Naruto: In the Blood

By: Tellemicus Sundance

Tsuyomaru

Panting heavily, the young boy couldn't stop himself from sagging over. He just didn't have the strength to stand up straight anymore. His body was covered in swelling bruises, scrapes and cuts, and fair amounts of mud were clinging to him thanks to his sweat. His sweat was so thick that he could watch it dripping from the tip of his nose to the ground under him. It was also thanks to his sweat that his clothes, mainly his loose blue shirt, was sticking to him.

"Not bad, Tsuyomaru," a deep voice said from behind him. "You've improved the jutsu greatly since I last saw it."

Somehow finding the strength to raise his head and glance in the direction of the voice, he found his father standing several paces away from him and the rock outcropping in front of him. His father towered over his small stature as always, radiating a power and strength unrivaled by almost anyone.

"Arigato…otou--san," Tsuyomaru said, breathlessly.

"How do you believe you will fare in the Exam?" his father asked, in a voice that many would've believed he truly didn't care. But Tsuyomaru knew better, this was his father after all. The greatest shinobi ever! And Tsuyomaru was by far his father's most favorite of his ten other children that had been born to date.

"I'll…win--it for sure," the almost twelve-year-old answered proudly as his breath finally began to slow. "I'm your son, after all."

That statement got a slight upward twitch from his father's lips. If there was one thing that he cared more about than anything else now, it was his children and their incredible abilities. But Tsuyomaru, the eldest, was by far the most promising. He'd finally discovered how to utilize his kekkei genkai and has since greatly improved his control of it in the past few months since he'd become a genin. In fact, his son's ability far surpassed his own when he was at the same age.

Tsuyomaru was a genius of geniuses.

"There is something I wish to give you, Tsuyomaru," he said after a moment.

With a slight stagger from complaining leg muscles, Tsuyomaru walked over to his father as the man reached for his belt. He wasn't sure what to expect, but certainly not what he received. His father withdrew his very own katana and presented it to him!

Stupidified, Tsuyomaru could only stutter out a weak protest as his hands took hold of it. Sure he'd been very well trained in the use of swords, he was a natural with a katana actually. He'd even began to consider getting his own eventually, but he'd never imagined his father to give away his own!

"I'm giving it to you," his father said firmly, making it abundantly clear he wanted his son to have it. "because you've earned it."

Looking up at his father again, Tsuyomaru could only nod. Then a slow smile crawled up his usually neutral face as he unsheathed the deadly blade that had taken the lives of many powerful enemies. Gazing at the strong steel of the blade, he felt a sudden impulse to practice it.

Turning away from his father, he leapt away. Landing in a crouch, he brought the blade down and began a series of complicated and blindingly fast slashes and stabs. If he hadn't been very tired already, he would've pushed himself to go faster and slash harder. But after a minute or two of experimentation, Tsuyomaru found he couldn't ignore the complaints of his body any longer.

Sheathing the sword, Tsuyomaru dropped heavily to the ground to rest. He couldn't afford to faint from chakra depletion and muscle failure. He had less than a week left before the Chuunin Final Exam was held and he wanted to be in his best shape for that.

"Otousan," Tsuyomaru called, knowing his father was still there. "Are you going to watch the exams?"

"Some of it," was the answer. Which Tsuyomaru translated as he was only going to watch his matches. "But I have some important business to settle with an old friend that day. So I might not be able to see you in the finals."

Glancing over at his father in disappointment, Tsuyomaru said, "Really? Hm…well, can you at least be there to see me beat a certain somebody?"

"Uzumaki?" his father asked, a smirk almost escaping his control.

"Hai!"

Uzumaki Isamu, son of the Rokudaime Hokage, the one genin that Tsuyomaru considered as his only rival. He'd met Isamu for the first time in the Forest of Death during the second part of the Chuunin Exam. The two boys had gone head-to-head in a winner-take-all battle for the other's scroll. Apparently though Tsuyomaru had been able to acquire the scroll in the end, Isamu had proven himself to be an adversary worthy of any shinobi's respect.

The irony of it was not lost on Uchiha Sasuke.

Not at all.


(Author's Note) Hm, I see a pattern developing here for me. Whenever I know I'm overdue for a new chapter, I write another one-shot or chapter of something as a 'sorry' to all of you. From now on whenever I get held up on releasing a chapter of the Legacy, I'll post a chapter on this story. However, don't expect very long chapters since these scenarios just appear off the top of my head.

Don't worry about the Legacy. I have Chapter 30 finally completed. I'm only waiting on Ultra Sonic's review before I post it. But he seems to be quite busy this past and coming week. So you could probably expect the chapter out sometime next week if we're lucky.

Tsuyomaru means 'to gain strength'