Stray Bullet

It missed... A stray bullet... Calculations were perfect... Aim was on target... And yet, in all of the planning, constructing and deconstructing, one thing was not accounted for... Human nature... The ability to change the path of the future with one single action.

"Bastard..." Uzumaki Naruto growled through his teeth. He could feel it rushing through him. Power entered through his neck, spreading like a virus, tainting his body, blood and chakra. The forest and all that was around him slowly drifted away as his grin was replaced with an expressionless face. His body reacted by freezing itself to an absolute still position.

It was like a mixture of all the pain and pleasure he had ever had in his life, multiplied by a thousand - and the pain was much more notable. He suddenly grinned, as his attacker backed off, confusion in his eyes. He looked behind him to see his teammate and number one rival, Uchiha Sasuke, staring right back at him.

"Are you injured? Scaredy-cat" He managed to gather enough energy to say, as he breathed deeply, still frozen even after the snake-bastards neck had retracted.

"I missed?" Orochimaru, looking over to the bite he placed on the blonde's neck scowled, apparently there was more to the fox child than he originall thought. The bite had left a tattoo-like mark, shaped like a shuriken. Orochimaru was intent on originally biting Sasuke, after already sealing the Kyuubi inside Naruto, and tossing him away. But of course Naruto was the last person to back down when his friends were in danger, standing in the way of the attack, somewhat altering what seemed to be a certain future.

"Believe it." With the last of his dwindling energy, Naruto spoke as he collapsed into Sasuke's arms. Sasuke was left alone and scared, once again, recounting what had happened, from the time Orochimaru defeated Naruto and tossed him away, to the time when he was stopped, frozen in place by his killing intent. And now, just when he was about to attack the Uchiha heir Naruto once again foolishly stepped in the way, saving Sasuke, thus humiliating him once again.

"This seems problematic..." Orochimaru said, eyes darting, contemplating his next move. "I can't risk going for another attack, I can already sense them coming..."

"Stop right there!" Orochimaru grinned, his prediction fullfilled as a woman landed on a tree branch away from him. "I wouldn't move if I was you!" She watched as the face of the grass nin melted off, revealing the deformed human Orochimaru truly was.

"We both know you won't be able to catch me Anko." He grinned as he jumped forward, from branch to branch, fleeing from her.

Anko pursued Orochimaru, knowing very well that she most likely wouldn't be able to stop him without getting killed herself. She jumped forward, catching up to her former mentor. Using a quick jutsu her arm turned into a snake as she went to attack Orochimaru.

"Pathetic." Orochimaru spat, grabbing the snake-arm and using her momentum to throw her into another tree. "Using an opponents own moves against him? Are you still angry at me for leaving you Anko?" Anko spat out blood as she stood up, pulling the finger in his direction.

"Are you still disappointed that I left you?" She shot back, throwing another kunai at him. As he dodged she charged again, throwing him back into another tree, before proceeding to unleash a flurry of punches onto his body. She pounded him into the tree behind them, and trapped him against the trunk while pulling out a kunai. "I'm going to borrow this hand, if you don't mind." She grabbed his left hand with her right, and stabbed a kunai through both their hands and into the tree behind them, forming a hand seal.

"Are you really prepared to use that seal to kill us both?" Orochimaru grinned back at Anko, angering her further. His face brought back more painful memories, as she begun to use the jutsu, but Orochimaru's face quickly turned into a twisted smile. "I could let you kill yourself now but I'd rather be more forgiving." Orochimaru disappeared in smoke, leaving Anko's hand stuck into the tree.

"A Kage Bunshin?" Anko growled.

"Yes. Your effort was to no avail." He cackled, spinning a kunai in his hand. "I think you might be interested in knowing that I just gave another person a cursed seal. I picked it out especially for him."

"You seem disappointed? Was he one of the unlucky 1 out of 10?"

"I'm happy you noticed. But for your information, he did live." Orochimaru said, she knew him enough to know when he was disappointed, and when he was happy. "He survived, like you. But I see you're still jealous."

"But you missed. You old fool." Anko confirmed her suspicions. "So your objective failed. Go back to your hiding spot and rot there like you're supposed to!" She removed the kunai painfully as she prepared to launch another attack on her former mentor.

"Funnily enough, things might go better than planned. And you know how eager I can get." Orochimaru laughed as he disappeared, leaving Anko in pain as he activated her cursed seal, triggering a reaction in her body.

- -

"Once again, I failed."

- -

Things were not going as planned for Sakura. First she was attacked by the Sound Three. And then she had to be saved by Rock Lee. She wasn't able to protect herself even then. Even when she had a chance to prove herself she was once again saved by the Ino-Shika-Cho trio. And now, something else was going wrong. Naruto was awake, and he didn't look like the Naruto she and Sasuke knew. The person who had been called "dead-last" was now all that stood between the Sound Trio and the battered Team 7.

"You injured my teammates..." A voice said from behind Sakura, gaining the full attention of the Sound Trio.

"That's Naruto?" Shikamaru looked at the change in him, both in the way he spoke and looked. "Ino! Get out of there!" He yelled, picking up Ino's body, as her spirit jumped out of Kin's body.

"It was you wasn't it?" Naruto rose up in his full glory, black tattoos moving around his body. The tattoos were shaped like fangs, moving in sync with the red and purple chakra that circle around his body, as his eyes turned a dark red colour. "But right now I have all this power, and I'm feeling like taking some vengeance. Sakura!" Naruto turned to his comrade, grinning maniacally. "Was he the one who attacked you?" Naruto grinned as she gave a feeble nod. He charged straight at Zaku, punching him in the chest.

"His chakra increased massively..." Dosu said, immediately trying to reach his injured teammate.

"Not a chance..." Naruto appeared behind Dosu, grabbing him and tossing him to the ground.

"Don't let your guard down in front of me!" Zaku yelled out, as he aimed at Naruto. "Ultimate Zankuha!" Naruto turned around to see the blast of air surge in his way.

"Got you." Zaku grinned, as he breathed heavily, that attack was the most destructive one he had in his arsenal.

"Got who?" Naruto said from behind Zaku as he kicked him into the ground. Zaku looked at the spot in which he aimed the attack and found Dosu lying on the ground, injured. Before he could get up Naruto's foot was already on his back, pushing him back down every time he tried to recover. He took his foot off as Zaku got up, and attempted to attack Naruto for a second time.

"Kage Bunshin No Jutsu!" Naruto was too quick for Zaku, his clones slashing Zaku with kunais as they sprinted past. Naruto walked up to the scarred body that laid on the ground. Driven by his rage, Naruto lifted the injured Sound nin up and proceeded to punch his chest. The others around him tried to turn away and ignore Zaku's screams of pain. Naruto drew back his fist, preparing for a final strike. He spoke the words that had haunted him all his life. "You disappoint me."

"Naruto! Stop!" Naruto prepared to strike, though he was stopped as he felt a sudden warmth wrapping around him. "Please stop!" He could feel a body pressing against his, calming him down. He dropped Zaku, as the tattoos retreated, and his eyes turned to its normal colour. Naruto turned around and looked to see who was wrapped around him.