest of the nine." Naruto said as he continued to jeer at her.
"You have a lot of nerve, fox wench." Gaara's tongue darted out to lick his lips. "You'll blood will taste delicious. I can sense your bastard fox isn't here. You should've kept a better handle on your trump card, girl. You'll regret letting him roam around freely. He is not to be trusted."
"Kyuubi isn't dumb enough to stab me in the back when our lives are intertwined." Everyone had turned to stare at Naruto, who had begun to speak in a different language that left them in the dark, Shukaku's face had frozen the moment Naruto had begun speaking in ancient Latin.
"Y-You! You're one of them. A witch. The bastard gets a witch host ! That's not fair. All I got was this stupid little red- haired –"
" Enough! " Naruto snapped. "You have until the count of three to retreat ."
"You really think you can order me around just because you can make rainbows –"
"in the sky? Are you going to turn me into a bouquet of flowers?"
The ground trembled beneath them. The shaking of the trees had everyone fumbling to hold on tight. Sand was flying from the ground to launch itself at Naruto.
Neji motioned for Sakura and Sasuke to follow him and move away from behind Naruto.
Naruto took off her right hand glove. Her palm had a circle with runes carved in that began to glow and spin.
"What the hell?" Temari summed it up for everyone witnessing the circle as a bigger one appeared in front of Naruto , big enough to cover Naruto and the others behind her.
The same blue, transparent circle with ancient symbols arranged in a pattern no one could understand appeared on the bark of the tree behind and on both sides of Gaara.
"Oh? Lets see if you can make flowers come out of my ass, you shitty brat." Shukaku's sand was gathering in the air directly above Naruto.
"Knowing what I know, about idiots like you, who only destroy and make chaos for everyone. Do you think that I wouldn't be prepared for you? In every way my people have always been the match for yours."Naruto smiled mockingly like she was enjoying her own private joke. " By the way the water I had my lovely children douse you with? Yeah that was holy water that hadn't been blessed yet so –"
"You!" Shukaku let out a blood-curling shriek of fury as he tried to dislodge the sand that was sticking to his skin which had been wet with the holy water.
"Time to bless you, fool." The circle in front of her began to glow a blue color violently. The other circles followed in resonance trapping Gaara. The sand that was attached to his skin was sizzling, little sparks were ripping at his skin and his shrieks filled Naruto's ears. ' Sorry about this, Gaara. But this'll help you in the end.' The sand was sliding off of his body. It was as lifeless as sand should be with the mind controlling it receding into the dark corners of Gaara's mind like Shukaku was supposed to be.
"What the hell are you doing to him?" Temari shouted standing from her perch. She was out of chakra but she reached for her fan anyway.
Naruto regarded her for a second. " If the Sand had thought about how to become great without making monsters of their children , this wouldn't be necessary. Since the Hidden Villages are so desperate for power that they'd do this to their own family and not even do it properly by the way, I guess I'll have to fix them instead of being pissed and whining about it all the time right?"
Naruto brought her palm down and the circles disappeared. The skin of her palm was red and raw. She could hear it sizzle and she had lost all feeling in her right arm. Gaara had fallen off the branch as soon as she had released him. He fell to the ground gently. A gust of wind cushioned his fall. Naruto jumped down next to him.
"Stay away! I won't disappear. You can't make me disappear." Gaara shrieked paralyzed.
Naruto plopped down next to him. "I'm the last person interested in making you disappear. You could've caused a lot of trouble though if you had fully transformed though. Killed a lot of people too. That's what you want? To be Sand's killing machine?"
Gaara glared at the weird girl. "It doesn't matter to me. I don't care how many of them die as long as-"
Naruto poked his love tattoo before he could say another word. " It's not a bad thing to have some compassion. Besides you've been alone for so long you don't even realize you've already have it."
" Family that loves you. " Naruto grinned happily leaning her cheek into her hand at the dumbfounded look on his face.
"I don't have family."Gaara said tightly. "And they don't care what happens to me. "
"Sure they do. Your brother stayed behind to get the pursuers off your back and your sister was going to attack me even though she's got no chance. They do care about you but you've got them so afraid of you , they don't know how to act with you. Try being a little nicer and smiling a little." She pushed up the corners of his mouth into a u-shape. His face was so unaccustomed to the gesture she could feel his cheekbones twitching.
" See? You look so cute!"
He bit her. " Oww! What did you do that for?" she cried holding her finger to her chest.
" Waaaah. Why doesn't Panda-chan like me? I like you." Naruto cried playfully.
"Usuratonkachi!" Sasuke growled from his position where the rest of them were standing by Shikamaru's insistence.
"You're insane aren't you?"Gaara asked slowly.
"No. Of course not. How can someone this cute be insane?"
" Gaara! Get away from him." Kankurou and Temari rushed towards them.
Naruto backed up as Kankurou got Gaara's arm around his shoulder while Temari glared at her.
"Are we just letting them leave like that? Aren't we supposed to apprehend them or something?" Tenten asked.
"She's right. We can't just-"Neji agreed.
"Hey, did you guys beat him up? No. Then I will decide what happens to him and I say let him go. He's no danger to us and besides ….I'M GONNA COME VISIT YOU IN SUNA, GAARA. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SOME RAMEN SAVED FOR ME."
"YOU'RE NOT WELCOME IN SUNA, YOU PSYCOPATH." Kankurou yelled in return.
"WHO ASKED YOU, YOU-"Someone hit her from behind.
"Which one of you did that?" Naruto asked turning. Sasuke smirked.
"Why the hell did you do that?" Naruto asked.
"Because you're an idiot. Who tells their enemy they're going to come visit them?" Sasuke drawled.
"Gaara's not my enemy. He's my adorable little brother." Naruto pouted.
Sasuke glared his eye twitching before turning and kicking the tree right next to them.
"Sasuke, Sakura, I can finally understand your pain." Tenten whispered mournfully.
"Troublesome. We defeated Gaara. Now what?" Shikamaru asked.
"We stay put till we get a sign that this is over. " Naruto answered sitting down at the base of the tree.
"But we can still fight and there are more sand shinobi in the village." Tenten argued with Sasuke in agreement. Sakura seemed ambivalent.
"Well-"Naruto froze as Obito popped in front of her. She jumped back and bumped her head into the bark of the tree.
"Dammit!" She cried nursing her new addition to her collection of bruises. "You-"
"We have a problem." Obito said trying to get the words out as fast as possible. "The First and Second just disappeared. Their souls were called back by someone and when I followed them." Obito's eyes were bright. "Orochimaru summoned them back in real bodies to fight the Third."
Naruto's insides froze. "Fuck that fruity looped bastard."
She cursed inwardly. "What happened to the original me?" Everyone was looking at her as if she had lost her mind. To them, she was talking to air but this was too important to worry about what they thought of her.
"She finished the spell. All enemy ninja are being detained by the spell. Konoha ninjas are rounding them up right now but original Naruto collapsed right after. Kyuubi said to get you to handle Orochimaru." Obito answered his eyes glued in the direction of the arena where the Third and his renegade student were fighting.
"I don't know how much help I can be. When she created me she only gave me a quarter of her strength and that damn snake is no lightweight."
"If you're going to help then you should hurry up. Things are getting bad." A familiar, unwanted voice stated.
"You-" Naruto and Obito started angrily in unison.
"The First and Second are using the old man as target practice." Fugaku informed them his eyes not meeting Naruto's. " Although the old man is getting exactly what he deserves."
"What did he ever do to you?" Naruto asked.
"Not the time for this." Obito interjected swiftly grabbing Naruto by the arm and pulling. She didn't miss the glares the two Uchihas shot each other or the look of comprehension dawning on Fugaku's face.
"Where are you going, you crazy schizo?" Tenten asked as everyone tried to follow Naruto.
"Go and report back to Kakashi. Invasions over so the ghost is clear." She chuckled at her own joke making her seem even more in need of a visit to a psychiatric ward.
" Naruto, are you sure you didn't hit yourself too hard?" Sakura asked tentatively as Naruto leaped up into the trees without answering.
"Just drop it, Sakura." Sasuke advised sitting down at the base of a tree. "She's always marched to the sound of her own crazy drum."
His father snorted his own, inaudible agreement.
"So how do I get inside?" Naruto wondered out loud as she studied the barrier that was keeping her from helping the Third.
"Can't you just teleport yourself inside?" Obito suggested. "It blocks chakra but it won't block your magic."
"Not necessarily. You're just guessing that it doesn't but Orochimaru picks up a lot of jutsus that are very ancient. If this is one of those jutsus then I'll be fried."
"Well you're just a clone. It's not like you'll really die." Naruto sent him a withering look. "We don't have time to think of anything else. It's our only shot."
Naruto concentrated on the Third. What he looked like, what he smelled like and what he felt like to her and let the magic pull her to him. It wasn't the recommended way to teleport since there was no way of knowing where you'd end up but like Obito had said they were out of options.
She opened her eyes only to wish she could close them again. The Third was holding on to Orochimaru's shoulder with a death grip. A shinigami had its hand through the Thirds stomach to inside of Orochimaru and was pulling a white substance out of Orochimaru's stomach with its ghoulish hand. Orochimaru was trying to signal his sword to go deeper into his teacher. The Third's summon , Enma, was trying to keep the sword from impaling the Third but it had already entered him. All he could do was grasp it and try to prevent it from going in any further.
The shinagami, she remembered had been what the Fourth had used to seal the Kyuubi inside of her. Looking at it now she wondered if she had cried and shrieked her lungs out in fear and pain while the Fourth continued his jutsu unfeeling. This thing was death and it had laid its hand on her. The thought made her nauseous and in the back of her head she wondered mutely if that was why she has always been close with the dead.
"How could you…."Naruto whispered brokenly to the Third a few feet away. Obito put his hand down on her shoulder either to show support or to keep her from lunging at the didn't know but she appreciated the gesture.
" Naruto…I'm sorry but it was my only option. He was my mistake. I let him go and now I have to take responsibility for him." The third whispered softly trying to make her understand, Trying to leave this world with one less regret.
"What happened to the First and Second?" Naruto asked angrily glancing at the Shinigami and hoping with all her heart that they weren't inside that monster.
"How did you-"he shook his head with a wry smile on his face. He was smiling as if he didn't have a shinigami's hand inside of his stomach and a sword sticking in his back. "Unfortunately I had to use this technique to stop them."
"How were you able to get in here with the barrier still up, Kyuubi brat?" Orochimaru asked with beads of sweat slithering down his slimy face.
"Shut your slimy, pus filled mouth. You damn, motherfucking, shitless, snake pedophile."Naruto shouted enraged while she clutched her head ignoring the Thirds warning to watch her language. It would've been comical to hear him say that in this situation if he wasn't about to die. What the hell was she supposed to do now? The First and Second were inside the shinigami's stomach. The Third was about to join them. She had no spells or jutsu's that could fix this. She couldn't do anything to help them. After everything they had done for her and all the things they had taught her. She couldn't do a damn thing to help them.
"There has to be a way." she muttered as she looked at the half-dead form of the Third. No amount of healing could save him now. He was going to die whether she wanted him or not. She'd failed to save another person. The third had already been prepared to die.
"Naruto. Don't even think about it. It's a shinigami. You can't go up against that." Obito warned spying the glint in her eyes.
"I have to do something! I can't just leave their souls to rot in that things stomach."
"It's the god of death. You can't fight him. I'm being pulled to him right now." Obito winced at Naruto's terrified expression.
"Get the hell out of here then! I don't wanna worry about you too." she yelled while the Uchiha shook his stubborn head.
"I'm fine. I'm not leaving you. You'll do something stupid." Obito smiled dryly at her pissed off expression.
"I have an idea. I can't save the Third but maybe I can rescue the souls from the Shinigami." She wasn't sure she could it but she had to try.
"You don't have any spells like that. Only- OH HELL NO!" Obito jumped in front of her. "You can't just make up spells because you feel like it. It's dangerous. All your teachers would yell about never making up and using an untested spell. You don't know what could happen."
"What could go wrong?" Naruto said not realizing that days after this would end, she would be cursing her own stupidity over and over again.
She began pushing every little spark of magic in her into her words. "I call upon the ancient powers for guidance and for power, Souls wrongfully taken and used, Bring them back undamaged in this time and in this hour."
She began to scream in agony when something in her began to eat at her soul. Something was fighting her inside and was clamoring to escape her body. It was destroying her. Sending wave after wave of chakra and magic and ripping her body to pieces. White light began to leak out of her mouth converging to form a man with blond hair and familiar blue eyes. The clone Naruto dropped to the floor but not before she spied the souls of the first three Hokages free from the shinigami who were all shouting along with Obito who looked like he was about have a hernia.
The Shinigami was gone and so was Orochimaru. The barrier was gone and the clone Naruto smiled at her objective being fulfilled. She fell to the floor before she turned into small little sparks of magic that got carried off by the wind to return to its original owner who would curse her folly for years to come.
AN: I'm really sorry for the long wait but life has been really busy and I've been having a lot of family problems so yeah. I still suck though but I try. On another note I need to ask if anyone who read my fics a while back can remember if I had dividers fro scene changes because I could swear I did. And I've read my stories on ff and they had dividers but when I checked recently after I got a review they were gone and I was so mad because now I have to redo everything. Am I imagining things or was it never there because someone would've told me earlier than this if it weren't. Also I'm very angry with Kishimoto for his portrayal of Sakura because every time I read a fanfic with her they make her so amazing and I start to like her. Then I read the canon and I want to kill her off. Those last chapters with her were just too pathetic and I don't even know what to do with her anymore. I also especially hate the recent pacifistic attitude that has overtaken Naruto. Oh and I have become addicted to One piece and Fairy Tail. How that is all relevant and why is this what I'm talking about after two years? No clue. I'm just being random. =) Everyone that has stuck by me thank you so much and sorry for the long wait. Things should get more interesting now because I am finally where I went to be in my story. It won't be as boring to write because it's mostly original stuff now. OKAY THIS IS MY THIRD UPLOADING THIS THING WITH SCENE CHANGE DIVIDERS AND EVERY SINGLE TIME FF KEEPS DELETING SOME AND LEAVING SOME SO IF IT DOES THAT AFTER MY THIRD ATTEMPT I DONT KNOW WHAT ELSE I CAN DO SO SORRRRYYYYY! Well you're all smart people you'll understand when the scenes changed even if its annoying.